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Thailandfreunde Gala aids Northern School for the Blind

BCCT visits Chiang Mai for networking night

Skål tries out Nimmanhaemin


Thailandfreunde Gala aids Northern School for the Blind

By Shana Kongmun

Thailandfreunde held their 5th anniversary party at the Novotel Chiang Mai last month and the gala fundraiser netted over half a million baht. The Northern School for the blind will receive 250,000 of that while the rest will be distributed to other children’s organizations in need. Despite a small controversy at the beginning, the evening went off without a hitch and the show from Playhouse Entertainment dancers was enjoyed by all as was the fashion show featuring up and coming young Thai designers with some really fabulous clothes on display. More than one woman commented that it was too bad the fashions weren’t up for sale also!

Dr. Chao Duang Duen Na Chiang Mai is presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by President of the Provincial Administration Organization Boonlert Buranupakorn. President Boonlert donated 10,000 baht to the cause as well.

Thailandfreunde was founded in Germany and September 2005 and has been helping underprivileged children in Thailand ever since. This latest fundraiser will help the Northern School for the Blind get a new roof. Several of the students from the school performed at the event, charming the audience with their beautiful musical performance.

M.L. Preeyapun Sridhavat, Honorary Consul to Peru, was awarded Diplomat of the Year by Dirk Weeber- Arayatumsopon and Wutthipong Arayatumsopon.

Awards were also handed out to various local and international personalities with Elfi Seitz of the German language sister newspaper of the Chiang Mai Mail and Pattaya Mail, Pattaya Blatt being named Thailand Friend of the Year, International and Khun Rapeepun of Desjoyaux Pools and President of the Saraphi Lions Club named as Thailand Friend of the Year, National. Other notables included Raya Luelai named as Business Woman of the Year, Janet Henry as Donator of the Year, Pim Kemasingki of CityLife as Woman of the Year and Somsak Chalachol as Man of the Year. ML Preeyapun Sridhavat was named Diplomat of the Year and Dr. Chao Duang Duen Na Chiang Mai with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The evening ended with an auction of various artworks and antiques that helped add to the total as well as a mysterious donor who donated 200,000 baht

Staff and students from the Northern School for the Blind are joined
by Miss Thailand Universe 2008 Gavintra Pontijak for the charity dinner.

Mr. Pramuan Ploykamonchun, Director of the Northern School for the Blind, 2nd right, joins Dirk Weeber- Arayatumsopon, left, Miss Thailand Universe 2008 Gavintra Pontijak and Wutthipong Arayatumsopon at the charity fundraiser for the school.

Some of the fabulous dresses by Thailand designers on show at the charity event.

Award winners gather on the stage for group photos.


BCCT visits Chiang Mai for networking night

By Shana Kongmun

Members of the British Chamber of Commerce paid a visit to Chiang Mai last week at the Networking One meeting held at the lovely new resort hotel in town, The Rim. Many of the attendees commented on the beautiful Lanna style architecture and how well it meshed with the style of the moat and lamented the construction of so many ugly buildings back in the 1960s. The general consensus was a hope that all new construction inside the old city would be required to hold some kind of design standards. The Mayor’s recent completion of burial of cables at Tha Pae and Chang Klan was lauded as an important step in maintaining and restoring the charm of the city.

Greg Watkins, Executive Director for the British Chamber of Commerce in Thailand announces the upcoming BCCT dinner in Chiang Mai.

Other conversations centered around the political tensions and the recent explosion in Bangkok, the high tourist season, the strength of the baht and of course, the weather. Quite a few new faces joined in with some of the regulars, with Magaret Bhadungzong discussing her latest venture as Tour Development and Communications Director of Boonsom Farm, the largest spirulina farm in Thailand out Mae Wang way, while Brett Whiteside of Learn Thai From a White Guy talked about his unique method of teaching Thai and said that the emphasis on context was of great importance for westerners trying to learn Thai. Dave Williams of Digital Zoo talked about the influx of software and tech companies into Chiang Mai, he and Martin Venzky-Stalling talked about the recent Creative City initiative and the hopes for turning Chiang Mai into a creative hub.

The evening was marked by Greg Watkins, Executive Director for the British Chamber of Commerce (BCCT) announcement for a plan to start a Northern Chamber soon and for a BCCT dinner on November 11. Many participants accepted the idea enthusiastically, with Zane Crosby-Emery stating that he planned on joining the British Chamber in order to take part in the many programs and benefits that the Chamber has to offer.

The evening concluded as many of the crowd headed out to other venues to continue the fun, while some people noted that Friday was indeed a working day and that it was time to head home.

Top; members enjoy the ambience of the Rim’s beautiful architecture, while Stuart Lloyd and Isaree Somboonsakdikul of Ideology Asia Company Limited chat with Margaret Bhadungzong, Tour Development and Communications Director of Boonsom Farm.

Top left: Ornwimon Noreewong, Assistant Events Manager of the BCCT joins Mayuree (Mam) Reunsati, Office Manager of AA Insurance Brokers at the entrance to the hotel’s restaurant, The Canal. Top right: Chris Thatcher, Chairman Sutlet Group Co., Ltd shares a laugh with Clive N. Butcher, Managing Director Highfield Equity Co.,Ltd and (bottom) from left, Ralph Van Den Berg of Horeca Supply Co.,Ltd, Zane Crosby-Emery of Modern Build Chiang Mai, shana Kongmun , Managing Editor of Chiang Mai Mail and Frank Sethi of Fashion King talk about Zane’s upcoming projects.

Skål tries out Nimmanhaemin

By Shana Kongmun

Skål, the organization for tourism executives, gave the trendy Nimmanhaemin area a try for their monthly meeting at Beccofino on Nimmanhaemin Soi 7 on Thursday September 30. Attended by not only the regulars but a few new faces at all, one, Herman Kleefisch, was there with his wife Daa to celebrate his 92nd birthday.

David Hardcastle leads the traditional toast for the Skålleagues gathered at Beccofino.

The evening was led in the usual way, with discussion of local tourism, business and of course, the weather and the general hope that the cool season will be underway soon. David Hardcastle of Autonostalgia led the traditional Skål toast in English while Ketsanee Seehamongkol of Dokmai Gardens led the toast in Thai before the group tucked in to some fabulous Italian food at the cozy restaurant.

The general talk was about the slow start to the high season this year and the hopes of everyone that it doesn’t get derailed by political turbulence again.

(From left) Ketsanee Seehamongkol of Dokmai Gardens, Annette Kunigagon of Eagle House Eco-Sensitive Tours, Irish Honorary Consul and Yvonne Hesketh Director of Operations of Oasis Spa chat before the start of the dinner.

Naphat Nutsati, General Manager of Tamarind Village and Elaine Yue,
General Manager of the Shangri La discuss the number
of women GM’s of major hotels in Chiang Mai.

The crowd gathers for the monthly group photo