Chiang Mai FeMail  by Elena Edwards
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Stop hurting Thailand - Stop using violence

Charity Club helps Isaan family to a better life

British husbands beware: Bangkok’s IKEA is finally happening

Farang Lady gags over Mother’s Day cards

 

Stop hurting Thailand - Stop using violence

Many of us may be aware, through the internet, of the above slogan, which is being applied to a positive new movement spreading throughout the kingdom. Gratuitous violence, of course, never solves anything, only begetting more of the same.
Leaving aside the over-optimistic wish that the movement might become Thailand’s most successful export to the rest of the world (which seems to desperately need something similar), it seems the right time to note the aims and objectives in the new movement’s declaration of intent.
The first and most essential demand is that all sides should stop hurting the kingdom by using violence and divisive comments. The freedom to gather together under democratic principles should not violate the rights of others, and conflicting parties should use peaceful manes to find solutions.
Further points are that infringements against the much-loved Monarchy should end, that equal standards should be applied to all, that the media should report ethically, not just to gain political advantage, and that financial support (from wherever it originates) of events and announcements that incite violence should end.
These are high hopes, and represent a positive step forward in that the movement itself has been established. The Thai national flag is the symbol of this campaign for reconciliation, initiated by 21 organisations, including universities, local government administrative organisations, and civic organisations, all with the same aim - to reunite the Thai people and show the world that violent conflict is unacceptable to the vast majority.
A network has been formed, with large gatherings having already taken place across the country; all are invited to sign the ‘People’s Declaration’ which contains the aims outlined above. The campaign invites all Thais to join with it in order to re-establish peace and happiness in society. We wish it well.

 

Charity Club helps Isaan family to a better life

Christina Boden
In the words of Peter Rottmann, the Pattaya Charity Club’s Isaan representative, “I’ve never seen such an incredible turn around in a family!”
These words were spoken after the club, led by Malcolm and Christina Boden, had heard about the family, visited them in their Isaan village, and worked their magic on their lives.
Mrs Bunlam was suffering from severe depression; her daughter, Pantip, was the main carer. Wherever Pantip sat her mother, that was where she remained until moved again, not speaking or reacting to anyone or anything. Out of necessity, Pantip landed a job for 3 hours after school in a pig farm, but she was so tired and weak through hunger she couldn’t do both. As a result, she stopped attending school.
The Charity Club got involved by accident, as a neighbour told Peter about the leaking roof and how Mrs Bunlam couldn’t afford to have it repaired. When they heard about the problems, they immediately put Pantip and her mother on the food programme, which allowed Pantip to go back to school. They also arranged for the roof to be replaced. Unfortunately, the house couldn’t stand the weight of the new roof and fell down! So, they raised funds to replace the house.
The turn-around began right there. Mum started to take notice of the building work being done and slowly started awakening to everything around her. After her return to full-time schooling, Pantip is now the number one student in the school and her ambition is to become a teacher, although she is still working at the pig farm, which she hates, because the family needs the money. Mum is now cleaning the house, cooking for herself and Pantip, and surprised us by telling us she now has a job in a restaurant close to home working all day for 50 baht.
Malcolm and Christina were asked by Mrs Bunlam and Pantip to come and see the new house now it has been completed, which they did on a flying visit before the madness of Songkran, also visiting most of their other projects in Krasang and coming back after doing it all in a day!
They were thrilled to see the changes in the family. Mum came flying down the hill towards them on an old bicycle - they didn’t even recognise this happy smiling person. She is, now, a completely different woman.
As there is a little land at the side of the house, the Charity Club will provide garden equipment, vegetables and fruit trees, and provide the family with 1,000 baht a month for a year so that Pantip doesn’t need to work at the pig farm. Pantip has agreed to do the vegetable garden and tend to the fruit trees. The mother is happy to remain working at the restaurant. After the year is up, the fruit and vegetable should be ready for them to use, and any surplus can be sold.
For more information, visit www. charityclubofpattaya. bravehost .com or contact charityclub [email protected] yahoo.com


British husbands beware: Bangkok’s IKEA is finally happening

How many of us expat British ladies, while we were planning our exodus from that troubled country, wondered how we would cope without that nightmare for husbands allergic to shopping, IKEA? I still remember happy hours spent (along with rather a large amount of hard-earned cash) wandering the huge complex close to our part of London, and the even longer hours spent trying to assemble what I’d bought. Along with the demise of my fingernails, my patience and, almost, my marriage…
After a ‘will it, won’t it?’ saga which seems for have run for years, it finally looks as though, perhaps due to the falling cost of construction, work will begin on the first IKEA store in Thailand - in Bangkok, of course! The chosen site is the new Mega Bang Na complex; construction is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2009, and will take approximately a year. As is usual for IKEA stores, it’s going to be massive.
Before you get seriously excited, though, there may be several downsides to this news. Firstly, I remember how utterly confusing the signs were, especially in the warehouse section … here they’ll be in Thai, ouch! Send out a search party … for the customer as well as the goods!
Secondly, there seems to be concern that the store may decide to aim for the Bangkok upper-middle classes - no more self-assembly. That may sound good to BKK residents, but to those of us who were joyfully envisaging flat-packs sliding down the luggage chutes at CNX - dream on! A fully assembled, up to the minute design of bedroom suite would not, I’m sure, be acceptable to Air Asia, even if we’d managed to get it to Suvarnabhumi strapped to a songthaew.
Thai furniture manufacturers, many of whom at present supply IKEA, have been fighting against even one domestic IKEA store for years. However, one of the, admittedly smaller, investors in the new complex is the furniture manufacturer SPS Group, which has been supplying IKEA with its products at a rate of 5 billion baht per year. Coincidentally (?), its contract has just been increased to 15 billion baht per year. No surprise there, then!
A plus point, particularly in these difficult times, is that around 22,000 jobs will, apparently, be created - let’s just hope that not too many are lost from smaller provincial manufacturing companies who can’t hack the competition.


Farang Lady gags over Mother’s Day cards

Farang Lady
A couple of weeks ago, it was Mother’s Day in America. Each year, millions of people buy flower-laden cards, with butterflies and ribbons, declaring that their mother was perfect, and celebrating all that they owe her.
Fill your glass with your drink of choice, and join me in tribute to the reality of the imperfect moms of the world, whose children seemed to be able to earn a living, and stay out of jail!
Here’s to the
Imperfect Moms
Here’s to the mom who put the kid’s wool sweater in the dryer,
Here’s to the moms who stayed in bed with a hangover once in a while,
Here’s to the mom who made instant mashed potatoes,
Here’s to the moms who flushed the diaper down the toilet,
Here’s to the mom who blamed the wrong kid for a deed, and the kid still tells her about it 40 years later,
Here’s to the mom who cut her daughter’s bangs too short, making her look like a “geek” for 2 weeks,
Here’s to the mom who yelled, screamed, and lost it occasionally,
Here’s to the mom who sometimes forgot appointments, and soccer practice,
Here’s to the mom who forgot to have the kid’s hair cut for school picture day,
Here’s to the mom who resented the fact that the kids followed her into the bathroom,
Here’s to the mom who forgot promises, made them when she shouldn’t have, and didn’t keep all of them,
Here’s to the mom who walked into the parent -teacher conferences hyperventilating,
Here’s to the mother who once in a while stood at the kitchen sink, and thought, ‘I could have had a career!,’
Here’s to the mom who baked cookies when the kids were at school, so she could lick the pan,
Here’s to the mother who, if she wrote a book about the things she did right, it would look like Cannery Row, and if she wrote one about all her mistakes, it would look like War and Peace,
Here’s to the mothers who didn’t read a bedtime story every night, or fell asleep while reading it,
Here’s to the mothers who didn’t fit the mould, didn’t march to the same drummer, and who were downright selfish at times,
Here’s to the moms who taught their kids to be creative, imaginative, and able to cope with the real world, and rise above the fact that they didn’t have perfect moms.
Happy Mother’s Day!