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Long term optimism for local business

Dutch business community welcomes Bangkok delegates

Doris Voorbraak, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of the Political and Economic Department of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (center) joins hosts of the networking evening President of the Netherlands – Thai Chamber of Commerce Pisit Leeatham (far left) and Executive Director Bert Cesar at the Promenada Resort Shopping Mall on March 14, 2014.

By Bill Sykes
Thailand is one of the few nations in the world with a growth in GDP of over 5%, growth that has been sustained following all recent coups and political upheavals, often by 7% said Tjeert Kwant, CEO of Promenada Resort Mall on March 14th.
Mr. Kwant was welcoming Bangkok delegates from the Netherlands-Thai Chamber of Commerce, who visited Chiang Mai to explore the possibility of establishing a northern chapter. Along with local Dutch business people, they had already visited the impressive modern factory of Driessen on the Lamphun International Industrial Estate, a Dutch company which manufactures 70% of the world’s airliner service trolleys.

Ms. Voorbraak was interested to meet with local Dutch businesswomen, here she is seen with Marike van Breugel of Arun Thai Natural.

Before a conducted tour of the 3.1 billion baht invested Promenada, Mr. Kwant emphasized that his company focused on emerging markets and all the signs were that they had chosen the correct city in Thailand, and the correct location here. As a previously successful example, he mentioned that the Dutch invested Makro wholesale company now had 3 outlets in Chiang Mai, contrasting to one only per city in the Netherlands.
On March 15th, the party had a choice of playing in the first Driessen Open Golf Tournament at the Stardome Golf Club or a bicycle tour of local beauty spots.

Executive Director of the Netherlands – Thai Chamber of Commerce Bert Cesar presented Tjeert Kwant and Marc Vermeulen of ECC International with a gift of wine from the Wine Connection to thank them for their tour of the Promenada Resort Shopping Mall.

Mr. Kwant was introduced by Chamber of Commerce executive director Bert Cesar, to whom membership inquiries can be sent on e-mail: [email protected] . The Dutch business community then met at Promenada Resort Mall for a networking meeting with the President of the Netherlands – Thai Chamber of Commerce Pisit Leeatham and Doris Voorbraak, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of the Political and Economic Department of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Ms. Voorbraak spent several days in Chiang Mai and was interested to meet with representatives from the Federation of Thai Industries in the North and Dutch businesses including local agricultural based businesses such as Totally Tomatoes. Ms. Voorbraak said they discussed the Food Valley concept which is a close cooperation between academia, the government and private sector to encourage innovation in food production.

Marc Vermeulen of ECC International joins local Dutch businessmen at the networking evening held on March 14, 2014.

French speaking community welcomes Ambassador

Ambassador Thierry Viteau (center) is joined by Secretary to the Mayor Assanee Buranupakorn (far left), Dr. Jingjai Hanchanlash, President of the Alliance Française in Thailand and French Honorary Consul Thomas Baude (far right) and a guest.

By Shana Kongmun
The Ambassador of France to Thailand Thierry Viteau and his charming wife Catherine visited Chiang Mai on the weekend of March 14, after courtesy calls a party was held by the Honorary French Consul Thomas Baude at the library of the École française d’Extrême-Orient on Charoen Prathet Road.
The Ambassador met with government officials and local residents both Thai and foreign at the event which was also attended by Japanese Consul General Akhiko Fujii, British Honorary Consul Ben Svasti Thomson, Swiss Honorary Consul Marc Dumur, and Swedish Honorary Consul Mrs. Supajee Nilubol and her husband former Royal Thai Ambassador to Sweden Poksak Nilubol among the diplomatic corps.

The diplomatic corps turned out with Japanese Consul General Akihiko Fujii and British Honorary Consul Ben Svasti Thomson joining French Honorary Consul Thomas Baude and his wife Chamaiphan.

Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn was represented by the Secretary to the Mayor Assanee Buranupakorn, and Chiang Mai University was in force with President Assoc. Professor Niwes Nantachit, MD and other lecturers at the school. The French speaking community was out in force to meet the Ambassador and other consular officers who made the trip up from Bangkok.
The Ambassador, who is celebrating his second year in Thailand, was looking forward to a trip up Doi Suthep, noting that his wife was very interested in seeing Wat Prathat Doi Suthep after being warned that the view would be less than clear this season. He added that they both had a keen interest in Chiang Mai’s cultural history. The Ambassador, who has studied both Japanese and Korean, has had a long affinity for Asian cultures and has spent much of his career in Asia or in the leadership of the Department of Asia in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ambassador has said that his three key priorities are the community, the economic aspect and cultural and scientific cooperation. His annual trips to Chiang Mai are part of those priorities to promote France in the North.

Swiss Honorary Consul Marc Dumur chats with the President of Alliance Française Dr. Jingjai Hanchanlash at the reception held in the school’s library.

Love U Gallery offers an eclectic mix of works

Artist Dominique Morere poses with his self-portrait sculpture made of metal.

By Shana Kongmun
The grand opening of Love U Gallery a by prolific French artist Dominique Morere was held in Chiang Mai Land on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Born in Normandy to Spanish parents, Dominique’s output is wide ranging and far reaching.

Friends and supporters of the artist join the opening day party at Love U Gallery on March 8, 2014.

The opening party was attended by friends and supporters of the artist whose three floor gallery is filled with works by the artist. The artist when asked about the wide ranging pieces on display, from furniture to sculptures and paintings said, “I haven’t found myself yet”.
The artist also features butterflies in much of his work, his father was butterfly collector and Dominique learned his love of butterflies from him, a key figure in his life he added. Dominique also contributed four rhino designs to the Save the Rhino Project, the latest initiative of the Elephant Parade House founder Marc Spits. Dominique’s Nino the Mad Mad Rhino is on display at the Maya Shopping Center. The Gallery can be found at 422/23 Chiang Mai Land and is open Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

More than just an elephant feast on National Thai Elephant Day

Mae Sa Camp works towards the sustainable conservation of Thai Elephants

Over 70 elephants gathered for the feast on National Thai Elephant Day at Mae Sa Elephant Camp on March 13, 2014.
(Photo by Harm de Vries)

By Nopniwat Krailerg
The Thai Elephant is Thailand’s national animal and on March 13, 1963 the Royal Forestry Department designated the white elephant as the National Animal of Thailand. The White Elephant was first on the Siam National Flag by King Rama II in 1820 and remained on the flag until 1917 when the current tri-color flag was instituted. In 1998 the Asian Elephant Foundation of Thailand worked with the Forestry Department to pick March 13 as the date for Thai National Elephant Day and it was approved by the cabinet in May of 1998.

Elephants paint on canvas for the visitors.
(Photo by Nopniwat Krailerg)

Choochart Kalmapijit, owner of Mae Sa Elephant Camp then organized the National Thai Elephant Day celebrations held at the camp in 1999. He said, “We hold this event to provide people and youth a better understanding and to enlist their help in promoting and conserving our national animal. We have many activities for youth to join so they can see the beauty and intelligence of elephants and it will make them want to conserve and love elephants and to prevent elephants from disappearing from the memories of Thailand. We want to make people realize the importance of Thai elephants, to continue the approach of sustainable conservation of the Thai Elephant and to continue traditions and culture.”

Children tie blessing strings around the elephant tusks in a ceremony that not only blesses the elephants but teaches children to value Thailand’s National animal. (Photo by Harm de Vries)

This year, Mae Sa Elephant Camp held the 15th National Thai Elephant Day at Mae Sa Elephant Nursery. The highlight of the event is the feeding of over 70 elephants with bananas, sugarcane, pineapples and watermelons, the feast is called the Sa Tok in the Northern language. More activities included a Thai blessing ceremony for elephants, demonstrations on how to care for elderly elephants, performance of the “Chang Ngaw” Elephant Dances by the team from the CMU Faculty of Fine Arts and Asst. Prof. Manop Manasam of Faculty of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai University who published the grand beauty of the performance overseas.

Chiang Mai dignitaries including Deputy Governor Chana Pangpibul and Japanese Consul General Akihiko Fujii join Anchalee Kalmapijit, Deputy Managing Director of Mae Sa Elephant Camp (6th left) after the MoU signing and before the ceremony started. . (Photo by Nopniwat Krailerg)

Additionally, Anchalee Kalmapijit, Deputy Managing Director of Mae Sa Elephant Camp and Assist. Prof. Dr. Chatchot Thitaram, Head of Elephant Research and Education Center Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University and Veterinarian Ronnachit Rungsee, veterinary of Maesa Elephant Camp signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will cover a period of 10 years from 2014- 2024. The two organizations will work together to study and researchon how to help elephants, maintain and breed elephants, and elephant conservation. In the past, the Elephant Camp was the hands on education place for veterinary students of CMU and other universities.
Anchalee Kalmapijit, Deputy Managing Director of Mae Sa Elephant Camp said that in the past, Maesa Elephant Camp cooperated with Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of CMU in academic and success to produce a baby elephant from the use of frozen semen for the first time in the world and the baby was named by the grace of His Majesty The King as “Pathom Somphop”. There is also a plan to establish Elephant park on 50 rai near the camp for the care and of elephants, especially elderly elephants. The organizations will also organize a seminar on the subject “Problems of elephant on the future of sustainable tourism” and will invite both public and private to work together to find ways to help elephants sustainably.

A mahout sits quietly while his elephant eats.
(Photo by Nopniwat Krailerg)

A monk feeds an elephant at the ceremony.
(Photo by Nopniwat Krailerg)

The “Chgagngaw” performance by Asst. Prof. Manop Manasam of Faculty of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai University.
(Photo by Harm de Vries)

Women rise up for International Women’s Day

Members of the Zonta International Chiang Mai group held their annual rose bush planting event at Suan Buak Haad Park on March 8 to honor International Women’s Day.

By Shana Kongmun
International Women’s Day is held annually on March 8 and is a global celebration of economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, today and in the future. The First International Women’s Day (IWD) was held for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19, 1911. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. International Women’s Day was changed to March 8 in 1914 by European women calling for peace. International Women’s Day is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.

Women organized to publicize a variety of issues including those of sex workers, violence against women and other problems that women face in Thailand at Tha Pae Gate on International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day was honored by members of Zonta International by the planting of yellow rose bushes in Suan Buak Haad. The yellow rose was adopted by Zonta International movement as the Zonta Rose in 1999 to serve as the symbol of Zonta Rose Day and International Women’s Day. Margaret Bhadungzong reminded the women that all parts of the rose were symbolic; the roots signify the foundation of Zonta, their objectives, mission and history. The trunk stands for the strength and ability to unite to advance the status of women. The branches symbolize the network and direction of many clubs in many countries, improving the lives of many women. The leaves represent growth of our personal lives and the Zonta organization. The stems signify the links between clubs and members. The multiple blooms represent Zonta’s diversity in membership, while the buds characterize new members to be nurtured and treasured. The rose epitomizes Zonta friendship and mutual support, with the intertwined golden yellow petals embodying the principles of Zonta - honesty and trustworthiness. Cheerful sunny yellow is an attention getter. Finally, the perfume is the gift to Zonta’s worldwide sisters, representing Zonta service to the local and global community.
Women also held a walk from Tha Pae Gate in the evening, with women from many different organizations promoting the rights and protection of women.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Long term optimism for local business

French speaking community welcomes Ambassador

Love U Gallery offers an eclectic mix of works

More than just an elephant feast on National Thai Elephant Day

Women rise up for International Women’s Day