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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Young Chiang Mai lad wins cold underwater “marathon”

Farmers receive longan drying ovens

Mobile service from AIS officially launched in Chiang Mai

Dance away from drugs

Safety first at Central Airport Plaza

Chiang Mai personality receives highest honor!

Young Chiang Mai lad wins cold underwater “marathon”

Earns 30,000 baht for staying under 3 minutes 32 seconds

Suchada Tupchai

Nineteen-year-old Chiang Mai lad, Sakpat Musikboonlert stayed submerged in 5 degree Celsius water for 3 minutes 32 seconds in the semi-final round of the Underwater Marathon held at the fountain at Royal Garden Plaza, Pattaya last Saturday.

It took deep concentration to stay submerged for any length of time in the cold water.

Manit Boonchim (left) presents the top prize to winner Sakpat Musikboonlert from Chiang Mai.

The feat was achieved during the Mermaid’s Dive School, Royal Garden Plaza and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum sponsored contest, and earned him a place in the final round of the competition.

The contest drew thirty strong men; most of them from the navy, to challenge each other in the cold-water diving contest. The temperature of the water in the 2.4-meters long, 1.6 meters wide, and 1.7 meters high tank read a chilly 5 degree Celsius.

Contestants were asked to dive under the water, and the person that stayed under longest would win the grand prize and a certificate of recognition from the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum.

Steve Blumenthal (back row left) from Mermaids Dive Center, Manit Boonchim (back row center), Tourism Authority of Thailand Central Region 3 director, and Somporn Naksuetrong (back row right), GM of Ripley’s Believe it or Not! with other dignitaries present prizes to all the winners.

The Amazing fire-eaters from King Kong Island.

Dancers from King Kong Island perform Tahitian dance.

Whilst setting the contest’s best time, Sakpat shocked the audience when his nose started to bleed in the third minute.

Sakpat went into the final round with 5 other men, and even though he did not stay in the water long enough in the final round, the judge crowned him the winner since no other men could beat the time he set during the prior round.

Sakpat received 30,000 baht, a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not certificate, and Mermaid’s Dive School voucher. The 5 runners-up received 2,000 baht each.

Manit Boonchim, Tourism Authority of Thailand Central Region 3 director, presided over the opening ceremonies and presented the winning prizes.

The contest also featured a fun performance by the dancers from King Kong Island.

The next big event will be Thailand’s Hot Dog Eating Championship II on Saturday, May 31, beginning at 11:30 a.m. on the 1st Fl. of the Royal Garden Plaza, Pattaya. 50,000 baht goers to anyone who can eat 25 hot dogs and buns within 12 minutes. 10,000 baht for near misses.


Farmers receive longan drying ovens

Project aims to preserve crop during over-production years

Supatatt Dangkrueng

The government is supporting farmers by giving them ovens to preserve longans during over-production periods. 158 ovens were given to farmers out of this fiscal year budget of 5,846,000 baht. The large size ovens have a 2,000 kilograms capacity and were given to farmers in 10 tambons of Saraphi District: Chaisathan, Tha Wang Tan, Don Kaew, Nong Faek, Nong Phueng, San Sai, Chom Phu, Ta Kwang, Pa Bhong, and Saraphi.

Yaowapa Wongsawat (right), Chiang Mai MP, presided over the ceremony of giving ovens and grants to farmers.

Longan drying ovens like this one were given to farmers to help them preserve longans during over-production periods.

Yaowapa Wongsawat (center) and Udom Puasakul, Chiang Mai’s deputy governor, inspect a longan drying oven.

The presentation ceremony was held at Saraphi District Office on May 17, with Ms Yaowapa Wongsawat, a Chiang Mai Member of Parliament, presiding.

The ovens are needed due to the problems of over-production of longan in previous years that caused difficulties to Saraphi farmers. It is hoped that these longan drying ovens will help increase local farmers’ incomes.

After the ceremony, there was a demonstration to show the farmers’ representatives how they work.


Mobile service from AIS officially launched in Chiang Mai

Supatatt Dangkrueng and Nuttanee Thaveephol

‘Awaken your LIFE by mobileLIFE’ was a festival from May 14 to 18, showing additional services from the wireless telephone operator, and was held at Central Airport Plaza.

A boy enjoys java games, a new dimension in mobile services.

Suwit Arayawilaiphong, AIS Value Added Service Business manager.

Suwit Arayawilaiphong, manager of value added service business of Advance Info Service (AIS), said the first festival, held in Bangkok, attracted 50,000 people so it has been brought to Chiang Mai to serve the northern people.

SMS, a non-voice mobile service, is very popular, "About 12 million AIS customers send short message (SMS) via cell phone ... 3 million messages daily which is about 90 million messages a month," said Suwit.

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AIS customers can download any ring tones for free during this festivity.

The festival demonstrated the latest technology of value added service like, WAP service, GPRS connection, game download, mobile karaoke, mobile dictionary, and more technology.


Dance away from drugs

The Payap Technology School in cooperation with Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Complex held a musical contest under the campaign against drugs. The contest was named: "Think as you like, Do what is Right." The winner of the dancing contest was The Choke, and the winning musical band was The Mild.


Safety first at Central Airport Plaza

Safety first - the general manager of Central Airport Plaza, Orachon Chanwiwatana held basic training in fire fighting for their officers, which included a demonstration how to use fire-fighting equipment.


Chiang Mai personality receives highest honor!

Frank J. Weicks was presented the United States Secretary of State’s Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad by Secretary of State Colin Powell on May 9, 2003, in Washington, D.C.

Secretary of State Colin Powell awarded Frank J. Weicks the United States Secretary of State’s Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad.

His wife, Dr. Rebecca Lomax, four of their children and two grandchildren joined him in Washington to celebrate the honor.

The award was initiated by Mrs. Susan Baker, wife of former Secretary of State James Baker, in recognition of the outstanding volunteer services performed by foreign service families all over the world.

Mr. Weicks is the first U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration employee to receive the award, as well as the first Chiang Mai resident to be honored. He has a lifetime history of volunteerism that dates back to his years as a teenage volunteer helping disaster survivors in New Orleans, Louisiana.