Forest fires rage behind 700-Year Anniversary
The mountains behind the 700-Year Anniversary Sports
Complex were ablaze again on May 10. Helicopters from the Chiang Mai
Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives were called in to help
extinguish the fire.
helicopter from the Chiang Mai Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural
Cooperatives fills its bucket with water from the Mae Chok Luang reservoir
before flying to the burning mountains.
The helicopters took on water from the Mae Chok Luang
reservoir, located near the sport complex, dumping the loads on to the
Mae Hong Son Province has been facing a severe fire
danger at present, but Chiang Mai too is being hit with fires, especially on
Doi Intanon, the country’s highest mountain. City dwellers often disregard
the plight of those who live on the mountain, but during these high-risk
periods, everyone must be careful.
Thailand’s forest fires are prevalent during the hot season because of
drought, but mostly from man’s misdeeds or human error.
Hot spell ups
New record set, but still plenty of power left
Demand for electricity broke a record on May 6 as the
fierce heat sent people rushing to turn on their air conditioners, according
to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).
Demand for electricity on the day stood at 17,852.7
megawatts, breaking the previous record of 17,826.4 megawatts set last month
on April 8, and exceeding the peak demand forecast by EGAT, which previously
predicted that peak demand this year would grow by 7 percent.
The Meteorological center reported that the highest
temperatures recorded on May 6 were 41 degrees Celsius in Sukhothai and 40
degrees Celsius in Lampang.
The excessive use of electric appliances, especially fans
and air-conditioners to counteract the heat, increases the load every
Kalyanee Yaowapongthai, EGAT Mae Moh Plant Public
Relations director said that although electricity usage has gone up there is
still standby power of another 30 percent, meaning that there would
certainly be enough electric power for the community.
Chiang Mai to
Must look our best for APEC
The forthcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
conference has spurred Chiang Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook to say there
would be a beautification program in the city, especially in the municipal
area and nearby sites.
The improvement project has been proceeding following
government policy on environmental conservation and creating tourist
attractions. However, the city development can be stepped up to welcome the
APEC conference in Chiang Mai during July - August this year.
There will be many other APEC related groups attending
the conference such as the Women’s Leader Network, Business Section, APEC
Ministers, and 1st Sub-Group on Micro-Enterprise.
The governor also said that Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra has ordered the provincial government to hurry up and finish this
project within 2 years because Chiang Mai should be a clean, green, and
Night spots under inspection again
No decision yet on later closing times
Chiang Mai officials are examining entertainment places -
pubs, discotheques, restaurants, karaoke and massage parlors - looking at
licensing requirements, opening and closing times, ages of customers, drugs,
obscene shows, and carrying weapons.
Chiang Mai Chief District Officer Chumporn Saengmanee
said the venues could expect regular checks. "If they have broken the
law, they will be prosecuted and can be closed permanently," he said.
There were about 20 places in Chiang Mai that had been temporarily closed
for one month, and three have been closed permanently. Most of these venues
had allowed youths aged less than 18 to enter, had obscene shows, or
employed alien labor.
Two weeks ago, the House Committee on Tourism visited
Chiang Mai to look at the possibility of late closing (4 a.m.) and the
findings of the committee will be released within 3 months.
Chumporn added that if the closing time was extended to 4
a.m., there should be zoning to keep the entertainment venues in the same
area. "Personally, I would prefer to maintain the closing time as 2
a.m.," said Chumporn.
Chiang Mai Municipality pawnshops ready for new school semester
Officials expect up to 60 million baht will be needed
Due to the economic hardships experienced in Chiang Mai,
the municipality has prepared 60 million baht for its pawnshops. Chiang Mai
Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn said that this year the municipal pawnshops will
have to lend parents of schoolchildren an estimated 30 million baht for the
new semester’s expenses. This is more than previously, as Chiang Mai, a
tourist city, has faced economic problems, the result of the Iraq war and
perceived SARS problem.
Mai municipal pawnshops like this one on Bamroong Buri Road, are ready for
the new school term to begin.
There are 3 municipal pawnshops and more than 10 private ones in Chiang
Mai. The mayor has warned the people to be careful in money matters because
despite the private pawnshop offering higher amounts, the interest charges
are higher too.
Industry Fair scheduled for May 22-23
The Industrial Fair (Northern Region) will be held on May
22-23 this year at Chiang Mai University Convention Hall, promoted by the
Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) of Chiang Mai and Lamphun Branch, the
Office of Chiang Mai and Lamphun Provincial Industries, Industrial Promotion
Center and Read Tradex Co. Ltd.
The fair aims to give opportunities for SME’s to get
information on new industrial production processes and technology to enable
them to develop their production methods, marketing and administrative
techniques, and enhance their competitiveness in the marketplace.
There will be new technology on show and demonstrations
of various industrial machinery, materials and equipment. A conference on
"Northern Industry" and a seminar addressed by successful
enterprise owners will also be held on those days.
The fair will run from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. and is open to
the public. It is estimated that 1,000 people will attended the seminar and
the first 500 applicants can attend the seminar free of charge.
Sharpen your scissors
Hairdressers needed for international competition
The Hair Festival Northern Region will be held on May 28,
to find talented hairdressers to compete in the international hairdressing
contest. Ampai Cheehan, president of the Chiang Mai Beauty Culture
Association Northern Region, said that the festival aims to raise the work
of Thai hairdressers to international standards.
Suchat Khuanreak with PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s trophy and diploma.
Ajarn Suchat Khuanreak, president of the Beauty Culture
Association of Thailand, announced that the festival will be arranged in all
4 regions of Thailand and is supported by the Beauty Culture Association of
Thailand, the Department of Labor Development, the Business Development and
Promotion Department, the Vocational Education Department and the Tourism
Authority of Thailand.
The North was chosen to host the first hairdressing
competition, which will be held on May 28 at Ban Lan Tong room, Lotus Pang
Suan Kaew Hotel, Chiang Mai. The next rounds will be held in Udorn Thani in
the Northeast on June 25, Surat Thani in the South July 30 and Chonburi, the
East, August 27.
models presenting 4 colorful hairstyles.
On the day of competition at Central Airport Plaza, there
will be a fashion show, plus showing the hairdressing style of the former
Thailand hairdressing champion, Ajarn Somchai Boonprakorb; and the Loreal
champion 2000, Arjarn Thanadon Songklao, and hairdressing by overseas
All class winners will receive a trophy from PM Thaksin Shinawatra and
5,000 baht prize. All winners and runners-up from each region will compete
for the Queen’s Cup at the international hairdressing contest in Bangkok
Mekong Basin Lodge opened
The Mekong Basin Lodge, a new mountain resort hotel in
Chiang Saen district, Chiang Rai province, is ready for tourists and
visitors to the famous Golden Triangle areas bordered by Burma, Laos and
Thailand. It was officially opened by MR Disnadda Diskul, the CEO of Doi
Tung Development Project.
Mekong Basin Lodge.
The lodge is 60 kilometers from Muang Chiang Rai
district, 10 kilometers distance from Chiang Saen town, and only 3
kilometers from the Golden Triangle. It features 28 rooms and 18 two-bedroom
bungalows on beautiful mountain slopes. Each room has TV, refrigerator,
air-conditioner and hot water jug.
The lodge also offers three seminar rooms, one large with
250 seat capacity and two smaller ones of 30 seat capacity.
From now till April 30 next year, a single room costs 1,600 baht
including breakfast, a double room 1,800 baht with breakfast and extra beds
costs 500 baht each. For more information or reservation contact Chiang Rai
office at 053 767 015-7 ext. 230, 231 or Bangkok office tel. 02 252-7114
Rajapruek tree planting to honor His Majesty the King’s 80th birthday
Autsadaporn Kamthai and Nuttanee Thaveephol
The Office of National Identity Promotion Committee is to
start planting Rajapruek (Indian Laburnum) trees, or Golden Flower trees,
which will bloom throughout the country to celebrate the occasion of His
Majesty the King’s 80th birthday in 2007.
flower tree blossoms around the city moat.
Charoonroj Chimsamran from the Chiang Rai Provincial
Public Relations Office said the planting will follow His Majesty the King’s
wishes in developing and conserving natural resources and the environment
and, in another way, encourage Thai youths to realize the value of trees.
The planting of 9 million Rachapruek trees will be done
in suitable areas of all 76 provinces in Thailand. Officials expect the
project will be finished within 5 years.
Charoonroj said the prime minister’s office has adopted
the Rachapruek tree as our national tree, for the tree’s flower has
related to the monarchy and the yellow flower of the tree traditionally
refers to the birth of His Majesty on a Monday. Moreover, Rachapruek is easy
to plant and produces beautiful appealing flowers.
Charoonroj said that on this auspicious occasion, the
committee has considered this national tree to show respect to His Majesty
In Chiang Mai, we can see the golden flower trees blossoming during
summer around the city moat. Thai people call the flowers, "Dok Koon"
or "Dok Lom Laeng", meaning "Summer breeze flower".
Royal vehicle brought out on Visakhabucha Day
Mai Provincial Administration Organization invited this special vehicle,
which translates to "the royal holy water on throne car", to
participate in the Visakhabucha Day ceremonies at Wat Prathart Doi Suthep
Pagoda on Visakhabucha Day on May 15, a Buddhist Holy Day. Many Buddhists
joined the march up to Doi Suthep Mountain on the evening of May 14 for the
annual ritual to celebrate the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha.
(Photo by Nuttanee Thaveephol)
Lampang looks to recycling to solve garbage problem
Lampang is reviewing its environment problems, especially
garbage and water resources, and with the cooperation of its people will
follow Phitsanulok Province’s successful recycling campaign.
At a recent conference on Lampang’s environment quality
management, the committee discussed two main problems, garbage and water
resources, and assigned the Environment Office 2nd Region, Lampang to
proceed with finding solutions.
Lampang has been dealing with a garbage problem for
several years, especially as there are too few local dumping sites. The
committee agreed to follow Phitsanulok Province’s recycling program, which
they hope could reduce waste by 70%.
Regarding water management, the province has asked every
district to conserve water. Athikom Supannapong, Lampang deputy governor,
who presided over the meeting, said that environmental problems are
different in all localities; therefore the local people have to participate
in solving their individual problems.
Doi Inthanon logo contest
Keep our mountain garbage free
A recycling campaign to keep the Doi Inthanon National
Park clean, natural and beautiful has been instituted. This is to make the
general public aware of garbage problems in the area. The recycling project
is meant to set a good example for younger generations, according to the
To really press the point home, a logo is being sought
that can express the idea of recycling, conservation, and preservation of
Only two entries per person are allowed, and the winner
will get a certificate and accommodation and meals at the Doi Inthanon
National Park’s lodge to the value of 15,000 baht, while the first
runner-up will get a certificate and 6,000 baht value of accommodation.
The logo contest is open until May 30 and those
interested in submitting entries for the competition should contact the
Office of the Doi Inthanon National Park, in Chormthong District, Chiang Mai
50160, tel. 01-188 1734-6 and 053-268 550, for more details.
AIS open new building
Advance Info Service (AIS), a large wireless and
telecommunication company, last week held an opening ceremony for its new
building in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook, Chiang Mai
Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn and Chiang Mai Chief District Chumporn
Saengmanee attended the official opening ceremony on May 7th.
Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook (third left) and Chookiert Watthanakul
(fourth left) at the opening ceremony of the AIS operations building.
Chookiert Watthanakul, the operations manager of the upper northern
region, said that this office would be the center of command for
engineering, marketing, after sales service and distribution for the
northern region. Other centers are at Nakhon Sawan, Nakon Ratchasima,
Chonburi, and Surat Thani.
The school buses are finally coming
But it’s been a long wait at the bus stop
Three large buses and 30 red minibuses will stand by to
carry schoolchildren in the early morning of May 19, the first day of new
semester, says Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn. The schools to be
serviced are Montfort Primary, Regina Coeli, Sacred Heart, and Chairoj
schools on Charoen Prathet Road.
The large buses are being rented from Bangkok and the red
minibuses are from Nakhon Lanna Transportation Cooperatives. "Each bus
has a teacher responsible for their students who will take the bus at the
starting point, Chiang Mai Land Housing Estate on Mahidol Road. This is a
free service for the schoolchildren," said Mayor Boonlert.
The red minibuses joining the project must be in good
condition and less than 2 years in service. The drivers will receive 250
baht per day. The municipality has earmarked nearly one million baht for
this school bus project. The buses will be in service 7-8 a.m. and 4-5 p.m.
It is expected that the school buses will reduce peak hour traffic by 20%.
No SARS in Lamphun, says Public Health Office
Returning laborers from Taiwan not infected
Lamphun Provincial Public Health Office followed up Thai
laborers who came back from high-risk countries and found there were no SARS
cases. After 19 Lamphun laborers came back from working in Taiwan, one of
the high-risk countries, the Lamphun Provincial Public Health Office
followed them all for 10 days and found that 16 workers had no sign of
infection and 3 of them were declared clear upon further checking.
Mayuree Pornpibul, chief of the Disease Control Center,
said that people should not worry about the disease outbreak, but should
exercise at least 15 minutes per day and should not share spoons with others
because SARS can be passed on via saliva and phlegm.
"There was one SARS suspect but after 15 days
confinement, it was found that the patient had recovered from the sickness.
Therefore, there is no SARS in Lamphun Province," said Disease Control
Markets checked for illegal food additives
Some found to be using possibly toxic chemicals
Lamphun Provincial Public Health Officials inspected the
town’s markets and warned some retailers about chemical food
contamination, including borax and purifying substances in food for sale in
the fresh markets.
Other chemicals found by the Lamphun Provincial Health
Office included red dye for pork, formaldehyde, insecticide, toxins and
anti-mould chemicals. These additives were meant to impart a pleasant color
to the food, but in some cases could be toxic.
Cheera Wiphakswong, consumer protection director, said
that the chemicals were found in eight fresh markets around Lamphun.
Although the salespeople were cautioned against the use of chemical
substances, the consumers should also be careful by observing the color and
smell. "If there is something unusual, people should ask the salesman
or send a food sample to the health office for testing," he said.
"Next time, the officers will institute legal
proceedings against people who use these dangerous chemical
substances," he said.
Huge haul of smuggled emeralds found in Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son Customs officials at the Thai-Burmese border
in Mae Hong Son last week confiscated contraband Indian emeralds. The
illegally imported emeralds were hidden in Wat Kam Koa and Wat Klang Tung in
Anek Ornthanalai, Customs Region 3 director said that the
two boxes of emeralds were imported from India, coming through Burma, with
the final destination being Bangkok.
The customs officers found the emeralds hidden behind a
Buddha image in Wat Klang Tung and in a building in Wat Kam Koa, Tambon
Anek stated that customs officials are aware that
attempts would be made to smuggle silk and jewelry, and they have been on
More protests from local hooch producers
Over 2,000 members of the Thai Local Liquor Network in
Nan, along with the networks from Lampang, Phayao, Phrae, Chiang Mai and
Uttaradit provinces, gathered in front of the Nan Special Education School
on May 7 to call for leniency from the Excise Department, which will be in a
position to arrest producers of local liquor.
The officials from the department had previously
explained the government’s resolution, launched earlier this year and
slated to begin on June 1, to levy a 19.60 baht per bottle excise tax on
local liquor, but Local Liquor Network members were not satisfied with the
explanation and demanded to negotiate with Nan Governor Suwat
The protesting Local Liquor Networkers presented 14
proposals to Nan Governor Suwat, asking for leniency in the regulations.
Governor Suwat agreed to help them by registering the members of networks
gathered there to guarantee that their products are legal before May 17,
ordering the related offices to start registering the liquor producers on
The network also proposed a new liquor tax of 300 baht
per year to replace the government resolution. Governor Suwat promised to
pass the proposal to PM Thaksin Shinawatra and the network members left
satisfied, presumably going home to open a bottle to celebrate.
Summer storm flattens 10 houses in Rong Kwang, Phrae
Damage to 100 others and orchards stripped
Summer storms attacked Rong Kwang district and left more
than 100 houses damaged. Another 10 houses were absolutely destroyed and
more than 1,000 rai of mango and jackfruit orchards were stripped.
The storm began around 5.30 p.m. on May 8 and continued
for only 20 minutes but the severity shocked villagers, who were left to mop
up the damage. Eye-witnesses reported that all the mangoes had fallen and
some trees were uprooted. Numerous electricity poles were destroyed and
caused power cuts in many villages, leaving an emergency for the Provincial
Electricity Authority trying to restore power.
This disaster was a result of the high-pressure moving
over the northern part of Thailand bringing rain and strong winds. The Phrae
Meteorological Center had given storm warnings beforehand.
Samurai gang attacks students in Chiang Rai
Parents complain to local MP of police inaction
A gang wielding samurai swords last month attacked 4
students in Chiang Rai, and so far, justice has yet to be served. All the
victims were seriously injured, with one victim requiring 200 stitches,
another had the tendon severed in the right leg and 2 boys received facial
and arm wounds.
Paradol Chaimangua, Nuttawit Hattasorn and their parents
lodged a complaint with Buason Prachamon, Chiang Rai Member of Parliament
that the victims had already notified the police about the slashing but
there was no apparent progress.
The 4 students are studying in Boonrueng Wittayakhom
School, Chiang Khong district, Chiang Rai. On April 4, they were in Wat Ban
Ton Plong’s celebration and had an altercation with the Samurai group.
The report of the incident was given to the police of
Tambon Boonrueng, Police Station of Chiang Khong district; however, there is
neither progress in investigation nor any punishment of the criminals.
Can’t see the wood for the trees (again)
There they were - gone!
Mae Jua villagers in Phrae have lodged a complaint about
illegal logging going on in the nearby national park forest sanctuary, home
to 200-year-old teakwood. Villagers also are insinuating that forestry
officers are involved.
The deputy director-general of the Department of National
Parks, Wildlife and Plants, Wichai Laemvilai responded to the complaints by
inspecting the forest sanctuary areas in Phrae province, accompanied by
Kraipetch Pansomboon, director of Section 13 Forest Conservation Management
After the deputy director-general inspected the area he
agreed that illegal logging had taken place. The director-general also noted
that there might have been some government officials or influential people
associated with this case. However, the haul of wood in question has been
confiscated and stored under the responsibility of the Forest Industrial
Organization in the proper areas. "I don’t want history to repeat
itself like the Salween logging scandal," said Wichai.