Northern Meteorological Center says oppressive heat will continue
Warns of possible cyclone activity mid-month
The Northern Meteorological Center predicts the hot
weather will continue until at least another week or two, and has issued a
warning to beware of heavy downpours, flash flooding and cyclonic activity
celebrate their summer with a swim in the Ping River under hot, sunny skies.
The Meteorological Center says that the heat will continue until mid-May.
This week, the expected minimum temperature is 14-23 C
with maximums of 32-36 degrees Celsius in Chiang Mai. However, the Northern
Meteorological Center predicts maximum temperatures could reach as high as
40-43 degrees Celsius in some areas, especially in Mae Hong Son, Lampang,
Nan, Uttaradit, Tak, and Phetchabun provinces.
The center also has forecast a tropical cyclone from the
Andaman Sea, likely in mid-May, will bring heavy downpours and flash
flooding. The westerly trough carrying moisture from the Andaman Sea is
moving across Northern Thailand, and accompanied by a confluence of
south-westerly and south-easterly winds is producing scattered rain-showers
and isolated heavy falls with gusty winds.
People in low-lying areas should be prepared for minor
inundation and follow up weather information.
The mean maximum temperature is about the same as it was last year, and
the rainfall amounts we’ve received so far are considered to be normal for
this time of year. Relative humidity has been 55-90%.
Residents in Mae Sariang District, Mae Hong Son last
weekend protested in front of the River House Hotel, where Dr. Kraisak
Choonhavan, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs chairman, and the Salween
Dam committee were staying during their visit to collect information on the
area. Since most everyone seems to enjoy a good protest, the crowd
eventually swelled to about 50 people.
The residents, led by Chalerm Plubpluengprai, Mae Sariang
Tambon Administrative Organization president, along with Pho Chuenchupri and
Thanawat Khantana, provincial council members, felt that they were
ill-informed about the dam projects being implemented in the area, and
"demanded" that the government officials provide them with more
Dr. Kraisak eventually addressed the assembled throng,
and told them that the dam construction was indeed an important topic, as
the dam might flood approximately 300 square kilometers, which would affect
areas around the Thai-Burma border. He said that because of its importance,
approval for the project would need to be gained through constitutional
process, and that there would need to be public hearings to address its
advantages and disadvantages.
This seemed to appease the group, and they dispersed.
According to a spokesman from the Electricity Generating
Authority of Thailand, it is possible to construct 5 dams along the Salween
River. These dams would generate 12,400 to 16,000 megawatts for both
Thailand and Burma.
Two of the dams would be on the Thai-Burma border, and
would affect a distance of 127 kilometers from the Salween Wildlife
Conservation Zone, Mae Sariang District in Mae Hong Son to Moei River in Mae
Sot District, Tak. The other 3 dams will be in Burmese territory.
Royal Ploughing Ceremony held on May 8
The annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony at Sanam Luang near
the Grand Palace in Bangkok, and the accompanying Cultivation Ceremony held
at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha the day before, are of great
significance in Thailand. This year the events took place on May 8.
During the ceremonies, appropriate strains of different
grains for cultivating are selected just prior to the planting season, and
rituals are performed to interpret the year’s harvest. Grain selection is
an important consideration when planting crops, as the crops rely on soil,
ample rainfall and other natural factors.
The Cultivation Ceremony is also performed to help keep
the different grains free from disease, producing a bountiful harvest.
His Majesty the King, accompanied by Her Majesty the
Queen, always preside over the Cultivation Ceremony held at the Temple of
the Emerald Buddha (Phrasriratanasasadaram).
The Royal Ploughing Ceremony signals the beginning of the
planting season in Thailand. Two well cared for oxen of the same color pull
an ancient plough, breaking the ground so that sacred seeds may be planted.
Two other oxen wait in reserve.
Two Brahman priests sprinkling sacred water along the
path lead the royal procession, with its nine-tiered royal umbrella.
Two pairs of female guardians carry grain in one gold and
one silver container following behind the plough, seeding the tilled ground.
Three circuits tilling the earth around Sanam Luang are
completed and at the end the oxen are offered seven types of foods to select
from: rice grain, corn, peas, sesame, liqueur, water and grass. Brahman
priests then interpret their selection.
Following the ceremony, many people collect the seeds
from the ground to keep as sacred objects promising a prosperous year, while
others sow the ceremonial seeds mixed in with other seeds to sanctify the
Northern Old Thai Medicine Traditional Hospital to become massage
Wasant Chaichakarn, of the Chiang Mai-based Northern Old
Thai Medicine Traditional Hospital, has said that Chiang Mai will be the
center for health services such as hospitals, clinics, Thai traditional
medical services, health spas, resorts, sports clubs, Thai traditional
massage, herbal massage, aromatherapy massage, rehabilitation services,
fitness, and slimming centers.
Chiang Mai-Thai traditional massage gets more and more
popular among foreigners.
Wasant is one of the health - related business operators,
and the representative of the Chiang Mai Private Hospital Association, and
claimed that during the past 10 years, many foreigners had become interested
in these kinds of services, particularly traditional massage. Chiang Mai
produces 1,000 traditional massage therapists annually, he said.
The Northern Old Thai Medicine Traditional Hospital will
work as the coordination center, to collect information and provide a
registration service to monitor standards, ID cards, and primary research
along with the Thai Traditional Massage Club. In July, a one million baht
budget will be allocated to set up the coordination and information service
center, he said.
For the massage therapists, the center will help develop
their skills and the professional career of massage, and upgrade them to
achieve a high standard. Publicity will be carried out through the Tourism
Authority of Thailand’s Public Relations road show to help encourage more
massage services among the public.
Drive for Peace commences next month
Dr. Sawat Banteongsook, president of the International
Educational and Cultural Exchange Program, and Phipob Pornsangsilp, the
famous artist, will drive around Thailand on the "Drive for Peace -
Thailand Event" to foster peace amongst Thai people around the country.
Dr Sawat, a former lecturer at Chiang Mai University,
said their Drive for Peace trip would start on June 1st at the Thapae Gate,
Chiang Mai. He estimated that they would drive for 5,000 kilometers and
spend 1 month to complete the trip.
The Drive for Peace program was first established by the
International Educational and Cultural Exchange Program along with UN and
UNESCO on June 12, 2000. The former goal of the program was that a caravan
would make a trip from Thailand to Turkey in order to encourage peace
between the world’s peoples. Unfortunately, this program had to be
Dr. Sawat said that if the program in Thailand runs well,
further programs would be extended into Asian areas. The next Asian route
that is hoped for will run through Thailand-Myanmar-Bangladesh-Laos-Cambodia
Buddhist Holy Day
of Wisakhabucha - May 15
Celebrating the birth - enlightenment and death of the Buddha
This coming week, on May 15, one of the most venerated
holidays on the Buddhist calendar will be celebrated: Wisakhabucha Day.
(Note: government offices and banks will be closed.)
Wisakhabucha Day is the most significant holy day for
Buddhists around the world. It marks the beginning of the Buddhist Era 2,546
years ago, and celebrates the miracle of the Buddha being born, reaching
enlightenment and passing away all on the same date.
According to scripture, Prince Siddhartha, also known as
Gautama, who became the Buddha, was born in the eastern foothills of the
Himalayas on the 15th day (full moon) of the sixth lunar month in 623 BC,
attained enlightenment while sitting under a fig tree at the edge of the
Nerunchara River on the 15th day (full moon) of the sixth lunar month in 588
BC, and then passed away at the age of 80 on the 15th day (full moon) of the
sixth lunar month in 544 BC.
The word wisakabucha comes from the word
wisaburanamiibucha which means to pay homage to Buddha on the day of the
full moon in the month of wisaka (the sixth month).
The holy day is observed each year during May (June
during leap years), determined by the lunar calendar, and is on the 15th day
of the waxing moon during the 6th month of the Thai calendar. It dates back
to ancient celebrations in India and Sri Lanka, and this year the day is
being observed on May 15.
For this holiday, killing any kind of animal and drinking
alcohol or intoxicating substances is forbidden for 3 days. Wats are to be
adorned with lanterns, flowers and joss sticks as symbols of worship, and
skyrockets will be lit for three days to celebrate.
The day is also designated as National Tree Day in
Gautama (Buddha) was brought up in the family of a clan
leader of regal status, sheltered from life’s miseries. Later in life,
after observing a decrepit old man, a diseased man, a dead man, and a sage
he realized the impermanence of earthly things and began his quest for
For six years he sought enlightenment through ascetic
practices. He eventually decided it was not to be found in that manner and
resumed the life of a wanderer living on alms. While sitting under a fig
tree in a posture of meditation for what is described as a period of seven
weeks, Gautama resolved not to stir until succeeding. He achieved his quest,
becoming the Buddha, entering a state of Nirvana while still alive.
Whatever took place on that day was the start of Buddhism
as Gautama set forth to reveal his discovery, eventually spreading into many
parts of Asia. Gautama was later recognized as one in a great line of
Buddhas with a concept going back to Vishnu or Siva.
The large following created over 25 centuries ago and
continuing to this day is witness to the fact that something of distinct
value was found, which was explained in the Buddha’s first sermon at
Benares when he said the key to enlightenment is the presence of suffering.
The sermon told of the "Four Noble Truths"
identifying suffering (birth, decay, illness, death and rebirth) and the
failure to always be able to obtain one’s desires as the continuing
antagonists in life.
Secondly, since everything has a cause, so has suffering,
and when its causes and conditions are removed suffering is eliminated
according to the third truth. The key is to allow the karmic effects already
in existence to play out - not producing any further karmic chains. Once the
cessation of desire ends, all causes have taken affect and the suffering
ends, leading to discontinuing the cycle of rebirth.
The fourth truth is the path to the cessation of
suffering, the "Eightfold Path" or a "middle way"
between extremes of abstinence and indulgence. The steps in the
"Eightfold Path" consists of: correct views, correct aspiration,
correct speech, correct conduct, correct livelihood, correct effort, correct
thought, and correct concentration or meditation.
Devout Buddhists consider Wisakhabucha Day as an
important event and crowds of devotees will participate in ceremonies at
nearby temples, making merit in the morning by bringing alms to monks and
listening to sermons. Later in the evening devotees will continue assembling
at temples to conduct the "Wien Tien" ceremony, walking around
sacred temple grounds three times holding candles, joss sticks and flowers
honoring the Buddha, the Dhamma (Buddha’s teachings) and the Sangha, the
Buddhist Monastic Order.
The Thai government implemented "National Tree
Day" in the year 1985 as part of a program to restore the forests and
increase public awareness of the importance of preserving the natural
environment. National Tree Day was designated on the same day as
Wisakhabucha Day and activities include many levels of government, schools
and local organizations planting trees in addition to observing Wisakhabucha
23 million Mexican sunflowers to be planted in Chiang Rai
In an effort to beautify the countryside, Chiang Rai is
set to plant 23 million Bua Tong or Mexican sunflowers over the next few
weeks. Narin Panichkij, Chiang Rai governor, stated that the province has a
policy of developing the beauty of tourist places to attract and impress
tourists and it was felt that planting millions of Bua Tong flowers in the
mountainous areas would achieve this.
The province planted 20 thousand flowers on May 7, on the
occasion of National Agriculture Day, at the viewpoint area of Huay Sai Maan
village, Rim Kong, Chiang Khong district of Chiang Rai, and on May 8, the
residents and officials in the province also planted the flowers in the area
of Hot Spring, Tambon Doi Hang, Muang District.
The Chiang Rai governor also said that according to the
plan, flowers will be planted in Muang, Chiang Khong, Chiang Saen, Mae Sai,
Mae Fah Luang, Wiang Kaen districts and on June 1, more flowers will be
planted in Muang, Mae Suai, Thoeng, Wiang Kaen, Chiang Saen and Mae Fah
Government sponsored computer project begins
But only 100,000 computers available now, not the promised million
The Eua Arthorn project to make low price computers
available for Thai residents has begun. Dr. Surapong Suebwonglee, minister
of Information Communication Technology (ICT) stated that Eua Arthorn
Computer project has supplied the first lot of 100,000 computers at the
special low price of 10,900 baht to government officials and low income
earners who submit a request during May 10-18.
Eligible people can submit their requests directly at the
Book and Technology Fair at Muang Thong Thani. After that, the submission
form will be available at Government Savings Bank and Krung Thai Bank for 3
weeks. Both of the banks will be the creditors and set conditions of
repayment installments. The computers will be delivered within 45 days after
the submission is accepted.
Though Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had announced
that the government would provide 1 million computers for Thai residents on
the Eua Arthorn project, only 100,000 computers have been provided because
the project corporations could only produce 100,000 units in the last 3
A spokesperson for the Government Saving Bank Region 7,
Chiang Mai, believes that many Chiang Mai residents will request Eua Arthorn
computers, at least as many as applied for the Eua Arthorn Home project. The
project is particularly helpful for parents who want to buy computers for
Government to back science and technology in Chiang Mai
Establishing technology centers at CMU and MJU
Pinit Jarusombat, deputy minister of Science and
Technology, opened technology centers at both Chiang Mai University (CMU)
and Maejo University (MJU) last week. The deputy minister said the
government’s project to promote technology in Chiang Mai Province is part
of the plans to push Chiang Mai City as a science park under the IT City and
Software Park project serving the northern region.
The technology center at Maejo University was opened on
May 2, and the campus kicked off the campaign by starting a water filter
project to remove rust in household water. This could benefit over one
million people in the northern region.
Deputy Minister Pinit said that Chiang Mai is going to be
the second science park in Thailand, after the first was built at Thammasart
University. Project administrators aim to establish the province as a center
of science, information technology, research, and innovation.
Prolong Life (Sueb Chata) ceremony to be conducted for Mae Ta Chang Basin
Preserving local knowledge and traditions
Mae Ta Chang Basin committee network will organize the
Prolong Life (Sueb Chata) ceremony on May 13 this year at Ban Huay Nam Loam,
Hang Dong District.
Chaiyapan Prapasawat, the Community Rights Institute
director said that the institute and the nationwide Basin committee network
will hold the Prolong Mae Ta Chang Basin’s life ritual in order to
continue local knowledge and traditions, and to encourage people to
understand conservation and water resource management.
There will be many local activities, including a seminar
about the community’s rights in water resource management and the
government policy on this, the Prolong Life Ritual, and children’s stage
Government announces concept for Chiang Mai in the next decade
Keep Chiang Mai “green”
The minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Prapat
Panyachartraksa, last Saturday spoke about "Chiang Mai in the Next
Decade", saying that the Thai government wants to see Chiang Mai’s
environment stay green and not become polluted or destroyed.
He said, "Whenever the city’s environment or
surroundings are improved, the people will get a better quality of life. The
younger generations should live in a good environment, be provided good
educational backgrounds, and live in an atmosphere that should be
Regarding to the ministry’s main policy and planning
for regional major cities, he said most of the development is being directed
towards decentralization. He also indicated that from now on, the government
would try to suspend any construction projects throughout the country,
especially those involved in building, road construction and others which
are regarded as "hardware" projects. Instead, the Thaksin
administration would produce "software" instead of hardware, such
as human resources and personnel development to produce more qualified
For Chiang Mai City in the future, he added that the
government would increase pollution control by using more environmental law
He said that the local government, following the central
government, would be responsible for stimulating and reforming government
directions to meet the needs of the people, as the country still needs more
software rather than hardware construction and development.
1000-year-old world drumming
competition for Lamphun
A "Glong Luang" drumming competition is being
held this week in Lamphun as part of a festival to pay respect and homage to
the most revered Buddhist relic chedi in Lamphun, the Phra Borom Mahatart
Maha Jetijarn, the head of Lamphun’s Provincial Monks
Council said the council has arranged the traditional festival to be held
from May 8 through to the competition on May 15.
According to the Monk’s Council, May15 is the actual
day for paying homage, and the day will start with a traditional presenting
food to monks ceremony in the morning. After the ceremony is finished, the
world championship "Glong Luang" drumming competition will take
place at Lamphun’s tourist center.
Apart from the competition, there will also be
competitions for northern folk songs and nail dances, said the head of
Lamphun’s Provincial Monk’s Council.
Phra Borom Mahatart Haripunchai was built in 897 in the
period of Phra Chao Artitraja, the 33rd king of Lamphun. The ceremony of
paying homage has been continued for 1,106 years.
Use Thai herbs for health and beauty
Products on display at Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Complex
Body lotions using Thai herbal medicines went on display
at Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Complex last Saturday. Prof Pichaet Wiriyachitra,
the president of Asian Nutraceutical Center, said that the center has
conducted research in a new technique to promote a slim shape by using Thai
herbal medicines. This consists of a body lotion containing Thai herbal
medicines like kola, capsicum, and ginger.
models present the new Thai herbal lotions designed to promote a slim shape.
Wiriyachitra, Asian Nutraceutical Center president and a scientist from the
product research and development team.
This is the latest product from the institute and the
product demonstration was to introduce it to the Chiang Mai public.
Previously, there was a demonstration at the Central Airport Plaza during
the Songkran festival and another in Bangkok.
Prof. Pichaet was also invited to present this product at
the international conference of the 3rd World Congress on Medicinal and
Aromatic Plants for Human Welfare held in Chiang Mai February 3-7 this year.
This product is being distributed by Asian Life Co. Ltd. (Chiang Mai
Branch), telephone 053 358 276-7.
Design a symbol for the Bangkok World Conservation Congress 2004
Win fame and a 30,000 baht fortune
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants has
launched a contest to design the symbol for the Bangkok World Conservation
Congress 2004. The chosen symbol will be used in all official congress
papers and press releases.
The symbol must reflect sustainable conservation and
restoration of natural resources and environments, and incorporate the words
"Bangkok World Conservation Congress 2004" and "The World
Conservation Union-IUCN". The symbol must also portray an elephant,
since it represents a Thailand natural resource.
All winning entries become copyright of National Parks,
Wildlife and Plants Department and The World Conservation Union-IUCN.
Entries must be in the hands of the organizers by May 30.
The winner will receive 30,000 baht, and two runners-up
will receive 5,000 baht awards. The winner will be announced on June 16, and
the awards ceremony will be held in September.
Further details are available from the office of the
Bangkok World Conservation Congress 2004, room 222, Grit Samaputtho
Building, 61 Paholyothin Rd, Jatujak, Bangkok, 10900 or call 02 561 4292-2,
extension 912 and 913, or fax 02 940-5911.
Liposuction Clinic to stay closed
Application to reopen opposed by parents of deceased girl
Dr. Charlie Karnchanarak, the owner of the liposuction
clinic in which a teenager girl died during an operation last year, filed a
request for reopening his clinic, but the girl’s parents immediately
lodged an objection.
The tragedy occurred when Nong Kung (Siriporn Muima) made
a decision to have liposuction in the clinic. During the operation, she
succumbed and the resulting investigation required that the Charlie Clinic
close, under the authority of the Public Health Ministry.
Charlie Clinic was closed on December 8, pending
investigation into the cause of the young woman’s death. On April 25, Dr.
Charlie filed a request to reopen his clinic, but the parents of the girl,
Kamol and Bang-earn Muima, went to Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health
Office to oppose Dr. Charlie’s application, as they are afraid that the
clinic might be reopened while the case is still under investigation.
The case is not closed because investigators are still
awaiting reports from the Medical Council, Public Prosecutor, Provincial
Polices, and Chiang Mai Public Health office.
Dr. Nisit Watthanutchariya, Chiang Mai Public Health
Office deputy chief officer stated that the clinic has been closed, and
nothing can be tampered with. If the clinic is reopened, Dr. Charlie would
be fined 30,000 baht and risks imprisonment for 3 years.
Drug dealer shot dead near Chiangmai Mail offices
Opened fire on police officers
Arsieng Saeli, age 24, from Chiang Dao District, was shot
dead on Tuesday during an attempt to escape a police drug sting.
smoke from the gunfight had cleared, a suspected drug dealer lay dead and
police had taken another 77,600 amphetamine pills off the streets.
Undercover officers from the Chiang Mai Police Drug
Suppression and Prevention unit, led by Pol. Lt. Col. Pinit Puisuwan, had
set up a sting operation to arrest the suspect.
The suspect delivered 77,600 amphetamine pills to a local
hotel, where undercover police lay in wait. When the suspect realized it was
a police sting, he opened fire and tried to escape.
Officers returned fire, shooting him dead.
The shooting took place only 2 kilometers from Chiang
Mai Mail offices, nearby the local bus station.
Young motorcycle thieves arrested
Should be called the Dream Team
Chiang Mai Police this past week arrested two hoodlums
who had been stealing motorcycles in Chiang Mai City. The stolen motorcycles
were being prepared for selling to a Burmese merchant at the Mae Hong Son
The felonious suspects were Weerapong Kongyong, 21 years
old, and Taweechai Wasantrakarn, 19. They are both students of an academic
institute in Chiang Mai. At the arrest, police seized two Honda Dream
motorcycles, registration plates, tax signs and 13 copied keys.
Weerapong and Taweechai admitted that they usually stole
Honda Dreams and rode them to Mae Hong Son Province before selling them to a
Burmese merchant who this time had placed an "order" for six
motorcycles offering 100 thousand baht for the consignment.
The thieves said that they had already stolen and sold 20
motorcycles and had destroyed the registration plates to get rid of the
They will have new dreams while awaiting trial, but none
of them will be sweet.