Amari “Baht for a better life” event goes with a swing!
Pink Panther entertaining the audience.
Daeng Fantastic, looking great in his white
suit, with some adoring fans.
Could this be Thailand’s answer to the Three
Music for everyone at the Amari’s “Baht for a
better life” concert.
140 guests gathered on the evening August 30 at the Amari Rincome Hotel in
anticipation of another great annual “Baht for a better life” concert and
dinner. They weren’t disappointed – this year’s evening went with a swing
provided by three different bands! The in-house favourite, Daeng Fantastic
were of course there, and so were Pink Panther and Silver Sands. As all the
musicians are good friends, a mix-and-match provided some great music,
including ever-popular standards made famous by Frank Sinatra, Elvis and the
Carpenters, plus less familiar but no less enjoyed classic Thai tunes. As a
result, once everyone had finished their sumptuous 4-course dinner, they
couldn’t wait to get onto the dance floor and lose some calories!
The ever popular Wim Fagel, GM of the Amari, though, had other ideas – a
surprise auction, featuring vouchers from other Amari resorts and hotels
around Thailand, which raised over 100,000 baht for the charity, which
collects donations from events held at all the company’s venues and from
hotel guests and uses them to build and equip schools in poor areas.
An amazing total of 275,716 baht was raised at this year’s Chiang Mai event,
including an anonymous donation of 100,000 baht. Many thanks to go all who
helped to make the evening such a success for the in-house charity,
especially Oasis Spa, WOW Studio, ItalThai and the staff at the Amari
A delightful, delectable, delicious “Orange” night!
Over 80 enthusiastic supporters of the Rooftop Party Charity attended a
very special sell-out dinner at D2 hotel earlier this month. The theme
of the event was “Orange” – at least 65 of the guests were wearing
various shades of the cheerful colour – it’s just possible that the
remainder were wearing orange underwear, but nobody checked!
girl Jo seen here with Birthday boy John.
Welcoming cocktails were presented on arrival, enlivening the usual
meet, greet and gossip routine, until D2 staff led the guests into
dinner with their “signature” dance routine! The meal was superb; the
three-course menu including such delights as baked, stuffed chicken with
prawn in green curry sauce with roasted chilli potatoes, and the
choreographed march to remove and replace each course performed by the
15 waiters and waitresses caused much amusement.
The evening was made even more special by the discovery that three
birthdays and one anniversary were being celebrated amongst the guests –
lots of congratulations and laughter followed. Many guests, including
some who could not attend the dinner, stayed on for the D2’s regular DJ
night, partying on with the help of orange and blue cocktails and
The D2 dinner raised a grand 47,800 baht from the raffle, an auction
with generous prizes donated by Lori from ‘Art and Culture Asia’, and a
donation of 8,400 baht from D2. The next Rooftop Charity event is a
brunch-lunch at the Chedi on September 20, followed by a seafood buffet
at the Holiday Inn on September 26. For further details, contact
Pictured is Tarun (left) from D2 making sure
everyone has a good evening.
Birthday boy John surrounded by some great
The dancing went on well into the night!
The controversial 20 hour
“Teachers’ Certificate” course – an evaluation
Many members of the expat community here in Chiang Mai, once
they’ve settled in and dealt with culture shock and the novelty of being
here, seem to feel that they need “something to do”. For native English
speakers, a TEFL course leading to a teaching job is the obvious option
– enjoyable and ultimately financially rewarding. Plus, the feeling that
they’re, in a small way, helping. Once the TEFL qualification is gained,
the fun starts…finding a suitable job, (often not as easy as it sounds
on the web sites of the various TEFL training establishments), adjusting
to Thai ways in the school itself, and actually managing to keep your
job for more that one term, as many schools won’t want to pay you during
the holidays! Expats fortunate, (and qualified), enough to be employed
by one of the international schools here in the city should find their
path to full employment, a work permit and a degree of respect smoothed
to a great extent – those who are not so fortunate and end up working
for a private school will soon learn to watch their backs!
Another recent government-introduced hoop that ESP and TEFL-qualified
teachers will need to jump through is the “Teachers’ Certificate,” or
licence. This was the subject of an earlier act of parliament stating
that all teachers should have the certificate as a minimum and work
towards a full license within two years. Enforcement of this law has
only recently begun. The short form takes 20 hours, and costs
approximately 4,000 baht; the long form, (Teachers’ Licence), takes a
whole year’s study and costs at least 60,000 baht, which rather rules it
out as an immediate option, particularly as it does not seem to confer
much in the way of benefits. Many private schools in Chiang Mai are now
insisting that their native English speaking teachers take the short
course, some, (the better ones…), are even paying for it on the
teachers’ behalf! Confusion seems to reign on the internet forums
concerning its content and its usefulness – its description as
“Licensure of Professional Education for Foreign Teachers – Training on
Thai Culture and Language, Professional Standards and Code of Conduct,”
seems far too comprehensive for a 20-hour course.
Surprisingly, however, teachers who attended a course held recently at
Montfort College and run by the Private School Teachers’ Association of
Thailand, found it informative, useful, and conducted in an effective
manner by the course trainers, although the stated 9 objectives, would
possibly take the average farang teacher a lifetime to fully appreciate!
Presented over 3 days, the 8 modules were divided into 3 sections, Thai
Culture, Thai Language, and the Teacher Licensure itself. Discussion
forums formed an integral part of the course.
The first topic, composed of three modules, introduced the basics of
Thai society, and gave a useful, if brief, introduction to the country’s
general history, societal foundations, economics, politics and religion,
and included the differing aspects of the above as related to the four
major Thai regions, the north, north-east, central and south. The
country’s history was well-covered, going back to pre-history with the
discovery of cave paintings and stone-age tools. Scant relevance to
modern times or social development, maybe, but interesting nevertheless.
Arriving at more recent times, the fact that, during the last 800 years,
Thailand, unlike its neighbours, has never been colonised, was stressed
as a “distinction”. Said “distinction,” it must be noted, has been used
to explain, if not to justify, much in Thailand today. The political
section of the module confines itself to an explanation of the set-up of
government and the House of Representatives, a wise move under the
The module concerned with Thai ways of life focuses strongly on the
traditional social system and the Buddhist religion; the sub-section on
the Thai social cycle and its influence on interpersonal relationships
was particularly revealing. The concept of operating in at least three
different “circles” – the family circle, the cautious circle and the
selfish circle – not forgetting the all important concept of “loss of
face,” surely must be one of the most difficult aspects of the process
of Western adjustment to Asian ways.
The development of the Thai system of education, traditionally
monastically based and excluding females until 1868, when HM King
Chulalongkorn the Great formulated a system of public education at a
time when English was the lingua franca of the Far East, received
detailed coverage, as did its link with modernisation. The “New Era” of
national education, from 1997 to the present time, includes social
reform, a 12 year basic education for all, and the introduction of new
learning theories. Teachers on the course, however, may have wondered
why it didn’t cover the necessity of parental disciplinary procedures to
prevent the throwing of chairs and general disrespect of some students
during class! Theory versus practice…
The second module involves Thai courtesy and manners, covering dress
code, the physical aspects of Thai culture including public displays of
emotion, the Wai, standing, sitting, casual versus formal behaviour,
etc, etc. In other words, all aspects of body language, most of which
are totally unfamiliar to foreign residents and therefore very difficult
to interpret. A considerable stumbling block in the process of
successful integration, unfortunately. The module continues with verbal
and social etiquette, both language-based and general – again confusing
to foreigners. An interesting sub-section is headed “Cross-cultural
values,” and makes comparisons between assertiveness and aggression,
seriousness and self-esteem, self-motivation and self-reliance,
independence and individualism, etc. In the section regarding
interacting with students and their parents, the teacher is advised not
to “sit or stand on class books,” amongst other unlikely modes of
behaviour! The final module of this topic includes a basic and well
written list and description of Thai arts, music, dance and festivals,
historically based by period and area.
The second topic concerned the Thai language, and, again, is a good
basic guide to simple and useful aspects, including phrases, tonality,
pronunciation and a section on the Thai national and royal anthems.
The final topic extensively covered laws and regulations for teachers
and standards of professional knowledge and experience. 4 modules were
included; an introduction to the relevant Teachers’ and Education act, a
description of standards of professional knowledge and experience,
standards of performance and standards of conduct. On this last,
teachers were heard to gently remark that a similar section for students
might be an excellent idea!
Although the requirement of a teachers’ licence seems to have been
greeted by a less than enthusiastic response within the ESP community,
the general feeling of the 120 teachers who attended the course was
encouragingly positive. Having seen, and been impressed by, the
accompanying course book, this writer considers that the information it
contains would be of use to all newly-arrived expat residents as well as
to teachers. Attendees receive a certificate at the end of the course,
it remains to be seen whether this is of any value at all in gaining or
keeping a teaching job in Chiang Mai private schools.
Special events for the next two weeks
September 18 As part of the International Song Festival, Antoine
Garth will be giving an informative and entertaining Lecture Recital
entitled “The development of the Renaissance Motet” at that very
individual restaurant and bar, the Spirit House. Musical examples will
be provided by Antoine himself and his talented local volunteer group,
the Early Music Ensemble. Examples will include music by early composers
such as Josquin des Pres, Tomas Luis da Victoria and Giovanni Pierluigi
da Palestrina. The Spirit House restaurant, if you haven’t already
visited yet, is a treat in itself, atmospheric and very individual,
decorated with wall hanging and antiques and with a huge spirit house
(of course) as the backdrop to the stage. Its convivial owner, Steve,
will be providing a Renaissance Supper to match the music. Tickets are
600 baht, available at the door, and the evening starts at 6.30. The
restaurant is located on Soi Viengbua, Chiang Puek.
September 19 –
Please note that the piano recital by Andrew Wilde on this date has been
cancelled due to health reasons, as have his master classes. Andrew was due
to fly in from the UK; sadly, he has developed a severe ear infection and
has been advised not to fly. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see
him here at a later date.
September 20 If
you’re ready for another night of classical delights, this is also for you –
the second in the series of Bennett Lerner concerts focusing on the great
French composer Gabriel Fauré’s Nocturnes and Barcarolles. Chiang Mai’s own
Bennett Lerner will be joined by Dutch Tenor Jan-Ate Stobbe, who will
perform Gustav Mahler’s “Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen,” (Songs of a
Wayfarer) and operatic arias by Verdi and Tchaikovsky. The concert begins at
7:30, and is being held at Payap’s Saisuree Chutikul Music Hall on Mae Kan
campus. Tickets are 200 baht. For more info, call Nok on 081-804-3920. For
more information, contact Steve at Spirit House 084-803-4366 or Antoine at
[email protected] gmail.com or 085-225-2169.
September 24 This
month’s meeting of the ever-popular Expat Ladies’ Lunch Group will take
place at the Chez Daniel Restaurant Français, beginning at noon, and
featuring a three course delicious meal including soup, main course, and
dessert, plus tea or coffee for under 200 baht! A vegetarian meal can also
be ordered. While you’re there, you can also buy wonderful pate, sausages,
ham, etc, to take home! Chez Daniel (French/Normandy cooking) is located at
255/19 Superhighway Entrance off Chiang Mai Land Road, not far from Airport
Plaza. Please contact Fran DaCosta by email on [email protected] to make a
reservation or for details of the menu.
Antoine’s very busy this month – his International Song Festival presents “5th Avenue
meets the Cotton Club” featuring the songs of Cole Porter and Duke Ellington
at the Shangri-La Hotel’s Concert Hall starting 6:30 p.m, with a buffet
dinner after the concert at 8 p.m. He will be joined by Thanawat Kapanyoo,
guitar Siraphop Sitson, bass and Arnuparp Khumma, drums. For those of you
who missed the first performance earlier this year of this great Jazz
evening, don’t miss this one! Tickets cost 200 baht for the concert; 550
baht for concert and dinner. It truly will be a great evening. For
information and reservations, contact Antoine at [email protected] or
The following events are
in support of the Hillside Rooftop Charities; tickets are available through
Sally Ward. For more information, please email her on
20th Sept Chedi
Brunch-Lunch: noon till 3 p.m.; 750 baht includes 1st drink.
26th Sept Holiday
Inn, seafood buffet from 7 p.m.; 600 baht. There will be 20% discount on