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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Morocco displays national pride on March
Using sports to defeat poverty
New Orleans comes to Pattaya
Bai See
Pattaya’s “Vertical Wreck”
Dancing her way to school

Morocco displays national pride on March

Morocco The Country

f14.jpg (29283 bytes)Kasbah.

The Atlantic to the west, the Mediterranean to the north, wonderful beaches, four mountain ranges with cascading waterfalls, century old cedar forests, eternal snows, immense plains flowering with orange and almond blossoms, rivers that lay out a carpet of greenery to the threshold of the desert and carve out the most spectacular gorges: from the Straits of Gibraltar to Mauritania, nature has made Morocco one of the most beautiful countries in the world, a country that is a feast for all senses.

The History

Morocco has been inhabited since very early prehistoric times, as the many prehistoric remains show. Then came the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Berbers, Byzantines, Romans and Vandals before the Arab invasion which took place in the 8th century.

f11.jpg (20853 bytes)His Majesty King Hassan II.

Morocco as an independent state has been in existence since 788 AD, when Idris I was proclaimed King at Volubilis (by way of comparison, it was nearly 100 years later that King Alfred the Great became King of Wessex).

Today, Morocco is a constitutional monarchy. King Hassan II came to the throne in 1961. A descendent of the Prophet, he is also the Commander of the Believers, or in other words, Morocco’s religious leader.

Here are a few significant dates to help you situate towns and monuments in their historical context:

f16.jpg (24880 bytes)The Valley of the Draa - the Kasbah Trail.

- 681: Beginning of the Arab conquest of Morocco (introduction of Islam).
- 788: The Idrisside Dynasty
- 809: Fez founded by Idriss II.
- 1055: The Almoravide Dynasty
- 1061 - 1107: The reign of Youssef ben Tachfine (founder of Marrakesh).
- 1130: The Almohade Dynasty
- 1184 - 1199: The reign of Yacoub el Mansour, who made Rabat his capital (building of the Hassan Tower at Rabat, the Koutoubia in Marrakesh and the Giralda in Seville).
- 1258: The Mérinide Dynasty
- 1269 - 1286: The reign of Abou Youssef Yacoub (building of Fez el Jedid)
- 1331 - 1351: Reign of Abou Hassan (building of the Chellah necropolis at Rabat).

f17.jpg (23638 bytes)Famers in the Rif - Tangier.

- 1554: The Saadian Dynasty
- 1578: The battle of the three kings ending Portuguese rule.
- 1578 - 1603: Reign of Ahmed el Mansour (Saadian tombs at Marrakesh).
- 1664: The Alaouite Dynasty
- 1672 - 1727: The reign of Moulay Ismail, builder of Meknes.
- 1927: Accession to the throne of H.M. Mohammed V.
- 1956: Independence of Morocco.
- 1961: Accession to the throne of H.M. Hassan II.
- 1971: The new Constitution adopted by referendum.
- 1975: The Green March reunified Morocco with its Saharan provinces.f15.jpg (24903 bytes)
- 1993: Inauguration of the Hassan II Mosque at Casablanca


Important statistics

- Population 26 million, of which 50% are under 20 years old and 70% under 30.
- Covers 710,850 km2
- 2,900 km of Atlantic coast, 500 km of Mediterranean coast.
- 60,000 km of roads.
- 3 million date palms.
- 800,000 tons of oranges per year.
- More than 3,000,000 tourists.
- The three Moroccan ports of Agadir, Safi and Tan Tan are the world’s largest for sardine fishing.
- World leader in the production of phosphate with 75% of world reserves.

Message from Mr. Mohammed Lakhal
Charge d’ Affaires a.i.,
Embassy of the Kingdom of Morrocco

March the 3rd is the 38th anniversary of the accession of H.M. King Hassan II to the Throne of His Glorious ancestors. This auspicious occasion is commemorated and celebrated by all Moroccan people throughout the country, and by the Moroccan community all over the world.f13.jpg (12299 bytes)

This particular event has a very special importance to all the Moroccan people. It is a solemn occasion for them to reiterate their allegiance to their beloved Monarch, and an opportunity to renew their commitment and attachment to the constitutional institution that they have chosen as their political system throughout their secular history.

Indeed, the communion between the Moroccan people and the throne has always been a very essential factor for the achievement of the independence of the country, the accomplishment of its territorial integrity, its perseverance in the track of Democracy and development, and has enabled the Moroccans to defend their unity and national values.

During my impressive stay in this friendly and beautiful country, I am very pleased to note that there are many encouraging signs for the consolidation of the mutual relationship between our two countries in several fields.

In so far as trade is concerned, the volume of exchanges have been multiplied more than five times since the opening of our respective Embassies in Rabat and Bangkok, and a lot of other sectors have been identified to reinforce this dynamic trend: (sectors like phosphates, agrobusiness, fruits and vegetables, fish products, etc.)

The potential in the field of joint-investment is also promising. The industrial and commercial partnership remains the best guarantee for a fruitful and beneficial rapprochement, and the implementation of direct means for communication and cargo transport will further consolidate the already existing increase in terms of the exchange of touristic visits between the two Kingdoms, and will contribute to the fulfillment of a more consolidated cooperation.

It is a matter of pride for me to underscore, in this respect, that the two Kingdoms indeed share many common points. They are both located at the crossroads of major trade currents, and both are devoted to the attachment to tradition and proper genius of their people, and to the vital choices consisting of defending public liberties, economic liberal system, political liberalism, and to preserving peace and solidarity both on regional and international levels.

May I also note that thanks to the political will of our two sovereigns and Governments, the two countries will continue to work together to further boost the strong relations that exist, so happily, between our two countries in all fields, for the betterment of their cordial friendship and the benefit of their people.

To conclude, I would like to take this opportunity to renew to their majesties the King and the Queen, to the Royal Family, and to the Government of Thailand, my most heartfelt and best wishes. May I also express my sincere gratitude to the hospitable people of Thailand and wish them peace, happiness and prosperity.

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Using sports to defeat poverty

Two young girls attempt to rise through the tennis ranks

Eleven-year-old Patamaporn Khamchan and her two sister’s parents are poor. However, her father, Theva Sritawan believes he has found a way to make sure his daughters do not have to remain in poverty.

It’s not an easy path, but nothing worth working for ever is. Theva believes that through hard work, and a little luck, his daughters may one day become professional tennis players.

f21.jpg (28465 bytes)Forming a tennis family. (L to R) Khanitha, Patamaporn, Theva and Saranya at the family’s seamstress shop on Soi 17.

Theva, 42, and his wife Saranya Khanchan are natives of Roi-Et province in the Lao speaking Isan region of Thailand. They have been married since 1983. Saranya has been supporting the family working as a seamstress.

In 1990, the family moved to Pattaya. Saranya remained a seamstress, working in the Chaimongkol Temple on Soi 17 in South Pattaya.

Presently, the couple has three children, all girls: Khanitha, Patamaporn and Oratip. The family has enough to eat and live from day to day but no money to save.

Theva noticed his daughters were very good at sports like volleyball and basketball, and decided perhaps they could learn to play tennis. Theva did not know anything about tennis but liked sports. The girls didn’t know much about this rich people’s game either, but were interested.

"You can be a ‘professional’ at tennis if you are good," Theva prophesized. "I pawned some of my gold and bought a tennis racquet."

On April 2, 1995 Theva’s eldest daughter, Khanitha, began to learn tennis for the first time on the Takraw field of Pattaya, School Number 8. She used the ‘knock-board’ there for 3 months.

After three months of practice at the school, Theva and Kanitha made their first trip to a real tennis court. At 80 baht per hour to use the court, for them the cost was high.

Khanitha was only able to practice two days on the courts and the other 5 days were spent at the school.

"During the rainy season, the school would flood and we would go to practice at a hotel court, but the manger ordered the guard to throw us out. So, we continued to practice at the school for over a year," Theva remembered.

"Then the Pattaya Tennis Club helped us by giving Khanitha training and allowed her to use the courts free of charge. When she began to get better at the game, I entered her in the Singh Water competition in 1995. She lost in the second round.

"She did win at the Department of Physical Education’s competition in Suphanburi and in Mukdaharn province. She is now the fourth seeded tennis player in the 14-year-old division."

"Khanitha is currently a student at the sports school in Udornthani. We can see this as a sort of success. At least we don’t worry about her getting an education as the school provides that. She also receives help with room and board," Theva concluded.

Patamaporn, Theva’s 11 year old daughter, is studying in Pattaya at school number 8. She has only been playing for 2 years, and her practice experience is the same as her elder sister’s.

f22.jpg (17968 bytes)Patamaporn practices hard on the corts of Amari Orchid Resort.

After playing in the 1996 youth tennis matches in Bangkok, the two daughters and their father returned to Pattaya. They hoped to ask for help from various benefactors. They decided to interest the people of Pattaya in sports by running a Pattaya-Bangkok marathon in order to improve the tennis courts in Pattaya. They felt this might draw people’s attention to their financial troubles.

The father and two daughters made a banner advertising this and walked through the pollution of Bangkok and its dangerous traffic. During their marathon, some homes by the roadside took pity on them and gave them food.

Due to Mr. Theva’s great wish for his daughter’s to have a better life, he arrived at the editorial offices of Pattaya Mail to ask for help.

Pratheep Malhotra, Managing Director of the newspaper and President of the Pattaya Sports Club, helped them by requesting that the Amari Orchid Resort allow the girls the use of the club’s courts. The girls needed to prepare for the Intra Tennis matches in the middle of February.

On February 13-14, Patamaporn, the younger of the two tennis playing daughters, finished in third place in the under 12 division of the Youth Tennis matches held in Bangkok.

She said she was not unhappy with the results and this is only spurring her to practice more.

Both girls are now in the top ten seedings of their age categories in Thailand.

Two new professional sportswomen are now being formed.

As for long term assistance, the Pattaya Sports Club has decided to help.

Sports is an activity in which all nationalities engage. It teaches the people the value of fair play and how to win and lose graciously.

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New Orleans comes to Pattaya

One of the hottest New Orleans Jazz groups is playing here this weekend. It is the world renowned Doc Houlind and the All Stars, stopping over on a whirlwind tour from his native Denmark to play at the Admiral's Pub in Jomtien.

f3.jpg (19501 bytes)Doc Houlind and the All Stars will be entertaining at the Admiral’s Pub in Jomtien this weekend.

"Doc" earned his title being a Doctor of Psychology, but the call of the sweet and easy New Orleans music was too much for him and he left it to beat out another life in music. Those with long memories may remember the Papa Blues Viking Jazz Band that visited Thailand many years ago. Doc Houlind played with them for 9 years before forming his own group.

His Jazz sextet members are mainly in their fifties, well seasoned troupers who just live for their music. The exception is Jesper Capion Larsen, who at 32 is considered the greatest ever clarinet talent in Danish jazz history. Jesper had been a classical musician before he, too, heard New Orleans jazz, flung away his flute and clasping his clarinet joined the All Stars.

The other members are John Marks from the UK on piano, Peter Brusendorf from Denmark on bass, Ragnar Tretow from Sweden on trumpet and another Dane Bjarne Emilo on trombone. The man behind the skins is of course the Doc himself.

Individually and as a group, all of these musicians have cut CD's, with the older members being found on vinyl if you look hard in the dusty corner of an old record shop! The good news is that on this trip to Pattaya, they found the acoustics were so good at the Admiral's Pub that they recorded another CD while down here last week. Limited copies of this will be available this weekend.

Bent Lassholdt, spokesman for the Admiral, advised that seats are in demand, so it might be an idea to get down early. At 8.00 p.m. on the 26th and 27th the band will be centre-stage with a BBQ Buffet on Friday and a Scandinavian Buffet on Saturday. On Sunday the 28th the band will have its last concert at the Admiral's Pub with a 10:30 brunch session.

For the Jazz enthusiasts on the Eastern Seaboard, this should not be missed.

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Bai See

by Kittisak Khamthong

In Thailand, whenever there is a ceremony of offering to spirits, a ceremony to honor an important person or a ceremony to honor teachers, a Bai See is made. This is used as a vessel for high things in the ceremony of offering to the spirits. The Bai See is made in proportion to the importance of the person or ceremony. The number of levels on the Bai See tells one the importance of the occasion or the person. There are Bai See of 3, 5, 7, and nine levels.

f41.jpg (30818 bytes)A nine level Bai See, used only for the most special occasions.

There are three types of Bai See which are most popular. The basic Bai See has 3, 5, 7 or nine levels. The second is the Bai See for teachers or the Bai See Jitamook, and the third is the Bai See Soo Khwan.

In the Basic Bai See, the number of levels indicates the importance. For example, 3 levels is used for less important ceremonies. Five or seven level Bai See are used for more important ceremonies. Nine levels are used for royal and very large public ceremonies, such as Khwan Nak, "honoring teacher" ceremonies, Royal Ceremonies and honoring the spirits.

People like making Bai See with both inward and outward folds on the leaves. A Kratong is put on each level of the Bai See. On each level the Kratong will contain savory and sweet foods considered delicacies. The sweet foods are thong yib, thong yord, foy thong, and med khanoon. All these are yellow in color and made from sugar and eggs.

On the top of the Bai See is a vessel for putting the choicest rice and Top of the Bai See Eggs. A beautiful funnel shaped zenith tops off the Bai See. The usual Bai See is 150 centimeters high.

Bai See for teachers or Jitamook Bai See are small and put on a parn or offering plate. Nine folded banana leaves are used in making this type of Bai See. The nine are sewed into 4 larger leaves. The ends of the leaves are decorated with Phut flowers. A funnel of suitable size is used and the whole Bai See is decorated with flowers with auspicious names such as Dao Ruang, Ban Mai Roo Roy, Dork Rak, Lotus and others. These Bai See are used to pay respects to teachers.

f42.jpg (22830 bytes)A smaller Bai See used for lessor, yet still special occasions.

Bai See Soo Khwan is a bit like Bai See Khroo but has more folds. Its size will be different according to the wish of the user. All the flowers used in decorating this type of Bai See are auspicious flowers. These Bai See are used for welcoming important personages to cities, respecting of elders and are used the North and Northeast.

A person making a Bai See must have permission from a master Bai See maker and have studied the art. This is because Thai people believe that Bai See are used in paying respects to spirits and various holy things. They are not decorations. Thus, the making of Bai See is an art that has been handed down from ancient times.

The Bai See originated in the Brahmin or Hindu religion and is impossible to separate from the Buddhist religion.

Those interested in more details about Bai See may contact Master Bai See maker Montien Srirasawat at Telephone (038) 410-850 or at the Ban Dao Rung at the entrance to the Redemptorist Center vocational school in Pattaya.

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Pattaya’s “Vertical Wreck”

The Koho Maru 5 was built in Japan. She was equipped with large tanks on her foredeck and may have originally carried liquid petroleum gas. Her name means "the light of Japan".

Before those lights went out the ship changed owners and flags. She was purchased by a Thai company who renamed her Pak 1 - or maybe it was Pak Wan. Her tanks were adapted to carry liquid fertiliser.

During a storm near the Cambodian border the ship is believed to have capsized. Ten crewmen died and three survived. The damage to the bow is believed to have happened later in a collision with a passing ship.

She must have sunk after 1995 as divers have recovered emergency flares dated that year.

Pak 1 is 60 metres long and is still new enough for the paint to show, although the coral is claiming her and starting the process of change that will eventually make her indistinguishable from a coral reef.

But mystery surrounds the ship. A diver who contacted Lloyds of London says he was told that he ship has never been registered as having sunk.

It is quite common for ships to sink stern first because the engines are at the back, but they usually settle on their sides or hull, or break up when they crash into the seabed at high speed.

One theory is that the deck tanks were empty and added sufficient buoyancy to keep her upright. A diver who is an engineer estimates that the tanks must have at least 25 mm thick steel and they should keep lifting the hull for around 20 years before corrosion causes them to leak.

The one weak spot is the piping, but this could be sealed by divers anxious to keep the vertical wreck upright.

For divers she is two dives in one - a wreck dive and a wall dive at the same time.

Most sports divers cannot go down all the way on the wreck. They are breathing normal air and this would become dangerously toxic at 60 m.

However, there is a new breed of Tekkies - technical divers - who are highly trained and who use special breathing mixes and equipment that enables them to penetrate further down into the depths of the ocean.

For them the wreck is an irresistible lure that puts Pattaya firmly on the world class diving map.

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Dancing her way to school

by Apirat Add Muangsirikul

The fallout from Thailand’s economic disaster has caused many families problems making a living. Some chose not to live and committed suicide. But our story is a bit brighter than that.

f6.jpg (18709 bytes)Nan dancing for donations at the Pattaya Carnival.

We met a mother and daughter who are doing what they can to make it through the times of economic meltdown.

Nan, 10, is a third grade student at a Pattaya school. After finishing her studies for the day, she usually helps her mother sell whatever they can find. During the Pattaya Carnival, they told us that they only had each other. Mom has lost her job and dad has disappeared.

Nan could be seen dancing for tourists at the Carnival. Nan doesn’t think too much about ‘busking’ at her young age. She only knows that when she dances, money falls into the hat.

After the Pattaya Carnival is finished, Nan and her mother will continue to sell old things at various places. They will buy and sell things from people who were ‘formerly rich’.

So, if you see them, give them a helping hand.

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Copyright 1998 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, Chonburi 20260, Thailand 
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Created by Andy Gombaz, assisted by Chinnaporn Sangwanlek.