Heroes Emerge from the Storm
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.
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
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.
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
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
A Wedding Party in the wet at The House Restaurant
The happy couple Ann and Boom pose for their
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
British Embassy Bangkok