By Jai Pee
Achira Assawadecharit (Ken) was born on 16 June 1993, and he is now 17 years
old. After he finished secondary school at the Prince Royal’s College,
Chiang Mai, he received a Music Scholarship to study further at high school
level at Shrewsbury International School, Bangkok where he is currently
began to study the piano at the age of 7, firstly with Ajaan Tanyaluck
Phuriyaphan, then later with Ajaan Remi Namthep, Ajaan Bernard Sumner, and
Dr. Bennett Lerner at Payap University. Currently he is studying with Dr.
Nopanand Chanorathaikul. Apart from studying piano he also studies clarinet
with Dr Yos Vaneesorn as well as music theory which he began with Ajaan
Pornjan Danpongpee then Dr. Chaipruck Mekara and Ajaan Ayu Namthep. He has
been given opportunities to join training at Piano Master Classes with a lot
of well-known pianists, such as Dr. Pawalai Tanchanpong, Gustavo Romero,
Tong-Il Han, Thomas Hecht, Albert Tiu, Eri Nakagawa, Regina Albrink and
Achira has made steady and sustained progress in his musical career so far.
Amongst his many credits are the following:
- In 2003 he was the winner of the Yamaha Piano competition in Northern
- In 2005 he passed Grade 8 with distinction and obtained the highest marks,
being ranked no. 1 in the London Trinity College of Music Awards for
- In 2006 he won an Exhibition Award sponsored by Asia-Pacific for gaining
one of the highest distinction marks in a practical examination during the
- In 2007 he passed Diplomas for the Associate Trinity College London (ATCL)
with distinction. The same year, he won the Golden Prize in the Classical
Piano of Yamaha (Thailand) Music Festival.
- In 2008 Achira was accepted into the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music
International Summer Piano Institute at Singapore. He also passed Diplomas
for The Licentiate Trinity College London (LTCL) with distinction.
- In 2009, he obtained the highest marks, ranked no. 1 in the Diplomas
(LTCL) in the Trinity Awards Thailand.
In 2009, the Chiang Mai Philharmonic Orchestra invited him to play the Piano
Concerto No.2 by Rachmaninoff at the Kad Theater, Chiang Mai and in 2010, he
performed the Chopin Piano Concerto No.1 with the Thammasat University
Symphony Orchestra. Each year he performs solo piano as well as performing
chamber music with the Shrewsbury International School quartet and quintet.
On the 5th of May this year, he will be playing the Chopin Piano Concerto
No.1 again with the Shrewsbury International School Orchestra.
Achira has won many top prizes in several national and international piano
competitions. These include having gained distinctions throughout his
studies at various grades, winning the Yamaha Piano Competition in Northern
Thailand in 2003 winning the Golden Prize in Classical Piano Competition of
Yamaha Thailand Music Festival in 2007, as well as obtaining the Diploma
level at the Associate Trinity College London (ATCL) with distinction the
same year. In 2008 he gained the Diploma from The Licentiate Trinity College
London (LTCL) with distinction, when he was ranked No. 1. Achira obtained
the highest marks in the diplomas (LTCL) for London’s Trinity College Awards
Thailand in 2009. Three years ago he was accepted into the Yong Siew Toh
Conservatory of Music International Summer Piano Institute at Singapore.
He will be performing April 3rd and 4th at Santi’s Music School on
Sirimangkalajarn Soi 5 at 7.30 p.m. preceded at 6.45 p.m. by a lecture.
Chiang Mai Fest 2011 Schedule
Chiang Mai Fest 2011 will be
held in Chiang Mai April 8-10 for the first time to promote Chiang Mai as a
destination for international music, arts, and culture in the North of
Thailand. This event promises to be the most unique and colorful
international event that combines top international and local performers and
artists under one umbrella. Throughout the three days event, a variety of
music and stage performances will be performed. Additionally, there will be
art exhibitions showcasing works of various artists from around the world at
the Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Centre. The event will be held at The Three
Kings Monument, which the venue and stage will be decorated under the theme
concept of “Music and Dance in the garden”.
Fri 8 April 2011
16:00 Opening Ceremony at the Museum (Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Center)
16:30 Guests visit Art Exhibition - lead the guests by Ballet dance
17:00 Guests are escorted by the bag piper to the performance area
17:30 Chang Saton - Play with Mask - Anucha Sumaman
18:00 Chang Saton (Drummer Music) - Pheonix Dance by Manop Manasam
19:00 Frans Bloem Cabaret vocalist perform
20:00 Nantida Khaewbuasai
21:00 Jigger Bigger Band
Sat 9 April 2011
17:00 Bollywood Dance
17:30 Noriko Tsuboi and Friends
18:00 Gilbert Medam & His Band (Brazilian Jazz & Bossa Nova)
19:00 The Itinerants (Scottish bagpiper & Celtic Band)
20:00 Pom BoyThai & Kamlai Band
21:00 Special show by Lanna Commins with special guest Todd Thongdee and
Sun 10 April 2011
17:00 HobbyHut Puppet Troupe
18:00 Bollywood Dance & Music
19:00 The Itinerants (Scottish bagpiper & Celtic Band)
20:00 Pom BoyThai & Bangkok Xylophone
21:00 Jigger Bigger Band
Recovering from loneliness
By Shana Kongmun
I went to Sangdee Gallery expecting what I am not quite sure, but
certainly not the bright and vibrant art that I saw. Art that matched the
bubbly and joyful personality of the artist, Chanya Sottip. The show,
entitled “Recovering from loneliness” imparts a sense of life, joy and
vibrancy that really must be seen to be believed. If you need cheering up,
then this is the exhibition for you. Additionally, if you go in the
evenings, there is often live music on, Wednesday nights are always good and
Thursday nights feature impromptu performances. Sangdee Gallery is located
on Sirimangkalajarn Soi 5.
Poodle Abuse Gives Birth to Vigilantes in Malaysia
By Clarence Chua,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Animal lovers in Malaysia are enraged after a video of a poodle being abused
was recently uploaded on the internet. The 15-minute clip that was found on
a lost flash drive, has sparked attempts to track down the abuser via social
networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The clip shows a topless 30-something-year-old man with a large tattoo on
his right arm repeatedly slapping and punching a brown poodle.
Veterinarian Dr. Mathews Thomas works at an animal clinic outside Kuala
Lumpur and says the poodle could have been sustained injuries from the
abuse. “Because poodles are small, sometimes even a small hard tap can cause
problems, a damaged ear or a broken jaw,” he says.
Kay Hee, from Petaling Jaya, is one of 15 Malaysians that filed a police
report about the abuse that was broadcast by all major television stations.
“There has to be some justice for the dog because the dog is voiceless. We
have to do something about it,” she says.
On Facebook there are several pages for the public to provide information
about dog abusers. One complaint concerns a poodle called Sushi and her
alleged abusers, Doreen and Allen, from the southern state of Malacca.
The police say they are getting nowhere in their investigation of Sushi, but
activists argue this is another example of the authorities taking such
matters lightly. N. Surendran, Malaysia’s leading animal rights lawyer says
animal abuse is not taken seriously enough in the country. “We said we are
going to take vigilante action because we are frustrated with the system. We
are frustrated with the police and with the authorities of this country
because they do not see animal abuse as a serious issue,” he says.
By vigilante action, the lawyer means tracking down culprits and making
citizen arrests if necessary. “We are prepared to make citizen arrests and
bring them to justice, but of course we will do that within the bounds of
the law,” he adds.
At a shopping centre in the suburbs of the capital, the Malaysian Dogs
Deserve Better group runs a weekly adoption campaign for stray animals. The
group’s founder, Wani Muthiah, says animal rights are coming to a head in
“Animal lovers in Malaysia are literally in a stand off with the authorities
over the welfare of animals. The poodle case is just the tip of the
iceberg,” she says. Muthiah says there have been many incidents of dog abuse
in the past, even by the local council.
“There was an incident in 2009, where dogs were actually being strangled to
death at the Kuala Lumpur City Hall. We had a demonstration and confronted
them so now things have changed for the better there. The Klang municipal
council were not feeding or watering their dogs and we also demonstrated
about that. It changed. When we take a militant route we create awareness
and a lot of people are backing us up,” explains Muthiah.
Lawyer N. Surendran recently led a consortium of activists to pressure the
police to act against the poodle abusers. “I think animal abuse must be
dealt with just as harshly as acts of violence against humans because it is
clear quite clear from studies that people who abuse animals will later go
on to carry out acts of violence against human beings also,” he says.
Wani Muthiah, however believes Malaysians are starting to see her point. “I
think all of us pride ourselves on being fair and just human beings so the
right thing to do is to share the place with other creatures as well. What
kind of society are we trying to create by not confronting acts of cruelty?”
This article was first broadcast on Asia Calling, a regional current affairs
radio program produced by Indonesia’s independent radio news agency KBR68H
and broadcast in local languages in 10 countries across Asia. In cooperation
with the Faculty of Mass Communications at Chiang Mai University. You can
find more stories from Asia Calling at www.asiacalling.org.
100 years of Chiang Mai
By Shana Kongmun
A unique opportunity to view Chiang Mai over the years is available until
March 13 at the old Sirprakat Hotel near Nawarat Bridge featuring the photos
of Mr. Tanaka, a resident of Chiang Mai and professional photographer who
set up his studio in Chiang Mai around the turn of the century and Boonserm
Satrabhaya, whose photos continue the coverage of the tremendous changes
Chiang Mai has gone through over the past 100 years. Well worth a visit,
these photos show the regular flooding of Chiang Mai over the years,
elephants bathing riverside in the city, and a very wet Songkran Festival
that doesn’t look so different from today, except the man is using a teapot
to soak some ladies rather than a water gun!
The former Sirprakat Hotel is just past the Church on the riverside and if
you are lucky, you can stop and have a chat with Mr. Boonserm as he sits out
Elephant art in honor of National Elephant Day
Entitled Creation of Divinity number 4,
this piece shows Ganesha with the lotus flower and bell.
By Shana Kongmun
What would first appear to be chalk on a chalkboard is a deceptively
complex painting of Ganesha, the Indian elephant god by local self taught
artist Jakraphan Chaijit. His latest works are on display at the 2nd Floor
of the Northern Village at Central Airport Plaza and convey Ganesha, Kacha,
a mythological sage in Hinduism and Prakrit, which while a name for a group
of languages also means original or natural. All concepts that Jakraphan
portrays in his art.
With Ampaipun Tubtong of Mae
Sa Elephant Camp and Anchalee Kalmapijit of the Elephant Life Experience
behind him, his art holds relevance with the upcoming National Elephant Day
on March 13. Designated to honor the national symbol of Thailand, its hoped
that his art will inspire people to honor elephants every day for the
intelligent creatures that they are. Open until March 31 at the 2nd Floor of
the Northern Village. If you make it up to Mae Sa on Sunday, March 13, the
Mae Sa elephant camp is hosting a feast for the elephants on their national
Anchalee Kalmapijit (right) and Ampaipun Tubtong pose with the piece, Divine
(From left) The artist, Jakraphan Chaijit, Worrawit Rothjanaphaithoon,
Director of The National Elephant Institute Forest Industry Organization
joins Ampaipun Tubtong of MaeSa Elephant Camp, Zhu Wei Min, the Consul
General for the People’s Republic of China and Orachorn Chanwiwattana,
General Manger of Central Airport Plaza to cut the ribbon on the opening.
The artist presents a check in donation to the National Elephant Institute
in honor of National Elephant Day.
A Feast of Sound – The Fifth Chiang Mai Music Festival
Seol Hwa Kim enthralled the audience with her poise,
grace and talent at the Chiang Mai Music Festival.
Over the weekend of February 18th – 20th, well over 500 people were given a
magnificent diet of classical music provided as the centre-piece of this
year’s Music Festival. Five celebrated musicians from Korea, including the
Festival’s Music Director, Professor Tong-Il Han delighted the audiences
with some of the great treasures in the classical music repertoire. In
addition to the main concerts, the musicians visited the Chiang Mai Youth
Protection and Observation Centre in Mae Rim where they gave their audience
a great display of music on piano, cello and violin and where they received
a tremendous reception.
The first recital on February 18th , introduced by Festival local manager
Prapan Tipsathsaporn, held in the open-air courtyard of the Chiang Mai Arts
and Cultural Centre, was almost a damp squib as it had started raining a
couple of hours before the start. But the rains ceased a little before 7.30
p.m. and with assistance from the Centre’s wonderful staff, the concert went
ahead a little later than planned. The whole evening was devoted to piano
works by composers such as Haydn, Beethoven and Chopin, performed by the
stunningly elegant and dynamic pianist Seol-Hwa Kim, just seventeen years
old. Seol-Hwa is already becoming a ‘great’ on the international recital
circuits having made her debut in Vienna early last year – and this was also
her fourth visit to Chiang Mai, a city she respects very much and where she
adores to play. This came across without any hesitation – from the opening
gentler chords of the Haydn Piano Sonata in E-flat, through the trials and
tribulations of the stormy Beethoven ‘Appassionata’ Sonata to the Nocturnes
of Chopin and the incredible finger-work of Schulz-Evler’s Fantasy on the
Blue Danube – the audience had a dazzling performance. Full of energy, yet
always in control, Miss Seol-Hwa played assuredly throughout. Her touch was
brilliant. But what was so startling was the majesty which she commanded as
she sat and played beneath the moon and stars – a virtue and skill that so
often is the norm for far more experienced and older pianists – she is
surely a name to watch in the future.
The following night at the same venue was the inaugural concert by the newly
formed piano trio from Daegu, Korea, composed of violinist Sung-jun Shinn,
cellist Dejan Yu and the Festival’s Music Director and Co-Founder Tong-Il
Han, the celebrated world pianist now also resident in Korea after spending
much of his life in the U.S.A. The first half was composed of piano trios by
Haydn and Beethoven and the musicians showed instantly that there were in
total harmony each with the other. Their playing was masterful throughout
and nowhere more so than in the final movement of the Haydn, often labeled
the ‘Gypsy’ sonata as the vibrant and enticing local Hungarian dances
captivated the audience who seemed spellbound by the vibrant performance.
The best was yet to come in the second half with a performance of Brahms’s
Piano Trio in B opus 8. This magnificent work, a great masterpiece of the
chamber repertoire was played with outstanding love for the music. Its
radiance and glory echoed through the arena enthralling and mesmerizing the
audience. Brahms himself would have been proud of this faultless and
impeccable rendition – this is a piano trio with a brilliant future.
The final evening of the festival was an invitation-only concert hosted at
the Chedi Hotel in the open-air alongside the Mae Ping River and illuminated
by hundreds of flickering candles and oil lamps. All of the artists, with
the addition of Tong-Il Han’s wife, pianist Helen Lee, enchanted the
audience with a wide range of shorter pieces that included some great
favourites such as the ‘Meditation’ from Thais by Massenet, Liszt’s Mephisto
Waltz and Monti’s lively and exciting Czardas. This was a perfect finale in
musical terms – a coda that summed up the significant talents of these
wonderful musicians who, with their magic artistry, brought to Chiang Mai
and its community ‘simply beautiful classical music’.
For more information about the Festival visit the website at:
www.chiangmaimusicfestival.com Or contact Festival co-founders Anne and
Kazuyoshi Murase at: [email protected] For enquiries regarding
the Friends of the Chiang Mai Music Festival, contact the Festival Adviser,
JP at: [email protected] , phone: 084 868 1017.
Professor Tong Il Han at the piano while his wife, Helen Lee turns the
Front stage is violinist Sung-jun Shinn and cellist Dejan Yu.
The Serenity and Beauty of My Homeland – a Wonderful Exhibition at Gallery 116
This magnificent exhibition of works of art by celebrated and famous artist
Sa-Ngad Pui-Ock opened in a blaze of glory on Sunday February 20th at
Gallery 116 on Charoen Muang Road just 300 metres from the Nawarat bridge. A
local group of traditional musicians entertained invited guests with folk
melodies followed by speeches including a welcoming address by the Deputy
Governor of Chiang Mai.
What, however, was the most overwhelming experience was the beauty and depth
of feeling that radiated from each of the landscape paintings. The colours
and textures are splendid and they all capture that elusive spirit of
grandeur that give these landscapes a spiritual dimension so often missing
in some aspects of contemporary artwork. These paintings radiate the love
the artist feels for his homeland – wide pastoral scenes interfused with
dramatic seascapes and towering cliffs. The painting style is almost
impressionist but with more dominant and larger brush strokes – the effect
is quite stunning and indeed gives a picture of total serenity and peace.
Here is an artist at peace with the world and the paintings are outstanding
masterpieces in this field. Sa-Ngad himself is now seventy-two years old but
he has lost none of his touch as he has aged – in fact this collection shows
a deep emotive maturity that draws the visitor into the landscapes and makes
them feel totally at home. Such a gift is rare indeed.
Mrs. Wanthip Nimmanhaeminda, the owner of the gallery is to be congratulated
on mounting such a fine exhibition. Sa-Ngad is well known throughout the
Kingdom for his work and he remains one of Thailand’s most celebrated
personalities in this genre. All the paintings are for sale and although
they may seem a little expensive by Chiang Mai standards, they are worth
every last satang. The wonder of this collection is that all of these works
of art would not look out of place in any location – instead they enhance
and beautify the setting immensely. The exhibition is open until April 10th
and the Gallery open from 10.00am until early evening daily. For more
information visit the website on www.116artgallery.com or phone 053 302 111.
This is a definite must for all those who love art – it is not to be missed.
Social networking for women in Thailand
By Shana Kongmun
Online social networking could be the catchphrase of the new decade, with
sites such as Facebook reaching more than half a million members last year.
And while other giants such as MySpace seem to have fallen by the wayside,
smaller more targeted social networks continue to grow. One such relative
giant is Thaivisa forums with more than 100,000 members and a growing
newcomer to the scene targeting women in Thailand; Chickynet which started
in 2009 in Phuket, relaunched on a new site last year with locations ranging
across Thailand, Hua Hin, Samui, Bangkok, Phuket and, of course, Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai Chickynet members organized a get together last year at Miguel’s
in Nong Hoi that saw quite a turnout, which many found quite unexpected.
Chickynet proves one thing, that the expat woman is not alone in Thailand.
With more than 1,300 members and growing, it has proven a valuable resource
for women in Thailand to get in touch with other women. Often asking the
usual questions, such as where can I get my hair done? But also organizing
sporting groups, get togethers, book clubs and more.
There was an argument that online social networking was killing face to face
interaction but parties and meet ups from various social networks in Chiang
Mai including both Chickynet and Thaivisa recently, have proven that isn’t
necessarily the case and that sometimes, it broadens your horizons and
allows you to meet people you wouldn’t normally connect with in day to day
Chickynet is open only to women as it’s a women’s networking site,
www.chickynet.com but as Chickynet founder Berthe Mandaat commented,
“Members I speak to always thought that there were hardly any women here in
Thailand, the surprise they show when discovering that we are here in big
numbers always brings a big smile to my face. Everyone is connecting and
making new friends. And best of all not only the members are connecting but
also their partners and friends. That’s what makes it so worth it to me.”