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Cuddly giants in Maesa Elephant Camp

Thoughts of an American abroad on going home

Ejection Life Is Equal exhibition

Kwan Nan Drug Rehabilitation Center in Nan claims success

Cuddly giants in Maesa Elephant Camp

Staff reporters

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.

Mommy, I want to get out and play. I am six weeks old now, so I want to play with my friends!

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.

Just 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.

I 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.

Mmmmmm, 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.

I want to eat my fence.

Baby 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

Lindy Santitharangkul

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.

There 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.

Khun 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.

Nicole Simmons and Consul General Eric Rubin make merit. (Photo by Chai Santitharangkul)

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 year.

A 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 Santitharangkul)

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!

A gift from the Thai staff, presented by Abhijat Buddhawongsa. (Photo by Chai Santitharangkul)

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?

US 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.)

The ‘Von Consulate Family Singers’ — with their “So Long, Farewell” rendition just for Eric and Nicole. (Photo by Chai Santitharangkul)

A 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)

Henry V. 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 Santitharangkul)

Ejection Life Is Equal exhibition

Art for everybody

Staff reporters

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.

Khunyingjao Raweephun Sujaritkul cuts the ribbon for the Ejection Life is Equal Exhibition

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.

This 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.

The model herself came for the opening and posed in front of Susanna Travernari’s paintings

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

Phitsanu Thepthong

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.

Governor 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.

Nan 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.

Training 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.

Residents 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 rehabilitation movement.

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.