Thai Culture Junior Ambassador dancers to perform in London
Switch on the TV, browse through different channels, land on Channel
7 and you may find yourself watching a commercial for the Thai Culture
Junior Ambassador contest. Talk your parents into it (or let your parents
talk you into it!), and here you are - performing Thai dance on a stage at
Central Plaza. In your head? The dream that, soon, you may be performing
this very same dance … in London!
lucky winner, Abhisit Duangthai, poses with the two runner-ups, Kawinna
Mitda (right) and Chanista Sudasri (left).
Thai Culture Junior Ambassador is a three-year-old project launched by the
Nadtaka Institute to promote Thai dancing outside of Thailand. For the first
two years, young Thai dancers were sent to Paris, France, for one week. This
time, the lucky ones will go to London from June 16-22 to perform
traditional Thai dancing in front of unaccustomed western eyes but –
obviously – to indulge in some sightseeing as well!
Auditions are held in four cities, representing the four main regions of
Thailand: Bangkok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chiang Mai and Surat Thani. In each of
these, one and only one dancer will be chosen for this special trip.
The young candidates must be between 10 and 13 years old. Both boys and
girls are welcome to apply, but it seems dancing appeals more to girls - as
a result, the ratio on Tuesday May 5 at Central Airport Plaza was 23 girls
to 1 boy! All of them were wearing their most shiny and elegant traditional
Lanna costume. Golden crowns, dangling charms, feather fans, elaborate belts
and scarves, necklaces by the dozen.
To my untrained eye, the grace of the finger movements was impressive, and
the light touch of the feet as they tip-toed their way across the stage was
simply elegant. I may not have been the best judge though, as the jury did
not choose my favourites!
This year, the lucky winner was Abhisit Duangthai, 12 years old, who managed
to impress the judges with his sword show. He will receive 25,000 baht as a
prize, plus 100,000 baht to cover the expenses of his trip to London.
Kawinna Mitda, 12, and Chanista Sudasri, 10, won’t have the chance to see
Big Ben but they received respectively 15,000 baht and 10,000 baht as prizes
for their efforts. For the 21 other participants, the real reward will be to
watch themselves on TV - the whole show was recorded and will be broadcast
on Channel 7 on May 25 at 4 p.m.
For more information: http://www. thaiculturejr.com
Udom Chaithep poses with all 24 young dancers
for a ‘memory picture’.
The APIS Idol Final 2009 - a triumph of talent
Months of preparation, practice and auditions, semi-finals over in
February, performers all set to give their all, parents and friends ready to
provide more support than ever … at last, it was time for the American
Pacific International School’s APIS Idol Final 2009.
The school’s auditorium was full - the judges, headmaster Peter Welch, the
head of the music department, Leona Moss, elementary music teacher, David
Lowe, and network manager, Puvanai Nattaradol, were all in their seats as
the evening’s MC, Sydney Moss, band teacher and student counsellor , took
the stage in an atmosphere of great anticipation!
American Pacific International
School’s amazingly talented young singers pose together on stage at the end
of the contest.
Three prizes were to be awarded to the winners of the
Elementary, Middle and High School Idol sections, before the grand winner of
the APIS Idol 2009 was announced.
The Elementary competition was strong, with four very young performers
giving their all and singing their hearts out. It takes a lot of courage to
go out on stage and perform to hundreds of people – especially if you are
The winner of this section was a Grade 5 student, Joe Brackley, who sang
‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ with great intensity as well as accuracy, and performed
with a personality that leaped out over the lights and captivated the
audience. Alisa Keisker, Niamh Lyons and Hannah Lyons also performed
amazingly well: Hannah sparkled and allowed her lovely personality to shine
through, Niamh showed huge confidence and a lovely strong voice and Alisa’s
great sound was exceptional for her age.
The Middle School singers were depleted by one – sadly; Pim Preston had lost
her voice, making this an all-male Middle School competition. Great
performances from both boys, with the winning edge going to Hyeon Jun Choi
for his fine voice and his interpretation of his chosen song, ‘One last
The High School fielded five competitors, all of whom gave fine
performances, showing great confidence on stage and loving every minute.
Lisa, who sang the Britney Spears number, ‘Someday’, interpreted the lyrics
with heart and a very fine voice. Nana’s stage presence was exceptional, as
was her voice, and Houda, after a very good interpretation of ‘Sway’, hit a
terrific note at the end of the song. Ryan used his voice well, with a good
edge and resonance.
The outright winner, however, was Hwan Jun Choi (Choi), who could hardly
believe that he had won, having heard and seen the others giving their
individually great performances. And, to his even greater amazement, when
the final announcement was made, it was also Choi who took away the trophy
and the 5,000 baht prize money and became the APIS Idol 2009.
While the judges were deliberating, the audience was treated to a stunning
performance by the first ever APIS Idol from the 2008 competition, the
beautiful and extremely talented Panchanit Wichayasart, who is now studying
business English at Thammasat University. Thankfully, she still manages to
find opportunities to use her wonderful voice and mesmerizing stage presence
- she could so easily be a highly successful professional.
The show was staged entirely by students with help from Sydney and Leona
Moss – the lighting and sound was all managed by the students on the night.
The audience drifted away, worn-out from clapping and cheering, having been
treated to an amazing evening’s entertainment. Even those families who came
from as far away as Udon Thani left feeling their trip had been worthwhile!
Foundation aims to inspire young entrepreneurs and change-makers
The Foundation for Youth Entrepreneurship (FYSE) recently launched
the inaugural Asia-Pacific Future 100 programme, which aims to inspire young
people to become entrepreneurs and change-makers who will benefit their
communities and their countries.
As many countries in the region cannot create an adequate number of jobs to
integrate all young people into their economies, youth entrepreneurship has
emerged as an alternative as it integrates unemployed youth into the labour
market and tackles poverty through the creation of jobs.
Many young people in Asia, however, even if unemployed, do not consider
entrepreneurship as a career option due to its negative image and that of
entrepreneurs themselves. Role models are lacking - young people from
similar backgrounds in the same country who have succeeded and could provide
inspiration to their peers. Also, Asian young entrepreneurs face challenges
due to their ages, and lack supporting mechanisms such as networks, training
FYSE believes that, contrary to common perceptions, there are many more than
just 2 or 3 successful young Asian entrepreneurs - that, in fact, a great
many young social change-makers are successfully fulfilling their dreams and
For that reason, FYSE annually identifies 100 of these young people, who are
then extensively profiled throughout Asia by means of blogs, interviews and
videos in order to inspire other like-minded young people through their
stories and experiences. The chosen 100 will also go to schools and
universities throughout the region to share their experiences directly.
The nomination period for the programme began on May 1, and will end on
August 31. All young entrepreneurs under the age of 30 from the Asia Pacific
region are eligible to apply. During their one-year fellowship, the chosen
100 will receive mentorship and technical assistance as well as access to a
network of like-minded professionals who can help upgrade their business
The vision of the programme is to inspire and empower Asia’s young people to
change their communities in a positive manner - to unlock potential, ignite
ideas and empower actions.
For more information on the programme, please contact Andrea Krause by email
A new networking
concept for Chiang Mai
Dr. Iain Corness
Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket are hosts to many networking evenings,
put on generally by the various Chambers of Commerce, or some local vested
interest groups. The concept is well accepted in today’s tough economic
environment, and many business-saving associations have come out of these
During these times of adversity, networking with another person or group can
turn difficulties into opportunities, and all done in a convivial situation
and not a high pressure boardroom or auditor’s office.
New to Chiang Mai, but not new to the concept of networking is Networking
One who openly state that networking is a marketing method by which business
opportunities are created through networks of like-minded business people.
Many business people contend business networking is a more cost-effective
method of generating new business than advertising or public relations
efforts. This is because business networking is a low-cost activity that
involves more personal commitment than company money. And personal
commitment is worth far more than just an invoice for services to be
rendered. Networking One suggest that you be able to articulate what you are
looking for and how others may help you. Too often people ask in
conversations, “How may I help you?” and no immediate response comes to
Networking One encourages you to bring along colleagues and business
associates to take full advantage of the networking opportunities. And do
remember to bring along a full pocket of business cards.
The first Chiang Mai Networking One evening will be sponsored by AA
Insurance Brokers, a company which has representatives covering all of
Thailand, plus business network contacts overseas.
The venue is the well known Le Meridien hotel on Changklan Road and the
monthly business networking evenings will be held on the first Friday of
The inaugural networking evening is on Friday June 6 from 6.30 p.m. until
9.30 p.m. and the entry fee of 300 baht per person includes wine, beer and
For more details and to book this event online go to: www.networkingone.com.
Hello to the Ladies who Lunch
The May get-together of the Expat Ladies’ Lunch group
will be Tuesday, May 26 at noon. Since Fran will be out of the country at
that time, it’s been scheduled for the group to return to the Grandview
Hotel buffet. Everyone who attended last time seemed to really enjoy eating
there, and it’s a great value for only 142 baht.
Please let us know if you’re planning to attend by emailing either Fran or
Nancy Lindley (nllindley @msn.com). Nancy will be standing in for Fran on