- HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
It’s freezing in the mountains
Textile Arts Group to visit Siripan Kidd
Be careful out there
It’s freezing in the mountains
The ‘Spirits of the Yellow Leaves’ need our help
As the cool season sets in and the temperatures at night, especially
in the mountains, fall towards freezing, many minority groups living on the
high ground fall sick with colds and flu because they are too poor to be
able to afford warm clothing and bedding.
The Mlabri tribe, known as the ‘Spirits of the Yellow Leaves’ (phi tong
luang) from their former mainly nomadic existence in which they would
build shelters of banana leaves, moving on when the leaves yellowed, are one
such group of people. 25 families comprising 150 members, 40 of whom are
children, live in Ban Huay Yuak in Nan province’s Wieng Sa district. All are
suffering form the cold, without enough warm clothes and blankets, although
some blankets were provided by a local government office earlier in the
One Mlabri, Phad Suchonsiri, said that his family has only 3 blankets for 7
members, which means that 3 of them have to share one blanket. “Another way
to cope with cold weather is to light a fire near the beds, but inhaling
smoke all night long also worsens health. Fire is also dangerous – in
previous years, some houses were accidentally burnt down,’ Phad adds.
Amphol Santa, a kindergarten worker who is helping to take care of the
Mlabri children, said that the Yellow Leaf people desperately need warm
clothes, especially children, the women and the old people. Many of them
can’t stand the cold weather because the mountainous location of the village
means that the community is cold all day long, and even colder at night.
Many Mlabri work on Hmong villagers’ farms in the valleys during the growing
season. When the season is over, they must return to the mountains as there
is no more work – and no more wages – until the plantings begin again in the
warmer weather. Help is needed to ensure that the Mlabri, and especially
their children and old people, can cope with the cold. There are many
organisations here in Chiang Mai who might be able to suggest a way to help
these people. If anyone is reading this who could help, donate, or knows a
way to get warm clothes, blankets and dried food to the village, the Chiang
Mai Mail would very much like to hear from them. Please email on
[email protected], and we will get in touch with you.
Textile Arts Group
to visit Siripan Kidd
Famous designer and maker of contemporary quilts
The Textile Arts Group are looking forward enormously to
December 20, on which date they have been invited to visit the home of
Siripan Kidd. Siripan is originally from the North-East of Thailand, and
is now living in Chiang Mai with her husband, Tony. For 25 years, she
lived in the UK, and is famous as a designer and maker of contemporary
quilts. She began designing in 1984, and has worked almost exclusively
In more recent years she has developed a new approach, concentrating on
conceptual and installation art, though still quilt and textile related.
Her most recent work was shown in York in the UK as part of the opening
exhibition of the UK Quilters’ Guild. This was an installation of silk
organza and wire blocks, hand- and machine-stitched.
Siripan’s work is also held in private and public collections, namely
Milton Keynes General Hospital, the Royal London Insurance Company, the
Quilters’ Guild collection and Christchurch Museum, Ipswich.
Residential workshops taught by Siripan have run for two years now here
in Chiang Mai, with participants from abroad. Various aspects of
patchwork quilts, traditional and contemporary workshops and other
workshops are being planned for local residents. For examples of her
work and details of workshops, please visit her website at
If anyone would like to join in the visit, has any questions of would
like more information about the Textile Arts Group, please either call
Maya on 053-291-692 or email Janet at [email protected] hotmail.com.
Be careful out there
Following on from the article on safety several weeks ago, the following
tips may be well worth reading, particularly at this uncertain time,
both here in Thailand and worldwide. As financial teeth bite harder,
crime tends to increase. Remember, it’s always better to be paranoid
If you find yourself trapped by a mugger, throw your wallet as far away
as you can – he’ll be far more interested in grabbing your cash than
assaulting you – then run like hell in the opposite direction!
If things get really serious and you’re thrown into the trunk of a car,
this is a great tip. Kick the back lights out, stick your arm out of the
hole, and wave like crazy. The driver won’t see you – everyone else
will, and there are plenty of red traffic lights in this city!
Hopefully, someone will help.
When you get into your car after shopping, lunch with friends, etc,
don’t just sit there doing your make-up, making a call, writing a list,
etc. Lock the door, and get going. That way, a thief who is thinking of
getting into the car on the passenger side and doing you or your wallet
harm won’t have a chance. If the worst scenario – unlikely here, we must
admit – occurs and you find yourself in your car with a guy with a gun
or knife, don’t do as you’re told and drive off to a quiet place where
he can rob or murder you. Rev your engine and speed into anything –
another car, a wall, as fast as you can. Because you’ve put your
seat-belt on previously, he’ll be far worse off then you. And think of
the fun you’ll have explaining the damage to the insurance company! In
Thai, of course…
In a parking lot or garage, look around before you get into your car.
And, look in your car – you never know… just be aware. If you’re aware,
you’re probably too much trouble for the average thief. If there is an
elevator, always take it rather than using the stairs. Stairwells are
dodgy places to get trapped it – get your exercise another, less risky
In the unlikely event that your predator has a gun – if you can, run,
again like hell, in a zig-zag pattern. Even if he does shoot, on average
only 4 bullets out of 100 hit a running target. The movies have that one
Us women are always trying to be sympathetic – stop! It may get you
raped or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking,
well-educated man, who always played on the sympathies of unsuspecting
women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked ‘for help’ into
his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next
And, right now, if you don’t want to be misunderstood or worse, don’t
wear red or yellow!
Since working for this newspaper I’ve become aware of
the amazing amount of artistic and musical talent which exists
here in Chiang Mai—particularly amongst Thai youngsters,
although the farang community has its share of highly talented
individuals as well! The city is now rich in high quality and
varied artistic and musical events , including gallery
exhibitions, Payap’s regular instrumental concerts and recitals,
jazz evenings, the orchestral concerts at Kad Theatre, plays
courtesy of the Gate Theatre Group, the Chiang Mai Choral
Society, the EU film festival—and much, much more. In this, we
are very fortunate!
I suspect that most of us would consider some form of ‘the arts’
essential in our lives-if we look deeper into human history,
this has always been so. Prehistoric man left records of the
high points of life on the walls of caves, and music has been an
essential part of ritual and celebration since ancient times.
Throughout history, painting and sculpture has been used to
express our innermost feelings and longings, and played a major
part in most religions, right up to modern times. At all stages
in their development, humans seem to have experienced, and
expressed, a need for beauty, even in everyday objects such as
clay pots, enhanced since antiquity with sgraffito engraving or
painted designs, thus lifting them out of the everyday into the
realm of art.
So—humanity, at all social levels, needs art, in all its forms,
and those born with artistic talent are also born with an even
greater need to express it. Why, then, in these disturbing
modern times, does it seem that art, recognised across the ages
as having an essential place in society, often becomes the first
priority to be discarded in times of economic hardship and
uncertainty? As expressed by a gallery owner friend in an email
to me about the recent lack of interest in the drawing and
painting classes at ArtSpace on 7, it seems like, ‘caring for
physical health with no regard to mental health’. Admittedly,
these are depressing times, politically and economically, but
the very act of creativity does wonders for depression, and the
nurturing of young talent, both by parents and teachers, can
‘lift’ a budding artist or musician and give a purpose in life.
Such should not just be the privilege of the wealthy, and talent
should always be encouraged.
Last week, I went to another friend’s gallery opening. The
Suriya Gallery shows, exclusively, paintings from Burmese
artists, working in one of the most repressed and
poverty-stricken countries in the world. The paintings were full
of life, colour, joy, imagination and inspiration, in spite of,
(or maybe because of?) the terrible conditions in Burma. I
remember, also, the exuberance and joy of Burmese music at one
of the CMU Nargis benefit concerts. Surely this is an
illustration of the importance of art and music to the human
condition at even the worst of times? In comparison with what is
happening just across the Thai border, the problems here seem
Perhaps viewing paintings and sculptures, and listening to
music, allows us to feel emotions which, culturally, we are
encouraged, as Westerners, to suppress, but which need some form
of expression in order to sustain our emotional health? How much
more would we feel if we ourselves were painting, sculpting or
playing? I can answer this question from personal experience. My
first career was in opera—the emotional release and utter joy of
singing genius-created music is the most thrilling and
satisfying experience imaginable, and sadly missed. I can only
suppose that creating a work of art has the same effect on the
artist. Even if we suspect we have no talent, taking art classes
must, surely, release something satisfying from our racial
memories as we express our feelings in colour and line—not for
nothing is art therapy used, particularly with children, in
cases of long-term post-traumatic stress disorder. That release
must, surely, benefit the artist, whatever their age or level of
talent or expertise, not to mention taking the mind off the
latest disaster on the world financial markets!
Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
189/22 Moo 5, T. Sansai Noi, A. Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210
Tel. 053 852 557, Fax. 053 014 195
Editor: 087 184 8508
E-mail: [email protected]
Administration: [email protected]
Website & Newsletter Advertising: [email protected]
Copyright © 2004 Chiangmai Mail. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.