HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

Majestic Vegetarian Festival 2004 begins in Pattaya

Vegetarian Festival - Origins

Pattaya Marriott Resort & Spa unveils new image

A prosperous future through cooperation

Old Germany celebrates grand Oktoberfest shindig

Adoring fans remember famous Thai film star Mitr Chiabancha

Majestic Vegetarian Festival 2004 begins in Pattaya

Thousands participate in opening activities with largest ‘Jabchai Jae’ pot in the country

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

At the auspicious hour of 12.29 p.m. October 13 at South Pattaya’s Bali Hai Pier, the calling of the spirits and deities to earth began with the massive parade celebrating the start of Pattaya’s Vegetarian Festival. The festival will finish on October 23. Local politicians, vendors and Thai-Chinese residents totaling over 1,000 people took part in the parade.

Pattaya City, in conjunction with the Tourism Authority of Thailand Central Region 3, Sawang Boriboon Foundation, private enterprise and the provincial administration, organized the activities and the parade for the vegetarian festival.

A large dragon featured in the parade as well as lions and provincial floats carrying sacred images. The parade made its way from Bali Hai to the Chaiyamongkhol Temple intersection, along Pattaya Second Road to Central Pattaya Road, then on to the Third Road intersection.

Walkers then boarded a bus and were taken to the Wat Sawangfa School (Pattaya School No. 3), Pattaya-Naklua for another stint along Beach Road to Larn Poh at the Vegetarian Hall in Naklua for the grand opening ceremonies of the “Majestic Vegetarian Festival, full in merit, full of heart Pattaya 2004”. All this was done to call on the deities “Kew Uan Huang Hook Jo” and “Phra Rahu”.

Santsak Ngamphiches, advisor to the minister of tourism and sports presided over the opening ceremonies and added ingredients to the ‘Jabchai Jae’ pot, the largest in Thailand. He was joined by Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn, Wisit Chawalitnititham, Sawang Boriboon Foundation president and residents in preparing the vegetarian dish. Once complete, plates of ‘Jabchai Jae’ were then handed out to over 1,000 people. Representatives from Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum were present to record the event.

Mayor Niran and city councilors later handed over much needed equipment to Wisit Chawalitnititham, Sawang Boriboon Foundation’s president, for the foundation’s rescue department.

‘Jabchai Jae’ was cooked in the country’s largest pot; the food was created by many chefs from Pattaya’s Thai Hotels Association member hotels. The pot is 3 meters in diameter, 1.20 meters deep and holds 8,478 liters. Ten varieties of vegetables and 8 sauces and spice were used to produce 5,380 kilograms of ‘Jabchai Jae’.

Calling of the ‘deities’ at Vegetarian Hall.

Residents paid their respects to the deities.

The expression says it all about the taste.

Pratheep Malhotra, Pattaya Mail managing director and Wannapa Wannasri, Pattaya Education department supervisor emceed the event in English and Thai respectively.

Pattaya Chef’s Association created the country’s biggest pot of ‘Jabchai Jae’.

Troop of local ‘deities’ perform.

Lovely ladies dressed in Chinese attire lead the “Engkor Pabu” dancers.

Golden Dragon, from Paknampo in Nakhon Sawan rises high above the street sprouting fireworks from its mouth.

Residents dressed in white join in the parade.

Somporn Narkchuatrong, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum general manager, presented a plaque certifying that it was indeed the largest pot of ‘Jabchai Jae’ in Thailand.

Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn and Chansak Chawalitnititham, Chonburi MP took part in the ceremonies in Naklua.


Vegetarian Festival - Origins

On the first day of the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, the faithful honor 9 deities: one symbolizing each day of the week and two others, Phra Rahu and Phra Kaet. To do this, the faithful purify their bodies and souls through prayer and partaking of fruit and vegetables for 9 days and 9 nights: a thousand years of tradition remains firmly entrenched in today’s modern society.

Throughout the nine days and nights, those participating in the festival cleanse their bodies of animal products by following a strict vegetarian diet; the wear clean white garments and make merit through offerings and prayers and meditation to cleanse their souls and minds in the search for better health and prosperity over the coming year. They follow the strict rules:

1. Not to take life of an animal for the prolongation of our own.

2. Not to take the blood of living animals, to replenish our own.

3. Not to take animal flesh to nourish our own.

The legend of how it began

A small village was faced with a terrible disease causing people to die. The village headman consulted with a monk at the local temple seeking guidance.

The monk instructed the village headman to pray to the 9 deities and as the disease subsided the villagers joined the headman in presenting offerings and praying, presenting offerings of rice and vegetables as part of the ceremonies. They abstained from eating the flesh of animals and made merit and donations to those in need. The ceremonies have continued for the last 1,000 years.

Pattaya’s Vegetarian Festival began some 57 years ago (1957) when the Chinese business community in Naklua formed what is now known as the Sawang Boriboon Foundation. From throughout Banglamung and Sattahip, they collected bodies of the deceased who had no relatives for religious rites and a proper burial. During this ceremonial period, the devotees practiced vegetarianism and wore only white clothing.

At the end of the ceremonies they built a shrine to the ‘Paed Sian’ deity, which was completed on the first day of the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. The festival has been celebrated here ever since.

Pattaya Marriott Resort & Spa unveils new image

Makes 50 million baht investment

Suchada Tupchai

The Pattaya Marriott Resort & Spa, led by William E. Heinecke, chairman and CEO of Royal Garden Resort Plc and Kevin J. Beauvais, chief operating officer of Royal Garden Resorts Plc presided over a ‘thank you party’ and the grand opening of their new swimming pool as well as the unveiling of the hotel’s new image. The event took place on October 9 around the pool area with honored guests and hotel customers, staff and management joining in the lime green theme of the new ‘Manao Bar’.

Ford-Sobchai Kraiyusen, famous Thai musician wowed guests with his performance.

The Pattaya Marriott Resort & Spa’s new look is part of a 50 million baht investment in renovation and re-opening. The lavishly refurbished pool area, Garden Cafe Restaurant, Manao Bar and Poolside Sala were officially opened. The new beautiful look of the Marriott also coincides with the opening of the hotel’s new Chinese restaurant - The Rice Mill.

William E. Heinecke (left) and Kevin J. Beauvais open the ‘fiery’ champagne magnums, declaring the party open.

The new pool, the highlight of the event, is 650 square meters and set amid lavish natural landscaping. Bill Bensely, one of the designers of the project, and well-known throughout Asia, participated in the project planning. The new pool includes hydrotherapy jacuzzis to ease those aches and pains, in a unique oriental style featuring a fusion of Thai, Burmese and Cambodian influences. A special point is a new sala from the Mandara Spa providing poolside service for hotel guests.

Traditional Thai musicians greeted guests.

During the event, the atmosphere created by colorful lighting was embellished by a water ballet show and numerous other activities and a special guest appearance by famous Thai actor Oliver Pupart.

William E. Heinecke, chairman and CEO of Royal Garden Resort Plc said in his speech, “Welcome to you all and thank you to those who made this possible. Tonight we join in opening a new era for the hotel.”

Mandara Spa, part of the poolside services.

Specials stage shows were held to mark the occasion.

The festivities included the opening of two champagne magnums, dazzling fireworks and a special show by Ford-Sobchai Kraiyusen, famous Thai musician, creating a romantic atmosphere enhanced by spectacular light and sound throughout the pool area. The grand opening was a splendid event and enjoyed by all.

Colorful atmosphere around the poolside.

A prosperous future through cooperation

TGI takes knowledge to the workplace

Thomas Sassen

On October 7, TGI hosted an industrial exhibition titled, “A Prosperous Future through Cooperation” and a technical seminar in their impressive branch at the Amata Nakorn industrial estate in Chonburi.

Due to the recent restructuring of the Thai cabinet, unfortunately no member of the Thai government was able to participate in the event. However, German Ambassador Andreas von Stechow held the opening speech. He focused on the significance of innovation, discussed the competitiveness of the Thai industry and stressed the importance of a good, praxis oriented vocational training.

During his “Your Point of Technology Transfer” speech, TGI German director Walter Kretschmar discussed the causal dependences between education, the political system and the competitiveness of the industry.

Thai director of TGI, Narong Warongkriangkrai held a short opening speech, and then Walter Kretschmar, the German director, went to the lectern. At his speech, under the motto “Your Point of Technology Transfer”, he was aided by a big screen, where as part of a presentation charts and diagrams were shown. After some statements about the history and the development of the TGI, he discussed the causal dependences between education, the political system and the competitiveness of the industry.

(L to R) TGI Thai director Narong Warongkriangkrai, German Ambassador Andreas von Stechow and TGI German director Walter Kretschmar

“Regular education in schools and universities is of course very important, but vocational training is important as well. Each year in Thailand about 50,000 students are leaving universities with Bachelor or Master Degrees, who don’t find a job because they don’t have any vocational experience. Only the dual system ‘classroom – workplace’ will lead to success. That’s why funded and praxis oriented vocational training is so important. Well-trained workers, technicians and vocational academy engineers will help the industry to increase the innovation, to build social and financial security, to improve the productivity and to reduce poverty. This causes an increase of competitiveness for Thai industry in global markets,” said Kretschmar.

“At the present rate of globalization it is very easy for companies and affiliated groups to take their production abroad. For this, Thailand is one of the target countries – the automotive industry is the best example. But the companies are not only looking for cheap labor. Increasingly, they are looking for well trained human resources,” Kretschmar added.

After the speeches, the participants of the event, about 200 businessmen, managers and representatives of Thai and German companies, went to visit the industrial exhibition. Due to the limited space no machines were shown, but a lot of smaller work pieces and product examples could be viewed, and several well-known companies from Thailand and Germany introduced their production and products on show boards, such as BMW, Siemens (Skytrain), Thai Heng (foundry and machining), JJ-Lapp Cable (electric cable and connectors), Getabec (pressure vessels and heat exchangers), Doosan (CNC machines), Ingersoll-Rand and CNC design (both machine-building), O’Connor’s (precision measuring equipment), Fibro (standard parts, automation and robotics), C.H. Schaefer (gear-building), Delcam (machine-building) and Merlin Gerin and Telemecanique (both electric machines), to name just a few.

Representatives of the companies explained about their production and their products, including Ralf Gunter Broda of the Heatec Co. Ltd. from Laem Chabang, the builder of heat exchangers, and his 29-employee counting company. They can be tailor-made to all sizes and needs, up to heat exchangers for power plants. A special kind of synthetic heat exchangers, Heatec is actually the only supplier worldwide. Some of the very special or precise parts are imported from Germany, other parts and materials come from Thailand, and the assembly takes place in Laem Chabang. Most orders for the heat exchangers which the company builds come from Germany.

The participants were served a lunch, and in the afternoon a technical seminar about three different themes took place. Buranang Suksamitti from Delcam (Thailand) Co. Ltd. spoke about “3 Dimensional Mould Design”, and Vuttipong Vongsankakorn from Omron Electronics Co. Ltd. presented the topic “RFID the next step of auto-identification”. After a coffee break Natthawut Klowuttisathien discussed the topic “Maintenance on the CNC machines” at the closure of this informative event.

The Thai-German Institute (TGI), established in 1995, is a joint initiative of the Thai Ministry of Industry and the Industrial Development Foundation (IDF), the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the German Technical Development Agency (GTZ) and the German Development Bank (KFW). The main task for TGI is to offer non-formal, industrial and vocational training courses, including tool & die technology, CNC & CAD/CAM technology, automation technology, industrial information technology and plant productivity management.

In their courses they put their main focus on praxis orientation. The lessons are taken to the workplace. To enable this, TGI dispersed a collection of industrial machines and equipment worth 700 million baht, including two CNC turning 3 axis machines, three CNC milling machines with 3, 4 and 5 axis, a high speed milling machine, a laser cutting machine, a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) and a rubber and polymer quality tester with nuclear magnetic resonance. There are also 3 CAD/CAM labs, a material testing lab and a heat treatment lab.

If the course graduates are taught theory about some step of manufacturing, they can stand up and immediately test it out at the corresponding machine. This praxis orientation is usually missing in the vocational education in Thailand. A lot of teachers and trainers at Thai vocational schools have a Bachelor degree from a university, but they’ve never seen a factory hall from the inside.

Other tasks at the TGI are SME development support, CE and GS certification support (German product quality certificates), additional support services including technical and management seminars, and of course general support to Thai industry by technology transfer. To enable this, TGI have a human resource pool of 120 employees, Thais and Germans which have all received training from Germany. This also ensures the technology transfer from Germany to Thailand. A course certificate from the TGI is nearly a guarantee for a job and is in more demand from Thai industry than a Bachelor degree.

The training courses are laid out as short-term intensive courses (3 to 5 days), mid-term courses (4 months) and long-term courses (16 months). Additionally, TGI can organize training directly in the customer’s companies. Of course, for all training courses and other offers, fees must be paid, but nevertheless the TGI is a non-profit institute, and all profits must be re-invested.

Old Germany celebrates grand Oktoberfest shindig

Elfi Seitz

With genuine Oktoberfest beer and songs, the annual Oktoberfest was celebrated in “Old Germany”, the German restaurant in Maptaput, last Wednesday. It will also be celebrated every Wednesday this month.

James Osterwald provides the music, and it was great, toe-tapping, dancing music, too.

The jaunty waitresses, in their traditional dirndl dresses, exactly like their counterparts in Munich, carried large beer mugs to the guests, who downed them so quickly that the women quickly needed to return with refills.

Of course, there were also fantastic Oktoberfest specialties to fill the stomach - schweinshax’n, bratwurst and sauerkraut. But as opposed to the Oktoberfest tents in Munich, here there were delicious homemade tarts for dessert, baked by Pat, the hostess. The revelers in Munich would have been green with envy if they had seen how everyone here tucked in!

Hey James, what time is it? It’s beer time! Make mine a double - or am I just seeing double?

German James Osterwald provided the music. Reckon the name is a bit unusual? Well, host Dieter Floeth has a foible for artistic names and they should at least a bit German. So he, as it were, threw the two great German artistes James Last and Hazy Osterwald into a pot and renamed his all-round keyboard musician James Osterwald. Exactly like his waitresses have German names like Olga, Frieda or Anna.

Of course, the guests who turned up in traditional Oktoberfest garb were delighted at this weekly Oktoberfest shindig, which takes place till the end of the month.

May I have this dance, frauline?

 I know, let’s put on silly hats and pretend we’re in Munich.

Good friends, silly hats and great beer. This is the good life.


Adoring fans remember famous Thai film star Mitr Chiabancha

Crowds gather at Jomtien Beach shrine to pay respects

Suchada Tupchai

Thirty-four years to the day, adoring fans still pay tribute to Mitr Chaibancha at the spot where he lost his life. Mitr died after falling from a helicopter during a film shoot on Jomtien Beach on October 8, 1970. Locals regard the memorial site, located in a quiet area on the little soi that runs parallel to, but inland from Jomtien Beach Road, as a shrine of good luck and those who adore the film star remember with great love the boxer-turned-actor.

People from all walks of life still pay their respects at the shrine in Jomtien where Mitr Chaibancha’s life was tragically cut short.

For 34 years fans have come and prayed to his memory. He was a very well known movie star, and was idolized by his millions of fans. It was during the filming of Insee Thong (Golden Eagle) on October 8,1970, in the then small village of Pattaya that Mitr was to make his last appearance. The stunt shot required him to cling onto the rope ladder of a helicopter, which was to get airborne and fly off into the sunset as the final scene in the movie. As the helicopter gained height Mitr lost his grip and fell to his death on Dongtan (Sugar Palm) Beach.

Mitr Chaibancha is enshrined in Jomtien.

A shrine was built at the spot where Mitr died and is a place of pilgrimage for many of his devoted fans. They come from all walks of life and from different parts of Thailand.

Orathai Noparat, a 50 year old teacher from Nakhon Nayok, knew Mitr Chaibancha personally when she was younger. She adored his films and more especially his charm. She prays for him and believes that this will bring good luck in her life.

Many photos of Mitr Chaibancha hang respectfully at the Jomtien shrine.

“After I worship him, I receive good things in my life” said Orathai, adding that she comes to Pattaya twice a month to do this. She said it makes her feel good and gives her the strength to believe and accomplish things in her life. Her family members are also fans of Mitr Chaibancha and they revere him as well. “This is our own personal belief and we don’t try to persuade others to worship him. If I think positively, positive things happen in my life,” said Orathai.

Pattaya Mail reporters spoke to a flower, incense and candle salesman at the revered spirit house, who said many people from all walks of life come to pay their respects. “They think this will bring them good luck, especially with the lottery numbers,” he said.

The venerated wooden spirit house was built by Thanet Munprasitchai and is situated in a soi off Jomtien Road in front of the Banglamung District Revenue Department, at the back Jomtien Palm Beach Hotel. Inside the spirit house is a life-size statue of Mitra Chaibancha. He is holding a gun in his hand reminiscent of his numerous roles as an action movie star. The walls are lined with rare photographs of him together with other action stars.

Mitr’s life is a rags to riches story. Pichet Pumhem was born into poverty in Petchaburi Province on January 28, 1934. At the tender age of 8 his mother moved to Bangkok where he was introduced to and studied Thai boxing. In 1952 he became a lightweight boxing champion for his school, and eventually went on to win 2 Lightweight division titles, which gained him his first feel of fame. After finishing secondary school (M.6) he studied at Pranakhon College. A year later he was accepted into the Royal Thai Air Force aviation school where he trained to as a pilot. After graduation, he worked at Don Muang Military Airbase, teaching pilots how to fly and ‘dog-fight’.

In 1957 close friends showed his photograph to journalist Kingkaew Kaewprasert, who introduced him to Surat Pukkawet, the editor of a movie magazine. Before long he starred in his very first film titled Chart Sua. It was then that he decided to change his name from Pichet Pumhem to Mitr Chaibancha. He caught the attention of Thai movie fans after starring in “Chao Nakleng” using the character name Rom Ritthikrai from Insee Daeng series.

In 1959 he married Jaruwan in a private ceremony. In 1961 a son, Yuthana (Ton) was born. The marriage didn’t last long and ended in a divorce.

In 1961 he starred in his first film with Petchara Chaowarat titled Banthuk Rak Pimchawee. This was to be the beginning of one of the most celebrated hero-heroine partnerships. The Mitr-Petchara team made more than 200 films together.

In 1970, he started to produce his own films, in which he also starred as the leading actor. His first production Insee Thong, featured the return of Insee Daeng, or detective Rom Rittikrai.

On the morning of that fateful day, which was the last day of shooting, the script called for Mitr, having vanquished the bad guys at their hideout on Dongtan Beach in Pattaya to fly off in a helicopter. As the camera rolled, Mitr leapt from the ground to grab the rope ladder. The helicopter flew higher and higher. Within moments Mitr lost his grip and fell to the ground. The horror was all caught on film and was actually left in the final theatrical release for all to see.

Early investigations thought that the ladder had broken, but it proved to be intact. Mitr’s death was ruled as an accident. Other theories allege that there should have been two takes for that final scene. The first would be of Mitr grabbing the ladder and flying at low altitude and a stunt man would have preformed the second shot at higher altitude. Unfortunately the crew was running out of film and therefore kept the cameras rolling unbeknown to the hapless star who could not hold on much longer.