Vol. VII No. 23 - Tuesday
June 3 - June 9, 2008



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


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

Heroes Emerge from the Storm

Chiang Mai Choral Society sings at wedding

A Wedding Party in the wet at The House Restaurant

Alchemy Pops draw the crowds at the UN Irish Pub

Anura Wines comes to town

Chiang Mai Friends’ Group seeks volunteer teachers

New President for Zonta

Brits encouraged to register online

Heroes Emerge from the Storm

Rebecca Lomax
You are looking at the faces of heroes, ordinary people who, when confronted with unimaginable disaster, have faced it with courage and nobility. These are the people of Burma who survived the violence of Typhoon Nargis and are now forced to struggle against another insidious force, the treachery of their own government. These are the people who were not warned of the potential for death that this storm carried even as it bore down upon them. The rest of the world knew its trajectory and wind force, the danger from storm surges and flooding. They heard it on the news or read about it on the internet. But these people, these heroes, did not have access to that information. These are the people who, when the storm finally passed over them and they dared emerge from shelter, saw unspeakable horrors - the body of a baby dangling from a tree branch, clusters of children’s bodies floating in a flooded field, bodies littering the rice paddies along the flood line after it receded. Bodies, more bodies, and no one to remove them from their sites of death and perform the rites and rituals that are so important in a Buddhist society. None to mourn them. Everywhere there was destruction, whole buildings moved off of their foundations, walls down, telephone poles and trees collapsed onto them. But in the rural areas, there was nothing left standing but the more substantial temples.

A true hero - leading the way by boat.
So the people who were left moved slowly towards the only safety and stability they could visualize, the temples. And the monks began to work for the benefit of all beings, feeding them and helping to take care of their injuries. Soon volunteers from within the country emerged, and included doctors and nurses, people carrying medicine to the sick and injured, people with rice. Offers of aid came from all over the world, compassionate people and governments pledged ships full of food, water, portable shelters, sanitation equipment, medical supplies and relief workers. But the government refused to allow them inside the country. Bodies remained in the fields and in the ditches, and in some areas remain there still. Compassionate people tried to remove them, tried to tend to the bodies in the Buddhist way. But there are too many bodies and too few workers. Inside the temple walls, the monks and volunteers fed and clothed the people with whatever they could find. They helped them in their grief. And the word spread.
Soon the military government heard what was happening, and so they evicted the people from the sanctuary of the temples; they turned away the workers with HIV drugs, the doctors with skills and supplies, the gifts of food from Thailand and other countries. But the heroes, those incredible ordinary people, did not stand down. They took the food, clothing, supplies and medical care to the people on the roadside. They delivered it by boat. And when confronted by the military, they found a way to get around the problem. The doctors shared their packages of noodles. The monks organized clothing and handed it out. The woman with HIV drugs delivered them to the mom and her baby. And the heroes will not be quieted. As a boat makes its way into the Irrawaddy delta, the photographer focuses on the face of a very brave man who leads the way, a Buddhist monk. He knows full well the dangers, but this is his country and these are his people. He, and all of the heroes, will be there for them.
http://www.buddhanet.net/ sangha-metta/project.html

Monks distribute food to survivors lined up alongside the road.

 

Chiang Mai Choral Society sings at wedding

A personal tribute

Pictured here are Sid Richardson, the group’s musical director, (left),
with a number of the singers

The Chiang Mai Choral Society, under its musical director Sid Richardson, had a very special outing recently, when they were invited to sing at the wedding of Channon Pongcharoenkul (Mai) and his bride Mei, held at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Devi. The groom’s family has long been a major sponsor of the society, and his mother, Waranam, has been singing in the soprano section since its formation in 1998, making the group’s contribution to the couple’s happiest day a very personal tribute.
Right now, the Choral Society are in full rehearsal mode for their next concert, Gilbert and Sullivan’s famous comic operetta “Trial by Jury”, which will be performed on June 7 at Payap University’s Multi-Media Centre. For further information or to book your tickets, pleas email [email protected]


A Wedding Party in the wet at The House Restaurant

The happy couple Ann and Boom pose for their wedding photos
with their respective family members.

Sunday May 25 saw the wedding day of happy couple Pisamorn Duangleka, (Ann) and Yuttana Ussapunt, (Boom). Ann works for Rice for Asian Design, a company owned by Hans Christensen, joint owner with Chatchai Jultamara of The House restaurant, making the choice of a venue for the reception a foregone conclusion!
Ann and Boom met several years ago whilst working for Trio Printing - a family business - and “officially fell in love” two years ago.
For the big day, Chatchai used thousands of flowers, candles and fairy lights to transform the courtyard of The House into a fairytale location, at which over a hundred of the couple’s friends and family gathered to celebrate the happy occasion. Although the wedding reception itself was a very western affair, the couple decided on a traditional northern Thai buffet. Music was provided by Ter, Garn and Peem of ‘Upbeat’, a local band.
As luck would have it, just after the speeches and best wishes and as the guests were gathering at the buffet tables, the heavens opened and a terrific thunderstorm sent everyone running for cover. Fortunately, Hans and Chatchai had closed both the House restaurant, the Tapas Bar and the Ginger Kafe for the occasion, leaving plenty of covered areas, thus reducing a possible disaster to a mere inconvenience with which the staff coped brilliantly. Although many people asked - the couple decided to keep the honeymoon details a total secret!
The Chiang Mai Mail would like to wish the happy couple all the very best for the future.


Alchemy Pops draw the crowds at the UN Irish Pub

Full house for ArtSpace-inspired band

Rebecca Zolkower IS Carole King!

On a special night, May 23, at the UN Irish Pub, the Alchemy Pops Band covered Carole King’s album Tapestry, performing to a jam-packed, cheering crowd. The performance was the brainchild of Lindsay Stevenson, the band’s electric guitarist, and one of the long-stay musical gems of Chiang Mai. Lindsay can be heard playing solo at the UN Irish Pub most Friday nights from around 10 pm, and has covered albums ranging from Neil Young’s Harvest Moon to the Violent Femmes’ debut album. Having worked with The Alchemy Pops since the start of ArtSpace on 7, Lindsay decided to challenge his bandmates with the thrill of covering one of the highest selling albums of all time, Tapestry, a classic all-hit album from 1971, containing such numbers as, “Natural Woman”, “I Feel the Earth Move” and “You’ve Got a Friend”.
Rebecca Zolkower, thrilled the crowd with a voice so similar to Carole King’s, that if they closed their eyes, they would have believed they were back in 1971 listening to a live performance from King herself! Matthew Whiston’s whisky-stained voice made “So Far Away” echo with emotion, and Bradley Dean Whyte, of ArtSpace, gave the audience an animated dance with his talents on the piano. Mic Barthelemy cut his groove on the drums and had the audience dancing well into the night.
The Alchemy Pops band was born out of an ArtSpace event called “Band In A Day”, back in January. Since then, ArtSpace has continued to provide unique entertainment to the Chiang Mai community. Look for Antoine Garth’s “Fifth Avenue Meets the Cotton Club” - an evening of Cole Porter and Duke Ellington at ArtSpace on 7 on June 11, Alchemy Pops at the UN Irish Pub one Friday each month, visit ArtSpace’s website at www. artspace chiangmai.com for more upcoming treats!


Anura Wines comes to town

Wine tasting at the Amari Rincome

Celebrating ‘Anura Wines’ at the Amari Rincome Hotel are Tymen and Jenny Bouma, Pam Douglas, Alan Riddell, the South African Ambassador H.E. Douglas HM Gibson, and Wim Fagel (l/r).

Earlier this month, Anura Wines held a wine tasting at the Amari Rincome’s La Gritta Restaurant, at which the guest of honour was the South African Ambassador to Thailand, Douglas Gibson. Tymen Bouma from Anura Vineyards was on hand to give professional advice on the wines being offered, and Alan Riddell, consultant to the South African Board of Trade, was also available to promote the country’s wares.
Anura Vineyards has 120 hectares of vineyards, predominately noble red varieties, mainly producing red wine, specifically Shiraz, but also varieties such as Mourvedre, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese and Malbec, which are now distributed and enjoyed in over 10 countries. The company’s wines have won numerous awards, including the SAA’s Best Red of 2006 for the Anura Syrah/Mourvedre 2003 Reserve, the 2005 Fairburn Trophy for Best Chenin Blanc for the Anura Chenin.2005, and a double gold award at the Veritas Wine Awards for the first vintage 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon and the Merlot Reserve 2004.
Anura believes in a healthy socio-economic environment and as a result has built up a partnership with the Black Economic Empowerment organisation, thus giving previously disadvantaged people a real share in the economic growth of the company.
Chef Stefan provided tasty nibbles and with Wim Fagel, GM of the Amari Rincome, supervising the event it was, of course, a great success.


Chiang Mai Friends’ Group seeks volunteer teachers

Cross-cultural education project aims to improve kids’ spoken English

The recently formed Chiang Mai Friends’ Group, which is working closely with the Mayor of Chiang Mai on her plans for the city’s future, is now ready to begin its Cross-Cultural Education Project, supported by Chiang Mai Municipality.
One reason for the project is that many of the English-speaking foreign residents here in Chiang Mai would like to contribute to the Mayor’s policies and ideas to maintain and improve the quality of life in Chiang Mai; most of those interested, however, may not achieve the level of competence necessary to communicate in Thai in order to maximize their contribution. By helping to improve the levels of spoken English in local schools, that communications gap may well begin to close!
The group has selected 11 municipal schools with the aims of improving the English-speaking skill of the students, emphasizing concern in their daily lives and helping them to get a wider vision of the world, facilitating and increasing the participation and effectiveness of English-speaking residents in the Mayor’s programme, and helping Thai English teachers to improve their ESL skills, thus benefiting their students.
Volunteers are asked to commit at least two hours per week, with the primary emphasis on conversation. Students between the ages of 11 and 12 years old will be asked to speak about themselves; based on the conversations, the teacher will provide an analysis of grammar, spelling, and content to be noted down by the students and used for home study. About 25% of lesson time will be devoted to basic English grammar such as verbs and tenses, Thai versus English modes of expression, and the use of idioms. Students will also be encouraged to join in activities beneficial to the environment. Volunteers should have either an ESL qualification, or be recommended by the board of the Chiang Mai Friends’ Group.
Special permission will be given by Chiang Mai Municipality to enable volunteer teachers to work without the usual requirement of a work permit. The entire project is non-profit-making and is intended to provide a service to the community as a whole.
If you are interested in helping, an orientation session will be held at the Mayor’s office on June 5, 10 am. For further details, please contact Khun Boong by email at [email protected], or visit the website at www. retireinchiangmai.com.


New President for Zonta

More social programmes to be developed

Pictured seated are Laura, Sonboom and Daranee (l/r)
surrounded by many of the Zonta members.

Zonta International Chiang Mai held a luncheon at the Empress Hotel on Saturday May 24 to celebrate the two years of outgoing president Daranee’s leadership. She worked untiringly to continue and advance Zonta’s fund raising for Grandmas, Orphans, the education of women in poverty situations, and many other activities, including strengthening Zonta’s commitment to advancing Thai culture. She was presented with a silver plaque that read “Daranee, Thank-you for a wonderful two years, 2006-2008, Your Zonta Sisters”.
Incoming President Laura Godtfredsen made it clear that she is committed to continue and expand these programs and to encouraging the members to support each other’s interests and develop more social programs. She said that Zonta welcomes new potential members to the club, to help advance its programs and share in its fellowship. She stressed that Thai and non Thai women working together bring great value to those in need.


Brits encouraged to register online

The British Embassy Bangkok encourages British Nationals travelling or living in Thailand to register your details with LOCATE, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s newly improved online registration service. The new service also allows us to locate British Nationals in the event of a crisis abroad. To register please visit http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/Locate/. You may email us on [email protected] should you have difficulties regarding the registration.
Consular Section
British Embassy Bangkok
www.britishembassy.gov.uk/thailand



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