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Devote Buddhists observe Visakha Bucha Day in Pattaya

TAT festival fills beachfront

The Great Healer visits Pattaya

Crocodile eggs for breakfast

Miss Tiffany finalists to go on stage on May 15

Devote Buddhists observe Visakha Bucha Day in Pattaya

Buddhists make merit on Buddha Hill.

People climb the steps up Buddha Hill to begin their worship.

Revered monks lead people in prayer.

Vimolrat Singnikorn
Temples everywhere were ringed by people walking sedately three times around them with glowing candles in hand under a bright full moon. It was Visakha Bucha Day, the most important day on the Buddhist calendar.

Monks chant prayers during the Wien Thien procession around Buddha Hill.

Visakha Bucha Day, which this year fell on May 8, was observed by families bringing food, flowers, joss sticks and candles to attend religious ceremonies at the temples to remember the life and teaching of Buddha.
At Chaimongkol, Nong-Or and Kaoyai temples around Pattaya, elderly people dressed in white gathered to observe religious rites and listen to words of the Dharma. More teenagers, both Thai and foreign, attended, joining family groups who were there to make merit and to seek good fortune.

A young monk leads devotees in the Wien Thien procession around Buddha Hill.
A young man said that he had made merit several times but this time he was doing it at a temple to ask for blessing for stable work, being afraid that the unstable economical situation might affect his work in the future.
There seemed to be slightly fewer temple-goers than in previous years but many offerings were still bought for merit making. Many bought cooked food to offer instead of food cooked by themselves at home.
Entertainment places in Pattaya did not serve alcohol that day. Most remained closed to observe the holy day.
At sunset the gentle walks began with lit candles in hand three times around the temples, known as the Wien Thien ceremony. All the temples were ready to welcome the large assembled crowds.
The Wien Thien candle-lit procession around the temple at Kao Prayai (aka Buddha Hill) on Thappraya Road brightened the night. As monks chanted prayers, the procession flowed three times around the large Buddha image.

Parents teach their children how to make merit on Visakha Bucha Day.
All worshippers were calm and meditative as they remembered Buddha’s compassion and his teaching on evil and righteousness. After the walk, people sat to listen to the Dharma preached by monks and received sprinkled blessing of holy water for good fortune.
Visakha Bucha means the worship of the Buddha on the day of the full moon in the sixth lunar month, which usually falls in May.
Visakha Bucha marks the three important events in the life of Lord Buddha all occurring on the same day: his birth, enlightenment and achieving Nirvana.
Sri Lanka proposed to the UNESCO meeting on December 15, 1999, that Visakha Bucha Day be recognized as the most important memorial day in Buddhism and marked as a “World Heritage Day”. Thailand, which is the permanent location of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, was chosen to always host and celebrate this day.

Young couples make merit together at a temple.

The devoted engage in solemn prayer to remember
the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha.

Buddhists light candles and incense to make merit on Visakha Bucha Day.

Entire families turn out to pray on Visakha Bucha Day.

TAT festival fills beachfront

Ariyawat Nuamsawat
The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Five-Region Thai Travel Festival drew tens of thousands of revelers over the long May Day weekend. The annual event is organized as part of the continuing move to restore tourism and the economy.

Minister of Tourism and Sports Chumpol Silpa-archa gives his opening speech.
Pattaya Beach Road from Soi 4 to Walking Street on May 1 - 3 was crowded with the tourists, stage shows and booths selling products from all five regions.
The event was officially opened by Minister of Tourism and Sports Chumpol Silpa-archa, and attended by TAT Vice-President Akkarapol Prueksuwan, Chonburi Deputy Governor Kasem Wattanatham, Mayor Itthipol Khunplome and other dignitaries.
A two-kilometer-long fair along the beach was divided into the five regions of Thailand, each having booths to show off their different foods, clothing and attractive destinations.
Chumpol said the festival aimed to restore tourism in this region. “In the past few months, many unpleasant incidents have happened, including the violent protest at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort’s ASEAN Summit that tarnished the image of national tourism as a whole,” he said.

Alcazar’s cabaret shows were amongst the attractions.

He said TAT had invited 60 Pattaya businesses to join the table-top sale at the A-One The Royal Cruise.
The next five-region festival will be held at Ubon Ratchathani July 17-19, Phitsanulok July 30 to August 2, Nakhorn Si Thammarat August 21-23 and Ayutthaya September 18-20 this year.
Vice-President Akkarapol said that Chonburi Province and TAT are working hard to pull back regular and new group of tourists to the eastern provinces of Chonburi, Rayong, Chantaburi and Trat. “Here we have everything to offer to them,” Akkarapol said, “and can give opportunities to small hotels, restaurants, producers of local products and OTOP to promote themselves to different visitors.”
He said TAT also regularly holds consumer fair events in Bangkok to target high-end tourists.

Beautiful women mesmerize the audience with their intricate moves.

Lovely ladies perform traditional Thai dance.

This dance troupe from the north performs cultural dances.

Cultural dances are always a big hit at these events.

Delicious som tam being made and sold by the bucketful.

Booths are set up along the two-kilometer fair area
on Pattaya Beach Road to offer products from throughout Thailand.

The Great Healer visits Pattaya

Priest Corsie Legaspi helps the ill in Pattaya

Bishop Laurence Thienchai Samanchit (center)
conducts the mass and introduces Father Corsie.

Elfi Seitz
The first time I met Catholic priest Corsie Legaspi was in March 2000. When he came to the St. Nikolaus Church in Pattaya, I could finally see with my own eyes how he heals people. “It’s not me who heals, of course,” he has always said. “It’s God who graciously channels his power through my hands so I can disburden people from their agonies.” However, he honestly admits that “one may not expect instant healing. It remains God’s secret, who he helps and who not.” One of Legaspi’s basic truths is that “death and sickness often come hand in hand, although one doesn’t necessarily need to become ill in order to die.”

Father Corsie Legaspi during his explanations.
Father Corsie became famous after healing his mother from lung cancer. Doctors had already given up on her, saying she had a maximum of 2 weeks to live. When she came back to the hospital a few weeks later for a check-up, not a single indication of cancer could be detected in the lungs, which had previously been completely cankered.
The big secret is laughing, Father Corsie said. And that’s what he does and preaches at church. “If people can laugh even when they are ill, it’s already a huge step towards cure.”
Before every healing session, Father Corsie tells the people what healing is all about. “There are four basic ways of healing. First, physical healing. 90 percent of all my customers come to see me for physical healing. In many cases, they ask to be cured from immedicable diseases like cancer. The second one is emotional healing, which is often related to negative experiences from the past, which may lead to illness. Such a person must first free him/herself from the burden within to finally become able to be cured.
“The third one, spiritual healing, bears one important aspect. Remission of sins, even for those who hurt us, is crucial. Our inner reluctance to forgive may evoke severe illness. We need God’s help to get rid of these ballasts.

Father Corsie lays his hands on the heads of the ill.

“The forth way is ‘deliverance healing.’ According to the Bible, this is what Jesus did. Through the power of God, we may expect such healing even today. All these healings are categorized. There is instant healing after saying a prayer. This may often be experienced by people who can’t raise their arms. They suffer from so-called ‘rusty’ shoulders. Many of them experience a cure within seconds, even if they have suffered from it for several years. People who can’t walk are also among them - more often than many would expect. And then there are people who all of a sudden can see or hear again. However, it may be the case that a cure isn’t experienced until the next day or after several days. If a person needs more than one healing session, one speaks of progressive healing. That is, when cures come in batches, without any medical treatment.”

People drop to the floor because of Father Corsie’s fortitude.

Should a person feel too weak to come to see Father Corsie, a close person may come instead to receive distant healing. There are numerous examples for this.
However, as mentioned before, not all people with disease who receive healing are actually cured. “Just like many people aren’t cured by doctors, many aren’t cured by God. I don’t know why, but I believe these people should ask God themselves.”
At the end of his introduction, Father Corsie warns the people: “If you experience healing, please don’t waste this new life. Try to lead a different, a better life to show you’re your thankfulness. Try to treat your second life as well as possible, for it belongs to God.”
After 2 years of absence, Father Corsie came back to Pattaya to lay his consecrated hands on people who ask God to deliver them from their suffering. All the instant healings that day were no surprise to me, as I knew exactly what to expect. However, some of my friends who all of a sudden were able to elevate their arms again or who would later be issued an NAD attestation from their doctors, were stunned.
Many of the people who received a cure from Father Corsie follow him wherever his healing missions lead him. “Our second life belongs to God. How could we thank him more than by helping Father Corsie with his mission,” they say.
Like many others, I let Father Corsie touch a handkerchief, for healing may also be transmitted by constantly laying it on.

Father Legaspi heals ‘rusty’ shoulders.

Crocodile eggs for breakfast

The contest is in full swing.

Chonburi Cultural Council president and managing director
of the Million Year Stone Park and Crocodile Farm Pattaya,
Suan Promwattanakul, gives the opening speech.

Pramote Channgam
As crocodiles sometimes make a tasty meal of humans, human contestants of the crocodile-egg eating contest at the Million Year Stone Park and Crocodile Farm Pattaya did their best to redress the balance.
Chonburi Deputy Governor Kasem Wattanatham, Chonburi Cultural Council president and the park’s managing director, Suan Promwattanakul, and chairman of the advisory committee to Nongprue’s mayor, Yodthong Sriwaralak, opened the May Day crocodile-egg eating contest in front of a big audience of visitors.
The crocodile-egg eating contest is one of the many activities the farm holds every year on Labor Day to attract Thai and foreign tourists and boost local tourism.
The rule is simple: the 40 contestants had to eat all 10 hard-boiled crocodile eggs with no time limit.
The winner is the fastest eater to finish without leaving bits and pieces on the table. This is all done amid loud cheering.
The fastest crocodile devourer this year was also the champ last year, Udom Butngam, 43, a Ban Bueng factory worker who took home 10,000 baht. He was followed by the runners up Payap Parnsaengthong, 38, taking home 5,000 baht, and Noppanan Parnsaengthong, 40, 3,000 baht.
As the winners make their way home through forests and ponds in the dark, they may take a little more care and watch their paths for avenging mother crocodiles.

The fastest crocodile eggs eater,
reigning champion Udom Butngam (left) collects his top prize.

Runner-up Payap Parnsaengthong (left).

Judging panel and Chonburi Deputy Governor Kasem Wattanatham
pose for a commemorative photo before the contest begins.

Miss Tiffany finalists to go on stage on May 15

Wirittorn Narapatpimol (No. 13) is voted as Miss Unlimited Sexy Star during
the final preliminary round held at Central Festival Beach on 12 May.

Vimolrat Singnikorn
Thirty transvestite contestants will go up on stage at the Tiffany’s Theatre Pattaya on the evening of Friday, May 15 to compete for the title of Miss Tiffany’s Universe 2009.
“Live, learn, love to enhance beauty” is the theme this year which celebrates the 12th anniversary of the popular show. The eye-caching “ladies” will all be vying for the top prize of a Honda Jazz car and other goods worth one million baht in total for the winner. The first and second runner-ups will receive 80,000 baht, and 50,000 baht respectively. Five more special trophies will also be handed out including, Best Costume, Miss Photogenic, Miss Congeniality, Miss Perfect Complexion that will receive 20,000 baht each and Miss Unlimited Sexy Star by Central Pattaya Beach who will receive 10,000 baht.
The first round of selection, held from May 11-14, saw the 30 finalists out and about in town taking part in various social activities.

Baking a cake at La Baguette

On the afternoon of May 11, the contestants joined in social service distribution at Baan Jing Jai by taking cakes (that they had made earlier at La Baguette) to the kids at the foundation and then later in the evening they took in a magic show at the Tuxedo Magic Castle.
The following day the contenders were given training in the art of facial make-up and then took part in VTR shootings at different locations including Central Festival Pattaya Beach. There contestants also competed on stage to win the Miss Unlimited Sexy Star by Central Pattaya Beach under the theme Unlimited Sexy Star to promote city tourism.
On May 13-14, the group of thirty traveled to different destinations such as Khao Khaew Open Zoo, Bangkok Hospital Pattaya, and Rimpa Lapin restaurant to promote local tourism.
The final selection in Pattaya will take place this Friday at Tiffany Show Theatre beginning at 8.30 p.m. The event will be televised live on Channel 7.
The judging committee this year is led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Seri Wongmontha, and Nong Poi Thrichada, a movie and TV star who became famous from this Universe title.
The now-famous Tiffany Show began in 1974 in South Pattaya, starting firstly with three transvestite (katoey) cabaret showgirls before moving to Central Pattaya. The show then developed as luxurious theatre, fully equipped with advance high technology in slight and sound.
Tiffany Show Pattaya now packs them in regularly as the leading stage of night entertainments and Cabaret shows involving up to 2,000 gorgeous katoey performers who in terms of beauty can easily match and even outshine some of the women performers.
The show, with its sophisticated and glittering grand performances, continues to dazzle all and has grown to be the biggest and most famous of its kind in Asia.
People wanting to get into the theater to view the contest live this Friday can reserve tickets priced at 2,000 and 1,000 baht by calling 038-421700-5, 038-429642.

The contestants hand out food to the children at Baan Jing Jai.