Offerings made to the guardian
spirits during centuries-old festival
The leader of the procession
chats with the audience.
The always amusing
“sea-boxing” draws plenty of mirth.
Naklua residents and visitors gathered at Lan Pho Public Park on
April 20 for the Kong Kao (rice harvest) festival, offering food and sweets
to the spirits in a centuries-old tradition.
Mayor Itthipol Khunplome opened the festivities, which in addition to
worship and prayers included sports and games activities, and plenty of
enjoyment for people of all ages.
one almost ended in a draw.
Candles and joss sticks were lit and a blessings ceremony held as the food
and sweets were laid out for the spirits and angels. During the afternoon,
visitors enjoyed watching the slingshot competition, the hoop takraw and a
four-meter oily post climbing competition for adults and a 3.5-meter oily
post for youngsters. The bamboo poles were greased with oil and had 500-baht
notes attached to the tops for the winning climbers to grab.
The always amusing “sea-boxing” where kids balance precariously on a
horizontal pole trying to knock their competitor off before losing their
balance and falling into the drink, drew plenty of mirth.
spirits and angels receive food and desserts in the belief that they would
be pleased and that happiness and prosperity would be assured for another
A “Tri Bhumi” performance depicting heaven, earth, and hell delighted the
audience. The ancient fighting art of “kratoa tang sua” was also a
highlight. During the last portion of the show, superstar performing artist
Kod Chakapan showed up, much to the delight of the audience.
Thai traditional folk dance was also featured and a country music
performance rounded off the day’s activities.
No one knows how old the Kong Kao tradition is, but elder citizens say it
was always associated with the Songkran festival and that it was already an
old tradition when they were youngsters.
In times past, villagers believed that guardian spirits and angles watched
over them, and at the time of the New Year they offered food in the belief
that the spirits would be pleased and that happiness and prosperity would be
assured for another year. After the ceremony, food collected was equally
shared among the ceremony attendants.
Ready, aim… He’s taking
careful aim in the slingshot contest.
Chai Yo! This little guy
managed to climb the greased pole
and retrieve the 500 baht note at the top.
Young spirits also take part
in the proceedings.
Beautiful young maidens in
traditional dress pass out treats.
Despite the oppressive heat,
the hoop takraw game went ahead as scheduled.
Ancient wood carved into Buddha statues
The smaller statues made from
the same wood are equally as impressive.
Buddhists worship the
carved out of what is believed to be ancient wood.
Large Buddha statues carved from old Takhian trees, recently found
buried underground in Chachoengsao Province, were recently worshipped at the
Banglamung School Field beginning April 22.
Ancient sections of the Takhian trees (Hopen oderata), believed to be
thousands of years old, were excavated from under five meters of soil when
Siyad Dam was being built in the Thatakiab District in that province.
The Kao Lom abbot realized the value of this ancient wood so had it carved
into different Buddha postures, delicately sculpted by craftsmen. Carvings
include an omniscience meditation posture 109” long and a nirvana posture 10
meters long and 3 meters high, which has become one of the largest wooden
Buddha carvings in Thailand.
On April 20 the statues were paraded on the roads around Banglamung District
for everyone’s good fortune.
The carvings were scheduled to be moved from the school on April 28,
although at press time they were still there.
Residents build sand pagodas
to honor ancient Buddhist beliefs
As usual at Songkran time, residents around Wat Sattahip, government
officials and other worshipers pitched in together to move sand to the
and animals prostrate themselves before the Buddha in this entry.
On April 17 sand was brought to the temple by many helping hands for the
construction of ceremonial sand pagodas in various delicate designs with
flags stuck on top, as per tradition.
The large amount of sand is then available to use for further renovation of
the temple or for making new buildings.
This is also seen as giving the sand back to Buddhism as whenever people
leave the temple, grains of sand go with them on their shoes.
Usually in between summer and the rainy season, right after the Thai New
Year at Songkran, people living near the canals and swamps would dig up sand
to donate to the wat.
The digging also makes the rain water flow more efficiently to prevent
floods during the rainy season. This is a fun activity for the villagers as
it also builds unity among them.
Sattahip District Chief Chaichan Iamcharoen said that technological progress
could be seen in the fact that people who used to carry one or two buckets
of sand to the temple now bring it in huge trucks.
This building sand pagodas is called the construction of Phra Sai Nam Lai
which later became shortened to Wan Lai
A little paint and a Thai flag
spruce up this entry.
Judges walk around inspecting
the finished products.
Residents begin to make their
magnificent sand castles.
Charity Club visits Prostheses
Foundation in Chiang Mai
After the Charity Club raised 100,000 baht for the Prostheses
Foundation in Chiang Mai, they were going to do the presentation in
December, but, as the airport was rather full at the time they decided to
postpone the trip until a later date!
& Malcolm donate 100,000 baht to Dr. Therdchai.
With Songkran approaching they decided it would be a good time to have a
weekend break in Chiang Mai. They arrived in Chiang Mai on Friday morning
staying at the Ratilanna Hotel overlooking the Mae Ping River. 9.30 a.m.
Saturday morning the Foundation came to collect them and on arrival they
were greeted by Dr. Therdchai Jivacate, secretary-general of the Prostheses
The Prostheses Foundation of H.R.H. The Princess Mother
The Prostheses Foundation of HRH The Princess Mother was
established in 1992. HRH The Princess Mother set up the foundation when she
learned that Dr. Therdchai was able to make artificial legs which were
lighter, more comfortable and 10 times less expensive than imported ones,
since they were made from recycled plastic and recycled aluminium.
The Prostheses Foundation provides free artificial legs for poor amputees,
regardless of nationality or religion.
and joint testing machine.
The Charity Club arrived armed with thousands of ring pulls from cans of
soft drinks and beer cans, which they use to melt down, as well as the cash
donation. The Ratilanna Hotel also donated a large amount of tabs when they
knew the Charity Club were going to the foundation.
Many of the tabs from Pattaya were donated by Ron and Yawadee Hall - half a
dozen from Yawadee’s soft drinks and the rest generously donated by Ron from
his beers! Cheers Ron keep up the good work!
Dr. Therdchai is a very quiet, humble man and is still very hands on at the
foundation even though he has trained many people to make the limbs. The
main building has offices, lecture rooms, workshop areas, and rooms to
conduct research and to make parts for artificial legs.
that are available.
They also have accommodation for disabled people who come from outside
Dr. Therdchai club took members on a conducted tour of the factory where
they saw how the limbs are made and the types of limbs available.
Not wanting to intrude too much on the patients they observed just two: one
a young lady being measured for her new limb after losing her leg to cancer
and a gentleman who was adapting to his new limb in the Physio Dept.
After coffee and cake members saw how a limb was made from start to finish,
materials and machines used that make the limbs, test the limbs and finally
how they adjust the limbs.
Malcolm & Dr. Therdchai discuss the children in Isaan.
Thailand has around 40,000 patients with missing legs, which is rising as we
speak. Most of the patients are poor farmers who live in rural areas and
have no money to travel to Chiang Mai to receive the services from the
Dr. Therdchai put together a team and trained 2 or 3 villagers in the art of
making limbs, they then built a small workshop and provide materials for the
new assistants to use in those areas.
The Mobile Unit
The Foundation also has a mobile unit, which along with Dr.
Therdchai visits rural areas for 5 days at a time. They make trips to many
Thai provinces, Malaysia, Laos and Myanmar.
The mobile unit has provided service to 14,130 patients, made 17,251 new
prosthetic legs, and repaired 2,336 legs.
When the Charity Club saw what can be achieved with the
mobile unit they have already decided to raise funds at one of their charity
events to buy the Foundation a second unit.
Malcolm and Christina were amazed to learn that the Foundation has fitted
over 21,710 legs in the 16 years that the amazing Dr. Therdchai has been
fitting limbs. At the Foundation, Dr. Therdchai does on average 4 limbs a
day, which is 1,500 a year!
Dr. Therdchai doesn’t just use his amazing skills for mankind … he has also
made prostheses for dogs and a baby elephant called Mosha who lost the lower
part of her leg when she trod on a landmine while walking with her mother.
The Foundation also does research and development to improve the production
process and to produce equipment to make prosthetics using local materials.
A special farmer/agricultural prosthetic leg has been fabricated so that
poor farmers can go back to their work using this very sturdy leg, even in
muddy rice fields. Amazingly, it only costs 500-1,000 baht.
of a new limb.
The Foundation is always doing research and they have recently introduced a
simple, but most efficient technique called sand casting to make prosthetic
legs. The Foundation now can make a good prosthetic leg for a below the knee
amputee within 4 hours instead of 8 hours.
As you may know, the Charity Club of Pattaya also have many projects in
Isaan, so while they were with Dr. Therdchai they showed him some of the
pictures of the Isaan people he maybe able to help. A mobile unit will be in
the Isaan area around September, and Dr. Therdchai has already agreed to see
an 11-year-old boy and a 25-year-old lady from Isaan.
If you would like to make a donation towards the mobile unit or donate a
collection of ring pulls you can contact the Charity Club at any of the
following; Christina on 0895454185 - Malcolm on 089 7441040,
[email protected] or www.charityclubofpattaya.bravehost.com
Best bartender shows his best moves
Bartender Danai Panpoosa from the Diana Inn showed his shaking moves and
cocktail mixes that amazed the judges to win the Fifth Diana Group Bartender
Contest. Young Supassaya Prayoonwikrai from Diana Garden Lodge and Driving Range
won Miss Bartender.
Harnkla (right), PR chief of Chonburi awards Waranya Boonmeepitak, Miss Mass
On April 16 Niti Kongkrut, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
Pattaya, presided over the contest and Sopin Thappajug, managing director of the
Diana Group, gave a welcome speech to guests before the event held at Diana Inn
on Pattaya 2nd Road.
The first bartender contest was held in 2005 for making iced coffee and fruit
juices and attracted a lot of interest from tourists.
This year’s contest was divided in to three categories: alcoholic-cocktails,
Miss Bartender and the best moves in making iced coffee. There was also a
cheerleading contest to add more color to the already colorful event, plus curry
making contest and table dressing contest.
Prayoonwikrai from Diana Garden Lodge and Driving Range performs an outstanding
Indian dance, winning her the Miss Bartender contest.
Prizes were trophies, sashes and a total cash purse of 60,000 baht. The event
was supported by Thai Beverage Company, Beer Chang and Royal Coffee.
The keen bar workers participating were staff from Diana Dragon, Diana
Millennium, Diana Garden Resort, Green Bottle Pub, Diana Garden Lodge and
Driving Range and Diana Inn.
Judges included Jintana Wetchote, educational chief of Pattaya, Kittisak
Harnkla, PR chief of Chonburi, Yanyong Tonetoh, manager of Pom Burapa and
Pratheep Malhotra, managing director of Pattaya Mail Publishing.
The best iced coffee maker was Supot Boonchuay of Diana Garden Lodge and Driving
Range; the best bouquet arrangement was by Muay Sartmarerng; winner of the sweet
and sour curry contest was Adul Prathumtong of Diana Garden Resort, and the
wining cheerleading team was from the Diana Garden Resort. Press favorite was
Waranya Boonmeepitak of the Diana Garden Resort.
Bartender Danai Panpoosa from the
won this year’s Diana Group Bartender Contest.
Sopin Thappajug, managing director
of Diana Group, and honored guests together press the pineapple button to begin
Diana Garden Resort wins the
cheerleading contest with their bizarre performance.
Navy personnel compete for edible prizes
The new navy training center held a fun family sports day with
prizes such as rice, fried food, fish sauce and vegetable oil.
of the balloon race receive the spoils of victory.
The commander of the New Navy Training Center, Captain Noppadol Supakorn,
awarded foodstuff to promote loving and happy families and to welcome the
Thai New Year.
On April 16 Captain Noppadol assigned Captain Virat Somjit, vice commander,
to preside over the opening ceremony of the event, held on the “drug-free
sports field” at the new training center.
Such athletic endeavors as three-legged races, 3-meter races whilst carrying
a lemon with chopsticks, and racing with a child on your feet set standards
not likely to be bettered soon.
Captain Virat said that the purpose of this event was to build strong
relationships within the families as all the sports require at least two
family members playing in the same team.
This builds cooperation between the families of both non-commissioned and
commissioned officers, winning trophies that can be eaten, he said.
This is a very happy event, especially to the commanders to know that their
officers can save a lot of money on food for a few days with their prizes.
Everyone was very satisfied with the event and asked for it to be held every
Songkran with the same prizes.
Starting the three legged race
with a little extra baggage.
As one winner makes off with
other contestants get ready for the next race.
Oops, she dropped her lemon.
Navy comes up with novel way
to deal with naughty monkeys
Faced with a plague of hungry wild monkeys stealing from statues,
cars, houses and offices, the Royal Thai Navy dug deep for a defensive
answer less drastic than artillery or torpedoes.
fake python on top of this car prevented any monkey business … this time.
They came up with a so far seemingly brilliant idea: putting artificial
pythons around to deter the raiders. So far the wily monkeys think this
predator is real, even if it doesn’t seem to move very much.
On April 17 at Laem Poo Chao, Captain Suttinan Samachant, Commander of
Transportation at the Sattahip Naval Base, and other officials bringing
offerings to the statue of Admiral Phrajaobaromawongtur Krommaluang
Chumporn, or Sadej Tia, found no usual monkey horde coming to steal the
far, the fake python seems to be working.
Captain Kampanart Singhudom, Security Commander of the Sattahip Naval Base,
said that usually when people come to worship Sadej Tia, there are always
monkeys coming to steal offerings and properties on pickup trucks or even
from cars with windows down.
The thieves then quickly disappear into the forests, ruining the mood of
The seven sculptures of crocodiles in front of the shrine at first seemed to
work but the monkeys all too soon worked them out.
mischievous little devils wait alongside the road.
Firecrackers or shooting rubber bands don’t work either. So far, this idea
of using a fake python has been working. But what then after the monkeys
realize that the fake python is totally harmless?
Vice Admiral Srivisoot Rataroon, Commander of Sattahip Naval Base, said that
for the problem of wild monkeys up on Laem Poo Chao had been an issue for a
long time, causing extreme annoyance.
So the Security Division of the Naval Base has been assigned to immediately
solve the problem without use of violence, hence the python defense.
The fake crocs worked for a
until the monkeys found out the crocs really were a croc…