Baha’i performers visit Chiang Mai to sing and study
“Many Lamps - One Light” regards all sacred scriptures equally
A great turn-out at a very special meeting.
The unique “Many Lamps - One Light” programme took on a melodious note due
to a visit by a group of young performers, breaking from their university
studies to bring beautiful songs and chants to the group’s latest meeting at
Hillside 4 Condos on the afternoon of July 12.
The performers, from South Africa, France and Malaysia, all members of the
Baha’i Faith, whose core belief is the essential unity of humanity and its
various world religions, are on a 3 week visit to Chiang Mai, during which
they will be performing at other venues including at least one of the
The “Many Lamps - One Light” programme group have been meeting regularly on
the second and fourth Saturdays of each month since November 07, and offer
an ideal opportunity for persons who are looking for a spiritually uplifting
experience by means of exploring themes through a selection of sacred
writings from all the major world religions.
There is no “traditional religious service”. Everyone’s participation has
always been important and welcome. The only ground rule followed in the very
harmonious and friendly atmosphere is that there are absolutely no
inferences as to which sacred scripture might be superior to any other. Each
is treated equally and the programmes richly illustrate their commonality.
Refreshments are served - there is no charge to attend. Suite 209 at
Hillside 4 opens at 2 pm for a 2:30 commencement, and all are welcome.
Thai-USA celebrate 175th
anniversary of diplomatic relations
As part of the USA Independence Day celebrations, an evening event was held
at the USA Consulate on July 2 to commemorate 175 years of Thailand-USA
relationships. Invited guests included heads of government departments and
US Consul Gereral, Michael Morrow, left, and Chuchart Kilapaeng, Deputy
Governor of Chiang Mai, at the USA Independence Day celebrations.
The US Consul General, Michael Morrow, gave a speech of welcome, speaking
about the relationship between the two countries and reminding listeners
that, “When His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej addressed the United States
Congress 48 years ago, he noted that for all the distance that divides our
people, still one thing unites us - the love of freedom. 48 years later, it
still does. Our longstanding alliance and partnership is based on that
shared feeling. For 58 years now, the United States Consulate General in
Chiang Mai has been honored to play a role in developing that partnership.
And even before then, Americans in Chiang Mai played key roles in
establishing Chiang Mai University, Payap University, The Prince Royal’s
College, and McCormick Hospital. We’re grateful for the support and
friendship of the people of the North throughout these many years.”
Remarking that it had been over a year since he took up his position as
Consul General, he said that he considered the experience a privilege, and
thanked the people of Chiang Mai for making himself and his family feel so
welcome. The Thai Royal Anthem was then played, and a toast was raised to
Their Majesties, the King and Queen of Thailand.
On behalf of Thailand, Chuchart Kilapaeng, Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai,
replied that, on behalf of the people of Chiang Mai, he was pleased and
honored to celebrate 232 years of American independence and the 175th
anniversary of Thai-USA relations. Based on freedom and equality as a
family, cooperation in many fields, such as commerce, investment, education,
culture and tourism has been achieved. The two countries have also exchanged
visits between American leaders and the Thai Royal family. Both the US
Ambassador and the Consul play an important role in promoting relations
between the two countries. Chuchart then said that he gave best wishes to
the people of America, and that he hoped that the relationship between the
two countries would continue to grow.
Expat Group moves
Shangri-La GM Elaine Yue welcomes the Expat
Group. Pictured here are Julian Wipper (F&B), Alan Hall, Thitipol
Kanteewong, Duenpen Chaladlam and Elaine Yue.
Earlier this month, July 12, the Expat Group held its first meeting at
the Shangri-La Hotel having moved form the Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel next
to Kad Suan Kaew shopping plaza. On hand to greet members was the
general manager, Elaine Yue and the food and beverage director Julian
Wipper. The reason for the move was stated as “better facilities
including improved car parking and a state-of-the-art sound system,”
although at least one member found the echo at the rear of the room at
least a little trying.
The meeting on July 12 featured Traditional Melodies and Lanna
Traditional Music Instruments from Thitipol Kanteewong. Ajarn Thitipol
graduated Master of Musicology from Mahidol University and composes new
music which uses both traditional and contemporary ideas. His main
instrument is the ‘Salaw’ which is a type of fiddle. The Expat Group
meets every 2nd and 4th Saturday in the month - on July 26 the guest
speaker will be Henrick Peterson.
Old schools for new schools - the ‘Baht for a Better Life’ Concert at the Amari
The Pink Panther is coming to town
A press conference was held July 11 to announce details of the “Baht for
a Better Life” concert to be held on August 30 in the Payorm Room at the
Amari Rincome Hotel. It proved to be a press conference with a
difference - as singing was the order of the day! Starring in the show
will be the ‘Pink Panther’ (alternatively known as Wichai Poonyayant)
and his band, supported by the Amari Rincome’s own ‘Daeng Fantastic,’
who recently gave a sell-out concert in Bangkok. Also there will be The
Impossible (Vinai Punturak) and Silver (Virut Yootaworn). The music will
feature English and Thai popular songs old and new.
Pink Panther and Daeng Fantastic entertain the paparazzi.
Tickets are 950 baht and include an International Buffet. Drinks are not
included in the ticket price. Tables of 10 can be reserved by contacting
the Amari Rincome Hotel on 053 221 130. All proceeds from the concert
will go to the ‘Baht for a Better Life’ project, an ‘in house’ charity
organised by Amari Hotels, Resorts and Spas. Guests staying at any
hotel, resort or spa in the Amari chain are encouraged to donate their
small change, all of which goes to further the education of children in
Thailand. Many guests, of course, do give more and some even commit to
providing scholarships for needy children. At present, two different
initiatives are supported - the Duang Prateep Foundation and the Amari
Schools Project. The Duang Prateep Foundation supports children and
their families from an under-privileged area of Bangkok. In this area,
poverty prevents the majority of children from completing even basic
education. Through the project, children who are especially hardworking
and determined to continue their studies can be supported and helped to
succeed, despite the odds being against them. The Amari Schools Project
uses funds to improve the structures of dilapidated schools and to build
and equip new schools in various provinces across Thailand.
New York New Music Ensemble visits Payap
Two world premieres part of a dazzling program
The New York New Music Ensemble pictured at
the master class for students.
There is a sense of excitement and anticipation at any concert
of contemporary music and never more so when pieces are ‘hot off the
press’. This was the case on Friday July 11 when the Duriyasilp College
of Music at Payap University was home to an innovative concert by a
quintet from New York. Included in their program were two premieres -
both by Thai composers.
The remit of the New York group is to play - and often to commission -
new or modern music and (as ajarn Bennett Lerner pointed out whilst
introducing the musicians) this means music written for us, the
audience, whether we are nine or 90, since we are all contemporaries of
that music. The vociferous applause from a large crowd suggested a
measure of anticipatory agreement with the sentiment.
The concert comprised just six works, balanced between the five
brilliant performers: two pieces for all forces - piano, cello, violin,
clarinet and flute - two for quartet and two for flute, with piano and
clarinet respectively. Much of the music was challenging for both
players and the audience and stretched the conventional boundaries of
the instruments way beyond the norm. It made for an exhilarating
The ensemble, which came to Thailand for the Fourth Bangkok Composer’s
Festival, held July 16-18, visited Chiang Mai at the invitation of Payap
and Lerner and, the afternoon before the concert, gave a master class
for students and interested observers at the McCormack campus, based
around the music in the concert and helping illustrate the demands made
on the various instruments by ‘new’ music. A rapt audience was treated
to a sneak preview of Narong Prangcharoen’s quintet Vaya and found in it
elements of Thai music which intrigued the musicians, proving that even
the most experienced players can make discoveries during a performance.
The opening work at the Saisuree Chutikul Music Hall proved to be the
most accessible. A vivacious six minute work for all players called
Petrouchskates, by the American composer Joan Towers, pays passing
tribute to Stravinsky in a mind-blowing cascade of sound which combines
a flirtation with the great ballet score and the graceful movements of
skaters. This witty composer is famous for her riposte to Copland’s
classic Fanfare for the Common Man. Her work is entitled Fanfare for the
Uncommon Woman and has been performed world wide by some 500 different
orchestras and groups.
A happy fate unlikely to be echoed by Chou Wen-Chung’s challenging work
Cursive, for flute and piano, written in 1963 when the composer was
forty. This makes daunting demands on both players, especially the
flautist, as it suggests the hoops and curves of Chinese calligraphy
within a virtuoso - and often hauntingly beautiful - work, which demands
further hearings to be appreciated.
Spiral V1, as the name suggests, is part of a group of pieces by the
Cambodian composer Chinary Ung, written for piano, clarinet, violin and
cello, which juxtaposed plangent melodies for the string instruments
with vital and contrasting music for wind and piano. The composer states
that he has drawn from aspects of traditional music from his childhood -
music later suppressed by the Khmer Rouge.
The Thai compositions, both “first public performances” were for four
and five players respectively. Jaba by Narongit Dhamabutra (Great
Sadness) was written in memory of the sister of His Majesty the King,
Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, who died recently. The
work, written for the New York group, celebrates the Princess’ great
contribution to the arts in Thailand, especially music, and within three
movements blends grace, vivacity and an underlying sense of melancholy.
The second 2008 Thai work has recently won its composer a prestigious
award in the U.S.A. and is scheduled for a commercial recording later
this year. Called Vaya (wind) it is a ten minute work by 35 year old
Narong Prangcharoen, who introduced it at the concert, explaining that
it reflected the gentle and strong aspects of this element, through
shifting pitches and moods. A brilliant performance by the quintet of
this work, by the youngest composer represented, rounded off the
Esprit Rude Esprit Doux, written by Elliot Carter 44 years ago in
celebration of the great composer/conductor Pierre Boulez’ 60th
birthday, was by the oldest composer represented, who celebrates his
100th birthday this coming December and is still working steadily. One
of the greatest of all American composers, Carter displayed great
mastery in the concert’s seemingly most simply textured work. The title
suggests rough and smooth breathing and vividly contrasted the qualities
of both in a superb work for flute and clarinet. The demands made on the
players are formidable, and it was a tribute to both that they made this
beautiful piece the highlight of a memorable evening. The performers
were Jayn Rosenfeld (flute), Benjamin Fingland (clarinet), Linda Quan
(violin), Chris Finkel (cello) and Stephen Gosling (piano).
New photographic exhibition at Café Souvannaphoun
Café Souvannaphoun on Ratchamanka Road, next to Gecko Bookshop, is
becoming well known for promoting and supporting emerging artists
dealing with contemporary art and photography. Previously, Patcharapong
On-Ing held an exhibition there entitled ‘Harmony’.
Balz Hammer, proprieter of Café
Souvannaphoun, with Tee and photographic artist Assada.
Now it’s the turn of a photographic exhibition by Assada Pornananond
entitled ‘Spiritual City’. 32 year old Assada, born and bred in Chiang
Mai, is an ajarn at the Fine Arts Faculty of the Chiang Mai University,
where he teaches 50 students from different faculties. In this
exhibition he uses a toy plastic camera because he wants to prove to his
students ‘you don’t need to have an expensive equipment or camera to do
All of the photos are black and white and shot in the city - the name
gives a big clue that they are mostly either of temples or parts of
temples. The photos are for sale at 4,000 baht apiece. Assada is an
extremely industrious character, holding 3 or 4 exhibitions every year
and is well known on the ‘art scene’ in Chiang Mai.
The exhibition will run until August 21. Café Souvannaphoun (053 903
781) is open from 5:30 until late, but closed on Sundays.
Soroptimists meet to coordinate Single Mothers’ Project
A better future for single mothers and their children
The recently formed Chiang Mai chapter of Soroptimists International met
July 12 at the Amari Rincome to further coordinate their Single Mothers
Project following the highly successful “Respect - Taking Action in
Style” Fashion Show Extraordinaire. The event, staged to celebrate the
first year’s anniversary of the new chapter, raised a net amount of over
100,000 baht. At the meeting, it was decided that a number of smaller
fundraisers should be organised in order to raise awareness of the
project as well as much-needed funds.
The aim of the Single Mothers Project at present is to provide ongoing
practical and financial support for single mothers who have received the
initial one year support package from the Wildflower Home in Chiang Mai.
Wildflower provides a safe haven for traumatised young women and their
children, who have escaped from desperate, often abusive situations, and
gives counselling and training to help the women to recover from their
experiences, gain employment and rebuild their lives in a positive
Although a relatively new group, with, as a result, limited funds,
Chiang Mai’s Soroptimists are committed to supporting single mothers
struggling to keep their families together whilst balancing the
challenges and demands of the work place and the home. To further these
aims, single mothers are offered a structured and long-term support
base, reimbursements of medical costs for themselves and their children,
micro-loans and long term scholarship donations for a minimum of 6 years
if needed. Liaison with employers who support single mothers is an
important part of the programme, as is encouraging the women to stay
with the employers and create a stable future for themselves. Basic
business training is also offered in order to help such women fit in to
the work environment.
Soroptimists Chiang Mai has a list of over 50 women who desperately need
structured help - one of the group’s main aims is to become known in
Chiang Mai for their Single Mothers Project, thus increasing awareness
of the size and urgency of the issue. For further information, please
contact the president of Soroptimists Chiang Mai, Carolina Thompson, by
email on [email protected]
“60 Days After Nargis” hosted by CMU
Objective - to inform and promote awareness
On July 11, Chiang Mai University campus hosted an information,
awareness and fundraising event entitled “60 Days after Nargis,” the
aims of which were to keep the public and involved NGOs informed of the
situation in the affected areas, and to further discuss possible
solutions for both emergency relief and long term recovery. A further
objective was to foster understanding and awareness regarding the human
rights situation brought about by the cyclone’s devastating effects, and
to strengthen networks amongst individuals, civil society groups,
academics, NGOs and other organisations working in Burma.
The day began with an introduction from Dr Chayan Vaddhanaphuti (Faculty
of Social Sciences at CMU), who also acted as moderator, followed by a
detailed report of the current situation from Amnat Phonmart of the
ASEAN Emergency Rapid Assessment Team and a talk by Chaikrit Maachamlong
(also from the Faculty of Social Sciences). Nattawadee Duangtadam
(Community Development and Civic Empowerment) gave a presentation on
community relief initiatives, followed by details of cross border relief
provided by Manh and Slai Doug Muang from the Emergency Assistance Team
(EAT-Burma). Prior to a break, Preeda Khongpan from the Tsuami Victims
Network Team talked about the Tsunami Experience and Nargis Cyclone in
After the break, Sulak Siwalak, former Chairman of
Saithierakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation gave a speech on ‘Go Beyond
Nationalist History Towards a Greater Understanding and Better Attitude
on Burma’. This was followed by numerous speakers discussing the migrant
situation in Thailand. In the evening, a fund raising concert took
place; artistes included the comedy show by ‘Thee Lay Thee,’ and
performances featuring entertainers from the Shan (Tue Pho), Karen
(Phanuthat Aphitchanathong), Lanna (Hong Hien Sueb San Lanna) and Molam
Lanna (Boon Kak Saa). Joining in the event were artistes from across
Thailand and from Burma.
During the whole event, from 1 pm until 9 pm, various activities to
raise both money and awareness took place, including photo and painting
displays, Burmese food, dolls from Nose Udom and T shirts. The Chiang
Mai Friends for Nargis Recovery Group, which has to date raised 189,500
baht for victims of the disaster helped enormously with the organising.
Urgently needed funds have been sent to grassroots organisations working
to assist cyclone victims; however, the damage wrought by Nargis is so
widespread and massive that more than one million estimated victims have
yet to receive any form of basic aid.
If you would like to donate, bank details are as follows: Krung Thai
Bank Account; CMU Branch, under the name of CM Friends for Nargis
Recovery. Account No 456-0-04854-1. Alternatively there is a donation
station at Wat Kum Tao in Chiang Mai.