A glittering evening at Dalabar
One of the gorgeous gowns designed
by Yodaya is worn by an equally gorgeous model.
To round off Christmas week, a special cocktail dinner was held at
Dalabar on December 28. A combination of delicious buffet food, including
roast suckling pig and a selection of hors d’ouvres, fine wine and great
jazz was rounded off by a spectacular fashion show featuring the latest
creations of designer Yodaya – and what amazing creations they were!
Modelled by tall, slim and undeniably beautiful ladies, the vibrant colours,
stunning designs and glittering decorations wowed the audience. Guests
included the Thai Channel 7 TV star Khun Kelly, with his lovely girlfriend,
model and actress, Nammthip Thanapat. Tannanan Willson and friends were
there, plus a crowd of Chiang Mai’s ‘beautiful people,’ all ensuring that
local and national paparazzi had a very busy night!
‘Toys for Thailand’ gals in town again
Volunteers with the kids at
Wat Don Chan.
Two gals from California rode into town yet again last week on a mission, to
get wish lists from schools for underprivileged kids and do their best to
fulfil them. Sasha Bilar, a native Thai, the owner of Spectrum Video Inc,
and Maria Miller, a professor at Palomar College in the San Diego area have
both been coming here regularly since the tsunami hit. Their very own
charity, Toys for Thailand, has evolved from cuddly bears and dolls to
toilets, beds and anything else that teachers and students need which there
meagre budgets can’t provide. The great thing about this secular and tax
exempt charity is that all the donations it receives go directly to supply
the kids’ needs. All volunteers pay their own expenses, and local businesses
donate their resources towards the charity’s effort.
A fine example of how this works is that when Toys for Thailand volunteers
realised that the kids at Wat Don Chan needed beds, they bought the steel
themselves and had 30 three-level bunks made, three kids to a bunk! When the
beds were finished, they simply went out and bought 90 mattresses. Result –
90 kids sleeping in beds. Marvellous! Because the children need shampoo and
feminine products on a sustained basis, a wish list has been placed on a
whiteboard, with a donation box allowing donors to take on a project they
can afford. A group of local people decided to join in and help out, much to
Christa Söllner, from Germany, is working on buying the materials needed to
erect two buildings at a Shan School in Mae Hong Son province, in memory of
her husband Dr. Horst Söllner. Jack Moersbaecher and Joe Evans bought up
barber equipment which had been requested by that school and also by a Red
Karen school in the same area. Joe, a large, very friendly and enthusiastic
guy, is a local contact for Toys for Thailand, and can be reached at
085-714-2550. To learn more about the charity itself, please visit their
website, at www.palomar.edu/toys or email [email protected]
Santisuk School students enjoy their ‘After Christmas Party’
It may have been the day after Christmas, but that didn’t matter a bit to
the student body of Santisuk School in Region IV School District. Santa
Claus, the students and their teachers welcomed FERC board members and
visiting magician Nick Wiszynski to a great holiday celebration that
combined music, gifts and Nick’s magic act, along with unexpected rain and
miscellaneous dogs wandering in and out of the covered sala. The student
body president, Wutthanan Phonyangnork, is also a FERC scholarship
recipient. During his speech, Wutthanan said ‘This scholarship makes a poor
boy be a good student.’
Nick Wiszynski with fascinated students at Santisuk School.
Santisuk School is a self-sustaining school, a designation given to only two
other schools in all of Thailand. Sixty-five percent of the students are
tribal children and thirty-five percent are Thai. About half of them live at
the school because the distance to their villages is too far for them to
travel every day. With their teachers, they grow vegetables, herbs and
fruits in their gardens, raise pigs and chickens and care for three fish
ponds. The food that is raised and grown is part of the children’s diets,
and they are also taught food preparation as well as other life skills. This
unusual school is a ‘home away from home’ for 400 students, each of whom has
a job to do in preparation for any activity. The school is presently seeking
volunteer English language teachers, and can offer room and board for
long-term volunteers. For further information on the scheme, please contact
Frank Weicks on 083-762-2744.
FERC board members led the students in stirring renditions of ‘Jingle Bells’
and ‘Frosty the Snowman,’ then helped to give out gifts to every student and
tossed candy treats into the assembly. However, it was magician Nick
Wiszynski who captured the imagination and the hearts of the students with
his magic show, then sat with small groups to perform magic in a more
personal setting. It was easy to tell how fascinated the youngsters were –
they barely moved during the show, and their “oohs” and “aahs” were evidence
of their enchantment.
For further information on FERC, please visit their website at
GI certificate may revive
Lamphun silk brocade manufacture
Lamphun is famous for its production of silk brocade (yok dok),
traditionally woven on handlooms in a complicated process from a combination
of silk thread and gold and silver thread, and traditionally worn by the
Kings and Queens of Thailand.
Sadly, sales and profits are dropping, due not only to the world economic
crisis, but also to cheap imitations of the famous fabric being sold to
unsuspecting clients. However, in October, Lamphun silk was awarded a
Geographic Indication (GI) certificate from Thailand’s Intellectual Property
Rights Department, and registered for domestic protection.
The beautiful fabric, famous in Thailand for its quality and historical
Royal connections, was first introduced into Lamphun one hundred years ago
by the Chiang Mai Princess Dara Rasamee, who became the fifth wife of King
Chulalongkorn the Great, and learned the weaving process whilst she lived at
the Royal Court. When the Princess returned to Chiang Mai, she taught the
techniques to relatives, and thus began the production of the silk brocade
The GI certificate is given, not to a company, but to a group of producers
in the same, traditional area, and cannot be transferred outside the area.
This protects the product, unlike a patent, which can be sold and its
manufacturing area transferred anywhere in the world. For Lamphun weavers,
this means that they will be able to charge a realistic price for the silk,
which reflects their increasing costs, and the uniqueness of their product.
It is also hoped that the silk and its weavers can be promoted as a tourist
2009 Umbrella festival
expected to be
bigger and better
The annual Umbrella Festival held in San Kamphaeng will run from
January 16 to 18, and will be sponsored by the Chiang Mai Provincial
Administration Organisation and the Tourist Authority if Thailand. It is
expected that 2009’s festival will be more extravagant than in previous
years, and the total number of sponsors is higher.
A highlight of the festival will be the ‘Miss Umbrella’ beauty pageant, and
a giant umbrella will be created to mark the occasion. Over 50,000 visitors
are expected, generating at least 10 million baht for the local community,
although the recent political turmoil may result in a smaller number of
foreign tourists. Local communities are hoping that the new government will
restore confidence amongst foreign visitors, drawing them back to the
Scorpion Queen aims for prickly record
Believe it or not “Nong Na”, the Thai Scorpion Queen, is at this
moment writing herself into the Guinness Book of Records in Pattaya.
Na settles into her new “home” as she prepares to break her own record by
living with 5,000 scorpions for 33 days and nights.
The one and only Kanjana Ketkaew, aka Nong Na, 39, has just set a new world
record by keeping a very large scorpion in her mouth for 2 minutes and 3
seconds without being stung to death.
Not satisfied with that feat, at Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Pattaya, Nong
Na is attempting to break her own world record of six years standing by
living with 5,000 scorpions over a period of 33 days and nights. She has
expressed confidence that she will be able to accomplish the feat.
The Scorpion Queen stepped into the glass room at Ripley’s on December 24
and will live with the black stinging roommates until January 24. The rules
say the Scorpion Queen can come out of the room for 15 minutes every 8 hours
and three times per day for 45 minutes for a total of 33 days.
The scorpion used for the mouth record put up a fight, struggling all the
while to come out during the Scorpion Queen’s effort to keep it in her mouth
for as long as she could. Nong Na had to use her tongue and was able to keep
it in there for the two minutes and three seconds to set a new Guinness book
Asked what her secret method was, she simply said that as she didn’t harm
the scorpions, they returned that courtesy.
We’ll gladly take her word of mouth for it.
‘Triple’ party at the Herbal Garden, complete with delicious pies
As if Christmas and New Year weren’t enough, there was a birthday as
well to celebrate for Bud and Noi Sweet at the Sweet Herbal Garden and
Clinic. Invitations for December 27 went out by email and word of mouth to
all their friends, including the mostly Doi Saket-based owners of a good
number of gorgeous classic cars, the ‘star of the show’ being Miew’s newly
renovated and stunning shocking pink and cream Opel Estate.
and Noi Sweet at their ‘triple’ party at the Sweet Herbal Garden and Clinic.
The Sweet Herbal Gardens and Clinic, run by Bud and Noi, was the perfect
setting for a celebration, as Noi, originally from Korat, also operates a
cooking school at the venue. The resultant delicious spread she provided for
her guests met with instant joy and great approval, so much so that a guest
waxed lyrical online about the apple and pumpkin pies! Even the classic
cars, one of which was running, happily enough, on the new ‘hydrogen fuel
cell,’ took second place to the food! Music and beautifully dressed Thai
traditional dancers kept guest fascinated and very happy throughout.
The 10 rai of lush herbal gardens and grounds is the project of both Bud and
Noi; the clinic and cooking school is Noi’s alone. The Mor Noi clinic is
holistic and traditional Thai medicine-based, using herbs grown naturally
and organically in the grounds. Noi (Dr. Amporn Srakrupan) has a doctorate
in herbal medicine, and eventually realised her dream of her own clinic when
the Mor Noi was completed, certified and opened in June 2006. She has
‘healing hands,’ and uses her gift to great effect with her patients.
As well as all this, Noi’s cookery school also offers a home-stay facility
for its students, charging from 350 baht per night, including delicious
meals. She and Bud have been together for 26 years, although Bud spent much
of his time working in Saudi Arabia until his retirement in 1998, when he
settled down at the Herbal Garden to enjoy what both have them had created
over the years.
You can find the Sweet Herbal Garden and the Mor Noi Clinic at 75/1 Moo 7,
Tambon Nongjom, Amphur Sansai, approximately 30 minutes’ drive from the city
centre. If that sounds confusing, you can call for directions and more
information on 053-353-556 or 086-659-9958, email on [email protected],
or visit the website at www.mornoi-clinic.com.