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

Prosthesis foundation benefits from bottle cap donation

January’s combined birthday party at the Boys Home

An afternoon of Jazz with traditional Lanna instruments

Suriya Gallery hosts talk on ‘The World of Shan Migrants’

Baan Piranan: Changing minds about Cerebral Palsy

A ‘Cultural Evening’ at Tuskers

Tea Dance and Tango display a great combination

A great birthday party for a lovely lady

Prosthesis foundation benefits from bottle cap donation

Dr. M.L. Buddhibongsa Devakula, director of the Prosthesis foundation,
receives the donation from Viranat Silanda, the GM of the Holiday Inn.

Andy Archer
A staff initiative begun by a Holiday Inn employee, Jamrut Tavron, recently resulted in a large number of aluminium caps taken from empty bottles of drinking water being donated by the hotel to Chiang Mai’s Prosthesis Foundation. The foundation, located on Canal Road, is committed to providing free prostheses to needy amputees regardless of their race or religion, and was established in 1992 with the support of HRH the Princess Mother.
Under the direction of Dr. Therdchai Jivacate, the Prosthesis foundation makes lightweight and therefore more comfortable artificial limbs from recycled plastic, at a cost per limb of 10 times less than that of imported versions. It seems that the Holiday Inn also has a positive attitude to recycling, as the empty water bottles from which the aluminium caps were taken are sent for re-use. Good work, guys!

 

January’s combined birthday party at the Boys Home

January birthday celebrations at the Home for Boys.

Andy Archer
Tim McGuire and his friends held the third of their twelve monthly birthday parties at the Chiang Mai Home for Boys on January 25. The group’s amazing idea was to hold a big party every month to celebrate all the birthdays of all the boys which fell in that given month. At each party, all 140 kids at the home are treated to an afternoon of cake, ice cream, juice, games and cartoons and the birthday children themselves receive presents. This January, 23 birthdays were celebrated! The kids had a wonderful afternoon competing in races, including the three-legged race and the balloon toss, which got ever-so-slightly our of control! All the younger boys were given warm jackets. The older boys got hooded sweat shirts to keep the chill off at night. Prospective volunteers are encouraged to contact Tim at [email protected] com if they would like to become part of the group. The next party is scheduled for Sunday, February 22 at 12:30 at the Home for Boys, which is located on the Mae Rim Road about 10 minutes from the Superhighway, on the left approximately a mile further on from City Hall.


An afternoon of Jazz with traditional Lanna instruments

Andy Archer
On the afternoon of January 24, a group of 10 jazz musicians, including Mr Teh’s Jazz band and teachers from Chiang Mai University, gathered in the Rachamankha Hotel’s delightful courtyard to perform, as a public rehearsal, the set they will be presenting at the Lanna Contemporary Music Festival.

Wolfgang and Alexis Viragh at the Rachamankha Hotel, with Wanphen and Hagen Dirksen, the honorary German consul, and Rooj Changtrakul.
Ajarn Thitipol, member of Mr Teh’s Jazz band, explained to the Chiang Mai Mail that he plays a traditional Lanna salor – a type of stringed fiddle, with Manop Prasert Phoothi playing a seung – a stringed instrument which is plucked, there being no bow. To complete the band, Manop Manasan, also from CMU, together with Mrs The, provide the vocals. The innovative use of traditional Lanna instruments in jazz reflects the roots of this much-loved musical style.
Around 40 guests had been invited by Rooj Changtrakul, the Rachamankha’s owner, to enjoy the music, canapés and wine and, more importantly, to encourage the musicians in the hopes that their representation of Chiang Mai at the upcoming music festival being held at the Siam Paragon Hotel in Bangkok will be successful. The Chiang Mai Mail wishes them well!

Members of Mr. Teh’s Jazz band, who will be representing Chiang Mai
at the upcoming Lanna Contemporary Music Festival in Bangkok.


Suriya Gallery hosts talk on ‘The World of Shan Migrants’

Elena Edwards
The first of a planned series of talks will be held at the newly opened Suriya Gallery on Huey Kaew Road at 6 p.m. on Sunday 8 and will feature as guest speaker Dr. Amporn Jirattikorn. Her presentation will be based on her own research into the world of Shan migrants here in Thailand and will discuss the shifting perception within the kingdom of Shans. At times they are seen as ethnic brothers who deserve support and sympathy, and other times, they are seen as aliens who are grudgingly tolerated and put to use. This will be related to the experiences of long-term Shan prisoners in a Chiang Mai prison, who have created a national experience and identity amongst themselves through radio, media, music, and literature, with a tenuous link to the outside world. The informal presentation will be followed by a discussion.
Ten per cent of any art sales and 20 per cent of any other sales will be donated to Cultural Canvas, a local organisation which provides art therapy experiences for children of migrants in Chiang Mai. Guests may also choose to donate to Scott O’Brien, a dedicated volunteer who has had to be hospitalised recently.
Suriya Gallery represents and shows work by Burmese artists, and is located at No 2 Soi Bua Lang, on the right-hand side of Huey Kaew Road going towards Doi Suthep, close to the Canal Road junction. Parking is easy at the Nice Nails parking lot. For further information, please call on 053-221-969 or email on [email protected]com.


Baan Piranan: Changing minds about Cerebral Palsy

Jean Kirby
Most in Chiang Mai may not be aware that, just off of the road between Bor Sang and Doi Saket, a new project is underway at Baan Piranan, a recently established home for children with cerebral palsy.
Established in 2008 as a subsidiary project of the well-known Foundation to Encourage the Potential of Disabled Persons, Baan Piranan aims to serve as a pilot and resident care facility for children suffering from the severe and crippling affliction, cerebral palsy. The project is being run by Piranan Singjai, an occupational therapist with a life-long background of caring for children.
Baan Piranan strives to actively promote a new attitude towards caring for children with cerebral palsy – to stimulate and broaden the prevailing medical mind set that advocates only minimal maintenance of cerebral palsy symptoms. Piranan’s approach simplifies the challenge of caring for CP sufferers, focusing on the individual resident’s self-help potential to improve their own quality of life, rather than dependence upon medical care. It rejects the tendency amongst Thai doctors and medical professionals to medicate, institutionalize, or ignore, rather than to rehabilitate.
Piranan and her dedicated crew of volunteers have devoted their entire lives to helping the fortunate few who have come into their care. She herself is visually impaired; as a result she struggles to lift the boys due to injuries received in a motorcycle accident, spending nearly every waking hour caring for them. In the process, she and everyone else at Baan Piranan are paving the way towards a better future for Northern Thai children with this condition, providing a rare and positive model of hands-on, hopeful, and humanising care for those afflicted.
It goes without saying that such exemplars of optimistic and energetic care are hard to come by in Northern Thailand; indeed, deeply rooted cultural stigmas against cerebral palsy and disability consign most CP sufferers to a life of loneliness, silence, and immobility.
Nong Mai, one of the three boys currently at BP, had spent the majority of his life motionless - confined inside a bamboo cage - before he came to Baan Piranan. Nong Wichai, another resident, had spent most of his life on the floor, and had recently, before coming to the facility, survived falling into a well. At the time they were accepted into Baan Piranan, neither boy could speak. The gifts of mobility and communication – perhaps the two most fundamental aspects of life, gifts which most of us take for granted – are precious beyond measure for these boys, and with the benefit of Khun Piranan’s individualized training and care, they finally have the chance of attaining them.
As a volunteer for Cultural Canvas Thailand, a Chiang Mai-based NGO that has worked extensively with the facility, holding art workshops and enlivening the interior and exterior spaces with murals and signage, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of meeting, interacting with, and learning about Baan Piranan’s residents, and in only two weeks I have witnessed a level of progress and development that is nothing short of inspiring.
On a recent visit to the home, I observed Nong Wichai actively shuffling around the house, watering plants, tugging at banners, and attempting to communicate through pointing, making sounds, and drawing pictures. Perhaps most inspiringly, I have seen the boys touch brush to paper for the first time in their lives, utterly enthralled at the prospect of creation, of ownership, of expression. Immense reservoirs of vitality and determination gaze out from behind these boys’ faces - how so many people here would consider them to be in vegetative states is utterly impossible to fathom for anyone has spent even a moment working with them.
That Baan Piranan’s residents are lucky is an understatement - for every child rescued by Piranan and her team, there are countless others scattered across Northern Thailand who remain lost and forgotten; on concrete floors, lying in their own feces. As Baan Piranan grows, they hope to accommodate, at most, up to three more children – overcrowding is often the primary reason for the low quality of care in residential facilities for disabled persons in Thailand – yet even this modest goal requires great assistance.
Baan Piranan needs your help, to buy food supplies, support salaries for full-time staff, and prepare their facilities for the upcoming summer months. The project is more than happy to accept any donation, however small. You can visit their website, www.baan-piranan.org for more information on how to help out, make a donation, or plan a visit.
For the children at Baan Piranan, every day is a gift - the least you can do is stop by and give them a few minutes of your time; or even just your smile.


A ‘Cultural Evening’ at Tuskers

Scots or not? Depends on what’s worn under the kilt.

Mia Brando
Last Sunday night, January 25, was the 250th Anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth. To celebrate the event, Tuskers staged their first Burns Night Supper. The more interesting and daring people at the event arrived in various dress, suggesting, at the very least, a Scottish spirit. Two brave souls arrived in kilts, and, much to my relief, I heard no one ask what was under them.
With the tables set facing the stage, we enjoyed the arrival of the haggis, accompanied by the recital of ‘To a Haggis.’ Local Scot, David Brown, who recited the famous poem, dramatically stabbed the haggis with a large knife. This was slightly alarming to those not of Scottish descent. The poem was, of course, followed by a toast!
The supper of cock-a-leekie soup, haggis, mashed tatties and bashed neeps was in keeping with the strict decorum of the evening. We enjoyed a short but very informative speech about Rabbie, followed, of course, by a toast. A dramatic rendition of another of Burns’ poems brought the cultural happening to an end. A brief dance by a good looking blond (who claimed to be half Scottish) finished the festivities.
Joining hands, we sang Auld Lang Syne, followed, of course, by a toast…
Editor’s explanatory note – for those who missed the event.
For those who, sadly, are not aware of the cultural significance of the life of one of Scotland’s most famous sons, second on the list after Bonnie Prince Charlie (who, amateur historians please note, was not related in any way to England’s current Prince Charles), Rabbie (Robbie, pronounced with a Scots accent – don’t ‘try this at home…’). Burns was known as the Bard of Ayrshire and the Ploughman Poet, and was born (for those readers without calculators or enough fingers and toes) in 1759. He became a prolific writer of songs and poems, the most famous being Auld Lang Syne, written in 1788, translated as ‘Times gone by,’ and roared out after a great deal too many ‘cups of kindness’ all over the world at one minute past midnight on New Year’s day.
Further cultural information may be necessary regarding the traditional main dish served on Burns Night, the Haggis, and the poem which is traditionally rendered as the dish is carried in. The recipe is as follows, for those who might like to ‘try this at home’…
‘Take the liver, lungs and heart of a sheep and boil them. Mince the meats and mix with chopped onions, toasted oatmeal, salt, pepper and spices. Take one properly cleaned sheep’s stomach. Stuff the cleaned stomach with the prepared contents. Sew up the stomach (leaving enough room for expansion to avoid a large messy explosion) and boil. Serve and eat.’
The first verse of the poem goes as follows:
‘Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race! Aboon them a’ ye tak your place, Painch, tripe, or thairm: Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace As lang’s my arm.’
OK?
As far as we understand, the remaining stanzas refer to French and other national dishes as not fit for a real man to eat, and end with the following:
But mark the Rustic, haggis fed, the trembling earth resounds his tread. Clap in his walie nieve a blade, he’ll mak it whissle. An’ legs an’ arms an’ heads will sned like taps o’ thrissle. Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care, and dish them out their bill o’ fare, Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware that jaups in luggies; But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer, Gie her a haggis!
For a translation of the entire poem, please visit http://www.worldburnsclub.com/begin/address_to_a_haggis .htm. We did, it’s great!


Tea Dance and Tango display a great combination

Andy Archer
A dance workshop, organised by local resident and dance teacher Linda Galloway during the week of January 15-23, culminated in a special Tea Dance and Tango exhibition dance at the Shangri-La Hotel. The guest dancers were Argentineans Sonia and Pablo, directors of the ‘Compania Alma de Tango’ in Buenos Aires.

Pablo and Sonia from Buenos Aires’ Compania Alma de Tango demonstrate the art of Tango.

More than 70 guests were mesmerised by this amazing dance duo, who performed an authentic Argentinean tango with harmony, intensity and passion. Following were the 21 students of dance who had attended the week-long workshop, all of whom were happy to show off their new-found skills. The cool sounds from the ‘Blue Jazz Band’ along with two talented female vocalists, almost persuaded everyone in the audience to ‘get up and go’ onto the dance floor!
Compania Alma de Tango’s Pablo when asked what he thought of Chiang Mai after his two weeks’ stay, replied that ‘It was a very big surprise for both myself and Sonia, with people always smiling and the city seeming such a peaceful place.’ He added that he hopes to come back at the end of the year to develop a Tango Club.
Local resident Joyce Jeffery added, ‘The afternoon was a lot of fun! The tea was hot, the croissants and scones complete with jam and cream were as they should be, and the sweets were fantastic. The tango demonstration was wonderful and made everyone wish they could do it half as well. I’d go again.’
The afternoon tea dance was followed the same evening by a ‘Melange,’ a Tango Show in the Silapathai, at which more than 30 expats danced the night away to Argentinean music. The afternoon Tea Dance takes place in the Shangri-La’s Lobby Lounge every Saturday afternoon, costing 300 baht per person.
For further details of dance workshops and events, please contact Linda Galloway on 086-187-1263 or [email protected]


A great birthday party for a lovely lady

Suchada cuts her birthday cakes surrounded by her good friends.

CMM Reporters
Khun Suchada, a great lady of Thai fine dining and owner of the well-known and very glamorous Dalabaa Restaurant, celebrated her birthday on her home ground on January 28, surrounded by a large number of her friends. Guests came from far and near to wish her well, and included TV star and producer Khun Pepsi, former star of screen Khun Kraysorn and gay political group activist Khun Natee. Also in attendance and having a great time were event organisers JoeJoe and Waranon, and many friends of Suchada’s from the police, the immigration department, the municipality, together with local parliamentarians and business people.
The entertainment was guaranteed to be good, with karaoke and a great live band, and Suchada’s chef excelled himself with traditional Lanna and Thai dishes, much enjoyed by all. The theme of the evening, of course, was traditional, particularly in the decorations – red, red and more red –a trademark of Dalabaa since its opening. After the birthday cakes were cut, the party continued into the small hours – a very positive and much- enjoyed celebration of a lovely lady’s 66th birthday.