HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Kids' Corner

Tony Ball’s Bird Watching Diary

Thai Cultural Day - teamwork between the smallest and the tallest

Outing to Bangkok a ‘brilliant’ end to primary school years

Can you spell dinoflagellate?

‘Luk krung’ wins Mr. SongkranInternational 2004

Special Guest at the Chiangmai Ballet Academy

Kids' Corner

Marvin went to play golf with his dad the other day. He said that it was lots of fun, but he had to walk a long, long way. He liked walking with his dad because he got to see lots and lots of animals and when he had finished he went to see the horses at the stables. Marvin said that he wants to go to play golf with his dad again one day. Have you ever played golf? What kind of sports do you like to play? Write to Marg and Marvin at:

Chiangmai Mail
156-158 Im-boon Housing Estate
Muangsamut Road
T. Changmoi, A. Muang,
Chiang Mai 50300
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 053 234 145


1) What did the little light say to its mother?
2) What is the longest word in the dictionary?
3) Which day of the week is lazy?
4) If there were six cats in a boat and one jumped out, how many were left?


1) I love you watts and watts.
2) Elastic because it stretches.
3) Sat-urday
4) None because they were copy cats.

Bye from Marg and Marvin

Tony Ball’s Bird Watching Diary

For the last 5 months I have been visiting the Huay Tung Tao Lake five or six mornings a week to keep a running checklist on the birds that inhabit the area. The total number seen to date is 157 species. Usually I am there from sun-up for 4 hours and on an average day I will spot around 45 to 50 species and identify another 7 or 8 by call. This is probably the best lowland area around Chiang Mai for the numbers of species that are to be found.

The Chinese Pond-Heron after change of plumage.

As the level of the lake drops, in the dry season, some birds will disappear and others such as waders will appear to feed on the exposed sandbanks. As most of the waders are migrants these will also disappear to re-appear at the end of the year. At the end of one complete year it will be interesting to check my daily entries to see when the migrants were last seen and when they were checked back in.

The Chinese Pond-Heron before change of plumage.

One subject that I find fascinating is the way birds dress themselves at different times of the year. Let me dwell on just one for the moment and that is the Chinese Pond-Heron. Out of the breeding season this bird is basically brown and white, brown when it is standing in the paddy fields and white when it is flying. You can see them flying and you are sure that you are watching a completely white bird but the moment it lands it disappears. This is nature’s way of keeping them safe from predators; they have long brown feathers growing along their back and the minute they alight these feathers drop down over their white wings thereby rendering them almost invisible.

But everything is turned around when the breeding season arrives; these birds turn into garish maroon, black and white clowns. This happens to both the male and female birds which is unusual. Normally it is the male of the species that develops the striking colors but as there are two species of pond-herons in Thailand which are almost identical in the non-breeding season this is Nature’s way of separating them. The Javan Pond-Heron turns orange, black and white. This way there is no chance of them interbreeding where they overlap. The experts tell us that birds do see in color, maybe a talkative parrot spilt the beans, but the above example would seem to prove the point.

Thai Cultural Day - teamwork between the smallest and the tallest

Dominique Leutwiler

The Christian German School Chiangmai celebrates a day of Thai culture and tradition once a year.

Almost like one of the old May pole customs, where the winner who picks the flowers from the top is allowed the first dance with the May queen, this oily bamboo stick had 100 baht on top and only teamwork made it possible to bring it down.

Mainly organized by the Thai teachers at Christian German School Chiangmai (CDSC) and some Thai mothers, students and parents this year were offered a day filled with attractive activities and fun.

Starting with a traditional Songkran celebration, the parents enjoyed a performance from the students from Kindergarten up to Grade 10 showing a variety of Thai dances. The first dancers to perform were four pretty young Kindergarten ladies with a beautiful Umbrella dance, followed by all the other classes.

The morning included plenty of different games for the children. One of these caught a great deal of attention from among the children, and if anybody wondered why students of all ages would want to climb up an oily bamboo stick, the reason soon became clear - there was a 100 baht note attached to the top. And it was only through teamwork between first graders and ninth graders, and lots of patience, that the pinnacle was reached and the reward collected.

Grade 7 and 8 during their version of Thai Dance.

Plenty of food was supplied from all parents for a lunch buffet in the school auditorium. And just in case there was still anybody around in Chiang Mai who didn’t have enough splashing fun during this year’s Songkran, the morning at CDSC ended with just that. Fun with a big water splash!

One of the mixed groups performed a lovely Thai dance.

The smallest performed the umbrella dance.

Outing to Bangkok a ‘brilliant’ end to primary school years

Tessa Shockey

The sixth grade class from Grace International School had the great opportunity to take a field trip to Bangkok. The purpose of this fun and educational trip was to visit a science museum and a planetarium. The field trip corresponded with a unit the 6th graders studied in class.

The sixth grade class waits to enter the science museum in Bangkok.

The trip had been anticipated for a long time, as the sixth graders counted the hours down on the classroom whiteboard for several weeks. Teachers Carol Steedmen and Tanya Sykes, assisted by parent sponsors, accompanied them on the trip.

At the Chiang Mai train station the students and teachers wait to board the night train.

When the day of departure finally arrived on April 26, 27 excited students boarded the night train bound for Bangkok. Parents waved goodbye to their kids, perhaps just a little nervous.

Some of the sixth grade girls pose in front of a city backdrop.

After riding all night on the train, the sixth graders disembarked and went to shower at a local church. They had a short devotion time before heading off to the science museum. They observed the planetarium and then took a tour of the museum. In the planetarium they gazed at stars and their constellations, and planets.

On the night train, the sixth graders enjoy playing cards.

The museum was a hands-on experience. The kids enjoyed interacting with mirrors, magnets, and a variety of exhibits.

After grabbing a bite to eat, a recreational time and an optional shopping excursion followed. To beat the Bangkok heat, the students bought hand-held battery-powered fans.

‘Bodyless’ sixth graders, Isaiah Soung and Michael Hume interact with a mirror exhibit.

With their fun-filled day over, they headed back to the train station for the long trip back to Chiang Mai. To the students it wasn’t a long trip back, as one sixth grader commented, “The train journey was the best part of the trip.”

The sixth graders attempt to beat the Bangkok heat with battery-powered fans.

The outing was a deemed a success. Mrs. Sykes called it “brilliant!”

The tired sixth graders arrived back in Chiang Mai on April 28 with a cache of memories to conclude their primary school years at Grace International School.

Can you spell dinoflagellate?

Jon van Housen

Have you ever wondered what a dinoflagellate is? Or about the process of cytokenisis? No, probably not, but students - and teachers - at Nakorn Payap International School got to wondering after the school’s 2004 Spelling Bee.

Yu Wongkiatikajorn slipped on dinoflagellate.

By successfully spelling those words, and many others, seventh-grader Calvin Teerawatananon became the secondary school champion.

It was another student from the seventh grade, Yu Wongkiatikajorn, who stayed with Calvin and spelled the “easier” words correctly as other students dropped out. By the sixth round, the words were lengthy and obscure indeed. Yu stumbled on dinoflagellate, which Calvin spelled correctly. He then spelled cytokenisis to win. His prize, of course, was a dictionary.

Calvin: success with cytokenisis.

“Both Calvin and Yu have been at NIS their entire student careers,” said John Allen, principal. “I am very proud of them. Precocious is a word not used lightly, but I think it applies to them.”

Calvin and Yu also won the Student Speaking Contest, while Yu proof-read and helped edit both the Student Newspaper and Yearbook.

Dew Prevot: Grade 4-6 champion with chlorophyll.

In the lower primary school, Saint Chusaksakulviboon won the Grade 1-3 contest by spelling climate correctly, while Dew Prevot won in the Grades 4-6 category by knowing how to spell chlorophyll. They too took home dictionaries.

Saint Chusaksakulviboon won the Grade 1-3 contest by spelling climate correctly.

And just so you know: dinoflagellates are the most common sources of bioluminescence at the surface of the ocean, while cytokenisis is the final stage of mitosis, or cell division.

‘Luk krung’ wins Mr. SongkranInternational 2004

A handsome German and fun-loving Thai rolled into one

Christopher Paul Thomas, Mr. Songkran International 2004, is not only handsome - he also has brains. He is studying at the international college, Payap University, where he is majoring in International Business Management.

Mr. Songkran International 2004, Christopher Thomas

Twenty year old Christopher, 1.75 meters tall and weighing 73 kilograms, is half Thai and half German, explaining his handsome European looks combined with his talkative Thai nature.

He said he chose studying at Payap University because it has a good reputation and is well known among foreigners. Also, studying in Chiang Mai is relatively cheaper in terms of university fees and living expenses.

Christopher says he enjoyed the Mr. Songkran International 2004 contest and gained good experience from it and made many friends from different countries, exchanging opinions and cultures with the contestants.

“I am very excited and proud to be chosen as Mr. Songkran International,” said Christopher. “I will tell my friends who live overseas of this experience and persuade them to travel to Chiang Mai as I am sure they will get great pleasure from this city.”

The contest not only provided international students and foreigners the chance to take part in the contest; it also gave them a new experience and built up cordiality between them and Chiang Mai people.

Special Guest at the Chiangmai Ballet Academy

A very special guest was welcomed by the Chiangmai Ballet Academy: Valerie Bayley (3rd from left), a dance specialist from the Royal Academy of Dance in England. Director M.L. Preeyapun Sridhavat (2nd from left) from Chiang Mai and Sharon Martin (right) appreciated the opportunity to get the older and more mature ballerinas together for a group picture.