Expats Club celebrates second birthday
The Chiangmai Expats Club is celebrating its second
birthday this month. Despite the predictions of the usual naysayers and
sceptics, who predicted the organization would never get off the ground, the
Club has gone from strength to strength. In just a couple of years CEC has
grown to become an important support network for expats living in Chiang Mai
and central part of the overseas community.
On September 10th 2005 a group of expat residents met at Art’s Café opposite
Thapae Gate. A small group of pioneers, including current Board members Jim
Cox and Lucy Coombs, had decided to canvas opinion around Chiang Mai as to
whether there was any demand for some kind of Expat Club along the lines of
similar organizations in other parts of Thailand. After a couple of weeks of
leafleting popular expat hangout a meeting was organised to judge whether
there was enough interest. ‘Apart from the original seven people who had
agreed to form an organizing committee we would have been happy with
five-ten people. We were overwhelmed when 39 people showed up and were very
enthusiastic about belonging to the Club’ said Jim Cox the Club’s founder
and first President. That first meeting brainstormed a range of ideas,
adopted a constitution and the Chiangmai Expats Club was born.
A fortnight later the Club had its first official meeting and even more
people attended. The Club has not looked back since.
The early meetings concentrated on information and assistance for
established expats and people considering the move to Chiang Mai. This is
still a central function of the Club and now with a membership of over 400
and an administration with professional skills and advisors there is
assistance available on almost any problem that an overseas resident may
Within a couple of months the Club quickly outgrew the available space at
Arts Café and set up its new home in the Royal Orchid Hotel. The Club also
developed an important role in social networking. One of the biggest
benefits of membership was an easy opportunity to meet other people and
develop new friendships. This was to prove of inestimable value particularly
to newcomers to Chiang Mai and many Club members comment that it made their
move to Thailand a happy and heart-warming experience.
Members of the Club began to form a number of Special Interest Groups formed
around a number of diverse activities and whether members interests ranged
from culture to hiking, photography to card games forums were created to
allow people to come together to pursue common interests.
Although not neglecting their information and assistance role meetings
became more entertaining and looked at other aspects of life in Thailand. As
the Club grew so did its links with the wider Chiang Mai community.
Government departments, local businesses, charities and individual Thai
citizens began to recognise the CEC as an effective way of communicating and
interacting with expat community.
Last September the Club celebrated its first birthday with a grand party and
concert by Remi Namtep and Bennett Lerner. The highlight of which was a
stunning performance of Rhapsody in Blue. It was a great day, over 200
people attended and it was clear sign that CEC was firmly established.
In December 2006, Jim Cox, the Club’s founder decided that someone with
greater organizational experience and resources was required to guide the
Club’s next stage of development and handed over the President’s role to
successful local businessman Alan Hall. Jim remained on the CEC Board and a
number of new members joined to help guide the Club’s astonishing growth.
Under Alan’s stewardship the Board conducted a survey to canvas the views of
the members and drafted a plan for the further development and growth of the
The past few months has seen the Club to continue to grow an astonishing
rate and every Saturday meeting results in more names being added to the
The past few months have seen some high quality guest speakers covering a
fascinating variety of subjects and speakers.
The Club has also seen vast improvements in communication. The website has
been greatly improved by Michael LaRocca and the establishment of the Expat
Newsletter has introduced the CEC to a far wider audience.
Built on the noble objectives of assistance and friendship, the Club has
greatly enhanced and enriched the lives of its members, the expat and wider
Chiang Mai community. As the Club approaches its second birthday it has far
surpassed the expectations of the original founders and looks set to grow
and flourish in the years to come. That is surely a cause for great
Happy Birthday CEC!
For more information about the Expats Club visit:
Take an art walk around
Chiang Mai this week
Three great reasons to get you out of the house and ‘do your
Chiang Mai thing’ present themselves this week. They manifest as art
exhibitions happening in interesting locales. You can get your art fix,
explore a new area of the city, sample some of the local cuisine, and
maybe pick up some bargains along the way. At least that’s what I try to
do when I do my Chiang Mai thing.
Starting off this time, we wing you to Mahidol Road, near the newly
opened Rimping supermarket. This is an interesting area of the city with
its own mystery theatre/dinner club, a big Niyom Panit store and a
pet/flower market across the street from one of the city’s major
Gallerie Panisa is a lovely place with its own bit of land and trees,
three small buildings for permanent exhibitions, art classes and roving
shows. This gallery space features mainly local Thai talent and tends
towards landscapes and still lives, that sort of thing. There’s always
something going on. This time it’s a show called “Half & Seriously”.
The artist Prakormpatara Janthahaisorn says that he painted the works in
half-serious, half-relaxed modes. The twenty or so watercolors reflect
the artist’s ongoing love for flowers. This exhibition is on until
Galerie Panisa, 245 Mahidol Road. (across from Nihom Panit) 053-202 779.
Mon –Sat, 9am-6pm
Now, for a bit of local color, try Rimping’s new snazzy store, with
track-lit vegetable bins and that oh so relaxing classical music
ambience. Nearby is this “japanesque” little chocolate confectionary
store Mont Blanc serving mildly amusing cappuccino. Next door is a
Japanese 65 baht discount store (remember the dollar stores?) It’s a
trip. Check it out.
Now head over to Nimmanheiman area and Soi 11. There’s a small space
called F Gallery 3 and Hatena. Sept 7 saw the opening of Kornkrit
Jianpinidnan’s small bit significant photo exhibition titled:” Worry and
Love”. He’s a Bangkok photographer who’s having his first solo show in
10 years. They tend to be moody scenes in washed out tones that reflect
his life in Chiang Mai. Hatena is actually a small Japanese pub, which
functions on occasion as a gallery. They’ve got a lot of things going on
so you should hear from them in the near future. It looks like a good
place to make new friends, eat sushi and try exotic brands of sake. So
This exhibition is on until Oct 7
F Gallery/Hatena. 20 Nimmanheiman Rd, Soi 11, open evenings.
CMU Art Gallery offers: “Bleu Moon”; 30 paintings by self-taught Chiang
Mai native Reungrit Treyanarah featuring wonderful, sunny, large-canvas
works, a little bit reminiscent of Roehkowith with big splashes of
This exhibition is on until 27 September. CMU Art Museum on the corner
Nimmanheiman and Suthep Roads. Tues – Sun, 9am – 5pm. Tel. 053 218280
There’s a café outside next to the art gallery shop, which features a
wide selection of art books on contemporary painters. This shop is a
treasure trove for at lovers.