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Chiang Mai’s own Princess celebrates her birthday

Dr. Chao Duang Duan na Chiang Mai is joined by partygoers as she cuts her birthday cake.

Dr. Chao Duan Duang na Chiang Mai turns 82

The Kodchasri Thani Hotel hosted the birthday party of Chiang Mai’s own aristocracy, Dr. Chao Duan Duang na Chiang Mai or Chao Jai as she is often called.

Only about 25 people attended this year’s birthday, but there have been also lots of other events and celebrations the same day. Beside the Lion's Club Saraphi and Muang Chamber Chiang Mai, who were hosting the small but fine event, Desjoyaux Swimming Pools, Eden Education Centre, Thailandfriends (Phuenthai German International Organization), Classic Model Chiang Mai and several family members have been present at the event.

JOJO Ongkarn Chaiongkarn, Tananan Willson, Chao Pongdate na Lamphun and Kaewkaw na Chiang Mai who entertained the gathering with singing. While Rapeepun Suonsomijit, Khun Wuttipong from Eden Education Centre and Dr. Dirk Weeber Arayatumsopon led speeches honoring her on her birthday.

Dr. Dirk said, as Chiang Mai is the Rose of the North, Dr. Chao Duan Duang na Chiang Mai is the Lotus of Chiang Mai who will blossom as long as possible.

Dr. Chao Duang Duan na Chiang Mai is the President of the Chiang Mai Culture Council as well and she was honored for her tireless work in promoting Lanna culture.

Designer Tananan Willson sang Seasons in the Sun and the birthday cake was cut as everyone wished her long life and health.

The Chiang Mai Mail team would like to join in offering our birthday greetings to Dr. Chao Duan Duang na Chiang Mai and wish her a long life, good health and further success in her work with the Chiang Mai culture council.

Dr. Chao Duang Duan na Chiang Mai is offered well wishes by her guests including Jojo Ongkarn Chaiongkarn and Tananan Willson.

Fabulous ruby on display at jewelry show

The fabulous million Baht heart shaped ruby was a highlight of the show.

Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Woragarn Yokying presided over the opening ceremony of the GCT Jewelry Show at Central Airport Plaza on May 28, 2011. The first ever of its kind in Chiang Mai, the show featured fabulous jewels, and jewelry with an amazing 307.57 karat heart shaped ruby valued at 1 million Baht taking center stage.

A gorgeous citrine of about the same value, a porcelain doll with diamons and the wings of an angel encrusted with black diamonds were also favorites of show goers.

Many vendors were there selling their jewelry with jewels from around the world on sale. The President of the GCT said its very difficult to get untreated Siamese rubies on the Thai market these days, so the show offered a great value and variety.

The show was a precursor of the upcoming 48ith Jewelry and Gem Fair to be held in Bangkok in September.

Shoppers and sightseers enjoyed the jewelry on display at the jewelry fair held at Central Airport Plaza.

Congratulation Gala Dinner for new appointed senator ML Preeyapun

Newly appointed Senator for Chiang Mai ML Preeyapun Sridhavat welcomes
 the guests to listen to the Children’s Choir.

Story and Photos by Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon

ML Preeyapun Sridhavat is the Vice President of the Woman's Association of Thailand, Director of the Chiang Mai Ballet Academy, Honorary Consul of Peru for Northern Thailand and Judge in Chiang Mai Court and now newly appointed Senator for the Province of Chiang Mai. A gala dinner was held in honor of this accomplished woman at the Grand Ball room of the Empress Hotel Chiang Mai, on Friday the 20th of May under the leadership of Ongkarn "JOJO" Chaiongkarn.

Friends of Senator ML Preeyapun Sridhavat who performed in the show.

Many organizations were involved in the program and more than 300 guests congratulated ML Preeyapun on her very special success.

Governor ML Panadda Diskul, Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn, Judges of the Court of Chiang Mai, Consul Generals, Consuls and Honorary Consuls of Northern Thailand, Presidents and Chair of many charity organizations, business people, and local politicians all gathered to pay their respects and offer their congratulations to this dynamic leader of Chiang Mai.

Entertainment included dances from the Chiang Mai Ballet, a children’s choir singing the ABBA song Dancing Queen (so the connection to the Dancing noble lady of Chiang Mai was clear) and a short summary of a historical movie about an important Thai Queen who sacrificed her life for Thailand. The evening culminated in a fashion and dance show consisting of Chiang Mai celebrities to honor ML Preeyapun.

Historical costumes were shown and the acting of the celebrities was quite enthralling. Other highlights included music and dances from the musical "Evita" followed by another fashion show of Chiang Mai celebrities giving their homage to Chiang Mai's Evita Peron! Master of Ceremony Montri Wongkasern, Vice President of the Chiang Mai Chamber Of Commerce performed a Latin style dance with Raya Luelai on stage so that Chiang Mai's Empress Hotel was transformed into Latin America taking all the guests into another world!

Frank Sethi of Fashion King and Raya Luelai were some of the honored guests at the event.

The evening ran late when donations were given by The Empress Hotel, the Lion's Club Saraphi, local business people and Phuenthai German International Organization, who also co hosts the event with a special 10,000 Baht donation. Section president Wuttipong Arayatumsopon gave the cheque with help of his assistant Khun Zarf, Janet Henry, Bobby Khotbuntao and Dr. Dirk Weeber Arayatumsopon to the new Senator to present to the Northern School for the Blind.

Thailandfriends International coordinator Janet Henry took part in the fashion show wearing a rainbow dress to show that the unity of the people is important for Chiang Mai and Thailand. Thailandfriends board member and soon vice president Bobby Khotbuntao wore a classic latino styled suit and stunning blue hair while Dr. Dirk Weeber Arayatumsopon wore a European Baroque Emperor Costume.

The Chiang Mai Mail team offers their congratulations and best wishes to Chiang Mai Senator ML Preeyapun Sridhavat.

Senator ML Preeyapun Sridhavat is surrounded
by friends who performed in the show.

Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn offers his congratulations
to ML Preeyapun on her appointment as Senator for Chiang Mai.

Phueanthai offers a cheque for 10,000 Baht to Senator ML Preeyapun for the Northern School for the Blind.

Fantastic shows kept the audience entertained
at the event at the Empress Hotel on May 20, 2011.

The Chiang Mai Ballet performed at the show.

Phuenthai German International Organization: from left to right Wuttipong Arayatumsopon (President Section Thailand), Wuttipong "Bobby" Khotbuntao (Board Member - Vice President in Appointing process), Janet S. Henry (International coordinator), Frank Sethi (1st cashier, Board member), Zaft Yula Atha.

Kate Chulaluck Setthakorn was one
of the models at the fashion show at the Empress Hotel.

TEDx event in Chiang Mai inspires and educates

Dhammananda: Dhammananda Bikkuni, the first female Theravada Buddhist monk in Thailand spoke at the event on May 22. (Photo by Azriel Cohen)

On Sunday 22 May 2011, TEDx came to Chiang Mai for the first time with the inaugural TEDxDoiSuthep. Through the independently organised event, the theme, ‘creativity and collaboration’, was captured by the inspiring speakers through ideas about how we can bring peace, meaning and belonging to our lives.

Local performance and visual artist Chadwick Gray, one half of the collaboration Chadwick and Spector. (Photo by Azriel Cohen)

“It has been a life-changing experience to be involved with organising the first TEDx event in Chiang Mai alongside Katherine LeRoy”, said Sheila Pham, Co-Director of TEDxDoiSuthep. “Our hope in creating this new platform for ideas in Chiang Mai is that this event is the start of a movement here, with TEDxDoiSuthep being the first of many more TEDx events to be organised here in Chiang Mai.”

Jon Jandai, the founder of Pun Pun Organic Farm, spoke about finding happiness in a simple life with his talk ‘Life is easy. Why do we make it so hard?’ Jon spoke about his success in making a living through organic farming, building his own house, turning his back on fashion and looking after his health in natural ways.

Dhammananda Bikkuni, the first female Theravada Buddhist monk in Thailand, encouraged everyone to live each day like it might be their last through acts of goodness for themselves and others. Above all, Dhammananda stressed that each person must realise they have more potential than they think, and strive to bring out the best in themselves.

Photojournalist James Robert Fuller shared his experience documenting the migration of a Karen family from a refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border to Buffalo in the United States. Through this experience, James reconnected with his own family in London and discovered that ‘home’ is an emotional place. “I now have another chance to be a son, to learn how to be an uncle and to be the brother I want to be,” he said.

Award-winning author Mo Tejani profiled three fascinating 21st century global nomads and discussed the contribution that such travelers make to the societies they live and work in.
Award-winning documentary photographer and activist Ryan Libre spoke about how regular people often have more contacts and time to investigate and report on critical issues than the press does. Ryan spoke about the importance of having these people on the ground, raising awareness such as in the way he does through his documentation of the Kachin Independence Army in Burma.

In a dramatic final presentation, performance and visual artists Laura Spector and Chadwick Gray shared the story of their own collaboration and a demonstration of their modern representations of lost and forgotten artwork. (PR)

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Chiang Mai’s own Princess celebrates her birthday

Fabulous ruby on display at jewelry show

Congratulation Gala Dinner for new appointed senator ML Preeyapun

TEDx event in Chiang Mai inspires and educates