This page will do its best to keep up-to-date on happenings that might be of interest to the group. For instance, if somebody's going to Thailand, let us know & we'll post it here! Or if there's a reunion or "mini-reunion" (of which there have been many), we can post that here, too. We will also have links to other noteworthy Peace Corps- and Thailand-related event calendars.

Note from the webmaster: Feb. 18, 2005
I have to apologize. . . it's been MONTHS since I put anything on this page, and so much has happened! Worse, it will probably be months until I can get to this again . . . maybe many months . . . read on and find out why . . . .
Anyhow since the last entries here we've had the election--an unnatural disaster, from my point of view--and the tsunami, a natural disaster. Brad Martin's book has been getting a lot of national attention, and many of us have been staying in touch a little more than usual. Carol House (formerly Lil Wilson) has surfaced, in Australia, Helene Haase is still in love in Egypt (read her story on the link by her name in the roster), Katy O'Hare is showing her colorful personality once more, and on and on . . .

First, most recently, and most appropriately, we hear from Sandy Keith Feb 10,2005:

Wanted to report on the fabulous time we had last night. With North Korea in today's news, thought some would be especially interested. A few of us Thailand XI-ers--Ed Fallon, Jon Keeton, Frank Burgess, and I went to hear our fellow ex-PCV, now known as Bradley K. Martin, author of Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty, discuss North Korea at a book launch at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. The room was packed with policy wonks, journalists, scholars, and us. Brad's message was hopeful--the US should make peace with North Korea now and George Bush is just the man to do it because of his ideology, a la Nixon in China. Brad's unarguable point-- where else would someone like Osama Bin Laden likely go to get a nuclear weapon? Brad shot down all other policy options as untenable, i.e., war, sanctions, threats. Nor should we try to overthrow Kim Jong Il, he said, because we could get a lot worse.

Yes, Kim is a "wily leader", sometimes brutal, violates human rights, but, unlike his father, Kim Il Sung, he does not believe his own publicity; has concerns about the current system; and wants to encourage the emerging free market economy. Apparently Kim Jong Il admires the constitutional monarchies of Thailand and Sweden, and would like to build a Hungarian type of "goulash economy." As a "friend" of the US, he would be less dangerous to us and might help us make peace with nations with even worse leaders and records. To make peace, we would need intermediaries, such as Jimmy Carter. Brad suggested George H.W. Bush would be a good emissary to reach out. Heady and controversial stuff. I hope the White House was listening.

Then the best part--we went out to eat with Brad, his old high school friend Sarah, his Aunt Julie, a fellow reporter from Japan, a Woodrow Wilson associate, Frank, Ed and me. Since it was Chinese New Year we ate at Tony Cheung's in Chinatown. Mmmm those Peking duck pancakes! The Tsing Taos; the martinis! We reminisced about Hilo, talked more Korea and the world and had a wonderful time.

Brad even regaled us with a chorus of Pu Yai Lee, and more songs broke out, which just goes to show you old TEFL Volunteers never lose the urge to ham it up. By the way, Jon was back in DC for a month long R&R before returning to Afghanistan, this time in the far north, where he will be helping to find alternative crops for farmers. Ed is working at EPA as a senior advisor on global development. Frank is still administering justice as a D.C. Superior Court judge.

After the book tour, Brad was on his way back to Baton Rouge, where he is a Professor of Journalism. I believe he expects to be in New York City in the near future for another book discussion. That's all the news from DC. Goong Hay Fat Choy! Shin Nien Hao! Sandy

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Sandy Keith has been, over the past few years, monitoring elections in such places as Bosnia, Ukraine, and most recently, last fall, Byelorus. I should have posted some of her letters here, why didn't I? Sandy, can you make a brief synopsis for me to put in here?

Amy Stone and husband Ed went off to Thailand and Laos (are in Laos as I write this) & will be staying with Tee at our Bangkok house in a few days. By the time you read this, of course, that probably will be in the past, perhaps distant, already!

Jon Keeton has been back and forth, mostly in Afghanistan, working with an NGO on a program to promote higher education . . .this month (Feb 2005) briefly back in the States . . .

The big news from me (this is Peter M.) is that I'm going with the Crisis Corps (a returned volunteer division of the Peace Corps) to do tsunami relief in Amphur Khura Buri, Phangaa province. I'll be on a six-month contract to do database development for the Amphur. This is exactly the kind of work I've been doing here for ten+ years, during which time (and quite independently) I've developed a lot of proficiency on the Thai keyboard, and I guess those skills were enough to interest them in me. This is why, above, I said to read on . . . I figure it will be a while before I'll be able to goof around much on the internet, so further updates will be slow coming. . . . but I promise to keep you posted via e-mail. Dont forget to write!

Some of us Thai XI folks met for dinner in Washington, DC on Nov. 14, 2004. (pic for clicktures). Fern and Jay Ingersoll, a couple of anthropologists who trained us in Hilo were there, I was there, along with Ed Fallon and his Thai wife, also Brad Martin and Sandy Keith, even Jon Keeton--we met at his place-- who had just made another surprise return from Afghanistan.

On Nov. 17th, 2004 a somewhat larger group (Amy, husband Ed, Barbara Lucey Miraglia and husband John, John Moncrief, Gerry Isaacson, Bernie May, Peter M., Nick LaFleur, a great musician/teacher who taught for 8 years in Bangkok, and Nick's fiance Moo, got together at Amy Stone's in New York City, and had a great Thai dinner at Toon's Restaurant. A group pic from that night is also in the mix, above. Gerry was soaring that night! Well, we all were, but I think Gerry was leading the pack.

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In fall 2004, Amy and Ed went out on the campaign trail, working for John Kerry in Ohio. To read an account of their adventures, click here. A lot of us weren't happy with the outcome of the election, but it's the dedication of people like Amy and Ed that help keep hope alive for change.



Life Event . . .

One of our best and brightest has died. Lee Berger (whom we knew as "Leon" back in Peace Corps days), died of cancer September 17, 2004. For accounts of the memorial service and memories, please click anywhere on this message, or on Lee's picture, to the left. Anyone with comments, or pictures, that you'd like to add to what's already there, please send them to us.