Pattaya’s community celebrated His Majesty the King’s 72nd Birthday with special ceremonies and the Thai Fishery Festival
Bang Lamung District Chief Wichien Chavalit directed the lighting of candles and singing to honor His Majesty the King. The ceremony was timed to simultaeously take place with others throughout the Kingdom.
On 5 December, Pattaya joined all the King’s subjects all over the country in honoring His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on the occasion of His 72nd Birthday and the completion of His 6th Cycle of Life. For the first time in Pattaya history, both Thais and foreigners gathered together to light candles in a ritual ceremony to pay homage to His Majesty the King.
Pattaya, Bang Lamung and Chonburi have been conducting many activities throughout this auspicious year to honor the King’s birthday. These activities culminated with the year-end Thai Fishery Festival from 3-5 December.
Her Serene Highness Phansawali Kittiyakorn enjoys a traditional ride in a rickshaw at the Fishery festival.
Her Serene Highness Phansawali Kittiyakorn presided over the opening of the festival on 3 December, and a host of visiting dignitaries and guests were present for the ceremonies. Among the many guests were the Deputy Governor of Chonburi Suphod Laowansiri, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Tourism of the House of Representatives Santsak Ngamphiches, Member of the Parliament (Chonburi) Chansak Chavalit-Nititham and Pattaya’s ex-mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat.
The opening ceremony was narrated in English for the benefit of visiting tourists by Pratheep (Peter) Malhotra, Managing Director of the Pattaya Mail. He was accompanied by Khun Wanabha Wanasri from the Pattaya City Education Department, who emceed the proceedings in Thai.
Pattaya Mail Managing Director Pratheep Malhotra emceed the Fishery Festival in English, while Khun Wanabha Wanasri from the Pattaya City Education Department emceed the proceedings in Thai.
A copy of the publication honoring His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great published in English by the Pattaya Mail was presented to Her Serene Highness Phansawali Kittiyakorn prior to the opening ceremony.
Deputy Governor Suphod then told the assembled multitude about the beginning of Pattaya; how it was a small fishing community with a simple lifestyle up until 1959, when the American Military Forces began operations in Thailand and came to Pattaya for rest and recreation. Thereafter, a new era began that changed the once small quiet and serene area into the major international tourist attraction known today. Even though Pattaya now consists of different cultures added to the former, simple setting, there is still one binding realization maintained by all: that Pattaya is under the influence and loving care of His Majesty the King. The Thai Fishery Festival was a token of esteem and respect put together in the King’s honor.
Her Serene Highness Phansawali Kittiyakorn received from Pratheep Malhotra a copy of the publication honoring His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great published in English by the Pattaya Mail.
Concluding the narration, a traditionally decorated Thai fishing boat illuminated a sign announcing the “Thai Fishery Festival”, and the festival officially began.
Activities included dance groups from various regions performing traditional Thai dances; there were floral displays, Thai martial arts demonstrations and shadow plays portraying the ancient art from the south of Thailand. Traditional customs from the upper regions were also on display, showing the friendship and spiritual rituals with music performed from the respective areas.
Entertainment was presented each evening and on the King’s birthday, Sunday 5 December, the ritual ceremony celebrating and honoring the 72nd birthday of His Majesty commenced at four in the afternoon. Bang Lamung District Chief Wichien Chavalit led a long procession of groups of government officials, community leaders, local charity organizations, clubs, students, boy scouts and visiting tourists.
An honored image of His Majesty the King was carried at the front of the parade.
The procession started at the Dolphin Circle and proceeded down Pattaya Beach Road with school bands leading the way. Visiting tourists and Pattaya residents lined both sides of the street all the way up to Central Pattaya Road where the ritual candle lighting ceremony took place in front of an enlarged image of His Majesty the King.
District Chief Wichien directed the lighting of candles, making sure it took place at the appropriate time, the same time the entire country was engaged in the same ceremony, singing the song of praise and chanting “Long Live the King”. At the end 160 rockets and fireworks lit the sky with a colorful display covering the bay area.
Cristina’s Concert was held on a Wednesday, in the middle of a working week. Still, it attracted so many people that the Moon River Pub had to close its doors for latecomers. The place was so crowded it was almost impossible to walk between the tightly placed tables.
MC Peter - charming as ever.
Nittaya Patimasonokhor, President of the Lion’s Club Pratamnak, held a short welcome speech, followed by Sopin Thappajug, one of the most charming and important ladies of Pattaya. Peter Malhotra, who took the stage to take over as a brilliant emcee, promised that the audience would witness ‘the concert of this millennium in Pattaya’.
Right after Peter announced Cristina, the room went dark - and then she appeared in a circle of light, sweeping along the audience with the first tunes she sang. “Help” was the title of her first song, and it was very appropriate for a charity concert. There wasn’t one single person in the audience who wasn’t moved by Cristina’s voice and her radiant appearance.
Four pretty girls, three of them Cristina’s sisters Harrieth, Leah and Bles, along with Daisy Vogt, appeared as very talented dancers and background singers, giving the show a touch of a revue. Cristina chose Monika Rottmann and Michael Vogt were to sing a song along with her, as well as Khun Sood, renowned as the “voice’ of the accompanying musicians, the ‘Soul House Band’, which again did an outstanding job.
Bent Roescher of the Rotary Club Roskilde South of Denmark, with his wife Vinni enjoy the concert.
When Cristina sang “Wind Beneath My Wings”, dedicated to His Majesty the King, the room became lit by sparklers in the hands of the audience. It was a moment to remember for a long time.
While Cristina’s sister Leah gave a solo singing performance, Cristina used the short time to change her dress and then carried on to enchant the people with the magic spell of her voice. For the finale, she gave the keynote to the King’s Anthem, and the audience sang along and bestowed her with standing ovations.
Thank you, Cristina!
After the show, all participants joined on stage in harmony, taking in the applause of the audience. A big surprise was waiting for Laurent Betourne, Cristina’s husband, who received a surprise birthday cake from the president of the Lion’s Club Pratamnak and Cristina.
A sincere note of appreciation should go to the sponsors of the show: The Lions Club Pratamnak, the Filipino Community, Moon River Pub, Marco Tailor, Modern Bride Studio in Chonburi and, I’d humbly like to mention, Pattaya Mail as well. But the biggest thanks belongs to Cristina, the tiny girl with the great voice and the big heart, who allowed many to enjoy an extraordinary and delightful event.
Peter Cummins reports from Krabi
It is almost too good to be true, but, nevertheless, with 70 yachts already entered and two more joining the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta today, the magic number of 72 participants was, indeed, a most worthy nautical tribute to the Regatta Royal Patron, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, to celebrate his sixth-cycle, seventy-second birthday last Sunday.
Regatta President Nigel J. Hardy: Decision to start from Krabi vindicated. Photo Peter Cummins
More than 1000 sailors from 20 countries toasted the Regatta Royal Patron, as their yachts rode at anchor off the beautiful Ao Nang Beach in Krabi Province, ready to start the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta last Monday. This represented the thirteenth sailing of Phuket’s now-famous yacht racing event, which was inaugurated back in 1987, in honour of His Majesty’s fifth-cycle, sixtieth birthday. It has been re-dedicated each year to the King who graciously bestowed the most handsome King’s Cup permanent trophy.
Krabi Governor Dr Sira Chowanawirat officially opened the 1999 Regatta at a lavish reception at Ao Nang Beach, noting with pride, that the occasion marked the first time that the regatta had ever started there.
Radab Kanjana-vanit and family at last year’s regatta awards night. He wants to win for his father. Photo Peter Cummins
It was Nigel J. Hardy, president of the 1999 Regatta Organizing Committee, who proposed starting the regatta, for the first time, off Krabi’s Ao Nang Beach. He reasoned that such a start, among the towering karst formations and awesome headlands of the Krabi landscape would make a spectacular special event to honour the Monarch’s seventy-second birthday. It would appear, last Sunday, that Nigel’s foresight had been vindicated.
“It is not the first time, either, that we have started from Krabi Province,” Mr Hardy pointed out at the opening. “Both the 1992 and 1993 regattas, in fact, started at Koh Phi Phi which I assume is still part of Krabi Province - even after all the uproar surrounding the filming of ‘The Beach’ earlier this year”. The Krabi Governor concurred.
Over the years, sponsors have come and gone. This year, The QBE Marine Insurance Group has taken over principal sponsorship of the 1999 regatta.
Having been a consistent supporter of the annual event, QBE, the largest Australian-owned Insurance and Reinsurance company in the Asian-Pacific region now takes over the prestigious slot as the regatta principal sponsor. This includes the rights to the now-classic regatta blue-riband event which this year will be known as the QBE Andaman Sea Race.
“It is a most appropriate liaison,” said QBE Managing Director Ron Sparks. “Our company started from a sailing ship background, established by the world-renowned Burns Philp Shipping Company in 1886, to service its own ships and cargoes plying the Asia-Pacific shipping lanes,” Mr Sparks added.
Ricoh - High profile sponsorship for many years. Photo Peter Cummins
QBE has also sponsored individual yachts, including those of four-time regatta racing class champion Bill Gasson sailing his famous series of “Buzzards”.
The regatta which, up until 1997, had always been based at Nai Harn Bay, last year moved north to Kata Beach, with the many benefits this new ambience created. “We are delighted,” said the Kata Beach Group at the press briefing, “to be the ‘home’ of the regatta - FOR EVER!”
Ricoh, which has also been an ongoing sponsor, greatly assisting the complexities of managing such a big international event, again will furnish the regatta secretariat with top-class Ricoh reprographic and up-market information technology equipment.
Other supporters include the Ao Chalong Yacht Club, Baan Kata, the Boathouse Inn, Boonrawd Brewery, Coral Seekers, Holiday Inn, House of Kangaroo, the Krabi Business and Tourist Association, Maersk Line, the Nakatani Group, Neil Pryde Sailmakers, Pepsi Cola, Phuket.com, Phuket Magazine, Phuket Sunwest Homes, Sunsail yacht charters which has provided upwards of thirty entries for the regatta, Thai Airways International, the official carrier, and the Yacht Haven Phuket.
Krabi’s Governor Sira Chowanawirat and H.E. Chanchai Soontharamut, Governor of Phuket, have keenly supported this year’s event, providing all facilities and the necessary land-based support which the undertaking requires.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand, the organizing yacht clubs - the Royal Varuna and the Phuket Yachting Association - the Royal Thai Navy and the Marine Police have all given administrative and logistic support.
Certainly, as each successive president of the Regatta Organizing Committee has been quick to acknowledge, it is sponsorship and the generosity of supporters which have made the regatta possible: “Without them, in fact,” Mr Hardy pointed out last week, “there would be no regatta.”
David Ratcliffe, Phuket-based Regatta Vice-Chairman of Administration, has done an incredible amount of leg-work, commuting between the provincial officials at Krabi, Phi Phi and Phuket, the Royal Thai Navy, the Marine Police, the Tourism Associations and countless other people who must be consulted on the minutiae of organizing such a big international event.
The opening race on Monday 6 was from Krabi across the Andaman Sea to Koh Phi Phi after which the regatta format followed the time-honoured programme, with the fleet racing back from Phi Phi to Kata Beach in the exhilarating QBE Andaman Sea Race won last year by Radab Kanjana-Vanit.
Thereafter, the regatta for the rest of the week featured in-shore racing up and down Phuket’s coast, with Wednesday’s lay day allowing dedicated players to forsake the Gulf course for a day and proceed to the Golf course.
The regatta will close with the Awards Ceremony at the Kata Beach Resort tomorrow, the 11th of December, with His Majesty’s Personal Representative, Rear Admiral M.L. Usni Pramoj presiding over the evening.
With the “Golden Triangle” of Krabi, Trat and Surat Thani poised to become the new tourist destinations and with daily flights servicing them, the Krabi start to this year’s regatta is good news for all concerned.
Regatta presidents have been Christopher J. King (1987, 1988, 1994, 1997), Peter Ole Herning (1990, 1991), William J. Gasson (1992, 1993), Adolph-Antoni Knees (1989, 1995, 1996, 1998) and incumbent Nigel J. Hardy (1999 -).
See you in Phuket for the last great regatta of the Old Millennium.
Copyright 1999 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.