Elephants – A special exhibition
in the Chiang Mai National Museum
Since 1973, the Chiang Mai National Museum has been the
center of education and preservation of art in Chiang Mai and the northern
part of Thailand, comprising the old Lan Na Thai Kingdom. Since the 700
years celebrations of the founding of Chiang Mai City in 1996, the Chiang
Mai Museum has been under constant renovation and the permanent exhibitions
have been revised with new displays and accurate information.
and baby enjoying themselves at a local elephant park.
Nevertheless, there was a welcome opportunity to visit
the museum during May this year, because there was a special exhibition
about “elephants” – holy animals, dear to the heart of every Thai and
the Thai nation. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn regards
elephants with such affection that when she was young a white baby elephant
from Yala Province became her favorite companion during her stay in the Hua
Hin Royal Palace.
It is believed that the word “elephant” comes from
the ancient Sanskrit name of the mythical elephant “Airavata” – the
vehicle of the Indian king of the gods Indra. In Chinese the elephant is
called “xiang” and corresponds to the Thai word “chang”.
In general, there are two main kinds of elephants.
Loxodanta africana, the African elephant, and Elephas maximus, the Asian
elephant found in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam,
Malaysia and Indonesia. While the African elephant never became tame and
trainable, the Asian elephant was tamed and trained by humans for a long
time going back in history. Interesting to note is that elephants can swim
for six hours without a break and need sleep at night for only 3-4 hours.
Also, a full-grown elephant needs 200 kilograms of vegetarian food and 200
liters of water per day.
In Hindu myth, there is the belief that eight male
elephants are the vehicles of the guardian deities, who preside over the
eight directions of the compass to guard the world. In the east, we have
Indra who rides on the three-headed elephant “Airavata”. Actually, this
elephant has 33 heads, but in art there are only three heads shown. In the
Buddhist context, it is said that Queen Maya saw an elephant in her dream
before receiving the child to become the Buddha.
In Buddha’s life, there are three other elephants,
which are shown on temple paintings:
The first one was the vehicle of Mara, the Buddhist
devil, who tried to destroy the Buddha. The second one is an elephant, which
served Buddha in a forest retreat together with a monkey. And the third one
is a fierce elephant, which Buddha tamed with his loving kindness and
released by his jealous relative.
According to the “jataka” or Buddhist birth stories,
the Buddha was born as elephant in several births.
Above all is the belief that a white elephant is regarded
as an auspicious animal for a righteous king on earth. Traditionally, the
great king who can rule the earth will possess seven auspicious symbols to
show his sovereign power and charisma. The white elephant is one of them. It
is also believed that the king who possesses a number of white elephants
would become king of the kings. Thus, the tradition of searching for a white
elephant to present to the ruling king has occurred up to the present time.
What happens when a royal elephant becomes sick? Then we
have “tham khwan chang” literally to recall the wandering souls of the
sick elephant to restore his health. The ritual must be conducted by a
special Brahmin called Phra Mo Thao, who places auspicious flowers, a
pig’s head, fragrant face powder and oils, candles, lotus leaves and other
auspicious tree leaves on a banana leaf-tray. Sounds complicated, but music
is also part of the animistic ceremony.
There is an old Thai proverb, “the white elephant was born in the
forest” meaning that the holy man cannot be found in the city, but can be
found in the remote forest only. This seems true even today.
Cat show 2005:
Thailand’s top models
Linda L. Galloway, PhD, FGA, DGA
The most beautiful cats from Thailand, Malaysia,
Philippines, and Japan appeared at the 5th Thailand CFA Cat Show on May 22,
held at The Mall Bangkapi. Well-coifed Persians and their shorthair,
plush-coated relatives, the Exotics, dominated the Longhair Division with
Himalayans, Norwegian Forest Cats, Maine Coons, and American Curls, while
elegant, svelte Javanese and their Oriental Longhair relatives waived their
fluffed up tails among Abyssinians, American and British Shorthairs,
Scottish Folds and Korats in the Shorthair Division. Beloved Household Pets
were also proudly presented in all sizes, shapes and colors.
male Javanese, with his characteristic fluffy tail.
Internationally judged by Mrs. Cheryle Uren (Australia)
and Mrs. Yaeko Takano (Japan), tensions mounted as the judges selected the
top ten cats in Kitten, Championship, Premiership, and Household Pet
Classes. Two of the owners of these fancy felines, Linda Galloway and Patty
Chan, live here in Chiang Mai.
Linda breeds the rare Javanese (lynx-point Balinese) and
Oriental Longhairs, the longhair relatives of the Siamese, while Patty and
her husband Leo breed the popular Exotics, the shorthair relatives of the
Persian. Both are “hobby breeders” who are passionate about their
endeavors, and seek quality not quantity offspring. They hold the
responsibility for maintaining their breeds and improving them to specified
standards with each carefully planned mating, even applying computer
programs to keep in-breeding and health problems out of the lines.
Were Patty, Leo and Linda happy with the show? The number
of wins their cats received give the answer! Patty’s Exotics received a
9th Best Kitten award, also 3rd, 6th, and 8th Best Cat awards, 2nd Best
Premier, Best and 2nd Best of Breed and many Winners Ribbons towards
Championship status. Linda’s Javanese kittens took 4th, 6th and 8th Best
Kitten awards, whereas the adults took Best and 2nd Best of Breed, 2nd Best
Champion, and Winners Ribbons towards Championship status. The Oriental
Longhair took 7th Best Cat, 2nd Best Champion Overall, and Best Shorthair
For further information on these breeds and other breeds of cats as well,
contact Linda by email at: [email protected] aol.com. For website information on
the Javanese and Oriental Longhairs, see www.sacchidananda.web. com; for
Exotics, see www. silverleonie.com.
New Schools for Life
Prof. Juergen Zimmer
Around 30 children from the region of Baan Nam Khem,
affected by the tsunami, visited the children in the first School for Life
near Chiangmai, during March and April 2005. They lived together for six
weeks and had a summer camp together. Students took part in art activities
such as singing, dancing, painting and on stage performances depending on
their interests, talents and skills. The activities used therapeutic healing
methods to relieve various traumas the students may have experienced. In
addition, the students gained self-confidence and improved their skills,
while building bridges between cross-regional cultures of north and south
behalf of the School for Life Chiang Mai, Prof Zimmer (right) receives a
donation of 450 euros, presented by Hans Mandewirth, AWO Mannheim (Germany).
These children lack some ordinary things, which children
normally get easily. These children still have dreams and don’t want to be
illiterate in our society. They need a school, where they can learn new
experiences based on their own interests, talents and skills. They need a
school that addresses their needs as students as well as their need of
stability and support from a loving home environment that will protect them
from and prepare them for their future part in our big world. That promise
is coming as in the province of Phang Nga there will be two Schools for Life
in the future, one in Baan Na Nai and another one in Baan Kapong.
The School for Life in Chiangmai can be contacted by
phone, 0 1671 3477, or by email [email protected] mail.com
Prof. Juergen Zimmer is president of the International Academy for
Innovative Education, Psychology and Economics (INA) at the Free University
of Berlin Germany.
PREM Graduation 2005
A day of celebration with our most distinguished guest
The Prem Tinsulanonda International School has just held
its Graduation Ceremony and celebrated the academic journeys of twenty-four
proud students. These students, representing sixteen different nations,
represents the second class to graduate from the school.
Dapp, recipient of the Daniel Wilms Memorial Award, receives her diploma
from HE Prem on Graduation Day.
The day began with the arrival of His Excellency Prem
Tinsulanonda, a former Thai Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the
Army and also the school’s namesake. As students and staff lined the
walkway at the entrance of the school, His Excellency greeted many of them
along with the Chairman of the Board of Governors, ML Tridosyuth Devakul.
Prem Tinsulanonda receives warm welcomes from students as he engages them in
The graduation ceremony itself was more than just simply
a receipt of diplomas. There were several student and staff speakers, as
well as an oration by H.E. Prem, who extolled the virtues of an
international education. Students and staff also joined together for several
musical performances, which included a cappella songs, renditions by the
school choir, and also a performance by members of the Class of 2005 of
Green Day’s “Time of Your Life” with the guitar, violin, and vocals.
Alissa, and Natalie share in the excitement of Graduation Day.
As the ceremony was a time to appreciate achievement,
five graduating students were recognized for their accomplishments over the
course of their education at Prem. The following awards were presented by
General Prem and Mom Tri: Academic Award to Lenka Randusova, Sports Award to
Melanie Forbes-Harper, Arts Award to Miew Mingtom, Service Award to Hien
Litdang, and the Daniel Wilms Memorial Award to Vivien Dapp.
words of wisdom given by president of the Prem Center, Lister Hannah, to the
leaving students and their parents.
Following the symbolic gesture of the new graduates
passing a lighted candle to the current Grade Eleven students, the former
marched out of the Prem auditorium with flowers in hand, only to be engulfed
by the waiting arms of family and friends.
student Tong is showered with flowers at the conclusion of his graduation
Later that evening, the celebration continued in style at
the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Resort’s Grand Ballroom. The graduates
danced with their teachers and family and said goodbye to this stage in
their lives. As a final farewell, the students, in small groups, released
floating lanterns into the air as they counted down and collectively
exclaimed, “Goodbye Prem!”
For these young men and women, their education will surely continue. For
those remaining here at Prem, we will celebrate in one year’s time as the
flame is passed on yet again.
students with chairman of the board of governors ML Tridosyuth Devakul and
HE Prem Tinsulanonda on stage.