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U.S. Consulate celebrates Independence Day

See you later! Says Consul General Ken Foster

U.S. Consul General Kenneth Foster, Governor Thanin Subhasaen and U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney sing the U.S. National Anthem at the party held at the U.S. Consulate on June 27, 2013.

By Shana Kongmun
The dismay was audible at the Independence Day party at the U.S. Consulate General on Thursday June 27, 2013 as Consul General Ken Foster announced that he would be leaving for the United States in August.
“This is not a farewell”, he said in response, “But a ‘see you later’. I will be coming back.” The very popular Consul General is widely respected in the Thai community as well, with one Thai person pointing out “This is a man who really understands Thailand.”
Ambassador Kristie Kenney joined the celebrations to toast the 180 years of friendship between Thailand and the United States. She was followed by the Stanford Chorale, over from the U.S. to perform in Thailand, singing the Thai National Anthem. Then Governor Tanin Subhasaen took the stage to express his thanks to the Consul General Kenneth Foster for his work in Chiang Mai and went on to discuss the close friendship and partnerships forged between the two nations for the past 180 years.
The Stanford Chorale then sang the Star Spangled Banner with Ambassador Kenney and Consul General Foster, hands to hearts, joining in. They then toasted with Governor Tanin and the party began in earnest.
The close ties between the U.S. are not only in trade but in education and many other fields, Ambassador Kenney pointed out in an interview. There are many Thai students going to school in the United States and Americans on exchange programs with schools in Thailand. Trade between the two countries is huge and Ambassador Kenney said she believes that Thai authorities value the close relationship and the many American firms that have invested in Thailand such as Seagate and Ford. She believes that the Thai government will continue the Amity Treaty and its provisions over the years to come.
Consul General Ken Foster will be returning to the United States in August but said he intends to settle down and retire in Thailand and yes, return to Chiang Mai some day in the not too distant future.

Chinese Consul Lin Liang and staff from the Consulate-General for the People’s Republic of China present a bouquet of flowers to Ambassador Kenney.

The Deputy Commanders for Wing 41 are greeted by Ambassador Kenney and Consul General Foster. (Photo courtesy of Wing 41)

The team from Payap University including Interim President Assoc. Prof. Dr. Penpilai Rithakananone (3rd left)


Canada to have a new Honorary Consul

Nit Wangwiwat retires

Retiring Honorary Consul Nit Wangwiwat and Ambassador Calvert pose together for one last photo.

By Shana Kongmun
18 year veteran of the Chiang Mai diplomatic corps Nit Wangwiwat is hanging up his statesman cap to retire. Although how retired this very active businessman and leading member of the Chiang Mai community will be remains to be seen. But Canadians do not despair as the Consulate remains open and in the same location with the same very able and capable K. Joy who remains to assist the new Honorary Consul Jakarin Wangwiwat, Nit’s right hand man and son.

Jakarin Wangwiwat (2nd left) joins the Ambassador and his father with Chiang Mai businessmen at the retirement party.

Canada’s Ambassador to Thailand H.E. Philip Calvert came to Chiang Mai to bid farewell to K. Nit and to welcome K. Jakarin whose appointment is expected to be formalized in the next few months. He also came to join the two men and Chiang Mai in celebrating the 146th Canada Day held on July 1, noting that Canadians feel the distance quite strongly on their National Day. A joint Canada Day and retirement party was held at Le Meridien Hotel on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 and was widely attended by not only Canadians but the Chiang Mai diplomatic corps, police, Air Force, Army, Provincial officials and businesspeople, all of whom have worked with K. Nit in one capacity or another in the past 18 years.

Members of the Chiang Mai diplomatic corps come to honor the outgoing Honorary Consul for Canada.

Ambassador Calvert and K. Nit noted that Thailand and Canada have had strong relations since bilateral relations were established 52 years ago, noting strong business ties with PTT investing heavily in Canada. Although Ambassador Calvert did add that there was a misperception that Canada was always cold and so the educational exchanges were not as numerous as they could wish although many Universities in Thailand, including CMU, have ties with Canadian schools.
Finally Ambassador Calvert said that having someone like K. Nit, and now K. Jakarin in place in Chiang Mai was important to the Embassy as they are well known and knowledgeable with strong ties to the community and can help Canadians in need.

Senator M.L. Preeyapun Sridhavat offers her well wishes to K. Nit at the party held at Le Meridien Hotel Chiang Mai.


Japanese residents welcome new Consul-General

Consul-General and Mrs. Akhiko Fujii welcome guests to the party. (Photo courtesy of Wing 41)

By Shana Kongmun
The life of a Consul-General is one of change, with positions usually lasting no more than 3 or 4 years. Chiang Mai’s affable Japanese Consul-General Kazuo Shibata moved on to Bali but now Chiang Mai welcomes new Japanese Consul-General Akihiko Fujii and his charming wife. Consul-General Fujii, while a newcomer to Chiang Mai, is not new to Thailand, with Mr. Fujii having served in Bangkok before. However, he pointed out that he had also served in Detroit, Michigan in the United States adding that there was actually quite a few Japanese factories in the “Motor City” of the U.S.

Governor Tanin Subhasaen and Deputy Mayor Wilai Buranupakorn watch the video on the culture and nature of Japan with the Consul-General and his wife. (Photo courtesy of Wing 41)

The Japanese Consulate General held a welcome party for Mr. Fujii and his wife at the Imperial Mae Ping on Friday, June 28, 2013 that saw many members of the extensive Japanese community as well as local residents, businesspeople, officials and the diplomatic corps attend. There is a rather large population of Japanese living in Chiang Mai and around the North, many of them retired as well as a number of Japanese companies and businesses invested in the North.

General Manager of the Imperial Mae Ping Peter Schnyder welcomes the Japanese Consul General and his wife to the hotel, with him are staff and TAT head Wisoot Buachoom (center). (Photo courtesy of the Imperial Mae Ping)

He welcomed the gathered audience to the party and thanked them for their support and friendship with the Japanese people, a short video was also shown extolling the beauties of Japan and with the new visa rules, many of the Thai guests said they planned on visiting Japan soon.

President of the Provincial Administration Organization Boonlert Buranupakorn is joined by local businesspeople and Deputy Mayor Wilai (far right) at the party held on Friday, June 28.


Rotary Clubs in Chiang Mai & Lamphun hold installation ceremony

The 2013-2014 Presidents of Rotary Clubs in Chiang Mai and Lamphun carried the Rotary Clubs flags to the stage for the installation ceremony.

By Nopniwat Krailerg
Surapon Sattayarak, the Permanent Secretary of Chiang Mai presided over the 2013-1014 District 3360 RI 17th Installation Ceremony of the Presidents & Boards of Directors for 14 Rotary Clubs in Chiang Mai & Lamphun at Chiang Mai Grandview Convention Center on June 29, 2013. Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Thin Thai Ngam hosted the event that saw PDG Anurak Napawan join District Governor Suparie Chatkunyarat and PDG Dr. Supavat Poovakul toast the gathered crowd and sing the Rotary songs.

President of Rotary Thin Thai Ngam Jeerana Juntanakut hosted the installation ceremony at Chiang Mai Grandview Hotel.

The Presidents of all 14 Rotary Clubs in Chiang Mai and Lamphun as well as the Board of Directors were installed for the 2013-2014 year with the Convention Hall at Chiang Mai Grandview Hotel filled by the turnout of Rotarians. The term began July 1, 2013.
President of Rotary Thin Thai Ngam, which hosted the event, Jeerana Juntanakut, also the youngest Rotary President for the club, told the Chiang Mai Mail that this year’s motto was “Engage Rotary, Change Lives” and that her club was working hard to fulfill that directive with scholarships for needy students, set up playgrounds and libraries in remote schools, focus on the drive by Rotary International to eradicate polio worldwide, and join in the RI program to assist in natural disasters.
Visitors to the Installation ceremony included those from clubs in India and Malaysia.

PDG. Dr. Supavat Poovakul drinks to Rotary and sings a Rotary song.

PDG Supavat Poovakul and PDG Anurak Napawan join their club, the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai before the start of the ceremony.

Peer and Poonthip Andersen join Supranee Noi-Um, President of Chiang Mai Toastmaster’s Club and Visit Nakranard, President of the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai.

PDG Chamnan Chanruang of the Rotary Club of Chiang North joins members of the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai West for dinner before the ceremony began.


Fourth of July celebrated in Chiang Mai

River Market hosts the big party

Uncle Sam made an appearance, seen here with Bob, a member of the local branch of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post.

By Shana Kongmun
U.S. citizens in Chiang Mai celebrated their nation’s 237th birthday on July 4th, 2013 at the River Market but a broad spectrum of residents both foreign and Thai showed up for the big day. The team at the River Market put on a great spread of classic favorites such as hot dogs, burgers, and Budweiser (snapped up by more than just the Americans) but also Thai food and other delicious eats.
The day started early, as it usually does in the United States, at around 3 pm when the first hungry visitors showed up and quickly swelled in a large party of people eating, drinking, playing games and listening to some great music. The evening ended on a high note with the glorious vision of fireworks over the Iron Bridge, another classic Fourth of July tradition.

Dave of the Dukes and River Market takes a hearty bite into one of the all-American hot dogs in the huge buffet spread laid out at the River Market.

This Texan went all out for his Independence Day meal making sure he enjoyed his first Budweiser beer in a few years!

Roger and Nancy Lindley looked forward to the fireworks show later in the evening.


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

U.S. Consulate celebrates Independence Day

Canada to have a new Honorary Consul

Japanese residents welcome new Consul-General

Rotary Clubs in Chiang Mai & Lamphun hold installation ceremony

Fourth of July celebrated in Chiang Mai