Cuddly giants in Maesa Elephant Camp
Contrary to the popular idea that elephants are large and
overbearing, few people manage to see them when they are still smaller than
a human being. We reported in Chiangmai Mail Vo. III, No 29 (six weeks ago)
that two baby elephants were born just three days apart at the Maesa
Elephant Nursery outside Chiang Mai.
I want to get out and play. I am six weeks old now, so I want to play with
Having seen baby elephants before I was not expecting to
be blown away but I had not seen any as small as they were in elephant
terms. Hardly bigger than a fully grown Great Dane dog, with short trunks,
flying tails, spiky red hair and mischief in their eyes, the two babies did
not venture far from their mothers but close enough for us to touch them.
Kept in separate enclosures both were constantly guarded by their mahouts
and the mother kept a close eye on the tourists stroking her babies.
like adults - one needs a drink once in a while.
The first one, born on June 21, was just cute, he tried
to eat his enclosure (unsuccessfully) and was welcoming to any stray hand on
his head, back, or trunk. Since baby elephants still drink their mother’s
milk for the first two years we were not allowed to feed him but the mother
enjoyed our bananas.
am hungry, and I want my milk now!
The first one was adorable, but the second one was
another story. Baby elephants are usually born at night, shortly before dawn
and then take about 30 minutes to start walking and drinking their
mothers’ milk. The second baby, born on June 24, was born around two in
the afternoon and took ten minutes before he was already up and drinking.
what should I do with so many feet?
This little chap didn’t waste any time, and you could
tell he was up to something. Not for a second would he stand still for a
picture. He was either scratching his rear, kneeling on the ground or trying
to climb over the chain of his enclosure. But I forgave him even though he
tried to knock me over, for who could stay mad at such a loving face?
Babies are always cute, and elephant babies perhaps even more so.
to eat my fence.
elephants remain in constant touch with Mum until they are 1 year old. If
one strays over 20 meters away, it is retrieved.
Thoughts of an American abroad on going home
US Consul General Eric Rubin speaks candidly
With US Consul General Eric Rubin and his family
returning to America after nearly three years in Chiang Mai, he fielded some
questions about his experiences here, and looked into what the future holds
for his family.
have been many farewell parties. (Clockwise behind Consul General Eric and
Nicole) Lindy Santitharangkul, Patrick Ghielmetti (GM Four Seasons Resort),
Annette Kunigagon, Goson Bhadungzong, Margaret Bhadungzong and Susan Morgan.
(Photo by Michael Vogt)
Q: What are you mostly looking forward to about
returning to The States?
Eric: Most, seeing family and friends and the
least the Washington drivers.
Plai-Auw Thongsawat and back-up dancers doing the Manhattans’ version of
goodbye. (Photo by Chai Santitharangkul)
Q: What was your biggest challenge as consul
general? And did you accomplish what you set out to do?
Eric: I had so much to learn about Thai culture
and society, and so little time to learn it! There were so many things I
wanted to do while we were here, and never enough time. But I know that Bea
Camp, my successor will pick up where I left off, and do a wonderful job.
Simmons and Consul General Eric Rubin make merit. (Photo by Chai
Q: How about your next job? Will there be some
connection between this one and that one? And does Nicole (Eric’s wife)
plan to work right away?
Eric: Yes, definitely a logical connection. I will
be director of the Office of Policy Planning and Coordination in the Bureau
of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL/PC). My primary
responsibilities will be to develop and promote U.S. international counter
narcotics and anti-crime policy, with the goal of reducing the flow of
illegal drugs to the U.S. and to develop strategies to promote U.S. policies
in this field through international organizations and other multilateral
efforts. There are certainly some logical connections between the new job
and my work here in The Golden Triangle. Meanwhile, Nicole will continue to
work for the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
(based in Baltimore), and will participate in research projects with Chiang
Mai University through the joint Research Institute for Health Sciences
(RIHES) at CMU. We both expect to be back here on work visits later this
parting gift from State colleagues was a reproduction of the ‘temple
art’ rendition of Lanna Land with the consulate represented. John Gunther,
director of AUA takes a closer look at the gift. (Photo by Chai
Q: Can you see yourselves living abroad again in
the near future?
Eric: We definitely will be going overseas again.
We are required to, in fact, as long as I stay with this career (19 years
and counting, so far). Not sure where we will head next, but Bangkok would
certainly be a good place for all of us, someday!
from the Thai staff, presented by Abhijat Buddhawongsa. (Photo by Chai
Q: And lastly, we know you’ve already taken the
one Thai “thing” you couldn’t live without to the States - Your nanny,
Khun Tin. What would be the next-best Thai thing - not a person this time -
you’d take if you could?
Consul General Eric Rubin gives speeches in fluent Thai as well as in
English. (Photo by Michael Vogt)
Eric: I guess the one thing I can’t live without
is The Order of The Golden Triangle!
(Explanatory note: The Order of the Golden Triangle is
given to staff who leave the consulate community, honoring them. For nearly
three years, Eric has been giving them away - and now he has to accept his.)
‘Von Consulate Family Singers’ — with their “So Long, Farewell”
rendition just for Eric and Nicole. (Photo by Chai Santitharangkul)
Spanish dance by Rosa Revels, a member of the consulate community who is a
native of Spain, during the consulate good bye party for Eric and his
family. (Photo by Chai Santitharangkul)
Jardine, US Consul to Chiang Mai presents the Award of the Golden Triangle
to the Rubin family, Liana, Rachel, Nicole and Eric. (Photo by Chai
Ejection Life Is Equal exhibition
Art for everybody
Art lovers, artists and prominent members of Chiang
Mai’s society gathered at the Chiang Mai City Art and Cultural Centre on
Sunday, 1 August for the opening of the Ejection Life is Equal exhibition.
Raweephun Sujaritkul cuts the ribbon for the Ejection Life is Equal
The opening ceremony was presided over by Khunyingjao
Raweephun Sujaritkul who gave a short speech echoing many people’s
feelings toward art. “I don’t know much about art, but when I look at
pictures, I want to see the beauty” she said thanking the 17 artists for
their participation in the exhibition.
exhibition has art for every taste, age and style. Khunyingjao Raweephun
Sujaritkul with friends.
The Ejection group was founded about seven years ago, to
bring together different artists of different cultures, as well as different
artistic styles, who would exhibit their art freely. Since the viewing free,
a small donation was asked from the spectators to donate to a good cause,
often to support orphanages, where the donations are also going this time.
model herself came for the opening and posed in front of Susanna
Artists from Belgium, Korea, Germany, Italy and Thailand are represented
in this exhibition at the Chiang Mai City Art and Culture Center (behind the
Three Kings Monument) until the August 31. The exhibition is open from
Tuesday to Sunday, from 8.30 a.m. to 5p.m. and there is no entrance fee,
other than the optional donation. The portraits include a wide variety of
artistic styles and there is something for everybody’s taste.
Kwan Nan Drug Rehabilitation Center in Nan claims success
Award winning rehabilitation
Nan province’s Kwan Nan Drug Rehabilitation Center
claims it has been successful in drug rehabilitation, with Nan Governor Dr
Suwat Chokesuwattanasakul proudly stating that they had established the
Center on October 4, 2002.
Suwat talks with one of the residents at the Center.
Vocational training is offered to those who have already
undergone drug treatment and rehabilitation to enable drug victims to help
themselves reintegrate into their communities.
Governor Dr Suwat Chokesuwattanasakul
“The project is also meant to achieve community
empowerment, and one of the achievements of the Center is the information
sources that have been created in all villages to provide useful information
on drugs. Through its successful operations, this center has received
several awards in recognition of its anti-drug operations,” he said.
At the Center, police, military personnel, public health
officials, independent organizations and NGOs are jointly helping to treat
and rehabilitate the residents. “About 7-8 people per village from all 904
villages in Nan were brought for treatment here at the Center,” he said.
continues during routine activities.
A spin-off has been a concomitant reduction in drug
related criminal cases, with the numbers falling to around 10 cases per
month, from the previous level of 200 per month.
The governor said Nan’s social and economic sectors
were better as the drug addicts could be controlled; however, this is not
meant to indicate that the province was 100 percent drug free.
at the Center
Led by Nan governor, Dr Suwat, the Center emphasizes drug
problem solutions in the communities and with rehabilitation and training
courses provided for them.
“Most of them, or 95 percent, would not return to drugs
again,” confirmed the governor.
So far, 34 classes or 6,698 drug addicts have been
trained, and it is claimed most of them have stopped using drugs. During the
first classes, from November 2002 - May 2004, they were trained and treated,
giving them an awareness on drug addiction and prevention and suppression in
their communities and villages, to make them part of the anti-drug and
Addicts range in age from 11-81 years, with most addictions being to ya
ba, alcohol, and opium. Once they are treated by the Center, they feel more
confident and it has been proved that the Centre has been successful in its
operations. “Love, forgiveness, understanding, sympathy, and good
relationships, like father and sons or daughters, are the tools of success
here,” said Governor Suwat.