Lions and dragons welcome in the Year of the Goat
Chinese New Year celebrated in the Waroros Market and Lao Jow Alley
Photos by Michael and Marion Vogt
Chinese New Year is arguably the most colorful and
elaborate of all traditional holidays for people of Chinese descent, and
perhaps the most fun for people of all races to watch and even take part in.
This year in Chiang Mai, the Waroros Market and Lao Jow Alley were the
places to be to celebrate the event.
young women from Chong-Fah Xin Zoeng School proudly join the annual Chinese
New Year celebration, this year held at Waroros Market and Lao Jow Alley.
The great response this festival generated has prompted city fathers to make
it even bigger and better next year.
The festivities for this, Chiang Mai’s 2nd Chinatown
Chinese New Year Celebration, spanned two days, February 1-2. The fun-filled
events included Chinese lion dances and a dragon 30 meters long. There were
also Chinese food demonstrations, Chinese exhibitions, Chinese music and
dancing shows, Chinese food stalls, kiddy contests and colorful parades from
the Chinese School in Chiang Mai.
Chinese smiles from the girls.
wearing their best pink and blue outfits, join the parade in the sun.
Communities from both the Waroros Market area and Lao Jow
Alley, where most of the local Chinese residents live, joined with the
municipality to put together this grand celebration.
Waroros Market was particularly crowded with people
joining in the celebrations. So much so, in fact, the city fathers took
notice and announced they are ready to better promote this annual event as a
way to attract more tourists to the region.
Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn said that the
municipality has a plan to construct a permanent Chinese arch to mark Chiang
Mai’s Chinatown, similar to other Chinatowns around the world. This
project is currently on the drawing board and the arch will be located in
the Chinese community in the town center.
The mayor also said that Lao Jow Alley’s Chinese New
Year celebration will attract many tourists and will be a good way to
promote Chiang Mai’s sustainable tourism.
Northern Trade Distribution Center to be built in Chiang Mai
Cabinet expected to approve the one billion baht proposal
Somsak Thepsutin, the Minister of Industry, has signed a
proposal to be put to the cabinet to construct a Northern Trade Distribution
Center in Chiang Mai. More than one billion baht will be put into the
The aim of project planners is to turn the center into a
display hub of grassroots commodities, and according to the minister, this
would be good for One Tambon - One Product commodity distribution.
The center will be the second in Thailand and will be
located behind Chiang Mai’s city hall. It would come under the
responsibility of the Ministry of Industry.
Minister Somsak said that this is a healthy sign for
northern businesses, as they will be able to join with central businesses
since foreign entrepreneurs, especially from Europe, are interested in
investing in northern Thailand.
Thailand is currently a good region for investment, due
to the government’s policies, and Chiang Mai being the aviation hub of the
north and in a liberal trade zone, is even more desirable.
The annual Festival of Flowers on this weekend
Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, permanent secretary of Chiang Mai
Provincial Authorities said that the annual Festival of Flowers is being
held this weekend, February 7-9 from 9 a.m. at Buak Haad Public Park.
The Chiang Mai Dramatic Arts College has been rehearsing
their shows, and invite everyone to come on out and watch them perform every
evening from 7 pm.
The grand opening was held on February 7 at Thapae Gate
at 9 a.m. and featured a parade with many decorated floats. It began with
the Northern shows before the parade moved along the roadway, which was
telecast live on TV 11.
The International Flower Beauty Contest will be held on
February 8 at the Buak Haad Public Park beginning at 7 p.m.
In addition, there is an orchid display and international
food stalls opposite Wattanothai Payap School, supplied by 60 restaurants in
Chiang Mai. This year the fair has been expanded with the addition of One
Tambon - One Products.
Chiang Mai city center to be developed, but into what?
People to be asked for their opinion
The Urban Development Institute Foundation (UDIF) and
Lanna Environment Fund are discussing the future of the city center, around
the Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institute and public prosecutor’s
house, which is proposed to become a historical site and public area.
The Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institute will be
moved out to Mae Taeng District, and Chiang Mai Municipality has a project
in mind to develop this area into a museum and public park. However, experts
and professors, including Thanet Chroenmuang and Dr. Pisit Charoenwong, have
an opposing point of view and asked municipality officials to reconsider the
These experts point out that the area is considered a
“public open space” where people can get involved in activities such as
holding ceremonies and cultural performances, but that currently this cannot
happen as the area is too small.
In addition, King Mengrai’s palace, or ‘Hor Kam’,
was located there more than 700 years ago. The Chiang Mai Women’s
Correctional Institute has only been there for 70 years, so the experts
argue that conserving it was not a good idea.
Chao Duangduen na Chiang Mai said that she supported the
policy of developing the Chiang Mai Women’s Correction Institute into a
“Kuang Muang” (public open space); however, it can’t be avoided that
this area was once a correctional institute. She suggested building a
monument to remind Chiang Mai of the former use of the area as a correction
Lastly, this past October Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn and
the deputy director of the Corrections Department, plus the deputy director
of the Prosecutor’s Office Region 5, and Chiang Mai MP’s announced that
this area of Chiang Mai City would be developed as an eco-tourism center.
With disagreement being the main consensus, the summary
of this seminar was that there should be a poll taken of the local people on
A college for hopeful entrepreneurs
Chiang Mai Commercial College (CCC) has announced itself
to be the college for entrepreneurs. The director, Chattip
Suwannachin, said that following revamping of the education system within
the college, the business management center would be opened as a college for
entrepreneurs. This project will be launched shortly with business plan
management courses for both vocational and higher vocational students. It is
expected that graduate students could begin their own small or medium
The official opening ceremony was held at the end of
January. All projects will begin in the next semester of 2003.
Chattip believes that students will learn and experience
business in the campus as if they were in the business world itself. During
the courses, students will create their own businesses and there will be a
budget to support students with low interest loans to get them up and
running. All entrepreneurs’ projects will be responsible to director
Chattip, himself a graduate of Illinois State University.
Charity shoot-out to support cancer patients
Dr. Rak Tananurat, the vice-president of Maharaj Nakhon
Chiang Mai Hospital has informed the Chiangmai Mail that the Cancer
Foundation of Northern Thailand, Montfort School Alliance Alumni, and the
Chiang Mai Sport Association Shooting Club has arranged a charity shooting
competition to support the cancer foundation. Competitors will be vying for
the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Cup. The contest will be held on
Sunday, February 9 at the 700 Years Anniversary Sport Complex shooting range
from 8 a.m. - 5.30 p.m.
Dr Rak said, “The foundation has arranged a charity
sporting competition every year to raise funds for the patients’
activities and accommodation. Now, we have to raise some more as the
in-patients building needs urgent repairs and improvements.”
He also said that last year, the foundation held a
charity golf tournament but the moneys received were not enough for building
construction or even improvements. He said that in addition, the number of
cancer patients are increasing annually.
The Cancer Foundation of Northern Thailand has been set
up since 1976, to take care of and arrange activities for the sufferers as
well as providing a residence for cancer patients during their treatment.
With escalating costs, the Cancer Foundation relies on charity to assist
them to continue their good work.
Anyone who wishes to enter the competition or make a
donation should contact the Division of Radiotherapy, Maharaj Nakhon Chiang
Mai Hospital, 0-5394-5456 or Dr. Rak Tananurat, 0-1681-3413.
67 countries represented at world congress
and Metinee Chaikuna
The 3rd world EXPOMAP was held February 3-7 at the Lotus
Pang Suan Kaew Hotel, and HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously
presided over the opening ceremony.
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously presided over the opening
ceremony of EXPOMAP.
The International Council for Medicinal Aromatic Plant (ICMAP)
in collaboration with the International Society Horticultural Science (ISHS)
and the Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University hosted EXPOMAP in Chiang
Mai, with the main topic dealing with the diversity of global herbs for
sustainable uses in science, technology, trade, and industry applications.
EXPOMAP is held every 5 years on each continent. The
first was held in Europe, and Holland took responsibility as a host. The
second took place in Argentina, South America. It was agreed that the third
would be held in Asia, with both India and Thailand bidding for the honor.
With Thailand winning the bid, Chiang Mai was named the host city.
The local Chamber of Commerce was also involved with
Chiang Mai University, and ICMAP with plans to involve the Chambers of
Commerce of China, Burma, and Laos.
The expo format covered the conference and exhibition.
The academic meeting had representatives involved with the medicinal and
aromatic plants from 67 countries all over the world. There were medicinal
and aromatic plants exhibitions, with many coming from shops in Chiang Mai.
In addition, cosmetics, supplement foods, and useful plants were shown at
the fair. The Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University said that this fair
was promoted all over the world, stirring up interest from nearby countries
as well as within Thailand.
200 disabled people protest expensive lottery tickets
Middlemen make more than the sellers
Around 200 disabled people from all over the northern
region gathered at Thapae Gate to call for fair lottery quotas from the
government and bypassing middlemen.
Singkhon Songsawatwong can earn only 3.2 baht from each pair of lottery
tickets he sells.
The group submitted a demand letter addressed to Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and delivered it to the Thai Rak Thai Party’s
Chiang Mai Office.
The protesters claimed that they did not receive enough
lottery tickets to sell in their area and found that the government gives
most of the quota to wholesalers in Bangkok.
Disabled lottery dealers from 14 clubs at the gathering
were also protesting against middlemen taking advantage of them by marking
up the price of lottery tickets. The protesters also demand that the
government gives them 5,000 more lottery books, bypassing the middlemen.
Sanit Suveera, the president of Chiang Mai Disabilities
Council said that the last time they had to buy lottery tickets from
wholesalers they were charged 43.40 baht and could only sell at 45 baht,
even though the real price from the government is only 36.40 baht (lottery
tickets are always sold in pairs at 90 baht).
Singkhon Songsawatwong, a member of the Chiang Mai
Disability Career Promotion Association said that he and his wife have been
lottery dealers for 8 years, but receive no lottery quota from the
government although there has been a quota demand from the dealers many
“We have been calling for a larger quota for years, but
never received it. The ones who have the quota can earn more than 100,000
per month because of the lower purchase price, but the wholesalers have
cornered the market and sell the lottery tickets at a very high price,”
It is believed there are now 5 middlemen in Chiang Mai whilst there are
520 disabled lottery dealers.
Chiang Mai - Lamphun Twin City project to be reviewed
Mae Hong Son to climb aboard too?
During Deputy Minister of Interior Pramuan
Ruchanaseree’s recent visit to northern provinces, the project to build up
Chiang Mai and Lamphun as twin cities was once again brought up and
Requests have been made to study the twin city project
again, and this time project planners might consider developing Mae Hong Son
into the scheme at the same time.
Project planners hope to develop Chiang Mai, Lamphun and
Mae Hong Son into becoming a hub of regional cooperation, in terms of
economic, historical and society values.
Pramuan said that all parties concerned from the 3
provinces should get together and devise a working plan of what, when and
how to do this.
This idea was first discussed in 1996, with a 50 million
baht budget, but the project had stalled.
Deputy Minister of Interior Pramuan has assigned Public
Works and City and Town Planning Departments to look at the plans and give
their full support to getting this project completed.
Chiang Mai targets 20% garbage reduction in 1 year
Reduce, recycle, re-use, says Environment Dept.
An Integrated Garbage Management Project, starting in
local communities throughout 6 regions in Thailand, from the Northern
Region, Central, Eastern, Western, Northeastern, and to the Southern region,
is being supported by the Department of Environment Quality Promotion.
The project is to encourage the localities to correctly
manage the community’s garbage, working in cooperation with the local
people in managing their garbage efficiently, reducing management costs
borne by local government and increasing the communities’ incomes.
The target of this program is to decrease the quantity of
garbage in the pilot communities by 20 percent within one year, and then
extend it to nearby areas.
In the Northern area, the Environment Office Region 1 and
the Environment Quality Promotion Department have selected 2 pilot
communities in Chiang Mai, Sri Supan and Tambon Ta Wang Tan Administration
Office, Saraphi District, Chiang Mai.
Prapat Panyachartirak, Minister of Natural Resources and
Environment officially commissioned the project on January 19 at Thapae
Gate. The activity will be proceeded by advice on garbage and plastic
reduction in households and communities, changing sellers and consumers
behavior, making fertilizer from garbage and institute a recycle and re-use
Apiwat Kunanurak, director of Environment Office Region 1
said that if there is enough participation, it could lead to sustainable
garbage management in their own community.
Mae Hong Son ready for drug
Hospitals on 24-hour alert
Mae Hong Son Governor Supoj Laowanasiri, acting as the
director of Mae Hong Son Drugs Control and Suppression Center, said that
this northern province is ready to act on drug suppression.
Governor Supoj has assigned Chana Nagsuriya, Mae Hong
Son’s deputy governor, to be in charge of border affairs and has ordered
Srisangwal Mae Hong Son Hospital to be on 24-hour call to receive any
injured soldiers, policemen or other authorities who might be involved in
skirmishes with drug dealers.
Pittaya Jinawat, director of the Northern Office of
Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) believes there will be an improvement, since
PM Thaksin Shinawatra officially visited Burma and the Burmese government
agreed to decrease the drug problem by 50 % in this year.
The Burmese government claims it will insist the minority
groups in the border areas not produce drugs and decrease the opium crop
from 800 tons to 400 tons. The Burmese government will push these minorities
back to their former areas. The Thai government is confident that its
counterpart in Burma will be able to control them.
Pittaya Jinawat also said that the ONCB will control drug
transportation at the borders and will cooperate with soldiers and policeman
on drug suppression in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son and Tak
provinces. However, he did say that we need to accept that drug dealers
could find new ways to transport drugs into Thailand, and ya ba traders
always have new forms of producing and smuggling ya ba.
Chiang Rai drug center opened
Built on drug dealer’s confiscated land
Chiang Rai Province has opened its treatment and
rehabilitation center, located at 257 Tambon Mae Khao Tom, Muang District,
Chiang Rai, for drug addicts in the Golden Triangle area.
Chiang Rai Governor Narin Panichkit officially opened the
treatment center, which was built on 400 rai of land that had been
confiscated from a convicted drug dealer.
On the 400 rai, there are orange orchards, longan
orchards and a hatchery, so the addicts will receive job training while
getting treatment at this center. It is hoped that this will be advantageous
for all the addicts after they leave the center.
Governor Narin said that as well as suppression, it is
very important to stop and cut off the drug supply. Currently in Chiang Rai
Province, drugs come across the borders from Burma and Laos.
Chiang Mai students condemn Cambodian violence
Urge peaceful approach to negotiations and reparations
Chiang Mai students condemned the riot that erupted in
Cambodia last week. Representatives of Chiang Mai University, Maejo
University, and Payap University students have gone on record, officially
condemning the act of attacking the Thai Embassy by Cambodian groups
confronting and affronting Thais, private business and people in Cambodia.
in Phnom Penh left the Thai embassy in shambles.
The student organization representatives stated that the
rioting in Cambodia was considered as insulting the Thai nation and its
sovereignty. However, the students expressed their willingness to urge the
governments of the two countries to try to solve the problem quickly by
peaceful negotiation and without violence.
Minister of Industry Somsak Thepsutin pointed out that
the violence in Cambodia would not affect Thai industry because most Thai
investors in Cambodia were involved with tourism and hotels and not the
Minister Somsak also said that Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra gave the greatest importance to the safety of the Thai people
above all else, and that damage costs were secondary only. Cambodia now
needs to answer the question how and why the violence happened.
The minister said that Cambodia used to be on friendly terms with
Thailand and must now explain and compensate what happened to the Thai
people in Cambodia. He believes that Cambodia might have some internal
problems that need to be resolved, and we should remain calm.
Cambodian attack on Thai Embassy condemned by the US
Calls on strong measures by Cambodian government
The U.S. State Department has called on the Cambodian
government to restore order, following the attack on the Thai Embassy in
Phnom Penh. Richard A. Boucher, a spokesman said, “We condemn the vicious
attacks against the Thai embassy, business establishments, and individuals
in Phnom Penh on January 29. We call on the Cambodian government to take all
necessary steps to restore order and to investigate the incidents.
Diplomatic facilities are inviolable under the 1961 Vienna Convention on
Diplomatic Relations; it is important that the Cambodian government take all
steps necessary to respect this international obligation.”
While it is perhaps of some comfort that the US is
prepared to stand up and be counted over this issue, there still remains the
more important question not officially answered by Phnom Penh. That is
simply - Why?
Burmese police arrest a Thai drug trafficker with 10,000 ya ba pills
Thai police act quickly to confiscate property
Pol. Maj. Gen. Wut Wititanon, commander of the Chiang Rai
provincial police said that Burmese police officers captured a drug dealer,
Teerawit Chanpirom, with 10,000 ya ba pills in his possession, and informed
the Joint Thai-Burmese Border Committee. Following the notification, Thai
police confiscated all of the drug runner’s properties in Chiang Rai,
Nakhon Pathom and Bangkok.
Chiang Rai police investigators found that Teerawit was a
construction contractor both in Chiang Rai and Burma, and he has a wife and
a son in Tambon Sansai, Muang District, Chiang Rai.
The police searched his house for additional evidence and
extended the investigation to Nakhon Pathom and Bangkok. Police confiscated
5 large construction machines, a pushcart, a trailer, 2 pickups, and a
handgun totaling millions of baht.
The Chiang Rai commander said that Teerawit would be
tried under both Burmese and Thai law and he has been charged with trying to
smuggle drugs into the country, an offence that can carry the death
The three-month drug war has commenced
Public and private organizations in northern Thailand,
led by high-ranking officials, gathered in Chiang Mai to make a declaration
regarding combating drugs. At the Chiang Mai city hall, Chiang Mai Governor
Pisit Khetphasook led officials and people to make a promise to stay away
from, and not to be involved with drugs.
The program is receiving collaboration from private and
government organizations, student groups and the Buddhist priests. All are
joining forces to wipe out drugs within 3 months, having been given a
national agenda by the nation’s PM.
Chiang Mai Province has its own local problems, as there
are 5 districts that have borders with neighboring countries. This puts
Chiang Mai on the main drug transport routes from the north to other
Currently, 336 villages have affirmed themselves to be
Drug Free Zone villages, but there are at least 2,000 more villages. In
addition, there are 2,700 drug dealers and 47 networks on the suspect
Governor Pisit stated that drug eradication operations
are already underway, and in the next ten days progress reports will be
In Chiang Rai, Governor Narin Panichkit led the
affirmations at the 50th year anniversary ground to promise to do whatever
is necessary to control the drug situation in Chiang Rai.
Lampang Governor Chalermphol Pratheepawanich joined a
thousand people to make a declaration against drugs. Governor Chalermphol
also stated there are more than 300 dealers on the blacklist and he would
follow up the results within 90 days.
In Mae Hong Son, Governor Supoj Laowansiri declared that
234 villages, 1,395 addicts and 198 dealers would be investigated, and that
the government there would stop drugs flowing across the border.
In Phayao, Governor Peerasawai Rattanaeakwatee said the
government campaign of combating drugs began on the 1st of February and they
were investigating 543 supposed dealers and 2,874 addicts.
The plan is to control the drug situation within the next