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.
Mai Expat’s Club President & Founder, Jim Cox cuts the club’s First
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
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
Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel’s
cocktail tossing barman.
Pingkarattana School provides education for handicapped children
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.
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
The New Orleans All-Star Brass Band
Orleans All-Star Brass Band.
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
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
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
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.