Vol. IX No. 37 - Monday
November 1 - Monday November 15, 2010



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OUR COMMUNITY
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Womens’ issues discussed at AUA for film festival

Longest running pub in Chiang Mai

Social networking gets real at Miguel’s

Chiang Mai hits the dance floor for Biggles Big Band

Human trafficking in the North

Womens’ issues discussed at AUA for film festival

By Shana Kongmun

As part of the Doi Saket Film Festival held last month, a few womens’ short films were screened at AUA and followed up by a panel discussion with U.S. Consul General Susan Stevenson, lecturer in Women’s Studies at Chiang Mai University Arpaporn Sumrit and lecturer Pinkaew Laungaramsiri, also of CMU, to discuss the issues raised in the films and in society.

U.S. Consul General Susan Stevenson and Arpaporn Sumrit of CMU discuss the films and the issues they raise for and about women.

The event was attended by both men and women and drove some interesting discussion regarding the paths women take in their lives and those open to them. The differences between Western culture as displayed in two of the short films, African cultural roles for women and Thai cultural roles were considered and the pressures and difficulties women face in male dominated society.

And while the new U.S. Consul General is a woman, she still has traditional roles to fulfil despite the advances made in the United States, noting that while over half the workforce is women, most women still must return home to do a large part of the childrearing and housekeeping.

The event, hosted by the AUA as part of the Doi Saket film festival was a thought provoking afternoon and one that many attendees hoped could continue.

 

Longest running pub in Chiang Mai

The Pub celebrates 41 years

Clockwise from top left; Nicky Scott and other local musicians take a break before performing at the Pub, traditional Lanna dance performances were beautifully done, Grahame Quinn is joined by his barmaids, and the firebreathing performance kept the crowd entertained.

By Shana Kongmun

The Pub on Huay Kaew Road is adeptly run by Grahame Quinn and his lovely daughter Barbara offering not only delicious English pub grub (try their Yorkshire puddings on a Sunday) but a cozy and casual atmosphere to boot. A perennial favorite, this long lived pub celebrated its 41st anniversary in style on Friday the 15th of October with traditional Lanna dancing, firebreathing performances and local musicians offering up some great music for visitors new and old.

The Pub was built by its original owners to be a library but ended up being the focus for local expats instead. And while the bar at the Gymkhana Club was certainly the first in town The Pub was the only traditional English pub and town, and after 41 years in existence, still retains its charm and appeal among expats offering a Sunday fair, quiz nights and hosting other groups, such as the Bridge club and more.

Congratulations to Grahame on the 41st anniversary of this local favorite.


Social networking gets real at Miguel’s

Local women, Thais and resident expats and visitors, joined in the fun at the first Chickynet social night out at Miguels in Nong Hoi.

By Shana Kongmun

Online social networking is the latest worldwide craze in the form of Facebook and other sites. But it can also be found locally here in Chiang Mai. So many women in the city live such distinctly different lives that it’s difficult to meet each other in a social setting. Enter Chickynet, an online social networking site with forums for Chiang Mai, Phuket, Bangkok, and Koh Samui. Recently, Randi Egan and her husband hosted the first ever Chiang Mai Chickynet meet up at their restaurant, Miguel’s in Nong Hoi and it turned out to be quite a success.

Over 40 women attended the evening, where Miguel’s put on a mini menu and 2 for 1 margaritas for the ladies. A lot of new faces were seen, including a very recent arrival to Chiang Mai, Nina from Finland who had joined Chickynet that day and decided a ladies meet up sounded like a great way to get to know people.

Many of the group retired to Zoe in Yellow once the party at Miguel’s wound down, La Sabrosa Sabrosura was playing for the grand re-opening and many ended up dancing the night away.

So, Tron-like, the power of social networking showed its ability to translate to the real world in a fun filled night for Chiang Mai women.


Chiang Mai hits the dance floor for Biggles Big Band

Biggles Big Band, the 20 piece Dutch orchestra, returned to Chiang Mai at the Le Mercure on Thursday, October 21, much to the delight of many. Area residents donned their dancing shoes to swing, jitterbug and dance to the tunes of Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and more. The evening was acclaimed a great success by all who attended with the fond hopes that the band will return to Chiang Mai again next year. (Photos by Micaela Hobbs)


Human trafficking in the North

Chiang Mai Expats Club hosts TRAFCORD

By Shana Kongmun

Ben Svasti Thomson is not only the British Honourary Consul but heads TRAFCORD as well, an organization dedicated to fighting human trafficking in the North and one named, he noted to the audience at the Chiang Mai Expats Club on Saturday, October 23, 2010 at the Shangri La Hotel, as one of the best anti-trafficking organizations by the U.S. State Department.

The Anti-Trafficking Coordination Unit, or TRAFCORD, was established in 2002 but has only been registered as a charity this year. They are funded mainly by U.S. governmental organizations such as USAID, the British and New Zealand Embassies, UNICEF, the Asia Foundation and the Thai government which funds mainly for training purposes. The fight against human trafficking is ongoing as the income disparity and political oppression remains in Thailand’s neighboring countries he noted. Ben Svasti Thomson clarified the term trafficking for the audience, adding that it is the recruitment and transport of labor with intent to exploit through force and deception. He added, that while many sex workers are trafficked, also many or not and TRAFCORD only gets involved when those sex workers are underage.

There are four main areas of trafficking that take place in and through Thailand, fruit orchards in Northern Thailand, fishing trawlers where many people are literally shanghaied off the streets, drugged and transported without their consent, sweat shops and finally maids and gardeners.

He described the main types of human trafficking that vary in degrees with slavery and brothel prisons being the worst, nothing that usually violence and threats of violence accompany these, to debt bondage and low pay with longer hours being the least.

He emphasized the point that while there are laws in place they are only so good as the enforcement and there, it is often lacking. He added that the lack of bilateral cooperation between neighboring countries hindered enforcement and regulation, the bottleneck of registering legal foreign workers and the flourishing sex trade all were major issues.

He talked about the work they do, investigating reports of forced labor and trafficking, and the work with the Thai government, including the permanent office now established in Chiang Mai Provincial Hall, working closely with the authorities. He noted that they have trained officers to work combating trafficking in every Northern Province.

Many people were interested to hear that so many of the people repatriated ended up coming back for more of the same since the situations in their home countries were so dire. Large numbers of trafficked people in the North come from the stateless hill tribes, Myanmar and China, while Cambodians tend to head to Bangkok, Mr. Thomson pointed out.

Finally, he talked about a few cases they have worked on with women who had been trafficked to Malaysia as forced sex workers, locked up in brothels to service mainly Singaporean men. Through the help of one woman who had escaped they managed to find the building and inform the Malaysian authorities to rescue the women locked inside.

The Expats Club audience clearly found the topic quite interesting as discussion afterwards continued for some time as people headed home or out for a sunny Saturday afternoon. The Chiang Mai Expats club holds their meetings at the Shangri La Hotel on the last Saturday of every month at 10:30 a.m.



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