Vol. VII No. 31 - Tuesday
July 29 - August 4, 2008



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


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

Canadian Tuk-Tuk tour in support of Thai women AIDS/HIV victims

First Italian food evening a hit at Kantari Hills Hotel

Prem Center puts a new spin on kids’ summer camps

Tai Chi Success in China for Chiang Mai teacher

Canadian Tuk-Tuk tour in support of Thai women AIDS/HIV victims

Foundation Baan Nuu Rain to benefit

A big-hearted Canadian, Ray Emery, has embarked on a tour of Western Canada driving a tuk-tuk which he imported from Bangkok to Canada, the purpose of which is to raise awareness about women living with HIV/AIDS in Thailand. Ray is also hoping to raise the necessary funds to purchase land in the Chiang Mai area and build a permanent facility for some of these women.

Ray and Bonita with their Tuk-Tuk in Nipawin, Saskatchewan, before the start of the town’s annual parade.

Nuu Rain Inc. in Canada was co-founded by Ray and his wife, Bonita, in the spring of 2005 after one of their many visits to Chiang Mai. A home for women was opened in Chiang Mai in that same year and has the capability of providing food, clothing, medical aide and a safe living environment for up to ten women at a time. Ray & Bonita spend approximately half of the year in Canada, fund raising for this work of love. Under Foundation Baan Nuu Rain, the plan is to build twenty modest two bedroom homes with a learning centre, workshop and administration building where up to forty women that are HIV infected can be housed. The total cost of the project is approximately 20 million Thai baht and it is estimated that completion of the project will be in 2010.
The tuk-tuk tour itself will take up to two months and cover up to 10,000 km. Everywhere the tuk tuk has gone crowds have gathered to look at this unique vehicle, unseen till now in Canada. You can visit the foundation’s website at www. nuurain.com or, for more information, email on [email protected] or [email protected] .com. For Chiang Mai residents, the Baan Nuu Rain’s Chiang Mai office telephone number is 053-242-112.

 

First Italian food evening a hit at Kantari Hills Hotel

On July 20, the Nimman Bar & Grill at the new and very smart Kantari Hills hotel held its inaugural Italian Food Festival, supervised by Chef Claudio Viale. Not surprisingly, it proved to be a a sell-out event, with the VIP guests including the Consul General of Japan, Junko Yokota and the former Greek Ambassador Dr George Sioris with his wife Dararat Shinawatra.

The Consul General of Japan entertains friends at the Nimman Bar & Grill. Pictured are Phairoj and Tanudda (standing) with Dr Sioris, Junko Yokota and Dararat Shinawatra (seated).

Surprising the diners, the famous actress, activist and UNICEF goodwill ambassador, Mia Farrow, passed through to the private dining area to attend a working dinner to discuss the Nobel Women’s Laureate symposium, to be held the following day at Chiang Mai University.
Guests were serenaded by guitarist and singer Damrong, flown in from the Kantary Hills’ sister hotel in Phuket. From next month, diners will be able to enjoy the sounds of Ms Ria, a Filipino singer who features the Carpenters’ style of music, perfect for a relaxed evening with great, reasonably-priced food. During the evening, guests were able to choose from a large buffet and a “made to order” pasta. Everyone present hoped that the Nimman Bar & Grill will hold this event on a regular basis.
If you are planning on an event; why not invite [email protected] and make it that little bit more special.


Prem Center puts a new spin on kids’ summer camps

New activities from local adventure sites

Cool summer breezes, crackling firewood, swimming in the afternoon sun. For anyone that’s ever spent the warm season at camp it’s difficult to forget the sensations of a summer spent away from home with new friends. The appeal in these camps isn’t just spending the day frolicking and trying new activities; it’s the sense of independence and confidence that is gained from finally hitting the bull’s eye at archery, seeing your first geyser, or being recognized as the “camp clown” during the talent show. This is what stays with students even when the memories fade.
The Prem Center is putting a new spin on traditional camp programs to offer campers adventure and fun during summer camps. The afternoon swim will forever remain, but long gone are the days of leaky cabin roofs and outdoor showers covered in spiders! For two weeks in July, thirty-eight youngsters aged 8 – 14 “bunked up” at the Prem Center for an Adventure Camp featuring new activities from local adventure sites. Diversifying the program allowed the campers to take advantage of a day at Canopy Adventures, kayaking at Mae Ngad Dam, and a dip into the Pong Dued Geysers in Northern Mae Taeng Valley. On campus, tennis, golf, arts, and language electives were offered most mornings to cater to individual preferences. All this combined with traditional teambuilding, stories, camp fires, and evening games gave campers a strong sense of community and challenge.
The earliest summer camps date back to the 1860’s and were usually privately owned operations. The militarized mess halls and lack of safety guidelines are a far cry from today’s standards. Trustworthy staff who invest summer after summer in student’s wellbeing now create the natural retreat sought by parents and their children. The U.S. National Camp Association estimates that over 6 million children attend camps each year in the United States alone. International camps and specialized programs such as ESL, performance art, and sports camps are increasing in popularity.
The positive impacts of camp on a child’s life are evident. Thirteen year-old Taylor can attest, “When I first came here I was very shy because it was the first time I flew alone to go to camp. It was a great experience making new friends and the activities were fun. The one I liked the most was archery because I like shooting at objects.” If there’s anything Prem can observe from the last 150 years, it’s that camping doesn’t have to be weeks of homesick letters and bad canteen food. With proper facilitation a child explores new pathways and returns home from a summer well spent with newfound strength and individuality. For more information regarding camps in the Chiang Mai area, check out www.premcenter.org.


Tai Chi Success in China for Chiang Mai teacher

Three month course results in gold medal

Chiang Mai resident Julie Hastings has just returned home from another three months in China studying Chen style Tai Chi— a period of intense but rewarding work, involving studying five hours a day, six days a week. At the end of her trip, she participated in the Third International Chen Village Tai Chi Kung-Fu Elites Championships in Zhengzhou City in Henan Province, and returned home with a gold medal for her Chen 74 routine. Chiang Mai Mail’s reporter asked Julie four questions; firstly, what was the hardest part of the course, to which she replied,

Julie Hastings with her teacher, Master Fu  Nengbin

“Training 5-6 hours a day!  I was the oldest student, most are in their 20’s and 30’s, some are in their teens.  Physically and mentally it was quite exhausting”. Julie was asked to describe in 20 words what she felt was the most important benefit of the course—she replied that, “The biggest benefit is mental - Tai Chi requires intense concentration as well as physical stamina; it is a form of moving meditation”
The next question, “Are you planning to enter any more competitions, and, if so, where?” brought the response, “I will enter another international competition next August in China, along with about 2,000 other competitors”. Finally, our reporter asked Julie about her lasting impressions of China. She replied that “China is changing incredibly rapidly. Where I was, in Guilin and Yangzhou, was absolutely gorgeous but the big cities are ugly and very polluted. I thought the Chinese people would all be poor but they’re not—the farmers in the small villages are poor but the urban people have quite a bit of disposable income. Many things are still censored, like TV, newspapers, and the internet, but business opportunities abound”.
Thank you Julie, and on behalf of the Chiang Mai Mail we would like to congratulate you on your success. Julie shares her knowledge with both beginning and intermediate students and can be reached at www. taichichiangmai.com.



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