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Teaching English in Vietnam

Pattaya Dragon and The Lofts combine for green beach party

PILC donates to Baan Pak Rak Puan

Teaching English in Vietnam

Emcee Roger Fox opened the regular Sunday meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club at the Amari’s Henry J. Beans Restaurant on Sunday, July 27 with the usual announcements. He then introduced our two speakers for the morning’s program, Maggie Counihan and Rollo Dixon.

New Mayor Ittiphol Khunplome advises PCEC members of the plans for Pattaya City, under his administration.
Maggie and Rollo, two of our fellow Thailand expats, were previously Vietnam expats - living and teaching English in Hanoi. Both qualified in Australia to teach English as a Second Language prior to going to Vietnam in 2006. Maggie started by saying that she previously had been in Vietnam in 2003. In returning with Rollo in 2006, she noticed there had been some dramatic changes. Whereas previously, it was customary to see an abundance of Vietnamese ladies wearing the traditional Ao Dai dress, on return one observed mostly blue jeans or other western dress. Also, bicycles had been replaced with numerous motorbikes.
Maggie then gave a brief overview of living in Hanoi. She observed that one of the things she missed most was Vietnamese flowers as they were everywhere, especially at weddings and funerals, which seemed to be occurring all the time. The flowers are grown in the mountains and sold in Hanoi by numerous “flower ladies.”

Australians Rollo and Maggie share with fellow PCEC members their very interesting experiences as ESL teachers in Hanoi, and the places they visited.
She continued by saying that the Vietnamese were a hard working people. However, during the Vietnamese New Year (Tet), which generally coincides with the Chinese New Year, everyone takes a break. The celebration lasts about one week. For the Vietnamese, it is the time to start the New Year clean by paying all your bills and giving your house a thorough cleaning. It is also a time to give presents. During this time, the Vietnamese put up kumquat trees, which look somewhat like Christmas trees, but are covered in beautiful flowers.
Rollo then related his experience and observations by first giving an overview of Hanoi weather - hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but very nice in spring and fall. Although pollution causes the air in Hanoi to be thick and limits visibility, a short journey outside Hanoi brings you clean air and some very beautiful scenery with mountains and lakes. Also, nearby is Halong Bay and just an overnight train ride away near Da Nang are some beautiful beaches.
He also noted that a memorial in the Vietnamese language at Truc Bach Lake, one of many in Hanoi, caught his curiosity. Upon later inquiry, he learned it was a memorial to the rescue from the lake of a downed American flyer during the American war, as that conflict is referred to by the North Vietnamese. The flyer rescued was named John McCain. Yes, the senator that is now seeking the Office of President of the US.
They mentioned that Vietnam was generally less costly to live than Pattaya except for housing. Renting a house was much more expensive. Further, they noted that the medical care facilities were not up to the standards of Thailand. Currently, Maggie and Rollo plan to go back to Australia and New Zealand for a visit and, upon return, plan to do some traveling around South East Asia.
Following this presentation, Roger Fox announced that club members have an opportunity to visit Hanoi in August. Narin Travel has come up with a 4-day 3-night package to visit Hanoi for less than 13,000 baht per person (double occupancy). Air travel will be provided by Air Asia and departure is planned for August 25.
The open forum with Bob L’Etoile and Sig Sigworth got off to its usual humorous start. The club was pleased and honored with the arrival during the open forum of Pattaya Mayor Ittiphol Khunplome, who had taken time from his busy schedule to drop by. The mayor mentioned that he has been very busy working on the city’s budget and attending budget meetings in Bangkok. Thailand has two special Administrative Districts, which are entitled to submit their budget requests direct to the Central Government’s Budget Bureau. One is Bangkok and the other is Pattaya. Mayor Ittiphol noted that to carry out many of the projects that are necessary to improve Pattaya, there must be sufficient funds in the budget. In addition to what he can negotiate from the Budge Bureau, Pattaya, other funds allocated for city projects come from municipal fees and Pattaya’s portion of VAT. Also, for projects that fall within the purview of various government ministries, Pattaya can apply for funding from their respective budgets.
The Mayor handed out and explained to members and guests an organization chart for Pattaya City Government. He went over the chart and noted one area that shows five Advisory Groups he has formed to assist his administration. Each group will advise on specific areas, which are: (1) infrastructure, (2) hospitality/promotion/healthcare, (3) anti-drug activities, (4) cultural activities, and (5) cooperation with other bureaucracies such as Banglamung District and the Ministry of Labor. He also said that he was interested in ideas and suggestions that the Expat community might have and hopes to meet with the PCEC periodically to solicit this information. Mayor Ittiphol then remained for the rest of the meeting and actively participated in the open forum by answering several questions related to Pattaya City as well as providing his views on other matters that came up during the Forum.

Pattaya Dragon and The Lofts combine for green beach party

Actors and actresses, friends and groupies take part in a party and tree-planting ceremony at Samae Beach on Koh Larn.

Ariyawat Nuamsawat
Pattaya Dragon on July 18 worked with The Lofts Southshore condominium project to stage the VIP Green Party Stop Global Warming project, a party and tree-planting ceremony at Samae Beach on Koh Larn.
More than 100 actors and actresses joined the guests, and there was a dance show performed by the Pattaya Fashion Club.
Miss Ana Wongsingh, managing director of Pattaya Dragon, said that the real estate business has a responsibility to ensure that Pattaya remains green, and that the two companies had decided on a joint occasion to more effectively promote the idea of conserving the environment.
The two organizations also felt that many people did not yet know Koh Larn, a beautiful island with white sand beaches easily accessible from the mainland, which is why the party was held on the island.
The party area added further to the conservation concept by using biodegradable materials such as banana leaves, coconut shells and bamboo for the decor.

PILC donates to Baan Pak Rak Puan

Kathleen Petras
Further to the previous article regarding the donation of a washing machine to Baan Pak Rak Puan from Fisher and Paykel - thanks to Adene Paykel of the Pattaya International Ladies Club (PILC).

Kathleen and Sandy share a smile with residents of the Baan Pak Rak Puan.

The PILC has contributed to the home in many ways. Apart from painting the front verandah and forward facing doors and windows (wooden folding out type) and providing paint for internal painting, we have recently donated many needed items including 10 stand alone fans, 10 drawer sets (4 drawers), a set of concrete table and bench seats, a bookshelf and two wardrobes.
For those readers who are not familiar with Baan Pak Rak Puan it is a charitably run home for HIV/AIDS and TB patients who are not able to be cared for by their own families.
They currently have about 15 residents and two staff.

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