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The Parade marches on

Heavy rains fail to stop Grand Parade

The Mae Jo lantern release saw thousands of people release khom loy to the skies on November 16, 2013 (Photo by Ally Taylor)

Nopniwat Krailerg
Yee Peng was marked by heavy rains on the last evening although revelers still packed the streets and the parade marched on. Yee Peng was celebrated in Chiang Mai from November 16 – 18, 2013 with the Mae Jo lantern release taking place on the 16th in a separate event. The Small Krathong Parade went through crowded city streets with a change of route to end at the Municipal Building on the 17th.
Krathongs filled the rivers and moat and Khom Loy lanterns of all shapes and sizes filled the skies. Although the “Angry Birds” and other characters didn’t float away as successfully.

Mae Jo University took the Royal Trophy in the Grand Parade on November 18, 2013. (Photo by Nopniwat Krailerg)

Mae Jo University took the Royal Trophy in the Grand Krathong Parade on November 18 with an elaborately gorgeous float. There were 27 teams taking part in the contest, from both the public and private sectors. The parade, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. didn’t get started until around 8:20 p.m. and shortly after heavy rains began to fall.
However, this did not dampen the spirits of those taking part in the parade and they continued on from Kotchasarn Road to Tha Pae and on to Praisanee to end in front of the Municipal Building. The last float passed by around midnight but parade goers applauded their dedication enthusiastically.

Lantern sculptures were lit to decorate the city at the Gates, the corners and at the Lanna Folklife Museum opposite 3 Kings Monument. (Photo by Shana Kongmun)

Maejo University won the Royal Trophy Krathong and took home 70,000 baht. The winner of Group 1 which includes government agencies, companies, organizations, associations, clubs, shops, shopping centers, hotels, banks, colleges and universities, winner was Chiang Mai University which won 60,000 baht with a trophy, second place when to Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University Chiangmai Campus, and third to Mahamakut Buddhist University Lanna campus.
Group 2 included government schools, private school, Municipal schools, Younth groups, Village Scouts, communities and agencies which not listed in Group 1, with no first place winner. Second went to the Non-Formal Education Centre, and third to Rachawadee Culture group.

People released khom loy around the city as part of the celebrations. (Photo by Shana Kongmun)

Chiang Mai flocks to Central Festival opening

Massive crowds take their chance to win a new car

The Royal Thai Army and Police Region 5 join Governor Wichien Putthiwinyoo, Sudhitham Chirathivat, and Kobchai Chirathivat on stage to formally open the new mall.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Central Festival celebrated its grand opening on November 14, 2013 and people turned out in force to view the newest mall to open in Chiang Mai. This huge mall covers 250,000 sqm and was built with a budget of around 7 billion baht. The mall has all the top named stores found in Bangkok from Marks and Spencer to La Senza, to Topshop and Topman.

People lined the walkways to listen to popular singer Chin Chinawut perform.

Chiang Mai Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo joined senior executives from Central Group to launch the new mall in front of a large crowd of people who turned out to see Thai pop stars such as Chin Chinawut, Pope Thanawut and Min Pechaya as well as take a chance at winning either a Nissan Cube or Mazda CX5 and other prizes. There was a fashion show featuring designs from the stores that fill the mall.
The day saw many stores holding opening ceremonies including Marks & Spencer, Topshop and many others. The mall also has many local businesses such as the popular Doppio Rist8to from Nimmanhaemin Road.
Traffic to the mall remains heavy as locals turn out to see the first ice skating rink, take in food from over 60 restaurants, and experience movies at the IMAX 3 and 4DX theaters.

U.S. Consul General Michael Heath and the Chiang Mai Diplomatic Corps present a donation for charity to Kobchai Chirathivat, Executive Director of Central Group of Companies and CEO of Central Pattana Public Company Limited (CPN).

Sudhitham Chirathivat, Executive Chairman of Central Group of Companies Ltd. (center), is joined by Patson Sarindhu (4th left) a former actor and International Marketing executive with the company and other guests.

U.S. Consul draws a full house at the Expats Club

U.S. Consul General Michael Heath (center) with Expats Club board members Charles Burke (left) and Richard Prouse (right)

By Shana Kongmun
The Chiang Mai Expats Club hosted the new U.S. Consul General, Michael Heath on Saturday, November 23, 2013 at Le Meridien Hotel. The meeting started out with announcements including that there will be only one meeting in December to be held at River Market on December 20th, this will be an expanded brunch with a great set lunch so participants were encouraged to reserve early.
Mike Heath took the podium and talked a bit about himself, mentioning that Chiang Mai is considered a plum assignment in the State Department, earning him a few enemies he added with a chuckle. Mike mentioned that one of the great things about the internet and social media these days was how much easier it made it to keep in touch with friends and family elsewhere, making it much easier to be in a new place.

Jenny, Niel and Pom enjoy the spread of coffee and croissants laid out by Le Meridien for the Expats Club.

Mike said that he comes from quite a multicultural background, his father a British citizen and his mother a second generation Japanese American. He grew up all over the place as his family moved around before he went to University and joined the State Department. His first post was in Guiana, formerly British Guiana where he learned first-hand that the lines between communism and capitalism are quite blurred as the country elected its first “communist” President; a lesson that was furthered in China where he was last posted and saw the entrepreneurial spirit continue to outpace the government.
He mentioned the history of the U.S. Consulate, which used to be the palace of the last Prince of Lanna, the U.S. government has leased it from the Crown Property Bureau since the 1950s and the beautiful architecture and gardens make it unique among the Consulates and Embassies worldwide.

These ladies were happy to get a seat near the front in the meeting which saw a very large turnout to hear U.S. Consul General Michael Heath speak.

“Northern Thailand, to me, is the most interesting part of the country; for its history and especially the history of its expats,” Mike said. He noted that his recent attendance at Remembrance Day / Veterans’ Day ceremonies at the Foreign Cemetery were very interesting since he is currently reading the story of the British Consul, W. A. R. Wood about his experiences in Chiang Mai titled “Consul in Paradise. Mike said that he saw many of the names in the book in the cemetery, giving it a real poignancy.
Mike talked about the role of the Consulate in the North including drug trafficking, human trafficking, refugees and migrants and cultural preservation as well as economic policies to facilitate investment by both American companies in Thailand but also Thai companies in the U.S.
Mike kept the crowd both interested and amused with his interesting and often funny stories and comments. He promised to bring his wife Michelle, a Thai born naturalized American and their two children to meet everyone at the next meeting. The floor was opened to questions and answers although the Consul General pointed out he may not be able to answer them all as “”we tend to develop a broad range of knowledge there isn’t a lot of depth but promised to find answers or connect people to the right person to find those answers.

Skålleagues dine under the stars at the Anantara

A photo of the group before dinner, on the lawn in front of the Anantara Chiang Mai on Thursday, November 21, 2013. (Photo courtesy of CityNow!)

By Shana Kongmun
Tables set under the clear evening skies on a cool November evening on the lawn at the newly renamed Anantara Chiang Mai was the perfect setting for Skål members as they enjoyed great Indian food and good company. General Manager Nick Downing was a genial host as his chef Chef Prabhash Prahakaran and the staff who offered delicious food and excellent service at the dinner held on November 21, 2013.
Several members celebrated early birthdays including Skål members Andrew Bond and Paul Humphreys and Skål Local Member Richard Johnson. Congratulations were also offered to newly approved member Jenny Croyston of Hot Spots to Shop. President Annette Kunigagon.

Food and Beverage Manager Kanoklak Nitirat joins General Manager Nick Downing and 137 Pillars General Manager Manfred Ilg for cocktails before dinner.

Skål Chiang Mai and the North donated 100,000 baht from its funds to be used by the Skål Clubs of the Philippines for various relief projects which they would see as most beneficial to the local population. Skål Bacalod, Skål Cebu and Skål Makati were all affected by the typhoon that struck the country earlier this month, leaving over 5,000 people dead and thousands more homeless. President of the club Annette Kunigagon pointed out that when the 2004 Tsunami struck Thailand Skål clubs from around the world donated more than 5 million baht. Other Skål Clubs in Thailand have also donated large sums.
The Skål toast was given in English by Linda Stevens, a visiting Skål member from the Skål Australia Sunshine Coast club and in Thai by Young Skål member Patrick Hennessey before members settled down for dinner and convivial conversation.
Next month’s dinner is the gala Christmas charity dinner at Le Coq d’Or on December 12. More information at

Lori and Julie are joined by Skal events director Tim McGuire.

John Morgan (2nd left) chats with Skal committee members Annette Kunigagon, Tim McGuire and Frans Betgem.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

The Parade marches on

Chiang Mai flocks to Central Festival opening

U.S. Consul draws a full house at the Expats Club

Skålleagues dine under the stars at the Anantara