The Party of the Year
Village residents have a great time at the very
As readers of this paper wander from (mostly farang) event to event
and party to party, taking in, maybe, another fashion show on the way after
a fusion meal at a hotel, how many, I wonder, are curious about the events
and parties which take place in the rural Thai communities surrounding the
city? What makes the ‘party of the year’ for farming folks and local workers
in the villages? And, of course, local farang residents?
Banee (centre), owner, with her husband, of the local village shop, and
organiser of the ‘party of the year’, enjoys the evening with two very happy
This writer is fortunate to have chosen, mostly by accident, to live
approximately 20 kilometres out of town, in the countryside between the
second ring road and Doi Saket, on the outskirts of a small village. Apart
from improved air quality due to the huge number of trees and the frequent
breezes, our village has all the usual amenities…an amazingly well-stocked
local shop, run by the ever-popular Khun Banee and her husband (and regarded
affectionately as the local ‘pub’ by both farang and Thai residents) and the
local fresh market, which expands gloriously on Mondays and Tuesdays into a
free-for-all of stalls selling food, clothes, and just about everything
else, almost blocking the road with purchasers’ trucks and cars. The
adjacent shop-houses include a post office, a pet shop and the
recently-opened and very welcome 7/11, which saves local farang residents
shlepping down to Carrefour or Tesco’s! The food stalls which set up every
evening serve safe, well-cooked and tasty food, including the best banana
rottees in Chiang Mai! For economical and lazy nights out, when town is just
too far away, there are good cheap local restaurants along Highway 118, and,
for special occasions, The Palms and Horizon Village are ready and waiting!
A friendly, laid-back community, with various small farang moo bans
scattered around and amidst a selection of traditional and modern Thai
homes, surrounded by rice paddies and agricultural areas. Even in the dry
season, it’s usually peaceful, with announcements from the local Wat and
community services scarcely disturbing the still air. Until last Saturday,
when the party took place! And what a party it was…organised by Khun Banee,
whose husband is deputy headman, and the village committee, with the aim of
swelling the coffers of the village community’s improvement fund. The
‘family’ charge of 400 baht included, on arrival at the huge field opposite
the village shop, a bag containing a large Singha, bottles of lau, Coke, and
water, and a pack of Thai crisps…just to get us started! It also included a
huge stage, set up with a stunning sound system and myriad coloured flashing
lights, on which the best Thai modern band we’ve yet heard in Chiang Mai
played continually for at least 5 hours non-stop! And not a Karaoke in sight
Literally hundreds of tables filled the field, set up to accommodate the,
also literally, hundreds of mostly local Thai revellers who arrived. Food
stalls had been set up at the side of the field and were immediately busy.
It was noted that the guys manning the entrance had already been partying
for some hours. They were having a great time as the guests arrived, setting
the tone for an amazing evening. Pretty soon, the reason for the huge stage
became apparent, as it filled up with hordes of people dancing to the solid
beat, at 10 baht per dance! The fund must have made a fortune out of this
And so the party continued through to midnight, with hundreds of local
people sitting, eating, laughing, talking and dancing. The dancers
eventually spreading from the stage (as it began to resemble Grand Central
Station in the rush hour) to around the tables. It should be noted, though,
that most of the dancers in the field were women. Shame on you, guys! At
midnight, the band played the Thai National Anthem, and a wonderful evening
drew to a close. To this writer, the event truly was the ‘Party of the
Year,’ as it must have been for so many local Thai residents, with the added
benefit to the local village community making it even more special. This is
the real Thailand, it’s where we live, and these are the communities in
which many of us are fortunate enough to live and be accepted.
Children’s musical ‘Honk Jnr’
charms audiences at NIS’s new auditorium
The students gave three enchanting
performances of the musical, Honk Jnr,
based on the much-loved Hans Andersen tale of the Ugly Duckling.
To celebrate the opening of their newly built auditorium,
Nakornpayap International School (NIS) students gave three enchanting
performances of the musical, Honk Jnr, on March 26 and 27.
Honk Jnr is based on the much-loved Hans Andersen tale of the Ugly
Duckling, and is part of the Broadway Junior Collection, with music by
George Styles and script and lyrics by Anthony Drewe. The staff and
students had worked for weeks on the production, during which time the
smart new building was being finished, with carpets being laid, the
stage and lighting rig being set up and, finally, 4 days before the
initial performance, the sound system being installed.
When the curtain finally
rose on the first night, the audience of parent and friends of the school
were treated to the sight of three large panels setting the scene for the
first act, colourfully and imaginatively painted by the school’s art
students. In front of the panels, plaited straw represented a nest,
containing five eggs – four large and one huge – obviously about to hatch.
And so, the much loved children’s tale began…and continued for two totally
charming acts, at the end of which Hong Jnr became a swan and everyone lived
happily ever after! Moments to note included every appearance by the Wicked
Cat, intent on a roast swan main course, sinuously played by Ella Dendy, and
any appearance at all by the lead character, Ugly, a very confused little
cygnet with an identity crisis, played by Max Coombs. Another gem was the
flight of ducks which Ugly joined when he ran away, the v-shaped formation
enhanced by 2 trolley-dolly ducks and costumes which included airmen’s
helmets and flight goggles. A flight of the producers’ imaginations, indeed!
Performances of note were taking place all over the stage, including Ida,
Ugly’s long-suffering mum, played by Dasol Im, a group of froglets and the
Bullfrog, the Mother Swan, played by Clare Tuckson, and Ugly’s siblings,
Beaky, Fluff, Billy and Downy. All the children obviously loved every minute
of being on stage. For anyone who found the title, Honk Jnr, slightly
confusing (this writer certainly did), all will have been made clear in the
first scene, when the newly-born ducklings all said ‘Quack,’ and Ugly
replied, very loudly, ‘Honk!’ It should be noted that, when the very first
performances of Honk Jnr took place in 1993 in the UK, its original
title was slightly different…‘The Ugly Duckling, or the Aesthetically
Challenged Farmyard Fowl!’ Mmmm.
Congratulations go to
everyone involved in this delightful show, the cast, the lighting and sound
guys, the art students, and especially to the costume and set designers.
It’s hoped that all future performances in the new auditorium will be as
much fun and as much appreciated as was Honk Jnr!
School was founded in 1993, in order to address the identified need for a
comprehensive, secular international school using a United States curriculum
altered to suit the many cultural changes involved with an education system
in South-East Asia. The school moved into new purpose-built facilities in
March 2003; the new auditorium is the latest addition to the campus. The
school is equipped with 3 separate buildings; Early Childhood Center,
Elementary and Secondary School (also called Middle and High School).
Included in the school is a science lab, a music room, a gymnasium and a 25
metre swimming pool. The self-contained Early Childhood Center houses its
own indoor swimming pool, art room, canteen, indoor and outdoor playgrounds,
nap rooms and multi-purpose rooms, and classrooms throughout the 3 buildings
are fully air-conditioned. Nakornpayap has approximately 32 teachers working
with 320 pupils from many different nationalities, with class sizes capped
at a maximum of 20.
For further information,
please visit the school’s website at www.nis.ac.th.
Bright costumes and wonderful set designs
complemented the performances of the young actors.