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Akha Ama coffee celebrates their 2nd anniversary

Lee and one of the Akha villagers involved in the coffee growing and processing celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the very popular coffee shop.

Friends and supporters of local coffee entrepreneur Lee of Akha Ama coffee turned out for the 2nd birthday anniversary at the coffee shop located in the Santhitham district on Hassadhisawee road Soi 3.

Lee’s coffee shop started out of a desire to help his village in Chiang Rai to form a sustainable self supporting economy without the need to rely on middlemen to purchase and distribute their coffee beans. Many hilltribe villagers find their incomes cut because of the low prices offered for their unprocessed beans. Lee’s efforts have helped the village to purchase the equipment to process their own beans and distribute them to many coffee shops in Chiang Mai, he has plans to expand distribution to Bangkok shortly. Akha Ama coffee won the World Coffee Cuppers competition last year. Photos courtesy of Lili Tan.

Friends and supporters of Akha Ama coffee come for the celebrations.

Lee is joined by friend Wouter, one of the announcers for Helping Hands Radio.

David dons a tie to join Lee’s lovely sister at the party.

Whitney Houston charity concert

Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul and Dr. Dr. Chao Duenduang na Chiang Mai attended the Whitney Houston tribute mini concert at the Rati Lanna Riverside Resort and Spa.

The Lions Club Saraphee in conjunction with First Class Magazine organized a musical tribute to Whitney Houston on March 29, 2012 to raise funds for the Lions Club’s many charitable activities. 9 different musicians and artists took part in the tribute, which was held at the Rati Lanna Riverside Resort and Spa. The well attended event was opened by Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul and President of the Chiang Mai Culture Council Dr. Chao Duenduang na Chiang Mai. Photos courtesy of the Rati Lanna Riverside Resort and Spa.

Many artists performed songs in tribute of Whitney Houston at the fundraising concert.

Many members of the Lions Club Saraphee attended the event to show their support and raise funds for charity.

Chiang Mai Ballet Academy performs Ramayana and Aladdin

Chiang Mai Ballet students took part in the gala performance at Kad Suan Kaew’s theater on March 24, 2012.

The 10th Charity Musical Dance Play 'Ramayana and Aladdin 2012 performed at the Kad Theater on Sunday March 24th. Two performances, a matinee followed by a evening performance. Proceeds of which went to the Friends in Need (of 'Princess Pa') Volunteers Foundation Thai Red Cross Society.

The Parents & Teachers Association of the Chiang Mai Ballet Academy organised the Dance with Artistic Director Mom Luang Preeyapun Sridhavat.

Shan del Vecchio captivated the audiences playing the lead roles Rama & Aladdin. Shan, a Thai-Italian born in Italy, moved to Thailand with his father when he was 10 years old. Shan studied gymnastics before classical ballet and has been devoted to his training in classical ballet since he was 11 years old. He has received many awards and accolades both domestic and International. In his short career including his most cherished trophy is his first prize trophy he received from HRH Princess Ubonratana from the 'To be Number One' dance project held at National Level in Bangkok following four regional nationwide competitions.

Somsupa Sangrat delighted the audience with her portrayal of the Princess in Aladdin. She recently passed the dance exam with 100 marks to be the 1st year student at the Dance Department, Faculty of Fine Arts, and Chulalongkorn University.

Well known in Chiang Mai for his amazing baritone voice, Narach Kitavadhana (Book) sang a couple of songs to accompany the dancers. Bowonrat Maneerat played the part of Ginny, with Nattawat Wongwung as the Sorcerer and the impish Jitpanu Yodguntee shone as the Monkey.

The huge cast of dancers made the 10th Dance Play one not to be forgotten soon and raises yet again the barrier for next year's performance. (Photos and text courtesy of CityNow!)

Narach “Book” Kitavadhana wowed the audience with his beautiful baritone voice.

The Chiang Mai Ballet put on the show Ramayana and Aladdin, with the two principles seen here.

Stars in the sky

A beautiful sight will be available to those with clear skies as Venus reaches its furthest distance from the horizon and the setting sun leaving it in the night sky for up several hours, much longer than usual. With Jupiter in line closer to the horizon and just beneath, a sliver of the crescent moon, looking as if it will catch the two bright stars in the sky. NARIT, the National Astronomical Research Association of Thailand reported that on March 24 the moon, Jupiter and Venus will be aligned in a curve in the nighttime sky, shortly after sunset while on the 26th the moon will come between the two bright planets. (Photo courtesy of NARIT)

New European restaurant opens up in Chiang Mai; Des Gourmet

The staff of Des Gourmet are joined by Peter van Loo at the opening.

The latest entrant into the restaurant race in Chiang Mai is Des Gourmet, owned by the Dutch Honorary Consul, Peter van Loo, it is located in Hang Dong, on the Canal Road, or Highway 121.

Serving European food, German and French along with steaks and Dutch food the new restaurant is set in a lovely open garden setting with ample parking. Peter hosted the grand opening party on March 19, 2012 which was attended by Japanese Consul General Kazuo Shibata who gave a warm welcoming speech at the opening. U.S. Consul General Kenneth L. Foster joined Peter and Consul General Shibata in cutting the ribbon and then opening the restaurant officially. (Photos courtesy of Ronnakit Norkham)

The German Honorary Consul Hagen Dirksen (4th left) joins Pim Kemasingki, (3rd left) Ramlah Jafri (2nd left), US Consul General Ken Foster (middle) Peter van Loo (3rd right) and Japanese Consul General Kazuo Shibata (far right) at the opening.

Visitors to the grand opening enjoyed the snacks on offer.

Peter van Loo is joined by Rudy van den Berg and his wife at the event.

I am woman, hear me roar

International Women’s Day honoured at Tha Pae Gate

Women’s groups marched in solidarity for women’s rights on International Women’s Day, March 9.

Photos and story by Lili Tan

“I am Woman. Hear me roar!” (a Helen Reddy song). And roar they did. Thai, migrant, ethnic, transgender and foreign; more than 200 ladies (along with some men and children) in Chiang Mai came together to celebrate International Women’s Day 2012 on Friday, March 9, 2012. It was a day of “solidarity, singing and shouting on the streets and having fun,” said Jackie from

The women from various organizations and communities working on women rights in Chiang Mai walked from Nawarat Bridge to Tha Pae Gate where booths had been set up to share with the public the work that they do and to enjoy an evening of music.

Many groups who participated in International Women’s Day are working tirelessly to address various issues like violence against women, human trafficking as well as exclusion of access to necessary resources and more. Map Foundation’s statement on International Women’s Day said this,

Women, children and men joined in the march from Nawarat Bridge to Tha Pae Gate.

Women should have equal access to resources. The Women’s Fund under the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security should be for women who need it in Thailand. We would not exclude women from access to resources because of their nationality or lack of nationality. We would include our ethnic sisters, we would include our migrant sisters. We all contribute to Thailand’s wealth and well being. We believe that women can only move forward if we are together.

We want more of our sisters in government guiding the national policies. Women make up 52% of the population and yet we only make up 15.6% of the MPs in parliament. There are currently 78 women and 432 men in the Thai parliament.”

A march like this may not change much but it can help highlight these concerns and most importantly, bring women together to celebrate our strength and contributions (and yes, I am proud to be a woman).

Organizations  and communities who participated yesterday include Map Foundation, the Asia Pacific Forum on women, law and development (APWLD), New Life Center Foundation, We Women, Empower Foundation, Thai Youth net and Northern Voluntary Women’s Networks.

Women of all ages and from many different ethnic groups marched to Tha Pae Gate.

Princess Dr. Chao Duangduen na Chiang Mai, President of the Cultural Council and the leading woman of Chiang Mai addressed the crowd at Tha Pae Gate on Friday evening.

Women listened to speeches, music and enjoyed the event honouring International Women’s Day at Tha Pae Gate.

Pampered pooches have their day

Thailand International Dog Show at Central Airport Plaza

Owners brought their beloved pets to the Thailand International Dog Show tour sponsored by Smartheart Dog food.

The Thailand International Dog Show opened at Central Airport Plaza on Friday and runs through the weekend. Featuring dog agility shows as well as dog clothes, accessories, specialty dog foods, dog fashion shows, a dog happy hour and many activities for both dogs and dog lovers, the event brought out dog lovers and dogs of all shapes and sizes.

The event opened with a featured agility show and training course by experts. The fashion show featured the latest in cute clothing for dogs that is so popular in Chiang Mai. The show was part of the Thailand’s International Dog Show tour around Thailand, to introduce the show and breeds to people around the country.

The highlights were the Dog Star Search and Dog Fashion Show competition with winners awarded prizes of 10,000 Baht. (Photos by Ronnakit Norkham)

This lovely dog was the star of the agility show.

The show featured agility and attack training.

Large and small, pampered pooches enjoyed the Dog Show with a Doggie Happy Hour.

These little guys look ready to join in the Fashion Show!

Dog lovers were happy to show off their pets at the Thailand International Dog Show tour at Central Airport Plaza.

Doing the Time Warp

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was screened at Sangdee Gallery on Sirimangkalajarn Soi 5 on Friday, March 2, 2012. The giant lips are a famous symbol of the cult classic.

Shana Kongmun

The normally sedate Sirimangkalajarn road filled with the sounds of outlandishly dressed people singing “Let’s do the Time Warp again” on Friday, March 2, 2012 as Sangdee Gallery on Soi 5 hosted a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a cult classic movie where the audience usually dresses up in costumes from the show and then performs the lines, the dances and the songs in time with the movie. The original movie came out in 1975 and was an adaption of the British rock music stage play, The Rocky Horror Show. Starring Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon, the Rocky Horror Picture Show is the longest running theatrical release in film history.

The evening was great fun with most partygoers going all out in their costumes, from Dr. Frank N. Furter, Riff Raff and the maid, Magenta. Sangdee Gallery hopes to host other such movies in the future. Photos courtesy of Lili Tan.

Po Garden (front) of Sangdee Gallery hosted the event and is joined here by his fiancée and friends.

Pim Kemasingki is joined by friends Donjai and Gayle dressed as characters in the movie.

Guests went all out in dressing the part!

Rachel Begley joined the party with her friend.

Many well known residents look totally unfamiliar dressed up for the party.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]]

Akha Ama coffee celebrates their 2nd anniversary

Whitney Houston charity concert

Chiang Mai Ballet Academy performs Ramayana and Aladdin

Stars in the sky

New European restaurant opens up in Chiang Mai; Des Gourmet

Lanna Vintage Car Club is the newest group of old car lovers

I am woman, hear me roar

Pampered pooches have their day

Doing the Time Warp