HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

Jesters ‘Care for Kids’ completes their first major project at Huay Pong

Time flies - Chiangmai Mail already three months old

A New Year Trip

UNICEF evening at the 20th Scout Jamboree: a huge success

Royal Cliff Wine Club hosts year’s first Wine Tasting

Jesters ‘Care for Kids’ completes their first major project at Huay Pong

Officially open newly renovated dormitory

Children’s Day 2003 was a glorious day for the Eastern Child Welfare Protection Institute in Huay Pong, Rayong as they officially opened a newly renovated boys’ wooden dormitory, with all the hype and music to celebrate the occasion. The benevolent Jesters Motorcycle Club and a team of supporters, committee members, government officers, local organizations and children were present to witness the occasion.

(Far left) Chanyut Korsirinont, inspector general of the department of community development and welfare, Preecha Jitbunjong the Huay Pong superintendent (center) and Lewis ‘Woody’ Underwood are presented with the ceremonial scissors by two young ladies to officially declare Building ‘A’ open.

Helle Ransten, welfare coordinator for the Rayong Ladies Circle and two of the children from Building ‘A’ present Woody with a thank you plaque.

Bruno Keller, president of the Rotary Club of Jomtien Pattaya pins Chanyut Korsirinont with a badge encompassing this year’s theme ‘Sow the Seeds of Love’.

Raising funds for charity is often a difficult affair because much of the money raised is intangible - it goes towards education, medical expenses, much needed daily supplies, and whilst there is quality in the supply of such funds, those who donate may find it difficult to quantify their contribution.

The Jesters ‘Care for Kids’ Charity Drive 2002 has quantified the amount raised through last year’s fundraiser with the renovation of a wooden dormitory and the construction of an adequate bathroom facility for some 32 boys residing at the Eastern Child Welfare Protection Institute in Huay Pong.

At approximately 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 11, the thundering sound of Harley Davidson motorcycles rumbled through the grounds at Huay Pong, complete with all fanfare, and the Jesters rode in.

Shortly after the speeches began, with Preecha Jitbunjong, Huay Pong superintendent, welcoming everyone to the occasion. Jitbunjong expressly thanked the Rayong Ladies Circle (RLC) for their hard work and effort through the years in assisting the institute.

He also thanked the Jesters ‘Care for Kids’ Charity Drive for making the renovation possible, adding that despite the small budget that is provided by the government it is through the work of the private sector and charity organizations that make it possible for the children that have been discarded by their families and society to lead a better life. In closing Preecha made a promise that he and his team would do all they could to assist the children entrusted to their care.

The next project is this school building at an estimated cost of 800,000 baht. Class sizes range from between 10 to 50 pupils at any one time.

Children’s Day was a lot fun for Sarah Paladeau; she got to hang out with her dad, Jeff.

These 32 kids have something to smile about; their home is now much cleaner, brighter and more comfortable.

The Jesters take a break from the heat and await the ribbon cutting.

Following a brief translation to English, Chanyut Korsirinont, inspector general of the Department of Community Development and Welfare said the government recognizes these contributions to such facilities and said he would spread the word within his department and other sectors of the generous activities that have enabled the children of today - the country’s future - to have a better quality of life.

Helle Ransten, welfare coordinator from RLC made a speech mentioning the RLC’s history with Eastern Child Welfare Protection Institute in Huay Pong as their main charity project and that this was the third time she had attended the official opening of renovated building and expected to attend many more in the future.

Helle said the Pattaya International Ladies Club (PILC) and the RLC has joined forces to begin renovating one of the girl’s dormitories due to be completed later this year.

As a token of appreciation Helle and two of the children from Huay pong called Lewis ‘Woody’ Underwood to the podium and presented him with a plaque of appreciation, also making Woody an honorary member of the Rayong Ladies Circle, “So you will always be up to date with what’s going on,” said Helle.

Woody then took the stage and explained, “We chose Children’s Day because it is a special day when we care for kids, whether our own or others. One of the best ways to do that is to give them the opportunity for education and/or vocational training to open more doors.”

The Jesters thundered into the grounds in single file; Jester John leads the pack.

(Left to right) Preecha Jitbunjong with Jesters Darren Rose, Jeff Paladeau, and Kevin Mitch shortly after the ceremonies.

‘On tour’, everyone takes a look inside Building ‘A’

Woody spoke of how the Jesters ‘Care for Kids’ charity drive became involved and thanked all those involved with the organization and execution of last year’s charity drive. He thanked Eric Johanssen for taking time out of his busy schedule to renovate the building and build new bathing and toilet facilities for the kids.

“We are proud to announce that the Eastern Child Welfare Protection Institute in Huay Pong will again be part of this year’s charity drive, where we will undertake the renovation of one of the school buildings at a cost of around 800,000 baht,” added Woody.

Then Bruno Keller, president of the Rotary Club of Jomtien Pattaya, along with Martin Brand pinned Chanyut, Helle and Woody with a Rotary badge encompassing this year’s theme, ‘Sow the Seeds of Love’.

Last year, the Rotary Club provided lockers for the girls’ and the boys’ dormitories so the children could have private space and store personal items.

After the ribbon was cut benefactors toured the dorm and the new bathing block as the children proudly displayed their new home to those who gave them the opportunity to live in a clean and more comfortable environment.

Outside Building ‘A’ before and after.

Inside Building ‘A’ before and after.

After the formalities everyone joined the Children’s Day celebrations at the dining hall area where there was plenty to eat and lots of fun and games to enjoy.

The dormitory known as “Building A” is a 43-year old wooden building that houses a group of about 32 boys from as young as 3 years of age to 6.

Prior to the renovation the roof leaked and was covered with mold, the stairs were falling apart and were dangerous, and the old bathroom was primitive. The project took a few months to complete at the cost of 600,000 baht.

The sheer magnitude and cost of the entire project will keep charity organizations busy for quite some time but with help of the community and corporate sponsors in the Jesters ‘Care for Kids’ Charity Drive 2002, everyone can feel very proud that they helped Care for Kids by providing the necessary means to change the lives of children in need. Those wanting more information can visit the website: www.care4kids.info

Time flies - Chiangmai Mail already three months old

Chiangmai Mail board of directors tours the Pattaya Mail production facilities

Chiangmai Mail’s chairman of the board, Norachai Prasertmanukitch, together with MD Michael Vogt and his wife Marion, executive manager marketing & communications, received a very warm welcome (and a bouquet of flowers) when they arrived at Pattaya Mail’s Offices, and were greeted by Pattaya Mail’s MD Peter Malhotra and his assistant, Primprao Somsri. The Chiangmaians enjoyed an impressive tour through the various offices, which included the classifieds section, the editorial section, accounting offices, and the graphics department. All were treated to a coffee at Peter Malhotra’s frantic office afterwards. If anyone considers a private office a ‘peaceful retreat’, Peter can prove them wrong.

The Chiangmai Mail team received a warm welcome at the Pattaya Mail offices. (L to R) Executive Editor Dr Iain Corness, Chairman of the Board Norachai Prasertmanukitch, Managing Director Michael Vogt, Executive Manager Marketing & Communications Marion Vogt, Pattaya Mail’s Managing Director/Chiangmai Mail General Manager Peter Malhotra and his Executive Assistant Primprao Somsri.

The Chiangmai Mail board of directors gets set to sit down and discuss the future, but first a photo opportunity whilst looking over a proof of next week’s Chiangmai Mail front, back and center pages. (L to R) Executive Assistant Primprao Somsri, Executive Editor Dr Iain Corness, Executive Manager Marketing & Communications Marion Vogt, Chairman of the Board Norachai Prasertmanukitch, Managing Director Michael Vogt, CEO Xanxai Visitkul, General Manager Peter Malhotra and President and Editor in Chief Daniel Dorothy.

Lunch was prepared at the new Diana Garden Resort & Driving Range, after which the group visited the printing presses where the Chiangmai Mail, Pattaya Mail and Pattaya Blatt are turned from words and ideas into actual newspapers. Everyone there understood why it is called “hot off the press”, because the various processes needed before one can actually hold the paper in one’s hand are definitely hot.

During the afternoon, the first Chiangmai Mail executive board meeting was held at the Dusit Resort Pattaya, and RM Ingo Räuber once again made sure that even a business meeting can be enjoyable and pleasant, as snacks, cookies, and many additional bits and pieces were perfectly prepared and laid out.

Discussing the serious business of Chiangmai Mail’s future (L to R) Managing Director Michael Vogt, President and Editor in Chief Daniel Dorothy, and CEO Xanxai Visitkul.

(L to R) Graphics Department Supervisor Andy Gombäz explains some of the finer points of design to Norachai Prasertmanukitch, Marion Vogt and Dr Iain Corness.

It has been a good, eventful first three months … (L to R) Executive Assistant Primprao Somsri, General Manager Peter Malhotra, Executive Editor Dr Iain Corness, Executive Manager Marketing & Communications Marion Vogt, and Chairman of the Board Norachai Prasertmanukitch.

(L to R) Norachai Prasertmanukitch, Peter Malhotra, Dr Iain Corness and Primprao Somsri discuss editing conundrums with Pattaya Mail editor Veerachai Somchart and Chiangmai Mail Classifieds Editor Brendan Richards (background right).

Chiangmai Mail has now been on the newsstands for 3 months, and regular operational issues had to be reviewed. The future looks bright, as it already looks as if the newspaper will expand further. Exciting times are ahead for the Chiangmai Mail and its readers.

The long afternoon ended at Jomtien Boathouse, were everyone could unwind. The team enjoyed great dinner and greater drinks tapping their feet to the jazzy tunes of Doc Houlind.

(L to R) Peter Malhotra, Dr Iain Corness, Norachai Prasertmanukitch (background), Michael and Marion Vogt inspect one of the printing plates at the print shop.

Ah, so this is how it’s done… (Standing left to right) Peter Malhotra, Dr Iain Corness, Michael Vogt, Norachai Prasertmanukitch and Marion Vogt at the printing press.

A New Year Trip

Part 1

Lesley Warner

This year I was determined that I didn’t want to be in Pattaya for New Year. I wanted to enjoy my few days off, relaxing in the country. I thought carefully about all the places there was to go, and decided to avoid the busy tourist areas and travel up to the north of Thailand.

Trampling the sunflowers.

I started off in the town of Lopburi where there is an ancient temple called Wat Changlom in Sri Satchanalai Historical Park. The style of the main stupa at the wat is derived from Singhalese art around the same time as Singhalese Theravada Buddhism. There are tall figures of elephants surrounding the pedestal that turn into three-dimensional ones and stucco images of walking disciples surrounding the tiers. There’s a fence surrounding the wat and residing within the grounds are many loose, uncontrolled macaque monkeys.

Wat Changlom Sri Satchanalai Historical Park.

A sweet looking monkey with a taste for gold!

Personally, I have never had a good relationship with monkeys. I used to have a macaque and I suspect she was the same species as those at the wat. Her name was Mary Lou. Mary Lou hated me even though I fed and cared for her. She ran loose in the house, fighting and upsetting the children by swinging on their platted hair and stealing their sweets and toys. You may ask why anyone in their right mind would have a monkey in the house with 4 children, 3 dogs, 2 parrots and a snake. Well, I often asked myself this question but have yet to find an answer. I put it down to a phase I was going through! For some time I was an area manager for the Primate Society in England and used check out the accommodation of monkeys in pet shops and zoos. The reason I diverse with my story is to explain my past history with these creatures.

As you can see, these monkeys are not going hungry.

Camping at Lake Kueng Pasak Chonrasi by Pasak Jolasid Dam.

On several occasions during my life I have had ‘run ins’ with monkeys. One time in Sumatra, Indonesia I was minding my own business in the jungle and a monkey came and stole my glasses. This caused some considerable inconvenience as we could not retrieve them and as you can imagine there were no opticians on route.

Back to my Lopburi monkeys; I purchased some nuts from the vendor and I tried to be nice to one of the monkeys and give it one; it immediately jumped at me and snatched my bottle of water and ran up a tree. The second time was far worse as I sat posing for a photograph, tentatively holding out a nut to what looked like a placid young animal. The monkey bypassed the nut and grabbed my gold necklace. It took a considerable effort on my part and my partners to keep a hold of the necklace. At this point I decided it would be better to keep away from the monkeys and I walked over to the boundary fence to try and get a decent picture of the temple. Suddenly, a monkey jumped me from behind; it landed on my shoulders, and proceeded to pull a considerable amount of hair (and I’m not exaggerating) out of my head with its teeth. I flung my body over into a bent position and managed to dislodge the animal. I tell you these things to warn you: if you go looking at these animals take care!

Even if they don’t have a personal vendetta against you they can be dangerous. As you can imagine I had by now had enough! The monkeys are also freely wandering in the streets so I decided it was time to leave Lopburi.

I knew that there were wonderful fields of sunflowers in the surrounding area but discovered that these were some distance away from the town, so postponed the visit to the following day. We drove around and eventually found a reasonable hotel on the outskirts of the town. It was the “Lopburi Inn Residence” at 600 baht a night, including breakfast and evening meal (036 613 410).

The next morning dawned brightly and we set off after our buffet breakfast at 7.30 a.m. There were, needless to say, a considerable amount of people with the same idea. Unfortunately the flowers are not as abundant at this time of the year so it was not as easy to find them as we thought. In the end we succeeded and for 5 baht each we were allowed, with everyone else, to go and trample all over the sunflowers and take photos. The countryside was quite stunning and I’m sure that if you visit the area in October / November when the flowers are at their peak it must be glorious.

We continued our journey towards Nakhon Ratchasima as my fried told me he wanted to show me some beautiful lakes in the surrounding area. The first was at Pasak Jolasid Dam, which was a massive lake with camping and restaurants, but it seemed as if half of the Thais in Thailand were visiting that day and we decided to move on.

If you get the train from Bangkok to Nong Khai it stops at the lake during the journey.

To be continued...

UNICEF evening at the 20th Scout Jamboree: a huge success

The “UNICEF Challenge”, held on Friday, the third of January, was, indeed, one of the fun-filled highlights of the just-ended 20th World Scout Jamboree, held at Haad Yao, the Sattahip Naval Base in Chonburi, from December 28 until January 7. It represented a first for Thailand and the quadrennial event featured more than 20,000 participants and 5,000 service volunteers, coming from 143 countries.

The Baan Sattahip children provided great entertainment.

The “mascot” joins the fun.

UNICEF’s own Khun Pichada did a sterling job, moving the show along in Thai and English and the “Child Rights Night” was filled with a capacity crowd, sitting around the amphitheatre, mingling with the performers, dancers and entertainers. Well-known Thai personality Khun Tik Shiro led a rendition of his own composition - a touching song about child rights.

A charming group of boys and girls from the Baan Sattahip High School set just the right tone for the evening, as they moved around the audience, smiling, chatting and enjoying themselves immensely. “There,” I thought, “was the quintessential scouting spirit: a crossing of all cultural, religious and ethnic barriers, in a celebration of humanity itself.”

The Alternate Percussion Band “goes to town”.

Everybody joins in.

The Baan Sattahip girls show us how to dance.

The evening also featured other song and dance performances, quizzes and competitions and an “Alternative Percussion Band”, playing everything that would make a sound. At one point, I thought I was in Argentina, where the citizenry have been taking to the streets in protest, bashing pots and pans and anything else that would produce noise.

At Sattahip, however, these ‘musicians’ improvised in a joyous out-pouring of exuberance and even some of the more cacophonous sounds were reflections of the good-feelings, hope and optimism of youth. Isn’t that what a jamboree (meaning, literally, “all tribes come together in peace - a festive gathering”) should be all about? I am not sure of the language derivative of the word, but it certainly reminds me somewhat of the Australian Aborigine’s “Corroboree” - a symbol of peace; a dance festival.

UNICEF’s representative opens the show.

Tent city: never mind the heat!

UNICEF’s Didi “rings her bell”!

The Jamboree, the 20th to be held since the first in London in 1907, was opened by HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and, certainly, the personal - and, quite informal - visit by Sweden’s King Carl XV1 Gustaf, who has been the Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation since 1977, was a highlight of the festivities.

True to form, HM King Carl came to the enormous campsite wearing his scouts uniform and chatted amiably with as many scouts as his time permitted. The King presided over a golf tournament which raised 1.6 million baht in favour of the World Scout Foundation.

The Thai Youth News, comprising a very dedicated group of aspiring radio and television journalists, strongly supported by UNICEF, came to Sattahip from their “stronghold” of various schools in the north and north-east and made a big impression on all those they contacted. They were everywhere: interviewing, filming and bringing the young people together, showing the results of their camera skills on the giant screen set up at the UNICEF Challenge evening.

The UNICEF exhibit, featuring the Thai Youth News.

The “main drag” at the camp.

The Jamboree, by its very nature, provided a meeting place - in fact, a ‘stage’ - for sharing and promoting the world’s myriad cultures, races, religions, histories and languages, via personal contact among so many youngsters.

And what a fine group they were! For many from northern climes, the heat was intense, some coming from minus 10 Celsius straight into Sattahip’s 35 degrees C plus, but disregarding this discomfort - even in their temporary “canvas cities” - for the overall benefits and excitement of being part of this phenomenal scouting movement which brings these young people close to nature and aptly demonstrates the inter-dependent world in which we all now live. A respect for the environment was instilled, with the clear message that no corner of the globe can escape results of environmental degradation. The Jamboree’s leitmotif, “Share our world; share our culture” could not have been more appropriate.

Unfortunately, some of the spirit was missing among several of the organizers who seemed intent upon confrontation over issues which they felt did not conform to their own ideas of propriety and management. Some members of the local press, too, while not naming a specific medium, took every advantage to publicize what they considered the “sex angle”, playing up pictures to illustrate their rather jaundiced view.

Let us hope that some of these ‘enlightened’ adults learned a lot from these basically innocent youngsters. The 21st World Scout Jamboree will be held in London in 2007 and the leaders at that gathering will be the products of the Sattahip Jamboree.

Royal Cliff Wine Club hosts year’s first Wine Tasting

It was another successful Wine Tasting for organizers and members of the Royal Cliff Wine Club on January 18 when the club met for the first time this year and showcased an exquisite selection of ten superb New and Old-World wines.

Held at the Grand Ballroom of the Royal Cliff Grand, the Wine Tasting brought together close to a hundred devout members, wine enthusiasts, and new members. Albeit Royal Cliff Grand resident manager Ranjith Chandrasiri’s claim that this particular event was “informal” compared to previous similar events, the event was not short of the usual grandiose set-up done by the Royal Cliff Beach Resort’s enthusiastic and pro- fessional wine butlers.

Ranjit Chandrasiri, resident manager of the Royal Cliff Grand and wine club captain, stands next to an oak barrel, in which wines are kept to mature.

Cannon Pacific Co., Ltd. managing director, Ekachai Mahaguna was the event’s guest of honor and joined Chandrasiri in presenting the wines that were up for tasting.

Hosting well-attended and highly praised wine events like this along with excellent Winemaker’s Dinners is not uncommon for the Royal Cliff Wine Club. Last year alone, the club held over 10 outstanding events. These were graced by world-renowned wine and gourmet luminaries including Michelin Star Chef David Scabin, Chateau Branaire managing director Philippe Dhalluin, chief winemaker of Wolf Blass wines and Baron of Barossa Valley John Glaetzer, fast-rising Hardy’s Australia winemaker Chris Darling, Chateau Raymond Lafon owner Jean Pierre Meslier and World Champion Sommelier Marcus del Monego.

(L to R) Andrew Wood, Soranan Mahaguna, Ekachai Mahaguna, Madam van Boxl-Portael, Ranjit Chandrisiri, resident manager of Royal Cliff Grand.

The club will once again offer a benchmark Italian Winemaker’s Gala Dinner featuring Fantinel wines on February 12 in the Grand Ballroom of the Royal Cliff Grand with cocktails starting at 19.00 hrs.

Guests of honor include owner Marco Fantinel of Fantinel Wines and several wine experts. The event showcases six varieties of outstanding Fantinel wines of Italy along with a six-course gourmet dinner prepared by executive chef Walter Thenisch and his team of culinary experts. Price for this exclusive wine dinner is only 1500 baht net per person inclusive of wines plus royal canap้s during the reception.

Limited seating will be offered at this exclusive event and prior reservation is essential. (For reservations, please call the Wine Club at Tel. nos. 038-250-421 ext. 2782 (from 09:00 to 18:00 hrs) or Guest Relations at ext. 2007 or 2037. Email: [email protected])