New President elected for Skål Chiang Mai
Tim McGuire takes over the role of President of
Skål Chiang Mai and the North from outgoing President Annette Kunigagon.
By Shana Kongmun
Outgoing Skål President Annette Kunigagon chaired the Annual General Meeting
of Skål Chiang Mai and the North held at Le Meridien Chiang Mai. The group
of travel and tourism professionals plays an important role in Chiang Mai as
tourism to the city continues to flourish, the leading professionals look
for ways to connect with other cities around the world and the region.
President Annette noted the recent twinning with the newly formed Skål
Yangon with a twinning ceremony to be held later this year and a visit to
Yangon by members of the group to learn more about tourism in Myanmar and
work on ways to connect professionals in the travel business in the two
cities. The group also hopes to twin with Skål Hong Kong and Annette
encouraged members to visit other Skål clubs as they travel.
The club voted in Tim McGuire of Segway Gibbon as the new President and
Annette, who finishes her term as President, was elected as Vice President.
New members Manfred Ilg, General Manager of 137 Pillars House was elected as
the new Events Director while General Manager of Khum Phaya Resort and Spa
Jerome Sim was elected as Assistant Events Director. Jennifer Croyston of
Hot Spots to Travel was elected as Membership Development Officer and Frans
Betgem of Tiger Trail Thailand and Shana Kongmun of the Chiang Mai Mail were
reinstated in their roles as Financial Director & Secretary and PR &
Communications officers respectively.
This year Skal Chiang Mai and the North donated food and goods to the Mae
Maeh Orphanage in Chiang Dao as well as provided assistance in building new
dormitories for students there. Additionally a donation was made to the Skål
Philippines Disaster fund for victims of the devastating typhoon Haiyan that
ravaged parts of the Philippines.
After the elections the group retired to the deck of Le Meridien Chiang Mai
where General Manager Greg Anderson and F & B Manager Michael Hofstetter
hosted the party. Members and visitors then retired to Favola for an
excellent dinner prepared by Italian chef Filippo Morelli and the friendly
and efficient service for which Le Meridien is well-known.
Vice President Marc Dumur thanks outgoing President Annette Kunigagon for
her years of service after the election.
President Annette Kunigagon introduces new board members to the group; from
left; Jennifer Croyston, Manfred Ilg and Jerome Sim.
Le Meridien F & B Manager Michael Hofstetter and General Manager of CityLife
Magazine Patrick Arnoldus are joined by Le Meridien’s General Manager Greg
Anderson on the deck for cocktails before the meeting.
of all attendees, both members and non-members. (Photo courtesy of CityNow!)
Anime characters come alive at Japanese Film Festival
Fujii, Consul General of Japan is joined by guests of honor and cosplayers
at the opening of the Japanese Film Festival.
By Nopniwat Krailerg
The appeal of Japanese anime resulted in sold out movies for the Japanese
Film Festival at Central Plaza Airport Chiang Mai on February 27 to March 2,
2014. The audience was entertained on opening night by cosplay characters
dressed up as popular Japanese anime characters in the lobby of the Major
were a big hit at the Japanese Film Festival on February 27, 2014.
Japanese Consul General Akihiko Fujii welcomed guests and film buffs to the
festival that was sponsored by the Japan Foundation and the Consulate –
General of Japan in Chiang Mai. This year the Festival was held in Bangkok
from February 20 – 23 before returning to Chiang Mai for the weekend of
February 27 – March 2, 2014.
The premiere film of the festival was Garden of Words directed by Mr. Makoto
Shinkai, a leading film director in the new generation of filmmakers in
Japan. The festival, which featured the animated films for which Japan has
become famous, featured the works of many top Japanese directors. The very
first animated film was produced in France around 1900 and further developed
in USA. An animation film produced by Walt Disney sparked the idea for Osamu
Tezuka to create the animated film industry in Japan.
dressed up like popular characters in Japanese anime films for the grand
Music fills the air at the Chiang Mai Fest
Two days of music from around the world
P. Marks, the Ambassador for the Republic of South Africa to Thailand joins
well-wishers and organizers before the start of the show.
By Shana Kongmun
The annual Chiang Mai Fest brings an eclectic mix of both Thai and
International musical groups and performers to Chiang Mai for a two day
extravaganza of music and cultural heritage. Held at the Promenada Resort
Shopping Mall the outdoor concerts saw a fabulous sound system organized by
organizers Earth, Wind & Fire. As consultant to the company Yut Wanichanond
pointed out, the system was originally going to be used for the Eric Clapton
concert in Bangkok but as he cancelled Chiang Mai got the benefit of a world
class sound system.
Ambassador Marks of South Africa, Chairperson of the Board of the Tourism
Authority of Thailand Pensuda Priaram and Deputy Governor Charoenrit
Sa-nguansat press the button to launch the grand opening of the Chiang Mai
Music lovers enjoyed the performances
of such diverse and far flung performers as Nigerian born American poet,
singer and activist Iyeoka Okoawo, Matthew Mole, the first South African
musician to enter iTunes charts at number 1 with his debut album ‘The Home
We Built’. Another South African band Hot Water got the crowd up and dancing
the first night with their unique blend of traditional and rock music. Other
performers included Malaysian group AkashA Malaysia performing music that is
a fusion of the four cultures of Malaysia; Malay, Indian, Chinese and
Western. Thomas Kiessling of Germany represented the European continent and
Indonesian group Kolingtang performed more traditional type music. Popular
Thai jazz band Super Ritard took the stage as did Take Two with indie dance
to Earth, Wind and Fire Yut Wanichanond (right) is joined by friend Montri
Wongkasem before the concert started.
Like all events in Thailand, good food
was plentiful with the Dukes providing their famed pizzas, lasagna and tacos
from Holiday Inn, other hotels such as Centara Duangtawan, Khum Phaya
Resort, Imperial Mae Ping Hotel and Rarin Jinda offered western, Chinese and
Japanese food while J Restaurant offered vegetarian food and the dusit D2
hotel had their famed bartenders on hand to provide classic cocktails.
Rimping Supermarket offered their delicious oysters as well as wine and
South African wine was for sale by the Chiang Mai office of the B.N.K
Pattaya Wine Company.
The Sound of
Siam with Ko Sax Man started the show with a stellar performance of a blend
of jazz and traditional music. TAT Chairwoman Pensuda Priaram joined them to
perform one of HM the King’s compositions on the piano.
In honor of the South African musicians
performing at the event South African Ambassador Ms. Robina P. Marks gave
the keynote speech and Deputy Governor Charoenrit Sa-nguansat welcomed the
audience and thanked the organizers for bringing such a highlight to Chiang
Mai’s calendar. Addressing the audience in both Thai and English, the Deputy
Governor highlighted the international flavor of the event, noting that
Chiang Mai is truly an international city.
But the music was the highlight of the Chiang Mai Fest and Chiang Mai people
were not disappointed with crowds of people taking the free songthaew
shuttles from town as well as driving out to Promenada to enjoy the shows.
The first hanging banker?
Speaker at Chiang Mai Expats discusses God’s Banker
London police officer Derek Higgs talks about the case of God’s Banker,
Roberto Calvi found hanging from a London bridge.
By Bill Sykes
During the current spate of bankers’ suicides – or ‘unexplained deaths’ –
around the world, it was a timely topic at the Chiang Mai Expats’ Club on
February 22nd at Le Meridien Chiang Mai: Roberto Calvi, dubbed by the press
as ‘God’s Banker’ who was found hanging under a London bridge in 1982.
Retired London forensic police offer Derek Higgs was involved in the case -
in which the Coroner initially gave a verdict of suicide by hanging. An
incredible 25 years later the case was re-opened and re-labelled as ‘murder
by person or persons unknown’, which is how the case remains to this day.
Swinging under the north end of Blackfriars Bridge over the River Thames,
one of the closest to the city of London financial district, the body had no
identification but carried US$15,000 cash in 3 currencies. Bricks in the
clothing pockets, weighing it down, were later found to carry none of
Calvi’s finger prints! The body was identified as Italian banker Calvi, aged
62, former chairman of Italy’s 2nd largest private bank which had recently
gone bankrupt. This led to a financial scandal involving the Vatican Bank,
Rome, and Calvi’s arrest.
Eight days before his death, Calvi had skipped bail in Italy. He had also
made enemies of the notorious, clandestine, Masonic Lodge known as ‘P2’, the
members of which referred to themselves as “black friars”.
Five people close to Calvi were tried for the murder in Italy in 2006-7, but
all were acquitted after 20 months due to “insufficient evidence.”
Derek said that it was concluded that Calvi had been killed elsewhere, and
the body was taken to the location by boat at night time, and hung there at
high tide. His parting shot was to invite the audience of over 100 to look
at Wikipedia for further information into the wide-ranging financial
complexity that the case revealed.
The next meeting of the Club will be on March 29th at the Le Meridien Hotel
Chiang Mai and will feature David Gordon’s talk on “You should think twice
if you are ever asked to stand on a Milking Stool”. It will be an amusing
journey through his life as an Award Winning Theatre Director where he
worked with such Luminaries as Sir Rex Harrison, Barbara Windsor, Tony
Robinson, Andrew Sachs, Tom Wilkinson and others.
Expats Club members enjoyed the interesting talk by Derek Higgs on February
22, 2014 at Le Meridien Hotel Chiang Mai.
Cute dogs and kids at the Smart Heart Dog Show
the spotlight of the Smart Heart Dog Show and this lovely dog was up for the
By Nopniwat Krailerg
Central Hall at Central Plaza Chiang Mai Airport was filled with the
barks and cries of dogs and kids for the Smart Heart Present Thailand
International Dog Show & Pet Variety Battle from February 27 – March 2,
2014. Kulwadee Jintavorn, Executive Director of Impact Exhibition Management
Co., Ltd., introduced the 3rd Annual show in Chiang Mai.
The Dog show featured not just the dog beauty contest but agility contests
and Pet Variety which included cats and exotic pets such as snakes and
others. There was a Northern Champion Weight Pulling and Open Show
Competition for the Governor’s Trophy. Deputy Governor Chana Pangpibul
presided over the opening ceremony on February 27. Revenues from the event
will be donated to raise funds to repair the pet crematorium at Wat San Tai
in San Kamphaeng.
and snakes! Exotic pets were also on show for the event.