HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

Sacred Relics of Lord Buddha arrive in Pattaya

Pattaya community joins the nation in celebrating HM the King’s 77th birthday

Pattaya’s elite raises money for needy children at PILC Emperor’s Charity Gala Ball

Queen Sirikit Service Award bestowed upon Thai and foreign residents of Pattaya

Pattaya’s Best Music of 2004

Sacred Relics of Lord Buddha arrive in Pattaya

Tens of thousands expected to arrive to pay homage

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

A historic event has occurred to bring joy to the hearts of Buddhists and to people of many other faiths here in Pattaya.

Hundreds of devotees from the surrounding communities made a pilgrimage to pay their respects.

Last week Lord Buddha’s relics from Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand arrived in Pattaya and were presented and placed at the Jitrabhawan Buddhist College in Banglamung.

The Sacred Relics are carried into their place of reverence.

This is the first time ever that the relics have been brought to this region of Thailand, and the event is causing a tremendous religious impression on the Thai and foreign community.

The belief throughout the history of Buddhism is in the benefits for the reappearances of these Buddha relics. Before he passed on, the Buddha once said that by seeing His relics, it is like seeing the Buddha Himself. Thus, the Buddha relics are the symbols of qualities of the Buddhahood and the characteristics of enlightened body, so therefore it also represents that the Buddha is always turning the Wheel of Dharma unceasingly.

Phra Thep Kittiyapanyakhun presents the holy relics to M.R. Bandit Chakrapan for placement on the altar.

Relics ensure that the presence of the Buddha is perpetuated after the passing of the Buddha. They are generally fragments of cremated bones. However, some relics can even appear pearl-like, translucent and multi-coloured.

An exquisite turbaned devotee from Sri Lanka.

Relics were always kept in monasteries, where they were enshrined in stupas. For instance, the great stupa at Sanchi, which contains relics of the Buddha, is set in the middle of a large monastic complex. A similar arrangement is found in Sri Lanka, where some of the relics finally came to rest, the most celebrated being the tooth relic at Kandy. Myanmar is another country that’s popularly known to enshrine Buddha tooth and body relics, alongside relics of Buddha’s disciples.

Before the first century, relics were a key instrument in the spread of Buddhism in helping to establish new centres of religious significance. The practice of venerating relics and images has played a central role even in Buddhist traditions that strongly emphasize that Sakyamuni Buddha was a human being who died and is no longer able to aid his followers. Buddhists have always held in high regard the relics of enlightened beings. The relics embody those beings, and are also a powerful means by which their wondrous qualities may be recalled. As such, relics inspire great faith and devotion.

Pe-Ra-He-Ra troupe perform religious dance rites before the sacred altar.

In Pattaya, Rear Admiral Komin Komutanon, deputy commander of the Royal Thai Naval Base in Sattahip, along with M.R. Bandit Chakrapan and Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn presided over the religious ceremonies to welcome the holy artifacts.

Pe-Ra-He-Ra religious dancers lead the procession into the main hall.

On their arrival at Jitrabhawan, the relics were carried in a procession to their place of worship in the great hall of prayer at the renowned institution of Buddhist learning in Pattaya. This act has now made the location holy and the central focus of Buddhism in Thailand for the next 10 weeks. The Buddha relics will reside in this location from December 3 until February 28 a total of 88 days. They will be open to the public to worship everyday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

In a lavish ceremony on December 4, a group of religious dancers from Sri Lanka called the “Pe-Ra-He-Ra” danced and sang ahead of the procession, which was followed by high ranking officials and the devout. The “Pe-Ra-He-Ra” is a religious parade commonly held when relics are presented for display anywhere in the world. It is an ancient ritual from the time of King Sirimekawan of Anuratpura from C.E. 301-331, who obtained the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha from India.

Each year a parade is held at which millions of people turn up to worship the sacred tooth of Buddha and to pay their respects. They usually celebrate this event for 6 days. The Kandy ‘Pe-Ra-He-Ra’ is a magnificent parade comprising of 50-100 elephants, each beautifully decorated with ornaments and performing special dances of worship for the occasion.

In Thailand the Buddha’s relics have been interned at Pra Pathom Chedee in Nakhorn Pathom, Prathart Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, and Pratart Chedee in Nakhon Srithamarat. Myanmar has installed the relic at the Chawaedakong Pagoda. In Sri Lanka the relics are at the Rattanamala Pagoda, and in India it was installed at the Buddhagaya Pagoda.

Phra Thep Kittipanyakhun, chief abbot of Jitrabhawan College said, “The purpose of installing the Buddha’s relics is to encourage Buddhists to be united. Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, death, and the first sermon are also symbolic in Buddhism. Buddha’s death was 2547 years ago, but his influence and teachings are still highly respected by all Buddhists. It is considered a great fortune to be able to pay respects to the Buddha relic at least once in your lifetime.”

He went on to say that, “To this end the Jitrabhawan Philanthropic Foundation will organize a religious procession to celebrate the arrival of these relics of the Lord Buddha through Pattaya and the surrounding community.”

On Friday December 10, Buddhists and the public are invited to join the procession, which will start at 3:30 p.m. in front of Pattaya City Hall, proceed down Beach Road to South Pattaya Road, turn up Second Road heading north, then turn up Central Road and end at Sukhumvit Highway. The convoy will be led by 9 elephants decorated in the “Pe-Ra-He-Ra” style from Sri Lanka. The spectacle march past will be divided into 4 categories of activities: Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, death, and the first sermon. Thousands of devotees including monks, students and the general public are expected to join the parade. A magnificent celebration will be held at Jitrabhawan College as well. This event will be broadcast live by the Department of Public Relations on TV Channel 11.

Pattaya community joins the nation in celebrating HM the King’s 77th birthday

Thousands of Pattaya residents turned out at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning to take part in the Banglamung ceremonies for HM the king’s 77th birthday celebrations.

A little girl performs the ‘Golden light of loyalty’ dance in front of His Majesty’s portrait.

Wirawit Saisupatpol, Banglamung district chief, led the morning ceremonies. Members of the local government, students, various private organizations and the general public gathered in front of the Banglamung district office took part.

The formalities began with ‘Tak Baht’ ceremonies, giving alms to 77 monks, amid other religious ceremonies. This was followed with the laying of wreaths and traditional symbols at the foot of a picture of HM the King as a sign of love and respect for the father of the Thai nation, who asked his loyal subjects to, “Create a Clean Thailand, free of suffering and corruption.”

Over 200 walkers, runners and cyclists took part in a healthy parade ending at South Pattaya’s Bali Hai pier.

In the afternoon, a fun run and bike race was held with Wirawat Khakhai, Pattaya deputy mayor leading a group of over 200 walkers, runners and cyclists. The group made their way from Pratamnak Hill, along Pattaya Second Road and down along Beach Road to Bali Hai pier.

Pattaya citizens from various organisations joined in the parade

The evening’s ceremonies began at 5 p.m. with candle lighting ceremonies and senior government officials presenting to the King’s portrait more flowers, including gold and silver lotus flowers, as part of the festivities simultaneously carried out around the country. The night ended with a vivid display of fireworks.

Mayor Niran leads the city counsellors in singing songs in praise of the King.

Pattaya’s elite raises money for needy children at PILC Emperor’s Charity Gala Ball

Glitz, glamour and charity went hand in hand when the Pattaya International Ladies Club (PILC) held their annual social event of the year at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort Saturday night, November 27. The Emperor’s Charity Gala Ball was the latest in the series of marvellous parties held for the last six years at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort. It is truly the social event of the year and everyone should attend at least once while living on the Eastern Seaboard.

This year Arlette Cykman and her committee oversaw this glorious event and, as they do every year, outdid themselves by devising and working closely with the staff at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort to produce a wonderfully colourful and totally integrated theme of an Emperor’s Ball with the All Stars Band playing dinner and dance music.

Over cocktails, fine wine and a four-course meal, more than 200 of Pattaya’s finest and most well known residents conversed, laughed and danced with old and new friends alike. The sold out event was a smashing success and a tribute to the PILC’s desire to raise 500,000 baht for the Redemptorist Center Street Kids Home for abused Thai children here in Pattaya.

At the end of the magical evening Arlette announced that this year more than 600,000 baht was raised from ticket sales and the live auction. So many generous people wished to identify with this charitable event of the year and eleven local companies also helped with sponsorship. They were Volclay Siam, Copeland-Emerson, Jomtien Boathouse, Foster Wheeler, Dana Spicer, SCC Dow, Laem Chabang International Terminal, SIG Combibloc, Liebherr, S & P Syndicate, Esco Eastern Sea Laem Chabang Terminal.

Thanks to Arlette and her committee’s hard work, the moment the guests arrived and ascended the stairs to the Ballroom they were greeted by ten young ladies in specially tailored red Chinese silk dresses giving the guests a traditional Chinese double-handed circular gesture of greeting. Into the reception area and cocktails, photos in front of a backdrop of the Forbidden City, in formal attire or dressed Chinese-style courtesy of the organizers, everything had been fully co-coordinated.

After the gong had sounded the opening of the ballroom for dinner, one was again transported into another world. Not just the temple on the stage but the minutiae of detail of each colour-coordinated table setting. The butter carved into the traditional Chinese peasant fishing - yes including hook and fish! - The beautifully presented menus and programme cards, nothing had been overlooked.

As Arlette said prior to the event, “I am a perfectionist and if I cannot do something absolutely perfectly I would prefer not to do it at all.”

No reason to worry on this score, it was all just wonderful. The Royal Cliff has a reputation of creating beautiful things and they certainly put everything that Arlette had envisioned into reality and created a wonderfully conceived menu incorporating the Chinese dishes with the co-operation of Walter Thenisch, the Royal Cliff’s executive chef and his team.

Introductions and thanks to the sponsors and organizers of the evening were then made by the MC for the night, Drew Noyes, president and CEO of PAPPA Co., Ltd. who was proud to be able to support and be part of the social event of the year. He praised the ladies for looking so beautiful in their glamorous attire and the gentlemen for looking so dapper - not surprisingly as there are very few occasions when the men can truly dress up in full western fashion.

Sharon Tibbitts, the present president of the PILC was invited to the dais to preside over the draw for the door prizes generously donated by some of the sponsors. The crowd listened in quiet anticipation and screams of delight were heard from the lucky winners.

During the latter part of the dinner, Panga Vathanakul, the managing director of the Royal Cliff, along with her husband and son were pleased to celebrate, with the traditional cutting of the cake, the 17th birthday of their close friend Sarah Ball. The entire ballroom vibrated with the gleeful singing of “Happy Birthday.”

When everyone was almost replete and the second dance session came to an end it was time to get down to the real business of the evening, raising the much needed money for providing dental treatment and emotional counselling for the children at the Redemptorist Street Kids Home. Five items were on offer at auction, with an extra special late item donated by Sermsak Sabhananda and Drew Noyes.

This was an exclusive photo “Tong Daeng” of His Majesty the King with his dogs. There was some fierce bidding and eventually it was down to Peter Malhotra, managing director of the Pattaya Mail newspaper group against Ib Ottesen owner of the Jomtien Boathouse, with Peter eventually winning the bid.

Queen Sirikit Service Award bestowed upon Thai and foreign residents of Pattaya

Recognized for dedicated service for the betterment of the community

Loy Krathong Day, 2004, will be a day that remains in the memories of a select group from Pattaya who were nominated to receive the venerated Queen Sirikit Service Award pin presented by the 21st Infantry Regiment of the Royal Armament, Queen’s Guard in Chonburi, under the Royal Command of Her Majesty the Queen.

A portrait of Her Majesty the Queen adorns the Royal Pedestal.

This year the military command, under the guidance of Pol. Capt. Tanasakdi Julamakron, better known as Captain Pipe, editor of the Eastern Post, with the assistance of Nataphon Panyakhananukul, President of the Black Tiger Guard Co. Ltd., enlisted the help of Drew Noyes to co-ordinate and propose names of worthy people from both the foreign and Thai communities here in Pattaya.

This service award is generally reserved for Thai nationals who have given a lifetime of service, but this year, it was felt that the foreigners and Thais at this specially arranged award ceremony were of the calibre and good merit to receive the special commendation.

Col. Phanuwat and Lt. Col. Santiphong explain the significance of the Royal Regalia to Peter Malhotra who relates them to the audience. (above & below)

The nominees were recognized as Pattaya expatriates and Thai nationals who have dedicated their lives in the service of the community and their noble efforts to bring about an understanding of the traditions and cultures of all the peoples of this world.

Nominated were Past President Pratheep ‘Peter’ Malhotra, Past President Dennis Stark, Dr. Jan Von Chris, Phillip Webb, and Thor Halland from the Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya.

Selected members of the Pattaya City Expats Club included Drew Noyes, former chairman of the original Expats Club, Richard and Janet Smith, Max Rommel, Jim Benson, Andre Machielsen, Max Rommel, Allan Sherratt, Michel De Goumois and Robert “Bob” L’Etoile of the Tequilla Reef.

Carl Engel, former president of the Pattaya Sports Club, Pattaya International Ladies Club Charity Events Chairperson Arlette Cykman, Lewis ‘Woody” Underwood chairman of the Jester’s Care 4 Kids Charity, Dieter Precourt past president of the Taksin-Pattaya Rotary and Helle Rantzen, were also among those nominated.

Colonel Phanuwat Nakwong (up) stands to attention as the proclamation is read out (Right).

Sermsakdi Sabhananda, a stalwart supporter of the Pattaya expat community who has worked tirelessly to help resident foreigners in Thai cultural events, received special thanks from the group and was nominated to receive the Queen Sirikit Service Award.

Additional nominations included residents who have donated generously of their time and money to help the underprivileged. Among this group of benefactors were Captain James Phillips and his wife Piyawan, Adrian Ayers, Ron Smith, Hans-Ulrich Kessler, Jim Benson, Pornpana Kaikaew, Sundeep Singh Narang, Lane Holmes, Phillip Wall Morris, Oleh Borodevyc and Brian Maxey.

Captain Pipe

On Friday November 26, a motorcade of some 15 cars under police escort led the recipients and their guests to Fort Navamint-Rachinee in Chonburi.

The first order of business was the presentation ceremony of computers and other equipment donated by the group for the general administrative use in the camp. Guests then boarded a bus for a tour of the Korean War Museum and the clothing production department where uniforms and other garments for the soldiers are made on site.

Drew Noyes thanks the base commander on behalf of the guests.

The group was then invited to witness some of the soldiers undergoing a rappelling exercise and a number of the more adventurous members of the group accepted the offer of trying it for themselves. It was interesting to note that both the youngest guest and the oldest recipient successfully completed the exercise – the youngest twice! The lad was none other than Vincent, son of proud father Carl Engel. As a reward for their bravery Lt. Col. Santiphong Thammapiya commander of the 2nd battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment of the Queen’s Guards pinned parachutist wings on the chests of the intrepid adventurers.

Another ride in the military bus brought some of the group to the shooting range where skills with the various types of guns were put to the test. It was interesting to note that some of the group seemed to prove themselves as adept marksmen revealing hidden talents and the targets were keenly compared.

A quick change into formal attire and it was time for the rehearsal prior to the arrival of Colonel Phanuwat Nakwong, commander of the 21st Infantry Regiment of the Queen’s Guard, to conduct the auspicious ceremony of presenting the Queen’s Service Awards.

The proclamation of gratitude for the charitable and good works of the recipients and the command to wear the pin with pride in honour of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, by maintaining the highest levels of moral conduct was read in Thai by the military command and translated into English by Peter Malhotra.

It was a memorable day for all the award recipients and guests.

In formal military style complete with pomp and purpose, nominees humbly received the Queen Sirikit Bullet Bag Replica Pin. The black and gold ornament is shaped in the form of a bullet bag worn on ceremonial uniforms and inscribed with Her Majesty’s initials “Sor Kor”. These pins were struck in honour of Her Majesty’s visit to the Navamint-Rachinee military base on August 17, 1982. Her Majesty commanded that the pins be awarded to individuals who are of good character and support the projects of the 21st Infantry Regiment Queen’s Guards, so as to be beneficial to the government and the country.

Presentation of the computers was another highlight of the day.

Recipients accepted their pins and certificates bearing their names from a Royal Pedestal placed before a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit under the loyal supervision of Col Phanuwat, ensuring that the proceedings were exact and conformed to the highest order of reverence for Her Majesty.

Lt. Col. Santiphong Thammapiya emblematically receives the computer equipment from Nataphon Panyakhananukul, Drew Noyes and Pratheep Malhotra.

Col. Phanuwat then showed the group his dress uniform and the ammunition pouch that is the basis of the design of the Service Award Pin.

At the end of the ceremonies Drew Noyes on behalf of the group thanked the commander for his hospitality and goodwill, pledging that they would wear their service award pins with honour and pride.

Later that evening the army played host to a delicious Thai meal while some of the more gregarious members of both the Queen’s Guard and the Pattaya Expats entertained the rest with their renditions of karaoke songs.

The visit to the Korean War Museum was extremely educational.

Guests merrily rode in the army buses on their tour of the base.

Dr. Jan Christopher von Koss proved to be quite a marksman.

Vincent Engel is proclaimed the Champion Parachutist, having bravely jumped off the tower twice.

A photo opportunity with the base commander.

The valiant ones who earned their jump wings.

Pattaya’s Best Music of 2004

Star Dice Beach Band takes top honors

Suchada Tupchai

Throngs of music lovers packed the grounds around Bali Hai pier to watch some of Thailand’s most talented musical artists perform in Pattaya’s Best Music of 2004 competition November 27-28. Locals and tourists turned up in record numbers to cheer on the contestants and support the aspirations of the young musicians.

Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn presents the championship trophy to the Power Dance Team, winner in the dance competition.

Santsak Ngamphichet, advisor to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports presided over the final competition.

On November 27, the first night of competition, the field was narrowed to 6 final bands. The atmosphere was electric as the bands revved up and spectators cheered their favorites. The first night winner, receiving 50,000 baht, was the Power team. The second runner up was the High Adventure team, and the third runner up was the New Wave team. Three admiration awards were presented to PN Dance Bangsalea, Lady Zone and Gang Zarr.

Star Dice Beach Team celebrates their win. They received 100,000 baht and a trophy from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, presented by Santsak Ngamphichet (right).

Pattaya’s Best Music Band of 2004 final competition started at 6 p.m. on November 28. The last 6 teams went into high gear as they battled it out for top spots and sent their audience, mostly teenagers, into a frenzy.

The Star Dice Beach Team, with their special style of dance and unique style of music, was pronounced the winner. They received 100,000 baht and an honorary cup from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

The sexy singers “Girly Berry” performed the closing concert.

The first runner up was the EVA team, the second runner up was the Green Team, and 3 admiration awards were presented to the Pop’s Pattaya Allstars, the Blue Chili Band, and the Glass Band.

All the winners, organizers and local celebrities gather on stage for a final photo.

After receiving their prizes, the winners performed an encore. There was also a special mini concert given by the sexy group “Girly Berry”.

Attendance, organization and support of this event proved the astonishing musical talent within of this generation of Thai youth. Competitions like this are the leg-up these youngsters need to fulfill their dreams.