Precious new faces ready to welcome in the New Year
cute little youngsters were just recently born at the Chiang Mai Zoo, and
officials at the zoo regard them as Nature’s New year’s gift to the
people. The staff at Chiangmai Mail would like to join with Mother Nature in
wishing all our readers a safe and fun New Year’s Eve, an exciting New
Year’s Day, and more importantly, a safe, prosperous, healthy and Happy
Elephant torture debate heats up as Aussie model strips
Government minister treating reports very seriously
The Australian model who stripped and chained herself up
to protest the treatment meted out to Thai elephants has raised the ire of
Sonthaya Khunpluem, the Minister of Tourism and Sports. The minister said
that he had directed the Ministry of Agriculture and the Kotchabal Elephant
Institute to find a solution to the recent protest by the Australian model
The case began when an Australian model stripped down and
bound herself in chains, naked, to convey the image of Thai elephants
(sorry, no photo). The message given was to ask people not to go to Thailand
since Thai elephants are mistreated. The minister pointed out that the image
of Thailand has been damaged, so we need to show that Thais and elephants
are friends, and we do not torture them as is being portrayed to the world.
This has resulted in damage control to recover the
country’s image by having meetings on elephant care and treatment. The
most recent conclusion to come out of these meetings was an agreement on the
care of elephants, and that our elephants need appropriate places, like
elephant parks, which do not destroy the environment.
Minister Sonthaya said Thailand will need to show that
the mahouts never torture their elephants as was shown on the video. He
wants any organization involved with elephants to be aware that they need to
remember Thailand’s image before deciding to accept money to allow
sensationalist filming to occur. Sonthaya also said that the Ministry of
Interior and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports would also check the
elephant foundations and organizations in any case.
One Tambon - One Product items promoted as New Year presents
Udom Maneekhat, chief of Chiang Mai Community Development
Office said that Chiang Mai Province has selected 34 favorite products from
the One Tambon - One Product Project they want to promote as New Year
The commodities consist of hand woven cotton textiles,
woven bamboo, local dresses, carved wood, silverware, fabric items food, and
fruits. All these goods can be used decoratively and arranged in gift
The Thai government has a stated policy for promoting the
purchase of Thai products to reduce spending on foreign products and
strengthen the local economy. The project, One Tambon - One Product was
created to increase local communities’ incomes by fostering the local
capacity to produce products which can be made by the local people
Vaccination can rid the world of polio
The World Health Organization (WHO) campaign of having
children under the age of 5 years vaccinated against polio is in its 9th
year in Thailand and is supported by the Thai government. This campaign has
the aim to wipe out polio from all parts of the world.
Wuttikrai Mungmai, the provincial chief medical officer
of Chiang Mai Provincial Health Office, said that polio is caused by a virus
and is passed on by droplet infection. Initially it produces symptoms
similar to a cold with high temperatures, headache, sore throat, and a runny
nose, but if there is no prevention or treatment, it may be fatal.
The next mass immunization day will be on January 21 next
year; another dose is necessary later.
Rug Up! Chiang Mai will be frozen this winter
A strong high pressure area covering the North of
Thailand is bringing cold weather with morning fog and frost in some areas.
The Northern Regional Meteorological Center says that the temperatures will
drop to 2-4 degrees overnight. There will be frost in the mountains;
especially Doi Inthanon and Doi Ang-Khang, getting down to 1 degree Celsius.
Mai always has frost on the peak of Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain of
The weather forecast for the Chiang Mai Red Cross Winter
Fair during December 29-January 13 is for temperatures under 10 degrees
Celsius. There will also be morning fog covering the town and frost.
The Northern Regional Meteorological Center is warning townspeople to
maintain their health and not to let coughs and colds go untreated.
Lamphun Children’s Day 2003 to encourage education
The director of the Lamphun Provincial Authority of
Tourism and Sport, Manoo Anantacharsiri said that national Children’s Day
will be on January 11; consequently Lamphun has set January 1-17, 2003, to
be national Children’s week.
The stated goals are to promote awareness in youth of the
importance of the Nation, our Region, and the King; all significant concepts
among Thai citizens. The children will also learn more about
self-responsibility, self-discipline, and democracy.
The Lamphun Provincial Authority of Tourism and Sport
will celebrate national Children’s Day on January 11 at the Lamphun sports
stadium with interesting activities for children of all ages. Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra has made the slogan for Children’s Day “encouraging
children to enjoy their lives with learning, creativity and technology”.
The Fang Citrus Festival promises to be a sweet event
The Fang Citrus Festival, which will be held December 30
to January 2 at the Mae Soon Agriculture Market Center, Fang District,
Chiang Mai, promises to be sweater than ever.
Pueng oranges, fully ripe and very sweet, will be the center of attention at
the Fang Citrus Festival December 30 to January 2 at the Mae Soon
Agriculture Market Center in Fang District, Chiang Mai.
Boonserm Jitjensuwan, Fang District officer said that
during December and January, the popular Sai Nam Pueng oranges are fully
ripe, and very sweet. The Citrus Festival will promote the oranges and
support Fang tourism, as well as produce revenue for the local farmers in
Fang, Mae Ai, and Chai Prakarn districts, Chiang Mai.
Kriangkrai Kanongdechachat, director of Chiang Mai
Provincial Agriculture and Cooperative Office stated that the Sai Nam Pueng
oranges take 11 months to ripen, and went on to allay fears of chemical
fertilization dangers. He said, “On the use of chemicals, the farmers only
use products allowed by the Department of Agriculture. When the oranges are
8 months old, the farmers reduce the use of all chemical substance in order
to reduce exposure and 1 month before harvesting, there is no chemical
detectable at all. The gloss on the oranges on the stalls is only wax. These
oranges will be 100% safe after you peel them. I personally guarantee that
they are safe.”
The festival will be opened on December 30, and there will be many
exhibits from the local area. Kriangkrai also indicated that it is easy for
tourists to get there with transportation available from Chiang Mai to Fang
by bus. The bus from Chang Puek station costs 100 baht, and the bus from the
Fang station to the Mae Soon Agriculture Market Center costs 10 baht.
Dinosaur found in Phayao
Bones more than 130 million years old
Dinosaur bones more than 130 million years old have been
found in Chiang Muan District, Phayao beside the Yom River. The provincial
office now hopes to develop the area into a local ‘Jurassic Park’ to
encourage tourism to the region.
The dinosaur bones in Phayao were discovered by a man
from Ban Pat, Chiang Muan District, Phayao in November this year. Geologists
from the Department of Geological Resources, of the Ministry of Natural
Resources and Environment have proven that the fossils are the remains of a
Sauropod dinosaur. They are more than 130 million years old, which is the
oldest dinosaur ever found and it is the first dinosaur discovered in
Phayao Governor Somsak Boonpleung has asked the local
people to be mindful of conservation because these fossils can be beneficial
for the area.
Tourists can visit the dinosaur site. Chiang Muan
District is 119 kilometers from Phayao. Turn right at the intersection 2
kilometers before the Chiang Muan District Administration Office and go 8
kilometers along the Chiang Muan - Song route and turn right at Pong Sanook
School. The site is 2 kilometers from the school.
So far, the dinosaur has shown no indication that it
might turn dangerous. For additional information, call the Phayao Public
Relation Office, 0-5448-1204.
Local doctors combine with overseas surgeons in charity operations
135 children aided by humanitarian plastic surgeons
A group of Thai doctors in the USA founded an
organization called the Thai Physician Association of America and became
volunteers in the team for the Healing The Children Midlantic, Inc (HTC)
which consisted of surgeons, nurses, and other doctors who wished to help
disfigured children from the north of Thailand.
To do this was a logistic exercise, requiring cooperation
between the Ministry Public Health, Chiang Mai, and the Faculty of Medicine,
Chiang Mai University (CMU), and the Healing The Children Midlantic, (HTC)
to set up the project known as Healing The Children Midlantic, Inc (HTC) -
Chiangmai 2002 to honor His majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great
for his public charity.
The organizers revealed that the project had been very
successful for there were a number of disfigured children who were taken
into the project. The children’s’ ages ranged from 3 months - 18 years
old, and came from Phetchabun, Nan, Nakhon Sawan, Phitsanulok, Pichit,
Kamphaeng Petch, Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Mae Hong Son, Lamphun, Lampang,
Phayao, Chiang Rai, and Chiang Mai. All the reconstructive plastic surgery
was carried out at no charge to the children or their families.
On the medical team, there were 39 doctors, nurses from
the International Organization of America and the medical team from the
Faculty of Medicine, CMU. For the organizers, it was heart-breaking that 268
children applied but the project could only handle 135 people, which
included 71 children with harelip, 22 cleft palate, 26 burns, 11 hernias and
The Twin Pagodas in
Doi Inthanon National Park are highest in the Kingdom
Both have deep Royal significance
The twin pagodas of the Royal family are located in Doi
Inthanon National Park, known as Phra Mahathart Napametaneedon and Phra
Mahathart Napapot Poomisiri. These twin pagodas were built out of reverence
to the Royal family and were built by the Royal Thai Air Force and Thai
citizens on the anniversaries of the 5th cycle of life (one cycle being 12
years) of His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen. The first one was
built for the King in 1987 and the second for the Queen 5 years later.
Mahathart Napametaneedon, named by His Majesty the King, has an octagonal
bell-like style, is 60 meters high, in honor of His Majesty’s 60th
birthday, and is the highest pagoda in Thailand.
Around the buildings are many kinds of colorful flowers
which can be grown, despite the winter climate. At the top of the two
pagodas, you can see a beautiful vista, with the clouds lying below, and
many people saying that it is like walking in the angel’s garden.
Phra Mahathart Napametaneedon is 60 meters high and 50
meters wide with an octagonal bell-like style. The 60 meters in height is to
represent the King’s 60th birthday. The octagonal style of the bell-like
pagoda refers to the simultaneous achievement of ‘Mak 8’, a principal in
the Buddhist religion. It is one of the noble truths of the Buddha, which is
the way to perfect religious precepts. The King himself gave the name Phra
Mahathart Napametaneedon to the Pagoda. It means the earth- to-heaven pagoda
containing a sacred relic of the Buddha. Inside the structure, there is an
enormous carved Buddha image in granite.
Mahathart Napadol Poomisiri has a twelve-angle bell-like style, and is 55
meters high in honor of Her Majesty the Queen being 5 years younger than the
Phra Mahathart Napadol Poomisiri, honoring the Queen’s
60th anniversary birthday, was built in 1992, 5 years after Phra Mahathart
Napametaneedon, so it is 55 meters high as Her Majesty the Queen is 5 years
younger than His Majesty the King. The name Phra Mahathart Napadol Poomisiri
refers to being the power from the sky and the goodness of the earth. The
Buddha image is a massive jade carving, over 3 meters high and weighing
The twelve-angle style is to remind one of the 12
miracles of Buddha’s Mother. The structure is constructed to be colorful
and graceful, referring to the personality and the nature of womankind.
All visitors entering the pagoda should dress appropriately, wearing
either long pants or skirt, and shirts or blouses with sleeves.
Chiang Rai is ready for APEC 2003
City welcomes and waits for February conference
Chiang Rai government and private sectors are ready for
the APEC Conference which will be held for the first time in Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai Governor Narin Panichkit said that following
the government’s directive to hold the APEC conference in the North,
Chiang Rai was indeed ready.
The preparation has included beautification of parks,
buildings and roads, and all local tourist attractions have also been
The governor said that the leaders from 21 countries will
come to the APEC officers’ conference. “This event will be good for
Chiang Rai and Thailand’s economy and tourism,” he added.
Belgian benefactor honored by villagers and CMU
By Dr. Paulo Anderson
This December, six villages north of Chiang Mai, along
with Chiang Mai University, carried out a very unusual ceremony to honor
Ignace Sere (AKA Khun Chio) and bestowed upon him a PhD in Science. It was a
most emotive moment, and the speech given that day by Wipada Krisanamis is
printed here as a record as to why Khun Chio received this honor.
Sere (AKA Khun Chio) was bestowed a PhD in Science.
“Dear friends, I see people from the villages, from the
city, from the university, and from the mountains. We never got any
explanation from Khun Chio about his reasons to do things. If we insisted he
would reply why do we need a reason to do what is right, ‘If I do
something wrong, then ask me why,’ he always said.
“When he came to Chiang Mai to work with the Royal
Forestry Department he didn’t know a word of Thai, but he was always
learning and always looking for a way to communicate with others. This
friend of us, farang outside but khon Thai in his heart, has saved a lot of
lives, has taught hundred of children, and has given his time and knowledge
to his community.
“Twice he was reported dead in 2001’s floods, and
everybody knew about the crazy farang who battled the floods day and night
rescuing people. People he didn’t know but they are all here today; people
that couldn’t understand him, but trusted their lives to him and let him
treat them. They are here today. His Disaster Organization - people
organizing people- was a success in all ways.
“He shared with the University all kinds of knowledge,
from biology and medicine to comparative languages, logistics and computers.
He went all around the campus from one faculty to another on his bike. Some
friends at the University call him the “one man NGO”.
“One day he came to live in this moo ban. He said that
there was no special reason for that, only just that he had no money.
However, I am going to tell you a secret - in Moo Ban Pheen, near here, near
the Ping River, he helped a women give birth to a baby boy. That boy is here
today with all his family. Every time we needed him, he was ready and every
time that something had to be done, we knew that he would be the first in
say ‘I will do it’.
“He has taught us in many fields but he never claimed
that he was teaching, he always said that he was learning. This was
difficult for us to understand at the beginning.
“Even now villagers far from here say that in Ton Kiu
there is a crazy farang who teaches and works for no reward, just for food.
“But we all know he is not a crazy farang and that is
why we are here today. That is why we have tears in our eyes. We didn’t
know how to say thank you, Khun Chio. We know that you didn’t want any
recognition, and that you were annoyed with us because of our proposal to
the senate, but now, looking to all this people that come here only to be
with you, only to say you thank you, I know we were right.”
The Chiangmai Mail joins with the villagers to pay our respects to
someone who has earned the respect of the entire community.
Early Warning Center opened
Prevention the best medicine for the public
On December 16, Pramual Rujanaseri, the deputy minister
of interior presided over the official opening of the Public Relief and
Disaster Prevention Center Region 10, Lampang. The center, which was formed
from the Accelerated Rural Development, covers the 6 provinces in the North:
Lampang, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Lamphun, and Mae Hong Son.
Kosin Ketthong, former Chiang Mai governor and now the
director of the Department of Public Relief Work and the Disaster Prevention
Department said that preventing danger before it occurs can be achieved by
helping to make people aware of public safety issues, encourage research and
develop accident prevention techniques, as well as keeping statistics and
Following reshuffles in the public ministries, this
center has been established instead of the Accelerated Rural Development
Office, which was only involved with rural problems.
The responsibilities of this new center includes that
which were originally under the umbrella of the Department of Provincial
Administration, the Department of Public Welfare, Office of Prime Minister,
the Department of Community Development, and the Department of Accelerated
Girl ordered to remove bra in classroom
Investigation ordered by tech college director
Monticha Maitree, a 28-year-old teacher, was accused by
the father of one of the students at the Kanchanapisek Technical College in
Chiang Rai of ordering his daughter to remove her bra in the class.
Sawai Kantaprom, reported to Pol. Maj. Dusit Srichan, the
duty police inspector, that his daughter was late attending her college the
previous day. She was met by her teacher, Monticha Maitree, who noted that
she was not wearing an undershirt, but only her bra and her white uniform
blouse. The teacher then commanded her to take her bra off and put it in the
Sawai’s daughter did not do this but went in to her
usual classroom. Monticha followed the girl into the classroom and commanded
her again to take off her bra. The teacher claimed that there was a
regulation that any student who did not wear an undershirt had to take her
bra off and give it to the teacher. The girl then complied with the teacher
by taking her bra off in the toilet and putting it on the teacher’s desk.
She was very embarrassed by this situation and had to borrow her friend’s
jacket to wear all day.
Kate Boonlorm, director of Kanchanapisek Technical
College in Chiang Rai said he had begun investigation into the accusation
and had called upon the teacher concerned to make a full report.
Chiang Mai governor personally checks market prices
Wants to ensure tourists are charged fairly
Governor Pisit Khetphasook said there has been good
cooperation from local vendors in labeling and pricing and it is now very
easy for consumers to see the price tag. On his recent tour of inspection he
had time to talk with the vendors, this being his first visit to the Warorot
and Ton Lamyai Markets.
Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook (right) visits and greets vendors in Warorot
Market and Ton Lamyai Market.
The governor said that standardization is the aim for
labeling, and price tag checking by officials will be done in the other
markets. There will not only be price tag checking, but also there will be
quality checking as well.
Since Chiang Mai is a tourist destination, where many tourists have
chosen to visit for the attraction of keen bargains, price tag checking in
every market is to guarantee continuing value for visitors.
PAO chief reveals where
the money went
Udornphant Chantraviroj, the chief executive of the
Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) revealed where the
Chiang Mai PAO spent this year’s budget and indicated ongoing projects for
2003 and beyond.
There were 282 projects using the budget appropriation of
over 132 million baht. The projects included constructing crematoriums, a
sports complex, cemetery, public buildings, bridges, road resurface repairs
and a conference building. Another 35 million baht was used to support other
government offices with 180 projects covering religious aspects, culture,
education, careers, tourism, anti-drugs project, and sports. All of these
projects have been completed.
There are some projects that have not been completed
because they are on-going. A budget from the Ministry of Natural Resources
and Environment of around 465 million baht was received to resolve the
problem of garbage and environmental pollution in Chiang Mai. However, this
project has faced some regional problems with the local people who do not
understand the effect of garbage to the environment and who object to the
building of garbage compactors and incinerators in their local area. The PAO
has embarked on a course of informing the local people more fully.
CEO Udornphant emphasized community development for which
he set up 65 projects to strengthen the community, and 39 projects for
supporting local culture. He also stated that there would not be any problem
getting the necessary budget for 2003 because this would come from tax and
revenue from the government and given to the PAO, however they have to wait
for the budget to be released.
Udornphant also said that he gave much significance to
the tourism of Chiang Mai because most of the Chiang Mai revenue was from
that source. Next year, the PAO has planned to develop tourist sites,
including the local museum development, the King Norseman monument in Chiang
Dao, Phra Chao Luang’s lotus reservoir at Doi Saket, and the Phra Baht See
Roi temple development at Mae Rim.
Other proposed new projects are mostly on improving the
water for agriculture and daily use, for example dredging the Mae Hea brook,
and dam constructions in rural areas. He hoped the projects would all be
completed next year.
Don’t drink and drive this
Blood alcohol testing threatened
Deputy Minister of Interior Pramual Rujjanaseree said the
government’s “Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign is aimed to reduce
traffic accidents during the New Year holiday period, and he has asked
liquor sellers not to sell alcohol beside the road or in gas stations.
The deputy minister said he was willing to answer all
questions from gas stations owners on the road to Bangkok but repeated that
selling alcohol in gas stations will encourage the drivers to drink. The
police will issue one warning and further violations will result in the
arrest of the owners.
Another part of the campaign is that presumed drunken
drivers will be subjected to blood alcohol testing. If the reading is too
high, the drunk driver will receive the maximum penalty fine.
Pramual has also asked all the provincial governors and
district officers to be in their areas to serve their people. All of the
security centers will stand by over the period to render assistance for all
accidents if required.
Duty Free Zone mooted for Chiang Rai industry
A feasibility plan to study the possible set-up of a new
Duty Free Zone Industrial Estate in the special economic zone located along
the Chiang Rai border districts with Burma and Laos would be undertaken
According to a close source, more Thai and Chinese
investment projects for economic and trade developments are expected to come
into the northern Thai border areas, following on from the economic and
trade cooperation agreement signed between China and Thailand.
The proposal is that the border districts of Chiang Rai
such as Mae Sai, Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong, would become special economic
and industrial zones, using Thailand as the production base.
A reliable source said the Thai-China economic
cooperation in the plans to build an industrial estate on the Mekong River
banks in the Chiang Saen district could be implemented as soon as January.
The source continued that despite fears, the growth of
China will not negatively affect this region as a whole, but it would
produce positive impacts on economic growth and development, bringing
benefits to the region as a whole.
China has signed agreements for tariff privileges with
Burma and Cambodia. In November 2002 China signed an agreement on economic
cooperation between China and ASEAN member countries; a forerunner of free
New standards for Thai whisky
Bootleggers on the way out
The quality of local Thai whisky is still a problem that
is needs urgent resolution, according to Somchai Chormduang of the Science
and Food Science Technology Department, Faculty of Agro -Industry, Chiang
Mai University. Foreseeing a problem, he said the department has prepared a
special curriculum dealing with Thai fermented local alcohol and wine
production, at post-graduate study level.
Thailand’s Whisky Bill was imposed in 1950 and
effectively blocked local whisky production. Regarded as a Thai wisdom,
local Thai alcohol production methods were then handed down secretly and
illegally to the younger generations. However, amendments to the Bill freed
up production in the late 1990’s has opened up opportunities for more
production of whisky legally, resulting in companies and agricultural
cooperatives looking for permission from the Excise Department, with more
than 600 applicants this year.
One of the main problems with the local production,
according to Somchai, has been product quality, with various results from
exploding bottles to sediment and bad smell. These have given the local
product a bad name and demand has fallen off. This in turn brought about a
lack of confidence in business investors.
These problems need urgently to be solved to make whisky
production into a sustainable and self-sufficient economy in line with the
government’s One Tambon - One Product campaign. Somchai said that to
resolve the problems, local producers themselves must add academic knowledge
to their built up years of experience. “However, this must be applied with
scientific methods, so whisky can be produced for mass production at the
industrial level with clean, safe and hygienic products at every step of the
production process,” he said.
The Department of Science and Food Science Technology has
scheduled courses on Saturday and Sundays for science graduates. The
application forms are available from now to February 14, next year for the
upcoming semester. Interested students could contact the Graduate School,
Chiang Mai University, Tel 053 - 942426 or at the Science and Food Science
Technology Department, Faculty of Agro-Industry, Tel 053- 948244 - 5.