HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

New British Council director introduced in Chiang Mai

Fire at the Rydges Amora Tapae Hotel

Thailand’s beloved queen offered world’s longest garland

New British Council director introduced in Chiang Mai

Also fond farewells

Staff Reporters

The British Council Chiang Mai chose the Amari Rincome Hotel as the venue for introducing the new director of the British Council Chiang Mai and at the same time give a farewell party for Djulianti and David Hopkinson.

Active, lively and happy to be in Thailand. New British Council Director Jon Glendinning.

Peter Upton, British Council director Thailand and Andy Pearce, deputy head of mission of the British Embassy both praised parting Director David Hopkinson for the hard work he has done for the council in Chiang Mai during the last three years. Andy Pearce said that it was a delight and a privilege to work with David and Djulianti who easily succeeded in the difficult job while wearing two hats as honorary British consul as well as director of the council.

Chatting, mingling and maybe a little gossip!

David reminisced about his first visit to Chiang Mai in 1982 as a backpacker, never imagining that he would spend three years in this beautiful city. Most of all he thanked business partners, friends, colleagues and his team for their dedicated work throughout the difficult past years. He finished by saying, “Although we are looking forward to our next post in the Philippines, a part of Djulianti and me will always remain in Chiang Mai.”

Thailand meets Japan and Germany speaking English, Thai, Japanese or perhaps French? Chamaiphan Baude (Pu), wife of the director of the Alliance Francaise and French hon. consul; Mrs. Sato, wife of the Japanese consul, Mrs. Shinohara, wife of the Japanese consul general, chat with Daisy Vogt.

Jon Glendinning, the new director and honorary British consul introduced himself and some of the current and future projects of the British Council such as the Dreams and Teams and the upcoming September fashion projects. He wishes to further develop friendship and business relations throughout Chiang Mai and assured everyone that he and his family will become active members of the Chiang Mai community.

(From left) Jon Glendinning, new director British Council Chiang Mai and hon. British consul; Andy Pearce, deputy head of mission of the British Embassy Bangkok; David Hopkinson, outgoing British Council director and hon. British consul; next to Peter Upton, British Council director Thailand.

Hon. Austrian consul, Pravit Archarachinores talks to Panitha Inthasan from the British Council Chiang Mai.

(From left) Jon Glendinning, Djulianti, and David Hopkinson, and Peter Upton in the background.


Fire at the Rydges Amora Tapae Hotel

Fortunately, it was only an exercise

Staff Reporters

Every person’s worst nightmare is probably fire in their house, or worse still, in a hotel. Any fire in a large building is potentially very dangerous, and the key to surviving such an emergency is for everyone to know exactly what to do. Conducting regular fire drills will give the staff the knowledge and confidence to escape a fire safely, and a good evacuation program has two steps - planning and practice.

Smoke and fire in one of the hotel’s guest rooms - a dramatic sight.

As part of their regular security and safety exercises, the Rydges Amora Tapae Hotel, in cooperation with the Chiang Mai Municipality’s Fire Brigade, organized a controlled hotel evacuation. The scenario was that a fire had broken out in one of the higher floor rooms, spreading out through the corridors, stopping people from using the staircases and fire exists.

The Chiang Mai Municipality assisted with this massive fire engine.

A number of ‘guests’, screaming for help, had to be rescued via the balconies, and treated for ‘injuries’ once they reached safety. Through the hotel’s internal loudspeaker system, guests were requested to remain calm, and to follow the staff’s instructions.

The arrival of the Municipality’s Fire engines plus ambulances, was obviously quiet spectacular, and the hotel’s own guards were kept busy trying to regulate the passing traffic and onlookers, as many obviously thought that this was ‘the real thing’. Those people designated as ‘injured’ were carried out on stretchers, with their faces covered with fake blood, and taken to nearby hospitals. Others, with more ‘severe injuries’, were treated by medical staff on site after rescue.

First aid and medical care for the ‘injured’ hotel guests.

From the onlooker’s perspective, the exercise progressed like clockwork, and the well-trained staff performed their duties calmly, but very seriously. Everyone knew of course that this was only a simulation, but they also realized that it is vital to be in control of a situation such as this, in case it really happens. The knowledge of the location and the familiarization with fire-fighting equipment is as important as maintaining calmness and not to panic, both for the guests and the employees.

General Manager Arie de Keijzer knows that a hotel fire does not necessarily mean fatalities. Preparation and common sense will go a long way towards helping anyone survive a fire.

General Manager Arie de Keijzer de-briefing his staff after a successful exercise.

Thailand’s beloved queen offered world’s longest garland

Staff reporters

Chiang Mai joined people throughout the nation in celebrating Her Majesty the Queen’s 72nd birthday this year.

On August 12, the main activities took place in the Chiang Mai University Convention Hall, where Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat, accompanied by provincial government officials proceeded with the blessing ceremony for HM the Queen.

On August 9, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Khunying Pojamarn joined in the blessing ceremony for HM the Queen attended by the city’s high-ranking officials and residents, at the Sufficiency Economy Learning Center, initiated by HM the King, in Mae Rim district, Chiang Mai.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra (fifth left) and his wife Pojamarn Shinawatra, Education Minister Dr Adisai Bodharamik (fourth left) and his wife; Deputy Prime Minister Korn Dabbaransi (second left) and his wife Rapeepun Dabbaransi at the candle lighting ceremony to celebrate the Queen’s birthday in Mae Rim district, Chiang Mai.

Over 5,000 government officials and residents from 17 Northern provinces dressed in Lanna costumes took part.

At 7.15 p.m., the candle-lighting ceremony began to give blessing to HM the Queen, with PM Thaksin leading everyone in singing the anthem in praise of Their Majesties, the King and the Queen. Afterwards, 1,042 fireworks were lit in a breathtaking display.

Members of the diplomatic community present their offerings to HM The Queen, among them (from left) Japanese Consul General Katsuhiro Shinohara, Finland’s Honorary Consul Supawat Poovakul, and Henry Jardine, US management officer.

On August 10, the Public Relations Department (PRD), Region 3, Chiang Mai organized the “Phra Mae Kaew” of the Nation (Caring Mother of the Nation), to honor the Queen at Central Airport Plaza. Governor Suwat Tantipat presided over the opening ceremony and the region’s PRD director Jintana Phantufak delivered the keynote speech. The Chiang Mai Dramatic Arts College dancers performed northern Thai dances, and the artworks from a painting competition were put on public display.

Chiang Mai Dramatic Arts College dancers perform northern Thai dances at Central Airport Plaza.

The PRD produced a CD consisting of six local songs in honor of HM the Queen, performed by local singers Sunthree Wechanond and Patinya Tangtrakul.

On August 11, the Community Development Organization Networks on the Poverty Solutions of Chiang Mai gathered at the 700 Year Anniversary Sports Complex to attend a blessing ceremony for HM the Queen, over which the governor of Chiang Mai again presided. About 500 people from 22 districts attended, and the most outstanding mothers were presented with shields of honor.

Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Kwanchai Wongnitikorn (right), district chief officer Chumporn Seangmanee (fourth right) and other VIP guests carry the garland to hang it on the stage.

The residents of Chiang Mai also made a 72 metre garland to celebrate HM the Queen’s birthday. The effort of the local people is in keeping with the Thais liking to create something biggest and best on any important occasion, to make it even more special. The garland was threaded on August 11, on the eve of the Queen’s birthday, by thousands of Chiang Mai students and elderly residents at Buddha Satarn. The Chiang Mai Cultural Council, Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization (PAO), and Chiang Mai Municipality were the main organizers.

Helping transfer the 72 metre garland to be hung on the main stage at Thapae Gate.

Chao Duangduen na Chiangmai, president of the Chiang Mai Cultural Council, chaired the activity and threaded the first part of the garland. After all the other parts were added to the garland, the final piece was tied by the president of Chiang Mai PAO president Thawatwong na Chiangmai.

The garland was then placed on a beautifully decorated float, and taken in procession from the Buddha Satharn along Thapae Road to the Thapae Gate. Other processions also set off from Wat Phra Singh, Wat Puak Chang and Wat Chai Sri Phum, and they all joined up at the Thapae Gate, where Governor Suwat Tantipat, Deputy Governor Thongchai Wongrianthong and Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, Chao Duangduen na Chiangmai led the blessing ceremony for the Queen. The garland was hung up on the stage giving off the fragrant smell of jasmine flowers.

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat presents the winning prizes at the Central Airport Plaza to students who had entered the painting contest.

The garland has become the pride of Chiang Mai residents, as it has been recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest garland in the world.

At 7.19 p.m. - considered an auspicious time for Thais - the governor led hundreds of people in song to celebrate HM the Queen’s birthday and give her blessings.

On August 12, the main activities were held in the Chiang Mai University Convention Hall, where Governor Suwat Tantipat, accompanied by provincial government officials proceeded with the blessing ceremony for HM the Queen.

Thousands of well-wishers from different authorities and institutions assembled at CMU Convention Hall to present their offerings.