Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Plea from Sangduen "Lek" Chailert , Founder of Save Elephant Foundation

Last night Sangduen "Lek" Chailert wrote an empassioned plea on behalf of the many animals who are drowning in the floods around Bangkok, especially dogs and cats who have been abandoned in expensive areas, areas where the expensive homes are owned mostly by foreigners.  She asked me to clean up her English grammar and then send it out to everyone. I tried, but find that when I edit her words, I dilute her message. So. I'll simply make a couple of comments and include her text exactly as she has written it.

I do not care what your nationality is, Please if you have abandoned your pets in a flood area, go back and get them!! As water levels raise many are drowning locked in cages. This is not the way to treat "man's best friend", it's certainly not the way you or would want to leave this life!  Lek has offered to help. Call our hotlines and we will help you save the life of your pet.  The text unedited message follows:

Dear All
After my fifth week  helping to rescued the animals who victim from flood . Today our team still work  in the area at Nonthaburee and Pratumtanee,  province and the flood keep chasing us ,raise up high every day of our movement and try to help .
Our team has rescue between 50- 100 animal a day, someday  work from early until after midnight trying to save their life if we can , what I have learned and experience from my past week  to see the horrible picture of animals died all over around ,
The most tragedy we have seen are the big house  in the land and house project  have  left the animals dying and suffer . Some of our team can’t go to rescue when we have heard  screaming from the dogs who call us for help. We saw some of them have a couple inch to breath  before the head will reach the top of cage , some of them already die. ,most we can’t open the cage because of the lock  . We can help and manage to lift the cage to stay higher , the most worse part that some cage have build stick in the cement floor and it make our work are very difficult to remove the dog . some dogs stay up high now  but the situation are still risky because of the flood are raise up all the time . We would like all of you have help us to spread this message  to the animal lover to help us to call  ask for the owner of pet who stay around flood area and have left the  animal behind , please come back home to save them .
I would like the pet owner to remember that:
If any of you understand word “ The man Best Friend “ then you should value their loyal ,
Many house owner have argue with us that they now move to stay at the hotel and pet not allow , In this situation  if you love you animal and as I work in the field I would like all will help to save the animal life  Please attention for this message:
1 ) Please try to go back your place and bring your animal out or take them to stay at you second floor  give space for them to living , provide them enough food and water. At the moment I have report from many house owner  who   have the problem with the thief go to steal belonging  at their  home and residence  , your dog will be the best guard to look after you home , please release them free in the house and make the trip to visit them often as you can .
2) if they stay in the cage release them out immediately , if you need hand to help please call our team , to help to move your animal , but during we work we need the dog owner to be with us.
3) If your pet get sick we can help to provide the vet to look after your animals  on emergency and after that you have to bring your pet to get the  better treatment .
4) For any house   at one floor and you have no place to keep your pet  , we can provide the temporary place for your animal with free of charge and we expect you to have them back  them back after the flood have gone
You need help please call to our help center at : our organization  at :             087-1801062       ,            085-6520756      
            085-6163988        ,             087-1863804       or email at :

Saturday, October 29, 2011



I just found out that there is at least one scum bag who has glumed on to video of our rescue and is using it to collect money.  Please know there are 3 and only 3 authorized places to donate to Save Elephant Foundation.  They are:
  1. World Wide you may go to press donate and designate Save Elephant Foundation.  100% of the money they receive goes to the charity for which it is earmarked.  
  2. You may send checks made payable to Elephant Nature Foundation, UK Ltd.  Those checks may be mailed to Mrs. P. Kirkland, Hilltop, Windmill Hill, Shere Road, West Horsley, Surrey KT246EJ England.
  3. You may drop into the SEF/ENP office at 1 Ratmakka Road, T. Phra Sing, A. Muang Chiang Mai, Thailand 50200.

Please do not donate to any other entity claiming to represent Save Elephant Foundation, Elephant Foundation or the Elephant Nature Park. They are dirtball scum bags who want to take advantage of the suffering we are trying to alleviate in order to line their own filthy pockets.  Shame on them!  Maybe in their next life they will be some animal that needs to be rescued but dies because of human greed.

The rescue work continues, you may expect a press release soon.

Abundant Blessings,

Friday, October 28, 2011

Floods in Thailand - Many many animals are stranded

All photographs in this article are courtesy of Save Elephant Foundation.  Please respect this copyrighted material.

The flood waters in the Bangkok area are still very high. In fact the flood zone has expanded since my last posting. Information about flood levels and the like can be found at and as well as other sources.  According to these sources the water should hit peak levels this weekend.  Government rescue operations are aimed at helping only human kind.  Many pets have had to be abandoned and many wild animals are stranded.

Save Elephant Foundation has crews of volunteers in the area, working to rescue animals.As you can imagine the costs of these operations very high.  There are volunteers to feed, animals to feed and house.  There are boats which have been rented and purchased.

Several people have asked me how to best donate.  Please just go to and click on donate. You may then indicate that the money is to help Save Elephant Foundation.  The Serengeti Foundation is a registered 501c charity in the United States. They transfer 100% of the donations they receive to the donee's designated charity.  Please help! 

All photographs in this article are courtesy of Save Elephant Foundation.  Please respect this copyrighted material.

Abundant Blessings,

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Water is Rising!

The water is rising. The situation is grave. Countless numbers of animals are in danger of drowning, starving or being eaten by crocodiles which escaped from certain tourist entertainment venues. Save Elephant Foundation (SEF) has teams of volunteers on the ground (in the water might be more accurate) around Bangkok.  They are working to rescue as many animals as possible. Now is the time to ask what can I do to help.  It's not the time for bickering, selfish motives, jealousy or any other selfish childish behavior. For the past couple of days SEF has tried to borrow and/or rent boats to help save animals.  Today they were able to purchase three plastic boats!

More news will follow.  In the meantime please see the attached video and perhaps one or two related videos.
Flood Video

I'm dry in Chiang Mai trying to help let the world know what is going on. I'm grateful to be dry and safe and yet I must tell you I'm feeling a bit guilty for not being in the throws of it all; the decision was not mine, so the guild isn't much.  I also feel pain for the people who had to abandon their pets, for the animals both domestic and wild that are caught up in all of this.  The photographs are not mine.  They are the copyrighted property of Sangduen Chialert and Save Elephant Foundation.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Self Directed Assignment

I decided this morning to go on a self directed photo assignment.  Spend one day with the old camera using only the wide angle lens.  Shoot what I saw then post without any cropping.   The batch is up on Photobucket at

A sampling would be:

Bamboo Cafe / Bar.  Early Mornings Live MLB Playoff Games! 

Good Morning Chiang Mai Coffee House - Love the Movie Posters! 

Baby Shoes at the Saturday Market

Saturday Market, It's a lamp actually

Saturday Market 

Last Shot of the Day

Abundant Blessings,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Year Two, Lessons, Adventures and More!

My 2nd year in Thailand went by so fast, I forgot to take time to write this before the big day. Now I’ll just record some of the highlights and some of my thoughts after the fact.  Much of my time has been dedicated to volunteering to help the elephant and trying to learn the Thai language.  Although I realize that one can only do what one can do, I feel I've come up short in both areas, especially learning Thai. 
On the other hand most people my age wouldn't even bother  ใซ่ไหม

Mid-January I was fortunate enough to photograph The Bike for Elephants event.   Next year I hope to be even more involved.   The 2012 Event is scheduled for January 15th and 16th.  Information is available at  The video trailer is really cool! 
Bike for Elephants 2010
We went to Luang Prabong, what an amazing little city.  The city has a tourist friendly phrase “Stay another Day” Works for me!   I fully intend to return the first part of 2012.  Previous blog articles were written so I won't belabor the point here. 
Morning Alms in Luang Prabong
From there we went to the Plain of Jars where I saw first had some of the results of indiscriminate bombing of Laos in the 1960’s and 1970’s.   Since that time I’ve been a casual student of the Vietnam war.  The Vietnamese refer to it as “the American war”.  One of the books I read mentioned that miraculously none of the jars on the Plain of Jars were damaged by the bombing.  The author obviously has never been there!
Bomb Damage
In late January I started my trip gathering information for the “Shades of Gray” article I wrote.  What I know now is that the situation here is much more complicated that I could have ever imagined!  One lesson I have learned is that there are no domestic elephants in Thailand or anywhere else!  They are in captivity.  Volumes can be written, and doubtless will be written about their situation, the history, the present and the future. Much more than the elephant is at stake here; this is also about the forest, the culture and the people. It’s about tourism, revenue and education.  It’s about caring, not caring, kindness, greed, generosity and cruelty.  
Working Elephant
By April  I realized that I needed to discontinue my relationship with the pre-school.  God love em, they just were not ready to bring on a person needing a work permit. My best option was to leave things on good terms, which I managed to do.  I wish them well in the future. The kids were absolutely adorable.  This was also the time when I decided to eventually move to Chiang Mai though the move didn’t happen till late September.
Nutty Putty is used the same here as in the States. 
More trips than I had planned were made to Vientiane for visa runs.  While I like Vientiane, it’s not a place I really want to visit every 60 to 90 days.  The visa and work permit thing has sorted itself out so hopefully the next time I go to Laos will be to photograph elephants in February. On my last visa run a met a chap who introduced me to the real deal when it comes to Lao Coffee.  Amazing beverage!
Michael and the Best Coffee Vendors in Lao, well that's our opinion!
One thing that I enjoy is finding signs that lose or gain something in their translation to English.  No Paking is one of my favorites.  It’s in Vientiane as well.
No Paking! 
In July I went on a meditation retreat at Wat ChomTong about an hour South of Chiang Mai.  Why is my meditation practice so sporadic now?   I think my priorities need to be reviewed, but that’s for a different journal.
The Chedi at Wat Chomtong
In late July I went back to the States for two weeks to see family, especially my grandson who is now 5 and has declared that I’m silly. He likes silly, it’s a fun thing!
Andy and his parents on his first roller coaster ride! 
After Southern Colorado I went to visit my niece Kate and her family in Colorado.  We had an opportunity to go to Rocky Mountain National Park, which is one of my very favorite places. It was there that I added like 18 pounds of See's candy to bring back to Thailand.  It's long gone, gave most of it away, but not all.
Brighton, Mattie, Evelyn, Preston and Quinton
In late August I changed my idea of an Art show to raise general money for the elephants to one supporting Pang Pornsawan.   This project is taking a lot of my time, but will be very rewarding.  I am so touched by this elephant that I'm certain she has and will continue to change my life!  It's customary when an elephant comes to the Elephant Nature Park, he or she is given a new name.  I have no right to do so, but if I were to have the opportunity her new name will be Dharma, or Dhamma if you prefer.
The morning I met her, she changed me; I can't explain, just trust me. 
During the past year I've made two really good life changing decisions

Maliwan and I have both recently spent three weeks at ChomTong.  After she returned we sat down and decided it was time to move the relationship to the next step, so we are officially engaged.
Maliwan and her new sewing machine, taken in Chiang Rai 6 months ago
She now has three (3) of them ! 
The end of September marked the end of my residence in Chiang Rai and the actual move to Chiang Mai.  I’m grateful to be here!   Aw let’s face it, gentle reader, I’m grateful to be anywhere!!   As I write this, on this important Buddhist Holiday I'm listening to the monks, in the Wat just down the street, doing their evening chants.  There is civility here, I love it.
The Tourist

Abundant Blessings,