Local residents revisit the time when magic was at the forefront of beliefs
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
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).
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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,
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.
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.
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.
Ottesen is a sight of beauty and grace as she performs for her father.
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.
huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow out all the candles.
Ottesens: Ib, Svend ‘Elvis’, Nanthida, Little Ploypailin, Panida and
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.
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.
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
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]
Royal Canapés with Australian premium brut sparkling
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
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
“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.