The Best Friend Library introduces new Chiang Mai NGOs
Yoom One is working to bring
HIV/AIDS education and prevention to hilltribe migrant workers in Chiang Mai.
By Shana Kongmun
The Best Friend Library took the opportunity to introduce
some new members of the Chiang Mai Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) community
to a gathered crowd of interested supporters and friends at Sangdee Gallery on
August 30, 2011.
Two of the organizations are Shan and run by members of the
Shan community while the other two are run by foreigners living in Chiang Mai
and working to make a difference in peoples lives.
Hilltribe in the City held a fundraiser earlier this year
in February to raise money to house 6 hilltribe children in Chiang Mai city so
that they could attend school here full time. The remote village the children
come from in Om Koi is often cut off and children can go months without
teachers, so Greig Phillpot and Stuart Skversky organized an event and raised
enough money to house 6 children, hire a full time house mother (the mother of
one of the residents) as well as a Shan student at Chiang Mai U
Yoom One is spearheading the Shan Positive organization
which is working to bring HIV/AIDS education to migrant Shan workers and other
hilltribes in Chiang Mai. She provides not only financial aid to purchase
medicines for treatment but counseling and support for those affected and their
families. She noted that many Shan in Burma remain uneducated about HIV
transmission and so a fear pervades villages where the patients live with them
often being banished from the village for fear of contagion. She is working to
educate people not only of the realities of infection, but also how to avoid it
and other STDs.
Then Dave Poppe introduced the ATMA SEVA Ambassadors
program which is working to bring volunteer teachers to schools in Doi Saket.
They have been teaching novice monks at the Temple School in Doi Saket English
and then offering webcast ‘monk chats’ with groups around the world. He pointed
out that this offered people, both Thai and western, the chance to share
cultural experiences and learn more about different places. They hope to offer a
student exchange, sending novice monks to the United States to a school that
sends a student to Thailand.
Shan Youth Power was introduced, and while not a new NGO,
they are not well known and are working to help Shan youth and children and to
persuade them to participate in the social and democratic process through
education. They have classes in English and computer skills for Shan youth and
offer education on HIV/AIDS prevention to migrant workers. Shan Youth Power put
up the first Shan language website, a newsletter is published every two months
offering information on language, culture, and education. They also established
the Migrant Children School project offering basic education in the Shan,
English, and Thai languages, mathematics and computer on nights and weekends for
children and youth aged 5-25.
Sydney Moss was on hand to encourage the groups to offer
kids art and music education if at all possible, as a music teacher he
understands that music and art can work to help the children express themselves.
He also invited them to be sure to let any members of their communities know
that the upcoming Chiang Mai Has Talent show on September 24 is open to all
people, young and old, Thai, hilltribe and foreign.
Hilltribe in the City can be reached at:
www.hilltribeinthecity.org, Shan Positive
[email protected], ATMA SEVA Ambassadors at
[email protected] and Shan Youth Power
These young men belong to the Shan
Youth Power organization and helped out during the evening.
Books, t-shirts and information
was available for interested people.
Members of all four groups took
questions from the crowd.
Traditional medicine exhibition brings herbal healers, massage
Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda
Diskul is joined by one of the representatives from the United States at the
opening ceremony which saw representatives on stage using herbal ball massage.
Many different kinds of massage
therapy are on offer at the exhibit.
By Shana Kongmun
The Chiang Mai International Conference and Exhibition on
Traditional Medicine TM 2011begain in Chiang Mai on Wednesday, August 24. The
conference brought academics, traditional medicine doctors and healers from
around the region and the world to meet and share experiences and interests at
the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel. The Exhibition is on at the Central Hall at Central
Airport Plaza and runs through Sunday, August 28.
The conference was organized by the Faculty
of Medicine, Chiang Mai University and supported by the Chiang Mai Provincial
Public Health Office under the Lanna 1 Cultural Tourism Fund. The conference is
meant to help revitalize and restore Thai and Lanna traditional medicine by
implementing cooperation on the international level, to network academically, to
integrate international knowledge with that of Thai and Lanna people, and to
create a roadmap that will help bring about these objectives. Representatives
from Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Europe, the United States and Africa
were at the conference comprising of academics, students, healers and
traditional medicine doctors.
The exhibition, which runs through Sunday,
August 28, is filled with different types of massage, acupuncture, ayurvedic
medicine, herbal medicines, teas, and plants. There are many unusual and
informative booths at the exhibit but perhaps bring a plant dictionary as many
of the packages are labeled only in Thai.
The exhibition is a unique experience,
bringing together all the diverse methods of traditional healing and of great
interest to those who follow herbal medicines and other alternative treatments.
This traditional healer is selling
different herbal cures.
Deputy Governor Naruemol Plawat is
joined by representatives from the Ministry of Public Health and many of the
delegates at the opening dinner of the conference held at the Imperial Mae Ping
on August 24, 2011.
Lanna Classic Cars sponsors the BCCT networking evening
Sponsors pose for a group photo at
Mokador Coffee Shop on August 25, 2011.
British Honorary Consul Ben Svasti
Thomson is joined by Mervin Levin of Levering Limited (right) and Clarence
Shettlesworth of Nugent Waterside Resort.
By Shana Kongmun
Lanna Classic Cars and Networking One held a British Chamber
of Commerce in Thailand networking evening on Mokador on August 25, 2011.
Mokador as always provided a pleasant, friendly atmosphere and good food for the
guests who included BCCT Chairman Graham MacDonald and Vice Chairman Chris
Thatcher as well as the British Honorary Consul Ben Svasti Thomson, sponsor
Peter Smith of AA Insurance, and local businesspeople.
Everyone was glad to see Rachel and Chas
Begley get a night off, leaving their lovely baby with a baby sitter for a few
hours and join the evening. Sponsor Lanna Classic Cars was introduced, for those
with classic cars that need work or for those that want to find a classic car
(the owner, Clive Richardson, played on my weak spot saying he knew of a
beautiful BMW 2002 for sale in Bangkok!) Lanna Classic Cars offers an English
speaking management to help enable quality work.
They also offer a fleet of LandRovers for
rent or lease but sadly could not park one out in front for everyone to see. The
new partner in Mokador was introduced who said he wanted people to realize that
Mokador was more than just a coffee shop, as was BCCT Vice Chairman Chris
The BCCT networking evenings are open to
all nationalities and that was evidenced by the collection of nationalities from
French, to British, American, Thai, Dutch and more, proving that Chiang Mai,
while it may be small, still sports an interesting mix of people here in
Sailesh Patel’s eyes match the
suit as he joins Rachel Begley and Damian Casper.
Lanna Classic Cars Clive
Richardson was on hand to discuss LandRovers.
A seemingly serious Colin Jarvis
is regaling Graham MacDonald
with one of his jokes.
Peter Smith and Gary Boyle of AA
Insurance discuss the newest
policy they are bringing out.
Big Trees in Chiang Mai
Vajira “Jo” Ruthirakanok and CMCC
member Martin Venzky-Stalling hold up the latest map of big trees in the
By Shana Kongmun
The Chiang Mai Creative City Committee met at Deco Moda on
Nimmanhaemin soi 1 to see the latest creation of local designer Vajira “Jo”
Ruthirakanok; a map of the monumental trees in the Nimmanhaemin area. His
original map of big trees in Chiang Mai came out in 2009 and mapped out all the
large trees in public areas inside the moat.
His latest map covers the public areas around the Nimmanhaemin area from just
past Nimmanhaemin to Sirimangkalajarn. It is currently only available in Thai
but the map is quite clearly delineated. Copies can be picked up from his studio
Rabbithood on Nimmanhaemin Soi 1.
Jo hopes to further expand into areas in and around Chiang
Mai and is currently looking for funding to set up an interactive site that
allows people to update the status of big trees around the city. He noted that
he regularly has people contacting him to let him know of big trees under
threat. He added that the biggest tree in Chiang Mai city has to be the
magnificent Rain Tree at the Chiangmai Gymkhana Club, over 100 years old, the
tree is amazing and the Gymkhana is open to the public should anyone wish to go
Another initiative that has interested the CMCC is the no
foam project recently instituted on the Sunday Walking Street and endorsed by
Chiang Mai Municipality, which encourages the use of recyclable and
biodegradable products including banana leaves, bamboo and containers made out
of bagasse, or sugarcane waste. They will resemble foam containers but are
totally biodegradable and used from renewable resources.
The problems, organizers pointed out, is that the packaging
can cost 30-40 percent more than regular foam packaging but the Municipality is
helping to promote the idea by offering food vendors on the Walking Street
Market signs saying they are providing their food in ecologically friendly
packaging. It is hoped that will greater use, higher production will eventually
bring costs down. But, they added that 50% of the food vendors on the Walking
Street Market have made the switch to biodegradable packaging.
The Chiang Mai Creative City Committee is working to bring
various individuals and groups together to help them promote their ideas for a
sustainable creative economy in Chiang Mai and will be celebrating it’s one year
anniversary at the Social Research Institute at Chiang Mai University on August
26. Further information can be found here:
The original Big Tree map shows
the monumental trees inside the moat and can be found at Rabbithood Studio on
Nimmanhaemin Soi 1.
Members and visitors to the CMCC
coffee morning at Deco-Moda on Nimmanhaemin Soi 1.
Bonsai and orchids abound at Suan Buak Hat Park
This beautifully flowering
Adenium, or Desert Rose (chuan chom in Thai) was artfully twisted into a
gorgeous bonsai tree.
These gorgeous orchids are on
display and on sale at the event that takes place at Suan Buak Hat Park until
The Chiang Mai Bonsai organization, Queen Sirikit Botanic
Park and the Municipality have sponsored a bonsai and orchid festival to give
the rainy season some color this weekend at Suan Buak Hat Park in honor of HM
Queen Sirikit’s 79th birthday celebrations.
The event is under the theme of the three Gs and three Rs: Garden,
Green,Greenitude and Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
With bonsai and orchid displays, competitions, plants for sale, and of course
food and snacks, the park is alive with color on the gray rainy days. The event
runs through Sunday so be sure to stop in and enjoy the beautiful displays. And
if you are feeling brave, pick up an amazing bonsai plant and treat it with love
as these intricate plants are quite amazing!
The theme of the three R’s and the
three G’s for the festival
in honor of HM Queen Sirikit’s birthday.
Creative Lanna Awards
One of the many Lanna inspired
fashions on display at the awards.
By Shana Kongmun
The Industrial Promotion Center for Region 1 and the Chamber of Commerce for
the Upper Northern Provinces held a creative competition at Central Airport
Plaza on Friday, August 5, 2011 where local artisans and designers showed off
Ranging from fashion to furniture, food to jewelry and home decorations, the
event featured many unique and creative items from people from around the North.
Artists travelled from Lamphun, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, and Chiang Rai to join
fellow artists at the event in Chiang Mai. Utilizing local products and cultural
features, the competition featured a vast array of beautiful and useful items.
Surachai Jongrak, Chiang Mai Provincial Secretary, was joined by Martin
Venzky-Stalling of the Chiang Mai Creative City Committee, Rachan Veeraphan,
Honorary Consul General of Bangladesh and other Chamber members in meeting the
artisans and quizzing them about the resources used and the idea behind the
Khun Rachan Veeraphan and Martin
Venzky-Stalling joined other chamber members in judging the presentations at
Central Airport Plaza.
This unique decorative light was
made from locally sourced materials.
The Creative Lanna Award winners
on stage after the presentations. (Photo courtesy of the Creative Lanna Awards).
Soho farewell and hello party
New Soho owner Shauna is joined by
Scott who plans on staying on a bit to help ease the transition. (Photo by
Soho Bar saw a change of owners this past weekend with Scott
Taylor bidding farewell to the bar but not Chiang Mai and welcoming in new
owners Shauna and her partner Rabbit! The party was well attended by friends and
customers old and new who came to wish Scott well as he starts a new phase of
his life, although it’s generally conceded that his impending retirement
probably won’t see Scott very retired. New owner Shauna is taking over the bar
that has become a fixture on Huay Kaew Road. The party ran late into the evening
as the place filled up with well wishers for both old and new owners.
Soho Bar and guesthouse is a Huay
Kaew Road fixture.
(Photo by Ronnakit N’kham)
Soho owner Scott Taylor is joined
by friends and customers as they wish him well. (Photo by Ronnakit N’kham)
The party at Soho clicked into
full gear as the place filled up with guests and friends. (Photo by Ronnakit