OUR COMMUNITY
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Expats Club celebrates second birthday

Take an art walk around Chiang Mai this week

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 encounter.
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 Club.
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 membership roster.
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 celebration.
Happy Birthday CEC!
For more information about the Expats Club visit: http://www.chiangmaiexpatsclub.com

 

Take an art walk around Chiang Mai this week

Jim Messenger
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 crematoriums.
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 October 8th.
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 drop by.
This exhibition is on until Oct 7
F Gallery/Hatena. 20 Nimmanheiman Rd, Soi 11, open evenings. www.itewada.com
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 color. Fun.
This exhibition is on until 27 September. CMU Art Museum on the corner Nimmanheiman and Suthep Roads. Tues – Sun, 9am – 5pm. Tel. 053 218280 www. ritstudio.com
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.