Vol. VIII No. 29 - Tuesday
July 21 - July 27, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


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

Opinion

FERC and Chiang Mai Friends want your favourite recipes!

The use of the English language…

 

Opinion: ‘Personal Power’ – or ‘Power Over’?

‘The world’s going to hell in a handcart’. ‘It’s not my country anymore – I’m out of here’. ‘Sex, drugs and rock-and-roll is all the kids care about’. ‘Our young people are the future of the world – God help us!’ And so on and so forth, ad infinitum.
Sadly, many of us believe that the above is true, worldwide, and accuse the more optimistic souls amongst us of being incredibly na´ve, stupid, or, at worst, of being in the early stages of senile dementia. Expat opinions peculiar to our community, especially when expressed in online forums, seem to range from ‘I’d rather be here, whatever’s going on, at least it’s warm’, through variations on ‘I’m only here for the beer’ to ‘I’ve wouldn’t live anywhere else – not that I could afford to these days’. Others amongst us consider what’s going on in the Thai community, and adjust accordingly to, hopefully, the benefit of both sides. But, was anything ever truly any different, anywhere? And, if not, why not?
Surely, there must have been a time when the world was, at least temporarily, on the upswing and neighbour related to neighbour in a positive manner? A little like the sanitised representations of the Wild West portrayed on certain US TV channels, where the only mention of God was in prayer and all the wooden homes, churches and fences were sparkling white with fresh new paint? Not according to psychiatrists, who state unequivocally that power is the only thing which ever guided, (or perhaps misguided), the progress of the human race from cave to mansion, from animal fur frocks to Gucci. And they don’t mean personal power, they mean ‘Power Over’
Tragically, it looks as though they are right, and their theory doesn’t just apply in the 21st, or even in the 19th and 20th centuries. Power Over, quite simply, is the desire to manipulate, control and dominate. Families, individuals, children, towns, countries, religions, even nature herself, all fall victim to the controlling ambitions of Power Over, exercised by those who do not understand sharing, empathy or mutuality. The result? Broken lives, induced, irrational fear resulting in prejudice and violence, broken countries, wars, and, ultimately, the destruction of our fragile and precious environment.
Looking back, far back, into human history, this human race has always thrown up powerful individuals who have played a significant part in our development, for good or evil. Some have become great religious leaders, others great scientists, philosophers, artists or composers; some have led their people to freedom from slavery. Others, though, have, through greed and misplaced ego, caused wars or established vicious regimes where rape, torture and murder are commonplace and uncondemned. This, then, is the difference between Personal Power and Power Over.
But, of course, it’s not only the great and the good, or the evil, who have influence over our lives. Power Over rears its ugly head every time a woman is abused, physically or emotionally, every time a child is sexually assaulted, every time a woman is raped, every time a boss bullies an employee, every time a mob attacks an innocent person, every time a law is passed which restricts human rights, every time a human rights law is ignored, every time corruption prevents a law enforcer from doing his job, every time a refugee from persecution is hounded back into a danger zone, every time a multi-national company’s manager ignores its duty to residents and the environment, every time a country and its leaders slide closer to establishing a police state, every time…every time…every time.
And, of course, every time a politician, at whatever level, ignores the citizens who put him in office with their votes. Let’s face it, the whole of civilisation as we know it is founded on the tainted vision of Power Over – the personal, cultural and global problems which have resulted should stand as proof of the truth of this statement. As a result, right now, we have appalling power over the planet – the power to wipe out our world, the power of total destruction. And, as if the ecological situation was not serious enough, we have rogue states led by men who are doing their best, when they’re not tormenting their own people, to get their hands on ‘weapons of mass destruction’, this time for real. At this point, it would seem that the human race is in danger of reaping what it has sown, with the ‘Power Over’ model of control and dominance taking us to the brink of global chaos.
Personal Power, however, is the way of mutuality and co-creation – the ability to know, to choose and to create from wherever feelings originate within humans. Whether this source is, as some would have it, the soul, or is a matter for brain function, it knows what is right and what is needed. This is reality. It promotes self-esteem and trust in life itself. It devalues no-one and reinforces tolerance, relationships and care for our world. This, of course, is the ideal state which surely must have been present in the great religious leaders, composers, artists and workers for peace and freedom, right up until the present day; a state in which action and interaction becomes mutually supportive, creative and positive, and communication between humans is open and honest.
Given where the human race seems to be heading, dragging the natural world along with it, Personal Power as an all-embracing concept might seem impossible. A feeling that things have gone too far is understandable. A feeling that only violence itself can prevent ultimate violence is also understandable, but wrong. We, the ordinary people, inhabitants of this planet, look around us, and see that our friends do posses Personal Power, and use it to help, heal, contribute and encourage. In small ways, we accentuate the positive and deny the negative. There are millions of us…if we all refuse to tolerate Power Over in any aspect of our own lives, our changed perception of our shared world as a supportive, creative environment and the power of life and love themselves may be enough to change the future whilst there is still time.
‘Love is the child of freedom; never the child of domination’- Erich Fromm

 

FERC and Chiang Mai Friends want your favourite recipes!

The Chiang Mai Friends’ Group, (CMF), has proposed as a project a cookbook which will promote Chiang Mai and its wonderful food as well as benefit the Foundation for the Education of Rural Children, (FERC) a registered charity in Thailand which is legally incorporated as a tax exempt organisation in the United States. This means that the organisation meets all of the legal requirements in both countries for transparency, and is audited in both countries annually. 100% of donations to FERC through the project will go to scholarships for rural children.
The cookbook, which will be printed in both English and Thai, will include favourite recipes from many countries, including Thailand, all hopefully, provided by both CMF members and readers of this paper. Starters, soups, main courses, desserts, finger food – all contributors need to bear in mind is that ingredients should be available wherever prospective purchasers live. An ambitious aim, but many big cities worldwide now have both Asian and European markets, and most major supermarket chains provide a selection of international ingredients in their stores. The cookbook will be priced reasonably and will be sold locally as well as by representatives of FERC who live abroad. Both residents of Chiang Mai and tourists are sure to find it attractive, not only for its recipes but also for its advertisements by sponsors, which will provide a guide for tourists in deciding where to stay, what sites to visit and where to dine.
A committee will solicit sponsors for the project and make other production arrangements. But the most important input will be the recipes, those favourites that are regularly prepared for friends and family!
For more information on format, or other questions, please contact Rebecca Lomax at [email protected] gmail.com. The deadline for recipe submission is September 1. The cookbook will go to the printer in October. The committee reserves the right to limit the number of recipes.
The next Chiang Mai Friends’ Group meeting will be held on July 28, at Just Khao Soy Restaurant, located on Charoenphratet Rd, with parking close by at Anusarn Market. The event will begin as usual at 5 30 p.m. with a friendship session and a varied menu of delicious dishes, priced, including the meeting itself, at 250 baht. For those who’ve eaten earlier, the meeting, with coffee and biscuits, is just 80 baht.
The speaker will be John Shaw, the Honorary British Consul in Chiang Mai between 1990 and 1995, and founder of the Citylife magazine, of which his daughter, Pim Kemasingki, is now the editor. John is also the author of no less than 5 books on Thailand and Thai culture, and has lived in Chiang Mai for more than 40 years. His talk will also include some essential tips on ‘Do’s and Don’ts in Thailand’.
Following the talk will be the open forum and a networking session; great chances to share experiences, ask questions, and make contacts.


The use of the English language…

Nick Richards
Unbelievable…or not? The quotes below are from letters actually written to local authority offices in the UK by disgruntled social housing residents…we wonder what answers they received!

It’s the dogs’ mess that I find hard to swallow
I want some repairs done to my cooker as it has backfired and burnt my knob off.
I wish to complain that my father burnt his ankle very badly when he put his foot in the hole in his back passage..
And their 18 year old son is continually banging his balls against my fence.
I wish to report that tiles are missing from the outside toilet roof. I think it was bad wind the other day that blew them off.
My lavatory seat is cracked, where do I stand?
I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is coming away from the wall.
Will you please send someone to mend the garden path. My wife tripped and fell on it yesterday and now she is pregnant.
I request permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen.
50% of the walls are damp, 50% have crumbling plaster, and 50% are plain filthy.
I am still having problems with smoke in my new drawers.
The toilet is blocked and we cannot bath the children until it is cleared.
Will you please send a man to look at my water, it is a funny colour and not fit to drink.
Our lavatory seat is broken in half and now is in three pieces.
I want to complain about the farmer across the road. Every morning at 6 a.m. his cock wakes me up and it’s now getting too much for me.
The man next door has a large erection in the back garden, which is unsightly and dangerous.
Our kitchen floor is damp. We have two children and would like a third, so please send someone round to do something about it.
I am a single woman living in a downstairs flat and would you please do something about the noise made by the man on top of me every night.
Please send a man with the right tool to finish the job and satisfy my wife.
I have had the Clerk of Works down on the floor six times but I still have no satisfaction.
This is to let you know that our lavatory seat is broken and we can’t get BBC2 TV
My bush is really overgrown round the front and my back passage has fungus growing in it.
He’s got this huge tool that vibrates the whole house and I just can’t take it anymore.



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