HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Mysterious Mekong exhibition celebrates 20 years of INTG

Rotarians welcome 2005

Charlie’s holiday concert

Carabao concert raises 300,000 baht for tsunami donation

Palaad Tawanron for the world’s largest pachyderm ‘pissoir’

Spiritual seekers called to full moon ceremony in Chiang Mai

Mysterious Mekong exhibition celebrates 20 years of INTG

Autsdaporn Kamthai

The 20th anniversary of the Informal Northern Thai Group (INTG) was celebrated at Chiang Mai’s Ecole fran็aise d’Extr๊me-Orient (EFEO) with a display of the work by local photographer, Reinhard Hohler.

(Standing from left to right) Roy Hudson, Dr. Louis Gabaude, Reinhard Hohler, and Brian Hubbard (present convener of the INTG) at the preview.

Major Roy Hudson officially opened the exhibition preview, titled “Mysterious Mekong: From Simao Port to Ho Chi Minh City by hovercraft”, at the EFEO. The director, Dr. Louis Gabaude, welcomed more than 75 guests at the function.

The successful “Hovercraft Expedition Mekong” for which Reinhard Hohler was the tour director, covered nearly 3000 km of the river from Simao Port in Yunnan, China to its delta in the southern part of Vietnam.

Guests at Reinhard Hohler’s photographic exhibition.

Through his photos, Reinhard Hohler tries to position, protect and promote the different geographical, historical and economic aspects of the river. The pictures highlight the landscapes seen by the expedition through Jinghong in China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia down to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

There are some special moments such as a visit to the gravesite of the famous French explorer Henri Mouhot in Luang Prabang, the transfer of the hovercraft around the Khon Falls in Southern Laos and the side trip to Angkor.

For this exhibition, Dr. Louis Gabaude has added some documents from its own archives, along with a collection of books about the Mekong Region from the EFEO library in Chiang Mai. The 72 photos taken by Reinhard Hohler are available on CD.

A video, “Imaging the Mekong”, produced by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Japan Foundation and Probe Media Foundation, will be on show during the exhibition.

The photographic exhibition, which is complemented by the collection of books and related documents from the EFEO library, will be open daily until January 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Rotarians welcome 2005

Staff reporters

President-elect of the Rotary Club Chiang Mai West, Frank Weicks, and his wife Becky Lomax, opened their home to the members of Rotary Chiang Mai West and their spouses for the club’s traditional New Year’s party.

Incoming president of Rotary Club Chiang Mai West Frank Weicks presents a token of appreciation to Rotarian Rajan.

President Preecha Wongsakul and immediate Past President Manit Manthala attended, and were thanked for their service to the club.

The members are presently serving as a channel for tsunami aid donations. Since the Rotary Club ChiangMai West has historically enjoyed an international membership, donations are arriving from Canada, Germany, Belgium, the United States and from Thailand. The club is working with its sister clubs in affected areas to help in meeting the needs of people in Thailand and abroad.

(From left) Past President Manit Manthala, President Preecha Wongsakul and Rotarian Rajan enjoy the evening.

Charlie’s holiday concert

Story by Siriwan

While vacationing in his hometown, Chiang Mai born Charlie Suriyakham gave a clarinet recital, accompanied by well-known Chiang Mai resident Ajarn David Wilson at Gongdee Studio.

During the first part of the evening, Charlie displayed his undoubted clarinet techniques in Debussy’s “Premier Rhapsody”. This was followed by Rachmaninov’s popular “Vocalise” and Stravinsky’s “Three pieces for Clarinet Solo”.

David Wilson with Charlie Suriyakham on the clarinet. (Photo by Autsadaporn Kamthai)

After intermission, Charlie gave a great rendition of Aaron Copeland’s “Concerto for Clarinet”, a popular piece with American music graduates. The evening was closed with Alec Templeton’s “Pocket Size Sonata in three movements”.

Charlie graduated from Prince Royal’s College and then attended Payap University for one year. In 1993 he went to the United States where he studied clarinet at the California State University and Chicago’s Roosevelt University.

He has just won a position with the United State Coast Guard Band, one of the finest bands in the United States. He will start in February after finishing his vacation here but he did promise another concert during his next holiday in a year or two.

Carabao concert raises 300,000 baht for tsunami donation

Nopniwat Krailerg

Yuenyong “Add Carabao” O-pakul and his group performed at Imperial Mae Ping Hotel, Chiang Mai. Apart from the concert, a charity auction of the Carabao band’s acoustic guitars was another attraction.

Add Carabao and his band performing at Imperial Mae Ping Hotel.

Moneys raised from the concert and auction have been donated to the fund to help people affected by the tsunamis in the southern parts of Thailand.

Two newly composed songs, “Sab Namtar Andaman” (Dry the Tear of the Andaman People) and “Kon Thai Mai Ting Kan” (Thai People Help Each Other) were performed that evening.

12 acoustic guitars were put up for auction. Many Chiang Mai people and tourists were interested in the auction. The first guitar realized 29,000 baht, paid by a 10 year old boy who came with his parents. The second guitar was secured with a 100,000 baht bid from a foreign tourist.

Apart from raising money for the tsunami victims, Add Carabao also granted three students whose mother died of AIDS a 100,000 baht scholarship each. He also pledged to adopt the three students.

Palaad Tawanron for the world’s largest pachyderm ‘pissoir’

Nopniwat Krailerg

300 meters above sea level, behind the Chiang Mai Zoo, is a new 400 seat restaurant, with a novel attraction that might even be included in the Guinness Book of Records!

The elephantine flush toilet which is claimed to be the biggest flusher in the world.

Several of the staff are elephants, and to accommodate them when they feel the call of nature, the management has supplied flush toilets for them, which are apparently the largest flush toilets for elephants in the world. The restaurant even plans to apply for a Guinness World Record for the elephantine superloos.

Chumporn Khusikakorn, the owner of the Palaad Tawanron Restaurant, said that the restaurant has seven elephants as serving girls, who will take it in turns to use the superloo.

He said he was a nature conservationist turned restaurateur. The elephants will certainly love him, and the restaurant!

Spiritual seekers called to full moon ceremony in Chiang Mai

Be in time on Tuesday, January 25

The coming full moon is the one after the tsunami and earthquake. Since that day, Katharina Bless has played the crystal singing bowls every day and did a little healing ceremony for Mother Gaia and the people.

In one of her sessions, she received a message to do a ceremony at the Erawan Resort on the January 25 full moon and make an installation for a transmission station to be connected to and protected by the Elomin network of our Star Sisters and Brothers. All spiritual seekers are invited for this event.

Meeting point is at the resort at 2 p.m. for preparation as the installation will start at 5 p.m. (exact full moon is at 5.32 p.m.). A potluck dinner will follow at around 6 p.m. Plates, cups and fresh spring water is provided. After the dinner there will be a puja and healing celebration for Mother Gaia, plus a bonfire and fun!

Meeting point: 1 p.m. at the parking lot at the 700-Year Anniversary Stadium, just opposite the junction after the town hall. The parking lot is just a few meters inside on the right. Be on time. The cars have to leave at 1.15 p.m. There will be someone to lead the way and lead the carpool. To register send an email to Katharina Bless: [email protected] or call 053 297 407 / 06 923 1500.

Please bring along: music instruments if you have, performances are very welcome, food, fruits and drinks for the potluck dinner (vegetarian food!), something to sit on, a jacket for the evening as it might still be cool up in the mountains and a donation (minimum 100 baht) to pay the workers who are hired to help.

Katharina Bless is the author of Flower Healing Power - The Bach Flower Therapy from a Spiritual Point of View.