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Zonta International Club Chiang Mai

Murder, Mayhem, Malarkey - an evening of Japanese Detective Fiction

Three UK graduates teach at CMU through British Council

Soroptimists International Chiang Mai welcomes international guests

Garden Sale at City Life Magazine’s garden on March 16

Teahouse Rocks at ArtSpace on 7!

Zonta International Club Chiang Mai

Zonta organises charity bike ride for education of HIV orphans

On Saturday February 16, Zonta International organised a bike ride to raise money for the education of HIV orphans. The start was at Tesco Lotus, Hang Dong at 7:30 am, with the finishing line 32 km away at Boomsom Spirulina Farm in Mae Wang District. The organiser of this, the 4th charity bike ride, was Darinee Suphanasook, the President of Zonta International Chiang Mai, Mongkon, the Social Development Officer at the Human Security Office of Chiang Mai Province, officiated at the start, and wished the bikers good luck. The ever-present Celeste held the register and sold souvenir T- shirts. 20 bikers finally set off at 8 am after breakfast, generously supplied by Jim from ‘Caffe Gourmet’.
Four years ago, David Curtz completed the first Zonta Bike Ride, alone, from Phuket to Chiang Mai. That journey, with no support cars, no back up, and very limited language skills, included getting lost more than once, and took 9 days!
This year David had company with him, as 20 local residents, Thai and foreign, took part in the 2 hour journey. Afterwards bikers and guests were invited to tour the spirulina farm and the processing factory, then enjoyed a delicious lunch menu prepared with spirulina. The farm is due to open for agricultural tourism next month.

 

Murder, Mayhem, Malarkey - an evening of Japanese Detective Fiction

Fascinating talk by Dr. Ivan Hall at the Informal Northern Thai Group

On Tuesday February 12 Dr. Ivan Hall gave the regular monthly talk at the Informal Northern Thai Group, presenting “Murder, Mayhem, Malarkey - An Evening of Japanese Detective Fiction.” After being introduced by INTG Convener Brian Hubbard, the speaker opened with the disclaimer that he would not be giving one of the erudite scholarly papers customary on these occasions. His purpose, rather, was to share with the audience his own personal enthusiasm for Japanese murder mysteries, and to do so simply by narrating in old story-teller fashion three of his favorite Whodunits, beginning with a thumbnail sketch of literary and historical contexts.

Dr. Ivan Hall with INTG Convener Brian Hubbard (left).
The first two novels briefly presented were The Inugami Clan, (Inugamike no Ichizoku), by Yokomizo Seishi, 1951 (reissued to enormous popular éclat in 1976), and The Terror at Triangle House, (Sankakukan no Kyofu), by Edogawa Ranpo, 1951. These could be seen as representing respectively the Japanese and Western poles in Japan’s modern detective fiction craft. The third story, narrated at length, was the speaker’s own favorite, Murder at the Old Daimyo Inn, (Honjin Satsujin Jiken), 1946, with which Yokomizo Seishi reentered the publishing market after seven years of strict wartime censorship. Much filmed, but, alas, never translated, the novel displayed an elegant balance of Western form and Japanese subject matter. Edogawa Ranpo (1894-1965) Yokomizo Seishi (1902-1981) were the two acknowledged pre-war doyens who introduced the detective-centered, clue-hunting Western genre. Influenced by Poe, A.C. Doyle, Christie and Carr, they suited the speaker’s own personal tastes to perfection.
Dr. Hall told how his interest was sparked three decades ago by the chance spotting at a Tokyo subway platform kiosk of a Japanese-language paperback featuring on its jacket cover the face of a terrified young woman set against the background of an old half-timbered mansion badly in need of repairs. Aha! he thought. Perhaps there was more to Japanese detective fiction than flashing samurai swords, yakuza (gangster) shenanigans, or the inanities of gunfights and car chases “a la americaine”? Perhaps something analogous to the magnificent mood settings, social portraiture, and ratiocinative suspense-building of a good Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot yarn? Indeed there was, and like other good Tokyoites he did most of his reading on the subway.
That kiosk pocketbook was The Inugami Clan, a Japanese Gothic horror story set in the first bleak winter right after the war, where crafty would-be heirs to a huge industrial fortune set about eliminating each other to the accompaniment of ancient curses and mysterious prowling soldiers just repatriated from the Burma front. Terror at Triangle House takes place in old urban Tokyo in an “L” shaped Edwardian house that has been walled off into two separate wings, their only correspondence being by way of a small elevator that opens onto both wings. Set against each other by an old will specifying that the total inheritance will go to whichever of the twin 70-year-old heads of family outlives the other, the story follows such clean logic and economical language as to seem quintessentially Western. Only in the postscript were Japanese readers notified that this was actually a transposition of an American novel set in old Boston! Finally, Murder at the Old Daimyo Inn comes with a lonely rural setting worthy of Doyle’s Dartmoor or Cornwall, a poignant clash of tradition versus modernity, and with high-low social tensions fit for a Christie country-house weekend. The tale nevertheless turns on a “sealed room” scenario which only the Japanese imagination, with Japanese props, could have cooked up!
Ivan Hall, now resident in Chiang Mai, is a retired Japan historian who received his PhD from Harvard in 1969 and is the author of three books on Japan’s cultural relations with the outside world, both the West and Asia. His 35 years’ residence in Tokyo included professorial posts at Tsukuba, Keio and Gakushuin universities and a decade at the American Embassy running a bilateral cultural exchange program. Years ago he served as a cultural officer with the old USIS in Kabul and Dhaka. Asked if he might give his talk again, Ivan cryptically replied, “Have stories. Will transmigrate. Heh, heh…”


Three UK graduates teach at CMU through British Council

4 month Digital Animation Residencies a great success

Guy Kilty
Digital animation is a huge industry these days. A quick glance at some of the major cinema releases of last year - Bee Movie, Shrek the Third and Ratatouille, for example - and you can see just how its popularity has propelled it into the cultural mainstream. When you consider also, that similarly huge sectors such as computer gaming, TV, advertising and music videos all utilize this technology, it’s obvious why it’s attracting top artistic and technological talent from around the world.

Doug Johnson and Rob Seaton at Chiang Mai University.
Currently, the industry is dominated by countries such as the USA, UK, Japan and Korea, whilst hardly any digital animation comes out of Thailand. CMU want to change that. The College of Arts Media and Technology at CMU provides digital animation courses and, last year, they decided to enlist the help of the British Council to organize a four-month Digital Animation Residency for three UK graduates. The positions were advertised in the UK and, on November 1, Rob Seaton, Doug Johnson and Ismael Carlos Sanz-pena arrived.
“It’s been an awesome experience,” said Rob, 29, who comes from Birmingham and graduated in 2006 with a degree in Digital Animation from Thames Valley University, “The British Council have really looked after us and we feel as if we’ve made a difference and helped a lot of people”. “Everyone has been so helpful and friendly,” agreed Doug, 23, who’s from London and graduated with a degree in Digital Animation from Staffordshire University in 2007. “I couldn’t recommend it enough”.
Before arriving in Chiang Mai, Rob worked for an architecture firm in London producing animated walkthroughs, whilst Doug worked in Belfast on an animated children’s TV series. Right from the start, they used their expertise to get involved in teaching the students twice a week and helping them out with projects, including a talking dictionary. Doug and Ismael mainly worked with the hundred or so first year students who concentrate on studying 2D animation, while Rob focused on the forty second year’s who look more at 3D. Ismael has since returned to the UK to complete a Master’s Degree, but Rob and Doug are staying until the end of February.
“The facilities here are fantastic, better than you’d find at a lot of universities” said Rob. “The two animation labs and the 3D scanner are excellent, and the 3D motion capture suite, which is just like the one used to animate Gollum in Lord of the Rings, is amazing”. Both of them have really enjoyed living in Chiang Mai. “It’s great here because, unlike London especially, people give you the time of day and go out of their way to be helpful. We’ve made lots of friends, including Klui, one of the Thai teachers who lived in London for four years, and he has taken loads of time out to show us around” said Doug.
“Rob, Doug and Ismael have done an excellent job at CAMT,” said Klui. “The students have really learnt a lot from them and they’ve made a big impact. Their knowledge and experience has significantly added to the course and we hope we can do this again in the future.” As well as being a positive experience for the students at CAMT, Rob and Doug think the residency will benefit their future careers. Both want to work in movies and TV in the future, and Rob says “this has been a great step in our careers, and it’ll definitely help us to get jobs in a cut-throat industry when we return to England”.
“It’s been a once in a lifetime opportunity”, Rob continued, “and has been brilliant not only for developing our animation skills but also for our communication skills and giving us the chance to experience living in a different country”. Doug summed it up: “If they offered it to me again next year, I’d do it.”


Soroptimists International Chiang Mai welcomes international guests

“A vibrant, dynamic organization...”

The Soroptimists and their guests at the February meeting in Chiang Mai. Pictured: Shannon, Victoria, Cory, Donna, Teera, Ellen and Maureen (standing) with Maggie, Kathy, Lynn and Carolina, (seated).

Soroptimist International of Chiang Mai held their monthly meeting at the Amari Rincome Hotel on Friday, February 16. The SI Chiang Mai president, Carolina San Miguel Thompson welcomed members, and particularly special guests Margaret Mitchell, (SI Secretary of the South West Pacific Federation), Kathy Barnett, (SI National Representative for Thailand), Lynn Ciurlionis, (SI Liaison for UNESCAP), Shannon Morrow, (US Consulate Chiang Mai), and Victoria Vorreiter of Chicago, USA.
The Federation of Soroptimist International of South West Pacific is holding its biennial Conference of Clubs in Chiang Rai on June 6-9. The theme of the conference is ‘A journey of understanding’. Through presentations and workshops the members will address issues of concern to women and girls in Asia.
Soroptimist International is a vibrant, dynamic organization for today’s professional and business women. Members are committed to a world where women and girls together achieve their individual and collective potential, realize aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong, peaceful communities worldwide. SI Chiang Mai is currently providing educational scholarships within Chiang Mai for Senior High School girls. The Chiang Mai Soroptimists are developing a project for single mothers which will support healthcare for the mothers and children and provide a child-minding program to allow the mothers greater access to employment opportunities.
The club meets regularly every month. Readers who are interested should contact its president, Carolina San Miguel, on csmtthai @gmail.com.


Garden Sale at City Life Magazine’s garden on March 16

Proceeds to go to the Hillside 4 Rooftop Charity Fund

On Sunday March 16 another fundraising event will be held in the garden of City Life Magazine from 11 am until 4 pm. Following the enormous fun everyone had at the December event, City Life wanted to repeat it as soon as possible. It’s a great opportunity for all the family to have a fun day out together and at the same time help those people less fortunate than ourselves. The March garden sale promises to be even better. Requests to take part have poured in from companies and craft people and it is sure to be a real family occasion. There will be an amazing variety of things to buy and take part in and exciting games to entertain the children. Everyone’s favourite, the Tombola stall, will provide even more fun for all ages. The School for Life children will put on a dance show and display some of their excellent paintings, and Mr Bradley’s Musical Jam for Children will hold the youngsters spellbound. Members of the Hillside 4 Rooftop committee will repeat their sale of nearly new clothing, books and household items, and Fashion King will be selling rolls of fabric.
There will be a demonstration of weaving from the young people of the Healing Family Centre, and their attractive and unusual range of clothing and wall hangings will be on sale. ‘Friends of the Rooftop’ visited the centre last week and invited them along; any money they raise from their loom and sales - they keep.
Wine Gallery will provide a wine bar and Tuskers Bar will repeat their delicious barbeque and serve thirsty dads with a welcome pint of beer. Ginger Café will be selling a selection of home made goodies, including cookies, breads and pate and to finish off with there will be ice cream and soft drinks.
Other stalls will include clothes and beautiful decorative items for the home provided by Magnolia, La Luna, and JJ Market, to name but a few. There will be a lovely selection of plants to buy for the home and garden and a chance to relax and get a foot massage by Khun Fern and her team.
Should you have any items you wish to donate, they will be gratefully received at Reception in Hillside 4 Condotel and Apartments, Huay Kaew Road. For further details of availability of stalls, please ring Karina 089 759 3978 or email Jo on [email protected]
Proceeds from the garden sale will be kindly donated by City Life editor, Khun Pim, to support the Hillside 4 Rooftop Charity Fund. Hope to see you all there!


Teahouse Rocks at ArtSpace on 7!

Buddhist festival alcohol ban inspires a great idea

Last Thursday, February 21, ArtSpace on 7 held their first ‘Teahouse Rocks’. The idea came about because of the ban on alcohol before the election, which was in place again last Thursday because of a Buddhist festival. Bradley Dean Whyte was joined by musicians Matthew Whiston, Rebecca Zolkower and Lindsay Stevenson. Customers were warned in advance to turn up on time because seating is limited and, sure enough, just before 8 pm there was not a seat left - standing room only! Matthew Whiston on vocals and guitar, along with Rebecca Zolkower with her violin started the music going and everyone realised right away that this was going to be a night to remember. The night continued with the other musicians joining in, as a band or performing in duets. After the performances the party started to really rock with jamming, dancing and a “good old knees-up” well into the night. Hopefully, this will become a regular event, with or without the addition of alcohol to spice up what seems to have been a great party!

Matthew Whiston and Rebecca Zolkower entertaining a full house at ArtSpace on 7.
Yet another amazingly innovative idea from ArtSpace on 7, and, like all the rest, a great success. The sheer originality of Laura and Chadwick’s approach to all their new ideas must be a first in Chiang Mai, and, apart from being a commercial success, has to be a most refreshing change for all their customers. After all, even that staple component of the expat presence here, the retirees, seems to be getting younger by the day! From the themes of the art exhibitions themselves, through the musical events -“Band in a Day” was a wow of an idea - to theatre performances and workshops, the enthusiasm with which ArtSpace brings to its ideal of community involvement in creating culture should inspire many of us who’d had no involvement in arts of any kind in our home countries. Remember, you don’t know what you can do, or how much you can enjoy a new experience until you try - so get up, get down there and have fun!
www.myspace.com/artspacechiangmai