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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

4.6 million baht later: The History of the Jesters’ Care for Kids Charity Drives

An Elephant to the Rescue of Hi-Tech Communications

Learn your numbers

Antiques, are they genuine?

4.6 million baht later: The History of the Jesters’ Care for Kids Charity Drives

by Lew “Woody” Underwood

The Jesters Care for Kids Charity Drive has come a long way since its beginnings in September of 1998. That year we had but two months to throw the whole thing together and we had never done anything like it before. We were neophytes.

Paramount to helping the Jesters pull off the event were ‘outsiders’ at the time: Kim Fletcher from Delaney’s (now Shenanigans), Alice Poulsen, Niel Poulsen (Platinum Sponsor), and Peter Malhotra and Dr. Iain Corness from the Pattaya Mail.

The PR blitz began in July with posters designed by Neville Pick and regular press releases and exposure from the Pattaya Mail.

Alice Poulsen announced the barometer of donations, which eventually passed the 1 million baht mark at the first Delaney’s Charity Pub Night in September 1998.

We billed the charity raising-event as a Pub Night at Delaney’s with live music, raffles, auctions and an all-you-can-eat Irish buffet. The purpose of raising funds was for an additional transport vehicle, scholarships, school supplies, foodstuffs, general maintenance and operational costs for the Fountain of Life Center One for children.

In the end, the members of the Jesters contributed nearly 300,000 baht (which included the blue van), corporate sponsorship topped out at 270,000 baht, the sponsored ‘nappy rash’ bicycle ride from Chantaburi of eight cyclists raised 240,000 baht, while the rest came from raffle ticket sales, auction bids and a percentage of the drinks and food sold that evening at the Pub Night by Delaney’s. Counting the proceeds the next morning we realized we made the million baht mark by the skin of our teeth.

Many insiders believe we were able to achieve that goal with the shocking auction bid of 24,000 baht for the infamous ‘Full Monty’ photo of 4 unspecified members of the Jesters.

Riding on the high of this inaugural event, we all knew we were now committed to an annual affair. The planning of the 1999 charity drive began in earnest with the brilliant idea of Kim Fletcher to hold a Children’s Fair, or family day, in addition to the Pub Night. To realize this new concept, we knew we were going to need a real powerhouse committee to organize the two events. To do so, we elicited the talents of Graham MacDonald, Chairman of the BCC in the Eastern Seaboard, Neil Smith, then with Harrow International, Jill Thomas of St. Andrews International School, Mike Franklin, then Golf Chairman of the Pattaya Sports Club, Bjorn Richardson, RM of the Royal Garden Hotel and Plaza, and Paul Dobbs of Global Silverhawk.

Niel Poulsen, on behalf of Chonburi Siam Steel Mill Services, came across with another 100,000 baht to become our Platinum Sponsor for the second successive year, and we were off and running.

They’re off and cycling in the Sponsored Cycle Ride circa 1999

So here we were in our second year and a bit more experienced, at least as far as organizing a Pub Night. But now we had a Children’s Fair to put together, which we had never done before. Finding a venue was the first concern. After looking at several possibilities to no avail, anxieties started to run high. We had to find a venue before we could advertise the event and the days were slipping by fast. It was then that Jean Wasser, then GM of the Royal Cliff Resort, and assistant, Judi McNamera, granted us permission to use the gardens for our family outing event.

The idea was to set up a stage (which Cape East was willing to do cost-free) that was visible from most parts of the site and then arrange stall spaces with canopies around the perimeter for the various schools and outlets catering to children, so that there was space in the middle for the various kids games, aerobic shows, and what later was to be a historic tug-of-war event.

While the flat area of the gardens was used for the kids’ stalls and stage, the food stalls were located to the side and behind the stage up a grassy knoll with the beer tent at the very top. The strategy was that hungry and thirsty people would be willing to make the trek to quash their appetites.

With the stalls all booked and the agenda of activities set, we realized that the grounds were infested with red ants and in need of a thorough spray before the event.

After this was done the next concern was the weather. It had been raining during the week leading up to the event and we had to pray for some clement weather for 2-3 days before the event to dry out the turf and then a 6-7 hour window the day of the event to pull it off.

In the end the weather was magnanimous, the day bright and festive with streamers, balloons and music as a few thousand fair goers came to enjoy the event. The Sponsored Cycle Ride contestants (up from eight to 40 this year) rode from Ban Chang to the fair, the lead riders arriving in conjunction with the official opening of the fair by the Governor of Chonburi and GM Jean Wasser.

The day was magic for both kids and parents. The games, shows, and activities carried on till late afternoon run by Sean and Hanna from the Royal Garden Spa and Fitness Center. And to cap off the day the Pattaya Pullers were the unlikely winners in the tug of war against the musclemen from a local gym, and Tracy, the daughter of Kim Fletcher, won the bigger-than-life stuffed bear in the Children’s Raffle.

Tip Top staff came in to clean the site with the aid of Global Silverhawk. And in the waning light the organizers were last seen walking a line across the grass scavenging for cigarette butts. Scant hours later the sky opened up and drenched the site.

A week later was the Pub Night at Delaney’s and at the end of the long celebratory night, we had raised 1.4 million baht, 380,000 of it coming from corporate sponsorship.

Last year in 2000, we shifted up into higher gear. This year both events were held at the Amari Orchid Resort in North Pattaya. The Children’s Fair was held in the lower gardens of the hotel across from the beach and the Pub Night at Henry J. Bean’s. Khun Tippawan, RM, and Jo Stetten, then GM of the Amari joined our team in organizing what was to become our most successful event yet.

Niel Poulsen from Chonburi Siam Steel Mill Services once again kicked off our campaign with another 100,000 baht with his 3rd consecutive Platinum Sponsorship.

Popular additions to the Children’s Fair were the bouncy castle rented locally and the climbing wall provided by Bruce Oliver of JVK Movers in Bangkok. Ripley’s stalls from Royal Garden Plaza were also well liked by the kids. The Jester Beer Tent catered to the adults and raised 100,000 baht on their own from beer donated by the club and other bars in town.

The Sponsored Cycle Ride, which started and ended at the Amari Fair site was extremely successful and had over 90 entrants. The end result was amassing over 500,000 baht in sponsorships, 153,000 of which was raised by Kim Fletcher and his sponsors.

The only real hiccup at the Fair this year, though certainly not noticed by the kids, was that there was no tug-of-war, though the defending champions were present and eager to pull. However, there was a technical hitch: the rope was a no-show.

The Pub Night was exceptionally well attended with music by Greg and the Russians, Rick and Harpic and raffle drawings and auctions in-between. BA and Qantas donated the first prize again with a Bangkok-Sydney return, while United Airlines gave a Bangkok-LAX return for one and SAS a return trip to Singapore for two.

We were able to announce before the Pub Night was over that we had hit the 2 million baht mark. The big advantage we had in 2000 was even before our two events were held, the Children’s Fair and Pub Night, we had collected over 1 million baht thanks to liberal corporate sponsorship (almost 800,000 baht) and the proceeds from the large donation box generously donated by Tesco/Lotus store to the Fountain of Life of 241,000 baht in change. All things considered, 2.2 million baht was raised for the kids last year.

Now it is our 4th year (3rd year for the Children’s Fair) and though expectations are high, we have set no target. Suffice to say, that, yes, Niel Poulsen and Chonburi Siam Steel Mill Services have done it again with another 100,000 baht Platinum Sponsorship. Additionally, Shenanigans has gone Platinum as well, making it the first year we have had two such sponsorships. We are still hoping for yet another, but that’s another story to be told later.

In the meantime, our most significant difference for the year 2001 is that we now have a Web Page, thanks to Susie Ngamsuwan, detailing the history of our Charity Drives and what is going on this year. Please check it out:

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An Elephant to the Rescue of Hi-Tech Communications

Story and photos by Peter Cummins

What could have been more appropriate, I thought, as David Doll, the then officer of the Sea and Oil Services Company, telephoned me to come to Laem Chabang and photograph an elephant hauling a sophisticated hi-tech fibre-optic cable out of the sea? This sub-marine cable is the vital link in the trans-Thailand telecommunications network. In my youth (yes, I WAS YOUNG, once!), such long-distance communications were known as “trunk-line” calls whereby if one cranked up the phone long enough, one could reach the next town.

The old and the new: the elephant saunters past one of man’s contraptions

All went well with the laying of the 850-km long fibre-optic cable, stretching under-sea from Laem Chabang to Songkhla, which was finished late last year. According to Pattaya-based David Doll, this cable network, “Has brought Thailand in line with the most sophisticated communications systems now operating world-wide.”

Funded and commissioned by the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) and implemented by Ericcson and Global Submarine Cable Systems, the network was undertaken in four stages: Laem Chabang to Petchburi; Petchburi to Chumpon; Chumpon to Koh Samui; and finally Samui to Songkhla.

“All this work, just so my masters can make a phone call?”

With the completion of this massive system, “Thailand entered the fast lane of the communications highway,” Mr Doll emphasized, adding that “The Kingdom’s Internet, telephone and telecommunications networks are (now) equal to any in the world.”

Well, almost, at that time! A slight change in the Laem Chabang Municipality’s configuration of the port area required the cable to be hauled out, re-constituted and diverted. No problem said the engineers and personnel: Ericcson’s Nilserik Grip, David Doll and Peter Parkinson, “inter alia” were all back in Laem Chabang recently, on the cable-laying barge the “Networker”, to re-direct the mammoth under-sea operation.

The elephant makes a “trunk-call”

Mammoth is the key word, for what better way to haul out the huge cable - once it was extracted from the seabed - than by harnessing the strength of Thailand’s own mammoth - the chang - for the task, mused these three wise men from the west.

So when all was prepared, I was fortunate to witness the ‘symbiosis’ of the latest sophisticated technology and the slow, ponderous, powerful elephant - one of Nature’s oldest denizens. The chang hauled out the hi-tech cable, proudly acknowledging his starring role, through his “saddle cloth”, a blue and white Ericcson and a green and white Global Maritime logo displayed on either side.

The cable slowly weaves back to land

Thus, the elephant’s role in the cable drama is as close as the present generation (the “X-generation”, whatever that means) could ever come to the old concept of a “trunk-line call”, which now seems so unreal in our world of instant global communications from tiny cell-phones!

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Learn your numbers

by Katherine Iglinski

Living overseas is always an adventure, filled with experiences only few can understand or appreciate. Friends back home are always asking about what life is like overseas, yet the smiles slowly turn to yawns when you bring out the tenth photo album of palm trees, motorcycles with five or six people piled on top of them, and the many other wonders of the expatriate lifestyle. No one seems to understand the language difficulties we often come across or the frustrations we sometimes endure while living in a country that possesses customs that are different to our homeland. Yet the beauty of it all is the ability to look back on them later and laugh.

When my friend first moved to Indonesia from Canada, she became very set on learning the Indonesian language. She had always had a knack for languages and within the first week or so had already mastered her numbers, or so she thought. She decided to head to the market to put her new found knowledge into practice. After an hour or so of wandering around the market she came across a couple of bathroom rugs and began the crafted task of bargaining.

In perfect Indonesian she asked how much they were and then began to fiercely argue about being overcharged. “Dua ribu, dua ribu, that is my last price.” The vendor looked a little confused, but simply shrugged his shoulders and agreed to take her money.

Pleased with herself and her newly acquired bargaining skills, my friend headed home with her new rugs in hand, all at the incredible price of 2,000 Rupiah per rug (which at the time was roughly one US dollar per rug).

It was only after she got home and had a chance to consult her Indonesian dictionary that she realized her knowledge of the Indonesian language was perhaps not as proficient as she thought. The vendor had been asking for a price of dua ratus (two hundred), while she had fiercely argued the price up to 2,000 Rupiah!

If you have a travel anecdote you would like to share with our readers, please feel free to write it up and send it in. From time to time we will publish what we receive. Enjoy - have a little fun - share your experiences with the world! Send them in to [email protected] If we receive enough, we will make it into a regular feature.

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Antiques, are they genuine?

Silver that has been altered

A problem certainly, in English silver, alterations can be made for reasons of innocent expediency or to enhance prices. The kinds of alterations to be found in American silver are, necessarily, similar to those which affect English pieces; tankards to jugs, for example. While pieces of American silver that have been altered at some time in the past exist, it becomes progressively less likely that alterations will be made now or in the future. Authentic items from the 18th century now fetch such high prices that they will be preserved as they are. That means, incidentally, that the would-be ‘improver” has to pay a fortune to be able to make a profit from his work. Therefore the motive for altering a piece has been removed.

Modest cream pitcher by Thomas Arnold c. 1760

There is a parallel in regard to alterations to the form of certain pieces. A great deal of relatively plain American items of silver was chased up during the mid-19th century with fruit and flowers. That was done merely to update pieces, and thus there was no intent to deceive. But the embellishment can be so obtrusive as to render the good qualities of the original nearly invisible. For example, the relatively modest cream pitcher by Thomas Arnold (Newport, Rhode Island, c. 1760) would be a perfect candidate for later decoration. It would be reasonable to expect an English example of this date to be chased up by its very design. But it would be very rare to find a genuine American item like this now.

Training the Eye

There were two basic ways in which American silver developed. In the beginning, it stayed in close imitation of two European styles. Later it developed a domestic identity, but remained open to foreign influence. Therefore, authentication by style alone can be quite difficult. The marking system is certainly of some value, but unfortunately it leaves much unsaid. Thus there is absolutely no substitute for looking at lots and lots of silver, and thereby developing a feel for what is authentically American.

A knowledgeable dealer is the very best assistant and protector a collector can have, for he or she will assist with their knowledge and protect with their reputation. There are excellent collections, such as those at Boston, Yale, the Metropolitan Museum and Winterthur, to mention but a few. These collections were formed to inform those who have an interest in American silver and if possible, a serious collector would be advised to take advantage of these selected acquisitions and use them accordingly. The third and most indispensable source of experience is books, both the catalogues of major collections and books in print which deal exclusively on American silver.

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