Vol. VII No. 49 - Tuesday
December 2 - December 8, 2008



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


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

Mayor joins in Chiang Mai’s Shan New Year celebrations

Academy for Education USA celebrates scholarship awards

Chiang Mai hosts ‘Green City’ conference

An afternoon of pure nostalgia and great exercise

Expat ladies Italian lunch - with Tiramisu

Paws for Cocktails a howling success - What’s next?

The ‘Old Girl’ gets a facelift

Mayor joins in Chiang Mai’s Shan New Year celebrations

Dr. Duentemduang na Chiengmai (2nd left), joins other dignitaries at the opening ceremony of the Shan New Year festivities held at Wat Kutao.

Michael Davies
The Mayor of Chiang Mai, Dr Duentemduang na Chiengmai, was on hand recently to grace the opening celebrations of the Shan New Year 2103 at Wat Kutao, next to the Municipality Stadium.
Whilst many Americans and their friends celebrated Thanksgiving on November 27, Wat Kutao came alive with colour and music as thousands of Shan and other ethnic groups arrived for the two days of ceremonies and festivities - and not a turkey in sight!
The ceremony included blessings and religious incantations led by the Wat’s abbot, Khrubar Jantharangsi and followed by a speech given by Saengmuang Mangkorn, Chiang Mai Shan literature and culture chairman.
This historic temple, the oldest of several Shan temples in Chiang Mai, having been established in 1450 during the reign of Chao Yod, is currently under major reconstruction.
This year, the festival’s organisors decided to charge 30 baht per person entry and to tighten security at the gates, resulting in a less visible police presence in the crowd.
After the evening performances, including traditional dancers in their colourful costumes, popular comedian, Sai Yoi, and singer Nang Mwe Ngeun, the music got louder, with rock bands taking the stage.
Many of the revellers had travelled to the celebrations from all over the province and slept the night in the temple compound.

 

Academy for Education USA celebrates scholarship awards

ACE-ETS TOEFL Opportunity Scholarship winners are congratulated by Fulbright Director, Porntip Kanjananiyot (2nd left), US Consul General Michael Morrow (center) and ACE Counsellor Mike Hock (right).

Michael Davies
During their International Education Week 2008, the Academy for Education USA, (ACE), celebrated the awarding of scholarships worth 120,000 baht with an event at the Prince Royal’s College in Chiang Mai.
Guest of honour, US Consul General Michael Morrow, joined guests and students attending the Ed-eXpo USA Keynote lectures and the closing reception being hosted by ACE, and also presented ACE-ETS TOEFL Opportunity Scholarships worth 60,000 baht to the 6 winners in the Graduate and Undergraduate divisions.
The Consul General noted that the Open Doors 2008 statistics showed there were over 9,000 Thai students studying in American universities, making Thailand the 10th largest supplier to the USA of international students.
ACE’s Goa Linprasert summarized Ed-eXpo USA 2008’s coverage, which included a 2 day Chiang Rai roadshow, and a college application essay workshop headed by Roman Sturgis, M.A. Education USA. Talks on international relations programs were given by U.S. Vice-Consul Kevin Rosier at the American Corner and AUA, with, again, over 60,000 baht of scholarships awarded by ACE.
Keynote lectures were also given by Porntip Kanjananiyot, executive director of TUSEF-Fulbright Thailand and ACE Education USA counsellors, and Mike Hock shared updates on ACE students applying to many U.S. universities including Princeton, Yale, Boston and Stanford.
ACE is affiliated with the US State department’s Education USA’s global network through their 2 Chiang Mai offices and also their base in Bangkok. For further information, please call on 053-942-896, (Chiang Mai), or 02-6520616, (Bangkok).


Chiang Mai hosts ‘Green City’ conference

Andy Archer
A two-day conference and workshop was held at the Novotel Chiang Mai recently to discuss and debate the ‘Green City Philosophy Project Chiang Mai,’ and attended by over 240 people including representatives of the National Housing Authority, the Provincial and Municipality Authorities, the Office of Nature Environmental Planning (ONEP), and a number of local ‘green’ organisations.

Rupert Konijn (right), from the Dutch Embassy, is pictured with Chiang Mai Mayor’s representative, Sudchai Kannakulsoonthorn (centre).

His Excellency, Tjaco T. van den Hout, the Dutch Ambassador to Thailand, opened the project, saying that its aim is to show authorities and businesses that ‘going green’ is a sound investment with economic incentives, including raising property values by improving and ‘greening’ the surrounding environment. The workshop is the third such meeting to be held here in Chiang Mai, with the original having been staged at the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006.
Rupert Konijn, Counsellor for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok explained that similar seminars had been held, not only in the Netherlands, but also, with the help of the Dutch government, in China, Slovakia Poland and Paris, France. The Dutch Government provides financial support for its advisors at each venue.
Chiang Mai was chosen as a pilot project in Thailand because of the urgent and huge opportunities it presents, with an already serious pollution problem caused by both crop burning and excessive traffic. Participants in the project took time to examine and discuss the ‘green’ infrastructure already in place in the city.
Several points about the benefits of increasing ‘green’ measures in Chiang Mai were made, including the encouragement of walking in ‘green’ areas, with its subsequent health and weight-loss benefits.
The workshop is now working on a ‘Green Master Plan’ for the city, which will include control of the water supply and irrigation to facilitate grassed areas along the roads and the river, and the study of ‘horizontal pollution’, as in billboards, a move which may well be much appreciated by residents. Researchers are aware that tourism is an important source of revenue in Chiang Mai, and that beautification of the city’s environs will encourage more visitors to come, and to stay longer.
Rupert Konijn is planning to visit the city again in April 2009 to check on progress. For further information on the project, he can be contacted on [email protected]


An afternoon of pure nostalgia and great exercise

Mom Luang Preeyaphun receives a bouquet of flowers
from the Shangri La’s GM, Elaine Yue.

Andy Archer
A brand new twist on the traditional ‘tea dance’, formerly much loved in the West, seems as though it will be a great success here in Chiang Mai.
November 22 saw over 150 people gathered at the Shangri La Hotel for the first of their regular Saturday ‘High Teas’, including, of course, ballroom dancing on the hotel’s recently installed dance floor. For those who aren’t quite sure of their skills, teachers from Mom Luang Preeyapun’s Chiang Mai Ballet Academy are on hand to teach, advise and reassure.
The guest of honour at the opening tea dance was, of course, Mom Luang Preeyaphun herself, who introduced the teachers who will be on hand to pass on their expertise. A brilliant display of Latin-American dance was given to the admiring guests by Watcharakorn Suasuebpun and M.L. Warapa Jumbala, winners of a great many national and international dance competitions, Thai National Champions for 4 years, and the proud holders of 4 gold medals in the South East Asian Games 2007.
Whilst the cucumber sandwiches and scones were being served, the guests were encouraged to try out the new dance floor, especially imported from the West. The Blue Jazz Band played slow foxtrots, waltzes, quicksteps and even the jive, with Jintana Siampiromsak and Pakkasaran Phormvanna revving up the nostalgia with songs like ‘Oh, Carol’, ‘Tell me when you will be mine’, and ‘As time goes by’ – reminders of a much simpler world thousands of miles and many years away.
Couples of all ages and nationalities danced the afternoon away, and, no doubt, are looking forward to repeating the experience regularly at the Shangri La.


Expat ladies Italian lunch - with Tiramisu

Leah Brando
Several of us gathered outside in the beautiful grounds of the Arcobaleno Restaurant last Wednesday morning, November 26, where lunch had been planned to begin at noon. Once inside, we all enjoyed the bruchetta and then had a choice of main course in tagliatelle with eggplant and olives, lasagna, or crab gratin in wine sauce.
Everything was wonderful, and then they put a lovely Tiramisu in front of us. With great dismay, several commented that they were soooo full, and really shouldn’t … but somehow we all managed! I was concerned that some would lick the plate, but, with dainty decorum, the composed ex-pat ladies refrained from so doing.
Following our Expat Ladies’Lunch tradition, we were a very chatty group, discussing everything from politics and cooking to golf and shopping. The service was excellent and the house wine tasty, at a mere 95 baht a glass. Come and join us next month. If you are not on the list, email Fran at [email protected]


Paws for Cocktails a howling success - What’s next?

Elena Edwards
Success is a term that easily springs to mind when recalling the Paws for Cocktails fundraising party and auction at Zoe in Yellow. People who had come together for the benefit of dogs found they were in good and like-minded company, with many old acquaintances being rekindled.

Soraya and John draw the final numbers in the raffle at the Paws for Cocktails fundraiser. So many prizes were donated that almost everyone got lucky!

During the event Otto Bercham, an artist with AIDs Art, asked the organisors, “Are all these people volunteers?” and he received the response, “No, just a few,” until the numbers were counted and it was realised that over 20 people, and probably many more are currently actively involved in promoting and helping Care for Dogs. All those volunteers at the same party, under the same roof, at the same time - a wonderful and inspiring achievement.
In addition to the volunteers were friends and relations, people who have previously adopted dogs, more people that would like to help in some way, and others who were without their loved ones, either travelling or remembering their times together.
Huge thanks go to Soraya Holbrook for initiating, designing and organising this event from start to finish. Her idea, her effort, her heart, drive and determination - Soraya, everyone is so proud of you!
In her thank you letter to all those who gave and helped, Soraya wrote, “Thank you to Reenie and Yianni of the Zoe in Yellow Lounge Bar and Bistro for their tireless preparation, organization, peace-cheese making, fruit-juicing, bartending and all-round generosity. And, of course, for their delicious ‘Poochies’ Paradise’ cocktails, all the proceeds from the sale of which went to Care for Dogs.
“Lovers of dogs, former adoptive parents of Care for Dogs hounds, and care-takers of Snowball Columbus, Reenie and Yianni agreed without hesitation to open up their venue in support of this event.
“Thank you also to John, Jelly and Linc for donating their time, talent, and hip-shaking rhythms to keep the party lively and upbeat all night. Thank you to all the volunteers at Care for Dogs whose untiring commitment stretches from picking up sick and injured dogs in the streets, cleaning the shelter, feeding, bathing, walking the dogs, administering medical care, organizing events, maintaining our website, performing accounting, to giving unconditional love to our four legged friends. The success of this event could not have happened without their undying support and hard work. Thanks, too, go to John Richard, who stoically and very amusingly acted as both auctioneer and raffle-caller.
“Thank you especially to all the dog lovers who came out to Zoe in Yellow to show their support for Care for Dogs - the adoptive parents of Care for Dogs charges, travellers who are temporarily separated from their pets, people who have once lost a beloved dog, and expats and locals who just want to show love and care for the strays that roam Chiang Mai. Without you and your donations, Care for Dogs would simply not be able to do the work we do. A ‘Bark-felt’ thank you to you all!”
Next week Care for Dogs will be attending the Nimmanhaemin Arts & Design Promenade, held on December 5-9, in Soi 1, just off the main road, and Soraya would love to see you all there again.


The ‘Old Girl’ gets a facelift

Surat Patong, the Montri’s GM, (centre), shown hosting
the opening party for the Brix Bar and Restaurant.

Michael Davies
A much-loved landmark hotel in the city centre, the Montri is presently undergoing renovations and was the venue recently for a party given to celebrate the opening of the Brix Bar and Restaurant, located under the hotel.
Taking time off from the supervision of the renovations to welcome VIP’s and invited guests was Surat Patong, the Montri’s new GM.
The new restaurant has a modern design with a Lanna mix, aimed at a clientele which is expected to be at least 70% foreign. In line with the present economic situation, the Italian/Thai menu is reasonably priced, with opening times between 7 a.m. and 12 midnight. Evening guests will be entertained by a live band playing ‘chill out’ music.
Surat is possibly the only female Thai GM of a major Chiang Mai hotel, an innovation which should be encouraged. The Chiang Mai Mail wishes her and the hotel’s staff all the best for the future.



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