HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Pensioner finds new racket in women’s tennis

Book fair at Central Airport Plaza today and tomorrow

A Man of Integrity and Honor

La Cigale Children Choir coming to Chiang Mai

Jed Yod group paints up a storm

Pensioner finds new racket in women’s tennis

Chasing girls takes him round the world

M. Vogt

Everybody needs a hobby and Sam Stevens found his by accident during the Indianapolis Women’s Open Tennis tournament in 2000, when a friend took a photo of him with Martina Hingis and Mary Pierce.

Joerg Eisenschmidt (left) from ‘To Nobody’ Restaurant enjoying Sam Stevens’ tennis stories.

For the next 12 months he had great fun showing these photos to all his friends, but in 2001 he thought, “Why not get his photo taken with all the other players too?” That’s how it started.

By now he knows most of the 300 girls on the tennis circus (WTA) by name and almost everybody knows Sam. The collection is now 365 photos, all signed by the various players, from the World’s No. 1 down to the newly qualified players who might become famous in the future.

To feed his habit has meant that in the last three years he has traveled around the world to follow the world’s tennis playing women. He has visited tournaments in Strasbourg (France), the French Open, Auckland (NZ), Sydney, Indianapolis, Phoenix, US Open, Volvo tournament in Thailand, and he had just come from the Australian Open to stop in Chiang Mai, before heading back to California.

Sam Stevens calls himself a lucky man. He said, “What better pastime for a bachelor (even way over 70) than chasing young women all over the world, have my picture taken with them and watch wonderful tennis? I am so lucky.”

Sam, we wish you many more trips to come and hope your collection is way over 500 by next year on your Chiang Mai stopover after the Australian Open.

Book fair at Central Airport Plaza today and tomorrow

“Getting in touch with love - perspectives from well-known authors” is the theme at the book fair being held at Central Airport Plaza today and tomorrow.

Most everyone enjoys a good book.

People who love reading should not miss this book fair, which emphasizes the celebration of love for the upcoming Valentine’s Day. The plaza, in cooperation with Nai-In bookstore, is holding the book fair at the promotional hall on the first floor, Zone A, from February 7 - 8.

Activities include student storytelling, novels from the Faculty of Education, Chiang Mai University, saa paper inventions, and flower arrangements.

Many books about love are being featured at the book fair being held at Central Airport Plaza today and tomorrow.

A Man of Integrity and Honor

Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Prizewinner speaks at CMU

Jim Messenger

Though we are a little out of the way and it does indeed seem sometimes that we are far from the focus of things, there is the occasional ray of light that brings it all into focus once again. I am referring to the excellent lecture series going on at Chiang Mai University, entitled “Bridges: Dialogues towards a Culture of Peace” and put on by the International Peace Foundation, from Austria.

Assist. Prof. Nipon Tuwanon, Ph.D., president of CMU hands a token of appreciation to Jose Ramos-Horta, Noble Prize Winner, 1996.

19 different events are being played out over the course of 6 months, from November last year to this April. What began with lectures by such notables as Jesse Jackson, runs through a clutch of Nobel Laureates, a dance performance and ends with a recital by operatic Diva Jessye Norman can’t be all bad. Most of this glory is being played out on the stages of Krung Thep Maha Nakorn; however, Chiang Mai University plays host to seven of these, and we are the most grateful beneficiaries.

Jose Ramos-Horta was one of the lights in the long struggle of East Timor to gain independence from Indonesia. That it did so with a minimum of violence should be envy and admiration of the many ‘trouble spots’ around the world. His talk, in the Faculty of Social Science, was attended by an appreciative crowd of 300 teachers, students and expats.

He spoke about his country’s long struggle for independence and said that even now, East Timor “would not be free if not for the effort of many people around the world, including the King of Thailand.” He told us that what finally worked was multi-lateralism, long and persistent negotiations, and pressure from many people around the world. “The one power in the world is civil society,” that “makes us a world village.”

He spoke about extremism in all its forms and called it “the plague of the world today.” However, he did not believe that it “had its origins in poverty.” If so, he noted then “two thirds of sub-Sahara Africa would be terrorists,” or come from the “slums of Bangkok.” He described a tribe in the Western Sahara, “living in tents for the last 25 years, poorer than the Palestinians. They do not say bad things about others. They have the same problems.” Rather he noted that extremism has its origin in “Brainwashing from childhood, in texts and classroom, that distort history, creating generations of people prepared to kill.”

Some of the worst crimes of humanity have been perpetrated by Christianity he noted. “Europeans invented modern slavery,” and “imported it to Africa.” He talked about the “moral bankruptcy of the West”, how “Globalization is really a big casino. The biggest problems facing the world today are poverty, water, HIV, and terrorism.”

What was important for the world was to “strengthen the UN. The body that was created in 1945 cannot be the same as today. The solution to many of the inequalities today is the US and rich countries (should) show more compassion and humanity.”

La Cigale Children Choir coming to Chiang Mai

On Tuesday, February 24 at 7 p.m. at Kad Theatre in Kad Suankaew Shopping Center Kad Theatre Chiang Mai, there will be an evening of choral music in association with D&M Music Studio.

La Cigale Children Choir is coming to Chiang Mai on February 24 at 7 p.m. at Kad Theatre in Kad Suankaew Shopping Center Kad Theatre.

La Cigale Children Choir comprises of 44 members, aged between 9 - 16 from St. Marcellin Champagnat catholic school in France. The choir was founded in 1974 under the direction of Claude Jeannin. La Cigale has performed extensively throughout European countries in concert halls and most cathedrals including Slovakia, Poland, Italy, Lithuania, Spain, Hungary, Czech Republic, Portugal, Ireland and other countries including U.S.A., Mexico and Argentina, and this February for the first time in Thailand.

The choir has won the grand prize at ‘The European Choir Competition’ and the 3rd prize in ‘The World Choral Competition in Spain’. As for the first concert tour in Thailand, La Cigale will perform in Chiang Mai.

The evening program will include works by: First part: (1) Gloria: de Y. Novaki, (2) Ave Maria: de Lemaire, (3) Pie Jesu: de Andrew Lloyd Webber, (4) Fac ut: extrait du Stabat Mater de Pergol่se, (5) Quando morietur: extrait du stabat: de G.B. Pergol่se, (6) Laudate Dominum: de Mozart, (7) Amen: negro spiritual, (8) Gloria: de Neukomm, (9) La Charit้: de Rossini.

The second part will be no less exciting with at least another ten great pieces performed.

Tickets are priced at 50 baht only for everybody at the information counter, ground floor. Tel: 053-224-444 ext. 19008 or 19919.

Jed Yod group paints up a storm

Gong Dee Galleries star studded exhibition

Jim Messenger

Chiang Mai has a plethora of artists who show regularly, some individually and some in groups. One of these latter is the Jed Yod Group made up of teachers from Rajamankala Technical College.

From left: Siwanna Saokong, Sulasit Saokong, vice governor of Chiang Mai Prinya Panthong and his wife, Wanphen Dirksen and Vichit Chaiwong owner of Gongdee Gallery.

This is the fourth show of theirs that I have seen and this time the quality is even better. The exposition is set in the charming confines of Gong Dee Gallery.

Vice-Governor Prinya Panthong, an artist himself, painted a picture on stage during the opening ceremony at Gong Dee Gallery.

It was a ‘star studded affair’ opened by the vice-governor of Chiang Mai, Prinya Panthong. As usual, gallery owner Vichit Chaiwong was on hand as host to make sure the proceedings ran as smoothly as they usually do.

One of the paintings distributed on stage.

There was an excellent Lanna welcome with two dancers and a traditional Lanna musical ensemble. The crowd of over 300 was an appreciative audience for the 18 artists whose works were on display.

Gong Dee Gallery is located on Soi 1, off Nimmanhaemin Rd, open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily.