- HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Media club votes to become an association
Dusit Thani Pattaya gears up for a fresh start
PCEC gains insight into becoming a monk
The ‘real’ spirit of Songkran
Fame comes for easy rider with dream machine
Media club votes
to become an association
Members of the Pattaya City
Mass Media Club have voted
to register the club as an association.
Members of Pattaya Mass Media Club have voted to register the club
as an association, which would put it on a more formal footing and raise the
organization’s profile in both the public and the private sectors.
The club, which is steered by a committee under a chairman, has proved to be
a popular focal point for members of the print, broadcast and electronic
media in Pattaya and the Eastern region.
Members had been discussing for some while the possibility of taking the
club to the association stage, and on April 2 a meeting was held at the
Pattaya Marriott Resort and Spa’s More Bar and Grill, at which it was put to
The meeting was well attended, and the great majority of members voted for
the club to seek association status. A committee has been formed to guide
the club through the formalities, with an application to be lodged with the
government sector at Chonburi Province. The next meeting to report on
progress has been set for May 7 at the Diana Garden Resort.
Club chairman Chaiyod Poopattanapong said that the upgrading would be an
advantage to members as it allows the club greater recognition. This in turn
would attract more members and greater use of the club, thereby making it a
more influential organization. Chaiyod estimates the process would take six
months to complete.
Dusit Thani Pattaya gears up for a fresh start
Hotel staff participate in Dusit
Thani Pattaya’s cleaning up operations to give the Thai New Year a fresh start
at the hotel, with Prawes Akanimart (second from left), chairman of the hotel’s
Green Leaf Committee supervising the activity.
Volunteer staff from different departments of Dusit Thani
Pattaya recently took on the task of cleaning up the five-star hotel’s main
drain system as they prepared for the Songkran festival, also celebrated as the
Thai New Year.
This activity is done every year around the premises of Dusit Thani Pattaya as
part of its campaign for a cleaner surrounding. The drive was also aimed to
start the Thai New Year on the right track, beginning with the overall state in
Other activities participated in by the staff were segregating waste for
re-cycling purposes, checking and clearing storage rooms of any hazardous
materials, unclogging the drain system and cleaning up areas in and around the
hotel in its commitment to maintain a cleaner environment.
Dusit Thani Pattaya has been certified 3 times in a row with 5 leaves by the
Green Leaf Foundation (Thailand). Five leaves is the highest level awarded to a
hotel signifying excellence in environmental management. The most recent
recognition was the ASEAN Green Hotel Recognition Award with a certification
from the ASEAN Tourism Standard for its relentless efforts to being
PCEC gains insight into
becoming a monk
New Orleans native Daniel Powers
shares with PCEC members
his experience when he was fortunate to become a Buddhist monk
for two weeks at a temple in Kanchanaburi.
The start of this week’s meeting of the Pattaya City Expats
Club (PCEC) on Sunday April 6th at Henry J. Bean’s took a different turn. PCEC
board member Al Serrato demonstrated his hidden talent on the acoustic guitar
accompanied by his teacher and mentor Dalton O’Sullivan.
The main speaker this week was Daniel Powers from New Orleans. Daniel worked
around Asia as an internal auditor for IBM before moving to Bangkok in 2003. He
taught business at Srinakharinwirot University and moved to Pattaya in 2004
where he enjoyed great success running Fatties Restaurant for two years.
In 2006 he returned home to care for his seriously ill mother. Events
surrounding his mother’s illness led him to return to Thailand to become a
Buddhist monk for a time. Daniel related his experience and the insights he
gained while doing so.
Daniel related that his mother had contracted cancer and was told that there was
little chance of recovery. He attended his local temple in Kanchanaburi and
asked for help in dealing with the problem. After three months the cancer was
unexpectedly in remission. Daniel returned to Thailand and in response to the
good fortune, he offered to become a monk for a two week period. Daniel provided
an insight into his experiences.
A monk has 227 rules to follow; these include no eating after midday, no
touching women, no jumping or swimming, no wearing of shoes in some
circumstances or underwear, no consumption of alcohol.
His typical day was getting up at 4 a.m., taking a splash shower with freezing
cold water, dressing and talking until 5 a.m., receiving alms from the local
population, sorting the food and taking breakfast by 8 a.m. Cleaning and chores
were completed and lunch taken by about 11.15. Following more chores and a
midday nap, chanting and meditation would take place up to 6 p.m. before
retiring for the day at about 10 p.m.
A significant event which occurred during Daniel’s time as a monk took place the
day after he was inducted. In celebration of HM the King’s birthday he joined
200 other monks in a lengthy walk. He related a number of anecdotes which
occurred during the walk.
Daniel summarised his experience by listing the challenges he faced by being a
monk of foreign origin. These were the requirement to speak Thai for two weeks;
reading chants in Thai; eating only Thai food; abstention from consuming alcohol
and touching women; little to read and no access to TV or email; sleeping on the
floor; unfamiliar bathroom facilities; no interaction with other foreigners;
interacting with the Thai population as a monk.
Daniel reflected on his experience by saying that he appreciated being allowed
by the head monk to become a monk, his acceptance by the other monks and the
assistance they gave him. He saw at first hand the generous nature of the Thai
population and experienced at first hand living as a Thai person.
PCEC Chairman Richard Smith provided the reminder that the PCEC had been the
first foreign organisation invited to participate in the Chonburi Songkran
Festival on the 13th April. The governor of Chonburi province and the Banglamung
nai amphur had specifically requested that the PCEC take part. Richard reminded
the attendees that the PCEC had received a great complement having been asked to
participate and asked for volunteers to take part in the parade in Chonburi
Staying on the subject of Songkran, Richard also announced that a traditional
Songkran ceremony would be performed which will give members and guests a sample
of what Songkran is traditionally about. The servers will be in Thai costume.
Properly prepared water and other implements of this important and meaningful
Thai ritual will be provided. The PCEC will also be very honoured to have nai
amphur Mongkol presiding over the ceremony.
Following the great deal on interest in John Fishback’s talk last week on the
new condo act, a separate meeting was scheduled for April 9th at the Markland
Hotel to discuss the act further and the implications for condo owners.
The regular Open Forum was then underway, undertaken by Richard Silverberg
without a beanie in sight as both Sig Sigworth and Bob L’Etoile were away. As
always it provided an opportunity for questions about living in Thailand with an
emphasis on Pattaya to be asked. The Open Forum again proved to be the usual
lively and entertaining session. For more information regarding, not only PCEC
Sunday meetings but also the varied mid week activities, please see the
Community Happenings section of Pattaya Mail or, for more details, visit the
Club’s website at pattayacityexpatsclub.com.
The ‘real’ spirit of Songkran
Dr. Iain Corness
The Thai New Year, Songkran, has become a travesty of its original
celebration. These days Songkran has become a celebration to avoid at all costs,
with many ex-pats going overseas to avoid being part of the madness, let alone
the dangers of the week of water throwing in Pattaya.
However, in some organizations, Songkran continues to be celebrated in the
original way, a time of veneration of the elders. The Bangkok Hospital Pattaya’s
director, Dr Pichit Kangwolkij said, “Songkran is a time to divest yourself of
past sins, and look to attract good health to yourself and your family.”
On Songkran Day, the hospital’s lobby became a Thai village ‘kitchen’ with many
Thai delicacies being prepared, with young local Thai boys and girls playing
traditional Thai musical instruments, making jasmine garlands and carving fruit.
City dignitaries were the first to have the scented water poured over their
hands, as a mark of respect, and then the senior members of staff received the
offerings from the younger members in the traditional way.
This, for me, was a very wonderful experience and if all of Songkran could be as
friendly and respectful, Songkran would again become one of the nicest
celebrations in the Thai calendar.
Fame comes for easy rider with dream machine
The son of a rice grower who became a vehicle painter has used his own
agricultural roots to decorate his motorcycle with rice grains and other
produce, traveling to countrywide fairs where he enters the bike in
Pattaya Mail visited Prasong Khunsantia, who is 47 and who resides at a house in
Moo 3 on Soi Khaophet, in Sattahip Sub-district, at his garage on Soi 4 in
poses with his customized motorcycle and his trophies.
Arriving at the garage, our reporter found a number of locals standing around
admiring the bike, which is a vintage 70cc Super Cup Honda, a machine that was
produced and sold about 40 years ago. The motorcycle is painted black, and on
its frame from the front fender to the rear has a classic design using rice
grains. The headlight, taillight and rearview mirror are decorated with coconut
shells. The seat is made of glass fiber, and has a hole bored out in the middle.
Empty eggshells have been placed on straws of rice and sealed with transparent
resin, forming what looks like a chicken hutch. The rear has been made into a
box, with a lid of bamboo.
Prasong said he is the son of a rice grower, and his hometown is in Nonthai
District, Ratchasima Province. As a child he had a difficult life. He had to
help his parents work in the rice fields. He was able to complete the 4th grade
at school, and moved to live in Banglamung District 30 years ago. He then had
the opportunity to continue studying in non-formal education.
He then rented premises to open a motorcycle color repair shop in Pattaya. In
2006 he bought this motorbike for 7,000 baht, and after he had repaired it he
decorated the machine. After adding all the rice grains, he sprayed resin over
everything and then polished it. The whole process took him a year, he said, and
now he rides the bike every day from his residence in Sattahip to his garage.
Why choose rice grains? Prasong says that he did this to remind himself of his
background. He is very proud of this motorbike, because it attracts so much
attention. On March 29 he drove the bike from Pattaya to the BITEC exhibition
center in Bangna, where people attending a show queued up to have their pictures
taken with the machine.
He has also traveled to other provinces, and won several awards. He won an award
two years consecutively at the Japan Classic Bike Party, which last year was
held at the Valley De Chaley Resort in Pakchong District, Nakhon Ratchasima
Province, and this year at Cha-am District, in Phetchaburi Province.
He has also received an award in the creative category from the Rod Kao Rang
Koey Club in Kangkoy District, Saraburi Province, and was awarded a plaque as
the winner in the modified classic vehicle category at Burapa Bike Week Pattaya.
A member of the Se-U Classic Motorbike Pattaya Club, Prasong says he rides the
bike during charity occasions.
When asked which he loves best, his motorcycle or his wife, Prasong says with a
smile that he loves them both equally and that sometimes he sleeps beside his
wife, and sometimes beside the motorbike.
A foreigner recently wanted to buy the bike for 50,000 baht, but Prasong
declined the offer. Asked if he would sell the motorbike if someone offered him
1 million baht for it, he answered that he would not sell it, but that he would
make a new one for the buyer if he really wanted it.
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