Flood relief begins
But so does the dark waters of discontent
Supatatt Dangkrueng and Nuttanee Thaveephol
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra last Friday began
disbursement of flood relief moneys at the 700 Years Anniversary Sport
Complex in Chiang Mai to aid the flood-hit farmers from San Pa Tong and Hang
Thaksin headed the presentation of financial support to help relieve
farmers’ plights after they lost property during the recent floods in
Chiang Mai. The support comes under the Ministry of Agriculture and
Agricultural Cooperative’s relief plan. The presentation ceremony was held
at the 700th anniversary sports complex last week.
The government has set up a 2.5 million baht flood relief
fund, but there are already many complaints from the victims. Most
complaints center of the differing cash amounts, which might not be able to
cover all the damage the farmers have experienced because they are claiming
some farmers with little damage have received more than others with major
Prime Minister Thaksin said that although the flood has ended, it is
quite difficult to check the degree of individual damages, and he told the
press that anyone who feels aggrieved should inform the provincial
agriculture office for re-evaluation of their damages.
Gone with the wind!
Chiangmai sets an unofficial record
Chiangmai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn and his team aimed
high when they successfully attempted to release the world largest air
balloon, or “Khom Loy”, on Tuesday morning.
26 people to prepare the balloon for takeoff.
As one of the highlights of this year’s Yi Peng
Festival, about 1000 spectators witnessed the preparations, decoration and
‘filling’ of the huge air balloon.
it goes, and everyone who was left on earth was relieved and proud.
At a total height of 16 meters and a diameter of 10
meters, 22000 sheets of paper in the proud three colors of the Thai national
flag, and a lot of cello tape was necessary to achieve this record, and it
was all smiling faces and thumps-up when the balloon finally went up into
Chiangmai Mail hopes that the ‘officials’ representing the Guinness
Book of Records made it in time to the municipality.
Tenders sought for industrial estate project in Chiang Rai
Offers open until November 30
The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand is promoting
a project for construction of industrial estates in Chiang Saen and Mae Sai
districts, Chiang Rai Province. This plan is a pilot project for economic
development in boundary areas.
Chiang Rai provincial industrial officer, Banjong
Jiarapong announced the project was now open to tenders from interested
parties to compete for the land contract in the first instance. It must be
at least 1,000 rai close to a public thoroughfare and have enough water and
drainage and be in a suitable zoned industrial land area.
Those interested should submit tenders to: The Director
of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, telephone number 02 253
2874, 02 253 0563 ext 3343, 3306 before November 30.
The winning tender will be announced on December 20 this
Local pollsters testing the waters
The head of Chiang Mai Provincial Statistical Office,
Udom Pinyo, said that the statistical office has been transferred under the
minister of information, communication and technology.
Their new task is focusing on peoples’ attitude towards
the government policies by carrying out a poll called the ICT Poll. This
poll covers 10 topics including government policy in the region and the
country, the 30 baht medical scheme, government fund, government
administration, decentralization, entrance examinations, time zone changes,
floods, future predictions, drugs, and corruption.
We’re from the Taxation Department and we’re here to help you
538 billion baht is the prize
A revenue department seminar took place in Chiang Mai
recently at the Empress Hotel to update executives of the revenue office,
from every region, on the taxation laws, to develop the e-Revenue project
for the taxpayers’ benefit, and to reform the organization’s structure.
revenue department seminar recently took place at the Empress Hotel to
update revenue office executives on the taxation laws and other issues.
The revenue department has been assigned to collect our
taxes - altogether 538 billion baht, and the objectives of the seminar were
to lay down a policy and plan the tax strategy for the fiscal year 2003. The
department wants to encourage people to pay their taxes, and make the
collection system more efficient.
On the service side, the department is going to develop
an e-Revenue project so that people can pay their taxes through the
Suparut Kawatkul, the director of revenue department, said that he hopes
every strategy and plan this year will allow successful execution of their
objectives and goals.
Electric Bus project buzzing along
Chiang Mai people will be given the new electric school
buses as a New Year present from the municipality, says Boonlert
Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor. The electric shuttle bus service will be
starting at the beginning of 2003, especially for students of schools along
Charoen Prathet Road, who can help the city keep the environment clean by
collecting their recyclable rubbish and using it to pay their bus fare.
“The students have to pay with their families’
recyclable garbage instead of regular bus fare; for example, 5 old
newspapers, a bottle or 3 cans. The municipality will sell all the rubbish
and donate the money to the municipal schools in Chiang Mai,” said the
The municipality has set Chiang Mai Land Housing
Estate’s field as the first pick up point, which can serve parents from
many districts in Chiang Mai. The route will go from Chiang Mai Land
Village, passing Buarawong Hotel, going along Charoen Prathet, turning to
Chang Klan Road.
Although 72 percent agree and are willing to be part of
this project, the mayor is still concerned about some parents who may not
follow the campaign for selfish reasons. “Everyone has the right to drive
cars on Charoen Prathet Road, if it is necessary, but we are concerned about
the ones who may find that there is no traffic jam when the shuttles are in
service and may take advantage of this situation, but this will cause
traffic problems later,” he said.
The ten buses, which can take 24 students each, are
expected to reduce rush hour traffic by more than 600 vehicles. The mayor
also said that there will be an extension of this project if the pilot study
proves to be effective.
Municipal garbage recycling nets 10 million baht
The municipal recycling market project seems to have its
future assured, with the fund bringing in more than 10 million baht since
March last year, from the almost 6 metric tonnes of garbage that are
delivered to the market every day.
Chiang Mai Municipality has been transporting the
recyclable garbage from the communities in municipal areas to the 3
recycling centers including the Ban Den old electric station in Kawila
Precinct, Santidhamma Cemetery in Sri Vichai Precinct and Hai Ya Cemetery in
The recycled garbage entrepreneurs pay for the recyclable
refuse such as plastics, metal, bottles, glass and paper, at prices fixed by
the municipal committee.
This project is aiming to encourage the people to use
this solution for environmental problems and increase the communities’
revenue from the once useless garbage. The municipality has also extended
the recycle project as a “recycling bank” for schools and communities in
its area by creating a “bank” showing the type and weight of the garbage
and the money collected from the sale. The moneys belong to the schools or
communities that have collected the recyclable garbage.
The municipality is also offering garbage recycling as a
way to make merit by donating the revenue from the recyclable garbage to Wat
Chedi Luang starting in January next year.
Fire prevention training is mandatory
Labor office cracking down
Thipakorn Udommaneesuwat, head of the Chiang Mai
Provincial Labor and Welfare Office, is emphasizing that fire prevention and
training is mandatory under the country’s safe working practices code.
Employers in every kind of business, be that hotel, services work, mines,
transportation, and all factories must demonstrate a satisfactory fire
security system in their work place in order to safeguard employees from
fire danger and prevent the spread of fires.
As covered under the legal code, the employer should have
a fire security plan in the work place, covering checking and fire drill
training, as well as escape plans if fire does break out. Fire drills must
be carried out at least annually, and a minimum of 40% of staff must be
The employer must submit their plan and the details of
their fire drills to the Chiang Mai Labor and Welfare Office for approval
before the drill day.
If the employer is not able to organize the fire drills,
the employer can utilize any company with permits issued by the governor’s
office and the employer must submit the report of the drill to Chiang Mai
Labor Protection and Welfare within 30 days after successful completion of
For further information, contact Chiang Mai Labor and
Welfare, 2nd floor of the Provincial Governor’s Office (the new building),
Chotana Rd. Chang Puek, Muang, Chiang Mai. Tel. 053 890 472-3, 053 214 844
during office hours.
Message from Governor Pisit Khetphasook
I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to the
Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co., Ltd., on the grand opening of the first
English language weekly newspaper in Chiang Mai.
Mr. Pisit Khetphasook, Governor of Chiang
On this occasion, I would like to extend my best wishes
to the management and staff of the Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co., Ltd., for
continued success and prosperity in their future endeavors.
Safari Night Zoo going ahead
Chiang Mai Safari Night Zoo is progressing and according
to reliable sources at the Chiang Mai City Hall, it has the backing of the
new Chiang Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook.
The governor has said that the working group, chaired by
the permanent secretary of state for the ministry of natural resource and
environment, indicated that the planning was in progress, after the
completion of the feasibility study, and the next step will be to bring in
the experts for future implementation and consultancy.
The master plan is expected to take three months to
complete, and the provincial authorities will handle this strategic
planning, as well as launching a public relations campaign about the study
and the results of the environmental impact. This will be done in
conjunction with an expert team from Singapore - which is employed as the
The employment of Dr Bernard Harrison, an expert and
special consultant for this project was discussed recently and it was agreed
his 3 million baht fee would be divided into two equal installments.
This night spot is to be another international tourist
attraction and will showcase Thailand’s wildlife, while also providing
greater public awareness on the preservation of natural habitats. The
preferred site is near a botanical garden in Tambon Mae Hia, Muang District
of Chiang Mai.
At this initial stage of planning, it looks as if the
implementation and administration of the Safari Night Zoo will be handled as
a non-profit venture by the government agencies under Royal decree. It is
expected the zoo will attract 2 million visitors annually.
Going shopping? Forget parking, go by tram
Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn has indicated that
the municipality would grant a concession to a foreign consortium to build a
tramway and run electric trams inside and around Chiang Mai City.
The main routes for the old-style trams have already been
fixed. The tracks will be built around Chiang Mai City Moat and have five
branch lines to the city hall, airport, railway station, arcade transport
center, and Chiang Mai University.
The mayor said, “There is a French-Canadian private
company Bombardier that has tendered for this project. The company has to
research the rush hour carrying capacity and indicate how many years they
want to get the concession, and how much they want the municipality to
The project will be a way of mass transit provided for
local people and tourists. Other companies have also shown interest,
including Siemens from Germany and Hyundai from Korea.
A new flower market?
Plans growing slowly
Chiang Mai Municipality has already planned for a new
flower market and food stalls in the Ton Lamyai Market area by proposing
building a 3 storey market instead of the current rather wet and messy small
space on New Praisanee Road.
Lamyai Market could get a facelift if city plans reach fruition.
The municipality decided to improve the area following
the Regional Cities Development Project, selecting the KBTD Property
Management Company Limited to build a new marketplace for the merchants at
the rear of Ton Lamyai Market.
KBTD Company was allowed to take this project by agreeing
to rent the building for 15 years. The company has to pay dividends to the
municipality three years after finishing the construction, commencing at
100,000 baht per annum for years 3-5, 150,000 baht for years 6-8, 200,000
baht for years 9-11 and 300,000 baht for the final three years.
This project is still in progress but has hit a submerged snag because
the municipality has to ask permission from the Harbor Department as the
area is in the Ping River zone.
Three new parks for Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai municipality is constructing a new park on the
60 rai site at the old State Railway Hotel area and two small parks at
Sriphum Corner and the Chang Phuek Gate. However, Mayor Boonlert
Buranupakorn said that the municipality is waiting for some funds to finish
the larger public park.
The plan is to use the park for exercise, complete with
all facilities, which will also include a jogging track and a small shopping
The Sri Phum Corner Park used to be a car sales outlet
and was purchased by the municipality to turn into a small park, tourist
viewing point and fountain. The mayor expects to finish this park at the end
of the year.
The Chang Phuek Gate park is being constructed at Chang
Phuek Ground after dismantling the old municipal public health center, and
it is expected to be finished before Songkran next year.
Asian-Oceania IT meet in Chiang Mai
On November 28-30, over 500 IT personnel, including IT
ministers and business executives from all over Asia-Oceania will be at
ASOCIO 2002 (the 20th Asian-Oceania Computing Industry Organization general
assembly and symposium), to be held at the Westin Riverside Plaza Hotel,
At this conference, the IT ministers and IT professionals
will work together to seek the necessary cooperation for important issues
such as Connected Asia and Digital Divide which is leading to the
enhancement of the industry’s potential in the entire region.
The highlights include an IT ministerial speech on “IT
Policies and Industry Development,” concerning the development of
information technology in many countries of Asia, and parallel sessions
include topics as e-Government and business tracks from IT business
companies in Thailand and many other countries.
The ASOCIO Award this year, which is given to a person
who plays an important role in boosting Asia-Pacific IT industries, will be
given to Prime Minister Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra.
For more details check the website www.atcil.or.th/ASOCIO
or +66 2636 7272.
Drug dealers stung by border police
Six drug traffickers were arrested at the border while
attempting to transport more than 400,000 amphetamine pills and 24 packets
of heroin into Thailand.
The border patrol police received an undercover tip-off
that there would be a large shipment into Chiang Mai via Phrao - Chaiprakarn
The border patrol police headquarters 33, led by Pol. Lt.
Col. Pongsak Kheawkaew, intercepted and arrested the suspects, confiscating
the drugs plus the three pick-ups used in transporting the goods into
The drug traffickers were identified as Wattna Bhothong,
Anchalee Bhothong, Chaiwat Saenkaew, Suwan Sangfoo, Patchara Sangfoo, from
Mae Ai and Pitakchai Supawee from Wieng Haeng District, Chiang Mai.
Two competitors narrowly escape death at this year’s Yi Peng Festival
Near fatality during raft races
The raft race during the second day of this year’s Yi
Peng Festival nearly started with a double fatality, as two participants
drowned when their boat capsized.
Mae-Ping River Rescue Team works fast to bring back to life one of the raft
race competitors who drowned when his team’s raft capsized. Thanks to the
fast response, the man and another who suffered the same fate lived to
But thanks to the Mae-Ping River Rescue Team’s
immediate response, the two unlucky men were revived.
Both were hospitalized after the emergency medical treatment was complete
on the riverbanks.
“Wan phob yart”, or “meeting relatives day” recently held at Chiang Mai Prison
Chiang Mai Governor Udom Puasakul (center) cuts the ribbon to mark the
opening ceremony of the “Wan Phob Yart”, or meeting relatives day at
Chiang Mai Prison on Chotanata Road, November 12.
Chiang Mai Governor Udom Puasakul visits with one of prisoners and his
relatives inside the provincial prison.
of prisoners and prisoners at Chiang Mai Prison got a surprise when Deputy
Chiang Mai Governor Udom Puasakul stopped by to say hello and check how the
rehabilitation process was proceeding along.
Suicide as a way out on the way up say the Samaritans
Phitsanu Thepthong and Nuttanee Thaveephol
Suicide rates have been increasing annually since 1999,
according to Assoc. Prof. Dr Prieab Kuramarohit, deputy director of the
Samaritans Chiang Mai Center, adding that this figure is expected to
continue to rise in the near future.
Suicide rates for males are four times that for females,
and most were aged between 20 and 40 years old. Most were caused by social
problems, with many living alone and feeling isolated, while some cases were
broken hearts, or family problems.
“They feel sad, and perhaps chaotic, inferior in the
society, feel upset or hurt or poor and needy,” Dr. Prieab said. There are
also “copy cat” suicides and those who are unable to cope with problems.
She stressed that the best way to look after these sick
people is that their close relatives and friends or colleagues should
comfort and take care of them and ensure they receive help.
The Samaritans Chiang Mai Center office is open on
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. The
center sees four to five cases every day, and consults them regarding school
problems, quarrels, divorce, broken hearts, jealousy, love and sex problems.
The center also runs training programs for the elderly who need care.
Samaritans Chiang Mai is one of the consulting
organizations that has been keeping suicide statistics in Chiang Mai and
reported that there were 541 suicide cases in 1999, which amounts to a rate
of 34.75 per 100,000 people, 556 cases or 35.71 in 2000, and 598 cases or
38.41 in 2001.
Suicide is the 5th most prevalent cause of mortality in
Chiang Mai, with AIDS, heart disease, respiratory problems and cancer being
the other top causes.
Wat Lok Molee commemorates Queen Jiraprapha
Queen Jiraprapha reigned over Chiang Mai City, as the
18th Queen of Mung Rai Dynasty, in 1845. She resolved much of the city’s
problems and patronized Wat Lok Molee.
The history of Chiang Mai records show that Queen
Jiraprapha oversaw much good work in Chiang Mai and the Wat Lok Molee
temple. To pay respect to Her, Wat Lok Molee temple’s board consulted the
Antiquities Office, the 6th National Museum in Chiang Mai, and the
historians, then contracted sculptor Worawat Keotip to cast a life size
image of the Queen.
The casting ceremony was held at Wat Lok Molee during the
Yi-Peng festival, and the statue will be kept in the temple.
Wat Lok Molee temple was built in the Pra Muang Ket Klao
era, between the 15th and 17th Mung Rai Dynasty.
New cable car to assist Royal Projects
HRH Prince Bhisadej Rajanee, the chairman of the Royal
Project Foundation, presided over the launching ceremony of a cable car at
the Royal Project Development Station, Mae Poon Luang, Phrao District of
Chiang Mai, which will be used for transporting hill tribe agricultural
much ceremony, the new cable car makes its first voyage laden with hill
The cable car was designed and built by the Rajamangala
Institute of Technology, Northern Campus. The cable car is powered by a 3
horsepower electric motor and test runs show it is capable of speeds of up
to 30 meters per minute and can carry 150 kg up a 30 degree incline.
Bhisadej Rajanee officially launches the cable container.
Bhisadej Rajanee performs a religious ceremony before launching the cable
The cable car will be used in the collection of hill
tribe agricultural produce to take it to the Royal Project station. This is
in line with the objectives of the Royal Project Foundation to support and
develop the hill tribe standards of living by encouraging them to plant
beneficial plants, and support local agriculture.
The Royal Project Foundation covers 5 provinces in the North. The
development station in Mae Poon Luang was founded in 1980. One of the
obstacles the project had to overcome is transportation, and the cable car
will assist in bringing the produce to the markets, fresh and in good
Wieng Kum Kam gets government backing
The Underground Empire raised again?
Chiang Mai Provincial Administration, with the government
and private enterprise behind it, has plans to promote the ancient Wieng Kum
Kam City (the Underground Empire) as a tourism attraction. Wieng Kum Kam has
more than 700 years of history and was discovered in 1984, 1.2 meters
underground, in Saraphi District in Chiang Mai Province.
Mai Provincial Administration announced it has plans to promote the ancient
Wieng Kum Kam City (the Underground Empire) as a tourism attraction.
Chiang Mai MP Yaowapa Wongsawas said the government is
supporting the project and aims to make this ancient Lanna capital a
historical and cultural attraction. It is hoped that this will encourage
people to be proud of our country and our history.
and children dressed in Lanna style promote the start of the Wieng Kum Kam
The promotion has been scheduled from January to April
next year, and will be over two periods. The first will be a light &
sound presentation entitled, “Muang Kaew Kwan Klao, Wieng Kum Kam”,
starring famous movie stars, and it will be shown on January 18-19. The
second period commences on February 2, continuing on to April 6 including
bicycle, tricycle, horse and carriage tours, Kad Kum Kam (the market in Kum
Kam style), and tours by the local people.
Backing this up, there will be a television feature,
telling the long history of the Wieng Kum Kam lifestyle which will be aired
on every channel. The feature focus is that Wieng Kum Kan is not just the
remains of an underground empire, but it is also significant in Lanna
history and architecture.
Sahawat Nanna, director of the 6th Regional Office of
Archaeology and National Museum Chiang Mai, said people should be made to
realize it is important to protect our heritage. By protecting it, we will
have something of historical significance to show the tourists as well.
(Editor’s Note - A locally published book on Wieng Kum Kam is reviewed
in the book section of the Chiangmai Mail this week.)
US Mid-Term elections result will not change Thai-US relations, says US Ambassador
The US Ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Darryl N. Johnson, is
confident that despite changes to the make-up of the US Congress, Thai-US
relations are still solid. Speaking to the Rotary Club of Bangkok earlier
this month he said, “You can rest assured that one thing which will not
change as a result of this election is the strong and enduring Thai-US
relationship. This is because of the bi-partisan support within Congress to
sustain our long friendship.
“We (recently) learned which party would control the US
Congress for the next two years. We knew well in advance, however, that
whatever happened in this election, the essential strength of our
relationship will endure.
“On the fundamental issues of security, law
enforcement, trade & investment, education, research, cooperation for
international peace, and in the exchange of people and ideas, the
relationship between our two nations has never been stronger. Both of our
societies are based on tolerance and respect for the beliefs of others. Our
constitutions enshrine the importance of human rights. We both share a
common vision of a world where stability, respect for human dignity, freedom
of commerce, and economic development can be realized for societies
everywhere. Candidates and incumbents will come and go, but our common goals
and values ensure a continuity of cooperation and mutual respect between our
With much uncertainty in world politics and affairs, this
statement from H.E. Darryl N. Johnson will probably be looked upon as a