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

New female social networking site comes to Chiang Mai

The Wonder Woman syndrome - is ‘being nice’ not nice?

The Care for Dogs Foundation welcomes new Shelter Manager – Ally Taylor

 

New female social networking site comes to Chiang Mai

Members of the Chickynet Phuket social networking
site enjoying a brunch with new and old friends.

A successful social networking site aimed solely at expat women and online since last March is expanding from its original Phuket base to Chiang Mai and Koh Samui.
Chickynet is a web-based girls-only social network dedicated to connecting women living in Thailand. It provides women with a platform to freely share their thoughts, recommendations and experiences. Perhaps most importantly of all, it is a place to make friends and have lots of fun! The reason for its creation was the realisation of how difficult it is to meet women on the famous holiday island. Turns out, a lot of women felt the same way and the response to the network was phenomenal. In its short existence the Phuket site now has over 210 members and is growing by the day.
The wonderful thing about the website is that is that it is run by the members themselves. They are encouraged to load their own events ranging from dinners and dancing to picnics and other events. Even though the network itself is girls-only, most of the events are open to men.
The site’s active discussion forum is a place where girls can give each other tips on where to go and what to do. Several special interest groups have been formed by ladies who want to get together, including the Yummy Mummys, (who organise play dates for their children) , the Dancing Girls who salsa weekly, the Dog Walking Group, a Dinner Club, Gardening Girls, Sports & Exercise and a Charity/Fundraising group. Members of the groups then set up their own events and communicate within the groups.
The future plans for Chickynet are to have a local network to log into wherever you go. The Chiang Mai and Koh Samui websites are up and running…. Next stop, The World! Imagine visiting, or moving to, a new city, where you could simply login to the local Chickynet network and join the girls for brunch! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have access to all the relevant local information you need provided by the girls who live there!
Berthe Mandaat and Amy Donovan, the founders of Chickynet, are, of course, wildly enthusiastic about the site, and with, it would seem, good reason. We women love to network, share and form friendships, which can be very tricky in a diverse and dispersed community. Townies here in Chiang Mai, for example, are unlikely to meet up with their equivalents in Doi Saket because of transportation difficulties; Hang Dong is a long way from Mae Rim, and Samoeng’s at the end of the universe! Much easier to join a dedicated social networking site and arrange to meet loads of girls for lunch or an event in town.
For a look at the original Chickynet Phuket site, and an idea of what the Chiang Mai site will become in a few months from now, please visit www.chickynet.com. To join the new Chiang Mai Chickynet network, please go to http://chickynetchiangmai .ning.com. This is a great idea, and promises to be much more fun than business networking evenings or certain online forums!

 

The Wonder Woman syndrome - is ‘being nice’ not nice?

Have you even wondered whether you’re doing too much – whether you’re seen as a selfless miracle worker who can give, give and give some more? And are you feeling stressed and shattered as a result of all that giving? Don’t knock the feeling or try to carry on regardless, as research is showing that yes, we women can be too ‘nice’ for our own good!
It’s our upbringing that’s to blame – physical and emotional exhaustion are the logical results of being told that it’s ‘better to give than receive’, (where in earth did they get that one from?), and that it’s nice to be ‘nice’.
Yes, it is very nice to be ‘nice’, but it’s very easy to end up as a people-pleaser as a result of hearing that truism too often as a child. Particularly in these psychologically- aware days when ‘being nice’ can include becoming a volunteer therapist to best friends, family and even acquaintances by not just saying ‘NO’. The price of ‘being nice’, unfortunately, all too often results in people regarding you as brown and fuzzy and walking all over you with their size 12 boots.
A recent arrival to the ranks of the huge and easily-available online and offline stock of self-help books, ‘Removing the Mask of Kindness’, authored by psychologist Les Barbanell, even coins a new word for what he and others in his field now consider to be a pathological condition, ‘caretaker personality disorder’. Without suggesting that any of our readers are pathological, does this ring any bells? According to Les, there are ‘a surprising number of women who, to their peers, are like Wonder Woman because of their boundless energy and unwavering commitment to others. But behind the mask there is often misery, emotional isolation, emptiness, guilt, shame, anger and anxiety’ More bells ringing? Les goes on to state that being saintly can be deadly, as resentment can lurk, feeding on the question, ‘What about my needs? Why is no-one there for me? I feel like a non- person. No-one understands what I’m going through’, etc.
There, of course, even although most of us don’t go the extremes described in the book, is the problem for women who have a genuine wish to help when possible. To put it baldly, we are at risk of feeling, (and being) used. An awareness of this leads to resentment and suppressed anger, which leads to guilt, because we have been taught it’s good to ‘be nice’. As a result of feeling guilty, we may try to be even more ‘nice’ without realising we are not dealing with our true feelings in this way, just activating a coping mechanism which leads to us ignoring our own justifiable and valid needs.
At that point, the damage begins to kick in, with anxiety and our worst enemy, stress, taking an emotional and physical toll, helped along by the fact that we probably haven’t been looking after ourselves properly due to the time-constraints forced on us by being ‘nice’ to everyone and his/her dog!
What’s to do, then? First, learn to say NO, (loudly and forcefully if really necessary) without feeling guilty or mean. Learn the difference between being responsive to the needs of people important in your life and taking on the woes of an entire neighbourhood. Plus, of course, the ignoring of people to whom tugging at your skirts is an end in itself, (mentioned in other self-help books as ‘attention-seeking behaviour!). Those types don’t need – or deserve- any help. Ever. Lastly, look after yourself and realise that you need to be kind to yourself in order to discriminate between the needs and the wants of others in a healthy manner. Successful social functioning involves judgements, not just being ‘nice’ because it’s expected of you, irrespective of the consequences to your quality of life.


The Care for Dogs Foundation welcomes new Shelter Manager – Ally Taylor

The Care for Dogs Foundation is overjoyed to announce that long-term volunteer, IT manager, web designer, newsletter writer and very popular lady Ally Taylor has joined the organisation as its new Shelter Manager.

Ally Taylor, the Care for Dogs Foundation’s new Shelter Manager, doing what she does best – caring for dogs.
Ally’s amazingly multi-talented approach, inspiring personality and, most of all, her love for and commitment to all the dogs at the shelter has made her invaluable over her 3 years as a volunteer; as Shelter Manager she brings all her many talents to bear on steering the new foundation even further along its chosen road of helping and caring for the huge number of dogs in need in Chiang Mai.
Ally’s professional life in the UK was in IT and manpower management, and included a strong business background, providing her with excellent organisational and people skills. Karen, the shelter’s owner and founder, is convinced that Ally will be invaluable at this crucial time of expansion for the foundation and its setting up of dedicated veterinary and operation facilities together with the fulfilment of a long-held dream – the hiring of a veterinarian. As Karen stated, ‘Whenever help is needed, Ally is there. She is the kind of person that you would call first when you get lost in the jungle, knowing that however inconvenient the timing was she would do her utmost to help you’.