“Many Lamps – One Light”
celebrates 12 Wonderful Months
“Many Lamps – One Light” inspirational programmes, an initiative of
the Baha’i community of Chiang Mai, celebrated its 1 year milestone when it
met at Hillside 4 Plaza and Condotel on Huay Kaew Road last week.
More than at any other time, people are seeking answers and solutions to
personal problems and to some of the many lamentable and bewildering
conditions that are besetting society as a whole. “Many Lamps – One Light”
has been opening doorways to harmony and peace as it points us to some of
the solutions and uplifts the cause of unity amongst the peoples of the
All those attending the programmes, whether regularly or occasionally, have
felt they were contributing something tangible and worthwhile to the world
around them as well as to their own spiritual growth.
The programmes have served a unique purpose in bringing together people in
harmonious, inspiring and enlightening consideration of the essential
oneness of humanity found in the writings of the major world faiths, without
the constraints of religious dogma and conformity. This has allowed persons
of different religious persuasion, and those of none, to enjoy the meetings
where no personal distinctions are identified or made.
The meetings, which are totally free of charges or donations, start promptly
at 2.30 p.m. and last about half an hour before refreshments and
socialising. They then continue for a further open discussion, in which
everyone usually contributes their own experiences and thoughts on the day’s
topic. Those who remember the first of the bimonthly programmes, look back
with deep satisfaction on an important and wonderful year of breaking down
barriers and raising spiritual awareness and growth.
For further information contact Mike on 087-305-4006.
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When
you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person. When
someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you
have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to
provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically,
emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend – and they are!
They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any
wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say
or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die.
Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a
stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire
fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered
and now it is time to move on.
A Yee Peng message from Mayor Dr Duentemduang na Chiengmai
This year’s Loy Krathong, according to the meteorological department, is
expected to be much colder than in previous years – by the time you read
this, you will know whether they were right or not! Making comparisons
of various years’ weather reminds one of the atmosphere of the festival
in olden times. Yee Ping is a traditional festival, based on the
heritage of ancient times, which centres round the river and its
life-giving waters, and the temples in which people give annual thanks,
confess their mistakes and wrongdoings, pay respect to their gods and
the Buddha, and pray for good fortune and happiness in the year to come.
The beliefs and faith of the Lanna peoples are encapsulated in the
celebrations, as is paying respect to the “mother river.”
The most important factor in the celebrations is the bringing together
of all peoples, in the gathering to make merit at the many temples.
Homes and gateways are beautifully decorated, candles are lit, and the
lovely traditional lanterns in all their forms are seen everywhere,
glowing with promises and best wishes for the following year.
Traditional parades wind around the old city and its walls, people wear
the historic old Lanna costumes, hold lighted candles signifying to
their ancestors that all is well, and float Krathongs on the river, all
with the irresistible Thai smile, famous to tourists worldwide and to
those who are fortunate enough to live in Chiang Mai. Everyone who comes
to the city to celebrate Loy Krathong is welcomed equally and
enthusiastically, in the centuries- old northern Thai language.
In spite of the beauty, traditional decorations, parades and
festivities, Yee Peng Chiang Mai does not need lights, sounds or modern
technology to bring the ancient festival to life. The heart and soul of
the celebrations is the bringing together of the city’s people, in
simplicity, to celebrate their cultural heritage in the traditional
manner, along with an awareness of the need to protect the river, the
environment and the world in which we all live.
A Charity Calendar
with a difference…
Those of us who come from the UK and still (out of nostalgia for
a former lifestyle or a morbid desire to justify our decision to
leave) occasionally visit UK websites, may have recently notice
that a certain London opera house is emulating the famous
Womens’ Institute Charity Calendar. In the unlikely event that
UK readers don’t remember the calendar, it featured members of a
local rural WI chapter in all their unclothed glory, and led to
the making of that gorgeous film, Calendar Girls, starring the
incomparable Helen Mirren!
Said opera house has persuaded ballet dancers, ballet shoe
mistresses, orchestra members (with their harp…), a stage
manager, a costumier and others to pose in the buff, and all for
charity. The no-doubt considerable proceeds from the sale of the
calendars at £10 each will go to MacMillan Cancer Support. Two
versions are being produced, one featuring 12 females, the other
12 males. It might be noted that no members of the Opera Chorus
have been mentioned as volunteers – having, for some while in my
former life, been a member of that august group, I can quite
understand why – believe me!
Which leads me to the point of all this – should we be trying
this in Chiang Mai, with its hundreds of deserving charities?
Just imagine – 12 expat ladies and 12 expat gentlemen, carefully
chosen from each of the fragmented social groups that make up
the farang presence in this town…the mind truly boggles! A
female representative from the Rooftop Charity’s committee,
perhaps, tastefully draped in a Thai silk bedspread – a male
tenor of the same ethnic origin as the soon-to-be President of
the United States, bashfully peeping from behind a Lanna
lantern, or even the well-known Chiang Mai Mail
photographer, with his camera in an apposite position? And, how
about pleading for the participation of several of the
admittedly lovely female GM’s of the various 5-star hotels
dotted about town? That should increase bookings… Or even the
owner of a famous Chiang Mai bar and restaurant just off the
moat – possibly wearing his barbecue apron and not a lot else?
Just joking, folks – or am I?
There’s only one subject to write about this week – and I’m not
even from the USA! The unthinkable, the unimaginable and the
“devoutly to be wished” has actually happened – Barack Obama is
the President-elect of the United States of America!
How very much this result was wanted and needed, and not just in
the USA, became obvious the following day, with scenes of
celebration and joy worldwide being beamed into Chiang Mai
living rooms from CNN and the BBC. Even the Russian people
seemed to be happy about it, although their leader wasn’t
exactly waxing lyrical on the subject. How many of us realised
that feelings worldwide were that strong? Mass media are
referring, as did the man himself on the campaign trail, to a
“new start” – already Obama is in the process of appointing
highly-respected US financial wizards to get to grips with the
economic crisis, and even the Iranian president is thawing
slightly, hinting that an approach would not be rejected out of
hand. During the 2-year run-up to the election, Obama never
faltered in his resolve to bring the troops home from Iraq –
having voted against sending them in the first place! All this
and more – it would seem that this presidency will, for the
first time in many younger people’s lives, make real efforts to
address the ills which have crept up on the world during the
past decade or so – ills caused by a lack of human concern and
by the pure greed of the few overcoming ethics and
This election, as mentioned again and again in the media, is
also of huge historical significance – the first time a black
citizen has even run as the presidential delegate, let alone
been elected. Maybe, for this reason alone, we can be encouraged
to believe that, unlike previous incumbents, Obama will not
forget or dilute his pre-election promises, but will, with an
increased Democratic majority, be able to push through real and
lasting change without too much opposition. He seems to have an
amazing talent for personal interaction in the genuine sense
with people from all walks of life – this may well be his
greatest asset in the difficult four years to come. “Believe in
me – we can sort this out together,” is an almost irresistible
message, especially now, when things are so desperate.
But, you may ask, how will all this help us here in Chiang Mai –
apart from possibly and eventually re-establishing investments
and savings? Many of us may well have left our home countries
because they just didn’t seem like “home” any more. Many
negative changes that we felt we had no control over, either by
democratic or other means, may have alienated us enough to
motivate us to come thousands of miles to a different culture
and, by doing so, leaving our “roots” behind – a somewhat
disturbing feeling. We watched the reputations of our home
countries diminish across the world, and maybe felt that we
ourselves were included in the general derision, whilst having
no say in the top-level decisions which had caused it. Quite
simply, the Obama victory seems to have had, even now, a
reunifying effect, not just in the USA, but worldwide, amongst
us ordinary people who want to be listened to by our leaders,
and to be considered and respected for our contributions to what
is, after all, our world. If this reunification continues, even
spreads, we will all benefit, even here in Asia. If a “new dawn”
with different aspirations does indeed arise, at the very least
all the diverse branches of the expat community in this city
will perhaps be able to relax a little and view the expected
developments with anticipation rather than dread.