Share Your Southeast
Asia Adventures and Win
Photo taken from Myanmar in
ASEANTA’s last photo contest.
Never has there been a better time to
share your favorite snapshots and stories from your travels in Southeast
Asia. The ASEAN Tourism Association’s new www.SoutheastAsia.org travel
portal is running a writing and photography contest with US$15,000 in prize
money up for grabs. Entries close on 15 June.
The inaugural “Southeast Asia: feel the warmth” Travel
Photography and Writing Awards will be awarded in two categories: Editor’s
Choice, decided by a panel of judges, and People’s Choice, voted on by
visitors to the site. The monthly Editor’s Choice winners and the top three
People’s Choice entries each month are eligible for the Grand Prizes. Voting
for the People’s Choice Grand Prize will take place in July.
Architecture as art
One of Khun Arwut’s works of art to be on display in
Arwut Ankawut is among Thailand’s master architectural
illustrationists. Straddling the world of architecture and art, he has
successfully constituted beauty and taste by exploring elements of art
composition and architectural natural reality. The results:- a compellingly
lifelike and architectural fine art. This year is Arwut’s second art
exhibitionat Tita Gallery Chiangmai. The 20 fresh paintings are gouache on
paper - painting with opaque watercolors. The “Architectural Wisdom II” will
be available on view daily during May 1-31 from 8 AM - 6 PM
Chiang Mai student
brings the Big Cat
Initiative to local schools
By Shana Kongmun
Recently, a young student from American Pacific
International School here in Chiang Mai addressed the Friends of Chiang Mai
about an important cause close to her heart. Jessica Joy Pfotenhauer grew up
Botswana, not far from a game reserve. The big cats of Africa were part and
parcel of her life. Imagine her shock when she heard of the initiative
instituted by world renowned wildlife film-makers and conservationists
Beverly and Dereck Joubert, in conjunction with the National Geographic
Society, to save the planet’s big cats.
BIG CAT: American Pacific International School student
Jessica Joy Ptofenhauer is campaigning at local schools to get lions listed
on the CITES protected species list.
She found that not only are all big cat populations
shrinking, but also the symbol of Africa - at the top of the food chain, the
lion, is quickly losing ground. Fifty years ago, there were close to a half
million lions in Africa. Today there are between 16 000 and 23 000.
Lions are hunted legally in some countries in Africa; and,
even more disturbing, their bones and other body parts are apparently being
sold off as tiger parts, as the Asian demand for tiger parts continues to
grow. Substitute tigers, as it were, since the tiger population is now
estimated to be around 3,000, and there are less tigers to be poached. This
trade of lion bones and parts is not illegal.
Poachers in Africa have taken to using a deadly pesticide
to poison lions; it is produced in the United States, but is not for sale
either there or in Europe; however it is readily available in Africa.
Furadan, and other carbofurans, used to eliminate locusts, is called ‘Two
Step’, because after ingesting just a few granules of it, you take two steps
and die. Poachers are lacing carcasses with this poison, causing entire lion
prides, and subsequently all carnivores and carrion eaters feeding on the
poisoned carcass, to die. In fact, a small Kenyan child recently died from
accidentally ingesting just a small amount of this poison.
Jessica was amazed to learn that lions are not protected
by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species that
controls trade in animals and animal products. So, to that end, she has
taken inspiration from the founders of the Big Cat Initiative, Beverly and
Dereck Joubert, to start a petition campaign here in Chiang Mai. She wants
to help get lions listed on the CITES Appendix I - to stop the legal trade
of lion parts; a second petition seeks to get the killer Furadan pesticide
banned from sale.
Last January, at the Elephant Nature Park near Mae Theng,
Jessica first spoke to participants of ‘The Power of One’, a US-based, cross-cultural
training programme that involves Thai and international students in animal
care and conservation activities. The enthusiasm she encountered, including
one student who promised to take the petition campaign to Australia,
encouraged her to speak to other schools.
Jessica was given permission to talk to fellow students
about the petition campaign by the administration at American Pacific, and
talk she did. She was surprised by the varying levels of interest she
received, stating that the younger students seemed to be the most
enthusiastic, interested and concerned about the problem. After speaking at
a school assembly, she then went from class to class to encourage students
to sign the petition.
She also started a Facebook page for the Big Cat
Initiative, and said she has received quite a bit of support there as well.
Jessica plans to approach as many schools as possible
here in Chiang Mai, to address the students and get them involved in the
Initiative, with a plan to expand the petition campaign. She is encouraged
by the support of Beverly and Dereck, who have said that the active
involvement of youth is one of the most important aspects of such an
For more information, go to www.nationalgeographic .com/bigcats. If you
are interested in hearing Jessica’s presentation at your school, please
email the [email protected] for more details.
Chiang Mai Markets
By Shana Kongmun
Chiang Mai is blessed (or perhaps not, for those not
shopping inclined) with a plethora of weekly, nightly and daily markets.
From the Sunday Walking Street Market, with its myriad of products on sale,
to the new walking market at JJ Market, to the small weekend market at Think
Park, Chiang Mai has an abundance of places to go. There are nightly markets
near Chiang Mai University carrying all sorts of clothes, jewelry and
everything in between, and the Kad Sum Murd night market at Kad Suan Kaew on
Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, where jewelry, clothing and handicrafts
are on sale.
A vendor sets up the simplest of ways to sell her produce,
a blanket on the ground with her locally grown vegetables for sale to
passersby at a local market.
Not just for shoppers, these markets offer a plethora of
food and entertainment. Often musicians will set up and perform, Nick the
Magician is often seen performing his tricks on the Sunday Walking Street
Market. There are charity organizations with booths set up; schools send
students to perform and more.
There are established markets with permanent booths; the
fabulous plant market at Khamthien behind the Tesco Lotus is one such market,
as is JJ Market with its antique shops. There is, of course, the well, known
tourist draw, the Night Bazaar, a local friend of mine shops there, telling
me that occasionally there are some real finds there and if you bargain hard
enough, you can get the price down past the inflated tourist prices that are
often trotted out. But, knowledge of Thai helps tremendously she said. And
an idea of what the price should be in the first place.
Warorot Market is more of a local market and appears to
have everything under the sun. From clothes, to amulets, to food, there is
an alleyway tucked in the back full of dried herbs, spices and natural
remedies that is well worth seeking out. Sewing goods are readily available
here and far more cheaply than in many of the big stores. Warorot is rather
full on for most people, so its better go to earlier in the day. My shopping
savvy friend tells me there is a little late-night market that sets up in
the streets around Warorot as well, selling cheap clothing, food and drinks.
Nearby is the famous cut flower market, Ton Lamyai,
again, busy and crowded but the place to go for cut flowers. The fruit
market is within walking distance at Muang Noi and as we come into mango
season, is a great place to pick up fresh mangoes for a highly reasonable
price. There are a myriad of fresh markets (talat sot) outside of town as
well, with Meechoke hosting a big one. San Pakoy near the train station is
the site of another large local market.
Wualai, famed for the silversmiths and silver shops that
line its streets, holds a Saturday walking street market with more than just
silver, again, clothes, handicrafts, and of course, food, is on offer.
With many of these markets the favorite pastime of many
Thais is visibly on display. Not conspicuous consumption of things but
rather, of food. With northern delicacies, sweets, snacks, rice soup,
curries, rice dishes, cakes, drinks, fresh juices and more, the visitor to
many of these markets will not walk away hungry or thirsty. Often, many
people visit these markets looking for a favorite vendor. One woman I know
swears by the cakes sold by a certain woman at the Sunday Walking Street
market. Fuel for the shopping perhaps!
Many people descry the establishment of the large
shopping centers with the chain stores and the Tesco, Big C and other big
stores replacing the local markets. So far, at least in Chiang Mai, it seems
to have provided people with alternatives to local markets, but the markets
still thrive. Perhaps it’s the food or perhaps it’s the social setting that
goes along with the shopping.
Food stalls abound in local and tourist markets, eating is
part of the entire market shopping experience.
a rubbish bin
Foster mum and rapidly growing kitten both need a home.
Only a few days old, this tiny kitten, was found in a
rubbish bin early one morning. Luckily for the kitten a foster mother was
available and now he is growing into a strong healthy kitten with beautiful
blue eyes. He’s cream with a brown tail and ears and is adorable. The foster
mum is also a rescue cat, she’s spayed and also needs a home, maybe together?
If you think you can give either the baby and/or the foster momma a home
please contact Gilly 0871 891623 gillysav @gmail.com.
Charitable organizations abound in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai has an abundance of charitable organizations,
enough to fulfill anyone’s need for helping those less fortunate. From
orphans of AIDS, to children with cerebral palsy, from helping hill tribes
children to cats, dogs and elephants; there is something for everyone.
Some of these organizations do receive some help from the
Thai government but usually, as has been seen in a recent article about a
lack of funding for the elephant hospital in Lampang, governmental promises
of money dry up in times of trouble.
For those who wish to help, it can sometimes be a
minefield of which organization does what and for whom.
Baan Piranan is a resident care facility For children
with Cerebral Palsy, a few months ago, two of the resident children, with
the help of Cultural Canvas, another worthy organization, held an art show
of pieces they had made themselves. Cultural Canvas has worked with Baan
Piranan as well as Grandma Cares in bringing art to underprivileged kids.
They encourage artists, sculptures, and just those interested, in helping
raise childrens’ awareness of art and how it enriches their lives.
ViengPing Children’s Home is a well known orphanage that
was the first of its kind to take in orphans affected by HIV/AIDS. They
encourage visitors to come and visit, to bring toys for the children but
even better, stay and spend some time with these kids who have no families.
Other well known charitable events organized by locals
and expats include the famous Toy Ride that takes place every year, bringing
toys to children who would otherwise have no toys at all. Other bikers
organize the Big Bike Week, they have helped build school buildings, bring
food and again, what some might consider a luxury but as everyone knows is a
necessity to a child: toys.
For those who wish to help our furry friends, Care for
Dogs needs not only people willing to accept a new dog into their life but
also volunteers to help man the booth at the Sunday Walking Street Market. A
new organization has just started up for cats, called The Cat Sterilization
Project, an attempt by cat lovers to not only bring the burgeoning stray cat
population under control but also find homes for cats in need. Elephants too,
have their friends, with several groups, including the 200 Club organizing
charity events to help elephant parks.
A few organizations mentioned here can be easily found on the web.
The cat sterilization program is at http://catsterilization
.org/ or email [email protected]
Care for Dogs is at http://www.carefordogs.org/ or email
Vieng Ping Orphanage is at http://www.chiangmai-chiangrai.com/viengping_childrens_home.html
Cultural Canvas Thailand: http://www.culturalcanvas.com/
Baan Piranan www.baan-piranan.org
The Cultural Exchange program can be emailed [email protected]