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
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
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
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
Chiang Mai hits the dance floor for Biggles Big Band
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
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
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.