London Olympic Games

London Olympics Logo

The eyes of the world will be on London for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games at 20:12  on Friday evening  27 July. It is expected to have a global TV audience of more than a billion people.. The Queen will be at the ceremony to officially open London 2012

The Olympic Opening Ceremony parade will feature 10,000 athletes from 205 nations. I have been fortunate enough to see the Opening Ceremonies of the Moscow, Los Angeles, Seoul, and Sydney Olympics. They were never to be forgotten experiences.

Lord Sebasian Coe is the Chairman of the London Olympic Games Organising Committee. He has the qualifications and experience to do a good job.If the residents of London give the Games their support, I hope they will be a great success.

Thailand will field 38 athletes in 15 sports. The National Olympic Committee of Thailand  website is here.

For the opening ceremony an English meadow is being  created, complete with animals.

An arial view of the completed stadium


“The Olympics remain the most compelling search for excellence that exists in sport, and maybe in life itself.”
– Dawn Fraser (Australian swimmer, 3-time winner at the Olympics)

Olympic Trivia. Did you know?

The Olympic Games Motto means “faster, higher,stronger”.

“Let The Games Begin” is not said during the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Great Britain is the only nation to have won at least one gold medal at every Summer Games.

When London hosts the Olympic Games in 2012, the city will become the first to host the Games three times: 1908, 1948 and 2012.

Australian Team Uniforms for the Opening Ceremony


Adidas Uniforms for Sporting Events








Click here for the Official Home Page of the Australian Olympic Team

The group Koreana sing “Hand in Hand” at the conclusion of the Opening Ceremony in Seoul in 1988.


The Dukes

The Dukes Ribs

Last night the Dining Out Group ate at The Dukes. There are two locations, the Night Bazaar and the original location along the Ping River, near the Iron Bridge. We ate at the latter.



The restaurant has an American owner and it is very popular with Americans and other Expats. Serving sizes are huge. It is a common sight to see customers leaving clutching “doggy bags” Pictured are The Duke’s proprietor, David, and Paul, the Dining Out Group convener.

David & Paul

They offer a diverse selection of American style ribs, steaks, burgers, pizzas and more. I ordered the ribs (pictured above). They came with seasoned chips, baked beans, snow peas, coleslaw and corn bread and were delicious! I couldn’t eat everything so bought the remainder home. Lucy, who I sat with, ordered a salad which came with Italian bread, and a pizza. I reckon she took home enough food for several meals! The proprietor, David, served complimentary desert, which was appreciated by the group.

Gentlemen Prefer Blonds!




Payap University Choir

Last night there was another concert at Saisuree Chutikul Music Hall  Payap University (Mae Kao Campus) by the Papap University Choir.

Titled Lanna Choral to Cincinnati World Choir Games 2012, it was to raise further funds for the Choir to visit the USA in July, and was their last concert before they depart. The Payap University Choir is one of three choirs representing Thailand.

Visit the World Choir Games site here.

It was an evening of glorious choral works, featuring mainly sacred music, but also new works, and traditional songs. The singing by the choir of The Royal Anthem to begin the programme was spine tingling. Their joyful rendition of “O Happy Day” was probably the highlight of the evening. The concluding item, “Choir Olympic Hymn” will be sung by them at the Games accompanied by The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

The choir also sang the beautiful There Is A Flower by John Rutter. Listen to it sung by the A Capella Singers at The David Lipscomb University in 1994.


Ayu & Chaipruck

Popular Ayu Namtep and Chaipruck Mekara led the choir.

A very supportive audience obviously wished the choir well at the World Choir Games. With about 48 participating countries and over 360 choirs they sure will need luck!










Payap Choir Win Two Silver Medals

Jul 20, 2012

CityNews – The Payap University Choir returned back on July 18th, from Cincinnati, Ohio where they won two silver medals at the 2012 World Choir Games. The team placed second in the contemporary music and mixed chamber music categories.

The Payap University Choir was conducted by Ajarn Ayu Namthep of the Duriyasilp College of Music and the team was chosen by the Thailand Choral Association. Students had to train for six months and they all were from Chiang Mai. Payap was the only university in Thailand to send a team.

The competition has been described as the Olympics of choral music and is held once every two years, this year 600 teams participated. This year’s competition lasted from July 4th through the 14th. Approximately 20,000 singers from 70 countries participated in 23 categories.

Upon their return to Thailand, the singers was greeted by Gov. Diskul at Chiang Mai International airport. Even though they missed the gold medal, the students greatly enjoyed their time at the competition and the university hopes to attend the 2014 competition.


Mekong – Dam by Dam

This morning at the Expats Club meeting, the guest speaker was Tom Fawthrop, a journalist and South East Asia specialist. He showed a 30 minute cut of his film  ‘KILLING THE MEKONG –  DAM BY DAM’.

The Mekong is of course one of the great river systems of the world, rising in Tibet and discharging into the sea in a delta in southern Vietnam. It flows through 6 countries (China, Burma, Laos PDR, Thailand, Cambodia, and Viet Nam ). Because of it’s international nature, the Mekong River Commission has been set up to undertake management responsibility  and is in the hands of its four Member Countries; Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. China and Burma are not members.

Daming the river is of course very controversial. China has already built 4 dams and one is planned for southern Laos at  Xayaburi. Daming causes un-natural rises and falls in river levels in a non-seasonal way. and converts flowing water into still systems. Some fish migrate hundreds of kilometers and dams will cause migratory species to die out.The proposed site in Lao PDR includes the picturesque 4000 islands area and associated rapids and waterfalls. It is also the home of the already threatened Irrawaddy dolphins.


Four Thai banks have been critised for their financial support in the Xayaburi construction project ( Siam Commercial, Kasikorn, Khrung Thai, Bangkok Bank ).

The film presented one view. Like all issues there are other views. Some would argue that generation of “green” hydro electricirity instead of using fossil fuels is sufficient reason to continue with dams.

Yorkshire Pudding Eating Contest

Tom was the Winner

Last night was the 9th Annual Yorkshire Pudding Eating Contest at The Pub on Huay Kaew Road.

Entry was 100 Baht (A$3.20) with winner taking all. Each entrant also received a free ‘Pub’ T-shirt and cap! Thirteen contestants faced the starter.

The winner this year was Tom who ate 37 Yorkshire Puddings in 1 hour. There was a new record of over 300 Yorkshire Puddings consumed during the contest. A pretty disgusting affair really, but a bit of fun.  I did not enter but ate a couple of jacket potatoes washed down with a few red wines. Here are some more pics courtesy of City Now! photographer, Steve.

No shortage of Yorkshire Puddings


Commentary by Stewart

Yorkshire puddings are not all that popular in Oz, but they are a feature of the Sunday English Roast at The Pub.

We’re Altos

Concert Poster

Last night there was a concert by another choir to help financially support The Payap University Choir to attend the World Choir games in the USA. The choir is called We’re Altos.

The choir was led by our old favourite Ayu Namtep and is made up of her former students.The keyboard accompaniment was by her daughter Remi Namtep.

The Sadudee Building, Payap University (Kaew Nawarat Campus) was the venue.

The programme consisted of popular songs and music from well known films. The Kinder Symphony played on novelty instruments was a fitting finale to a fun evening.

Ayu Namtep

Remi Namtep

Lum Lum Korean BBQ Restaurant

No shortage of Food!

Last night the Dining Out Group ate at the Lum Lum Korean Bar-B-Que Restaurant. This restaurant is very popular and was very crowded.Fortunately we were in a private room.The restaurant is located in Meechok Plaza opposite McDonalds. Another review here.

We all shared (eight persons) the BBQ which you cook yourself at the table using charcoal burners with exhaust fans. All sparkling clean.and imported from Korea. The BBQ set comes with a set of interesting side dishes, rice, and and a  lovely salad!

Another very pleasant evening. We had the “all you can eat” BBQ. The total cost including beer, water, and tip was 350 Baht (A$12)

Thanks for the photos, Nop.

Our next outing in a fortnight is to The Dukes, a famous American restaurant in Chiang Mai.

Teacher Appreciation Day

Teacher Appreciation Day

Today is Teacher Appreciation  Day in Thailand. Thai culture fosters  a deep respect for teachers and educators, right through from kindergarten to university. Today schools have a “Wai Kru Ceremony” which is very formal and decorative but it also is a vital part of the traditional Thai educational system.

The teachers are called to sit in front of the students as the students repeat a Buddhist chant and sing a song that demonstrates their appreciation for the teachers.Towards the end of the ceremony, students crawl up to their teacher on their knees with their heads down. Then the students bow to their teachers and offer them their individual bouquet of flowers wrapped with candles and incense. The teacher receives the flowers and gives the student advice. Some teachers will also pat the student’s head to encourage the knowledge to absorb into the child’s brain.

On this day Thai students bring flowers to their teachers as a symbol of their respect and readiness to learn. The most popular flower to bring is called “dok khem” (needle flower) because it represents the student’s promise that his/her brain will be as sharp as a needle

There is another day which pays respect to teachers which occurs towards the end of the school year, National Teacher Day. Every 16th of January schools are closed in honor of Thai teachers across the country.

Another example of a delightful part of Thai culture.

Needle Flower

Chiang Mai Ensemble

Last night the Chiang Mai Ensemble played their third programme, called Invitation to The Dance,  at the AUA Auditorium.

The concert was dedicated to Dance Music, with compositions from the Baroque period till Late Romantic. On the programme were compositions by Durante, Vivaldi, Bach, Haydn,  Mendelssohn, Donizetti, Tchaikovski, Godard, Piazzolla, and Vora-urai.

The Chiang Mai Ensemble

The Ensemble  make up is,

Mutita Narkmuang  Guitar
Ong-ard Kanchaisak  Counter-tenor
Remi Namtep  Piano
Xavier Vichitporn  Flute
Witsaruth Tawinno  Cello

The four musicians are well-known soloists, and are also successful teachers at various musical institutions in this city.

The opening work called, Rice Wine and Bamboo Raft was especially written for the Ensemble by “Joe” Bringkop Vora-urai, and has become their theme. As he says ” just as you can’t make wine from one single grain of rice, and you can’t make a raft from one single piece of bamboo, a musican ensemble needs a group of musicians joining together during their perpormance “

The capacity audience were treated to a joyful evening of music by a talented group of musicians..

I normally don’t enjoy counter tenors. Last night however, Ong-ard was in fine voice. Having said that, I prefer it when he sings as a tenor.

Their next concert will be in October, probably the 27th.




Wat Jed Yod

Wat Jed Yod

Wat Jed Yod is my local Wat (temple). It is so close that sometimes I can hear the soft temple bells early in the morning.

It is also known as Wat Photharam Maha Vihan.

Built during the15th century, the name means seven spires. It was copied from the Mahabodi Temple in Bodh Gaya, India, where the Buddha achieved enlightenment.

It is of course one of many wats in Chiang Mai which is dotted with wats (temples) built by kings in centuries long past.

Wat Jed Yod from my apartment balcony