HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

Treechada Petcharat crowned Miss International Queen 2004 in a pageant of glitter and glamour

Fashionable ghouls haunt Pattaya on Halloween

Bangkok Pattaya Hospital Charity Fair

PILC monthly luncheon treated to “Diwali” festivities

India’s Diwali Festival celebrates the joys of life

Treechada Petcharat crowned Miss International Queen 2004 in a pageant of glitter and glamour

Staff Reporters

Twenty-four of the most beautiful ‘women of the second category’ took Pattaya by storm last week as they toured and played at the various tourist attractions at this world renowned beach resort, in preparation for the day when one of them would be crowned the queen of queens.

The lovely girls visit the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital

Their week came to a close on Saturday November 7, when they took to the stage at Tiffany’s Show Pattaya where in view of a packed auditorium they proudly strutted about the stage like peacocks in their full glory, dressed to the nines. Each trying to out-dress and outshine their counterparts, or their competitors rather, in their bid to woo the judges with charm and beauty, so that one of them would be chosen as Miss International Queen 2004.

Nong Poy goes for a joy-ride on the back of this road monster. (The bike that is)

They came from 13 different countries, some from as far away as France and Germany, others from relatively closer destinations such as Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Each more beautiful than their other and some even more muscular.

The charming contestants enjoy a bit of spicy Thai food and a lot of warm Thai hospitality.

Almost one thousand people packed Tiffany’s auditorium to cheer on their favourites. The contest was televised live on ITV and seen all over Thailand. During the telecast, audiences were encouraged to SMS in their cyber votes.

Tiffany’s Show, 30 years of success, attracting audiences from all over the world.

Tiffany’s Show, Pattaya’s original Transvestite Cabaret show, is celebrating their 30th anniversary and put on a set of shows, as one person in the audience said in amazement, “Comparable to the best in Las Vegas”. The themes depicted their history, which had humble beginnings as a little corner nightclub at the Bali Hai pier. In the early days when it all began, the show had only 4 entertainers, and has now grown to a respectable 60-member troupe.

The Phanthusak family gathers around to celebrate sis’s birthday. (l-r) Mummy Orawan, the birthday girl Alisa, papa Sutham, Warasaya and Lalida

At the end of a most fascinating night, where contestants pranced around in their national costumes, swimsuits and evening gowns, Treechada Petcharat (Nong Poy) from Thailand was crowned Miss International Queen 2004, followed very closely by the beautiful Arisha Rani from India and Ma Cristina Dandan of the Philippines. They were presented with prizes of US$ 7000, US$ 3000 and US$ 2000 respectively.

In other categories, Choi Jong Soo from Korea won the Best National Dress competition and received US$ 1000, Irene Sue from Germany was chosen Miss Congeniality receiving US$ 500 and Angela from Taiwan was picked by the press as Miss Photogenic receiving US $ 500.

The two hot favourites, Treechada and Arisha, who went on to win the crown and first runner-up, also won the Best Swimsuit and Best Evening Gown competitions, each receiving an extra US $1000 respectively.

Nong Poy, 21, is the reigning Miss Tiffany’s Universe, having been crowned in April this year. Her vital statistics are 34-24-35, weighs 48 kilogrammes and is studying for a Bachelors degree at the Rajbhat Suan Dusit College.

To end the queen of all celebrations that evening, Sutham Phanthusak the MD of Tiffany’s threw a little birthday party for his daughter Alisa, who also celebrated her birthday that day. Alisa is the assistant MD of Tiffany’s and was instrumental in orgainsing and making a success of this world-class event. Family and friends gathered around a huge birthday cake singing Happy Birthday. Alisa cut the cake as her father popped the champagne cork celebrating not only the successes of his businesses but also the happiness and unity of the Phanthusak family.

Fashionable ghouls haunt Pattaya on Halloween

Staff Reporters

All Hallows Eve, October 31, was celebrated in Pattaya’s numerous entertainment venues, hotels, restaurants and shopping centers, each in their own style. Ghosts, ghouls, zombies and demons were seen throughout the city haunting their respective ‘terror-tories’.

The Hard Rock Cafe held a ‘Dead Men Walking Weekend’ at the end of October, carrying out traditional and contemporary activities including a ‘Phee Pha’ Party Dance to the tunes hammered out by the in-house, Elizabeth Band.

The Royal Garden Plaza held a ghoulish pageant with contestants dressed in their favorite and most outrageous costume, with participants from 7 to 70 taking part. The beauties from the grave flaunted and haunted the center stage with a ‘demonic ghost’ taking the 10,000 baht first prize for the ghastly display of bizarre death.

Upstairs at Benihana, it was vampires galore as restaurant staff were decked out under the concept of ‘Sexy Dracula’, complete with a ‘Sexy Dracula Bartender’ show that amused diners and guests.

In North Pattaya, Henry J. Beans, Amari Orchid Resort saw guests greeted by a giant skull as they entered the twilight of the bar, scared into being served by skeletons and batty staff. The family venue provided entertainment for both adults and kids in a ‘Casper’ style of service.

With all major venues conducting their own activities, Pattaya’s bars and restaurants dragged the corpses out of the closets and celebrated with ghastly antics creating fun for all throughout the night and past the bewitching hour.

Ghoulish dancers and staff were a frightening sight at the Hard Rock Cafe Pattaya.

Sanya Kunsingha, “Tiger demon” took out second prize and 5,000 baht in the Royal Garden’s Halloween Pageant.

Somyot Nardsuk, using broken glass and copious amounts of fake blood, scared the judges so much they had to award him winner of the ghostly pageant at the Royal Garden Plaza.

Where’d that corpse go?

What’s for dinner? Meatloaf!

“I vant to drrink your bloooood.”

“No, I’m not on the menu.” “You are tonight.”

Miniature ghosts, ghouls and hobgoblins showed up at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, which hosted a kid’s party with their own Halloween theme.

It was the night of the living dead as ‘A gaggle of ghosts and ghouls’ terrorized the Royal Garden Plaza on Halloween.

The new bartenders’ diet: Serving too many drinks will leave you with nothing but bones...

Witches at your door? Don’t worry, at Henry J. Beans Spiderman will save you.

Batty staff at Henry J. Beans haunt the entrance.

Vampires at Benihana served up witches brew ...

Bangkok Pattaya Hospital Charity Fair

In what has now become an annual event, looked forward to by all the bargain hunters, the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital’s spacious lobby area was again transformed into an Aladdin’s Cave full of treasures last weekend.

The Fountain of Life

Many organizations took advantage of the venue, with the Camillian Center from Rayong selling hand-made wares done by the children themselves. Another stalwart in the charity field is the Rayong Ladies Circle, with Welfare Chairperson Helle Rantsen doing very well selling all the organic vegetables grown as one of the projects for the remand home.

Rotary Club of Pattaya

Pattaya Rotary Club was very active, selling wonderful cheap blankets that had been made by Isaan women as part of a charity project, but as sometimes happens, the project foundered. The Pattaya Rotary Club heard of their predicament and stepped in, and the local shoppers were the beneficiaries.

Pattaya City Expats Club

The Pattaya International Ladies Club were also doing a brisk business selling their hand made Christmas crackers, as well as selling copies of their Living in Pattaya and Rayong guide book (which incidentally will be reviewed in Lang Reid’s book column next week).

The Jesters and Kid.

During the day, shoppers (and sellers) were entertained by children from the Photisampan School playing classical Thai stringed instruments, with three very well turned out young musicians making sure that some Thai traditions and customs are not forgotten in today’s hectic world.

Not only did the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital provide the venue for the fair, but it also supplied lunch for the stall holders, making a very generous contribution themselves to the many charity projects that are carried out on the Eastern Seaboard.

Som and Dr. Iain’s Treasure Trove

Brunhilde making a sale.

Rayong Ladies Circle

PILC monthly luncheon treated to “Diwali” festivities

Indian by Nature was the setting for the PILC luncheon on November 3. This was a special venue, because of it being the start of the Diwali Indian Festival of Light in India. It was a perfect place for the PILC to be introduced to the Indian culture by Av Khanijou, on what is the “Festival of Light” and why it’s so popular in India.

Av Khanijou enlightens the audience on the legend of Diwali.

After explaining all about the festival, Av, befitting the occasion, introduced a Bharat Natyam dancer from Bangkok, who explained the meaning of Bharat Natyam.

“Bharat Natyam is the most intricate and famous of all the south Indian classical dance forms,” she said. “There is some controversy as to whether Bharat Natyam is exclusively a south Indian style of dance or whether it was also prevalent in the past in North India.

Indian ladies both true and foreign born look lovely in their Indian dresses.

“Bharat Natyam was at one time only performed by a community of women called Devdasis, which means ‘servants of God’. These women were brought up by the temple, never married, and their life’s sole purpose was to dance in honor of the temple’s presiding deity.

The master of the Bharata Natyam mesmerizes the audience.

“The word Bharat consists of a combination of 3 words – Bhava-feeling, Raga-melody, Taal-rhythm. The word Natyam translates as dance. So Bharat Natyam is a dance uniting feelings, melody and rhythm. Each and every movement is charged with meaning and conveys different emotions. The dance is normally accompanied by a singer, drummer and one or two musicians on stringed instruments. This form of classical dance can now be performed by both men and women.”

Rita Cromwell, hospitality, presents Gill Smith, team member as “Sunshine Person”, with a bouquet of flowers as Sharon Tibbitts looks on.

Not only was the show classical, but the Indian buffet also deserved a big applause.

As PILC has many ladies who come into the Pattaya area as expats, there are always times when we must say “good-bye” to committee and support team members which make PILC possible.

President Sharon Tibbitts (right) presents Candace Chia with a trophy engraved with her name and the year she served as PILC Treasurer (2004).

Two of these members received gifts and flowers for their dedication and hard work: Candace Chia, PILC Treasure for the year 2004 and Gill Smith, team member as “Sunshine Person”.

India’s Diwali Festival celebrates the joys of life

Av Khanijou

India is a land of festivals. Diwali, the festival of lights is celebrated with great fervor and gaiety. The festival is celebrated by young and old, rich and poor throughout the country to dispel darkness and to light up people’s lives. The festival symbolizes unity in diversity as every state celebrates Diwali in its own special way.

The festival of Diwali extends over five days. Because of the lights, fireworks and sweets involved, it is a great favorite with children.

What does the word Diwali mean? The name of the festival comes from the Sanskrit word Dipavali, meaning row of lights. Diwali is known as the ‘festival of lights’ because houses, shops and public places are decorated with small earthenware oil lamps called Diyas. These lamps, which are traditionally fueled by mustard oil, are placed in rows in window, doors and outside buildings to decorate them.

What is the significance of Diwali? According to Hindu mythology and popular belief, Diwali celebrates the return of the Hindu God Ram and his wife Sita to the kingdom of Ayodhya. Ram had been in exile for 14 years because of a disagreement as to whether he or his brother should be the next king of Ayodhya.

Diwali is also a celebration of the triumph of good over evil. The wicked king of the island of Lanka, Ravana had kidnapped Sita. Ravana is said to have had ten heads, signifying that his intelligence was equivalent to that of ten people. After a great battle Ram killed the demon and recovered his wife.

Ram’s return with his wife to Ayodyha and his subsequent coronation as king is celebrated at Diwali. When Ram and Sita first returned to Ayodyha it was a dark moonless night and they couldn’t see where they were going. Their people put little lamps outside their houses so that the new king and queen could find their way, thus beginning the tradition of the festival lights.

For the Sikhs Diwali celebrates the release from prison of the sixth, Guru Hargobind Singh in 1619. However, the Sikhs had celebrated Diwali before that period when the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the holiest place in the Sikh world, was laid in 1577. The Jains celebrate the attaining of Moksha (Nirvana, or eternal bliss) by the founder of Jainism, Lord Mahavira.

For many Indians the festival honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Hindus will leave the windows and doors open so that the goddess can visit their homes. There is much feasting and celebration and the Diwali lamps are regarded as making it easy for Lakshmi to find her way to favored houses.

Rangoli, which is the Hindu folk art of drawing patterns on the floors, is very popular at Diwali. Rangoli is a Sanskrit word which means a creative expression of art through the use of color. In ancient India, rangolis were used to decorate the entrance of homes, a floor-painting which provided a warm and colorful welcome to visitors.

In Indian culture all guests and visitors occupy a very special place and a rangoli is an expression of this warm hospitality. The Diwali festival is widely celebrated with rangolis, since at this time; people visit each other’s houses to exchange greetings and sweets. The materials used for Rangoli are powdered chalk or colored rice flour paste and the most popular subject is the lotus flower. This is because images of the Goddess of Lakshmi traditionally show her either holding a lotus or sitting on one.

Like Christmas, Diwali is very much a time for buying and exchanging gifts. Traditionally sweets and dried fruit were very common gifts to exchange, but the festival has become a time for serious shopping, leading to anxiety that commercialism is eroding the spiritual side of the festival.

Many fashion designers will unveil their new collections at Diwali and most shopkeepers expect sales to rise substantially in the weeks before the festival. Even the famed ‘Bollywood’ times the releases of its blockbusters to coincide with Diwali’s auspicious dates, adding to the aura and excitement.

Diwali, also considered as the unofficial Indian New Year, is a traditional time for thorough spring-cleaning the home and for wearing new clothes.

Fireworks are also a big part of the Diwali celebrations, although in recent years there has been a move against them because of noise and atmospheric pollution and the number of accidental deaths and injuries.

Whatever the significance different religions give to this festival of lights, Diwali is a time when the whole country unites in celebration, it is a time of joy - it is a time when families re-unite, it is a time of happiness.

In a recent editorial, the Times of India summed up the modern meaning of Diwali: “Regardless of the mythological explanation one prefers, what the festival of lights really stand for today is a reaffirmation of hope, a renewed commitment to friendship and goodwill, and a religiously sanctioned celebration of the simple – and some not so simple – joys of life.”