HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

“Teachers Who Care” 2006

3rd Thai chess student championship at Pantip Plaza

Art in Japanese tea cups

Where can I learn to play the piano?

Fancy fish at Koi show worth 30 mio baht

Two Creativity of Time exhibition

“Teachers Who Care” 2006

Mike Hock

From left: Senior Counselor Mike Hock, IC-ACE; U.S. Consul General Bea Camp, Walai Chompoorat, The Prince Royal’s College; Sujitra Sattayarak, Yupparaj Wittayalai School; Suparerk Mahawan, Suanboonyopathum Lamphun School; Amporn Sangklub, Samakkee Wittayakom School; Sungkhaya Boonma, Navamindarajudis Phayap School; Pritchayaporn Aphivinitakul , Lampangkalayanee School, Lampang; Chainam Riddhiraksa, Chak Kham Khanathon School, Lamphun; George Wilcox, U.S. Embassy-Bangkok.

U.S. Consul General Bea Camp (2nd left), George Wilcox (seated 2nd right) and Prof. Kathleen Bailey (Monterey Institute of International Studies, seated right). Standing: members of the First Cohort, “Teachers Who Care” 2004.

For professional achievements and leadership in the field of English-language teaching, 7 respected educators were recently honored in a dignified ceremony
organized by IC-ACE (an EducationUSA Advising Center) at the American Corner, Chiang Mai University. US Consul General Bea Camp and Regional English Language Officer George Wilcox of the U.S. Embassy, Bangkok presented awards to the second cohort of “Teachers Who Care” before a gathering of peers, administrators, and international guests. Significantly, the ceremony was broadcast via Digital Video Conferencing technology to American Corners around Thailand.

Officially known as The Joint Initiative to Recognize Distinguished Teachers of English, “Teachers Who Care” is an innovative project to identify these English teachers in northern Thailand.

Co-organizer Mike Hock of IC-ACE said it was a humbling experience to meet distinguished teachers who have given so much to students and communities in major northern Thai cities of Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, and Lampang.

“Teachers Who Care” have individually demonstrated their long-term dedication and leadership to advance the teaching of English and appreciation of US culture and education. While congratulating the Cohort of 2006, Consul General Bea Camp shared her sentiments, “If they had had such awards and shown such appreciation when I was teaching English, I might still be doing so!”

3rd Thai chess student championship at Pantip Plaza

Pinutda Suwanchaisri-Kittiyaporn Kanjam (Student Trainee MFLU)

Phumiphong Wiwattanadet from Chiang Mai University Demonstration School received the championship trophy from Suthipong Maiwan, Board Game association president.

The third Thai chess competition was recently held for elementary and secondary students to promote the game of Thai chess. It was organized by the Board Game Association jointly with Chiang Mai Thai Chess club and the Pantip Plaza. The two day tournament was held on February 11th and 12th, and an enthusiastic crowd of almost 300 students came along to support their favorites

On February 12, at 9.30 a.m. selected candidates flexed their brain cells across the board in a knockout competition. Elementary and secondary students, both boys and girls, participated in the competition loudly cheered on by their parents. The hotly contested final concluded at 4 p.m. and all the competitors and champions joined the trophy presentation where Suthipong Maiwan, the Board Game Association president, presented the Chiang Mai Governor’s Trophy to the winner.

Art in Japanese tea cups

Pinutda Suwanchaisri-Kittiyaporn Kanjam (Student Trainee MFLU)

Khunying Chamnongsri Hajanerak, reading the poetry related to the exhibition at the opening ceremony.

Panchalie Sathirasas’ ceramic art exhibition “The Quiet Path” was held at Northern Village 3rd floor Central Airport Plaza, Chiang Mai on February 9. The exhibition was attended by crowds of Panchalie’s eager fans and art lovers.

There were 33 ceramic Japanese teacups made by the artist shown in the exhibition; each with a different surface texture imitating many kinds of tree bark. She had prepared these over a period of two years and the visitors were encouraged to touch her works.

Panchalie had traveled the world, learning to sculpt from artists in many countries; which gave her the inspiration to make these beautiful tea cups. Over the last 10 years she has made tea cups that reflect the forest, tree bark and stone, achieving great personal peace and contentment from her work. She said, “When my fingers move it is similar to dancing, when soil is sifted slowly it feels like flowers blooming.” Adding, “While I am working it feels like I am floating in the sea, traveling through the air and walking in an enchanted forest.” Her art reflects that nature is the ocean of dreams and she hopes that her work inspires the imagination of children.

Khunying Chamnongsri Hajanerak opened the exhibition along with Prof. ML Surasawat Sooksawat, the dean of Faculty of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai University.

Where can I learn to play the piano?

Musical education in Chiangmai (2)

Jan Verwers, Pongsak Rodpothong

Violinist Ohm Chanteyoon practicing in the open air at Payap.

There are many schools in Chiangmai, which teach Western classical music. We visited ‘Acoustic Studio’, located in the old centre of the city. Behind the entrance lies a beautiful garden with several small houses that serve as classrooms. “At the moment we have over 200 students and 19 teachers”, tells us Kruh On. Khun Umawadee Lopetch, as she is officially known, is both founder and director of the studio. She teaches piano. “Our students start at the age of five, and often stay with us for many years. The oldest is 25. We teach them piano, violin, viola, cello or double bass. Also the theory of music. Favorite composers here are Bach, Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven.”

At Payap guitarist Jaruwat Kittisit prepares for his next lesson, while Bach looks on approvingly.

The studio offers their students the possibility to register for examinations supervised by the Royal School of Music, of which Kruh On is the representative for Chiangmai. On Sundays the students practice chamber music in small ensembles in one of the bigger classrooms. “We will invite you to our next student concert,” Kruh On promised us.

An informal and friendly place is ‘Santi’s Studio’, next to Hotel Pang Suan Kaew. 10 teachers instruct over 60 students to play piano, guitar, violin, viola and voice. Santi Saengtong (36) started the studio four years ago. He plays and teaches piano. This instrument is part of his daily life ever since he was a boy. Also during the time that he was studying English Language and Linguistics. After which he returned full time to his music.

Santi Studio attracts many non-Thai students. Ages vary from 4 to 60 years. They play mostly Western classical music, with Chopin being the great favorite. There are regular recitals at Santi’s house, where students perform for parents, family and friends. Once a year there is the student concert at AUA, where students, teachers and invited guest musicians perform. Also in this school students are stimulated to take exams for diplomas from the Royal School of Music. The Studio will also enter good students in national competitions.

At ‘Santi’s Studio’ Ajarn Ongard Kanchaisak giving singing lessons.

By far the biggest institute for musical education here in the North is the Music Department of Payap University, where at the moment over 100 students study full time, mainly Western classical music. The department started in 1974 and has now 20 full-time teachers and several part-time ones. It is housed in the old residence of the founder of the music department, Caroline King-shill, and in some modern buildings, just opposite McCormick Hospital. Students prepare themselves for a BA in General Music. The curriculum includes several theoretical subjects, as well as the study of one or more musical instruments. Piano is the most popular, followed by the guitar. In addition there is flute, clarinet, saxophone and strings. Payap is the only university that offers harp courses.

Students join the Music Department after finishing their high school at the age of 18. It will take about four years before they can sit for the final examinations. To give the students more education and training, an international exchange program was started. Students go abroad for some time to other musical departments.

Payap is clearly aiming at growth in the future, in number of students, teachers and specialties. It is presently developing programs for MA studies. Subjects might be Performance, Jazz, Music Education and Music Business. “But we have some technical problems,” complains Ajarn Joe, whose official name is Bringkop Vora-urai. He is the Dean of this department and is responsible for the development of new plans. “We need more classrooms, some studios for ensembles and a studio for studying recording techniques. And we want to play a more prominent role in the musical scene in Chiang Mai.” I suggest to him that the present location is ideal for a small concert-hall. Minor adjustments to one of the existing buildings might be enough. And there is plenty of parking spaces. Ajarn Joe reacts with approval. “That is one of my fondest wishes,” he confessed.

Postscript: Of all the music schools that exist in Chiang-mai, the authors visited only a few. The selection is to a large extending based upon a series of coincidences.

Ajahn Prawate Subongkod rehearses with string students at ‘Acoustic Studio’.

Fancy fish at Koi show worth 30 mio baht

Kittiyaporn Kanjam and Pinutda Suwanchaisri (Student Trainees MFLU)

Anusorn Wongwan, chairman of Chiang Mai Nishikigoi Club (left) presented the trophy to Weerakit Laosuksri who owned the Grand Champion fish.

Chiang Mai Nishikigoi Club (CNC) in cooperation with Louis Aquarium shop, Koi Fan Club, Thai Nippon Fish Farm, and Classic Pond organized the Chiang Mai Jumbo Koi Show on February 4 to 5, 2006 at the outdoor arena, Kad Suan Kaew Department Store. “Koi” is a Japanese word meaning fancy carp, and this show is thought of as the “Miss Thailand” for fish.

This year’s competition, the 2nd time in Chiang Mai, differed from last year, in that this contest was for jumbo fancy carp whereas previously it was only for normal size fancy carp.

Over 60 fancy carp from all over Thailand entered the competition, separated into 21 types by breed including Kohaku, Taisho-Sanke, Showa-Sanshoku, Shiro, Utsuri, Shiro, and Bekko. The Grand Champion this year was Weerakit Laosuksri, who also virtually swept the board, winning more than 11 prizes in the contest.

Two fancy carp com-petitors in the Jumbo fancy carp contest.

Weerasak Sotethiphankul, the Louis Aquarium shop-owner said there are many fancy carp lovers in Thailand and almost all the fish were imported from Japan. In last year alone, about 30-50,000 fancy carp were imported to Thailand. Normally, the going rate for fancy carp (size 50-60 cm.) is 40,000-120,000 baht per each. In Thailand the heaviest fancy carp is 14 kilograms; the longest is 1 meter; and the most expensive fish cost more than 1 million baht. The largest type of fancy carp is Shi Ma Shi Ba breed and fancy carp in Thailand are second only to Japan, from where the breed of fish originated.

The standard of this competition is considered to be equivalent to internationally accepted criteria used in judging the quality of the fancy carp. This Koi Show attracted an entry of fancy carp worth more than 30 million baht offering a great opportunity for the fish-lovers of Chiang Mai to see this competition. Unlike the Night Safari, fish and chips was not on the menu.

Two Creativity of Time exhibition

Kittiyaporn Kanjam and Pinutda Suwanchaisri (Student Trainees MFLU)

The works of two artists which presents the beauty of nature

The art exhibition of two artists called “Two Creativity of Time” is showing at Galerie Panisa. This exhibition remain on show until March 6, 2006.

The exhibition presents the paintings from two different artists, Mana Kwangsue and Sakorn Boonlhai. The name “Two Creativity of Time” refers to their works which came from their own different thoughts, characteristics, and experiences but each artist managed to capture the same mood of the impressionist, the feeling lifts the heart of the viewer witnessing the beauty of nature encapsulated in the painting. Their paintings are also very colorful and lively and express a sense of freedom by the artists.

Mana Kwangsue has been painting for 10 years and all of his works demonstrate his fascination with oils. Sakorn Boonlhai has painted for only a few years but his artistry and craftsmanship are exemplary. His preferred medium is acrylics and almost all of his works are about nature.

The exhibition was opened by Prof. Tawan Kangwan-wong, Vice President of Chiang Mai University Council.