Thai Culture Comes to Astana

ASTANA –Traditional Thai fighters and dancers helped present a slice of Thai culture to Astana residents during the Sept. 22. ThaiFestival at the Khan Shatyr Mall.

“This Thai Festival is a symbolic way to mark the one year anniversary of the Royal Thai Embassy,” read a press release by the Royal Embassy of Thailand to Kazakhstan, which organized the event. “The Royal Thai Embassy is the latest embassy in Astana with the area of jurisdiction covering Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic. Established in September 2012 to mark the 20thAnniversary of Thailand and Kazakhstan’s diplomatic relations, the Royal Thai Embassy is the first and the only Thai Embassy in Central Asia.”

The Sbun-Ngaperforming troupe with an impressive resume was invited from Thailand to celebrate the event and share the amazing Thai culture with people in Kazakhstan. The troupe has performed in 30 countries across the globe, representing the honour of their country.

The show attracted the attention of many shoppers and included Muay Thai fighters, Thai traditional dances,such as the coconut shell dance, the flirting dance, the umbrella dance and a lottery with a prize of tickets to Thailand for two.

“The objectives of organizing this Thai festival are not only to bring Kazakhstan’s people entertainmentfrom Thailand, but also to strengthen the close partnership between Thailand and Kazakhstan, especially in the field of cultural cooperation,” stated the press release.

“Colourful and dazzling,” are the words that onlooker Bolat Uatkhan used to describe the event. “This is great. My wife and I always wanted to travel to Thailand and this event encouraged us to act. We signed up for the lottery and we hope to win. But even if we don’t, we will still go,” Uatkhan said.

“Our government attaches great importance to Kazakhstan, as it is a big country with a great potential,” saidAmbassador of Thailand to Kazakhstan Dr. Charn Jullamon. “Kazakhstan attracts because it is a new market, and it is rich with natural resources like oil and gas. We want to strengthen our partnership in all areas–trade, politics, cultural integration, – as you well know people in Kazakhstan love travelling to Thailand in the winter,”Jullamon said.

Another binding fact is that both countries are bidding for UN Security Council non-permanent membership for 2017-18. However, the ambassador said,“it will be a friendly competition between our countries.” And no matter the final decision “we will always support Kazakhstan. … Kazakhstan and President Nursultan Nazarbayev played a key role in world security, in non-proliferation and closed its nuclear testing site at Semipalatinsk. That is why Kazakhstan will always have our support, as it has currently in (the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia)CICA, for example, which, by the way, was initiated by the Kazakhstan President.”

“We are open to any cooperation and ready to provide support if any educational institution wants to offer Thai language courses for instance,” said the ambassador.

On a personal note, Dr. Jullamon admitted that Astana’s winter is a challenge for someone who comes from a tropically warm country. Dr.Jullamonalso underlined the tight relations between the two countries and the importance of cultural exchange and added that, on their part, they are working to encourage the current Prime Minister of the Kingdom of ThailandYingluck Shinawatra to visit Kazakhstan in the near future.