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Skal Chiang Mai meeting & information on gala dinner on Jan 26

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In a break with tradition Skål Chiang Mai held their January meeting on the first Thursday, this because the Christmas Gala Fundraiser scheduled for December 13 was postponed to January 26, 2017 due to the loss of HM King Rama IX in October.

The meeting was held at the chic Dusit D2 Chiang Mai Hotel with General Manager Tatcha Riddhimat on hand to greet guests who had braved the rain and heavy traffic to join the dinner meeting.

Skålleagues gathered for Pernod mojitos and mocktails with delicious canapes served by attentive staff while stragglers struggled in having battled the traffic jams! The evening was opened by President Tim McGuire who welcomed everyone and introduced the speaker Joanna MacLean before moving on to announcements.

Tickets are available for the Gala Fundraiser dinner at Le Meridien Chiang Mai on January 26, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. and although the event already has a lot of great donations for the silent auction more are always welcome. “It’s for the children” Tim pointed out, all funds raised will go towards purchasing supplies and food for the kids at the Mae Mha School and Orphanage in Chiang Dao. Tim noted that last year we raised 320,000 baht which allowed the club to divide the purchases up and send supplies six months apart. Those interested in donating or in purchasing tickets please email info@skalchiangmai.com or contact any committee member on the Skal Chiang Mai home page: http://skalchiangmai.com/members_committee.html

Annual membership renewal dues are due and the next Annual General Meeting will be held in February with a date and location to be announced.

Then President Tim called on members for announcements and Skal Chiang Mai Media Director Shana Kongmun announced a charity event the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club is holding on February 25, 2017 at Skål member Karb Chutima’s Old Chiang Mai. The event will highlight contemporary Thai culture and feature dance performances, Muay Thai demonstrations and many other fun activities. All funds raised go to the club’s children’s projects including the sight project that provides glasses for children in poor villages and the Water Safety Project. Shana reminded everyone that drowning is the leading cause of death for children in Thailand and the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club has a program to teach every 4th grader in Chiang Mai city schools how to be safe in water. More information on the event can be found at CMIRC’s Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/676463815866283/

Tim then introduced the speaker, local resident Joanna MacLean who said she had been attending the wonderful exhibit by Victoria Vorreiter at Tamarind Village when she was asked to speak. In the past, she pointed out, she would have easily been able to talk about her work at the Red Cross, or her work for elephants but that she wasn’t really quite certain given her new direction of travel, photography and writing what her topic should be. Joanna had her latest book about her travels in Myanmar, “Two Eggs and a Lemon” on display as well.

She realized storytelling is an art form worthy of discussion and reminded everyone “A story is a good story if you enjoy it.”
Joanna mentioned the different kinds of storytelling; oral, dance poetry, painting, drama, puppets and others noting that they all had one thing in common, the need for a hook. “You have to grab their attention.” Stories include myths, legends, parables, and fables, usually cautionary tales meant to teach values and linked to the culture. “If you want to change the culture, you have to change the stories,” she said.

History is also a form of storytelling “it is recording events in a chronological way, but very subjective. The story of the winner is very different from the story of the loser.” She added that stories can also be woven into fabrics like tapestries and cloaks reminding us that many of the words we use about storytelling are words from weaving.

The power of words can make you think, inspire and encourage and based on universal themes – the base things that make us human. She quoted Marcel Proust “The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” and encouraged the group to seek their own stories.

Lively conversation ensued at dinner as people talked about the path of storytelling in the modern area and told a few stories of their own before the night ended with Tim wishing every a very Happy New Year.

The next Skål Chiang Mai event is the Gala Fundraising Dinner at Le Meridien Chiang Mai on January 26, contact info@skalchiangmai.com for tickets.