Children’s Day was
Fun Day in Chiang Mai
children dressed in their best outfits to participate in the Children’s
Day festivities this year. Activities were held all over the Kingdom to
celebrate this special day, and Chiang Mai was no exception. Fun and games
were the order of the day, all the while reinforcing the prime minister’s
Children’s Day slogan that children must enjoy their lives with learning,
creativity and technology.
Thailand’s function in the UN discussed
Thai woman appointed president of Group 77
representing developing countries
Thailand’s function in the United Nations was the main
topic of discussion at a recent conference, held at Chiang Mai University,
organized by the Department of International Organizations, Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of Thailand.
Atchara Suyanan, the director of the Department of
International Organizations, said the United Nations is involved with, and
making progress in, many parts of the world regarding politics, economy,
society and culture. The UN wants to bring up the standard of living and
stop areas of controversy in many undeveloped and developing countries.
At present, there are two international organizations in
Thailand working for Thailand’s benefit in Geneva, Switzerland and New
York, covering the rights of Thailand and other union countries.
This year, Mrs. Laksanathon Laohapan, the Thai Ambassador
at Geneva, has been appointed president of Group 77 representing developing
countries. Her appointment was, in part, to show that Thailand has sexual
equality in the workforce and in society.
Others may be down, but Chiang Rai’s on the way up
Chiang Rai enjoying increased revenues
Tourism and trade atmosphere at the beginning of 2003 in
this northernmost province proved colorful with higher revenues than
expected from tourists and visitors during the last weekend when the 9th
Mekong River Basin Friendship Culture Festival took place.
selling local products inside Burma’s Tachileck, opposite Mae Sai.
According to sources at the Tourism Authority of
Thailand’s Chiang Rai office, last year (2002) more than one million
tourists visited Chiang Rai, and about 400,000 of this number were
foreigners and about 800,000 were Thais - who between them brought revenues
of hundreds of millions of baht to this border province.
However, this year TAT officials estimate that this
revenue will be much higher, as Chiang Rai has high potential and a bright
future as a tourism attraction, as well as having history and culture. Apart
from that, the annual fairs and festivals always draw a large number of
tourists and visitors.
The re-opening of the Thai-Burmese border at Mae Sai,
after its closure for months last year, produced an economic boom that could
be clearly seen, as it was crowded with tourists, visitors, businessmen, and
traders. Decha Satthapol, the chief of Mae Sai District Office said the
economic impetus saw revenues increased by three times normal. Not less than
10,000 people were around the border checkpoint daily during the long
holidays on the New Year and last weekend.
Sermchai Kittrat, president of the Chiang Rai Chamber of
Commerce, said that the trade volumes crossing the borders increased by 40%
this year, generating revenue of up to some 300 million baht daily. Chiang
Rai is taking advantage of the trade through the border points located along
the border of Burma and Laos PDR.
Chiang Rai is strategically located the northernmost in the country with
neighboring countries such as Yunnan Province of southern China. It is 397
km from Chiang Rung of China and 493 km from Burma, 344 km from Laos PDR and
is situated along the banks of the Mekong River. Local officials believe it
could suitably be a hub of the Economic Quadrangle development plan.
Mekong River Harbors will encourage Quadrangle economy
Commodities exchange points being constructed
Chiang Rai is improving and constructing more harbors in
Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong districts to become commodities exchange points
and for warehousing. Construction is expected to be finished around the end
of this year.
merchant ships anchor near the construction site.
Chiang Rai MP Samart Kaewmeechai said that Chiang Rai is
proceeding with this project according to an economic cooperation plan
involving countries within the Khong River sub region, namely, Thailand,
Laos, Myanmar, and China. Construction will necessitate dynamite clearing of
shipping lanes. Before the explosions, there will be a small blast to
frighten fish and aquatic animals to leave the area.
The Chiang Rai MP admitted that there would be some
environmental effects. An NGO is putting up opposition to this project due
to the differing opinions on environmental impact, but it is necessary to
produce navigation channels.
MP Samart said that if it is essential, the project may have to be
readjusted so as to cause the least damage to the environment in the long
Bor Sang Umbrella festival this month
Vote for your favorite Brolly Dolly
The annual Bor Sang Umbrella festival at Ban Bor Sang
village in San Kamphaeng January 17-19 is being arranged by the Tourism
Authority of Thailand Northern Office Region 1 in cooperation with Chiang
Mai Provincial Office, San Kamphaeng District, Tambon Ton Pao Administrative
Office, and private sectors.
This festival is held to preserve the Bor Sang Umbrellas
and Lanna arts and culture part of the cultural heritage of Chiang Mai and
to promote folk handicrafts. This 20th festival provides many unique
activities to display the Lanna culture, the old style of the Northern
These activities include a parade, local displays and
instrumental show, Bor Sang umbrellas and fans competition, the Miss
Umbrella Beauty Contest (known as “women riding the bicycle and holding
the umbrellas”) and sales of local handicrafts.
For additional information contact Tambon Ton Pao
Administrative Office, 053 338 048-9 or the Tourism Authority of Thailand
Northern Office Region One, 053 248 604.
Better radio coming for Chiang Mai
65 million baht earmarked for radio programs in 6 tourism provinces
The Public Relations Department will spend 65 million
baht aimed at improving and increasing the technical efficiency of Radio
Station of Thailand in Bangkok and other tourism provinces. Our local Chiang
Mai 93.25 MHz is included in that allocation.
Bamroong Siriwat, the director of Chiang Mai Radio
Broadcasting Station of Radio Thailand said that the money would be used to
buy FM radio broadcasting and digital radio station broadcasting equipment.
The installation was first carried out at the Radio Broadcasting Station of
Thailand in Bangkok, and will be followed by Chiang Mai (93.25 MHz), Phuket
(90.5 MHz), Surat Thani (89.75 MHz), Samui District of Surat Thani (96.75
MHz), Songkhla (102.25 MHz), and Chonburi (99.75 MHz).
The new equipment for Chiang Mai Radio Broadcasting
Station of Thailand will be installed on January 25. There is also a 2
kilowatt FM radio transmitter that has been in use since November last year.
The director of the Chiang Mai Radio Broadcasting Station
said that the quality of radio broadcasting from Chiang Mai may not be good
during the installation but after the equipment is set up, the broadcasting
will be better than ever.
Is the 30 baht medical scheme working?
Provincial Health Office says it needs central prop-up
The consensus appears to be that the way to resuscitate
the 30 baht Medical Scheme is to extract the excess payments needed from the
Wuttikrai Mungmai, chief of the Chiang Mai Provincial
Health Office, stated that after looking at the 30 baht Medical Scheme,
which has now been used for some time, there are several problems - mainly
budgetary ones and some hospitals do not transfer patients to other
hospitals because they do not want to take responsibility for additional
costs that may be required.
The solution to the medical scheme problem may be to
apply for payments from the central government, and right now carry out a
survey to be able to estimate a suitable budget for each hospital.
It is a good sign, however, that many private hospitals
propose to take part in the medical scheme. There are some worries that the
new medical scheme may affect larger hospitals, where significant numbers of
people come for the standard of service, and naturally, they expect the
24 deaths from rabies infection this winter
Public Health department issues warnings
Wallop Thainua, the Ministry of Public Health permanent
secretary said that the winter period sees an increase in the dog
population, and with it, a commensurate increase in the incidence of rabies
in the society. The Epidemics Division reported that there were 24 patients
who had contracted rabies and all of them had died because there is no
medication to counteract the disease.
Rabies in humans is generally contracted from dogs,
though other animals can harbor the virus, including monkeys and mongooses.
Contact with infected saliva is the usual method of contracting the disease.
Since there is no cure, the emphasis is on vaccination of
both humans and pet dogs. Primary courses of human vaccination require three
injections, while emergency vaccination requires five injections. This does
not give lifetime immunity, and booster injections are required every two to
If you have been bitten, and there is suggestion that the
dog was rabid, the only way that the diagnosis can be confirmed is by post
mortem examination of the dog’s brain. This can be carried out by the
Pasteur Institute, the Red Cross Thailand or the government hospital.
Opium eradication now high priority in the Golden Triangle
Crop substitution the key say officials
Thailand’s Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB)
hosted a meeting of the 2nd Alternative Development Task Force under the
ACCORD Plan of Action. This included a field trip taking the Association of
Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) member countries and China to observe the
reduced opium poppy growing areas following the crop replacement program
introduced in the highlands.
Rassamee Wisathaves (seated 3rd from left), deputy secretary general of the
Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) chaired the board’s second
meeting at the Imperial Maeping Hotel last Sunday. Some 33 ASEAN member
countries sent participants to the meeting, and donor countries Japan, USA,
and Australia sent representatives, as did UNODC and the ASEAN secretariat.
Mrs. Rassamee Wisathaves, deputy secretary-general of
ONCB, said about 33 participants were from ASEAN member countries, with
others from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) and from
donor countries like Japan, USA, and Australia.
She confirmed that, “Crop replacement programs can be
used as a strategy to help improve the living conditions and economy of the
people in remote and rural areas. Fight against drug trafficking and control
drug problems by reducing its demand in the market is really needed,” she
Using the technology, learning from past experience,
working in cooperation in this region and increasing funds and support from
abroad for drug abuse control is a part of the cooperation program in the
region that is considered as the best practice for the alternative.
Another source noted that this year the officials aim at
reducing narcotic plants’ growth in the area of the Golden Triangle
connecting Thailand, Laos and Burma by 33%, after the Thai ONCB and United
Nations’ organization conduct a survey of opium poppy cultivation.
The source remarked that in 2002, there were about 1,200
tons, and this number has been reduced to 820 tons inside Burma, and the
opium and heroin production in Laos was dropped from 130 tons to 110 tons;
however, this sizable quantity still worries UN officials. The UN wants to
see opium poppy plants totally eradicated by 2008, while ASEAN member
countries want to see the area declared a narcotic free zone by the year
One Burmese delegate said, “We hope to limit and
control narcotics production and this should be achieved soon, and
particularly by the year 2014, Burma will be getting rid of all opium and
Regarding Ban Yongkha in Wa territory inside Burma, he
said that Burma was satisfied that with aid assistance from abroad to help
implement the alternative project, the project will be successful,
especially under the umbrella of the UN and including aid assistance from
USA, Japan, Australia, and Thailand.
One Chinese delegate said his government wants to resolve
the drug problems as the number of drug addicts is rising in China. “China
will play active role in using the alternative project to help prevent the
problem ... China continues with serious efforts to use the technology and
human resources to try to stop drug abuse among the Chinese.”
After China opened for free trade and tourism in1999, it
is found that more drugs began flowing into the country.
The Laos delegate added that by 2005, Laos plans to
eradicate all opium growing areas. Last year, opium areas in 11 provinces,
especially those locate in the North of Laos, were reduced by 74%, but this
year it is hoped all the narcotic cultivation areas will be eradicated,
particularly in the two provinces near Vientiane.
She noted that the relocation of factories producing ya ba (amphetamine)
in Laos is still worrying officials following a tip-off from American
authorities that there are some in areas, especially near the capital
Forced migration under the microscope
200 registrants at local conference
The 8th meeting of the International Association for the
Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) was recently held at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew
Hotel in Chiang Mai following cooperation from many organizations.
IASFM and the Chulalongkorn University Asian Research
Center for Migration jointly hosted a conference titled, “Forced Migration
and Global Processes”. The topic covered the world situation concerning
human rights during forced migrations, such as in America and the
MP Surin Pitsuwan, former Thailand Minister of Foreign
Affairs opened the conference, which is held every two years and rotates
around the membership. This year it was in Thailand and there were more than
200 members from all over the world participating.
All participants shared information and ideas on how to
solve problems of forced migration. Being held in Thailand this year, the
IASFM hopes to support the Thai government and private organizations’ role
in protecting the rights of immigrants, and to develop the work carried out
by researchers and study groups in this field.
Recycle to make merit gaining momentum
Everyone invited to participate
Chiang Mai Municipality is accelerating the Tod Pha Pa
Recycle (recycle to make merit) project that has received much cooperation
from 4 municipal districts: Nakorn Ping, Sri Wichai, Meng Rai and Kawila.
from many schools in Chiang Mai bring recyclable garbage, such as bottles
and paper, to participate in the recycling program.
Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn said that he has
received much assistance from both government and private organizations to
complete this program. The date for the grand kick off has been fixed, and
is Sunday, February 16 this year at Wat Chedi Luang. Everybody can join this
program by bringing their recyclable separated garbage, such as glass,
metal, paper and plastic.
The Tod Pha Pa Recycle procession will start at Thapae
Street, then will move into the city and head to Wat Chedi Luang.
The mayor said there are 68 communities and 52
organizations from 4 municipal districts indicating their intention to join
this program. They will provide 100 garbage cans, which can be used to
separate unwanted rubbish items into 4 categories: glass, metal, paper and
plastic, and 400 plastic bags are being issued to the these communities and
organizations to help them start separating their garbage.
It is hoped that Chiang Mai people will understand that separating and
recycling their garbage will protect our environment. If this project is
successful, there will be Tod Pha Pa Recycle projects organized in other
temples in Chiang Mai.
A Middle East war would have no effect on Thailand’s weapons production
80% export capacity, says munitions experts
Thailand has enough potential to maintain weapons
production due to the use of 100% domestic materials. Taweep Chantararoj,
the director of the Country Defense and Military Energy Industry Center said
that weapons production to support the army is assured as the government and
Ministry of Defense’s policy has been focusing on the use of domestic
material so that security can be maintained even during critical periods,
especially any war between America and Iraq.
Thailand is developing its weapons production for export
and can export artillery munitions to the neighboring countries, including
the Philippines and Indonesia.
Director Taweep said that at present Thailand was only
using 20% of the production capabilities for domestic military use and the
remaining 80% capacity can be used for export.
French Teacher Alliance visiting the North
Taking an educational tour through temples and ancient ruins
Wichien Noonrowd, the Chiang Mai Provincial Public
Relation officer has revealed that the French Teacher Alliance of Thailand
is visiting the North from January 17-19, as part of an educational trip.
The teachers are going to study ancient sites, Lanna, Lanchang culture and
the arts of Sukhothai, Rattanakosin, La wo, Morn, and the Burmese influence
in the three provinces of the North: Chiang Mai, Lumphun, and Nan.
The education trip will be led by MR Suriyawut Suksawat,
the expert from the Archaeology department, Faculty of Archaeology,
Silpakorn University, and he will also be the lecturer and guide for the
French teachers’ team when they visit the ancient site at the Wiang Kum
Kam, Saraphi District, Chiang Mai.
The first stop will be at the ancient remains in Wiang
Kum Kam, Phraya Meng Rai Temple, Phra Ong Dam Temple, and then the E-kang
Temple, Poopea Temple, Goopadom Temple. Following these the team plans to
visit Chiang Man Temple, Phra Singha Temple, Jedi Luang Temple, Art and
culture Museum, Suan Dok Temple, Jed Yod temple, the National Museum of
Children’s Day celebrations in Luang Nua
Story and photos by Annelie Hendriks
January 11 was a happy day for many children in Thailand.
The schoolteachers really made an effort to make this National Day a
wonderful day for the children. At a primary school in Tambon Luang Nua near
Doi Saket the children started the day with a prayer together with the monks
of the village temple. After that some children performed classical music
songs and dances.
who I am...
The whole afternoon was dedicated to games, among which
were “Guess who I am”, “Who can inflate the biggest balloon?” and
running with ping pong balls between chopsticks.
Every effort was rewarded with small presents and many
the biggest balloon.
In the afternoon parents were invited to watch their
children playing the games.
The day ended by exchanging presents. Every child brought
a beautifully wrapped small present for another child. The choice was made
by drawing of lots.
Their bikes loaded with presents, they all went home to show them to
300 kids get together and show what they can do
300 youths from 17 northern provinces participated in a
Children and Youth Assembly organized by the Ministry of Public Health
Region 5 at Ban Klang Doi Resort and Spa January 8-11.
functioning fish scale removing machine - one of the youth inventions.
prepare exhibitions to show off their ideas and creativity.
The health related topic was titled “Children and Youth
Assembly on Health and Innovations” and was designed to let the youths
show their creativity and present their ideas and opinions, which can lead
to solutions for health problems.
There were many interesting activities created by
children from the northern region; for example a soft drink free zone and a
fish scale removing machine.
Wuttikrai Mungmai, head of the Chiang Mai Provincial
Health Office, opened the assembly and visited the exhibitions.
On the last day in the camp, the participants selected 100
representatives from the 300 students to talk to PM Thaksin Shinawatra, and
to present their points of view and opinions. It is hoped that children will
learn to spend their time beneficially in the future, regarding creativity,
teamwork, and to avoid drugs.