Vol. VII No. 13 - Tuesday
March 25, - March 31, 2008



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Chiang Mai FeMail
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Mai Soong Pee Tai! Shan New Year celebrations in Chiang Mai

CM International School presents “Into the Woods”

Health, Fitness and Weight Loss - it’s not just boring old diets and treadmills!

A gap in generations?

 

Welcome to this week’s FeMail! I guess this issue’s “thought for the week” should be “we’re not alone” as immigrants into the Lanna region, as, for at least one thousand years, others have come before us, from many different regions and countries! All have been able to integrate to a greater or, (sadly, in the case of minority groups from Burma), lesser degree, and all have contributed to this unique Lanna culture. However, one aspect of Western culture we, as the latest wave of immigrants, should definitely not be contributing is an eating pattern which leaves us vulnerable to overweight and obesity! Hope you all agree, and if you maybe a have a slight problem with this yourself, we’d like to refer you to new series of articles by a professional in the field of medical referral health and fitness which will be published on this page over the next few weeks. The emphasis will be on preventing and improving health problems either caused by overweight or which are already in existence and can be improved by exercise. And you’ll lose weight as well, if that’s your goal. So, we’re “not alone” in that either! Have a good week, and, Rose, watch out for those Banana Splits!

Mai Soong Pee Tai! Shan New Year celebrations in Chiang Mai

Mai Soong Pee Tai - New Year celebrations in the city.

I often wonder how many of us, as incomers to Chiang Mai, realise that the northern Lanna area of Thailand has been, over the last several thousand years, as much of a melting pot of different races as London or New York? We are simply the latest in a long line of settlers in this beautiful and fascinating area of South East Asia. One of the earliest groups of immigrants, the Tai peoples, began to arrive in the 11th century a.d. from their homelands in mainland China, situated between the Hwangho and Yangtse rivers, and are thought to have previously originated as a branch of the Sino-Tibetan family known as Zhuang Dong. They settled in southern China, Vietnam, northern Laos, the Assam area of India, and the “Shan “states in Burma. Here in Thailand they formed “petty states” amongst the local tribes in many areas, including those dominated by the Mon and Khmer civilisations. Some historians consider them to be the founders of the Thai peoples, and one amazing fact is that over 80 million people in South East Asia speak some version of the original Tai language! And, of course, awareness of their heritage continues today, particularly amongst the displaced Burmese Tai, (Shan), peoples here in Chiang Mai.
This heritage includes, of course, the Tai, (Shan), New Year celebrations which were held last Saturday in the city - a somewhat quieter affair than either the Thai or Western New Year celebrations, but just as significant. Confusion as to which actual calendar is used might account for the fact that this festival seems to be held at different times in different places worldwide! Tai peoples traditionally make merit by visiting their local Wat at New Year, and, of course, by holding celebrations including traditional songs, dances , costumes and parties, both in their homes and in the community. Last Saturday’s celebrations were enjoyed by people from other ethnic minorities in Burma as well as by Tai migrants from the Shan States. The date of the festival coincided with the Tabaung Full Moon day on March 21, which occurs in the last month of the Burmese calendar at a time when, traditionally, the harvest is safely home.
At the start of the festival, alms were offered to monks; then the celebrations began, and continued late into the night. This year, there seemed to be more focus on traditional music, drums, and dances than previously, with whole families - fathers, uncles and even grandfathers - dancing with their brightly dressed children and grandchildren perched on their shoulders. There seemed to be a disproportionately high police presence with very little to do except watch, as the festival passed largely without incident. Most people were happy to be on their best behaviour, and were simply enjoying the party! Mai Soong Pee Tai - Happy Tai New Year - from all of us to all of them!

 

CM International School presents “Into the Woods”

The Stephen Sondheim musical “Into the Woods” will have its latest outing this coming weekend, March 28/29, performed by members of the CM International School. The chosen venue is the Kad Theatre within the Central complex at Kad Suan Kaew, with two performances on each of the two days, at 10.30 am and 7 pm. The musical itself was first performed on Broadway in 1987, and has a charming story about a couple who try to reverse a curse which is preventing them from having a child. Several familiar themes from fairy tales such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood are included; the musical score is vintage Sondheim, and, unsurprisingly, won three Tony awards. Tickets are available from Kad Suan Kaew, and cost 200 baht for adults and 100 baht for students. For availability, please call 053 306 152.


Health, Fitness and Weight Loss - it’s not just boring old diets and treadmills!

John Bailey
Weight loss - a major commercial industry in the West these days - and I do mean commercial! Follow this diet - take these recommended supplements- spend just 5 minutes a day on our new, fantastic and very pricey piece of exercise kit - you’ll lose pounds in days! Yeah, right. And don’t we all wish it was that simple! OK, some theories attached to the “soft sell” adverts do have their uses, but only as pieces of a much bigger jigsaw puzzle.
In an article by Dr Ian Corness in a recent edition of this paper, it was powerfully pointed out that being overweight, (or, worse still, actually obese), has serious implications. So, what do you do about it, and how do you get rid of that fat, especially if you are, dare I mention, getting older! The bottom line is that, if you consume more calories than you burn during a day’s activity, (or lack of it.), you gain weight. If the ratio goes the other way, you lose weight. End of. Or is it? Behind that simple statement lies a whole philosophy of diet and exercise - yes, I did mention exercise - which in itself can be quantified by an easy to remember acronym - FITT. Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type. The one even more important word in this concept doesn’t begin with “F”, it’s MOTIVATION! In the next few weeks I shall be writing a short series of articles addressing this modern-day plague, and how to recover from it! No, I am not a doctor - in my life in the West I was the guy your doctor referred you to when it became apparent that your size was affecting your health and physical condition. Also when you’d had a heart bypass, broken bones, were in the early stages of diabetes, or had just received a very scary blood pressure reading,(all of which conditions can be vastly improved by correctly prescribed exercise techniques) and so on, but that’s another story. Guys like me are called “Medical referral health and fitness consultants”, for obvious reasons. Hopefully, I can provide some answers for those who want to take their weight and their health seriously enough to use the “M” word - motivation! And it can be fun as well - yes, Madam, you can pump iron at 65 years old without doing yourself damage should you so wish! Provided you know what you’re doing… Next week - the basic facts about exercise and its effect on your general health and fitness levels as well as your weight. In the meantime, try a daily swim - it can work wonders!


A gap in generations?

Having just received this amusing story, told at a very exclusive dinner party, from friends in the UK, we thought you might like it too…
A somewhat egoistic young man in his first year at the London School of Economics found himself sitting next to a senior citizen at a rather unexciting Chelsea Football Club match. Eager to impress the older generation, the student proceeded to regale his unfortunate neighbour with his theory of the reasons behind the inability of his parents’ generation to understand the “youth of today”.
Part of his totally unwanted and unappreciated dissertation was focussed on the fact that he believed that people of his parents’ age and older had grown up in a world which today’s young people considered as primitive. “I and my contemporaries” he stated, “grew up with television, air travel, space travel, moon walking, space missions to Mars, nuclear energy, computers and the internet, light-speed processing and…” here he paused to take another gulp of his designer lager.
Taking advantage of the break in the flow, the senior citizen replied, “You’re absolutely correct, my boy, we were not able to enjoy all those things when we were your age” - slight pause - “so we invented them! Now, you arrogant little s**t, what are you going to do for the next generation?” Was that, or was that not, a truly stunning “senior moment”?
At which point, Chelsea scored a goal, thus removing the need for any further conversation.



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