Wednesday, October 25, 2006

CHAFF Newsletter Issue 03

NOTE: Details of the Thai Loy Krathong Festival; ADVANCE Reservation required

CHAFF Newsletter Issue 03

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dear friends,

  1. Chaff Meeting of 22nd was explosive

  2. Was Kerstin a Thai in her previous life?

  3. Loy Krathong Festival - November 4th - Location changed

  4. Cars still on Offer - No brokers

  5. CHAFF Help Fund

  6. Article in 65 Degrees North


  • 1. Chaff Meeting of 22nd was explosive

  • At some Chaff meetings you get the feeling that the meeting is exploding. That was the atmosphere that prevailed last Sunday. It was like being at the Tower of Babel. Thai, English, Russian, German, Australian, Polish, Chinese, Spanish and, of course, Finnish, were in full swing.
    Chaff meeting on 22nd October 2006

    Kaija, one of our very senior Chaff participants, had brought two young guests from Arkhangelsk in Russia. One understood English and was translating to the other.
    Chaff meeting on 22nd October 2006

    Kerstin, our regular German participant, came with 3 guests, one from Germany, one from Poland and one from Russia.
    Some of the group at the Chaff meeting

    Kerstin, Andi, Tingting and Ulf

    Three members of the University Student Union, Willie, Laura and Hanne, all involved with International Relations, also attended.
    Kannan at the Chaff meeting

    Kannan, our ex-Chaff participant, who has remained a staunch supporter in Rauma, had come up 550 km to attend this meeting.
    Andi from Venezula, Benjamin from Australia, Tingting from China, Pentti and Matti (who came hobbling on crutches) from Haukipudas, Pekka and Maritta and their young son from Kempele, Tero from Oulu, June, Pailin, Unnop, Soda and Yut, from Thailand, and me from India - made it over a quarter century of people present.
    We had to appropriate the whole restaurant and also bring in the summer garden chairs from outside so that we could all sit down and enjoy one another's company.
    The buffet was scrumptious. There was a mass movement to the buffet table the minute the food was announced to get hold of the Glass Noodle Salad and the Thai Chicken Soup. The food vanished so quickly that Pailin also churned out a special Chinese dish to meet the popular demand.
    The meeting which started at 13:00 hours had a problem breaking up at 18:00 hours.
    I hate long meetings - but not Chaff long long meetings!
  • 2. Was Kerstin a Thai in her previous life?

  • Although I am not a believer in reincarnatiopn, when I saw Kerstin at the last Chaff meeting modeling some Thai clothes, I almost became converted.
    June, Kerstin and Pailin
    June. Kerstin and Pailin

    Kerstin models a Thai dress

    Kerstin models another Thai dress

    And then Benjamin also caused a sensation when he showed off a beautiful Thai man's garb.
    Benjamin modeling a Thai outfit

  • 3. Loy Krathong Festival - November 4th - Location changed

  • This continues to be HOT NEWS as it has not yet been officially announced.
    One of the most beautiful and popular festivals in Thailand is Loy Krathong. This takes place on the full moon in November. During the evening, many people will go down to their local klong (canal) or river to float their krathongs. They believe this will bring them good luck. The krathongs contain a flower, a candle and three incense sticks which are lighted before being placed on the water. The people usually make a wish at the same time. Some people believe that if the candle remains burning until the krathong is out of sight then their wish will come true. By the end of the evening, there are hundreds of flickering lights bobbing up and down on the water.

    Location of Seeleri

    Location of Seeleri.

    The setting for the Loy Krathong Festival on Saturday evening, the 4th of November 2006 will be in the Yatching Harbour, where there is a glorious spot which is called Seeleri. It is the club house of the Yatching Organisation.
    Besides having a great restaurant premises, which will be run that evening ffreom 6pm to 11 pm by the Thais,
    22 october 06-39.jpg

    Seeleri bar overlooking the river

    Seelari Terrace

    there is a terrace from which steps descend down to the river so as to perform tha all important Candle/Flower Floating Ceremony.
    Steps to the river

    It is an absolutely heavenly setting for the Loy Krathong Festival.
    The programme will include live Thai music, dances, fashion show of Thai dresses, a personality contest for ladies with judges who are not Thai and the Candle/Flower Floating Ceremony where many tens of lighted candles to give thanks for man's most valuable resource, WATER, will be set afloat on the river.
    The Master and Mistress of Ceremonies will speak in Thai, Finnish, English and if required, even in German.
    Seats are strictly limited. Reservation is absolutely essential.
    I have made a preliminary reservation for 50 seats for Chaff participants and their friends. But I can only hold them for a few days.
    To make your reservation please read the instructions given below. The price includes the buffet and soft drinks.
    1. This is a private party so tickets have to be bought in advance.
    2. Single participant - Euro 15.
    3. Children above 3 and below 10 - Euro 5.
    4. Couple - Euro 25.
    5. Light beer or cider coupons also have to purchased in advance:
    a. Coupon for 1 light beer (0.33cl)- Euro 3.50
    b. Coupon for 2 light beers (0.33cl each) - Euro 7.

    6.. To reserve your places you must remit the correct amount to this bank account

    The message box can contain the words - Thai Loy Krathong Festival.

    7. Those requiring transport FROM the Pailin Restaurant TO Seeleri, should also let me know. We will have free transport facilities to and from the Pailin Restaurant to SEELERI.
    8. Any clarifications can be had from me at this telephone number:
    041 - 706 77 88

    It promises to be a great evening with Chaff and the Thai exuberance joining together to make it especially an event not to be missed.
  • 4. Cars still on Offer - No brokers

  • I have pleasure in informing you of some really good cars that are still on offer from Chaff participants - in different price groups:
    1. 1989 SAAB, 1980 cc, Great condition, a classic - Price Euro 2200
    2. 2002 Volvo S40 1.9 Diesel, dark Blue Metallic, only 122 000 km on the clock, with new winter tyres. Price is negotiable around Euro 15 000
    3. 2004 Volkswagen with only 25000 km on the clock. Hardly used. Price is negotiable around Euro 21 000

  • 5. CHAFF Help Fund

  • Almost everyone present agreed with the broad rules and regulations suggested in the last Newsletter for the Chaff Help Fund.
    One CHAFF participant, a retired gentlman, contributed Swedish Kroner 100 for the fund at the last meeting.
    I would still like feedback, criticism and advice on the Chaff Help Fund. Contact me for how to make your contribution. If someone can help design the application form for borrowing funds, do let me know.
    Your help will be greatly appreciated.
  • 6. Article in 65 Degrees North

  • There will be an article about the CHAFF Movement which will appear in the Oulu Expatriates English magazine called 65 Degrees North.

    Hope you enjoy it and if you feel you have further suggestions to develop CHAFF, please do let me know.


    See you all on Sunday 29th October 2006 at 13:00 hours at the Pailin Restaurant, Kenttätie 9, Kasarmi Area.

    Jacob Matthan
    Kampitie 6 B
    90150 Oulu
    Tel: 041 - 7067788

    Tuesday, October 24, 2006

    My 80 year old Physics teacher sent me this

    (Cross-posted on my Jacob's Blog, on the Cathedral School Seventh Heaven Blog and the St. Stephen's Kooler Talk Blog.)

    Willie Shiri lives with his wife Pushpa in Canada. He taught me Physics in the late 50s in Mumbai, for which I am ever grateful. We discovered each other on the internet a few years ago, and besides Physics, he continues to inspire me on many fronts.

    This is a story he sent me. It cheered me up as I set out to launch our Chaff Help Fund. This story is not true but the message it conveys is very valuable and helps me to focus on little things that make differences in the lives of people around me.

    Subject: MIRACLE

    A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet..

    She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes.

    Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.

    She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good.. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

    "And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages," he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

    "Well, I want to talk to you about my brother," Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really, really sick... and I want to buy a miracle."

    " I beg your pardon?" said the pharmacist.

    " His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?"

    "We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you," the pharmacist said, softening a little.

    "Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs."

    The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does your brother need?"

    " I don't know," Tess replied with her eyes welling up. I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money."

    " How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago.

    "One dollar and eleven cents," Tess answered barely audibly.

    "And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.."

    "Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven cents---the exact price of a miracle for little brothers. "

    He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the miracle you need."

    That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed free of charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

    Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

    That surgery," her Mom whispered. "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?"

    Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle dollar and eleven cents .... plus the faith of a little child.

    In our lives, we never know how many miracles we will need..

    A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law.. I know you'll keep the ball moving!

    Here it goes. Throw it back to someone who means something to you!

    A ball is a circle, no beginning, no end. It keeps us together like our Circle of Friends. But the treasure inside for you to see is the treasure of friendship you've granted to me.

    Today I pass the friendship ball to you.

    Pass it on to someone who is a friend to you.


    When you are sad.....I will dry your tears.
    When you are scared.....I will comfort your fears.
    When you are worried.....I will give you hope.
    When you are confused....I will help you cope.
    And when you are lost...And can't see the light, I shall be your
    beacon.....Shining ever so bright.
    This is my oath.....I pledge till the end.
    Why you may ask?.....Because you're my friend.

    Signed: GOD

    Yes, many of us at CHAFF know how much miracles cost, so your small contribution to the CHAFF Help Fund, however small, could certainly do miracles for many many people.

    Last week at the meeting one retired CHAFF participant gave me 100 Swedish Kroner (Euro 11) as his contribution. It was a wonderful feeling when I accepted this contribution to CHAFF to help someone, somewhere and at sometime.

    Friday, October 20, 2006

    CHAFF Newsletter 02

    NOTE: More news about the CHAFF Help Fund; Great cars on offer at special prices - no brokers involved

    CHAFF Newsletter Issue 02

    Thursday, October 12, 2006
    Dear friends,

    1. Divali Greetings to all

    2. Great picture of Isaac

    3. Cars on Offer - No brokers involved

    4. CHAFF Help Fund

    5. This Sunday's Meeting

    6. Last Saturday's Programme Video

    7. November 4th Special Programme

    8. CHAFF Logo

  • 1. Divali Greetings to all

  • Saturday is Divali in India, the festival of lights and the festival celebrating Good Fortune to all. It is the largest of Indian Festivals. So may I extend Divali Greetings and Good Fortune to all Chaff participants.
  • 2. Great picture of Isaac

  • Today's Kaleva (Friday) has an interview with Chaff participant, Isaac Sundarajan, CEO of Codenomicon Oy, with a great picture of him.
  • 3. Cars on Offer - No brokers involved

  • I have pleasure in informig you of some really good cars that are offer from Chaff participants - in different price groiups:
    1. 1989 SAAB, 1980 cc, Great condition - Price Euro 2200
    2. 1995 Ford Mondale - Superb condition - Price Euro 3500 - SOLD
    3. 2002 Volvo S40 1.9 Diesel, dark Blue Metallic, only 122 000 km on the clock, with new winter tyres. Price is negotiable around Euro 15 000
    4. 2004 Volkswagen with only 25000 km on the clock. hardly used. Price is negotiable around Euro 21 000

  • 4. CHAFF Help Fund

  • Would you believe it that Muhammed Yunus and the Grameen Bank from Bangladesh received the Nobel Peace Prize THIS YEAR for doing what we are doing.
    And they have done it successfully for the last 30 years!
    I have modeled the Chaff Help Fund very very closely to how the Grameen Bank has operated, except that the Grameen Bank mainly helped poor womenfolk. I operated my private Trade Bank of Oulu with which I helped many many foreigners for the last 20 years here in Oulu. (I terminated my philanthropic private banking operations about 5 years ago. There was not a single default during all the time I operated the bank.)
    The response to running the CHAFF Help Fund has been warm - not quite hot, and certainly not bubbling with enthusiasm.
    That was to be expected.
    People like to receive help when they are in deep trouble. Yet, most find it difficult to give something concrete to help others who are in deep trouble. They harbour a degree of mistrust about someone crying for help!
    However, we have received enough support so as to say that the CHAFF Help Fund can be now be allowed to be implemented.
    I received several useful suggestions on how to run the CHAFF Help Fund.
    The Basic Rules suggested for the CHAFF Help Fund are as follows.
    1. To receive financial help from the CHAFF Help Fund, one must be a “contributor” to the fund.
    2. To receive financial assistance, one must have been a contributor for a minimum of 8 weeks prior to application to the fund.
    3. The level of financial assistance possible will be a multiple of the level of contribution at the time of eligibility. The multiple factor will be dependent on the amount of money available in the fund at any time. (e.g.. if you have contributed Euro 50 and want financial assistance 8 weeks after this amount is shown in your credit, you will be entitled to a maximum of Euro 400 of financial assistance if the multiple factor at that time is 5.)
    4. The level of interest for the financial assistance will be 1% per month of the value sanctioned.
    5. The financial assistance will be strictly short term and the maximum period initially will be limited to 1 month.
    6. Interest due must be paid at the time of receiving the financial assistance, the amount being deducted prior to disbursement.
    7. Failure to repay the principal on time will be viewed as a violation of the agreement and the contributor will be barred from future financial assistance for a reasonable period.
    8. No automatic continuation of the loan will be permitted.
    9. The minimum time period between repayment and the next financial assistance application will be 8 weeks.
    10. Contributors will receive an interest of 6% per annum on their contributions. This can be credited to their account in the Chaff Help Fund or paid to them.
    11. Withdrawal of contributions with earned interest will be permitted at any time after giving 8 weeks notice.

    I would like feedback, criticism and advice on these.
  • 5. This Sunday's Meeting

  • This week's meeting is going to be interesting. It will be at 13:00 hours on Sunday 22nd October 2006 at the Pailin Restaurant, Kasarmi Area.
    Kaija is bringing 3 young guests from Russia. The buffet menu has been set by demand from some participants and includes the Thai Chicken Soup and Vegetarian Glass Noodle Salad (spiced) by popular demand.
    Look forward to seeing you there.
  • 6. Last Saturday's Programme Video

  • I managed to upload the video of last Saturday's performance by the Thai Community of Oulu at the International Festival.
    You can find the link at the Oulu Chaff Site
    It was so lovely to see so many CHAFF Particiapants at the International Evening including Matti on crutches, Pentti, Ildi and Ilari, Kerstin, Unnop and Pailin, Benjamin, etc......
  • 7. November 4th Special Programme

  • This is HOT NEWS as it has not yet been officially announced.
    I have been informed that the Thai Community in Oulu will celebrate the Loy Krathong Festival on Saturday evening, the 4th of November 2006.
    This will be strictly with tickets. The price will include a great Thai Buffet.
    The number of tickets is strictly limited. Call as soon as possible (08 - 311 6919) and inform the Restaurant if you are interested to take part.
    The location will be the premises outside the Palin Restaurant in the Kasarmi Area in a large heated tent (now that winter is setting in). During the festivities the group will carry the lighted candles for floating at the Oulu River which is about a kilometre away.
    There will be much Thai Music and Dance at the Festival which will be held in a large tent outside the restaurant.
    It will be possible to buy light beer and cider at the event.
    It promises to be even more exciting than the half hour we witnessed at the Pohjankartano.
  • 8. CHAFF Logo

  • Most of you liked the 2nd Logo which I included in the last Newsletter. But a couple of you wanted to get away from the circular design. Let us discuss this at the meeting this Sunday.

    See you all on Sunday at 13:00 hours at the Pailin Restaurant, Kenttätie 9, Kasarmi Area.
    Jacob Matthan
    Kampitie 6 B
    90150 Oulu
    Tel: 041 - 7067788

    First Vide Uploaded

    (Cross -posted on my Jacob's Blog.)

    Last Saturday, October 14th 2006 was the International Market in Oulu.

    The Thai Community had a great show.

    It was filmed by Juha Koskela and the video was edited by Unnop Khungrai. (They gave me a mention as the last line, though I do not know what I did to deserve that mention.)

    If you want to watch this video, (it is the first video that I have uploaded) you will find it at this link. The video is about 37 minutes in length.

    International Festival in Oulu

    Also in the video is a Turkish Song by Hilmi and a dance by some Oulu Residents from Eritrea.

    (Cross -posted on my Jacob's Blog.)

    Friday, October 13, 2006

    CHAFF Newsletter Issue 01


    I do specifically thank Kamu, Bill, Saikou, Hashim and Kasim, Kannan, Ildiko and Ilari, Unnop and Pailin, Soda, Kaija, Esa, Virpi, Ville, Pentti, Matti and Matti, ........

    Suggested Logos for CHAFF


    Let us know if you like any of these!

    CHAFF Newsletter Issue 01

    Thursday, October 12, 2006

    Dear friends,

    1. First Birthday of CHAFF

    2. Meeting this SATURDAY is at Pohjankartano

    3. Our Sponsored Footballer gets GOLD

    4. Our Sponsored musicians cut their FIRST CD

    5. CHAFF Help Fund

    1. First Birthday of CHAFF

    A typical Chaff meeting this summer.

    It is with great pleasure that I can inform you that we are celebrating ONE YEAR of the Chamber of Assistance of Finns and Foreigners (CHAFF).

    Starting from just four people (Kamu, Bill, Saikou and myself), from this circulation list I find I am addressing over 200 of you around the world.

    Nobel Peace Prize winner Arpad Hamos from Hungary/Austria, Chilli a great lady engineer from China, Anais, a youth worker from France, Paneer Subramaniam, a social worker who was active during the tsunami, and Dr. Sebastian a Deputy Director of Research into wireless systems, both from India, Michaela, a youth worker from Slovakia, Isaac’s family from the US, are just some who came and took part in our efforts to help our fellow men by offering fellowship. We had participants from China, India, Venezuela, Zambia, Gambia, Thailand, Germany, Turkey, Australia, England, Sweden, USA, and of course many many Finns.

    All this has been logged on the CHAFF blog.

    Many thanks to so many of you who have contributed photographs to make this site popular. We have readers in all continents and participants from all continents

    Many of you helped many people in many ways - materially and emotionally. But above all by giving your time when most needed.

    Our records show that we handled well over 100 cases last year. We helped people who suffered from psychiatric problems, financial problems, legal problems, physical spouse violence, alcohol addiction, those who faced deportation, those who had problems to get their residence permit in Finland, finding accommodation, and even a case relating to where a Bangladeshi student was arrested in India. We, from 7000 km away, were able to help him.

    Those who came forward and helped, loved doing it.

    We did have a few failures. But we have learnt much from these.

    We must continue to strive to help others selflessly.

    There is much work still to be done.

    But more about that later.

    2. Meeting this SATURDAY at Pohjankartano

    This week’s CHAFF get together will NOT be on Sunday at the Pailin Restaurant, but on Saturday 14th October 2006 at the Pohjankartano School (Suvantokatu 1) where there will be an International Market.

    The International Market will start at 14:00 hours and we will be there till 18:00 hours.

    Many CHAFF participants are taking part.

    Those of you who missed the Thai festival will be able to see the highlights as all the major musicians, dancers and Thai boxers will be there in a special half hour starting at 14:30. The Thai Embassy is flying out two representatives to take part in the event.

    There will also be many other cultural events at the festival.

    But those of you who still want to meet on Sunday - I will be at the Pailin Restaurant with some Chaff die-hards, as usual!

    3. Our Sponsored Footballer gets GOLD


    It is with great pleasure that I must inform you that in his very first year in Finland, one of the youngsters we sponsor, Soda, got the GOLD medal for his contribution to the Tervarit Musta Football Team which won all its 9 matches and topped their league.

    4. Our Sponsored musicians cut their FIRST CD


    Thanks to Ilmi Dubrani of Walda, the Thai Boys, Yut, Khim and Soda, were able to cut their FIRST CD at the Multi Purpose Youth Centre in Maikkula.

    I remember giving Ilmi Dubrani and his group from Kosovo a chance to perform at a football match between an Albanian Youngsters Team and Tervarit team over 6 years ago. Ilmi has repaid me in full by helping these youngsters in cutting their first CD.

    I was at the recording session. The music was great. Tune No. 3, a very old Thai melody, spiced to a modern tempo, had Ilmi, Jussi and me stomping our feet and drumming with our fingers inside the studio box!

    For a first CD attempt, the boys had very little of reworking to do. Soda played drums and did some chorus vocals, Yut played the lead guitar and did the vocals, while Khim played the base guitar and did some chorus vocals.

    Jussi, with his Mac music set-up, is a true professional and helped the boys get the best out of their effort.

    5. CHAFF Help Fund

    During the last year we worked with absolutely no funding but small personal contributions which helped defray some costs and pay for those who could not even afford to pay for a meal. Everyone contributed their time and effort totally out of goodwill.

    There are so many to thank. The list is endless.

    I do specifically thank Kamu, Bill, Saikou, Hashim and Kasim, Kannan, Ildiko and Ilari, Unnop and Pailin, Soda, Kaija, Esa, Virpi, Ville, Pentti, Matti and Matti, ........

    As our efforts grow, it appears that we must have a fund with which we can help people in distress. The money will not to be disbursed as gifts but as low interest short term loans.

    Many months ago I had broached this subject. Several of you came forward to offer small sums of money to form this fund. On a couple of occasions when some people needed financial help, I approached a few of you and the help flowed freely.

    But the burden was shared among a few of us.

    If you share the values that we believe in as a CHAFF participant, may I kindly request you to make a small contribution towards the CHAFF Help Fund ENTIRELY WITHIN YOUR MEANS. Your contribution, even if it is just Euro 5, can be put in an sealed envelope along with your name and your contact details. Hand it over to Unnop at the Pailin Restaurant or to me.

    If your contribution is MORE than Euro 20, you can transfer from your bank to the following Bank Account

    NORDEA 249818 - 69968

    and in the Message Box put in the text "Chaff Help Fund".

    Whatever amount you contribute will be refundable at 4 weeks notice with nominal interest.

    To start the fund, Annikki and I are each contributing Euro 250 each.

    As an example of those who have already been helping take care of matters, Kannan, from Rauma, has been contributing a nominal Euro 17 per month.

    Remember, it is drops of water that make up an ocean. Even the smallest contribution can be of great help to someone in distress.

    Many of you who have received help during the past year must have wondered how we were able to help you at the drop of a hat, without thinking for a moment about the time and money that was invested in helping.

    Now it is your turn to offer help to others in trouble or those who urgently need our help.

    All contributions will be acknowledged. The contributions and the details of recipients will be kept strictly confidential so as not to embarrass anyone. But the "masked" accounts will be able to be viewed online by both contributors and the recipients, but without mention of their identities.

    (I will be using the Google Spreadsheet feature. It does mean that you have to have a gmail account to be invited to view the spreadsheet. If you do not have a Gmail account, i will invite you to open one for yourself. It is free and you get over 2 GB of storage plus many free services from Google)

    See you all on Saturday at 14:00 hours at the POHJANKARTANO SCHOOL, Suvantokatu 1, Oulu.

    Jacob Matthan
    Kampitie 6 B
    90150 Oulu
    Tel: 041 - 7067788

    Friday, October 06, 2006


    (Cross-posted on the Jacob's Blog.)

    It is not everyday that Father Christmas gets transformed. Last Sunday was different, as Omena (which is the Finnish word for "apple") decided that Pappa (grandfather) needed to be transformed.


    was transformed to this:

    If anyone wants a good hair stylist (during the weekend only) - call and reserve time from the Pailin Thai Restaurant (08 - 311 6919) who know how to contact this competent person.

    This is Omena demonstrating another one of her many talents - graceful Thai dancing.

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    You can never tell.....

    ...the next phone call is from!

    (Cross-posted on my Jacob's Blog.)

    I was speaking on Skype with my dear friend, Ajay, in Beijing, when my land line rang. I excused myself and answered the phone.

    There was someone on the line who said his name was "uncle" and he was calling from Bangalore. His voice was that of a young man.

    As many youngsters in India call older people "uncle", I thought he was referring to me as "uncle", so I kept asking him what his name was.

    Seeing that we were going nowhere, I asked him to ring back in half an hour as I wanted to continue my conversation with Ajay!

    When I finished, I went about my other business, forgetting completely about this call from Bangalore.

    A little over half anhour later the Bangalore caller was again on the line. I finally understood that his name was "Ankur".

    He had quite a story to tell, but being excited that he was speaking to me he got it all topsy turvy. I managed to discern most of it, but I think that he email he then sent me a little later explains the situation better.

    From: ankur debnath
    To: jmatthan.....
    Date: 02-Oct-2006 14:06
    Subject: hi sir. Could not contact Mr. Ishtiaq and Jawad Rahman!!

    Hi Sir ,

    My regards to you and Annikki mam.

    I hope you remember me. I am Ankur Debnath. I spoke to you on Friday (the one with the Foreigner's Act problem). I spoke to Annikki mam too on Saturday. She must have told you about it. Sir,

    I could not find Mr. Ishtiaq and Jawad Rahman's (are their spellings correct) Phone number or Address from the telephone directory or any helplines available. I am now thinking of going to Karnataka Bar Council to look for their address of correspondence.

    I am really worried as I want to get in touch with them as soon as possible. Could you please give a rough idea of the place they had their office in that Cantonment market area, any Landmarks nearby or their residential address, or the address of any person who know them. Any rough idea of any such person's locality will do. Do you remember their Firm's name ?

    In the meanwhile I shall once again give you an account of what has been happening so far ...

    To begin with, I am a BANGLADESH NATIONAL, aged 21 yrs (DOB 20/11/1985). I have been studying in India for the past 11 yrs (starting March,1996). Presently I am studying in the 7th semester of Electronics and Communication discipline at B.M.S. College of Engineering sponsored by Educational Consultants India Ltd. I have been studying with proper VISAS from the Indian govt. (high commission) all over these years .

    My problem is :

    I have a case against me under the rule 7(2) of Foreigners Order,1948 r/w section 14 of Foreigners' Act, 1946, filed by the state of Karnataka for not registering in the Foreigners' Registration office within the period of 14 days of arrival of India, which I failed as my father FAILED TO SEND ME THE COLLEGE FEES in time DUE TO FINANCIAL CONSTRAINT as a result of which the college was witholding my bonafide certificate, which is required for the the registration.

    I informed the previous ACP (foreigners' registration branch, Bangalore) of that time of the problem. He told me to come with the bonafide certificate and the fine of US $ 30. But when I went to register again, the ACP had changed and the new ACP ordered my prosecution.

    I have a letter from my father claiming full responsibility for the delay in sending the fees. My father is a businessman in Bangladesh, regularly importing food grains, agricultural crop seeds etc., from India for the past 16 years. My younger brother too is studying in India.

    I was arrested on the 21st of January, 2006 when I went to register myself in the FRO and was released on bail on the next day. I have regularised the offence now, but the case is still on .... The next date of hearing is 5th October. My present lawyer (She is my 2nd advocate, the 1st one was provided by the Police themselves. He did not know anything. He wanted me to plead guilty. It is because him that the matter went so far. The ACP would not have taken the case to the court if I went to him after getting the bail. But he did not make any such moves.) is cheating me. Her demands keep on rising every other day.

    Thus I am completely helpless in this situation, as I have no relative or a guardian who can help me in this issue. My future is in such a danger. Till now the trial has not started. The next hearing is as close as 5th October, 2006.

    Please help me in this. I shall be ever grateful.

    Thanks , Ankur Debnath .

    The reason he contacted me was that he had Google searched for cases under the Foreigners Registration Act problems and he landed up at the page Annikki, the creative gardner... and then the link to the book by Annikki "...for the hour of his judgement is come:...".

    From somewhere, probably my Profile, he located my phone number and then called me.

    I answered him thus:

    From: Jacob Matthan
    To: ankur debnath
    Date: 02-Oct-2006 19:36
    Subject: Re: hi sir. Could not contact Mr. Ishtiaq and Jawad Rahman!!


    I have lived outside India for over 22 years so I do not know the current situation there in Bangalore.

    Jawad Rahim is a High Court Lawyer while his partner Ishtiaq was the one who handled matters in the lower court. Their office is near Russell Market. The best way I can describe it is that you walk to the end of Commercial Street. At the end, turn right and then turn first left. You should see a building on the right hand side of the road in which was the office of Jawad and Ishtiaq on the 1st Floor. However, all that area may have changed considerably, so these instructions may be quite useless today. (If you continue walking on that street, Russell Market is on the right hand side.)

    If you cannot find them, immediately contact a lawyer by the name of Aditya Sondhi and tell him I (Jacob Matthan from Oulu, Finland) referred you to him. Tell him the situation and see whether he can organise someone to help you. I do not know his field of specialisation but is a highly respected lawyer in Bangalore.

    Jacob Matthan
    Oulu, Finland

    Earlier this evening I had a call from him, yet again. This time his troubled voice seemed much brighter.

    He had followed my instructions but did not find the office of the lawyers. So he went to a nearby shop and asked a person whom he thought was the shopkeeper for directions to the office of Jawad and Ishtiaq. The person asked him to explain why. So he unfolded his story, piece by piece, the person egging him on.

    Finally in desperation, he asked the person for the directions to meet Mr. Ishtiaq, whereupon the person replied that HE was Ishtiaq and he was there as he was a close friend of the shopkeeper.

    All excited, Ankur explained to Ishtiaq about the book and showed him the printed Preface which specifically thanks the lawyers.

    Ishtiaq has extended his hand of friendship to this young man as he remembered Annikki's case well. He has promised to take some steps to try and sort out the situation.

    I was not very confident that when I gave this young man directions to the office of the lawyers, whether the location had changed. I did a search on the Google satellite site and looked down at the location. Although not very clear at the very large magnification, it did look as if the small building which housed the office of the lawyers still seemed intact, although neighbouring buildings seemed to have become new monstrous constructions.

    It was, therefore, with a tongue-in-cheek feeling that I had directed this young man to our former lawyers.

    Hopefully, the problem will be resolved and Ankur has promised to update me as soon as things sort themselves out. Meanwhile, Annikki and I discussed this and felt that the purpose of putting the book on the inbternet over 12 years ago had served its purpose, at least for one young man!

    So CHAFF is keeping to its character:

    Chamber of Assistance of Finns and Foreigners!

    Next CHAFF Meeting is at the usual place at the usual time:

    Sunday 8th October 2006, 13:00 hours, Pailin Restaurant, Kenttätie 9, Kasarmi Area, Oulu.