Vol. V No. 40 - Saturday September 30, - October 6, 2006
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OUR COMMUNITY
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Miss Universe 2005 visits Dhara Dhevi

OTOP products from Ayuthaya displayed in Chiang Mai

Third Home and Décor show

19th Chiang Mai Food and Tourism Festival

FERC Give and Live benefit donates 450,000 baht

Pantip Com & IT Sale 2006

CAT 009 Tuk Tuk Design Contest

Thailand Grand Sale 2006

Miss Universe 2005 visits Dhara Dhevi

“I am happy to have had a chance ride a white water buffalo here,” Miss Universe 2005, Natalie Glebova said.

Savas Rattakunjara, executive assistant manager of Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai, recently welcomed Miss Universe 2005, Natalie Glebova, during a visit to the resort for an exclusive interview with “Took” Yanee Chongvisut and “Paul” Pattaraphol Silpajarn, MCs of “VIP”, Thai television program, which broadcasts every Monday on Modern 9 TV.
During the visit, Natalie tried her hand at rice planting, and learned to do beautiful handicrafts at the resort’s Craft Village. She said, “I am very impressed by Lanna culture and I am happy to have had a chance to plant rice and ride a white water buffalo here. Chiang Mai is a very nice city, I will definitely come back!”


OTOP products from Ayuthaya displayed in Chiang Mai

Preeyanoot Jittawong
One Tambon One Product (OTOP) producers from Ayuthaya displayed goods at the “Ayutthaya OTOP to Lanna Community” event held between September 23 and 29 at Kad Suan Kaew department store. Around 200 booths sold products manufactured in Ayuthaya.

Thacharit Panarak (center), head officer of Ayuthaya Provincial Development Office, along with committee heads of the Ayuthaya OTOP Network, discuss the “Ayuthaya OTOP to Lanna Community” event.

On September 23, Thacharit Panarak, head officer of Ayuthaya Provincial Development Office, together with committee heads of the Ayuthaya OTOP Network, opened the event. The OTOP scheme was part of the Thaksin administration’s policy to develop communities by producing and marketing local handicrafts. Ayuthaya province has been involved in the OTOP scheme since its inception and now produces five star standard goods.
The aim of the “Ayuthaya OTOP to Lanna Community” event was to develop new markets for goods from Ayuthaya and to exchange ideas regarding the culture, art and food of the two provinces. Additionally, the event hoped to attract tourism to Ayuthaya, which is listed as a UN World Heritage site.

OTOP products of Ayuthaya province.


Third Home and Décor show

Wichiarn Cherdtrakunthong, the secretary and Rachan Weeraphan, a consultant for Chiang Mai-Lamphun Real Estate Association and Non Hiranchet, the chair man of “Home & D้cor” organisers at the press conference.

Preeyanoot Jittawong
The Chiang Mai-Lamphun Real Estate Association is to hold the third “Home and Décor” show in Chiang Mai. At a press conference on September 17, chairman of the “Home and Décor” organisers, Non Hiranchet, said that this year’s show is expected to attract 30,000 visitors and 190 real estate agencies. Non explained that the aim of this year’s show was to encourage house sales.

Non went on to say that the real estate sector is being affected by a general slowdown in the economy, which has lead to a deceleration in house sales. A survey conducted by the Chiang Mai-Lamphun Real Estate Association found that the majority of customers were looking to buy single, ready-to-live-in homes costing less than 2 million baht. The survey found that 80% of Chiang Mai residents already owned their own homes.
A proposed solution to the slowdown in house sales suggested that real estate agents should target foreigners with Thai husbands or wives as potential home buyers, as well as foreigner investors in Thailand. It was also suggested that middle easterners could form a substantial proportion of this new market. Many foreigners, however, are wary of buying homes in Thailand, claiming that recent arbitrary changes to visa and property laws regarding foreigners meant that they could potentially be unable to live in homes they purchased here.
The “Third Home and Décor” show is to be held between October 20 and 23 at Chiang Mai University Convention Hall.


19th Chiang Mai Food and Tourism Festival

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn and Doctor Rattawut Sukmee, head officer of Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office attended the press conference for the 19th Chiang Mai Food and Tourism Festival.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Chiang Mai Restaurant Club (CRC) held a press conference at Central Airport Plaza on September 19 to announce the 19th Chiang Mai Food and Tourism Festival. The festival will take place between October 7 and 13 at the Muan Jai courtyard of Central Airport Plaza and will be opened by Miss Universe 2005, Natalie Glebova.
Joining CRC at the press conference was Chiang Mai governor, Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai mayor, Boonlert Buranupakorn and Dr. Rattawut Sukmee, head officer of Chiang Mai provincial public health office. In a joint statement, they declared that the festival was to welcome the beginning of tourist season, to honour HM the King on the occasions of the 60th anniversary of his ascension to the throne and his 80th next year and to promote food safety and hygiene.
Around 100 well-known restaurants will gather at the festival to offer food cooked by their chefs and promote the “Clean Food, Good Taste” food safety campaign. Private and public sector organisations will have booths offering tours to various aspects of Lanna’s culture and environment. The festival will feature several demonstrations including fruit carving and ice carving. More information can be found at www.cmrclub.com.


FERC Give and Live benefit donates 450,000 baht

Northern School for the Blind receives therapeutic equipment

Pulling the strings for the playground dedication at NSB. (L to R) Ronny Lavin, Scott Jones, Carolina San Miguel-Thompson, and Celeste Tolibas-Holland from FERC with NSB board president Mr. Wirot Namburi and member Mrs. Pornpat Siri.

Scott Jones
“You’ve got to see this !” During a fund-raising tour in America, this is what I said to friends as I played a video of a ten-year old boy who walks into a cafeteria filled with chairs on long tables. He casually takes all the chairs down and places them next to the tables in an efficient orderly manner. After a few minutes, my friends would invariably say, “So what ?” I’d say, “He’s blind.” Amazement set in as we watched it again and marveled at the skill and ease the young child was doing his work. This is the kind of training and education the children with sight impairment or multi-disabilities receive at the Northern School for the Blind (NSB) in Chiang Mai: how to cope with daily life in darkness and learn occupational skills such as massage, agriculture, music, handicrafts and food preparation.
Forty-six years ago, NSB was established in a temporary building on Rachamakra Road to provide education for visually impaired students in kindergarten and primary levels. In 1962 their Majesties the King and the Queen visited, and the school has been under HM the Queen’s patronage since 1964 when she presented them with their first building at their current location on Arruk Road. The school became government owned under the Ministry of Education in 1980, and was allowed to provide education at a secondary level, emphasising vocational training and normal curriculum. There are now 216 students, most from the northern provinces of Thailand, plus twenty-seven teachers and thirty-seven other staff.

Visually impaired NSB students navigate their way through the hallways of their new playhouse.

Most of the students live at the school where full facilities are available, free of charge: room, meals, uniforms and other clothing, medical care, educational equipment and materials, plus transportation to and tuition at their normal schools. Although most of the funding comes through the Ministry of Education, private donors are necessary to help with extension programs, expansion plans and providing goods and services to improve their educational offerings. Enter FERC.
FERC, the Foundation for the Education of Rural Children, a registered nonprofit organization in the USA and Thailand, partners with the Dutch nonprofit Samsara Foundation and the nonprofit Give and Live to raise funds, present events, build classrooms and dormitories, and provide learning materials, scholarships and necessary living expenses for needy children in Thailand. Giving takes time and this project took a year. In 2005, Annelie Hendriks from Samsara presented the proposal from NSB and a FERC event was planned for last summer, but since the organisations are all composed of volunteers busy with a myriad of personal and professional commitments, the event was postponed. Fortunately, by October the FERC Give and Live Benefit USA Concert Tour 2005 raised a million baht which was allocated to several beneficiaries: 350,000 baht to the Children’s Garden orphanage near Doi Saket; 250,000 baht to build two dormitories for a school near Mae Sariang; 210,000 baht for scholarships; 40,000 baht for dormitory mattresses and supplies; and the 150,000 baht needed to purchase educational and therapeutic equipment for NSB.
This new equipment was recently installed in NSB’s therapy room and outside in a new playground next to their main building: wooden rocking horses, animals and trains; a mini-house with a slide; tunnels, multi-colored balls and soft plastic inflatable climbing ramps. The equipment helps the kids with multiple disabilities to develop orientation and mobility skills with sensory therapy, which allows them to help themselves and manage their daily life in society. During a ceremony on August 15 with members of the FERC board and the NSB board plus several teachers, staff and a raft of children, we officially opened the outdoor playground, said thank you and you’re welcome in both languages, pulled the strings to reveal the dedication sign and were presented with charming handicrafts made by the students. The kids then tried out their new “toys”. It was a joy to watch the children make their way through the tunnels, trusting the unknown while seeing with their hands, legs, heads and bottoms, rocking and laughing, bouncing on the trampoline and generally learning while having fun. That’s the best way to learn.
If you’d like to donate or help at the Northern School of the Blind, email [email protected] mail.com or call Pikul at 053-278-009. If you wish to learn more about FERC or Give and Live’s activities, missions and up-coming events, please visit www.giveandlive.org and www.thai-rural-education.org. FERC’s 8th Annual Benefit Gala will be held on 17 February 2007. Mark your calendar for splendid food, entertainment, a silent auction and serious fireworks!


Pantip Com & IT Sale 2006

Pantip Plaza, Chiang Mai is to stage the “Pantip Com & IT Sale 2006” between October 5 and 8.

Products to be displayed at the “Pantip Com & IT Sale 2006”.

The sale will feature numerous discounts and bargains on computers and IT supplies, including discounted MP3s, 1GB flash drives, card readers, printers, ADSL routers, DVD players and surveillance cameras. All these products will be on sale between 12:30 and 6:00 pm over the four days.
Other bargains included notebook computers with prices starting from 19,900 baht (excluding VAT), desktop PCs from 9,900 baht (excluding VAT and monitor), Ben Q E510 digital cameras, which will be selling at just 3,990 baht, down from their usual price of 6,900 baht (only five on sale per day from the Niyom Panich booth), and Lexmark printers priced at just 990 baht.
A computer knowledge and skills seminar will be provided for free at the Boot Up centre on the fourth floor. Additionally, a walk rally will be held to win an MP3 player.
Be sure not to miss the “Pantip Com & IT Sale 2006”, October 5-8, Pantip Plaza, Chiang Mai.


CAT 009 Tuk Tuk Design Contest

Example of a Tuk Tuk design combing the themes of Ratchaphruek 2006 and CAT 009 service.

Preeyanoot Jittawong
CAT Telecom has organised a Tuk-Tuk design contest as part of the International Horticultural Exposition 2006. The contest will select 12 designs from which to create real Tuk-Tuks serving visitors to the expo.
Manager assistants of CAT Telecom’s Customer Service Office, Sarayuth Aphinyawatcharakul and Thanakorn Thongbai, announced the contest at a press conference. CAT Telecom is the official provider of communications for organisations, agencies and tourists at the International Horticultural Exposition. The company hopes that the design contest will help promote their CAT 009 international telephone service, along with promoting the exposition. Sarayuth explained that the contest is being held to honour HM the King on the occasions of the 60th anniversary of his ascension to the throne and his 80th birthday in 2007. The contest will give students, children and members of the general public an opportunity to be involved in the exposition.
The winner of the contest will receive a certificate, an honourary award and 20,000 baht in cash from deputy prime minister and acting Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Dr. Suchai Chareonratanakul, Second and third place winners will receive 10,000 and 5,000 baht respectively, with the remaining nine winners each receiving 2,000 baht. All 12 winning designs will be used to create Tuk-Tuks operating during the exposition.


Thailand Grand Sale 2006

Thongchai Wongrianthong, deputy Chiang Mai governor drew the Chevrolet cars sweepstakes for lucky people at the “Thailand Grand Sale 2006” with Pornthip Ornnum, director of the tourism business department of Central Airport Plaza, Chiang Mai on September 22 at Central Airport Plaza department store, Chiang Mai.



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