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

Exclusive art gallery opens on Charoen Muang Road

‘Geography of Hungry Ghosts’ gets a packed-out reception

From rubbish to saleable products without burning

‘Carnival of Cultures’ raises 375,000 baht for local charities

Producing bio-substances from rice

Exclusive art gallery opens on Charoen Muang Road

Andy Archer
Chiang Mai’s reputation as the city of Art, Music and Culture was further advanced last week by the official opening of 116 Art Gallery, proudly presided over by its owner, Wanthip Nimmanahaeminda’s mother, Khun Ying Buppan Nimmanahaeminda. Located on Charoen Muang Road, the new gallery is dedicated to the exhibiting of works by renowned Thai and international artists.

Pool Nganpeerapong, the gallery’s manager, with artist Nukoon Panyadee and one of his exhibited works.

Nukoon Panyadee, one of the Thai artists who will be represented, will also act as consultant and advisor to Pool Nganpeerapong, the gallery’s manager. Nukoon himself has exhibited at the prestigious Jamjuree Gallery at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University. Other exhibitors at present on show include ajarn Sawadee Meesoonthorn (who has also exhibited at the Jamjuree Gallery), In-son Wongsarm, awarded ‘National Artist’ in 1999, and Pratueng Emjaroen, awarded ‘National Artist’ in 2005. Prices for exhibited works range between 10,000 and 600,000 baht, with the present exhibition due to run until mid-July.

 

‘Geography of Hungry Ghosts’ gets a packed-out reception

Bradley Dean Whyte and Matthew Whiston surrounded
by their fans at the ArtSpace on 7 CD release party.

Andy Archer
On March 7, ArtSpace on 7 hosted a packed-out release party for local residents Bradley Dean Whyte and Matthew Whiston’s new CD, Geography of Hungry Ghost – a collaboration of their own work. Almost 100 people crammed into the gallery to hear, performed live, songs from the CD, including the amazing lyrics of William Shakespeare and the beautiful melody of Geography. A first-time visitor to the gallery, Ellen Ward, commented on the lively and original music in its beautiful setting. Another guest, Tameer Barnslee, was enthralled by the lyrics and harmonies, whilst many others agreed that it had been a great evening, and wished that there were more events of the kind in Chiang Mai. Geography of Hungry Ghosts can be purchased at 300 baht on www.alchemypop.com, or can be sent by email for 200 baht. A great idea for those who either missed the event or couldn’t get through the door on the night!


From rubbish to saleable products without burning

To help reduce the burning of waste and the air pollution it causes in the north, Chiang Mai University’s Social Research Institute and other agencies have together set up the “From Waste to Value to Avoid Garbage Burning” project. Villagers are taught to transform rubbish into products for sale, not only to create income for villagers, but also to fight air pollution.
One of the 3 communities participating in the project’s pilot scheme is located in Chiang Mai’s Hang Dong district. Plastic milk containers are converted into handbags, creating a new product out of the waste instead of burning it.
Before the project’s launch, some villagers had become ill from pollution caused by rubbish-burning; as a result, local people decided to take action and began sorting rubbish for recycling. Last year, the community saved more than 12,000 plastic milk containers and recycled them into several thousand handbags. This innovative way of reducing air pollution has also helped bring them extra income.
According to villager, Anong Woramitr, “Before this project, we usually disposed of milk containers by burning them at a site close to the community’s school area. These days, we don’t burn them anymore!”
Local people in all the participating communities are persuaded to use leftover materials to create practical and pretty arts and crafts; for instance, sawdust flower pots, newspaper baskets and backrest pillows made from cloth remnants. The project’s campaign has seen a sharp drop in trash burning, and has also helped stop conflicts amongst community members.
“Last year, we set a goal to reduce waste by 30%, or 30% of the burning. According to our survey, we’ve actually managed to decrease 47% of the overall burning. We aim to reduce waste to zero,” said Douangchan Chareanmuang, from CMU’s Social Research Institute.
This year, the project has expanded to the neighbouring province of Lamphun and another 19 Chiang Mai communities are also participating in order to reduce burning. (TNA)


‘Carnival of Cultures’ raises 375,000 baht for local charities

The winners of the fancy dress contest with the judges. Just look at those wings!

Elena Edwards
A fresh idea in charity events, the ‘Carnival of Cultures’, organised by Thailandfreunde Chiang Mai, and held at the Holiday Inn on March 7, proved a great success. The event began with a stirring rendering of both German marching music and a sprightly polonaise, which accompanied the throwing of chocolate coins at the assembled guests and the yelling of ‘Ahoi!’
The event brought together carnival traditions from countries in three continents, with magician, clown and mime artiste Nick Wiczynski representing Europe, Latin dances performed by students from the Chiang Mai Ballet Academy representing the Americas, and the Chiang Mai Blue Diamond cabaret representing Asia. Raffles were held, with many prizes being won, including spa vouchers and an oil painting by an Israeli artist. The climax of the evening was the (by now almost obligatory) fancy dress contest, in which a witch, Cinderella, two roses (one small, one large), a Lanna prince and princess, a Rajah, a joker, Leonardo da Vinci, a supermodel, an Arabian prince, a Siamese soldier and a pair of butterflies (size unknown) took part. The overall winners were the pair of butterflies, who fluttered off with a cup and a free stay at the Amari Emerald Cove Hotel on Kho Chang Island. The large rose won second prize, a chance to plant herself, a friend and her cup in the Meridién Hotel in Chiang Rai. Third prize, a buffet lunch for 2 at the Ratilanna Hotel, was won by the Siamese soldier. Given army rations, he was probably rather pleased! The final draw was for the mystery door prize, a 5,000 baht voucher donated by Fashion King, was won by 5 year old Mausi. Bet her mum has fun with that!
The total raised, including a donation from Germany, came out at 375,000 baht, well up on Thailandfreunde’s last event. 175,000 baht will be given to the School for the Blind, the second donation from this organisation; the remaining 200,000 baht will go to a local children’s HIV/AIDS charity, which will be chosen in conjunction with the generous donor.

Scantily-clad young ladies from the Blue Diamond Cabaret.
 Watch out, Rio, here they come!


Producing bio-substances from rice

New research benefits health

Research by Woranuch Srijetsadarak, a lecturer at Khon Kaen University’s Faculty of Technology, has resulted in a new method of producing Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) unpolished rice of very high quality, which also tastes good and is good for health. Due to the rise in popularity of health foods, Woranuch focused her research on techniques of producing the rice easily.

GABA enriched rice can be more easily produced under the new method.
Although, at present, GABA rice production studies are common, Woranuch has been studying production methods since 2007, and as a result has received attention from consumers groups and the private sector, with increased cooperation between the public and private sector in researching rice development and extension. Her results involved the use of new methods of study, leading to an increase in GABA in several strains of rice, particularly red jasmine rice.
The new method involves soaking red jasmine rice grain in water held at 35-40 degrees Celsius for 10-12 hours. The grains are then placed in soil at a humidity of more than 95% and a temperature of 35-40% Celsius for 30-35 hours. After subsequent drying and scaling, the resultant rice will have increased in GABA content by 12 milligrams per 100 grams, and will also be of higher quality compared with other rice strains.
GABA is found in a protein acid, and has been proven to help maintain and support nerve cells, relax the brain and protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. In the West, the substance has been used to treat nervous system and psychiatric disorders, sleeplessness, spasms, convulsions and similar conditions.
It is expected that the research results will bring value-added benefits to Thai rice production, encourage research grants in the fields of medicine and public health, and generate increased rural income in rice-farming areas.