HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Safeguarding the intangible heritage

Chang Klan Plaza’s Night Market and stage shows

Fashion festival mirrors ‘local wisdom, art’

New! Weekly Chiang Mai Walks

Safeguarding the intangible heritage

Chiang Mai University amongst those who care

Manus Brinkman (Former Secretary General of ICOM, now living in Chiang Mai)

During the General Conference of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), in Seoul in the first week of October we had the honor to have HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn as our guest. The princess is much interested in the cultural heritage in general and a supporter of many museums in Thailand.

(From left to right) Manus Brinkman, Secretary General ICOM, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Jacques Perot, President ICOM, Annelie Hendriks.

At the conference 1200 museum professionals from all over the world gathered to discuss a theme that is gaining more and more interest: the intangible heritage. Museums collect mainly objects, be it archaeological finds or works of art, but did not always pay much attention to the intangible part: traditional knowledge, music, dance, festivals and other aspects of our culture that cannot be “touched”; that are intangible.

To give you just one recent example: the knowledge of Baisri Sukhwan, a northeastern ceremony to invite good spirits and led by village elders. There are not many people left who know how to lead the ceremony and some people in Ubon Ratchathani have even established a center to preserve the tradition.

The princess stressed the importance of traditional culture, and indicated her strong interest in it. Traditional knowledge disappears quickly in our dynamically developing economy. Museums should pay attention to conserve this, not because they want people to remain living in the past, but to prevent traditions from disappearing. We need our past to be able to live a more valuable life in the present.

Korea has been in the forefront of preserving traditions. It established a system in which people with traditional expertise are officially named “national treasures”. They even get a number and documentation in a national register. UNESCO has recently adopted a Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage and established a list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible heritage of Humanity, among which the Royal Ballet of Cambodia and the Wajang Puppet Theatre of Indonesia figure.

Thailand is not yet represented on that list, but has all the potential. It has famous puppetry among others. Chiang Mai University has studied this field extensively.

Thailand is a country with many traditions and has already been active in the field of safeguarding our heritage. We felt honored by the fact that the Princess personally undertook the effort to travel to Seoul to stress this point once again.

Chang Klan Plaza’s Night Market and stage shows

Getting ready for the high season

Autsadaporn Kamthai

The Chang Klan Plaza Night Market project will be unlike any other walking street and will have a Lanna atmosphere and have traditional, OTOP handicrafts to be purchased, said Songporn Photha, manager of the Night Market Project.

The band “Pawana” showcases their folk songs at Chang Klan Plaza.

The market will open from Monday to Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight, starting October 29 and continuing until February 26, 2005.

The market would boost local community economy, help promote utilization of OTOP and local handicrafts, provide a new shopping place for the city and make Chang Klan Plaza well recognized among Chiang Mai people and its visitors, said Songporn.

Songporn Photha, manager of the Night Market Project explains details of the Night Market at Chang Klan Plaza.

The upcoming Mardi Gras festival was re-sited to be on Chang Klan Road, starting from Saeng Tawan intersection running to the Lanna Palace intersection and would attract many people to visit the night market, said Songporn.

Apart from the Night Market, Chang Klan Plaza Stage Challenge consists of various contests such as singing, folk song, boys and girls Young Dancing, D.J. Music Mix and bands playing international music.

The contest will held on Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The song contest will start from October 29 running to November 4, folk songs from November 19 to December 4, the young dancing teams from December 17 to January 1, DJ music mix from January 14 to January 29 and bands playing international music band from February 4 to February 26.

If you want to perform, application should be made at Chang Klan Plaza Office, telephone 0-5382-0037-8 or fax 0-5382-0038.

Fashion festival mirrors ‘local wisdom, art’

Autsadaporn Kamthai

In keeping with the vision of promoting Chiang Mai as a regional fashion center, a Fashion and Jewelry Festival was held at the Thapae Gate showground last week.

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat, Ornadda Tantipat, the governor’s wife and Boonlert Buranupakorn, visit one of the jewelry booths at the festival after opening ceremony.

The festival was arranged in cooperation with Chiang Mai Municipality, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Industrial Promotion Center, Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce Jewelry Traders Club, and Raffles LaSalle International Design School.

Beautiful models present beautiful regional fashion.

Not only northern products were on sale during the festival but products from other regions such as silk and silk dresses from Khon Kaen, Surin, jewelry from Chantaburi, Aranyik swords and kitchenware from Ayutthaya province. “The festival showed off local wisdom and art,” said Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn at the opening.

New! Weekly Chiang Mai Walks

“Look for the man with the red umbrella”

Come along for steady paced Saturday Morning walks; 6-9 K around town (2.5-4 hours, including break). Examples: “Walk the Moat,” The Ping, to University and Ang Kaeow Lake, to Kam Thieng Plant Market, etc. Free in the name of good health and spirit!

Leader: Joe Sanders (hiker in Oregon, USA)

Wear good shoes-sandals (no “flip flops!”), bring sun block and water (optional: use umbrella for sun protection).

Meet every Saturday, Plaza east side of Thapae gate at 8:30 a.m.; beginning November 6.

For monthly schedule, email joesurfsand @yahoo.com