Le Crystal celebrates 8th anniversary in glamor filled evening
Co Managing Partners Ajava-Riddhi and Riddhi –Damrong Diskul together with
Avirud Diskul who came from Bangkok for the occasion.
By Shana Kongmun
The always charming Riddhi-Damrong Diskul presided over the 8th
anniversary of the beautifully situated and elegant French restaurant Le
Crystal on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Situated overlooking the Ping River, the
celebration offered a fabulous 8 course fine dining experience for friends
Liz and Kate
of ITM Massage are not only good friends but regular diners at Le Crytal.
He was joined by his sons co-Managing
Partner Ajava-Riddhi Diskul and Avirud Diskul for the sold out evening.
Ajava-Riddhi “Big” Diskul offered his thanks to guests for their friendship
and loyalty as customers over the years. Big took over in 2009 and has
overseen many fabulous events with wine dinners, Bastille day celebrations
and great French cuisine.
Ajava-Riddkhi Diskul (center) is joined by Richard (left) and Brian (right)
who congratulate him on the past 8 years of delicious food.
Guests gathered on the deck overlooking
the river for cocktails before heading into the classically modern
restaurant for the dinner that included lobster and Lamb Wellington. Diners
enjoyed a fine selection of wines with the dinner, which featured wines from
5 countries including France, and Italy. There was a lucky draw for guests
and special prizes.
The evening concluded with the Diskul’s setting off Khom Loy with their
guests with wishes, I am sure, for many more years of delicious food to come
written on many lanterns. (All photos courtesy of CityNow!)
International Schools art showcase
Venzky-Stalling was on hand to interest students in the upcoming TedX Chiang
Mai Student Auditions.
By Shana Kongmun
Students from International Schools around Chiang Mai got the chance to join
the big leagues by exhibiting their art at the CMU Art Center, the grand
opening took place on Friday May 3, 2013 and students, parents, friends and
artists filled the gallery.
Students from Grade 1 through Grade 12 exhibited at the show and the broad
diversity of styles, formats, and exhibits kept everyone busy trying to view
them all. Students from American Pacific International School, Chiang Mai
International School, Grace International School, Lanna International
School, Nakornpayap International School, and Prem Tinsulanonda
International School had 300 works on display.
The show ended May 10 but will be an annual event so even if you are not a
parent the exhibit is worth seeing next year, we can all be encouraged by
the young talent blooming in Chiang Mai. (All photos courtesy of Shii Hua
ranged from paintings to sculpture at the show that ended through May 10.
included portraits, landscapes, and free form sculptures.
hanging mural was a creative use of color and light.
students are proud of their creations.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
What is ASEAN?
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a
geo-political and economic organization created on Aug. 8, 1967 by
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then,
membership has expanded to include Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos
ASEAN’s primary aims include accelerating regional economic growth, social
progress, cultural development among its members, protection of regional
peace and stability and providing diplomatic opportunities for member
countries to discuss differences peacefully.
The 10 countries comprising ASEAN have a combined population of a half
billion people. Although ASEAN’s demographic makeup is comprised
predominantly of those who are economically poor, there are millions as well
who are wealthy, with the island state of Singapore ranking as one of the
world’s most advanced economies.
Many people outside of Asia mistakenly lump these different countries
together as one place. However, despite their intended economic integration,
ASEAN members have vastly differently cultural, political, social and
Why was ASEAN created?
Politically, ASEAN was initiated with support from the United
States to contain the spread of communism in Asia. In a region divided at
the time by the Cold War and with armed conflict threatening Vietnam,
Cambodia and Laos, there was a need for an international forum to promote
peace and security, as well as economic growth.
Since the governmental types of its members were generally both different
and often antagonistic towards each other, ASEAN has functioned from the
beginning on the principle of non-interference. ASEAN governments agreed not
to publicly criticize what another ASEAN administration is doing within its
The region’s 1997 financial crash prompted ASEAN to shift its focus
exclusively to economic and trade cooperation, leading to bilateral trade
and investment agreements between its members.
From an early stage, ASEAN has focused on economics in addition
to security issues. Since 1967, most of Southeast Asia has been growing
economically at an astoundingly rapid pace, based on a greatly expanded
export industry which has relied heavily on agricultural produce and
ASEAN is one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world, with an
anticipated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 5.2 percent per
annum from 2007 to 2030. Its GDP has grown from US $700 million in 2007 to
US $1.8 trillion in 2012. If ASEAN existed as a single entity, it would rank
as the ninth largest economy in the world.
Reducing regional tariff levels remains a primary economic goal of ASEAN,
with initiatives of eliminating all tariffs and duties among its member
nations and creating a new regional trading block by 2015. This is also part
of the planned ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which will by 2020 be a
single, economic market in which free movement of goods and services will
take place, coupled with easier movement of capital and investment.
(Sources: http://www.aseanaffairs.com, John Walsh; Shinawatra University;
Bridging Cultural Gaps with Communication
Chiang Mai Governor Tanin Subhasaen readying Thai Upper North for AEC
by Jeffrey Warner
Southeast Asia in-terms of economic development is one of the fastest
growing areas in the world. And in 2015, many developments related to the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will take place. The
socioeconomic borders between Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam will essentially
dissolve, and the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will be formally initiated. The
international exchange of goods, services and economic investment will flourish.
Mai Governor Tanin Subhasaen, as part of a series of AEC related projects,
initiated a ‘practical English’ training course for Thai people working in Upper
Northern Thailand’s service sector. The move was part of a ASEAN Economic
Community (AEC) related strategic development plan involving agro-business,
tourism, trading and investment, as well as environment and stability in the
Upper Northern Region.
“ASEAN has been around for a long time,” said Chiang Mai Governor Tanin
Subhasaen. “But the way people access each other will be much more convenient
because we are improving to become a single system... ASEAN’s ten members will
consolidate to increase economic bargaining power to the world.”
A multitude of related changes and challenges are underway as the region is
preparing for this economic paradigm shift. Each ASEAN member has its language
and culture, and issues pertaining to cross-culture communication are serving as
barriers to optimal AEC integration.
Chiang Mai Vice-Governor
Rittipong Tachapunt handed out certificates to trainees who completed a Chiang
Mai Province sponsored 20-hour ‘practical English’ course held from January to
English is the international language. And with Thailand ranking 53 out of the
54 countries surveyed by English First, which benchmarks English proficiency
using a sample of about two million people, this scenario in-terms of the AEC
and Thai people’s economic prosperity is currently perhaps a lit fuse. If people
from different countries cannot communicate and understand each other, how can
they do business?
Governor Tanin says the Chiang Mai provincial government is preparing Thai
people for the AEC by implementing a four-dimension public policy plan. This
strategy involves cultivating public awareness - especially regarding
socioeconomic advancements within the next three years - as well as encouraging
people to accept changes whether they are or aren’t advantageous. Another
component is that everyone adapt themselves to the changing world. Likewise,
learning English - and about the cultures of ASEAN, ASEAN +3, (China, Japan,
Korea) and ASEAN +6 (Australia, New Zealand and India) countries - is essential.
“We need to improve our language skills and learn how to do new things,” said
Governor Tanin. “We have to adapt ourselves” to the outside world, also by being
proactive in promoting Chiang Mai via visiting other countries as well as
inviting foreigners to explore Thailand and its socioeconomic potential.
While the term ‘foreigner’ in Thailand has traditionally been used for referring
to people from Western countries, it now generally means: people who can’t speak
Thai - especially in-terms of ASEAN members. This overall issue likewise
percolates down to establishing communication bridges that connect cultures and
“We have to know others’ language, who they are,” said the Governor. “Chiang Mai
is the center of the (Thai) North, and many foreigners come to Chiang Mai - over
three million per year, and this is going to increase.” They will likewise use
Chiang Mai’s transportation system as well as the retail, spa, massage and other
health related services which comprise Northern Thailand’s core (service)
Dr. Narumon Kimpakorn, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration,
Chiang Mai University, said that “if personnel cannot speak English or
communicate well, they will lose opportunities to best serve their customers”
and gain business opportunities. The same applies for public communications
professionals who “are the gateway to promoting Thailand to the outside world.”
Dr. Narumon emphasized that the Thai North is becoming evermore popular for
investors, especially regarding real estate. And Chiang Mai is the central city
for linking this region with other ASEAN countries.
“I want Chiang Mai people to
have wealth, a good education and a safe life. This is happiness
that can define everything...” Chiang Mai Governor Tanin Subhasaen
“The Governor wants to empower (Thai) people, show the benefits of learning
English and get them motivated to practice English more, so they can promote a
good image to customers who come to Chiang Mai. But if they aren’t going to
effectively serve the customer, other people are going to come” and capitalize
on what would have been their business opportunities.
Governor Tanin initiated a ‘practical English’ training course for those working
in the aforementioned service industry group. The 20-hour course - which ran
from January to March 2013 - was funded by the Office of Strategic Management
for Upper Northern Cluster 1 (including Chiang Mai, Lampang, Lamphun and Mae
Hong Son provinces) and organized by the Chiang Mai Governor’s Office in
partnership with CMU’s Faculty of Business Administration.
The curriculum was established and conducted by the Academy for Education USA
(ACE). While elements of grammar, diction and pronunciation were included, the
primary aim was equipping trainees with “easy language” and cultural insight
into their ASEAN member counterparts.
The closing ceremony for the
“English Proficiency Development for Service Business Providers in Upper North
Provincial Cluster 1” program was held on April 19, at the Chiang Mai Hill hotel
in Chiang Mai. Front row, with course trainees and from second left: Dr. Narumon
Kimpakorn, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration, Chiang Mai
University; Academy for Education USA (ACE) course instructors Raymond Whitney
and Tony Moon; Chiang Mai Vice-Governor Rittipong Tachapunt; Chief of the Chiang
Mai Governor’s Office, Mr. Viroon Phantevee; and Mr. Sanga Buaradok, Chief of
the Chiang Mai Development Strategy Division.
Kobkul Patanaporn is one of over 100 trainees. A dentist, her confidence with
using English, and her quality of work life, has been bolstered. She wants to
study English more.
“I learned a lot from the instructor... He knows a lot about the mannerisms of
foreigners and Thai culture. Before, I didn’t understand foreigners’ actions,
especially when they are different from Thai people... This (knowledge) makes it
easier for me to treat and communicate with them.”
Governor Tanin said his primary initiatives involve “upgrading” people’s quality
of life, including improvements in infrastructure and public education.
“It is my objective to enhance the English language capacity of Chiang Mai
people, so they can communicate about Thai culture and its related lifestyle to
those from the outside,” said Governor Tanin, adding that government personnel
will additionally receive English language training within the next fiscal year.
“I wanted to start this (English training course) to benefit people.”
What would likewise please him is if, at the completion of his four-year term,
“Chiang Mai people are happy, they’re living conditions have improved, and
foreigners come to Chiang Mai and are happy. I want Chiang Mai people to have
wealth, a good education and a safe life. This is happiness that can define