HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Tienchai and Friends, Music and Passion at Central Airport Plaza

Disabled artists can produce beautiful paintings

The enchanted forest of the ghost city beckons tourists

The ultimate altitude kick?

Vocational College addresses rural poverty

Tienchai and Friends, Music and Passion at Central Airport Plaza

To Be No. 1 Concert at the Lanna Hall

Text by Marion Vogt
Photos by Michael Vogt and Gerard Krebs

“Some people wait a lifetime for moments like this.” These were the words heard throughout the evening of ‘Tienchai and friends’ at the Lanna Hall in Central Airport Plaza as each of the performers finished their show.

Grammy artist Saeksan (Oh)

The many performers had followed the call of Chiang Mai’s Tienchai Sooktiang when he asked his friends to perform with him in a concert helping the fight against drugs in preparation for the ‘To Be No. 1 Singer Contest, which will take place on August 28 at the same place.

My Way - not Frank Sinatra, but multi talented Yuttana Lorpanpaiboon who joined Tienchai in another duet.

25 different acts, 25 soloists together with Ajarn Tienchai and at least twice as many dancers and children were eager to go out on stage to show the world that there is a life without drugs, a fun life, a life without artificial stimulation but real work, with sweat and enjoyment.

We believe Tienchai Sooktiang inherited his voice from his father who made it his duty to be part of his son’s show and perform.

The A Capella 7 had the teenagers in the audience screaming “I love you” which was well received by the five good looking outstanding a capella musicians. A Capella 7 used to study with Ajarn Tienchai and went to Payap University before becoming RS celebrities in Bangkok.

Over the rainbow, a lullaby with a very talented student who brought her whole fan club along!

The concert was full of special effects including a “duet” between the old master Barry Manilow singing ‘Copa Cabana’ on the huge screen and Ajarn Tienchai, on stage supported by dancers.

‘Jewh The Star’, very tiny, but with a powerful voice, is a person to watch out for in the future!

Excited girls were screaming when Grammy Artist Saeksan (Oh) came out with his guitar, which changed to laughter when multi talented film director, actor and singer Yuttana Lorpanpaiboon joined Tienchai in another duet. Koh Saxman whose new album ‘Sax Appeal’ was just released, really spiced it up again and mixed his powerful saxophone playing with the romantic songs he so beautifully interprets.

Koh Saxman - Power within yourself! Sax Appeal is the name of his latest album.

The three hours of non-stop music and entertainment went by in a blink. Ballet, Rock, Ballads, Musicals, Love Songs, you name it; the program had a versatility, which many in the audience had not seen in a long time.

The audience included local celebrities HSH. Prince Bhisadej Rajani and Dr. Jao Duan Na Chiang Mai.

A beautiful love song, dramatically performed by a graceful ballerina. “The choice lies within yourself, be it the choice of love or the choice to say No to drugs”.

The five young musicians from ‘A Capella 7’.

Pun Pun, by now a celebrity in her own right from the ‘Kids Only’ Show.

The Grand Finale featured most of the artists with Ajarn Bank and Tienchai leading the show.

Enthusiasm and excitement were there throughout three hours of music.

Disabled artists can produce beautiful paintings

Art promotes mental health

Nopniwat Krailerg and Saksit Meesubkwang

Fourteen disabled people from Nakhon Pathom province came to Chiang Mai, where they showed their abilities at the university’s Arts and Cultural Promotion Center, despite most being unable to use their hands.

Using his mouth to paint.

The 2003 National Artist of Visual Art, Ajarn Pichai Nirand, and the Nakhon Pathom Disabled Club arranged the visit as part of the “Independent Ideas of the Disabled” project.

All the disabled have received training in watercolor paintings to help them relax at the disabled club in Nakhon Pathom. Ajarn Thep Sukkasopha, a freelance artist in Chiang Mai, shared useful techniques with them.

One of the disabled students’ paintings.

The “Independent Ideas of the Disabled” project was initiated by Teerawat Sripratumsawad, president of Nakhon Pathom Disabled Club. He enlisted the help of Ajarn Pichai who began teaching four disabled people three years ago. Today the project has 14 disabled members, 10 of whom paint by holding the brushes in their mouths.

The disabled painters at work.

None had any skills in painting before, but were taught basic techniques, color blending, and theory in light and shade. Ajarn Pichai has made his house available for them as their art school for many years.

Since retiring, he has devoted his life to teach art to disabled people. He previously worked in the Fine Arts Department and is a former teacher of the Art College.

Tips from Ajarn Thep.

Some of the works of the disabled, depicting flowers, fruits, birds and banana trees have been displayed overseas, including in Japan, and have attracted much interest and attention. They have produced about 100 paintings so far.

Pitak Sinprapa, who paints with the brush in his mouth, praised the project which he said helps him relax and has improved his mental and physical health. Before joining the project, he was helpless but now he can feed and shave himself.

The enchanted forest of the ghost city beckons tourists

But you have to leave the gold behind

Phitsanu Thepthong

Many tourists to northern Thailand miss a visit to Pae Muang Phi, a forest canyon steeped in ancient folklore.

Pae Muang Phi is located in tambon Nam Cham in Phrae’s Muang district, and the forest park falls under the 13th Administration and Conservation Area of the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

A souvenir seller with OTOP products at the site

In the past, a river ran through Pae Muang Phi that was a sacred place for the villagers in tambon Tung Hong and the neighboring tambons. The villagers passed on the story linked to this place from generation to generation, regarding an old lady who went into the forest looking for vegetables and food. Instead she found an excavation with gold and silver which she gleefully scooped up into her baskets.

The spectacular sights and features of Pae Muang Phi

As she tried to make her way out of the forest, she got lost because the spirits guarding the area did not want her to take the gold and silver. The more she tried to make her way forward, the more it seemed like someone was pulling her back.

The old lady then left the gold and silver in the forest and told the other villagers to go and look for the treasure, but when they did, the gold and silver were gone. Instead, they saw footprints in the forest. They followed the footprints, which ended next to a coffin. There were no other footprints.

After this, the villagers named the forest ‘Pae Muang Phi’, which in the local dialect means ‘the forest of the ghost city’.

The ultimate altitude kick?

The bird’s eye view

Marion Vogt

Are you scared of heights? Get dizzy just being on top of a ladder? Welcome to the club. So am, no, so was I.

Using AirAsia’s Macau promotion to get away for a couple of days, it was also time for some excitement and it got as exciting as it can get, at least for me. Asking around what people think was the ultimate adventure in Macau, the answer came straight away, “If you have a cool head and nerves of steel, go to Macau Tower and check it out yourself.”

Macau Tower can be seen from almost every spot in the city.

Macau Tower at 338 meters is the world’s 10th tallest freestanding tower and the eighth tallest in Asia, even taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It is the region’s most exciting MICE venue and very quickly became a tourist attraction. Riding up with one of the high speed, glass fronted elevators to the observation deck with its breathtaking views of the city, the South China Sea and the nearby Pearl River Delta region I felt my heart beat that extra bang when you suddenly have doubts. Should I or should I not? All excuses in the world went to my head. I’m too old, it’s too windy, I’m not fit enough, it’s too expensive, I’m scared, I don’t have enough time, it’s getting cloudy - you would not believe how many excuses you can invent once you stand in front of these huge glass windows at that height of 233 meters going straight down. But once arriving at the Skywalk deck you have also arrived at an adventure zone operated by the A.J. Hackett bungy jumping group.

The new earthquake-safe bridge still under construction.

12 people as foolish as myself joined in and we soon received jumpsuits, trainers, had to get rid of watches, necklaces and other items which could hinder a fall and after some instruction we were hooked up to an overhead rail.

The group from Bangkok and Chiang Mai went through their team building adventure.

An unbelievable sight opened up after my mind cleared the fear and I allowed the positive part of myself to take over and enjoy this physical test, which is a softer option to bungy but also allowing people to conquer their fears.

It surely worked for me. By the way, to proof that you did ‘it’, everybody receives a Skywalk X Certificate that certifies that you successfully ‘walked the walk’ around the outer rim of Macau Tower, 233 meters above the ground.

Very brave now!

An exhilarating stroll along the outer rim in 233 meters above ground.

The guide from A.J. Hackett explains the breathtaking view which allows you to enjoy Macau and look as far as China.

That is as far as our small group went. On one foot 233 meters above the ground.

Now, tell me - Who is afraid of height?

Vocational College addresses rural poverty

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Chiang Mai Vocational College has broadened its activities by promoting careers to help address poverty in rural communities.

Cooking food for the public.

Chuleeporn Singhanetre, director of the college, said they would promote more careers. These include printing business cards on computer, flower arrangements with old banknotes, garden arrangements, making krathongs from banana leaves, cooking, batik printing clothes, sweets and biscuit making, printing, sewing, stitching, making trays and baskets from stitched folded leaves or paper, and embroidery.

Flower arrangements done at the college.

The college also hosted a regional sewing competition. The winner will take part at national level at the Central World Plaza in Bangkok later this month. The regional contests are being organized by the Textile Development Institute, Central Pattana PLC and the Taksila Institute.

The vocational college students busily sewing.

The winning works will be displayed and later sold at the vocational education fair held at Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi, from August 12-17, on the occasion of the 72nd birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.