HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

Freemasons donate 120 wheelchairs to the Physically Challenged

World acclaimed Youth Orchestra and musicians featuring at the ‘Youth for Youth Music Festival’ at Horseshoe Point Resort & Country Club

WYSTC 2003 at Royal Cliff Beach Resort was huge success

Hobie Nationals to be held at a resurgent Varuna Yacht Club

Ghosts and ghouls haunt Pattaya on Halloween

Immigration Colonel Somsak celebrates his 60th birthday at HJB

Freemasons donate 120 wheelchairs to the Physically Challenged

Thailand hosts the First ever Asia Pacific Masonic Congress

Freemasons from the Asia Pacific region gathered in Bangkok last month to participate in the First Asia Pacific Masonic Congress. This event was held to coincide with the Annual Communication of the District Grand Lodge of the Middle East, holding under the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland.

Maj. Srichai Sapsiri, president of the APHT presents H.K. Neoh RWDGM with a portrait of HRH Princess Sirindhorn receiving the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Humanitarian Award. At right is Xanxai Visitkul, Worshipful Substitute District Grand Master.

In his welcoming address Bro. Neoh Ho Keat Hon. Junior Grand Warden, Right Worshipful District Grand Master (RWDGM) of the District Grand Lodge of the Middle East (DGLME), encompassing 16 Masonic lodges in Malaysia and Thailand, said, “I bid you a warm welcome to this year’s annual communication of the district held here in Thailand. The fact that it is held in Thailand highlights the unique and beautiful attributes of our district and the wide spectrum of countries it governs. The district is proud of our world heritage and is indeed thankful that, despite the great distances that separate us, we have maintained the greatest fraternal bonds, not only amongst the lodges, but also amongst the brethren. I pray these bonds will continue to be further cemented and be a continuing hallmark of our district.”

H.K. Neoh RWDGM (left) greets Narong Patibatsorakij (right), founder of the National Council for the Disabled and former regional representative of Disabled People International (DPI).

Thailand was also honored to be the proud host of the very First Asia Pacific Masonic Congress. During the congress Freemasons, in co-operation with the Tsao Chung Gih Foundation of Taipei, donated 120 wheelchairs to the handicapped under the care of the Association of the Physically Handicapped of Thailand (APHT).

Delighted recipients of the wheelchairs thank H.K. Neoh RWDGM for his benevolence.

Major Sirichai Sapsiri, president of the APHT, said that the association is always on the lookout all over Thailand, searching for physically challenged people who are in need of assistance, especially wheelchairs and manually-operated tricycles to assist them in their mobility.

Office bearers of the District Grand Lodge of the Middle East ensured that the ceremonies were carried out with the highest regard for dignity and esteem for delegates and guests.

Major Sirichai said that the association has approached various organizations appealing for any assistance they could render. “This year, over 600 requests for wheelchairs were received, but we could provide for only two hundred,” said Maj. Sirichai. “We then contacted the Tsao Chung Gih Foundation in Taipei, which, with the cooperation of Bro. Neoh Ho Keat, RWDGM of the DGLME, kindly donated 120 wheelchairs.”

Freemasons gather for a group photo with the recipients of wheelchairs on this memorable occasion.

Recipients of the wheelchairs traveled to Bangkok from eight provinces in Thailand for the presentations, which were held at the JW Marriott Hotel in Bangkok last month. More than 200 Freemasons and guests from the Asia Pacific region and other parts of the world took part in the proceedings.

Brethren from Lodge St. John Bangkok and Lodge Pattaya West Winds enjoy the proceedings.

Maj. Sirichai presented Bro. H. K. Neoh with a portrait depicting HRH Princess Sirindhorn receiving the Franklin Roosevelt Humanitarian Award on behalf of the Thai people at the United Nations in New York. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Humanitarian Award is one of the most prestigious US awards that was instituted by the US government and private foundations to commemorate the United Nations Year of Disabled Persons and to honor former US President Roosevelt who played a major role in the establishments of the world body.

Thailand was the first country to receive this prestigious award for their outstanding progress in bettering opportunities for physically challenged people.

At the close of the ceremonies Bro. H. K. Neoh urged Freemasons the world over to abide by the principle tenets of Freemasonry, which are, Brotherly Love, Relief (Charity) and Truth.

World acclaimed Youth Orchestra and musicians featuring at the ‘Youth for Youth Music Festival’ at Horseshoe Point Resort & Country Club

Still time to catch a show

Suchada Tupchai

The UBS Verbier Festival Youth Orchestra Foundation, in cooperation with Srifuengfung Foundation with the support of the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra Foundation, announced the Y4Y Music Festival is still going on in Pattaya and Bangkok, and continues through November 9.

Music from the mountaintops.

Taking place over 5 days, the festival is a major musical event in the history of Pattaya.

Set in the Three Kingdoms Park and Horseshoe Point Resort in Pattaya, the first four days of the festival have given aspiring Thai musicians from various music and general institutions opportunities to get a glimpse behind the scene of the world-class UBS Verbier Festival Youth Orchestra at its open rehearsals, as well as interact with its great music talents from around the world.

Conductor Charles Dutoit.

The highlight of the festival will be the finale concert by the UBS Verbier Festival Youth Orchestra at the National Theatre on November 9.

HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana, who is a great appreciator of the orchestra, having seen its performances in the Verbier Festival & Academy in the past two years, will be presiding as the royal guest of honor on the occasion of her 80th birthday.

A musical camp with more than 70 local musicians will come together in a 3 nights musical camp providing them the opportunity to interact with the other musicians from around the globe, allowing them to perform in the festival and raise funds for needy in Thailand in need.

The Y4Y Music Festival is still going on in Pattaya and Bangkok, and continues through November 9.

The highlight of the festival will be the finale concert by the UBS Verbier Festival Youth Orchestra at the National Theatre on November 9.

WYSTC 2003 at Royal Cliff Beach Resort was huge success

The World Youth and Student Travel Conference, or WYSTC, recently concluded its week-long program at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort and PEACH (Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall). Recognized as the world’s largest travel show focusing on youth and students, WYSTC 2003 attracted over 500 delegates from all over the world.

The primary hosts of the World Youth and Student Travel Conference were awarded with special gifts from the conference organizers during the farewell reception. Accepting the gifts were (from left) TAT Governor Juthamas Siriwan, Royal Cliff Beach Resort Managing Director Panga Vathanakul, and Deputy Mayor of Pattaya Niran Wattanasarthorn.

The event, a collaboration between the Federation of International Youth Travel Organizations (FIYTO), and the International Student Travel Confederation (ISTC), featured a trade fair at PEACH, as well as numerous seminars, conferences and workshops at the various meeting venues situated at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort.

On average, there were 15 distinct meetings held daily and a total of 19 banquets and after-hour functions held throughout the 5-day event. A total of 160 stands were on hand for the trade show at PEACH.

(From left) WYSTC Conference Director Susan Goldstein, FIYTO President Jack Coronna, TAT Director of Marketing Promotion Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Royal Cliff Beach Resort Managing Director Panga Vathanakul, TAT Governor Juthamas Siriwan, ISTC Chairman Joop van Putten, ISTC Director General David Jones, FIYTO Director General Peter Kruyt, and Royal Cliff Beach Resort General Manager Alexander Haeusler.

Included in the after-hour functions was a spectacular welcome reception hosted by the City of Pattaya at the newly-erected Bali Hai boat pier in South Pattaya and a grand finale farewell reception hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) at the poolside of the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel.

WYSTC 2003 was the 12th installment of the conference which first began in 1992. The event was held in Bangkok in 1999, making this the first time in its history that WYSTC has returned to the same country destination.

Hobie Nationals to be held at a resurgent Varuna Yacht Club

New clubhouse foundation stone set at Kasetsin Beach, Pattaya Point

by Peter Cummins

Even as the Royal Varuna Yacht Club was setting its course, nautically speaking, for the next three decades of yachting, racing and cruising activities, frantic preparations were being finalized to resurrect the club’s erstwhile dormant fleet of Hobie Cat 16s, in advance of next week’s National Championship. Hobie Cat representative/distributor for Thailand, Gary Baguley, his son Adrian and Antony Chapman, amongst others, have retrieved upwards of 40 craft languishing in the boat racks at Varuna and readied them for the Thai Nationals.

(L to R) Commodore Christopher J. King (1986-88) founding member HSH Bhisadej Rajanee (1957), and Hobie Cat hot contestants and national champs, Susan and Commodore David Race (1966/1967). (Photo Farida King)

According to Gary, it will constitute the biggest fleet of Hobies seen in Pattaya since the 1997 economic meltdown, which greatly affected the marine sector.

As if to underwrite this ‘Hobie Redux’, Royal Varuna Yacht Club, just last weekend, laid the foundation stone for the construction of a splendid new clubhouse at the present site at Kasetsin Beach, Pattaya Point, which it has occupied since 1967.

Commodores both: Albert T. Chandler (1975-1977) (right) and Peter Cummins (1979, 1980). (Photo by Farida King)

Flag Commodore Robert England, presiding over the weekend’s special events, invited Prince Bhisadej Rajanee - a club founding member, confidante and sailing companion of His Majesty the King over several decades - to officiate at the ceremony “rich in Brahmin tradition and symbolism”, said Robert after the very impressive formalities were concluded.

Preparing for the foundation-stone laying: HSH Bhisadej Rajanee (right) and Flag Commodore Robert England (2nd right). (Photo Damri Muangkaew)

The new clubhouse has been designed by Australian architect and club member Peter Harper and is due for completion within the next twelve months, adding a most striking profile to the Pattaya-Jomtien cityscape and shoreline.

Prince Bhisadej, founding club member and Flag Commodore Robert England (right) inspect the inscription. (Photo Farida King)

His Majesty the King bestowed Royal Patronage on the Club on 26 April 1965, and graciously officiated at the opening of the present club in October 1967.

Varuna last year signed another 30-year lease on this prime site, arguably the best on the Eastern Seaboard, and the new development programme will ensure Royal Varuna’s pre-eminent position as the Kingdom’s premier sailing club for the next three decades.

Enjoying the Commodore’s Dinner: (L to R) Lawnin Crawford (1997, 1998), Incumbent Robert England, Incumbent Vice Commodore Khun Sunti and senior staff Chusri. (Photo Farida King)

On the preceding evening, Robert hosted a dinner for the club’s founding members and the long list of commodores who had preceded him. Many anecdotes were recounted, with HSH Bhisadej, particularly, reminiscing on the King’s love of sailing. Pointing out that he was His Majesty’s crew and instructor, one comes to the immediate conclusion that Bhisadej was simultaneously the King’s “crew and khru”! Bhisadej concurred. As with any group of sailors, memories, jokes and several tall stories permeated the air.

Hobie Cat 16

The Hobie Cat Nationals, sponsored by Hobie Cat Australasia and Blue Wave Watersports Co., Ltd., is the first major event to be held since the club’s new “Lease (of life)” and more than forty entries have been received widely from the region, with Hong Kong sending five teams, the Philippines two, Oman two, Singapore, Australia and UK one each. Some twenty teams from host club Royal Varuna and Royal Thai Navy will also be in contention, with David/Susan Race from Varuna, and Damrongsak Vongtim from the Royal Thai Navy base in Sattahip.

Commodore England and Sandra drive the Hobie. (Photo Brendan Richards)

But, it is not just numbers which are satisfying; it is the high level of performers which includes five former Hobie Cat National champions of Thailand. “But, Thailand’s finest are going to be very hard-pressed by the region’s best if they wish to retain the Thailand National title this year,” said Gary.

The very strong contingent from Hong Kong, top teams from the Philippines, and Oman, and the major event sponsor, Steve Fields, head of Hobie Cat Australasia, are going to be in hot pursuit of former Thai national champions, Peter and Juliet Bates, the fastest sailors in the region, now domiciled in New Zealand, who have just won the Hobie Cat Asian Classic in Hong Kong.

In fact, the results of the Asian Classic show that the sailors coming over for the Thai Nationals filled almost all the top placings.

The race management has divided the regatta into two categories: the top-level champions and the more local sailors, ranging from comparative novices to mid-level competitors.

The other good news is that the northerly monsoons have arrived in the Gulf, blowing steadily from north-west veering north-east. But, one does not need to look seawards or consult the meteorological charts just to know that the Leemanns, the first of the flock of migratory birds, escaping what promises to be a very harsh northern winter, have arrived in Pattaya. Their timing is deadly accurate, for the monsoon set in only two days ago.

It is, indeed, going to be a weekend of very exciting, competitive racing off South Pattaya on November 15 &16, a fitting opening to Royal Varuna’s new era.

Anyone interested in viewing the action, crewing or just plain enjoying the ambience and the northerlies, should contact Gary Baguley, e-mail: [email protected] blue wavewatersports.com; or Antony Chapman, e-mail: [email protected] sports.com

Ghosts and ghouls haunt Pattaya on Halloween

Suchada Tupchai

All Hallows Eve was celebrated in Pattaya last Friday evening as many of the city’s entertainment spots got into the spirit of the night. Staff at a number of bars hotels dressed for the occasion and ghosts, ghouls and goblins traipsed through the streets and shadows.

One of the places to be was the Hard Rock Cafe where a delightful mix of Thai and western style ghouls did the graveyard shuffle to the sounds of the ‘Elizabeth Band’.

Benihana in the Royal Garden Plaza held a special ‘Zombie set dinner’ as ghostly waiters and waitresses ambled their guests to tables before setting up the show.

Henry J Beans at the Amari Orchid was equally as scary with both hotel staff and guests dressed for the occasion.

Elsewhere in Pattaya along Second and Third roads there was a noticeable amount of paranormal activity, as local residents and visitors celebrated the holiday dressed in eerie costumes for the special night.

It was the “Beni-Horror Picture Show” at Benihana Japanese Steakhouse.

“I’m just a dancing ghoul” at Henry J Bean’s.

“Trick or Treat!” These little munchkins showed up outside Henry J Bean’s.

Frank N Stein, esq. and his band of eerie goblins haunted the Hard Rock Cafe.

Immigration Colonel Somsak celebrates his 60th birthday at HJB

Police Colonel of the Immigration Office, Somsak Senavinin, enjoyed his 60th birthday celebration at Henry J. Bean’s Bar & Grill (Amari Orchid Resort) during the middle of last month.

His colleagues, friends and family came to congratulate him on this special occasion. The management and staff of the Amari Orchid Resort prepared a pleasant surprise for Somsak by arranging a dance performance followed by the presentation of a birthday cake, and as he blew out the candles everyone wished him a long and prosperous life.

(From left) Latiporn Tongkhunna (professional development manager), Orapin Musiknavabutr (executive assistant manager), Wichien Leepirojkul (Police Maj. at the Immigration Office) and Lookfa Pinthong (personnel officer).

Orapin Musiknavabutr (right), executive assistant manager of the Amari Orchid Resort and Lookfa Pinthong (left), personnel officer, came to congratulate Somsak Senavinin (center) on this special occasion on behalf of the hotel’s management and staff.

Pol. Col. Somsak enjoyed the party with colleagues, friends and family.

HJB staff put on a special dance performance for the immigration colonel’s birthday.

Honored guest, Somsak Senavinin (center), Immigration Office Police Colonel, cuts his birthday cake at Henry J Bean’s. The surprise birthday cake came from the management and staff of Amari Orchid Resort, including Orapin Musiknavabutr (2nd left), the executive assistant manager.

Skal International