Chiang Mai National Museum exhibition
celebres greatest Lanna King
The Chiang Mai National Museum is holding an exhibition between now
and December 30 to celebrate the 600th year anniversary of the birth of the
great Lanna King, Phra Chao Tilokarat, whose name translates as ‘God of the
Saengchan Traikasem, the director of the Chiang Mai National Museum,
pictured with Sunetra Nimanant, the presidents of the Thai Red Cross
Society, and Chiang Mai deputy governor Chumporn Saengmanee.
The exhibition will also commend HRH Princess Maha Sirindhorn for her
support of Thailand’s art and culture, and is sponsored with a budget of
60,000 baht by CMU’s Fine Arts department.
The focus is on three aspects of King Tilokarat’s reign from 1441- 1487, a
period which is regarded as the Golden Age of Lanna.; his role in the reform
and development of the political and administrative sectors and his military
leadership, his advancement of the Buddhist faith, including his hosting of
the World Buddhist Council in 1477 at Wat Jed Yod, rebuilt especially for
the occasion, and his sending of monks to study the Dhamma in Sri Lanka, and
his contribution to Lanna arts through the integration of the exquisite
The exhibition is open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m.
to 4 p.m; entry fees are 20 baht for Thais and 100 baht for foreigners, with
free entry to members of the monkhood and students in uniform. After it
closes, educational institutions and organisations are invited to display
the exhibits at their premises.
For more information, please call on 053-221-308/053-408-568, or email on
From Broadway to Chiang Mai “The Odd Couple” strikes again!
Think Lucy and Ethel, but a different sort of classic. Think Laverne
and Shirley, but with a masculine touch. Think Sonny and Cher—maybe not
quite Sonny and Cher. Whatever you think when you recall dynamic duos and
side-splitting comedy, you can’t help but think of Oscar Madison and Felix
Ungar, the laughable, lovable stooges paired in the most unlikely of
matches—the odd couple! Neil Simon’s infamous box office hit ‘The Odd
Couple’ recounts the tale of two men thrown together by fate and frazzled
wives who just don’t know what to do with either anymore. Can two new
re-bachelors share an apartment without driving each other insane?
The ‘Odd Couple’, presented by the Gate Theatre, Chiang Mai’s only English
language theatre, runs Fridays September 11, 18, and 25 and Saturdays
September 12, 19, and 26 at 7pm in the Studio Theatre on the 7th floor of
Kad Suan Kaew. Doors open at 6:00 pm for pre-show food and drinks, supplied
by the Queen Victoria Pub.
Tickets are available at the information desk on the first floor of Central
Kad Suan Kaew for a suggested donation of 300 baht. For more information
please call 087-177-2195/ 086-671-3371, write to [email protected] or
visit the website at www.gate-theater.com.
An amazing collection of King Rama V
European media memorabilia
An eclectic collection of memorabilia comprising newspapers
published in Europe during the rule of the great King Chulalongkorn
concerning the Monarchy and the King himself, was the subject of a recent
interview with its owner, Chiang Mai resident Dirk Weeber-Araytumsopon.
Dirk’s collecting obsession began with postage stamps from the time of the
German Empire, and led him to focus on Thai Royalty when his discovered a
postcard showing a meeting between Rama V and the then German Chancellor
Lord Bismarck. He became fascinated with the famous and much-loved Thai
monarch and, on his first visit to Thailand in 1999, learned a great deal
more about the Thai Royal Family, and King Rama V’s guidance of the country
at that crucial time.
On his return to Europe, he haunted antiques shows and markets in Germany,
France and the Netherlands, buying up all the antique ephemera he could find
on the subject. Over time, the collection grew to a comprehensive record of
reportage in the European media of the activities of the Thai Royal Family,
centred on King Chulalongkorn himself. As part of the process, Dirk learned
a great deal about Thai politics in the 19th century, and about the travels
of the Thai Royal Family in Europe, their duties, protocols, family members,
stations in life and biographies.
The collection, brought to Thailand in May 2009, was exhibited at Mae Jo
University later in the year, attracting a great deal of interest from
academics, other interested parties and the 15,000 visitors it drew. Dirk
worries that its safety is difficult to guarantee, and that it is also
difficult to convince those not expert in the field of highly-collectible
ephemera that the examples are genuine. Many visitors commented that the
full collection should be housed in a museum for its protection after being
exhibited elsewhere in the kingdom. At present it is being kept in a secret
location under controlled conditions.
It is Dirk’s aim to eventually sell the collection as a whole; he is in poor
health and requires constant medical supervision and regular hospitalisation
for tests and treatment. A proportion of the money raised will also be given
to help the poor and underprivileged in Chiang Mai province. For more
details of the collection, or other info, please contact Dirk through his
Mahler Invades Thailand!
On a wave of crystal clear sound, endless energy and a surge of
enthusiasm, Mahler has well and truly arrived here in the Kingdom. Not only
has the Princess Galyani Vadhana Orchestra just performed Mahler’s Fourth
Symphony to great acclaim, but the Siam Philharmonic Orchestra under the
direction of its founder and conductor, Somtow Sucharitkul, has electrified
concert-goers with Mahler’s magnificent Fifth Symphony.
Then, in September, the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra is to perform
Mahler’s First Symphony at Mahidol University.
Why this sudden rush to perform Mahler and what next? Well, there is a time
in the history of all orchestras when they are ready to undertake larger,
more challenging works, and the Mahler symphonies are no exception. With
this in mind, and according to a recent article in The Nation, written by
Somtow, he approached the late Princess Galyani Vadhana some years ago to
say that he thought the time was ripe for performing the Mahler symphonic
cycle. Somtow is known to many readers as the founder and conductor of the
Bangkok Opera, author of children’s books, fantasy and horror stories, some
of which have won prestigious awards worldwide. He is also a composer of
opera and has set his orchestra, the Siam Philharmonic, the task of
performing the complete cycle of symphonies plus Das Lied von der Erde
within the next five years. The other performances of the Fourth Symphony
and the forthcoming concert with the First Symphony have been
undertaken quite independently of each other.
Why Mahler and why now, I asked Somtow. His reply was that the time was now
right and that the orchestras were ready for this huge undertaking.
Audiences, too, wanted to hear this beautiful music. He also added that
Mahler’s music ‘is me’ – Somtow has a deep love of Mahler and was
very much around during the 1960’s when Mahler’s music burst into life
across Europe and the USA. This period is often called (mistakenly in my
view), the Mahler Revival – but it was no revival as such since Mahler’s
music was rarely performed during his lifetime or after his death for many
years. The great composer had many musical enemies during his life and
although several first performances of his works were enthusiastically
received at the time, there were few repeat performances except in
In a letter to his wife Alma written in Cologne (Koln) Germany on Friday
afternoon the 16th October
1904 following the first rehearsal of the Fifth Symphony, Mahler
wrote these almost prophetic words: ‘Oh that I might give my Symphony
its first performance fifty years after my death’. Then, about fifty years
later, came the great Mahler revolution – and now it is here in Thailand.
Somtow hopes to perform Mahler’s Ninth Symphony next, and then the
sections of the unfinished Tenth Symphony alongside Beethoven’s
Ninth Symphony before the end of this year with the Siam Philharmonic
Orchestra. Next year there are plans to produce the deeply personal Sixth
Symphony and the mighty Third Symphony when a Czech Republic
children’s choir will be visiting the kingdom, and then in 2011, one hundred
years after Mahler’s premature death, a full performance of the Eighth
Symphony, often called Symphony of a Thousand, due to its
enormous canvas including soloists, choirs and enlarged orchestra. The
remaining symphonies will then follow. Let us hope these marvellous plans
come to fruition and that many of us will make the trip to Bangkok to
support and welcome Mahler to these magic shores.
CRABTREE MEETS THE PROFESSIONAL EXPATS
He was a distinguished American chap
Whom I saw at the Lucky Bar
Where I called, strolling home to my usual nap,
For a quiet post-lunch jar
After tasty and filling relationships
With Cheerful Charlie’s Fish And Chips.
He was there near the pavement, enjoying a snack,
In elegant running gear,
Silver hair pulled tight to a tail at the back
And his mobile phone to his ear.
‘Honey, I just can’t make it – I really wish I
You know how full the days are. I thought you understood.
On Monday there’s Computer Club,
Tuesdays – quiz at The Bell,
Wednesdays I meet the guys at The Pub
And there’s Tai Chi class as well.
Thursday’s the day we discuss books with Janet,
On Friday the Chiang Mai Friends save the planet.
Saturday morning I’m with the Expats
Then at a pets’ shelter to help them sex cats.
Sunday morning it’s golf; in the afternoon tennis
And the Walking Street Market with Kelly and Dennis.
I know that it’s tough but abandon the mutiny –
I promise we’ll meet at the first opportunity!’
He folded his phone and I gasped ‘Busy life!’
He chuckled ‘Sure is – but tell that to the wife!’
Just then, the soft staccato slap of trainers in the
Announced his herd of jogging friends, all middle-aged and neat.
They stopped and shuffled, gasping, like a gang of grinning mobsters –
Stringy, fit and happy, every one as red as lobsters.
‘Get your skates on, son, we’re due at one
For drinks on the veranda
At AUA, then – this is fun!
We’re off to see the panda.
The meeting on the Hill Tribes Tour
Begins right after Bridge at four;
At six there’s massage, then, by crikey,
Cory’s going to teach us Reiki!’
He bounded out to join the troop
With a cheerful ‘Okay-dokey!
And don’t forget’ – he gave a whoop –
‘Tonight is karaoke!’
The herd moved on to Thapae Gate in a haze of Calvin
Leaving me quite delicate, inadequate, supine.
I raised a trembling finger for another round of drinks.
My life was drab and meaningless, devoid of such high jinks.
I pondered very deeply for some moral I could borrow
And decided I would sign up with AA. Maybe. Tomorrow.