Elephants and people join the celebration on 4th Thai Elephant Day
by staff reporters
The 4th Thai Elephant Day was celebrated at the Mae Sa
Camp and the National Elephant Institute, with many activities for both
elephants and elephant lovers during the day. Being one of Thailand’s
national symbols, elephants have been loved by the Thai people for many
centuries. The elephant is the only animal involved in the national
institutions of the Nation, the Religion, and the Monarchy. Consequently,
Thai elephants are respected as our country’s animal. Accordingly, March
13 of every year is celebrated as “Thai Elephant Day”.
Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook signals the opening.
left) Chao Duangduan Na Chiang Mai, Governor Pisit Khetphasook, and Mae Sa
Camp owner Choochart Kalmapijit officially open the ceremony before the
“Satoke Chang” began.
their way to the Satoke Chang area.
The activities at the National Elephant Institute in
Lampang were held especially for the elephants. They could have a day off
and were given extra food from kindhearted sponsors. There was also a
religious ritual including a ceremony for elephants who had died, and Bai
Sri Soo Kwan, a blessing ceremony to give the living elephants courage.
In Chiang Mai, thousands of people came to celebrate the
Elephant Day in the Mae Sa Elephant Camp, being presided over by Chiang Mai
Governor Pisit Khetphasook. After the governor had officially opened the
ceremony, 74 elephants filed down from the high ground heading towards their
lunch area and then “Satoke Chang”, the elephant Lanna-style buffet
began, with the elephants enjoying their bananas and sugar cane despite the
elegant elephant buffet.
Drum” is performed by the boys from Ban Dek Chai orphanage.
elephants parade down from the hills.
did not dampen anyone’s spirits.
guess what the elephant artist is painting.
There was also a small gallery of strange pictures, some
looked like waterfalls, or flowers, or trees. These might have been thought
of as quite ordinary if there had not been a sign telling the people that
these were painted by the elephants! This type of art was demonstrated by
five small elephants who carried boxes of paints and paintbrushes and
started to “draw” pictures just like the ones the visitors could see in
The elephant boxing show was popular with the crowd, who
by now had forgotten about the rain, watching a little elephant in red
boxing shorts using its trunk to hold a boxing glove whilst punching the
elephant in the blue corner.
The Mae Sa Elephant Camp was established by Choochart Kanmapijit in 1976,
and from the initial 5 elephants the reserve has grown to 74. Nine babies
have been born in the camp, Kamsan, Lankam, Duanpen, Wanpen, Songpan,
Panpeth, Thongpoon, Kamtool and newborn, Thongthai which was given its name
on Thai Elephant Day by Somsak Sanarsa, the winning participant in the name
the elephant contest.
Wadthampla - Maesai
Story by Marion Vogt Pictures by Michael Vogt
Everybody living in Chiang Mai is a most fortunate
person. But even having the privilege to be here, sometimes you must go out
and explore the surroundings. If you start driving through the countryside
you might as well start looking around for things and scenery which are not
so occupied by tourists and tour groups. One of these sights is Wadthampla
in Maesai. While leaving Chiang Mai and driving north, you will see that the
North is a mountainous region comprising natural forests, ridges and deep,
narrow, alluvial valleys.
you get lost - that is the sign you have to look for.
ancient Chedi, embedded in the most beautiful scenery.
incinerator is used to burn fake money, incest sticks and other items, in
order to keep the spirits happy and in a good mood.
fellow looks pretty relaxed, but wait until he spots the bananas or peanuts
which you have bought.
A mountainous area where winter temperatures are cool
enough to allow the cultivation of temperate fruits such as apples,
strawberries and peaches, the North offers us a pleasing alternative to the
bright lights of Bangkok, the business of the university town Chiang Mai and
the beaches of the south. Talking about the North, we talk about an
approximate area of 170,000 square kilometers, bordering on the territories
of Laos and Myanmar.
But getting back to that special temple I want to tell
you about today, it is located in Mae Chan, which is a town some 35 km north
of Chiang Rai, about halfway between Chiang Rai and Mae Sai. The town itself
is a trading post for the Akha and Yao Hill people who sell their goods. But
every tour guide will tell and show you all this. What most people do not
know and what we did not find in any travel guides, is the almost hidden
Wadthampla. Now don’t say: “oh another Wat”. This one is well worth
the visit. It is hidden away and you see nothing special except some locals
sitting outside the gate and selling fruits. Now, it’s not: been there,
seen that ... no!
When you walk through, you can see the enormous trees
shaking and trembling and while you look closer you see herds of monkeys
jumping from tree to tree. Monkeys in all sizes, colors and ages, running
around you, walking with you and accompanying you while walking nearer the
mountain and cave. And there you will stand amazed. A huge cave filled with
water and fish and the mountain outside full of monkeys who live in a
natural free surrounding. It would not be Thailand if the vendor with
peanuts and bananas would not be there, but this is acceptable, since funny
enough; these monkeys behave in a far better way than the monkeys from the
well known town of Lopburi.
business, wherever you look.
time - they are hungry, but not aggressive.
But of course the monkeys are not the only attractions;
there is also the almost hidden Chedi with its golden bands and the young
monks taking care of Wat Tham Plaa.
So next time you travel towards Chiang Rai, plan a side
trip to see the hidden temple of Mae Chan.
His Serene Highness Prince Bhisadej Rajanee welcomes the Crown Prince of Bhutan
Supatatt Dangkrueng and Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai
The Crown Prince of Bhutan, His Royal Highness Dasho
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, visited the Royal Agricultural Stations on
Doi Angkhang on March 15. His Serene Highness Prince Bhisadej Rajani, the
chairman of Royal Project Foundation welcomed the Crown Prince at the
Angkhang Royal Project and escorted him on a tour of the station.
Crown Prince Dasho Jigme greeted junior hill tribe volunteers.
Prince Bhisadej brought the Prince of Bhutan to see the goat farms at
Crown Prince Dasho Jigme and HSH Prince Bhisadej at the Ban Nor Lae Military
The Royal Agricultural Station, Angkhang, is located in
Mae Ngon Sub-district in Fang District, Chiang Mai Province and is 1,400
meters above mean sea level. Its name, Angkhang, is a northern word meaning
a rectangular bowl, which describes the station lying at the bottom of the
hills in its bowl-like shape.
There are 6 villages under the supervision of the
station, including 4 hill tribe peoples, the Thai Yai, Black Lahu, Palong
and Chinese Haw minority groups.
Since the region experiences lower temperatures on
average, Angkhang is an experimental station of highland agriculture and
cultivation of deciduous fruits including strawberry, kiwi fruit, raspberry,
Chinese pear, peach, and Chinese plum.
Crown Prince Dasho Jigme is particularly interested in
social development, as he is doing a master’s degree at Oxford University,
and has participated in international forums regarding social development.
The Bhutan Crown Prince admired the hard work done by the local people.
Crown Prince of Bhutan enjoys a moment with hill tribe people.
Prince Dasho Jigme took some time to hand feed the goats.
Crown Prince Dasho Jigme viewed the irrigation canal at the Angkhang
Bhutan and Thailand have done much in cooperation,
particularly in agriculture, and there are many exchange programs for
researchers. Last year, high-ranking officers of the Royal Project
Foundation and Agriculture and Cooperative Ministry, Thailand, visited
Bhutan and Bhutanese officers had been accepted into training schemes in
After visiting Angkhang station, the Crown Prince visited Huay Luek
Development Center in Chiang Dao District and the Royal Project Foundation
in Chorm Thong District, Chiang Mai Province.
Beam your way to whiter teeth
There is something new in town: laser tooth whitening,
which was first brought to Thailand by Dr. Achara Pandaeng.
Tooth color is in most cases an inherited trait; however,
tooth color mainly depends upon the condition of teeth, dental health and
Various factors could lead to tooth darkening. The most
common factors are the intake of staining fluids such as cola, coffee, tea,
wine, cigarettes, and of course the aging process. In olden times, a
discolored smile was something we had to live with, but not anymore. Tooth
bleaching has been revolutionized by the use of laser technology. With state
of the art laser equipment, the whitening procedure can be completed in just
one visit, and it takes only about 11/2 hours. It is safe and painless
because it works with light.
But let us ask the professionals...
CMM: Dr. Anchara, we know your Tooth Whitening clinic is
very successful in Bangkok. What made you bring it to Chiang Mai?
Dr. Anchara: I bought the machines in USA and was also
trained over there. But since I get more and more people from the North
flying down to Bangkok to have the treatment done, I decided to expand, and
the first center in the North will be with Dr. Arunthai. He is perfect for
the job, since he can communicate with the patients not only in Thai and
English, but also in fluent German, as he used to work and train in Berlin,
Germany for a number of years. Both he and his wife are dentists, their
clinic is in the middle of town, and they are professionals.
CMM: Tell us about the advantage of laser tooth
Dr. Anchara: Laser whitening is far more superior to
traditional bleaching methods because dramatic results are achieved with
just one treatment. It saves wearing a tray eight hours a day for up to six
weeks, which often achieves less satisfactory results.
CMM: How does laser whitening work? Could you explain the
Dr. Anchara: First, we clean your teeth with a sandy,
pumice-like material to remove the plaque. Then we protect your gum and soft
tissue before a peroxide-based gel is applied, followed by laser light to
activate the gel. The laser energy ‘excites’ the hydrogen peroxide into
a higher energy state, which expels the free radical oxygen. This, in turn,
‘attacks’ the organic molecule which constitutes the stain.
CMM: Will it hurt?
Dr. Anchara: Laser light is generally a much faster way
to activate the bleaching process and that is much less sensitizing,
resulting in significantly less stress on the nerve and the pulp on the
tooth. Some patients experience sensitivity to hot or cold right after the
process, but this will generally go away the next day.
CMM: Will laser damage my teeth?
Dr. Anchara: No. When mentioning laser, people will
usually think of laser light that cuts through things, like the laser that
is used in surgery. However, the laser which is used for tooth whitening is
the diode laser that’s function is to activate the whitening gel and
initiate the chemical reaction that produces the whitening effect. It does
not actually penetrate the teeth.
CMM: How long will it last?
Dr. Anchara: This depends on the habit of each
individual. Do you drink a lot of coffee or tea, and smoke on top of it? Do
you take good care of your teeth? In general your teeth will stay white for
11/2 to 2 years before showing discoloration again. However, the degree of
discoloration will not be as severe as before doing the laser whitening.
CMM: Dr. Arunthai- please tell us: How can we reach you?
How much do you charge here in Chiang Mai and what is your telephone number?
Dr. Arunthai: So many questions at once... since you are
here, you know that the clinic is in walking-distance from the Novotel and
Rimping Department store. If someone is interested in having a nice white
smile again, just give us a call on 01 024 2492. Our clinic is open from
Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We can give you a consultation in
English, Thai and German, and as an introduction price for Chiangmaians we
will charge only 10,000 baht until the end of March. From April onwards the
price will increase by 2,000 baht.
CMM: Dr. Anchara and Dr. Arunthai, thank you very much for the
informative talk! We wish you a very good start and many patients as happy
as ourselves after the treatment.
Chiangmai - Fifty-three years later
by Linda Edwards
With papers in order, in late spring 1950, after an
18-hour train ride north, our family came to our new hometown Chiangmai,
Thailand. We had heard it was in the northern rice and jungle province. We
found a once red brick, medieval-walled town surrounded by perfectly square
rice patty farms and inhabited by ingenious, self-sufficient people.
The Thailand nation, the romantic kingdom of Siam until
1939, is a land of many faces, all having in common their love of country.
Even though most of the people are still farmers in small, rural villages,
one visiting Bangkok or even Chiangmai might believe that Thailand is truly
one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
In 2003 I found Chiangmai to be a city of diverse people
with many interests and vocations. There are vendors in the Night Bazaar,
drivers of the tuk tuks (taxis), still rice farmers, hill tribe
craftspeople, silk weavers, silver makers, business owners, immigrants,
ex-patriots who have found their way to this unique Asian city, and, yes,
rice farmers. What I saw on this trip to Thailand (Mae Sot, Chiangmai, and
Bangkok included) was in many ways the same as I remembered from long ago -
a land of smiles and people living, working, and playing in a tropical and
My name is Linda Ruth Edwards, and I am proudly one of
the earliest American residents of Chiangmai. In 1950, at the age of six
years, with my parents Charles Henry and Ruby Edwards and my brothers
Kenneth and Henry, ages 8 and 12, we moved from Tennessee, USA, to Thailand.
is Linda Ruth Edwards, and I am proudly one of the earliest American
residents of Chiangmai. In 1950, at the age of six years, with my parents
Charles Henry and Ruby Edwards and my brothers Kenneth and Henry, ages 8 and
12, we moved from Tennessee, USA, to Thailand.
My father was employed by the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly
as the Tobacco Specialist, who traveled from the United States to establish
an experimental station to perfect the tobacco for the Thai tobacco
industry, and brought from America the tobacco seeds that were used for this
purpose. He wrote, for the government, the only book on how to grow tobacco
in Thailand for the cigarette industry.
To get to Thailand in those days, you embarked on a very
long trip. We flew on four-engine propeller airliners from Knoxville,
Tennessee, to Gander, Newfoundland, Canada; to London, England; to Paris,
France; to Rome, Italy; to Damascus; to Basra, to Calcutta, India; and
finally to Bangkok, Thailand. We had arrived on what was claimed to be one
of the hottest days in local memory - certainly hotter and more humid than
anything we’d seen in Tennessee - and on the way in from the airport sat
sweltering in the sun in our chauffeured car over an hour for a royal
cavalcade to pass.
What would be the chances that this exact situation
repeated itself again when I arrived two weeks ago? After forty-five
minutes, the taxi driver explained our lack of motion in downtown Bangkok:
“the King of Thailand.” Within a few minutes of these words, sure
enough, a procession of dozens of motorcycles, vans, and finally, the royal
limousine with flags, indicating the special passenger!
In the winter of 1951, we returned to the United States
through Hong Kong and then on across the Pacific on the USS President Wilson
from Tokyo to Hawaii to San Francisco, for some 28 days. This was a long
journey for a little American girl, one that would hardly be believed later
by some of my classmates in rural Tennessee.
When I returned to school in the States in 1951 saying,
“I’ve been around the world,” they just turned their heads and ran off
to swing. That just wasn’t possible. But it was. My grandfather had
another way to explain it: “It sure 0ust have had, minus the fear. I
wanted to see the country again and see how it has developed. Chiangmai is
now not a village of 5000 inhabitants, but a city with a population over
150,000 people, many now English-speaking.
This travel is also about rediscovering some of my roots,
with more interest than ever, now that my parents are deceased (I have
returned on two other occasions). They were the first in our family who
dreamed the dream of going to the Orient; however, the dream lives on as a
second generation has found a place under the sun. My daughter Emily, within
months of being accredited as a physician, chose Thailand, of all the
countries of the world, for an international rotation, as she finishes
medical school at the University of Virginia.
She is working in Dr. Cynthia’s Clinic, just inside the
Thai border near the town of Mae Sot. The clinic, begun by young Australian
Dr. Cynthia and renowned for its humanitarian achievements, services day
refugees who are allowed over the Myanmar border from 6 a.m. till 6 p.m. for
medical care. There is some treatment for cases of AIDS and malaria; there
are amputations performed (from landmines) and prosthetics to be made. 800
babies a year are born in these cinderblock buildings; they have plywood
delivery tables. Some of the babies have HIV, if the mothers did not come
early enough for treatment.
The most poignant story may be that of a little boy, less
than two, who lives at the clinic, his mother having died, his father not
located, with nowhere else to go. The roving medics and doctors care for
him, in lieu of his parents. I wanted to experience this amazing clinic,
with Emily; this would help me know something of the way she will be when
she returns, changed forever.
During my short stay in the village of Mae Sot in
Chiangmai Province, I spent some of my days tutoring English as a second
language on the floor of a church. My children were also day immigrants,
some whose parents came over the border from old Burma just for the day, to
sell in the market or to beg. The job was the same for the children, unless
somehow they found their way to this church for the day, a house of refuge,
a warm lunch, a little schooling in math and language, and a bunch of hugs.
Everyone who travels to Thailand, as a tourist, as a
student, or as a worker, comes away changed, but only to the extent they
really get to know the people. It only takes one acquaintance to get a
On a day that school was out, a little girl came up to me
in the street. As she tugged at my arm and held out her hand to beg, I
looked into the eyes of a child that had sat in my lap the day before
learning her first English word “house.” I refused, taking her hand and
leading her across the street to the mini-market. I opened the cooler and
asked her to pick something. She picked Pepsi. I pointed to the chocolate
milk and she chose white. I purchased both, putting the Pepsi and some lunch
money in her worn backpack. She smiled, running off, thinking she would see
me the next day at school. I was saddened to think that I would not be there
for her. I hope that little girl received one of the pencils and pads that
my daughter would take to the school in a few days.
Now that I am looking backward and forward, I wonder,
when Emily returns in fifty years, if this little village will be a city, as
Chiangmai is today. Perhaps all the border problems will be solved and my
little girl will have found her place under the sun of a free country.
To be continued...
Copyright, Linda Edwards, March, 2003.