After a tremendously successful first year, during which Chiang Mai Friends’
Group formed relationships with many Thai organisations including the
municipality, the immigration department, the local police, and Dr.
Duentemduang na Chiengmai, the city’s Mayor, it was time to celebrate their
achievements at a very special first anniversary party.
cutest little girl at the party performs a traditional dance for the guests.
The venue was JJ Markets - with tables set up, a stage, a jazz band, and
more tables loaded with wine and delicious food, all provided by local
businesses and the members themselves - what a great party it was!
The guests of honour included the Mayor, the US honorary consul, Michael
Morrow, with his beautiful wife Shannon, the director of the northern office
of the Tourist Authority of Thailand, Chalermsak Suranant, even NBC was
there to record the occasion, as were the local paparazzi. Dr. Hans van
Santen, the Dutch Embassy’s head of the economics department and Rubert
Konjin, the Embassy’s counsellor for agriculture, nature and food, are now
Chiang Mai Friends’ Group’s newest members - we hope we see them often.
Michael Morrow told the Chiang Mai Mail, “I remember the Friends’
opening night, and have followed its growth throughout the year - it is
incredible the amount that has been achieved. It is important to build on
the community spirit, as both Thais and Farangs should not take all the
wonderful things Chiang Mai has to offer for granted. My family and I have
lived here for one and a half years and consider ourselves friends of Chiang
Mai. I encourage all expats to do likewise.”
Mayor of Chiang Mai, Dr. Duentemduang na Chieng Mai, with Shannon Morrow,
wife of the honorary US consul in Chiang Mai, Michael Morrow.
Chalermsak added that, “I am pleased to have been invited to join in this
anniversary celebration. TAT is happy to work with the group and all expats
to promote Chiang Mai as a great place to live. There should be cultural
exchanges both ways - this will end up as a win-win situation.”
The celebrations began early at 5.30 p.m., and soon after the area was full
of smiling people, both Thai and foreign residents, all congratulating the
president of Chiang Mai Friends’ Group, Duenpen Chaladlam (Boong), whose
birthday it also was. They also congratulated each other on a great year of
working together for integration between the two communities and on the
environmental needs of the city.
having fun at the CM Friends’ party.
After the meeting and greeting and the speeches, the entertainment began,
featuring traditional dances by beautifully dressed youngsters, and a
fascinating puppet show, again totally traditional, and enormously enjoyed
by the crowd. Eating, drinking, talking, listening, making new friends and
catching up with old ones - with a few, including Shannon Morrow, even
dancing when the band struck up after the entertainment had finished and the
anniversary cake had been cut with due ceremony.
An evening which truly mirrored the aims and objectives of the Friends, who
are looking forward to the following year and the achievements which will
come about, all of which will be celebrated at next year’s party!
traditional puppet show delighted guests at the Chiang Mai Friends’ Group
Chiang Mai Friends’ Group is, quite simply, a group of caring people - an
eclectic mix of Thai and foreigners - that like to meet, talk and share
information. Its main purpose is to exchange interests between cultures as
well as making integration a great deal easier for foreigners who come to
live in Chiang Mai. The transition between one’s country of origin and
Thailand can be difficult - the group helps to ease the process, with both
foreigners and Thai people helping newcomers to adjust and settle down.
The group is unique in its aims, with only its members benefiting from its
activities, which, in turn, benefit the Chiang Mai community itself by
cross-cultural understanding and the protection and improvement of the
The Chiang Mai Mail would like to offer its congratulations to Boong
on both the group’s anniversary and her birthday, and looks forward
enormously to the Friends’ forthcoming year, and to its new website, now
under construction. For now, information on Chiang Mai Friends can be found
Three beautifully dressed young traditional
dancers entertain guests at the party.
Guests of honour crowd round to witness the
cutting of the anniversary cake.