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Rotary Clubs of Chiang Mai install their new presidents

The Rotary family of Chiang Mai West

Local buffaloes tie the knot

Rotary Clubs of Chiang Mai install their new presidents

14 clubs club together!

Text by Michael Vogt
Photos by Marion Vogt

The month of June is one of the busiest months for the more than 31,000 Rotary Clubs all over the world. Over 1.2 million Rotarians, represented in 166 countries, have by now elected a new president and board of directors, who will lead them through the next 12 months, with the new Rotary year starting on 1 July. Traditionally, the 14 Rotary Clubs in Chiang Mai, although operating independently, celebrate this auspicious event together, and chose the Imperial Mae Ping Hotelís Grand Ballroom as their venue for this yearís big night.

Almost 400 Rotarians and their spouses, sporting their individual Club outfits, were in attendance. This was a massive turnout, which proved to be more than expected, showing the united spirit of the Rotarians in Chiang Mai in providing humanitarian assistance to the needy in the Northern provinces. The joyful atmosphere during the fellowship period before the actual event was light-hearted and entertaining, and the Rotarians not only opened their hearts, but also their wallets, to support individual projects which were on display in the Lobby area. Rotarians came as far as from Malaysia to support their friends on this very special occasion, but also visiting non-Rotarians were made very welcome, such as the Japanese Consul General Shinohara and his wife mingling with a number of Rotarians, keen on learning about their projects.

Rotary International is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. In 2005, Rotary will celebrate its 100th anniversary, having lived up to its pledge to eradicate Polio from the world, as one of its foremost undertakings.

The Rotary Club Chiang Mai Saraphee.

(From Left) P. Dr. Surapol Natakankitkul, Chiangmai North, P. Hope Watcharaprecha PHF, ThinThaiNgam, PP.DGE.2005-6, PDG Dr. Wongsawang Kanchanakamon, PHF, Changpuak Chiangmai Club, MC PP Waewdao Limlenglert MPHF, ThinThaiNgam, PDG Dr. Sombat Intralawan, Chiangrai Club, PDG. Dr. Supavat Poonvakul, PHF, Chiangmai Club, MC PP Michael Vogt, Chiangmai West, PDG. Napadol Amontavilas PHF.

Two Payap University students with flute and snare drum led the parade with the presidents proudly presenting their individual club flags on stage.

The Rotary Club Chiang Mai East.

The Rotary Club Chiang Mai Changpuek.

The Rotary Club Chiang Mai.

The Rotary Club Lanna Chiang Mai.

The Rotary Club of Fang.

The Rotary Club Chiang Mai Airport.

The Rotary Club Chiang Mai North.

The Rotary Club Chiang Mai South.

The Rotary Club Chiang Mai Hang Dong.

The Rotary Club Chiang Mai West.

The Rotary Club Chiang Mai Phuphing.

The Rotary Club Chiang Mai Doi Suthep.

The Rotary Club of ThinThaiNgam, the host club of the evening.

The Rotary family of Chiang Mai West

Two new members, a new president and numerous visitors

Marion Vogt
Photos by Michael Vogt

Every year towards the end of June, Rotarians get busy as the time comes to welcome new presidents in the over 31,000 clubs world-wide. Those clubs have a membership of over 1.3 million people who all have the one goal: to create awareness, friendship, and make a difference in this world.

Ten children were presented with scholarships by P.P. Surachai and P.P. Amnuay.

There can be spirited (and even heated) debate during the normal weekly meetings but when it counts, the spirit of Rotary is there, as it was during the recent installation at the Amari Rincome Chiang Mai.

Roses for the new members!

With President Manit Mantala, spouse Sumittra, District Governor Preecha, Incoming President Preecha Wongsakul and his Rotary spouse Ladawan at the head table, President Manit opened his last meeting, reminiscing about this past year, thanking every one for their support, motivation and encouragement.

Club secretary Rachan, Rtn. Banjob and Past President Anusorn presented all the different activities which had been held in the past and then P.P. Bradit used the new presidentís installation night as the perfect opportunity to install two new members of the club.

(From left) Outgoing Rotary President Manit Mantala, District Governor Preecha, Sumittra Mantala, Laddawan Wongsakul and her husband, incoming President Preecha Wongsakul.

Peter Mc Kenzie Brown and Luc Masschelein, long time friends of the Rotary Club Chiang Mai West were given instruction in what Rotary is all about, being a voluntarily international organization which puts service above self, which encourages friendship inside the club regardless of race, nationality, faith, sex and color. The two new Rotarians thanked everyone and made their promise to support and maintain the objectives and goals of Rotary International and hold on to the ideal of friendship, receiving a standing ovation.

District Governor Preecha congratulates new members Luc Masschelein and Peter McKenzie Brown.

District Governor Preecha spoke next and admitted to being overwhelmed by the friendship and service he had experienced that night and would take the evening as an inspiration and encouragement back with him in his heart and hoped that all clubs he will visit in the future will show this kind of commitment. He ended by expressing his sincere thanks to all and a toast to Rotary International, to the new and the old presidents, to their spouses and their support as the upcoming year will be a very important one, a milestone as Rotary faces the millennium.

The new president presented a bouquet to Marliese Fritz, president of Taksin Pattaya, Chiang Mai Westís sister club. She and her secretary Hans came from Pattaya for the ceremony.

The evening ended with roses and champagne, thanks and good wishes, with new friends and old friendships renewed. Let us hope that many more people become inspired by the words, "Letís celebrate Rotary!"

Local buffaloes tie the knot

No bull! Itís animal husbandry!

Jiraphat Warasin

To the strains of organ music, two buffaloes tied the knot in front of witnesses in Northern Thailand on June 12.

Ajarn Charoen chants to forgive and bless the buffaloes and to protect them from disease and being stolen.

The ceremony was the work of many in Chiang Mai province, including Banpong Tambon Administration Organization (TAO), farmers, buffalo raisers, the Hang Dong Livestock Development Office and the Royal Projectís Toong Rerng Development.

Children enjoying buffalo rides at the ceremony.

The villagers all took part in the happy event, marching to the joyful sounds of Lanna musical instruments as the sor, sueng, and local mouth organ. This part of the ceremony was to collect the bashful buffalo bride from her parents.

Poopan, the horny groom was formally presented with the marriage registration papers of he and his bride, Mae Moon, properly signed and annotated.

The horny couple Poopan and Mae Moon, properly registered.

The wedding ceremony was following by the traditional "Blessing for long life of the buffaloes" in which a holy thread was tied between their horns.

The radiant bride and groom were decorated with flowers, and offerings (called "bai sri") of popped rice, flowers, scented holy water, boiled chicken and green grass given to them for good luck and prosperity.

Other buffaloes attended the ceremony, hoping to catch the bouquet.

Ajarn Charoen, a local elder in the village, then broke into chanting to forgive and bless the buffaloes, for their good health and protection from disease and to prevent them being stolen.

The radiant bride gets ready for the nuptials.

Witsanupong Dongpruek, chairman of Banpong TAO, said the blessing was held because Thai farmers feel a deep gratitude to buffaloes that help them work their rice fields. Because they are increasingly being replaced by machinery people are afraid that the tradition of the blessing ceremony will die out. Many bar girls are also worried, as sickness in the family buffalo has often been a reason for seeking overseas Ďcharitableí donations!