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FERC Gala 2005

Guinness world record at Maesa Elephant Camp

FERC Gala 2005

Sandy Clark

For the past six years the Foundation for Education of Rural Children (FERC) has been organizing an annual Gala as one of their main fundraisers. This year’s was in conjunction with the ‘Give and Live’ charity.

This year’s Gala was no less spectacular than the previous ones. The venue had kindly been provided by the Wongmalee family and with the Amari Rincome Hotel laying out the buffet, over 200 attending, and activities all night long, the committee outdid itself once again.

One of the first highlights of the evening was a wonderful performance by the children of the ‘Srinehru H’mong School’ on Doi Suthep, who will also be receiving some of the proceeds from the event. Scott Jones led the events throughout the night which included his own comedy slide show, performances by local artists, and a performance by Grammy award winner, Barbara Bailey Hutchison, who got the crowd psyched up for dancing later in night. Her powerful voice, her songs, and her charisma will long be remembered.

Throughout the evening a silent auction was also taking place with various items such as jewelry, hotel accommodation, dinners, cruises and decorative items, and other desirable items. Live auctions were also held and brought in a greater sum than ever before, with the top item of a luxury Chaophraya Cruise on the Manohra Song by Bangkok Marriott Resort and Spa auctioned off for 28,000 baht to Celeste Tolibas-Holland.

Dr Rebecca Lomax gave a moving speech at the end of the evening saying, “The Thai people have a wonderful expression for what all of us feel tonight - naam jai. Literally translated, it simply means ‘heart water’. But you will understand when I tell you that the English language translation is more like ‘a full heart’, ‘an overflowing heart’. And our hearts are very full tonight.”

With the grand total nearly half a million baht, everyone definitely had ‘overflowing hearts’.

Celeste Tolibas-Holland (left) and Dr. Rebecca Lomax hand over a pair of bronze candleholders to the successful bidder.

Everybody was delighted to meet such beauty at the cashier’s table - (from left) Winifred Ho, Monika Weber and Celeste Tolibas-Holland.

MC and show director Scott Jones with Keng Wongmalee who generously ‘donated’ the venue for this year’s Gala.

Frank Weicks is delighted to hand over a Silk Air roundtrip ticket to Singapore to Joseph and Libby Lenseigne.

Just like Hollywood Boulevard - the children from Srinehru H’mong School on Doi Suthep left their handprints and autographs.

Barbara Bailey Hutchison entertained and even brought over 85,000 baht from the US in donations.

Barbara Bailey Hutchison signed many autographs which she did quite uniquely - she wrote little dedications backwards!

Lori Ashton, Tananan from Haute Couture and Vorakorn check out items at the silent auction.

Hair-Pro Kovit Boonma, Ram and Sabrina Magnusson didn’t want to miss the opportunity to float a hot lantern.

Wanpen was presented with a voucher for a mini vacation at the Legend Boutique Resort in Chiang Rai.

Chiangmai Mail’s MD Michael Vogt conducts the three live auctions which brought in substantial funds in support of scholarships for the children.

Somjos and Victoria Nimmanahaeminda (right) and friends enjoy a magic moment.

Donna and Terry Dauenhauer, Lynn Hastings and Tom and Deborah Atchinson.

The silent auction is the center of attention.

Mr and Mrs Crutchley, Anita Lambersoy, and Mr and Mrs Cook enjoy the welcome cocktail.

MC Scott Jones desperately trying to find the raffle winner, while Frank Weicks and Marc Dumur get carried away.

The school children in their colorful H’mong outfits perform traditional dances, much to the delight of the audience.

Guinness world record at Maesa Elephant Camp

The most expensive elephant artist painting

Sandy Clark
Michael Vogt

It started six years ago with dots and spots on paper but it has developed into real art and a Guinness world record for the Maesa Elephant Camp Chiang Mai.

The initiator was Anachalee Kalmapijit, operations director of the camp who was looking for a way to let elephants work with dignity, without putting them behind bars in a zoo.

They deserve the applause. The artists pose in front of the 12 m long canvas.

To create the most expensive elephant painting, more than just a vision was needed. A buyer was needed too. And this buyer was a lady from Chiang Mai, who resides in the USA, Panit Warin (Sinunta), whose affection with elephants began five years ago when she first visited the camp and became enchanted by the giants’ charm and intelligence. She is not only an elephant lover, but also a collector of elephant art, so it was no surprise that she took the chance to purchase the world’s expensive painting by elephant artists.

(From left) Governor Suwat Tantipat and Kim Lacey hand over the Guinness World Record certificate to Choochart Kalmapijit, owner and founder of Maesa Elephant Camp and his daughter Anachalee, operations director.

Now there was a buyer and a seller, but no painting. A 12 m long and 2.5 m high canvas was finally found in the United States, eight elephant artists with eight mahouts were already in Chiang Mai and an art director plus artists responsible for mixing the acrylic paint were also found.

The final brush-stroke took from 8 a.m. last Saturday until 2.36 p.m. when the animal artists applied the last finishing touches to their canvas entitled ‘Cold Wind, Swirling Mist, Charming Lanna I’.

Eight elephant artists, eight dedicated mahouts, one artistic director and one artist instructor plus a paint mixer were needed to produce ‘Cold Wind, Swirling Mist, Charming Lanna I’.

Kim Lacey, researcher and record adjudicator of the Guinness world records gave a short but colorful background information, pointing out the other records which have been achieved by Thailand. This goes from H.M. The King of Thailand who is currently the longest reigning monarch, the Valentine’s day record of 2001 when 34 couples from 22 countries simultaneously exchanged wedding vows underwater near Kradan Island in southern Thailand and also the largest Tom Yum Goong, (5000 liters) prepared in Pattaya on November 18, 1999.

Another big moment when the cheque for 1.5 million baht was exchanged for the painting. The 12 m long canvas will be divided into two parts. One part Panit (second from left), will take back to California, and the second half will stay in Chiang Mai to put on display.

In the presence of Suwat Tantipat, governor of Chiang Mai, hundreds of spectators and countless dignitaries, the cheque for 1.5 million baht was handed over and the Guinness world record certificate was received, and our elephants exploit will be published in the Guinness Book of Records 2006 and will hopefully assist the tourism business in Chiang Mai.