HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

Local residents revisit the time when magic was at the forefront of beliefs

Pattaya and Naklua celebrate annual Vegetarian Festival

Ib launches Jomtien Boathouse on his 50th Birthday

Royal Cliff wins Thailand Tourism “Outstanding Performance” Award

Another World Class Wine Dinner to remember

“Jesus Christ Superstar” coming to Bangkok

Local residents revisit the time when magic was at the forefront of beliefs

Vichan Pladplueng

By this stage, the spirits have completely taken over this woman.

In days gone by when life was simple and happy in Thailand, community leaders and royal bloodlines followed the Buddhist faith through the ages. Even in modern Thailand, Buddhist precepts permeate Thai culture and much of the old way of life remains unchanged in the villages and in the cities.

Interspersed with Buddha’s teachings are ancient beliefs and superstitions to which many still cling with tenacity. And even though nowhere in Buddhist scripture is there any mention of any kind of ghosts or animism, a strong belief in magic still remains. Those who are now grandmothers and grandfathers still tell the ancient tales passed on through generations; stories of blades not piercing skin, guns misfiring and other mystical happenings to those possessing magical amulets or tattooed with ancient scripts.

A young Indian woman deep in trance.

Today technological and scientific advancements might make life more convenient but everyday is a race against the clock as most people struggle to survive the daily grind to support themselves and their family. However, some things never change. The ‘Calling of the Spirits’ still exists for those who believe in magic. The ancient ritual of spiritual possession of disciples of the old faiths, who believe in and manifest the spirits of angels and divas into the physical realm using their body as a vessel are called ‘Khon song jao’ (people who send angels).

‘Khon song jao’ (people who send angels), with no apparent urging, begin to slowly get up and dance, happily possessed by ancient spirits.

Tents are set up and the ceremonies take place between the 5th and 7th months of the year, where devotees prepare for the calling of the spirits by doing good deeds and making merit, such as providing food for monks.

When the day comes the proceedings begin after sunset. In the twilight believers fill the tents to meditate and pray. They lay fruit and gifts at the altar and light joss sticks as the local shaman begins the ceremony.

The silence is broken, a soft melody of Thai music plays in the background and as time passes, the noise gradually becomes louder.

Thirty minutes later those who have quietly been meditating begin to stir. The first is a woman of Indian heritage who rises from her sitting position and begins dancing in front of the tables set up with fruit, gifts and joss sticks. Her eyes are closed and she appears to be in a complete state of bliss, swaying to the music. Others slowly follow, each with their eyes closed and yet not bumping into anyone else they dance away in heavenly oblivion while others remain rigidly in their meditative trance. Some cry out and some act as if they were a monkey or a tiger.

To those observing these bizarre acts, one would think that each of these people are either putting on a good show or just plain crazy, but each of the believers involved in the proceedings act as if they are old friends having known each all their lives - or longer!

Over five hours later things begin to settle down and everyone begins to come back to reality. When asked what they have been doing, they provide no answer other than that they feel they have fulfilled their obligation. Most are also unaware of what they have been doing and have no recollection of the events that took place. Others say the spirits came for their annual visit.

The ceremony is strange. No one can answer questions of what happened and there is no real proof that these people were vessels for the spirits. Yet, throughout the entire celebration, no one was forced to participate, there was no monetary exchange or donations made. But these ‘magic ceremonies’ have continued for hundreds of years. Some people believe and others - well that’s up to you.

Pattaya and Naklua celebrate annual Vegetarian Festival

Vichan Pladplueng

Eating no meat or fish and living clean for a 9 day period is a form of penitence and marks Thailand’s Vegetable Festival. The Pattaya and Naklua markets saw over 2,000 residents of Chinese heritage turn out for the beginning of the annual celebration, which ran from October 5 through October 14.

In Phuket, they take things a little more to the extreme - A man runs a spit with pineapples through his cheek on Saturday, Oct. 12, in a parade in Phuket to celebrate the annual Vegetarian Festival. Every year around early October, devout Buddhists in the overseas Chinese community celebrate the nine-day Vegetarian Festival, during which some perform acts of self-mortification including body-piecing, although such acts are not part of mainstream Buddhist faith. (AP Photo/Kiti Tungkul)

Celebrations began at 11:00 a.m. on October 5 with a parade stretching almost 10 kilometers in length down the Pattaya/Naklua Road and finishing at the Naklua Market. Chinese religious ceremonies were then observed. Participants - men and women - received blessings and were splashed with holy water and lit joss sticks to pray to the gods.

At the beginning of the festival, faithful believers lit joss sticks and prayed.

Followers believe that by observing a strict vegetarian diet for 9 days they can cleanse their bodies and obtain atonement from their sin of eating flesh and improve their karma. This ancient belief has been followed for thousands of years in Chinese culture.

Revered reverends anointed the vegetarian observers with holy water.

The huge number of participants made this year’s festival one of the largest ever despite the increase in market prices for fruit and vegetables and the extensive flooding of farmland in the nation’s northern provinces.

Hundreds of devoted followers clad in white escorted images of various deities through the streets.

Ib launches Jomtien Boathouse on his 50th Birthday

by Miss Terry Diner & Madame

What is the secret of Ib Ottesen’s success? After the Captain’s Corner and the Residence Suites it was the Residence Gardens and now the new Jomtien Boathouse. Just how does he do it? The answer was dressed in a gold silk outfit at the opening of the new venue - his wife, Kannikar Ottesen.

Ib speaks to his friends as Kannikar has this far away look as if of pride and a sense of achievement.

A few days before last weekend’s big bash, I was standing in a building site with Kannikar saying, "You’ll never get this built in time." "No problem" was Kannikar’s cheery reply - and she was right. The inexhaustible woman was seen on the eve of the opening until deep into the night conducting what seemed like an orchestra of carpenters and electricians, waving her arms in every which way making sure that everything was in place, just the way she wanted it. Through it all Ib was doing a little conducting of his own, entertaining friends who had come by to be at his side as the clock struck midnight, ushering in the 5th decade of his existence. Just a few hours later, on opening night, the Jomtien Boathouse looked as if it had been there for years all decked out in its magnificent glory.

Sopin cuts the jasmine ribbon, watched by (l-r) Andrew Wood, GM of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, Poul Weber, the consul for Iceland, Ib and Kannikar.

I love you dad and we’re all so proud of you.

Peter Malhotra, his usual jovial and loquacious self, gave a brief account of Ib and Kannikar’s career in the hospitality business and the relationship and love they have for Pattaya. He stressed the point that the Ottesen’s expansion of their businesses was not only for personal gain but to express their trust in Pattaya’s future and to show the world that Pattaya is and will continue to boast itself as a world-class tourist resort.

Nanthida Ottesen is a sight of beauty and grace as she performs for her father.











Here’s a song dedicated to ‘Daddy’.

Sopin Thappajug, Associate Judge of the Juvenile and Family Court of Chonburi was the guest of honor. In her short speech she said she felt very proud of Ib and Kannikar. "I have known Ib for more than 20 years, from the time he was a sailor and stayed at my small guesthouse whenever he was in town. Now look at him," she beamed with pride! Sopin and Poul Weber, the consul for Iceland, congratulated the Ottesens in their speeches before many close friends and associates joined them as they cut the ribbon made of sweet-smelling jasmine flowers to declare the Jomtien Boathouse officially open.

I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow out all the candles.

The Ottesens: Ib, Svend ‘Elvis’, Nanthida, Little Ploypailin, Panida and Kannikar.

However, the most touching part of the evening was the surprise appearance of Ib’s daughter Nanthida, who performed the most intricate Thai classical dance in her father’s honor. The preparation for this dance was kept a secret and Ib had absolutely no idea what was in store for him. A visibly touched Ib was seen wiping tears from his eyes as he watched his beloved daughter shine with radiance and beauty, emanating awe-inspiring talent in front of a hundred guests. She ran to him after the recital and hugged him as if never to let him go. But that was not all. A huge birthday cake was carried out by Kannikar and elder daughter Panida, and it took Ib a huge huff and a bigger puff to blow out all the candles as the crowd sang Happy Birthday.

The VIPs, family and friends gather for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Kannikar had also managed to make another of husband Ib’s dreams come true. Ib had always dreamed that at his 50th birthday the Beatles would entertain the guests. They may have gone, but the cover band, called the Better Band, was were there, as were scores of Pattaya’s leading lights, to help Ib celebrate the auspicious half century birthday.

Later, some of Ib’s children performed a song on stage, dedicated to "Their Daddy". There was no parent in the audience who was not moved by such a wonderful show of devotion. We all know Ib as the strong silent man who came to Thailand with 500 baht and now is one of the most benevolent and successful businessmen in town. We now know that Ib is also a devoted father who is much loved in return by his children. It may not have been a heavily choreographed musical production like the Jackson family of yore, but it did show that Ib’s musical talents, and loving nature, has been passed on to his children.

The Pattaya Mail salutes you, Ib Ottesen, and we are all looking forward to your 60th and the next successful business venture, whichever comes first.

Royal Cliff wins Thailand Tourism “Outstanding Performance” Award

At the 4th Thailand Tourism Awards 2002 presentation ceremony held in Bangkok recently, the Royal Cliff Beach Resort was honored with an "Award for Outstanding Performance" under the Best Resort Accommodation category. This was the second time in succession that the resort has won this coveted award.

Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office HE Somsak Thepsutin Presents the Award for Outstanding Performance under the Best Resort Accommodation category to managing director of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, Panga Vathanakul.

Established by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in 1996 and held bi-annually, the Thailand Tourism Awards are aimed at motivating both private and public tourism-related organizations to conserve the country’s natural and cultural resources and promote sustainable tourism development. At the same time, the awards recognize those organizations that have displayed dedication and efforts in setting standards in the areas of management and environmental protection.

Managing director of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, Panga Vathanakul, who was on hand to accept the award, expressed her delight at this significant achievement for the resort. "We are proud to have been chosen for this honor for the second successive time. Winning this prestigious award is not only a testament to the resort’s consistently high standards of environmental conservation and awareness, but is also an encouragement for us to continue working even harder towards a cleaner, greener and brighter future," she said.

In 1999, the Royal Cliff Beach Resort became the first resort hotel in Thailand to receive ISO 14001 certification and, amongst numerous other awards, it has also been honored with an Environmental Impact Award (EIA) by the Thai Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment.

Another World Class Wine Dinner to remember

Australian Winemaker’s Gala Dinner October 30

It is with great pleasure that Ranjith Chandrasiri invites everyone to the Australian Winemaker’s Gala Dinner on the 30th of October, 19:00 hrs in the elegant setting of the Grand Ballroom, Royal Cliff Grand. This world-class event is indeed special, as no less than Ms. Anna Flowerday, the winemaker of the prestigious "Leasingham’ winery in Clare Valley, along with wine connoisseurs from the BRL Hardy headquarters located in South Australia, will be on hand to present the wines.

Seven fabulous varieties of Australian wines plus Royal Canapes will complement a six-course gourmet dinner that will be prepared by the Royal Cliff Beach Resort’s team of culinary experts. The menu itself promises to be another hit for Royal Cliff Beach Resort Executive Chef Walter Thenisch and his team.

All the wines offered at the dinner are produced by various boutique wineries that now belong to Australia’s largest wine producer - BRL Hardy. Also included are multi-award winning wines from Barossa Valley Estate, Stonehaven and Leasingham which have enjoyed considerable success in recent times winning many accolades at national and international wine shows.

Diners will also have the opportunity to taste sweet sticky and gorgeous ‘Noble Riesling’ dessert wine from Padthaway vineyard. Grapes grown on Padthaway vineyard have a proven record for producing botrytis affected Riesling of outstanding quality; however, vintage conditions for such a wine have only occurred three times in the last nine years. This sensational dessert wine is a worthy successor to the multi-award winning 1994 Padthaway Noble Riesling and is available in only limited quantities.

This grand event promises to be of high quality and an excellent value for money - nothing less than what the Royal Cliff Wine Club has consistently offered in the past.

As more and more guests attend each wine dinner and due to the fact that these events get booked out very quickly, we recommend that you reserve your seats early.

The all-inclusive price (including seven varieties of wines) is only 1500 baht net (Wine Club members and their guests will receive further 10% discount).

For inquiries or reservations, please call the Royal Cliff Wine Club at (66) 038-250-421 ext. 2782 (from 09:00 to 18:00 hrs) or Guest Relations at ext. 2007 or 2037. You can also email [email protected]

Reception Menu

Royal Canapés with Australian premium brut sparkling wine

Dinner Menu

Tasmanian salmon and Port Lincoln tuna fillet with marinated Clare Valley grapes, mascarpone cheese served with fresh herbs salad in a crispy bread tuile.


Carrot and ginger flavoured veloute soup with sautéed frog legs


Lasagnette of eggplant with lobster, shrimps and mussels on a delicate saffron sauce


Fillet of roasted Gippsland lamb on a tartlet of baked vegetables and potato served with a reduction of Leasingham Bin 61 Shiraz


Assortment of Australian boutique cheese with fig and pear compote and peppered lavosh


"Flowerday of Clare Valley delight" (Spiced ice cream in chocolate petals)


Freshly brewed coffee or tea served with hand crafted chocolate pralines

“Jesus Christ Superstar” coming to Bangkok

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s International musical sensation "Jesus Christ Superstar" arrives in Bangkok November 28. With a cast of forty featuring some of Thailand’s top talents and a guest director and musical director from America, this full fledged Broadway rock musical that has played all over the world promises to be an extravaganza unlike anything Bangkok has ever seen.

Producer Khunying Malaival Boonyaratavej (National Artist) has invited director/choreographer Dale Gutzman, whose career includes writing for Neil Diamond, directing leading actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company in England and working as an associate director for the Odessa Russian Drama Theatre in the Ukraine, to fully realize this ambitious and difficult undertaking. She also acquired the services of musical director Tim Johnson. Tim is the head of Voice Department at Mifa International Academy of Music here in Bangkok. Working closely with Grammy Entertainment, some of Tim’s students include Thai pop recording stars, Nong Plub, Dao-oke and ZaZa. In America Tim has worked in television, film and national tours of Broadway shows. He was also the pianist/vocal arranger for Bette Midler’s 92-world tour. Tim now resides and works in Thailand while Gutzman hops from here to America to stage shows.

Staying faithful to Webber’s creation, "Jesus Christ Superstar" is not a Bible story, but using incidents from the last days of Jesus, asks the question, how would we react if a truly "Good" man walked the earth today? The show becomes a modern parable with lessons for people of all faiths, couched in one of the most spectacular emotionally energetic musicals ever written. The show includes of course hit songs like "I Don’t Know How To Love Him", but it also contains exciting modern dance numbers, warm humor, and numerous eye-popping special effects.

Gutzman’s concept includes massive sliding ancient doors, scaffolding used to connect the action on stage with the audience, flying actors on wires, and an atmosphere reminiscent of today’s troubled Middle East. The modern day setting drives home not only the show’s contemporary power but also its message. Gutzman’s demanding stage concepts will be realized by set designer Rittirong Jewakanon and lighting designer Chalardlerd Tungkamanee. The strength of the production lies in the amazingly talented international cast. Playing Jesus will be Thailand actor/singer/ and television personality John Rattanaveroj. Judas will be played by Philippine actor/singer Jose Maria S. Tan; Mary Magdalene will be the well-known Marisa (Sukosol) Noonpakdi. Pilate will be performed by Patrick L’Argent and King Herod by director Dale Gutzman himself.

The show is being organized by the Christian University and the YWCA of Thailand, and all proceeds will go the Crown Princess Scholarship Fund for the Christian University and the training project of the YWCA of Thailand. The entire production is produced by Khunying Malaival Boonyaratavej, National Artist.

"Jesus Christ Superstar" will be performed at the Bangkok Playhouse. The performance will be on November 28-29, 2002 (evening) and November 30 & December 1, 2002 (afternoon/evening)

The gala opening of the Rock Opera for World Peace - "Jesus Christ Superstar" by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber will be on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2002 at 8:00 pm. at Bangkok Playhouse. Tickets: 2,000 baht, and 1,500 baht.

Other performances are:

Friday, Nov. 29, 2002 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 30, 2002 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 1, 2002 at 2:00 p.m. and 7.30 p.m.

Tickets: 1,500 baht, 1,000 baht, 800 baht, 500 baht, available at YWCA of Thailand, tel. 0-2286-5764 and 0-2679-1018.

For further information, contact Valaiporn Viriyakovint, YWCA of Thailand. tel. 02-286-5764.

The Rotary Club
of Jomtien-Pattaya

Skal International