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Vol. X No.18 - December 1 - December 31, 2011


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FEATURES
 

Christmas Fair at 3 Kings brings Santa

And an ice skating rink!

Chalermsak Suranant of the TAT Chiang Mai, Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn and CEO of ECC International Tjeer Kwant light the Christmas tree to start the Christmas Charity Fair.

By Shana Kongmun

ECC International Real Estate, developers of Promenada, the new luxury shopping mall and resort that plans to open at the end of 2012, hosted a Christmas Charity Fair at the 3 Kings Monument this weekend, opening Thursday December 22 through December 25, replete with an ice skating rink (albeit, synthetic ice). And yes, they do rent skates, 30 minutes for 100 Baht. There are also booths offering goods for sale and restaurants such as the Steak House, offering delicious food as well.

Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn joined CEO of ECC International Tjeer Kwant were joined by TAT head Chalermsak Suranant to light the Christmas tree to start the Fair. Many of the participating organizations donated money to a fund that supports Chiang Mai communities and flood victims, including Rimping Supermarket, First Drug, Doi Chang Coffee and Major Hollywood.

There are free concerts by such acts as Aof Pongsak, Tuk Viyada and Lanna Cummins, a live Jazz band along with shows and entertainment. In addition, there is that childhood favorite; a carousel with flying horses and tigers.

The Christmas Fair runs until December 25, at 3 Kings Monument. Eve when a Miss Promenada contest will be held. The Fair opens daily at 5:30 PM.

Snowmen, Christmas trees and Santa Claus are featured photo attractions with the Thai visitors!

A synthetic ice skating rink fills the 3 Kings Monument square. Skates are available to rent for 100 Baht.

Dance performances and music are all featured highlights of the Fair.

Honorary Consul for Bangladesh Rachan Veeraphan is joined by Santa and friends at the opening of the Fair.

Dancers dressed in costume perform for the opening day crowd.


Expats club members celebrate Christmas

Golden Whitehead, F&B Manager for the Shangri La joins Alan Hall and Richard Prouse at the start of the party.

Quite a few members of the Chiang Mai Expats Club had a party at the Shangri La Hotel on Thursday, December 22, 2011. The gathered crowd enjoyed the Thai food buffet set out by the Shangri La and caught up on their holiday stories as the evening passed. The lucky draw included gift certificates to Girasole and a bottle of red wine donated by the hotel.

Alan Hall and Richard Prouse directed the lucky draw and welcomed everyone to the evening. Members old and new got a chance to sit and chat and get to know each other better during the party. The regular meeting is not being held this month but the next meet will be the coffee morning at the Brix in the M Hotel on Tha Pae Gate on the second Friday in January, the 13th at 10 a.m.

Regular expats members Roger and Nancy Lindley joined in the evening fun.

Ana Gracey made a rare appearance out after the birth of her daughter, much to everyone’s delight.

Gary Newitt joins SOS Chiang Mais’s Andrew Williams and new member Terry for before the party.

Chiang Mai Expats Club members chatted over the Thai food buffet at the Shangri La Hotel.


Thailandfreunde hold their Christmas dinner to raise funds for charity

Bobby Khotbuntao and Marisa Chuchan (right) organized the Christmas gift exchange.

By Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon

On the 16th of December the Chiang Mai based bilateral, cultural and social human rights organization Phuenthai German International also known as Thailandfreunde e.V. (in English Friends of Thailand organization) held their annual Fund Raising Christmas Event. This year it took place at CoCo Ok Restaurant at Huay Kaew Road. Wuttipong Arayatumsopon, ThailandFreunde President for Thailand estimated a low turnout since so many other events were on at the same time but organization and good promotion by Dr. Dirk Weeber Arayatumsopon (the chair man and founder of the International TF group) and Janet Henry (international coordinator) with a gift exchange, a door prize and some auctions combined with Christmas Karaoke brought out enough people that the evening turned out to be quite a success.

Many friends and supporters attended the evening held at CoCo OK restaurant.

Marisa Chuchan (Financial Director) and Bobby Khotbuntao (Vice President for Thailand) took care of the arriving guests and arranged the gift exchange; everybody had to bring a wrapped gift with a minimum amount of 1000 Baht.  Beautiful gifts were on offer, from baskets with food and drinks, silk, microwave, mobile phones, oven, kitchen equipment, coffee packages, teddy bears and gift vouchers - everything could be found.

The team of CoCo ok arranged an excellent Thai Buffet and well known Chiang Mai residents attended including Raya Luelai, Ongkarn “Jojo” Chaiongkarn, Liz and Kate of ITM and Spa Mantra, Anne from V-Sign Media, Designer Tananan Willson and many more.

From left, Liz of Spa Mantra, Thailand president Wuttipong Arayatumsopon, Dr. Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon, Anne from V-Sign Media and Bobby KhotBuntao at the fund raiser.

The Door Prize was donated by Mango Crafts Team Member Martin Halpin - a short trip to Phuket valued at 20,000 Baht for 2 in a 5 star resort including breakfast. The Benusilho couple from Paris, France were the lucky winners.

Auctions were held offering rare 50 Baht silver coins from Thailand, never issued 10 Baht coins as part of a 26 piece collection, a long neck painting, a Petit Journal Newspaper of 1899 dealing with King Rama V at the grave of Napoleon and finally two Petit Journal Yearbooks of 1897 and 1899.

The total amount raised through the auctions surprised the team from Thailandfreunde - as they raised more than 20,000 Baht during the evening. The night concluded with Christmas carols led by chairman Dr Dirk, assisted by Wichit Tanakunagkool who held the music book, played the piano with Johann Sebastian Bach's Prelude No. 1.

The owner and staff at CoCo Ok receive a big round of applause from Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon and party goers for their hard work and good service.


Royal Flora in full swing

The Giant Flora Wheel soars over the gardens at the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek.

By Shana Kongmun

The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek launched into full swing this week with various international and corporate Garden openings. The Dutch Ambassador flew up to Chiang Mai to visit the opening of the Netherlands Garden which featured not only tulips but vegetables, H.E. Ambassador Joan A. Boer noted in the opening speech that the Netherlands was a leading researcher in fruit and vegetable production to cope with the ever increasing population and demand.

The Japanese Garden offers a serene quiet spot in the middle of the bustling exhibition.

Take Me Home Tomatoes by Dutch Agro Technology and Trade (DATT) is the marketing arm that offers fresh produce grown by local farmers under DATT supervision. Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul greeted the Ambassador and welcomed all visitors to enjoy the beauty of the gardens at the Park.

Other gardens included the serene Japanese Garden; the lovely Bhutan Garden with its beautiful bridge; the Nepal Garden had a miniature Mount Everest while many other countries including India, China, Bangladesh, Canada and more were featured. In all 30 countries have established lush gardens at the Royal Flora.

Corporate Gardens are also there as well as the popular Royal Project Garden. The Giant Flora Wheel is popular with the many student groups who visit during the weekdays. Daily tickets are available for 200 Baht or unlimited passes for 800 Baht. The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek’s Grand Opening with HRH Princess Sirindhorn will take place on January 15, 2012 while the event itself runs until March 14, 2012. The gardens are fully open, however and the park is open at evening to take advantage of the brilliantly lit Imagination Light Garden.

(from left) Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul joins Privy Councillor HE Mr. Ampol Senanrong, Dutch Ambassador Joan Boer, and Dutch Honorary Consul Peter van Loo at the opening ceremony for the Dutch Gardens.

The tulips at the Dutch Gardens were a big hit with visitors, who loved to have their photo taken with the rare flower in Thailand.

Police patrol the park on Segways.

A giant cornucopia filled with plants and flowers is one of the many unique and beautiful garden decorations at the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2011.


New Bear Bar offers jazz on Loi Kroh

The newest addition to Chiang Mai’s music scene is the Bear Bar, recently opened on Loi Kroh road, near the river at the site of the old Guitarman bar. This bar is offering something different, with the fun sounds of Latin and Jazz keeping the guests dancing.


Lanna Interbrews kicks off near Nimmanhaemin

Locals Sydney Moss and Riddhi Diskul of the Steak House and Le Crystal share a beer when Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon and friends drop by dressed in Lanna finery for the grand opening.

The latest event on the busy high season calender is the Lanna Interbrews Festival which is being held near Kad Cherng Doi, on Nimmanhaemin Soi 6. The Festival features local and imported beers for the discerning beer drinker set in a lovely beer garden atmosphere. Food is available as well, with many local restaurants offering their food at the event. The festival kicked off with a Lanna performance and visitors are encouraged to dress in Lanna style for the event. The Lanna Interbrews Festival runs through to December 24, 2011.

Imported beers including Weihenstephan and Guiness are on offer for the discerning beer drinker.

Happy beer drinkers enjoy their Guiness at the event.

Miguels of Nong Hoi is just one of the many restaurants offering food for visitors attending the event.


Skålleagues celebrate Christmas

Skål International Chiang Mai members join in a group photo at the Christmas Dinner at the Shangri La Hotel.

Members of the hospitality management organization Skål International Chiang Mai celebrated the holidays in style with a lavish buffet set outdoors at the Shangri La Hotel on Thursday, December 15, 2011. New President of Skål Chiang Mai Annette Kunigagon was joined by former President Marc Dumur in welcoming the guests and encouraging them to join in the charity silent auction.

The cool evening temperatures ensured hearty appetites from the Skålleagues. Annette noted that they had representatives from many different types of organizations including adventure travel, excursion, hotels and more. The evening concluded with the closing of the silent auction that raised funds for charity.

New President Annette Kunigagon greets
the members and guests to the annual Christmas party.

Jo Baggaley and Gill Dobson dressed up in style for the evening.

Helping Hands Radio was represented by Tom and Jade.


US Consul General Susan Stevenson makes her farewell round

U.S. Consul General Susan Stevenson is joined by the Creative City Goodwill Ambassadors at a farewell lunch held at Nasi Jumpru.

By Shana Kongmun

Cutting short her role in office as the U.S. Consul-General in Chiang Mai was not in Susan Stevenson’s plans as she has enjoyed her tenure as U.S. CG. However, life makes other plans for us and Susan is transferring back to the United States to work out of Washington D.C. as family duties call. Here for nearly a year and a half, her stay in Chiang Mai has seen this busy woman involved in many projects including a pet project; the Chiang Mai Creative City. As Dr. Nat Vorayut pointed out at a farewell lunch held at Nasi Jumpru on Tuesday, December 15, she attended every committee meeting and has a been a strong supporter of the concept that was first floated under the offices of the former Consul General Mike Morrow and U.S. Ambassador Eric John.

Susan’s work here will not go unnoticed however, as the Creative City concept continues to grow and gain support in the community. She will be leaving shortly and Kenneth L Foster of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok will be taking her place in January.

The Governor sent a parting gift to the Consul General, presented here by his aide.


NAP Fair 2011 chimes in to the festive season

The grand opening of the NAP Fair 2011 was marked by the ding ding of bicycle bells onstage.

The Nimman Art Promenade 2011 started with the ringing of bicycle bells in a unique grand opening ceremony arranged by Ongkarn ‘JoJo” Chaiongkarn. TAT Director Chalermsak Suranont was joined by a member of the Chiang Mai Chamber in ringing bicycle bells after a Lanna performance and a unique modern dance number to start the Fair.

Music performances by many local bands will be on every night and the varied clothes, crafts, jewelry and food on sale make it not only a fun night out but a great place to stop in for Christmas shopping. The Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day until December 12 on Nimmanhaemin Soi 1.

The NAP Fair has developed a reputation for being a high quality arts and crafts fair featuring textiles, jewelry, toys, pottery, art, natural beauty products and much more.

Far right, organizer Ongkarn ‘JoJo” Chaiongkarn is joined by friends and VIP guests to the opening.

Many stalls are selling different clothing than you see in the shops, from hemp material to vibrant and unique clothes.

Sabu Sabu has a stall selling their high quality organic natural beauty products.

Several stalls are selling lovely handcrafted jewelry at the NAP Fair that runs until December 12, 2011


Plus size beauties prove that Jumbo Queen’s deserve the title

Evening gown clad contestants lined the stage, with crowd favorites receiving roses.

The Miss Jumbo contest was held at Praserland over the long holiday weekend, with plus size beauties strutting their stuff on the walkway as confidently and elegantly as their smaller sized counterparts. The style and beauty of the mixed gender contest, featuring both women and ladyboys, kept the crowd enthralled and guessing as to who the winner would be.

The contest started out with a large number of contestants, over 30 in all, and whittled down to the top 3. The crowd had their favorites and, as with most beauty contests, flowers were given as a sign of favor. This was the concluding competition in the Chang Chiang Mai Food Festival that was held at Prasertland. (Photos by Ronnakit Norkham)

The contestants were all beautifully dressed and lovely in their confidence.

This sassy contender was a crowd favorite.


New Dukes Burger Bar launches with Chiang Mai Insurance networking event

Gary Newitt is joined by Chiang Ma Expats members Andy, Alan and Richard at the opening of the new Dukes Burger Bar and the launch of Chiang Mai Insurance.

The newest The Dukes venture launched on Thursday, December 8, 2011, alongside that of Chiang Mai Insurance with Gary Newitt. The new burger bar is located on Moon Muang Road opposite the Siam Commercial Bank and features an old style diner feel as well as a larger sit in area. A sports bar is planned for the upstairs as well. Gary Newitt hosted the event with the launch of Chiang Mai Insurance to coincide with the opening of the newest the Dukes in town.

The crowd enjoyed hot dogs and fish and chips as well as The Dukes famous burgers, albeit in a mini size. The evening ran late as many newcomers, including Dave’s new partners in the newest location, got to know some of the old Chiang Mai hands that regularly attend networking events.

Partners in the newest Dukes venture on Moon Muang Road.

The newest Dukes restaurant is designed like an old fashioned American diner, complete with hot dogs, burgers and more.

June and Mark enjoyed the networking evening hosted by Chiang Mai Insurance.


Celebrations for HM the King’s 84th birthday around Chiang Mai

Khun Wanpen Sakdathon, owner of Saen Kham Terrace invited children from Sacred Heart College and Prince Royal’s College to learn to harvest rice at their rice field in celebration of His Majesty the King's Birthday, the Governor of Chiang Mai presided over the ceremony held on December 5, 2011. (Photos by Uraiwan Hanwong)

Chiang Mai celebrated His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 84th, 7th cycle birthday on December 5, 2011 with events taking place around the city. Rice planting at Saen Kham Terrace in honor of HM the King, early morning merit making and alms giving at Tha Pae Gate and dancing and shows with fireworks at 3 Kings Monument ended the celebratory day. Everyone got into the picture with the International We Love the King Day Parade and festival at JJ Market that saw more than 3,000 people, Thais, ethnic minorities and foreigners combined parade from Tha Pae Gate to JJ Market on December 3, 2011. The organizers plan to make this an annual event for everyone to join hands in their love and respect for His Majesty the King. (Photos by Ronnakit Norkham, Martin Vanderklooster, Shana Kongmun and Chiang Mai Muncipality)

Chiang Mai Municipal officials, including Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn and Deputy Mayor joined the Governor in offering alms in the early morning in honor of HM the King on December 5, 2011.

The CMU Convention Center hosted the ceremonies to honor HM the King on his birthday on December 5, 2011. Government and military officials, Consul Generals and Honorary Consuls joined the event and book signing.

Ceremonies to honor HM the King were held by the Municipality at 3 Kings Monument on the evening of December 5, 2011.

3 Kings Monument hosted the celebrations to honor HM the King on December 5, with performances, music and fireworks.

Center photo: Air Chief Marshal Kamthon Sindhvananda and his wife Thanphuying Phungchai Sindhvanana release a Khom Fai in honor of HM the King at the International We Love the King Day festival held on December 3, 2011.

The first annual International We Love the King Day Parade saw participation by foreign residents, Thais and ethnic minorities joining together to walk from Tha Pae Gate to JJ Market to honor HM the King.

A party was held at the Empress Hotel on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 presided over by Governor ML Panadda Diskul where he spoke of the HM the King’s call for Thai people to work for the common good. The party was attended by government officials at the Provincial level as well as Consul Generals and Honorary Consuls and members of the local community.

Center photo: Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul raises a toast to the long life and health of His Majesty the King at the celebrations held at the Empress Hotel.


Finance and parades at Chiang Mai Friends

Big, Boong, Patrick and Robert enjoying the lovely gardens at the Whole Earth Restaurant before the start of the dinner.

The Chiang Mai Friends group held their monthly meeting on Wednesday, November 30 at the Whole Earth Restaurant. The group met to discuss the upcoming parade for the International We Love the King Day as well as group finances, elections and organization.

Jonathon and Beryl are regular Friends members and bought pink t-shirts for the parade on Saturday.

The group announced upcoming board elections, noting that only fully paid up members can run or vote. Feel free to contact the group to nominate either yourself or another member if you are interested. Dues will be paid on a yearly basis, with fees due in January for the coming year.

The main speaker for the evening was joined in impassioned discussion afterwards as the Friends discussed the global economic crisis and the major issues facing the Eurozone today. While the main speaker felt that the Euro would not collapse, others were not so certain. The discussion ranged among members afterwards as many had their own theories and projections.

No meeting will be held in January but the group plans to hold their anniversary party at JJ Market on January 21, 2012.

Discussion of the global economic crisis brought out impassioned conversation.

Old friends Richard, Dave and Colin share a laugh at the dinner.


Another successful Garden Party at Citylife

Students at a local dance academy performed for the Fair goers.

The annual Citylife Garden Party is one of those events that everyone looks forward to and are rarely disappointed. It fills all those basic needs, food, shopping, games for kids, shows, music and meeting up with friends old and new. Many local restaurants set up booths at the event offering everything from Mexican food from Miguels in Nong Hoi to sinfully rich brownies from Butter is Better, Steak House offers grilled meats, doner kebab from Zoe in Yellow, the list is while, not quite endless, certainly multi-varied enough to suit all tastes.

Sally Ward did her usual extraordinary job organizing raffle prizes and silent auction items to raise funds for the Elephant hospital.

In between raffle tickets sold to benefit the new elephant hospital in Mae Taeng people watched a magic show, local girls dancing bravely in the hot sun and Flight of the Gibbons was there amusing many by letting them try their latest attraction, Segway scooters. The children, like with many things, hopped on and rolled about easily while the adults took things a bit more cautiously. Flight of the Gibbons plans to offer Segway tours of Chiang Mai city in the near future.

The event raised over 70,000 Baht for charity with 120 booths and about 1,500 people attending making for a busy, fun filled day. The party rolled on into the evening with a traditional Temple Festival setup that saw live music on into the evening.

This huge doner kebab was set up by Zoe in Yellow.

 

Randi Egan from Miguel’s in Nong Hoi was on hand with her manager, Toy to offer hungry visitors chips and salsa, quesadillas and margaritas.

This girl was getting a beautiful design painted on her hand at the fair.

The staff from the All Seasons Hotel were in colorful form as they poured herbal drinks.
 


Food festival, salabao and a beauty contest

The beautiful gowns are all part of the experience of beauty shows.

The Chang Chiang Mai Food Festival at Prasertland held until December 4 is a traditional Thai fair, complete with kiddie rides, bingo (or rather a Thai form of bingo) dart and balloon games where you win giant stuffed animals, booths selling goods and booth after booth of Thai food of all kinds. All the favorites, from fried chicken to steamed salabao buns and many more. The Food Festival at Prasertland is a popular family affair.

 Included in all the usual fair events was a uniquely Thai event: a ladyboy beauty contest. With 33 contestants, this was a huge affair, and peopled with exquisitely dressed, coiffed and made up katoeys wearing some of the most impossible shoes imaginable. The event was more than just a popularity contest, though of course the obligatory flowers were available to hand out to favorites but was also judged by notables from the Chiang Mai LBGT groups and local celebs.

The judges winnowed the numbers down until they had the top winners in the contest, but the crowd certainly had their favorites. The Food Festival continues until the 4th every night at Prasertland behind Nimmanhaemin Road.

One of the crowd favorites for her sweet smile and lovely gown.

Mplus was the organizer for this contest.

Some of the 33 contestants that took the stage for the beauty pageant.


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Christmas Fair at 3 Kings brings Santa

Expats club members celebrate Christmas

Thailandfreunde hold their Christmas dinner to raise funds for charity

Royal Flora in full swing

New Bear Bar offers jazz on Loi Kroh

Lanna Interbrews kicks off near Nimmanhaemin

Skålleagues celebrate Christmas

US Consul General Susan Stevenson makes her farewell round

NAP Fair 2011 chimes in to the festive season

Plus size beauties prove that Jumbo Queen’s deserve the title

New Dukes Burger Bar launches with Chiang Mai Insurance networking event

Celebrations for HM the King’s 84th birthday around Chiang Mai

Finance and parades at Chiang Mai Friends

Another successful Garden Party at Citylife

Food festival, salabao and a beauty contest
 

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