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Ramadan celebrated with a feast

Wichai Wittaya Bilingual School holds party during Ramadan

Metin Askan, President of Wichai Wittaya Bilingual School and a school executive greet Chao Duangduan na Chiang Mai and her son Pakin at the Ramadan dinner party held at the Empress Hotel.

By Shana Kongmun
Wichai Wittaya Bilingual School, the first bilingual school established in Chiang Mai in 1996, held a Ramadan dinner for Chiang Mai residents, Muslim, Buddhist and Christian under the theme of love, peace and understanding amongst all people. The event saw Deputy Governor Chareonrit Sa-nguansat joined by Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiang Mai, President of the Chiang Mai Culture Council and Vice Consul Marc Miller attend where scholarships were also handed out to students who will be attending school overseas, including the United States.
Ramadan is a holy month of fasting for Muslim faithful. They abstain from all food and drink during the day but may break their fast when the sun sets. The holiday of Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and this is also a period of charity as caring for the poor is one of the pillars of Islam.
This is a time of fellowship with families, friends and community and Wichai Wittaya Bilingual School celebrated that with their Ramadan dinner at the Empress Hotel on Wednesday, July 16.

U.S. Vice Consul Marc Miller joins Phillip Johnson and his friend and Maj. Gen. Bhumiphat Chawiphat.

Deputy Governor Charoenrit Sa-nguansat (3rd left) joined School President Metin Askan and leaders and friends of the Wichai Wittaya School including Mr. Cedar Candemir (Public Relation) (far left) and Jirachai Srijandorn (center).

Frank Sethi chatted with old friend Jirachai Srijandorn and Metin Askan, President of the Wichai Wittaya School.

Robinson Bright & Charm Awards recognize 9 dedicated men and women

Awards in Education, Culture, Environment, Human Rights and Social Dedication

The nine Robinson Bright & Charm Awards winners are onstage with Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya (center), Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiang Mai (3rd left) Robinson Head of Marketing Dr. Ton Chirathiwat (4th right) Senior Vice President of Retail for Robinson Mark Senior (1st right) Voravat Tantranont, Executive Director of CR Chiang Mai (2nd left) and pop sensations Mario Maurer (far left) and Lydia or Sarunrat Visutthithada (2nd right).

By Shana Kongmun
The Robinson Bright &Charm Awards were started five years ago to recognize the social and environmental work of local Chiang Mai people and this year’s recipients featured nine stellar people who have devoted their lives to helping people and the environment, maintaining and promoting Lanna culture and aiding their society.
Recipients at this star studded affair that featured the music of pop superstar Mario Maurer and Lydia, as well as local singers from around the province, also saw Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya and Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiang Mai, President of the Chiang Mai Culture Council attend alongside many Chiang Mai luminaries.

Four little girls from Doi Angkhang trekked 4 km from their villages to attend the event and were brave enough to ask for photos on their phones. Seen here is Robinson Head of Marketing Dr. Ton Chirathiwat taking photos of the girls with pop star Mario Maurer.

Awards were presented in Education, Culture, Human Rights, Environment, and Dedication to Society. Winners in the Education category were Ajarn Riam Singtorn who moved from a comfortable Bangkok life in1984 to remote Ban Kop Dong on Doi Angkhang to devote her life to teaching children in a place that initially had no electricity, no running water and no school. She has worked tirelessly to help her students and was near tears in her acceptance speech that talked of the achievements of her kids.
Also recognized in Education was Sumet Sukin who taught at Ban Kai Noi School in Mae Taeng for many years and now teaches at Wat Phaya Chompoo School in Saraphi. He has worked to promote the education of Lanna language and culture and stressed the importance of children learning their roots.

All nine award winners take the stage after the presentation for a group photo.

Awards for Cultural Support went to well-known Payap University music teacher Bringkop Vora-urai who is famed for his composition Nithan Inthanon as well as his work in teaching traditional Lanna music and melding it with contemporary to bring it into the modern age. Also recognized for his work in promoting Lanna culture is famed Khru Mee or Benchaphon Sithiprani, known not only for his promotion of traditional lanterns and his Thai Wisdom Learning Center but for being honored as a Thai Wisdom Teacher in 2009.
On the Human Rights frontier Prayong Doklamyai was honored for his work in obtaining farm land for disadvantaged people by working with the government to release unused productive public lands and working towards amending laws regarding community title deeds and others.
On the Environmental front Decho Chaitap of the Northern Sustainable Development Foundation and coordinator for the Northern Community Forest Network, was honored for his work in sustainable use of forest and working to bring local community members into this by acting as forest guards at Doi Inthanon, as well as his work with communities to reduce burning of forests. Also honored was Rujisombat Ngaokam for his community work since 1992 to use new methods of building, implement check dams to reduce flooding and preserve watersheds and his work in San Patong to build a fire barrier as well as his community radio station Dan Din Thin Lanna.
The last awards were for lifetime Dedication to Thai Society and went to famed hilltribe philosopher, social activist and environmentalist Jorni Odochao for his lifetime of work in protecting forests and working with his local Paganyaw community. This 70 year old was one of the founders of the Northern Farmers Network and continues to work for his community. Also honored was Insom Panyasopha, Editor of Thai News and a man known for his dedication to the Chiang Mai community. Insom was the co-founder of the Provincial Sports Association and worked on the committee to bring the SEA Games to Chiang Mai in 1995 as well as help to re-organize the Night Bazaar and helped to push the foundation of Thailand’s first regional University, Chiang Mai University 50 years ago.
The event left everyone feeling inspired and touched by the dedication and hard work of these nine special people.

Pop star Lydia performs with dancers from the Chiang Mai Ballet Academy Narissa Thitasuta and Jasmine Kunigagon.

Wat Phra Singh draws the faithful on Asarnha Bucha Day

Wat Phra Singh is surrounded by Buddhist faithful leaving candles and incense after performing the wian tian ceremony, walking three times around the main shrine.

By Shana Kongmun
Asarnha Bucha Day is one of the holiest days on the Buddhist calendar as it celebrates the first teaching by Buddha and the establishment of the Sangha with the five disciples becoming monks. This first talk by Buddha is pivotal to Buddhism as it sets out the four noble truths; the Truth of Suffering, the Truth of the Origin of Suffering, the Truth of the Cessation of Suffering, and the Truth of the Way Leading to the Cessation of Suffering. This first sermon held the essence of all his subsequent teachings as well.
On Asarnha Bucha Day, July 11, the Buddhist faithful offered alms to monks in the morning and monks chanted mantras or repeat the first sermon of the Buddha during the day. In the evening people performed the wian tian ceremony; walking clockwise around the main shrine carrying a candle, three incense sticks and a lotus bud. They then lit the candle and incense before the Buddha image and laidthe flower at the base.
Wat Phra Singh Woramahaviharn is one of the most popular places to perform the wian tian ceremony and the beauty of this Royal Temple as assigned by HM King Ananda Mahidol in 1935. With construction beginning in 1345, this temple is one of the most revered in Chiang Mai for its Phra Buddha Sihing image and people filled the temple on Asarnha Bucha Day, Friday, July 11, 2014.

Chiang Mai Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya and his wife Mananya walk behind the monks as they perform the wian tian ceremony.

Wat Phra Singh fills with people for the sermon.

One of the many Buddhist faithful who visited Wat Phra Singh on Friday, July 11 lights incense and a candle to leave before the Buddha image.

Lots of pizza, lots of fun!

Siripanna Villa Resort pizza eating competition

Winners are joined by the owner of Siripanna Villa Resort Supamit Kitjapiphat (3rd right) judges and guest of honor Voravut Tantranont of CR Chiang Mai.

By Shana Kongmun
Nearly eighty contestants took part in the pizza eating competition held by Siripanna Resort on Sunday, July 20, 2014 all vying for the 10,000 baht first prize and the promise, or perhaps threat after eating so much pizza, of free pizza for a year at Siripanna.
Judges Supamit Kitjapipat, the owner and Managing Director of Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa, Chiang Mai, Setthawut Tassoora, General Manager of Robinson Chiang Mai, Naphat Peerataworn, Account Executive of Dontree Season’s radio station, and Titayaporn Parnont, blogger from roamed the room watching contestants as they chewed their way through slice after slice of pizzas. Second place in the kid’s under 12 category at 6 and a half slices, quite a lot for a little guy and first place winner ate 8. In the over 51 category were winners . First place was taken by a visitor to Chiang Mai who was impressed with the enthusiasm and organization of the event, semi-professional eater (yes there is such a thing) Col the Conqueror or Colin MacLaurin of Brisbane, Australia who recently spent the past week or so riding the hills of Chiang Mai. Colin wolfed down 24 slices in 30 minutes. Coming in second was local boy Chaturayut “Tar” Promnil who managed to eat 20 (not his personal best he noted) and Anisut Chokpipatporn in third with 15 slices of pizza.
The event was great fun and saw cheerleading teams from WETV and Long Stay Magazine on hand to cheer on their colleagues as well as families and friends of the contestants.

Col the conqueror conquered 24 slices of pizza in 30 minutes at Siripanna Villa Resort’s pizza eating competition on Sunday, July 24. He took home 10,000 baht and a year’s supply of pizza which he planned on donating.

The two big eaters and big winners in the adult and under 12 categories.

Tar and Col after the competition, feeling more than a little full!

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Ramadan celebrated with a feast

Robinson Bright & Charm Awards recognize 9 dedicated men and women

Wat Phra Singh draws the faithful on Asarnha Bucha Day

Lots of pizza, lots of fun!