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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Holiday Inn hosts Christmas Charity Party

Rachel and Chas’ wedding party raises the roof

The 6th Payap International Day – the best ever

Chiang Mai Friends’ Group Christmas meeting

‘Rio’ wins JJ Markets talent contest

Gate Theatre Group gets a ‘thank you’ party from ArtSpace on 7

FERC Board and supporters donate to Lahu village

Village sewing cooperatives benefit from Kids’ Ark Foundation and Rooftop Charity

Holiday Inn hosts Christmas Charity Party

Enjoying the Christmas festivities are Inga, Mathew, David and Aow (standing) with Tim, Eleanor, Marisa and Sabina (seated).

George Powell
Holiday Inn’s Tharatong Ballroom was the venue on the evening of December 6 for the first Christmas Charity Party organized by Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon, president of Thailandfreunde e.V., his vice-president Wuttipong, and Jenny Bleadon. One hundred and fifty guests, both Thai and foreign, gathered to enjoy the festivities, together with guest of honour, Khun Sahawat, director of the Regional Office of Fine Arts.
After an enjoyable buffet with some delicious desserts, the evening’s entertainment began with music provided by Antoine Garth and his trio of talented musicians from Payap University. A raft of talented entertainers were engaged to give the guests a great show, including dancers from the College of Dramatic Arts and Van Ping Massage and Spa, and a greatly appreciated local magician, Tripoom Kanjanavirote, who amazed the audience with his skills.
A nostalgic touch was provided by Antoine, who led the guests in an A cappella rendition of the traditional Christmas carol, ‘Silent Night – Holy Night.’ For the children present, Dirk played Santa Claus, distributing gifts to all, and funds were raised for the various charities by raffles and auctions throughout the evening.
On behalf of Thailandfreunde e.V., Dirk presented three awards for generous donations. The first was to Christa Söllner from the city of Nuremberg, Germany, for her donations throughout 2008. Pranee Nok Srila-Ong received an award for her generosity in providing funds for a sick child’s operation. Bluechips Microhouse Co., Ltd.’s directors Thomas and Sabine Zimpfer also received an award to mark their generous donations.
Of the funds raised by the night’s festivities, Croston House will receive requested goods to the value of 85,590 baht, and a further 80,590 baht will be used by Thailandfreunde e.V. to help underprivileged children here in the North of Thailand. 30,000 baht will be donated at a later date to Chiang Mai’s School for the Blind.
At the end of a very successful evening, Dirk thanked the sponsors, Fashion King and the Podology Center, and invited the guests to return in March for the next event, ‘A Carnival of Cultures.’

 

Rachel and Chas’ wedding party raises the roof

Farang Lady
Under extreme influence of copious amounts of alcohol, I am writing this, to report with spontaneity the festivities I attended this evening. Tonight was the party at Tuskers to celebrate the wedding of Rachel and Chas. They became Mr. and Mrs. Tuskers last month in England – well, Scotland, actually. As they’re already a legendary couple in Chiang Mai, this was an event of major proportions.

Chas and Rachel show a photo of their actual wedding.
We dressed in our best and rode a ‘red coach’ to Tuskers. Rachel looked absolutely fabulous in a lovely Thai wedding dress, gold and white, with gold in her blond hair. Chas was not as beautiful, but glowingly handsome in a shirt designed for his bachelor party (he was wearing pants as well). On the back of the shirt was a picture of a man in jail and the caption read, “I’m getting married in the morning.” When complemented on his beautiful bride, he agreed that he really is a lucky bloke.
The waitresses were all dressed in sparkly Thai dresses, and the party began. Someone mentioned the buffet was open, and, with all the finesse of storming water buffalos, the crowd gathered around the groaning tables. The food was beautiful and yummy.
Then, Chas and a brave close friend began the karaoke with a stunning song. At first, reluctant, people emerged into their alter egos, belting out songs with no hesitant fears, ‘Why, Why, Why, Delilah?’ …which encouraged others to became brave. Suddenly, star fever caught on, and not only were people fighting to get up on stage, some staggered in half way through the songs, becoming background singers!
‘YMCA’ invited the slightly sloshed audience to participate, although most had forgotten how to do the letters. The karaoke audience began to heat up. Phillip, usually a very uptown conservative-type person, gave a powerful and emotional rendition of ‘Hotel California.’ His autograph was immediately requested by a star stuck fan.
A well educated and quite proper British man yelled in my ear that the karaoke singing was at a hitherto unparalleled skill level he had not witnessed before. The Brits do have a way with words…
A group, rather well dressed, came in fashionably late, saying they had left a posh event because the music was very loud. They found themselves in a setting of even more noise and frivolity and adjusted quite well. ‘Sex Bomb’ was a resounding hit, with the blushing bride taking center stage. By this time, people across the street were dancing and singing along, and tuk tuks were slowing down in the street to catch the action.
One very well respected woman, editor of a popular Chiang Mai magazine, was sighted in the audience shaking her bootie in a lovely blue silk dress. She told me it was quite all right to report this. No shame. People who are usually rather sedate were snapping fingers and moving parts of their bodies they had forgotten about years ago.
The feverish festivities continued on, with everyone caught up in them. It was an evening where everyone let their hair down to celebrate the wedding of two of Chiang Mai’s favorite citizens. Thank you Rachel and Chas for a wonderful party.
Footnote: While editing this, this morning, I ignored my husband’s whining pleas to go buy him a beer. He suddenly realized he had been watching TV for an hour with his reading glasses. He walked out the door for the elevator saying weakly, “Here I go!” Like I said, a wonderful party!

It was a full house for the celebrations.


The 6th Payap International Day – the best ever

George Powell
Payap University recently held its 6th International Day on December 3 at its Mae Khao Campus, launching the event in style with a choir of international students singing the Thai National Anthem in perfect harmony.

The ‘Turkey Booth’ proved one of the most popular of the 40 booths at the event.
Performances continued with martial arts displays, acoustic performances and, showcasing the well-known musical talents of Payap’s students, songs, musical interludes and dance, including rap and hip-hop, all high on the agenda.
Visitors to the event had been advised of two suggested requirements – firstly, that they should, if possible, come in vibrant traditional costume, and secondly, that they should come hungry! The colourful scenes all over the campus reflected the success of the first request. The second was amply rewarded by the huge selection of international cuisine available. Delicious dishes from all over Europe, Asia the Middle East and North America were on offer, and everyone took full advantage.
Fun and games for all included a ‘dunk tank,’ virtual pinball, trivia games, cookie decorating and calligraphy.
The whole event gave students, families and friends the opportunity to learn about different cultures and traditions from around the world. A ‘fun’ contest involved buying a ‘Payap passport’ for 20 baht, then collecting ‘country stamps’ from as many of the 40 different booths as possible. Mystery prizes were awarded to the first guests who collected 10 stamps. At the end of the day, everyone agreed that the 6th International Day was the best ever.


Chiang Mai Friends’ Group Christmas meeting

CMM Reporters
The Christmas Party meeting of the Chiang Mai Friends’ Group will take place on December 23, at JJ Market, just behind the Kam Thieng flower market and close to the Superhighway. A special treat will be a display of classical northern Thai dances by a very talented young girl, Nong Plum, who has been dancing since she was 2 years old, and who has prepared a special show for the group.
Joe and Martha, from Alaska, will present a slide-show of their home state, just in case anyone misses snow! This promises to be very interesting, as Martha has an Eskimo background. The informal open forum is a great chance to share experiences, met new friends, network, and help others, so bring your business cards and your ideas.
Breaking news is that the Chiang Mai municipality are organising a New Year countdown from December 26 to New Years’ Eve itself, at Thapae Gate, and have asked people from all walks of life to join in and make it a great celebration. Chiang Mai Friends’ Group will, of course, take part and hope to present a slideshow of exactly what foreign residents are doing to enhance the city.
If anyone would like to send photos (with descriptions) to be included, please could they do so as soon as possible. If the more theatrically inclined amongst you would like to participate on December 26, perhaps with a song or dance, please also get in touch with Khun Boong.
Sounds like a great way to celebrate New Year - come to JJ Market on December 23 and hear all about it. Confirm your reservation by December 20 - dinner and meeting is 250 baht, meeting is 80 baht.


‘Rio’ wins JJ Markets talent contest

‘Rio’ were top of the pops at the 2008 JJ Markets talent contest.

George Powell
The second annual JJ Markets’ talent contest, specifically aimed at young musicians, singers and bands, has been ongoing since last May, with hopefuls queuing to enter each month and their eyes on the coveted top spot.
December 4 was the day all the finalists of each month’s contest had been waiting for – the final round itself – and graced by the presence of Chiang Mai Mayor, Dr. Duentemduang na Chiengmai, the 2nd Annual Talent Competition Final 2008 got underway at JJ Markets Kam Thieng.
Since May, many talented kids had taken part in the heats, including, for the first time, a special heat for entrants from Chiang Mai’s international schools and one specifically for solos and duets. The overall winners were ‘Rio,’ who accepted a cheque for 10,000 baht. The Chiang Mai Mail wishes them all the very best for the future.
At the end of the evening, Dr. Duentemduang was presented with another cheque, this time for 22,550 baht, to be donated to His Majesty the King’s Foundation.
The huge number of musically talented youngsters in this city might like to take note that the 3rd Annual Talent Competition will start in May 2009.


Gate Theatre Group gets a ‘thank you’ party from ArtSpace on 7

Definitely a ‘full house’ at Artspace on 7.

Michael Davies
After an extremely successful run of The Eight Reindeer Monologues recently, Artspace on 7 held a ‘thank you’ party for the Gate Theatre Group and its many followers. For those who missed it this time, the play will have a second run on December 21, then on December 24 - 28. Don’t miss it next time!
The co-hosts of ArtSpace, Laura, Chadwick and Bradley, designated the party as an ‘open mike’ event, resulting in Bradley, who stars in the ‘Monologues’ as a (very fetching) gay reindeer, repeating his characterisation for the assembled crowd - who appeared to love every minute of it.
Laura told the Chiang Mai Mail that ArtSpace is planning a very special event early in the New Year, entitled ‘Where is my Prize?’ - a one-man show featuring the music of Stephen Sondheim with Antoine Garth as the ‘one man’, and David Wilson accompanying him on the piano. It promises to be an evening of music and hilarity through spoken word and song, with Antoine exploring fate, fortune, relationships and how the choices made in the past affect the present. For further details contact [email protected]


FERC Board and supporters donate to Lahu village

George Powell
Board members and supporters of the Foundation for the Education of Rural Children (FERC) travelled to Ban Huay Pa Hon Lahu village in Chiang Dao district to distribute 50,000 baht’s worth of school furnishings and supplies, purchased with part of the money raised at ‘Let Us Entertain You!,’ FERC’s recent fund-raising event at the Shangri-La Hotel.
The school is part of the Department of Education’s non-formal educational program, and was built with funds donated by the Bangkok TV station, ITV.
The program provides education to preschool children to prepare them for entry into the Thai public school system. While the focus with these little ones is on Thai language skills, which they must learn in order to be admitted into Thai schools, they also learn counting, colours, how to tell time, puzzle-solving and general skills in living.
The teacher, Pongpan Suwannama, who has worked in the village for eight years, devotes a part of her time towards educational projects that benefit the older children and adults in Ban Huay Pa Hon. The village is home to 140 Lahu children.
Trucks arrived in the village laden with black boards and chalk, bookcases, desks, floor mats, story books and work books, tablets, drawing and art supplies, pencils, crayons and a myriad of other supplies for the school. Board members also contributed socks, shoes and knitted caps for every child in the village as well as bags of rice and boxes of fresh oranges. The largest and heaviest gift though was a generator for the school, which has no electricity. This more than welcome gift will enable it to stay open even on dark or rainy days.
Tangerine Blue principals John Smith and Mark Walder entertained the people of the village with banjo music and renditions of ‘Willkommen,’ ‘Stairway to Paradise’ and ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band.’ Despite not understanding the English words, the children understood the language of the music and danced along and clapped with each song.
The FERC board and volunteers would like to thank everyone who made it possible for them to help the children of Ban Huay Pa Hon.

FERC board members and supporters distribute
the goodies at Ban Huay Pa Hon Lahu village.


Village sewing cooperatives benefit from Kids’ Ark Foundation and Rooftop Charity

Members of a village women’s sewing cooperative are delighted with the new sewing machine donated by the Kids’ Ark Foundation.

CMM Reporters
As a result of the recent donation to the Kids’ Ark Foundation of 300,000 baht from the Rooftop Charity, the women of Ban Mae Meua Noi, Ban Santadu and Ban Pa Dai recently received a wonderful surprise, when representatives of the charity arrived in the villages bearing 4 sewing machines. At least one villager in each village can sew and groups of their friends were keen to fulfil their dream of forming sewing cooperatives to earn money to support their families in the periods between rice planting and harvesting.
In Ban Santadu, the women were looking forward to forming their sewing cooperative but needed machines. They also asked that Resa come and teach more of them how to use the machines. One machine was donated, and Kids’ Ark are now working on raising more funding to fully respond to that project. Ban Pa Dai village received two sewing machines, as they had already received orders for blankets and their borrowed machine had broken.
Six women are already working together at Ban Pan Dai; 2 to cut the fabric, 2 to do the preparatory hand-sewing and 2 to use the sewing machines. When the team from Kids’ Ark left, the women were already trying out the machines. The women at Ban Meua Noi also received their sewing machine.
Kids’ Ark would like to thank the Rooftop Charity, both on their own behalf and that of the women of the three villages for its much appreciated and generous donation.
The foundation has an office/showroom at 18/2 Wiang Kaew Road, where visitors can see other handicrafts. For more information, please contact Rita Holms Gustafsson on 053-416-077, or visit the foundation’s website at www. kidsarkfoundation.org, where donations can also be made.