HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Benefit Concert at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai

Salus per aquam - health through water

Lunch Bunch at the Rydges Hotel!

Wine, women and song on a Friday afternoon at the US Consulate

Annual meeting lists achievements of New Life Foundation

NGO Forum claims gover nment out of touch with young people

Chiang Mai being proposed as Asia’s health hub

Benefit Concert at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai

Mark May 29th in your diary now

Marion Vogt

The Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai will once again be hosting a very special evening for music lovers in aid of Chiang Mai’s ‘Foundation to Encourage the Potential of Disabled Persons’ on Saturday, May 29.

M.L. Usni Pramoj, Privy Councilor and accomplished musician

M.L. Usni Pramoj, Privy Councilor and accomplished musician has donated his time to support this charity. He will be playing the viola accompanied by Tasana Nagavajara and Siripong Tiptan on violin, as well as by Kittikhun Sodprasert, playing violoncello. The classical pieces they have chosen for that evening are from Mozart and Borodin, as well as some Thai Folk music.

The May 29th concert will start at 5.30 p.m. with a cocktail reception followed by the one hour concert in the Four Seasons Intanon Room.

The entrance is free but a donation of 500 baht minimum per person is suggested as all of the proceeds will go directly to the Foundation.

The Four Seasons Resort has a complimentary shuttle transfer from downtown Chiang Mai for people who prefer to leave their cars at home or need transport to attend this very worthwhile concert in Mae Rim. The times of the shuttle bus will be announced at a later date.

Ticket holders will be eligible to enter a lucky draw for weekend stays, Spa treatments and Cooking School classes at the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai as well. For concert ticket holders it is also possible to take part in an after-concert BBQ dinner at the Cooking School at a supplement of 1000 baht, plus applicable taxes. Since space is limited, early booking is recommended.

Reservations on 0 5329 8181 or by email, concert. chiangmai @fourseasons.com

Salus per aquam - health through water

Reinhard Hohler

The word spa, an abbreviation from the Latin “salus per aquam” or “health through water”, originated in Roman times, when soldiers sought out hot wells and then built baths around them to relieve their aching bodies.

Wanwalee Tantikarn, Natural Wing Samui Spa Association, Chitra Klanprayoon, Ban Sabai Spa and president Thai Lanna Spa Assoc., Ampai Sheehan, Siam Spa, vice president Thai Lanna Spa Assoc., Penroong Pongrergrong, president Life Up Longstay, and GM of Life Up Longstay Spa Resort. (Photo by Mathias Froehlich)

No longer merely associated with mineral springs and a hot bath, spas are nowadays claimed to be a springboard to a healthier lifestyle.

Spas are once again becoming more and more popular destinations, whether for a vacation or for a one day getaway from our stressful lives.

The Thai Lanna Spa Association has been formed to keep standards high in the concept of health and healing through water therapy and then continue the treatment on an aromatic, herbal and Ayurvedic basis. All features of the Thai Lanna spas contribute to the ideals of mind, body and soul and the methods of relaxation, pampering and rejuvenation.

For further information contact Reinhard Hohler by email [email protected]

Lunch Bunch at the Rydges Hotel!

Marion Vogt

They did have a fun lunch! This months’ Lady Lunch Bunch Group met at the Rydges Tapae Chili Coffee Shop and were much in awe at the variety of dishes and the range of food which was supplied during their buffet.

After a couple of “home pot-luck lunches”, it was the air-conditioned coffee shop at the Rydges which was perfect to get away from the tremendous heat outside.

The Chiang Mai Lady Lunch Bunch Group was started a couple of years ago by an international group of women living in the city who wanted to meet up once a month for an informal lunch and some good conversation.

Men would call it gossip; women say that they gather information!

As usual, it started at noon to enable the working women to join. And as usual, it was as international as it can get. No leaders or chairpersons are required since there is always a volunteer to organize the lunch for the following month. Their dress code is as casual or as formal as they like. There is only one requirement: it has to be polite and keep within Lanna Thai custom - that is, conservative!

It is supposed to be a reflection of the intelligent ladies of Chiang Mai who want to be treated respectfully and be respected.

If you know of anyone who would like to be added to the mailing list, please let the next organizer know. The name of the person who took over for the month is always announced in the Community Happenings of Chiangmai Mail.

The Lunch Bunch group meets again at noon on Wed-nesday, May 26. The venue this time is The Bear’s Den.

Wine, women and song on a Friday afternoon at the US Consulate

Frank and Becky recognized for their contributions

Michael Vogt

Wine, women and song is not the usual fare at the US Embassy, so US Consul General Eric Rubin was quick to explain this was a special treat for one of the pillars of the US diplomatic corps.

Frank’s colleagues made a presentation, greatly appreciated by Frank and Becky on the left.

Having served diligently in northern Thailand for six years, Frank Weicks (Chiangmai Mail Personality of the Week, Vol I, issue 10) will soon be retiring from US service, and his colleagues and friends wanted to wish him well for his future in his retirement.

Eric ‘garlands’ the newly arrived Officer Scott Hansen and his lovely wife Maggie Flynn.

In his short address, as usual filled with humorous and witty remarks, the consul general recalled that both Frank Weicks and his wife Rebecca (Becky) Lomax had worked very hard to make Chiang Mai a better place, and that they would be greatly missed. However, as they have decided to stay on in Chiang Mai for much of the time to come, we will still have the pleasure of seeing them on various occasions.

As a token of appreciation, Eric Rubin awarded Weicks with a Life Membership in the Order of the Golden Triangle, and his wife was dutifully recognized as “the woman behind the man”.

Frank said in his reply he was indeed looking forward to his retirement and to be able to spend more time with his family. However, the advantage of having grandchildren, he said, is that you can give them back at anytime.

Both Frank and Becky find Chiang Mai a very good place to live, and with the numerous commitments and obligations they have, they won’t find time to get bored.

At the same time, the party also warmly welcomed Scott Hansen and his wife Maggie Flynn, who have just arrived. Scott and Maggie were appropriately “garlanded” by Eric Rubin, and one could see that they felt at home from the very first moment.

At the end of the formal part of the very different afternoon, Vice-Consul Henry Jardine gave a very interesting rendition of “Jambalaya”, but help was on its way rather quickly by Frank and Becky, much to the delight (relief?) of all present.

Annual meeting lists achievements of New Life Foundation

Lanna Symphony Orchestra to help raise funds for charity

Cory Croymans

The New Life Foundation, established to assist poor Thais who have physical or mental disorders, this year celebrates its 40th anniversary.

For this purpose three village-style complexes have been set up in Chiangdao, Lee and Hangdong, where members learn how to lead a normal life and find jobs that make them stand on their own feet.

First row (from right): Ajaarn Pattanut Chananan, Khun Chayasith Rattanachayasit, Ajaarn Kamol Taweechai from the Chiangdao Boarding School, New Life Foundation secretary Somboon Suprasert, its president Khunying Bupphan Nimmanhaemind, consultant Cory Croymans, and committee member Ramporn Pornpanpitthak.

Second row (from left), Foundation staffer Angchalee Sapannand, Provincial Health Officer Dr Wanthanee Chawapong, foundation staffer Nuangsree Wongrak, committee member Rattanaporn Chantaramkoon, Mongkol Dahnvillaipittikul from the Chiangmai Governor’s Office who also represented the Public Welfare Department, Chiangdao village teacher Chintana Kamtung, with other members.

The New Life Foundation also has two homes for the elderly, where it supports poorer senior members who are no longer able to help themselves with shelter, visits of medical doctors and nurses and similar services.

Lastly, the foundation provides pre-school childcare services in its Lee and Chiangdao villages, as well as scholarship funds to some children.

The foundation, established in September 1964 (2507 B.E.) and which is under the patronage of H.R.H. The Princess Mother, last week held its Annual General Meeting.

Five representatives from every village presented their activity report at the meeting which was also attended by officers from the Provincial Health and the Social Welfare offices, as well as district officers from Lee and Hangdong.

At the AGM, this year’s main fundraiser was announced. It will be a charity concert which will be held on September 11 at Payap University with the support from the newly established 80-member Lanna Symphony Orchestra.

Surely an event we will all be looking forward to.

NGO Forum claims gover nment out of touch with young people

Harsh “social order” policies the wrong approach

Abby Erikson
Health and Development Network

Drugs, sex, violence, gangs, unwanted pregnancies, and increased HIV infection all shape the reality of young people’s lives. But the message that they are giving is that parental understanding and involvement are crucial and the government’s policies are out of touch.

Youth leaders spoke candidly about their lives and the problems they deal with at the monthly non-governmental organization (NGO) forum held at Health and Development Network (HDN) on April 27.

The forum heard that young people want to be heard and understood and have access to youth-friendly service, not misinformation and forceful measures that are meant to penalize. While parents, teachers, policymakers and youth alike want to see people excel, the need for more support to help young people cope with their realities is glaring.

While the government is praising its strict policies which are aimed at controlling youthful behavior and parents are miscalculating the complexity of their children’s lives, young people are left to fend for themselves.

As part of the conference, youth representatives from Population Services International’s (PSI) Ozone Project, Thai Youth AIDS Prevention (TYAP), and Planned Parenthood’s Peer Outreach for Reproductive Health (PORT) shared their experiences in helping one another to resist drugs, gangs and unprotected sex.

These NGOs are responding to young people’s dilemmas by treating them with respect, cultivating friendship and providing caring and non-judgmental advice and support. Noticeably, their responses to youth are in direct contrast to the government’s recent policies focused on restoring “social order” by implementing harsh controlling measures, including night curfews, dress codes, and punitive drug-busting measures.

Youth representatives from Ozone House, PORT and TYAP spoke out candidly about their lives. The daily realities of school and family life, mounting peer pressure, mixed messages on sex, lack of communication with parents, and the threat of HIV are putting youth in risky situations. Their ability to maneuver through these difficulties is challenged by a lack of understanding among elders, parents and the government.

Increasingly, youth are turning to one another for guidance and support. With help from sympathetic community leaders and NGOs, youth are conducting peer-to-peer prevention and education.

Programs aimed at promoting responsible and healthy choices are being developed. For example, the Ozone Project works with young people using drugs and offers them a safe place to come and get help. The WY Group encourages young people to get involved in sports and other activities to discourage drug use. PORT offers peer-to-peer family planning, counseling and condom distribution to promote safer sex and therefore reduce unintended pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections. And all of these groups educate young people about HIV/AIDS.

The forum also coincided with a recent report on youth released by the United Nations which calls for a greater need to incorporate youth in decision making. The report found that while young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are better educated and have greater access to information than ever before, HIV has taken a heavy toll on and transformed the lives of the vast majority of the world’s 1.1 billion young people. Youth in Thailand are not exempted.

With youth all over the world trying to grapple with the effects of the HIV pandemic, globalization, and changing cultural values on sexual norms, it is imperative that all levels of society - from parents to governments to international organizations - stop and listen to young people’s voices.

Youth need more than just token representation when discussing issues that directly affects them. The upcoming international AIDS Conference to be held in Bangkok in July is an opportunity for leaders to demonstrate to young people that they are valued and instrumental in helping to make the world a better place.

Chiang Mai being proposed as Asia’s health hub

Holistic medicine stakes its claims at CMU

Reinhard Hohler

Chiang Mai has a great potential to become the health and medical hub of Asia. This was the proposal made to the 500 speakers, delegates, volunteers and members of the local press during the World Congress of Holistic Medicine at the Convention Hall of Chiang Mai University (CMU) from April 23-25.

Organized by the Suchada Marwah Center in Bangkok and the International Research Center of Natural Sciences (IRCNS) in Chiang Mai, the event highlighted various topics, such as therapeutic Thai massage, aromatherapy, spa management, homeopathy, Ayurveda, laughter therapy, and yoga.

Dr Norbert Poessel, the German director of the organizing committee, talked about podiatry insoles that can help one walk happily through life. Like an architect renovating the tower of Pisa in Italy, the eager naturopath practitioner seeks to produce individual comfortable insoles to balance the body.

Another speaker, Vietnamese Professor Bui Quoc Chau, introduced his own method of facial diagnosis and cybernetic therapy. During a workshop, he demonstrated that his method is not a kind of Chinese acupuncture, but uses a pointed instrument to localize blocked spots and zones in the face. Corresponding to special parts of the body and inner organs, it is claimed that special pressure on these face points and zones will relieve such amazingly varied disorders such as epilepsy, cold, hypertension, toothache, migraine, diarrhoea, shoulder pain, and sore throat.

At the closing ceremony, Indian Dr Rajeev Marwah, an expert in meditation, announced that the second congress of holistic medicine will be held in Chiang Mai during the cool season next year, as the hot climate in April prevented many people from participating.

Chiang Mai is currently well served by conventional medicine, with 16 private hospitals supported by the CMU Faculty of Medicine. Chiang Mai has also 65 dental clinics and more than 20 spa establishments.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has recently begun promoting health tours to the northern provinces.

The IRCNS in Chiang Mai is presenting lectures by Dr Poessel on the following topics during the coming months:

May 15, 10 a.m. - 12 noon: Dreams and inner exercises;

June 12, 10 a.m. - 12 noon: Past lives;

July 10, 10 a.m. - 12 noon: Inner travel.

Further information is available from Reinhard Hohler email [email protected]