Vol. VIII No. 4 - Tuesday
January 27 - February 2, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


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

Wanna go holistic? Why not do it right here in Chang Mai

Skal members visit ‘Look at This’ gallery’s print exhibition

A ‘Spa’ with a difference …it’s residential

Horizons Unlimited Travellers hold mini-meeting in Chiang Mai

Will Obama be ready for radical humanitarian intervention in Burma?

Wanna go holistic? Why not do it right here in Chang Mai

CMM reporters/eTN
Chiang Mai is set to host the Worldwide Holistic Healing Seminar 2009 from February 20-22 at the city’s Empress Convention Centre.
“If there ever was a time in your life where health should come first, now is the time,” say the event’s organizers, the International Center of Natural Sciences (ICNS), who add that the benefits of holistic healing need no advertising, no large amounts of money, nor is a degree in science required to understand the theory. Holistic medicine is the philosophy of medical health care that views overall well-being rather than concentrating on singular parts of our physical bodies, tackling the causes of disease rather than just attacking the symptoms.

The Worldwide Holistic Healing Seminar 2009 will take place from February 20-22.

The Worldwide Holistic Healing Seminar 2009 is aiming to attract health professionals, those who are undergoing treatment for chronic illness, and those who simply want to maintain their current vitality and fitness level, as well as those who wish to find out more about the holistic approach. Shari Brown, from INCS, says that, “Holistic healing can and will improve the quality of your own life as well as impart knowledge and experience that can be passed on to your children, friends and relatives.”
The first Worldwide Holistic Healing Seminar was held four years ago in Chiang Mai, and organizers claim it was a huge success with over a thousand people from 35 countries in attendance. This year’s seminar promises to be even more spectacular.
Scheduled to attend and deliver a speech is the president of Gambia, whom organizers describe as ‘a healer in his own right’. Also scheduled to make an appearance is Mantak Chia of Chiang Mai’s Tao Garden, who was a popular speaker at the first event and will talk again this year on transforming stress into vitality. According to ICNS, Phil Morimitsu will also be returning from Hong Kong to talk about mastering change in your life.
Shari adds that, “Holistic medicine seeks to heal and balance all areas of our lives. In addition, it fosters a sense of self-discipline, giving you the ability to make the best choices. These forms and methods of using complementary medicine can help establish a healthy and harmonious lifestyle. Learning from experts in the field will help everyone reach their goals of longevity, health and happiness.”
Organizers said the seminar will present an outstanding range of topics. Talks by more than forty speakers will include themes such as aromatherapy, Vedic astrology, yoga, music therapy, brain spotting, meridians, acupuncture, homeopathy, and spiritual exercise.
The seminar will also present a wide range of quality health and herbal products, together with researched and proven innovations in natural medicine. Workshops include anti-ageing, dimensions of wellness, gemology, Emotional Freedom Technique, laughter therapy, managing change, and transforming stress into vitality among the 30 subjects covered.
The event will stress that the holistic approach is personalised and proactive, and bridges the gap between conventional medicine and alternative therapies. Talks will be broadcast in English and Thai, with professional translations available with the use of individual headsets.
During the three day seminar, participants will receive expert guidance in taking care of their health and well being; learn new skills from workshops, discussions and introductory talks on more than 25 health topics; network with professionals to expand their business opportunities; discover the latest innovations and research in holistic medicine; experience the uplifting of consciousness, make new friends and share joy, laughter and fun; and, last but by no means least, gain more understanding of and confidence in the holistic approach to health and healing.
For more information, please visit www.ircns.org.

 

Skal members visit ‘Look at This’ gallery’s print exhibition

Marshall and Joy Kelly (centre) with their friends and artists.

Michael Davies
The newly opened ‘Look at This’ art gallery, located on Nimmanhaeminda Road opposite the Amari Rincome, held an open house on January 22 for members of the Chiang Mai SKAL group and their friends. The evening celebrated the gallery’s latest exhibition, consisting of prints by five up-and-coming Thai printmakers from Chiang Mai.
The owners of the gallery, Marshall and Joy Kelly, served up delicious wines, paired divinely with delectable tasty treats, to match with the art works on display. The print-makers themselves were on hand to discuss their works, a ‘static mime’ artiste had been invited to entertain, and the evening was capped off with a fun wine taste-rating for twelve guests. The lucky dozen had each brought in a bottle of wine from their native country, wrapped in foil to disguise its origin. The competing wines included offerings from France, Lebanon, Australia, America and South Africa, with the overall winner being a Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. As is usual at SKAL meetings and events, a good time was had by all.
The ‘Look at This’ exhibition will continue through mid- March; for further details, please call on 053-400921.


A ‘Spa’ with a difference …it’s residential

Guy, with his wife Toi, and lots of friends, celebrate both
the opening of Spa Chiang Mai and Toi’s birthday.

Elena Edwards
Just imagine having a luxurious spa with a focus on holistic health right on your doorstep - without even having to leave your moo baan! Together with organic food grown on the hill above the homes and recreational areas …what more could one need?

A furry ‘whatchamacallit’ found its way on to the invited guest list.
This excellent idea has been brought to Chiang Mai from Koh Samui by Guy and Toi Hopkins, who founded Spa Koh Samui in 1992. The perfect place in the perfect setting is how Guy imagined his new venture, and a perfect setting it would seem to be. Set on a gently sloping hill, and landscaped with trees, streams, lakes and flowers amidst a village scene of rice paddies and agricultural life, the peace and quiet soothes you the minute you step out of your car.
Except, that is, on the evening of January17, when a huge joint celebration for Toi’s birthday and the official opening of the project took place, attended by hundreds of Guy and Toi ‘s friends and neighbours. Centered around the restaurant were tables serving food, wine and beer, with lovely young ladies refilling glasses from jugs of whatever pleased the guests. A stage had been set up to accommodate the band, with lights streaming out across the sloping grounds, and a special area next to one of the swimming pools had been reserved for the welcoming speeches.
Guests, both Thai and foreign, came from everywhere, and fanned out at the tables and on the grass, eating, chatting and having a good time in the cool evening. Traditional dancers entertained, and floating lanterns were lit and sent into the heavens for good luck and good health for Guy and Toi and for their new project. All in all, a great evening.
The spa itself is based on a health and wellness principle, and, of course, includes all the facilities necessary to ensure a healthy start to residents’ new lives in Thailand.
The Chiang mai Mail will be visiting the complex within a few weeks - in daylight - so that we can be shown round the homes and grounds and be able to appreciate the lovely setting. Watch this space for a full report on Spa Chiang Mai, especially if you are searching for the perfect place to live!


Horizons Unlimited Travellers hold mini-meeting in Chiang Mai

Bikers and friends meet at the Chiang Mai Saloon 2.

Andy Archer
Horizons Unlimited (HU) Travellers, a loosely-constituted organisation for adventurous motorcyclists, recently held one of their ‘mini-meetings’ at the Chiang Mai Saloon on Ratchawithi Road. Small ‘local’ HU Community meetings, often held in someone’s backyard, garden or field for a barbie, or in a restaurant or local watering hole, are often held to welcome a traveller passing through, or just as an excuse to get together and keep the travel fires burning.
For this, the 3rd meeting in Chiang Mai, 37 bikers came from far-flung places including Switzerland, Australia, the UK, France, the USA, Canada, Laos and Germany, and also, closer to home, from Thailand. The theme was, ‘We’re here for the free beer, the free information and the free-style travel.’ Of course, Chiang Mai is an ideal destination as it is the perfect base from which to travel on a motorcycle around the South East Asian countries bordering the north of Thailand. The group described themselves as a ‘mixed adventure travel group,’ with motorcycles ranging from BMW’s to Honda Phantoms. One threesome is planning an attempted ride across Myanmar. We wish them good luck with that one! Another is on his second ‘round the world’ trip, riding the same bike, a BMW F650.
Horizons Unlimited is the largest motorcycle travel group in the world. Its website, at www.horizonsunlimited .com, is extremely informative about all aspects of adventure motorcycling. For further details of the Chiang Mai meeting, please go to http://www.horizonsunlimited .com/meetings/Thailand2009.


Will Obama be ready for radical humanitarian intervention in Burma?

Sai Wansai
Even before the euphoria following the historic inauguration of Barack Obama had died down, the new US President moved almost with lighting speed on his first day in office to tackle the issue of the closure of Guantanamo Bay. As a result, the Cuban prison camp will be closed down within one year and the administration has suspended trials for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo for 120 days pending a review of the military tribunals. Many EU countries were particularly impressed with the intended Guantanamo Bay closure, which was seen as the right approach to undo the Bush’s era human rights violations and restore America’s lost moral position as befits a democratic superpower.
Meanwhile, Burma has been hinting that the new US President should change Washington’s tough policy towards its military regime and end the ‘misunderstandings’ of the past, according to a media report on Friday. In Obama’s inauguration speech, he stated, ‘To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.’
In the Obama administration’s foreign policy agenda, a paragraph reads, ‘Seek New Partnerships in Asia: Obama and Biden will forge a more effective framework in Asia that goes beyond bilateral agreements, occasional summits, and ad hoc arrangements, such as the six-party talks on North Korea. They will maintain strong ties with allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia, work to build an infrastructure with countries in East Asia that can promote stability and prosperity and work to ensure that China plays by international rules.’
One wonders, whether the overtures of the Burmese military regime regarding a better relationship with Washington could be a fresh start for reconciliation and the beginning of a win-win outcome for the conflict within Burma and as well, the hostile Burmese-US relationship.
Arranging six-party talks, as in the case of North Korea, could be a possibility. The only condition necessary to get it started is that the give-and-take of compromise must be available. Whilst the US-led team wouldn’t pose a problem, the Burmese military regime will have to budge from its stance of insisting on playing by its own game plan and rules. In other words, the acceptance of political accommodation, all-inclusiveness and the level playing field will have to be an agreed precondition.
The Burmese military regime cannot expect to improve its relations with Washington without genuine compromise to end its tyrannical rule, oppression and political monopoly.
Whilst the ethnic resistance and democratic opposition groups are well aware that Obama’s plate is full with heavy priority issues such as the global financial crisis, the US troop withdrawal from Iraq, climate change, improving America’s relationship internationally, brokering peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and empowering and supporting Afghanistan government against the Taliban, they are confident that the moral and humanitarian issues involving Burma will also be part and parcel of his foreign policy agenda, even if further down his list of priorities.
As it is, the Burmese military has never been ready for compromise or flexibility where power-sharing or political accommodation is concerned. In a situation of continued rejection on the part of Burmese military, Obama would be forced to alter his approach to help deliver reconciliation and the democratisation process in Burma.
Although the diplomatic overtures to woo the Burmese military for genuine democratic change all-inclusiveness should continue, Obama could also ‘up the ante’ by innovative and radical humanitarian intervention, short of military undertakings by US forces. For example, Washington could work with Bangkok to create sanctuaries along the Thai-Burmese border, where the bulk of the 500,000 internally displaced persons are struggling to survive on a daily basis. All this could take place within Burma, close to the border, with the help of the many ethnic resistance movements. This way, the US military would not need to be involved physically, but only need to come up with material needs and management know-how, under the supervision of UN or agreed international establishments. If this happened, many other humanitarian devices and forms of aid could be carried out across the border without having to deal with the military regime. In other words, the international community could bypass the regime to give badly needed help to the oppressed population along the border.
For such a scenario to become a reality, Obama needs to secure Bangkok’s involvement in implementing humanitarian aids. It should be possible for the US President to co-ordinate and work closely with Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva, notwithstanding ASEAN itself, to create a new balance of power which would force the Burmese military government to come to the negotiating table for genuine give-and-take discussions. At the end of the day, a two-pronged approach of pressure and engagement seems to be the only viable approach to deal with the entrenched dictatorship. What the people of Burma need now is a physical commitment from international stakeholders, led by the US and based on negotiation, to give them a helping hand and hope for the future.



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