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A Prayer for the Japanese tsunami victims

108 monks from temples around Chiang Mai came to pray for the dead and missing in Japan’s tsunami disaster.

By Shana Kongmun
108 monks gathered on stage and prayed for those lost in the earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit Tohuku, Japan two years ago. The event, held at Nim City Airport on Sunday, March 17, 2013 saw Japanese residents joined by Thais and foreigners to remember those lost in the devastation that hit Japan two years ago on March 11.

Japanese Consul General Kazuo Shibata speaks of Thailand’s help during the crisis.
The Japanese Consulate General together with Chiang Mai Province and the Old Japan Students Association, CLL, Fukushi no kai, and the Chiang Mai Japanese Association organized the event which began with prayers for the nearly 19,000 people dead or missing from the 9.0 earthquake, resulting tsunami and nuclear disaster at Fukushima. Japan continues to clean up and rebuild two years after the disaster and in a statement by Japanese Emperor Akihito, thanking the police, Self Defense Forces, volunteers and the world for their help and commending the Japanese people on their strength in carrying on.
Collection boxes were carried around as well as set at every booth which ringed the area, selling Japanese snacks and food. The moving ceremony of prayer held by monks from around Chiang Mai was followed by local and Japanese performances, dance, calligraphy and others.
Chiang Mai led the nation in donating to tsunami victims and the second anniversary falls with over 320,000 people still remain displaced from their homes. The spirit of giving continued on in Chiang Mai as boxes filled and a donation check was presented to the Thai Red Cross to pass on to Japan of 50,000 Baht raised by local Japanese organizations.

People continue to help Japan as many still remain homeless.

One of the abbots sprinkles holy water on the audience.

137 Pillars House celebrates anniversary

Pianist Jonas Dept and vocalist Ana Gracey are thanked by GM Manfred Ilg after entertaining the guests.

By Shana Kongmun
The lovely 137 Pillars House Hotel celebrated its first anniversary in style with a fancy hat themed dinner party that saw winners receive spa treatments, floral hat themed duo Chris Chun and Kristie Kellahan won for the “women’s hat” as their hats were so similar although incredibly elaborate. Steve Yarnold won best Men’s hat for his creative photographer top hat.
The evening saw a traditional ballet performance by the Sangdao Ballet School as well as a modern interpretive dance that took place first on land and then in the small pool depicting the travails of Thailand during the devastating floods that saw thousands displaced from their homes and their jobs.

Ajarn Vithi Phanichphant came in an enormous straw hat, here he is joined by friends and GM Manfred Ilg.

The buffet dinner was held on the front lawn in front of the beautiful old home that used to belong to the East Borneo Company and served as the residence of the Company manager until 1927 though it remained part of Company headquarters until World War II. The name 137 pillars comes from the heritage of the site, that used to hold in total four historic teak houses, each with more than 100 teak pillars. The house was commandeered by the Japanese during World War II but returned to the company after the war where William Bain resided with his Mon wife and four children, his son Jack followed in his father’s footsteps and remained in the house with his family as well.
Now under the care of the SilverNeedle Hospitality Group, the beautiful 137 Pillars House Hotel plays host to many cultural and music events as well as to the lucky visitors who stay there and enjoy the gracious hospitality of its staff and General Manager Manfred Ilg.

Guests include Tim McGuire of Segway Gibbon and his friend, Julie Hastings, Marc Miller of the U.S. Consulate General, and Annette Kunagigon of Eagle House and the Irish Representative.

Who let the dogs out??

(From left) Kulwadee Jintaworn of Impact Muang Thong Thani, Deputy Governor Ritthipong Techapun and Supakit Asavachaiporn of Perfect Companion Group cut the ribbon to start the show.

By Shana Kongmun
The Chiang Mai International Dog Show was held on March 14-17 at Central Airport Plaza and saw dogs big and small take part in fashion shows, competitions, agility tests and in spreading general puppy happiness. Dog owners brought their beloved pets to not only compete but to visit and socialize as the Smart Heart sponsored event opened on March 14, 2013.

This cute little Chihuahua was the perfect model for his owner’s line of doggie hilltribe clothes.

Deputy Governor Ritthipong Techapun, Kulwadee Jintaworn, Executive Director of Impact Muang Thong Thani which brought the show to Chiang Mai and Supakit Asavachaiporn of Perfect Companion Group and makers of Smart Heart Dog Food, sponsors of the show, cut the ribbon to start the dog festivities.
The first order of the day was a toddler led fashion show with a few budding models strutting their stuff and others stopping to pick up glitter confetti, finding it much more interesting than fame and glory on the catwalk. Dogs, of course, took part in the fashion show but in general seemed to be leading the children around the room rather than the other way round.
The Dog Show was great fun for everyone involved and saw many vendors offering their wares, from food to natural tick and flea control, the dog clothes that are so popular in Chiang Mai and amazingly, dog strollers. The agility shows were the crowd favorite although everyone seemed to delight in sniffing noses and pulling on leads.

International Women’s Day in Chiang Mai

The women of Zonta International Chiang Mai planted yellow roses in Suan Buak Haad on March 8, 2013.

By Shana Kongmun
International Women’s Day was celebrated by women around Chiang Mai and the North on Friday, March 8 with rose planting during the day and a march and rally held at Tha Pae Gate in the evening. Zonta International, the women’s organization dedicated to helping women in need, held their annual tea party and rose planting at Suan Buak Haad in the morning while Grandma Cares members planted roses in San Sai with young female students and taught them about the day and the work towards equality and human rights for women.
A rally was held at Tha Pae Gate later in the evening where women’s groups met and talked about their goals and achievements, from sex workers seeking legal protection, to migrant women, to women in business, International Women’s Day brought them all together.

Dr Carina zur Strassen, social anthropologist consultant from Frankfurt, who has called Chiang Mai home since 1988, was honored at a luncheon held at Prem International school. She is a remarkable woman with a master’s degree in historical ethnology and a doctorate in social science. This German-Peruvian mother of two has long worked with indigenous highland people in northern Thailand, she co-founded an organic farm initiative called Suan Lahu (Lahu Orchard) and has presided over the project which has become known for its production of organic Arabica coffee working with local Lahu people.

Later in the week the Chiang Mai Professional Businesswomen’s Association joined hands with Zonta International, the Chinese Hakka Women’s Association, the Chiang Mai Muslim Womens Association, the National Outstanding Mothers of Chiang Mai group and women from the Amphur Muang office to hold a seminar on empowering women in the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community integration in 2015. Speakers Narong Thanuwat and Pattana Sittisombat spoke on the AEC and how women can benefit by networking and expanding their scope throughout ASEAN.
International Women’s Day sprung out of the suffrage movement in the United States and Europe and saw women working together for equal pay and better working conditions and the right to vote in the early 20th century.

Women helping women is the driving idea behind Zonta and the cooperation among women can be seen in all of the works the organization does.

Women from Grandma Cares joined with students at Ban Lukpan School in San Sai to plant roses and learn more about International Women’s Day.

Women from the Professional Businesswomen’s Association and other women’s groups held a seminar on empowering women in the upcoming AEC.

Shaken, not stirred

James Bond theme party raises money for COSA

The gentlemen came in tuxes (and toy guns)!

By Shana Kongmun
Prem International School’s Parent School Association hosted the James Bond themed fundraising dinner at the dusit D2 Hotel on Saturday, March 16 to raise funds for COSA, the Children of Southeast Asia, an international organization that works to prevent child trafficking and sexual exploitation in northern Thailand. Prem parents Pu Ostertag and Maria Lšngle worked hard to get the glamour filled evening turn into a roaring success. Over 150 people attended the event which saw ladies in gowns and men in tuxes, a few with guns tucked demurely into their cummerbunds (fake guns hopefully!).
The live band kept people on the floor and dancing and D2’s superb staff kept the drinks flowing while the kitchen set out a delicious buffet for the crowd. There were prizes for best costumes, door prizes and raffles. The proceeds of the event, 120,923 baht was raised, will go directly to COSA to fund their community activities.
COSA works at a community level, working with at-risk families and communities to prevent trafficking before it happens. The organization works with families who have little access to education and works to provide their children with a good education, they develop relationships in the local community based on trust and partnership and work with families to intervene before a child can be trafficked, offering the families alternatives to a trafficking agent. More information on COSA can be found at their website:

While the ladies were decked out in jewels (hopefully not fake!).

Prem parent Michelle Ring of Absolute Fitness and Chatchai Jullatamara of the House and Ginger Kafe enjoy their cocktails, shaken not stirred.

Alice Moe joins Adrian Crump and his glamorous date Jantira “Ya” Namwong at the dusit D2 Hotel.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

A Prayer for the Japanese tsunami victims

137 Pillars House celebrates anniversary

Who let the dogs out??

International Women’s Day in Chiang Mai

Shaken, not stirred