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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Happy Anniversary for the Chiang Mai Expats Club

Pingkarattana School provides education for handicapped children

The New Orleans All-Star Brass Band

Continual study fair by IC-ACE

CMU honors Prince Mahidol

Happy Anniversary for the Chiang Mai Expats Club

It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since CEC’s first meeting. We started with a small space above the Art Cafe with 35 people attending. Here we were in the Grand Ballroom of the Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel with well over 200 people in attendance. What a year it has been – many growing pains, with many new friends made, a few exchanges of differences, and a whole lot of learning. We couldn’t have done it without our volunteers and our constantly growing number of attendees. Almost everyone with whom we were in touch contributed to the success in one way or another.

Chiang Mai Expat’s Club President & Founder, Jim Cox cuts the club’s First Birthday Cake.

The Grand Ballroom is large and seemed even larger with its Lanna style cathedral ceiling. It was well appointed with festive buntings and flowers. Supaporn Yindeemark (Pompui) and the staff of the hotel had obviously put in a good effort for us. The stage held a baby grand piano and Jim’s Yamaha Electronic Stagea organ. There were 22 round tables on the floor, each holding 8-9 people. On a screen to the left of the stage a slide show was silently flashing pictures of speakers and attendees of past meetings.
Jim Cox, the President and founder of the Club, was Master of Ceremonies. Like all of the Board members and volunteers he was wearing a white shirt with a CEC logo on it. He described a bit of our history, introduced the Board Members, brought our attention to the Sponsors, and mentioned the Member Friendly Merchants. Jim will go to great lengths for CEC – to the extent of risking making a fool of himself. He and Rudy Iritz, the line dance teacher, did a lively dance and they were in synch all the way. The amateur kept up with the master very nicely. Jim then introduced Jay Thirst, a Board Member with dancing interests, who in turn introduced 3 couples who did a graceful waltz, a happy rumba and lively jive. The dancers were students and were organised by Supatcha Jitaree of N.P. Ballroom Dancing (a.k.a. Greenhouse on the superhighway) and looked wonderful.
Jim became more somber as he read a letter from a friend of a former board member, Michael Youngfellow, who died in a bicycle accident 2 weeks ago. He asked for a moment of silent respect.
At this point the meeting was turned over to Board Members, Phillip Johnson and Check Boling, to start the lucky draws. The prizes consisted of nights at a couple of resorts, a bottle of white wine, a bottle of champagne, gift certificates from some of our Friendly Merchants and many CEC anniversary t-shirts. There were so many prizes that the draws went on intermittently for the remainder of the meeting.
Remi Namtep was introduced, who looked stunning in her bright red top and white skirt. Her first piece, Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” was received with great enthusiasm. We had an unexpected double bass player, Bandit Sitsorn, who, accompanied by Remi, gave us Bach’s Adagio in D minor. Then Remi played some Rachmaninoff, which was then followed by Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Bennett Lerner played the piano while the full orchestra was done with the organ. It was a great performance by both of them.
Lavish bouquets were given to all the performers, including the dancers, and were thanked by the audience with much applause.
While the cake and ice cream were being served, the hotel put on a bartender’s exhibit, which was a sort of juggling act with bottles of alcohol, shakers and other paraphernalia. This was done by staff members of the Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel to the accompaniment of some lively music.
The party was over – for this year. All members went home with some great music still in their heads; some went home with prizes. The Board Members and Volunteers started the clean up with comments, smiles, and some good memories.

Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel’s cocktail tossing barman.


Pingkarattana School provides education for handicapped children

Preeyanoot Jittawong
The 1997 constitution states that all Thai children have the right to receive an education and the right to study with other children; the law states that every school should be equipped with the facilities to teach both normal and handicapped children. In reality, however, handicapped children often study in schools specially equipped to cater for their needs. The administrations of schools for “normal” children cite concerns regarding staff shortages, inadequate curriculums, and fears that handicapped children might impede the progress their non-handicapped counterparts, as reasons for wishing to maintain a separation between “normal” and “handicapped” schools. Predictably, these fears, which have been largely disproved in recent educational research, have negative consequences for handicapped children’s access to education.

Saiphin Sukhantha (right), director of Pingkarattana School, with Natdhavit “Four” Srikham and his grandmother.

Saiphin Sukhatha, director of Pingkarattana School, pointed out that this kind of attitude towards served only as a further obstacle to their development. Not only do they suffer from a physical handicap, but they are also segregated from the rest of society and are given an inferior education. Pingkarattana School admits both normal and handicapped children. “The school and teachers are willing to teach handicapped children because we see them as human beings with the right to an education the same as any other child. I hope other schools will follow our example,” Saiphin said. The handicapped children follow the school’s normal curriculum and have the opportunity to learn and interact with “normal” children. In the past, the school received a number of autistic children. With a little extra attention from their teachers, these children have had few problems in settling into day-to-day school life.
At present, Pingkarattana School has three students with hearing impairments. Two of the students use hearing aids, while the third has undergone and operation to improve his hearing. Natdhavit Srikham, or “Four”, was deaf since birth, but received an operation at Chulalongkorn Hospital when he was in grade 3. Following the operation his grandmother tried to enroll him in a number of schools, only to be told that he would slow down the progress of other students. Four and his Grandmother moved from Uttaradit to Chiang Mai in order to find a suitable school. He was eventually enrolled in Pingkarattana School and is currently studying in grade 6.


The New Orleans All-Star Brass Band

The New Orleans All-Star Brass Band.

Preeyanoot Jittawong
The Faculty of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai University, together with the US Embassy to Thailand and the US Consulate to Chiang Mai, presented a free concert featuring a jazz band from New Orleans, USA, for Chiang Mai residents.
On September 25, Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat joined the audience for the jazz concert, “The New Orleans All-Star Brass Band” at Chiang Mai University’s Meeting Hall, together with Beatrice Camp, U.S. Consul to Chiang Mai. They were welcomed by Prof. Dr. Pongsak Angkasith, president of Chiang Mai University. The concert was the result of cooperation between Chiang Mai University, the US Embassy to Thailand and the US Consulate to Chiang Mai to honor HM the King on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of his ascension to the throne. It was also to promote jazz music and cultural activities, in keeping with Chiang Mai University’s mission. The concert was very successful, attracting much applause from the audience, who filled both floors of CMU’s Convention Hall.
The New Orleans All-Star Brass Band/The Survivors have only been together as a group since November 2005. The group was organised to thank a variety of nations for their contributions to victims of the Katrina disaster. The group consists of three generations of world-renowned brass and jazz band musicians who have traveled professionally most of their lives. Following the concert in Chiang Mai they are due to fly to New York to play a private function for the likes of Barbara Walters and friends.


Continual study fair by IC-ACE

Staff Reporters
The “Continual Study Fair to Community Colleges USA” is to be held at Chiang Mai University on October 10 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The fair aims to encourage Thai students to consider studying at Community Colleges in the United States.
“Many Thai students are interested in studying in the USA but factors such as expense, complicated visa regulations and the amount of time needed to prepare for studying in an English-speaking environment often put them off,” said Sutthichoke Linprasert, manager of the International Academy Centre, Chiang Mai University. “This fair hopes to clarify some of the problems they face and provide information on how to go about applying for a place in US Community Colleges.”
The fair is being jointly organised by the International Academy Centre, the study guidance network of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, USA and the AACC. Representatives of 21 community colleges from Boston, Los Angeles, Miami and San Diego will join the fair.
Community Colleges in the USA do not require as high a GPA as ordinary Universities, and the expense is lower than a typical four-year degree course. The fair will give a special lecture entitled “Studying in Community Colleges with Low Capital” and provide information on how to obtain a student visa. There is also the chance for attendees to win a 100,000 baht scholarship.
For more information contact [email protected]


CMU honors Prince Mahidol

Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai Governor (6th from left), together with Prof. Dr. Pongsak Angkasith, president of Chiang Mai University (6th from right), and executives joined the ceremony of honoring Prince Mahidol at Mahidol Court, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University on September 24.