Christmas Gifts for sick kids as
Toy Ride gears up for the Big Day
On Christmas Eve, Chiang Mai Toy Ride completed their final event of
2008 with a toy giveaway to 120 sick children at the Maharaj Hospital by 9
caring people from Toy Ride. For a short time, at least, the children were
able to forget their illnesses, with the wards full of smiles and laughter
as the team played Santa Claus and handed out a huge selection of toys.
Everyone from Toy Ride was thrilled and emotional on seeing the children’s
happy faces, and the camera team from NBT, (brought in by Joe Erkes, Toy
Ride’s media manager), having planned to stay for 20 minutes or so to record
the event, were still there 2 hours later!
all around as the toys are distributed.
‘This is what the Toy Ride is all about’, Robert Strachan told us, ‘bringing
a little joy into the lives of sick and needy children.’ The Christmas
Giveaway marks the end of a highly successful year for the Chiang Mai Toy
Ride. The committee are now gearing up for their main annual event on
January 4, which will see a mass of toy-festooned motorbikes parade through
the city, together with 100 children in pick-up trucks. The ride will be
followed, at midday, by a party for both bikers and children at the X-Centre
Zorb Ball field in Mae Rim. Kids from the Northern School for the Blind, the
Goodview Acoustic Band and the Aussie John Band will provide the music,
Jokerman the Clown will entertain, and there will be games and prizes for
the kids and awards for the best- decorated bikes. The highlight, of course,
will be the giveaway of the huge pile of toys to the children!
Robert is hoping that the event will be even more successful than last
year’s, saying, ‘We hope that hundreds of motorbike riders will decorate
their bikes with toys and join us for a great day out to help the neediest
children in our society. It doesn’t matter if you have a big or small bike,
all are welcome. The Toy Ride is all about the children and the joy we can
bring into their often very difficult lives.’ And it’s not just about
toys…thanks to generous donations from Toy Ride’s sponsors and riders, the
organisers have given away blankets, sports equipments, medical supplies and
food to hundreds of children and their families in Chiang Mai province
during the last year. There will be another giveaway of toys and blankets at
Ban Bo Kaew on January 10, and presentations are arranged throughout the
year. The Toy Ride’s main mission is to reach disadvantaged kids who, for
one reason or another are ‘under the radar’, and to make their lives and
those of their families happier and more comfortable.
The Chiang Mai Toy Ride will start at Tesco Kham Thieng at 9.45 a.m. on
Sunday January 4th. For more information, please visit the website at
www.chiangmai toyride.com or email on [email protected] If you’d
like to become a sponsor or donate, please call Richy on 081-830-8307.
Donations may also be made via the website. Headline sponsors for 2009
include ThailandFreunde eV, Tesco-Lotus, GT-Rider, Richco Power Sports, AA
Insurance and X-Centre.
‘We are the Destroyer’ party highlights the environment
The Mayor of Chiang Mai, Dr.
Duentemduang na Chiengmai,
pictured with Jon Glendinning (director of the British Council)
and other guests at the ‘We are the Destroyer ‘ party.
The ongoing ‘Art for the Environment’ project entitled ‘Breathless’
opened December 19 with the ‘We are the Destroyer’ party at Punna Place on
Nimmanhaeminda Road’s Soi 6. The party was hosted by Jon Glendinning,
director of the British Council Chiang Mai with guest of honour Dr.
Duentemduang na Chiengmai, the city’s Mayor.
According to Jon Glendinning, “We wanted to respond to the pollution
problems in Chiang Mai in 06/07, to raise awareness among ordinary people in
the city and encourage everyone to look for solutions. To do this, we
decided to harness the power of Art and Science to provoke people to think
about their contribution to the problem. With British Embassy funding, and
working with our partners RabbitHood and Parki Chiang Mai, we created
‘Breathless’. This opening event is to mark the end of the first part of the
project and set the stage for the second part. For this party, with the help
of the Mayor’s office, we have measured the carbon footprint created and
hope the message of the party continues to reach out to the young people of
The party itself was a lively affair, which included a disco and the
screening of a rough cut of ‘Breathless’, a documentary produced by
Kaewkaw na Chiengmai, one of the younger generation attending the event,
explained ‘It’s a new life for low CO2. This is approaching young people in
their own environment’. H.E. Quinton Quayle, the British Ambassador in
Thailand, is expected to attend the closing of the project on January 19
2009. To find out what is happening next, please visit www.
Chiang Mai to host Worldwide Holistic Healing Seminar
The Worldwide Holistic Healing Seminar (WHHS) will be held here
in Chiang Mai from February 20 through 22 at the Empress Hotel’s Convention
Centre. Dr Suchada Marwah was kind enough to answer the Chiang Mai
Mail’s questions about this innovative event.
CMM: Could you please tell us about the seminar’s objectives, and
whether there has been a previous conference of this kind in Chiang Mai?
Dr. Suchada: Yes, there was a similar event held in April 2004 at the
Chiang Mai University Convention Hall. The aim of the seminar is to explain
in a simple way through interactive workshops and introductory talks what
different kinds of holistic and natural therapies are available and how they
can be applied in our daily lives. It will encourage and emphasise
preventive self-healing methods so that one does not fall sick. Literally,
your health is in your hands.
Also, the seminar hopes to reinforce the message that holistic healing is
essentially a way to fully understand ourselves, our emotions and our
thoughts. It is a personalized and proactive approach, one that encourages
us to respect and regard our uniqueness. It will also be shown that this is
a way to bridge the gap between conventional medicine and alternative
methods, and that it widens the choices available to parents in helping them
cope with raising their children in today’s changing environment.
Lastly, the seminar will present quality herbal products, health foods and
innovations in natural medicine backed by research and certification, and
provide opportunities for career enhancement and business networking. A
list of speakers and topics is now available in our website,
http://www.ircns.org/wchm. php?type=3, or, for more details, you can email
on [email protected] ircns.org.
CMM: Who will be the guest of honour, and who are the sponsors?
Dr. Suchada: The President of Gambia, a firm believer and practitioner
of holistic medicine, will be attending, and is the chief guest of honour.
The WHHS is sponsored by the Thailand Conventions and Exhibition Bureau,
Thai Airways, the International Parliament for Safety and Peace, the Tourism
Authority of Thailand and the Thai Ministry of Public Health’s Department of
Development of Thai Traditional Medicine and Alternative Medicine.
CMM: What language will the conference use?
Dr Suchada: Professional translation including individual headsets will
be available in the English and Thai languages. However, if a large number
of Japanese or Chinese delegates are expected to attend, we can also offer
translations in those languages.
CMM: If you were asked to describe Holistic Healing in 50 words
or less – to someone who has no idea what it involves, how would you do
Dr. Suchada: ‘Holistic’ means balance or harmony with yourself and your
surroundings. It is mainly a three-step approach to health. Find out all
you can about yourself; this includes your physical, mental, emotional and
spiritual self. Chart out the imbalances and stress factors in your life.
Take healing measures, regain your balance - you may have to make
adjustments with your diet, exercise routine, lifestyle, thinking process
A simple way to check whether you are in a living in harmony is to ask
yourself this question: ‘Am I happy, healthy, wise and free?’ A holistic
specialist plays the role of a facilitator, guide, counsellor and friend.
CMM: Is the event also for local people, and how do
interested persons book? What age groups are your target audience?
Dr. Suchada: Yes, everyone interested in practicing healthy choices and
creating a more successful and balanced lifestyles are welcome. Students
and therapists, including nurses, may attend the seminar at a discounted
price. A discount is also available for members of health associations in
Thailand, if they pre-register for the seminar as a group.
For detailed information please contact me, Dr. Suchada Marwah, or, if I am
not available, Natcha on 053-128-425 ext 6 or email on [email protected]
CMM: Is there anything you would like to add – that you think may
be of interest to our readers?
Dr. Suchada: Holistic healing is natural, safe and simple. Its benefits
are numerous. Education in this field is the key if this form of healing is
to grow and develop. Hopefully, the existing education system starting from
primary level will one day not only incorporate holistic health and healing
but also devote much more time in the syllabus to build this section.
Already, I know of some schools that are offering yoga for children as an
CMM: Dr Suchada, thank you for sparing the time to talk to the
Chiang Mai Mail.
Dedication: Twin sisters feed 300 temple dogs every day for 20 years
One of the most positive aspects of the Chiang Mai community is
their willingness to give of their time and effort to help the
disadvantaged. From the mostly Thai Rotary clubs, to the expats who join
together in committees to organise endless and varied charity events, to the
NGOs who work tirelessly on behalf of the minorities and many other groups,
there is a social conscience in the city about which we should all be proud.
But it’s not all mega-projects and 5-star hotel events - in and around town
are many small, neighbourhood groups who get together at each others’ homes
on a regular basis for the benefit of their favourite charity or foundation.
Dee sits in front of boarding showing photos of many of the 300 dogs she and
her twin sister are feeding daily.
Such an event was held recently at a house in Doi Saket - with a good number
of long-term friends and associates gathered together in aid of Blessed Home
Orphanage, again in Doi Saket. Some 11,000 baht was raised for the orphans,
but… that wasn’t the end if the story.
Khun Fon, a valued member of the group of friends, had persuaded a Thai lady
with whose project she had been working, to come with her that evening and
present her personal contribution to the disadvantaged. As we arrived , we
were all introduced to the lady concerned - Khun Dee, who, with her twin
sister, has spent the last 20 years feeding a very large number of the
city’s stray dogs at temples and in municipal areas, as well as looking
after their own dogs, which, at present number 15.
Khun Dee and her sister are now responsible for feeding at least 300 dogs,
in various locations around town, every day. They also look after the dogs’
health as best they can, taking them, as finances permit, to a local vet if
they are sick or need to be speyed or neutered, and advising the monks on
how best to deal with minor injuries and other problems.
The pair collect unwanted food and scraps from local restaurants in plastic
bags, and distribute them to dogs at 8 temples around town, as well as to
those living in the grounds of municipal and local administration buildings.
Obviously, this is not enough to feed so many, so they buy rice and basic
dried food and mix these with the scraps. And - they do all this with just a
scooter and sidecar, although occasionally a red songthaew is hired to help.
Khun Fon, of course, also helps, both practically and financially, whenever
The sisters’ funds come from donations received from their pitch at the
Sunday Walking Market, where they also bring up to 20 dogs and puppies for
rehoming each week. Over the years, they have sold almost everything they
own to help with the financial needs of the project, which also takes all of
their time, every week of every year. And so they continue, and will
continue their work... until they are unable to do so for reasons of poor
health or age.
St. Francis would have been very proud of these two wonderful women… if
anyone reading this would like to help, or to donate rice or dried foods,
please email Khun Fon on namfon219 @yahoo.com, or call her on 081-638-2105.
ThailandFreunde’s Chiang Mai
branch moves forward
Pictured are the newly-elected
TF Chiang Mai board members after their first meeting at the Holiday Inn.
A meeting was held on Christmas Eve at the Holiday Inn Hotel to
elect provisional executive board members for ThailandFreunde vf’s Chiang
Mai branch. The elected members will serve as volunteers until the
ThailandFreunde Foundation is ready to be established and officially
Also discussed at the meeting were plans for the next charitable event, ‘A
Carnival of Cultures’, following the group’s highly successful Christmas
Party held recently at the Holiday Inn. The eventual goal of the Foundation
will be to establish an orphanage in Chiang Mai.
The board is composed as follows: Wuttipong Arayatumsopon (Podology Centre)
as president, Maria Reussner, Joachim Erkes and Dirk Weeber-Araytumsopon
(Podology Centre) as vice-presidents, Frank and Vanita Sethi of Fashion King
as cashiers, Marisa Chuchan of Siam Commercial Bank as financial director
and advisor, Prof. Monika Braendi from CMU as education advisor and
assessor, Elena Edwards (CM Mail) public relations and media, Barbara
Oberst-Jumnong as Bangkok business advisor and assessor, and Brian and Aoi
Howe as advisors on charity matters.