Elephants - the national treasures of Thailand
Surachai T. Bunditkul and Nuttanee Thaveephol
Five weeks ago, a one-year-old baby elephant, Plai
Boonrod fell into a ravine in the forest, while a female elephant from Laos
stepped on a landmine 2 weeks ago. Both were lucky to survive, and now both
are receiving treatment at the Elephant Hospital in the Thai Elephant
Conservation Center, Lampang.
patients are allowed to stroll in the area during daytime and go back to the
forest at night.
institute’s veterinarian team has been treating the injured Laos elephant
(see story page 4) by cleaning the wound and stripping away the dead tissue.
Sri, seen here joyfully drinking water, has been under treatment for over a
year and has nearly recovered from severe wounds suffered when stepping on a
landmine. Dr. Taweepoke said that the elephant’s right foot will be partly
The center is not just caring for these two, as there are
more than ten elephants currently under their care. No matter where the
elephants come from, no matter if the treatment can be paid for or not, the
center staff will try to help all elephants. Their motto is, “Regardless
of whether the owner is able to pay for their care, the center’s priority
is to care for them and help them as much as the center can.”
Dr. Taweepoke Angkawanich, the hospital veterinarian and
project researcher told Chiangmai Mail about the severe symptoms of
Plai Boonrod. The poor little elephant has only a 50% chance of recovering
completely from the paralysis resulting from its fall, despite all the hard
work being done by the veterinarian staff. Plai Boonrod can still only move
his two front legs; his two hind legs and his tail are not responding to any
Dr. Taweepoke said that Boonrod would not be able to
recover from this injury in one year despite the assistance from people
donating money for many remedial types of equipment.
Boonrod, undergoing hydrotherapy in a junior jumbo-sized sling, raises his
trunk to greet visitors.
apply medication to the little elephant’s wound.
7-8 staff to help Boonrod move to his stall after hydrotherapy.
Every day, Plai Boonrod has his body showered and
receives hydrotherapy. Like an innocent boy, he still does not know what
will happen to him if his injuries cannot be cured. However, Boonrod loves
to raise his trunk to say hello and play with everyone who visits him as if
he understands people’s sympathy.
Krung Sri, another injured elephant that has been under
treatment for over a year, has nearly recovered from the severe wounds after
stepping on a landmine. Dr. Taweepoke said that the elephant’s right foot
will be partly amputated.
Dr. Taweepoke also said that the other injured elephant
from Laos suffered less severe wounds and should be recovered within a year.
Despite their injuries, all of the elephants in the
National Elephant Institute’s Thai Elephant Conservation Center seem
happy. They can stroll and find something “elephantly” delicious in the
area during daytime and go back to sleep in the forest at night. But the
patients there always take time to play with their keepers.
The institute still needs more support from the public. If you want to
express your sympathy for the elephant patients you can donate at Krung Thai
Bank to the account of the Thai Elephant Conservation Center Fund, account
number 503-1-84611-9, Lampang branch or contact the National Elephant
Institute, Km 28-29, Lampang - Chiang Mai Rd., Tambon Wieng Tan, Hang Chat
District, Lampang: 054 228 108, 054 229 042, fax: 054 228 034, 054 231 150
or by e-mail: [email protected]
Three schools in Mae Sariang District receive water purification
story and Photos by Annelie Hendriks
Just before the rainy season started the ‘Samsara
Foundation’ from the Netherlands, in cooperation with Rotary Chiang Mai
South, completed 3 water purification projects for 3 schools in Mae Sariang
in front of the new water tank - volunteers Ratana, Annelie, the school
director Mr Kasem, Ingrid and the representative of the Mae Sariang
Department of Education Mr Mongkon Kamsoen.
newly build tank will collect water during the rainy season in Baan Mae
Foundation’ volunteers, from left, Ingrid, Ratana and Annelie with Mongson
Kamsoen, the representative for the educational department in Mae Sariang,
Kasem, the director of the school in Mae Sawan Luang and the headman of the
village Nakhon Priprakopkit in the traditional Karen dress at the water
purification project opening ceremony.
volunteers Ratana and Annelie just before they unveil the new water tank in
Mae Sawan Luang.
The biggest project was funded and installed in Baan Mae
Sawan Luang in the mountains of Mae Sariang, where the Karen people live.
Their biggest problem was lack of drinking water for their primary school.
As a community activity, a large concrete tank to collect the water during
the rainy session was build by the teachers and the villagers (no salaries
were paid). Now, after the water is cleaned by a water purification machine,
the water will go to 10 newly built taps and some sinks with taps located
near the classrooms and the playgrounds. The 136 children studying at this
school are now able to drink safe, clean water the whole year round.
At two schools in Baan Phe and Baan Kapoeang, located in
the outskirts of Mae Sariang Valley, where many very poor children go to
school, we funded PVC tanks and water purification machines. At both schools
the drinking water was infected. The appalling old tanks no longer did their
work, and the schools didn’t have any money to renew the tanks.
Furthermore a concrete floor in one classroom in the
school in Mae Sawan Luang was paid for by Ingrid Hendriks. The red sand
floor was not usable during the rainy season. And while building the school
3 years ago the village had run out of money to finish the work properly.
In Baan Um Long, donations were used for a starter and 5
batteries. Now the solar panels can be used again, which will enable the TV
and computer to work. This school is situated high in the mountains and is
very isolated during the rainy season. Thanks to the TV set in the school,
the children have the opportunity to know more about what is going on beyond
their isolated home. They are also able to follow school programs on
television, which in part helps make up for not having enough available
teachers during the rainy weeks.
Wongkeeree, Mae Sariang Department of Education director, receives a
donation from Ingrid Hendriks for the concrete floor. Khun Kasem, school
director, is very happy.
wants to get the first look and be in the picture - the children of the
primary school in Mae Sawan Luang, their teachers, members of Rotary Club
Chiang Mai South and Samsara Foundation members stand in front of the newly
build water tank.
water tank and purification system at the primary school in Baan Phe.
With these 4 projects, a total of 125,000 baht was spent.
We are very impressed by the schools’ directors and by
the support given by the Mae Sariang Department of Education. They managed
to give us very detailed quotations and wrote reports about the executing of
the projects. They even managed to install these 4 projects in just 4 weeks
Over the few next years, the ‘Samsara’ Foundation and
the ‘Foundation for Education of Rural Children’ in Chiang Mai would
like to continue their commitment to these and many other schools in the
region. They are raising funds to build dormitories, toilets, canteens,
libraries, water purification machines, and electric equipment for 20
schools. They also hope to help supply a sufficient amount of schoolbooks,
medicine and kitchen equipment.
Needless to say, any donation is more than welcome!
Yardfon Vocational Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Persons
Nearly everyone who lives in the Chiang Mai area has
heard about the “Foundation for the Education of Rural Children”, an
institution seeing its mission as providing access to basic education for
children in rural Thailand.
with one of her typical smiles, talks to a trainee.
site visit to get first hand information (from left) Renee Vines, Becky
Lomax, Annelie Hendricks, Penelope Hall, and in front Mayuree Yoktree, the
“soul” and director of the Yardfon Vocational Rehabilitation Center.
young man used to be a boxer but was hit on his head and lost his hearing.
Despite that, he is a very bright young man, proving it by setting up the
TV-computer system for the delegation of women so that they could see a
professional presentation of the vocational program.
Last year (2002), the foundation became a registered
public charity in the United States, and a government-registered Thai
foundation. The foundation dates its origin to the summer of 1999 when
several American women living in Chiang Mai learned the Viengping
Children’s Home desperately needing a vehicle. The Viengping Children’s
Home was the first orphanage in Thailand to introduce a foster parent
program where children live with families while awaiting adoption. The
vehicle was needed to periodically visit the 80 children in the foster
homes. And the lady, Mayuree Yoktree (Chiangmai Mail VOL II, No. 7, Local
Personality) who initiated this foster program, which is now a very
successful organization, moved on. She found a new niche, the Yardfon
Vocational Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Persons, which desperately
needs the support of caring people.
People who are disabled, be it from birth or through an
accident, have many disadvantages to overcome in our society. Even today it
is very hard to change ‘normal people’s’ behavior towards
disabilities, as well as that of some employers who do not accept their
ability to lead a normal life. People with disabilities, whether physical,
mental or behavioral, are human beings who also have the right to be
promoted by society to enable them to survive normally on their own. Getting
a job makes a disabled person proud of him/herself.
knows better what problems occur, and how to face them, than a teacher who
himself has a disability but nevertheless proves to be a positive, smart,
humorous, optimistic and courageous person?
with a wheelchair or depending on crutches does not mean one cannot live an
almost normal life if there are people out there who take you as you are,
and teach you to overcome the disabilities.
computer teacher happily explains to the women what is being taught at the
center, while the trainees watch.
Knowing the women from the foundation who once before
were such a tremendous help towards her project, Khun Mayuree contacted them
again. Four of them drove all the way out to the Yardfon Vocational
Rehabilitation Center in Mae Thang to undertake a site visit, to receive
first hand information about what is needed and how assistance can be
provided. It would fill a book to write down what Khun Mayuree already set
up, but here is a quick overview:
The needed ‘qualification’ for acceptance of becoming
a trainee at the center is quite simple. One should be between 14 – 40
years old, live in the northern region (17 provinces), be a person who is
not addicted to any kind of drugs, and does not have chronic or communicable
diseases. The person must also have a physical disability of the body, arms
or legs, but be capable of self-help during the course.
The Vocational Rehabilitation Center provides four
training courses - computer & typing, electronics, arts and crafts, and
making clothing. The curriculum lasts for one year starting each year in
October. It includes counseling and providing advice about activities for
the disabled, so they can accept their disability and be able to adapt
themselves, physically and mentally, as well as become courageous to face
all kinds of problems which might occur. They gain broader vision, better
living skills to live a safe life in the present day community and are then
able to participate in social activities, such as sports, music, campaigning
for election, blood donation, as well as other normal community activities,
so the general public can see that they are not different from others.
To ensure that those who finish the course would get a
job after being trained, they have set up a job provision center within the
main center. The staff there prepares the trainees for ‘life after the
course’, which is sometimes not an easy task, as many of the (mostly
young) people led a normal life before becoming disabled through, for
example, a motorbike accident where they lost arms or legs. They cooperate
with provincial job provision offices to inform businesses to provide jobs
for the disabled. They try to put the right person in the right job by
coordinating with employers and employee. They follow up, in case a problem
occurs, and they also give advice for financial aid to those who need it to
begin an independent job. The ability to work independently is most wanted
among disabled persons, this way they can manage their own work, be at home
with their families and support them despite their physical disability.
But here we are at the beginning again. In order to
provide all that, new computers are urgently required for training these
brave young adults. You cannot train people for today’s world with a
computer from yesterday. The computers which are still used at the center
are old, partly not working anymore and are insufficient to train for
today’s needs. At least 20 more are needed, including scanners, printers
and new screens.
Khun Mayuree hopes, by informing the public about the
needs of the center, that maybe an organization such as the Foundation for
the Education of Rural Children or even a private person could donate
electrical appliances to ‘her center’ for ‘her kids’. If you would
like to contact or visit by yourself, don’t hesitate to email her at:
I will end this short information regarding the Yardfon Vocational
Rehabilitation center with the same words as Dr. Iain Corness ended his
personality column. “The world needs more Mayuree’s”.
THA Sports Day an entertaining success
Thai Hotels Association (THA) Northern Chapter held its
23rd Hotel Sports Day at the Municipal Main Stadium to celebrate the
association’s 40 year anniversary.
flower arranging event was won by the Regent.
from the Empress Hotel, shown here concentrating on cake dressing,
eventually received second prize in the event.
you’re really, really thirsty, these are the guys to call to get your wine
in a hurry. Competitors concentrate on not spilling a drop as they head down
the straight stretch and into the chicane, trying to earn the title of
“fastest wine server in the north”.
The opening ceremony was presided over by Udornphan
Chantarawiroj, president of Chiang Mai Provincial Administration
Organization and by Miss Thailand 2003, Chalisa Boonkrongsap who kicked off
the friendly football match.
Visitors were treated to many types of hotel ‘sports’
such as wine serving, European dining table arrangement, table skirting,
single and honeymoon bed making, flower arrangement, wedding cake dressing,
ice carving, fruit carving, and a tug-of-war, won by Lanna Palace Hotel.
The event wasn’t restricted to only Chiang Mai hotels,
and there was great participation from hotels in other provinces, with the
Golden Triangle Paradise Resort coming first in women’s table skirting and
Rimkok Resort and Spa, Chiang Rai for wine serving.
The Sports’ Day ended with a party at the Imperial Mae
Ping Hotel hosted by Vorapong Moochaotai, THA Northern Chapter president.
under pressure, the ice carving competitors hack away at a block of ice,
magically transforming it into a beautiful ice sculpture.
work up a sweat during the honeymoon bed making competition.
Results of the Thai Hotels Association (THA) sports day and competition
on June 13 (1st,
THA Football: Imperial Mae
Ping, Royal Princess, The Empress
Tug-of-war winners: Lanna Palace
Food and Beverage Department
Wine Serving (Male): Rim Kok
Resort, Chiang Mai Hills 2000, Golden Triangle Paradise Resort
Wine Serving (Female): Royal Princess, The Regent,
Rim Kok Resort
European Dining table arrangement (Male): Pornping
Tower, Imperial Mae Ping, The Empress
European Dining table arrangement (Female): The
Empress, Royal Princess, Chiang Mai Hills 2000
Freestyle Table Skirting (Male): Lotus Pang Suan Kaew,
Chiang Mai Hills 2000, Pornping Tower
Freestyle Table Skirting (Female): Golden Triangle
Paradise Resort, Imperial Mae Ping, Lotus Pang Suan Kaew
Single Bed Making (Male): Golden
Triangle Paradise Resort, BP Chiang Mai City, The Empress
Single Bed Making (Female): The Regent, Imperial Mae
Ping, Royal Princess
Double Bed Making (Male): Chiang Mai Orchid, The
Regent, The Empress
Double Bed Making (Female): Imperial Mae Ping, The
Empress, Chiang Mai Orchid
Freestyle Flower Arrangement: The Regent, The Rydges,
Wedding Cake Dressing: Royal
Princess, The Empress, Imperial Mae Ping
Freestyle Ice Carving: Imperial Mae Ping, Lotus Pang
Suan Kaew, Rim Kok Resort
Fruit Carving: Imperial Mae Ping, Lotus Pang Suan Kaew, Suan Bua
The benefits of gardening
By Sasikarn Limpiti
AUA English Student
The Chinese proverb that I once read said that:
If you want to be happy for one day, you should drink,
If you want to be happy for one month, you should work,
If you want to be happy for one year, you should be
And if you want to be happy for one hundred years, you
should do gardening!
That is the reason why I want to tell you about the
advantages of gardening – a simple, relaxing hobby in your life that has
more benefits than you think. The main advantageous results you will obtain
from gardening are your healthy body and mind, an economical life, a safe
environment, and a socially active community.
Ginger - Latin name “Protea” – looks pretty and lasts a long time.
If you want to be both physically and mentally healthy,
gardening is your alternative approach that you should consider. Firstly,
eating fresh, non-toxic vegetables provides your natural fiber, which is
good for your digesting system. Moreover, herbs can be used as medications
for sickness. Watering your plants is a good exercise that makes you relax.
A beautiful garden brightens your mind as well.
Gardening is not only profitable for your body and mind,
but also a good solution for your economics and the environment. It is
cheaper to plant your own vegetable, and it can be another source of
supplemental income. Furthermore, plants can be a nice gift. For the
environment, plants in the garden are an affective oxygen producer, cleaning
the air you are breathing. In gardening process, planting your own
vegetables needs less pesticide, and natural fertilizer used for gardening
makes soil better, too.
Lastly, gardening can be one way for you to reach out to
or to interact with your community. If every family does gardening, the
community will have more beautiful scenery. And by exchanging knowledge and
ideas about gardening, it helps to promote good relationships among the
Gardens can also be a learning place for children. They
can learn to be responsible by growing their own vegetables, learn to
protect their environment, and learn to appreciate nature. In addition,
beautiful botanical gardens can promote tourism in the community.
I know, I know. You are one of the people who want to see
everywhere green. You are dreaming about having a little garden, eating fish
greenish salad from you backyard, using natural herbs instead of going to
see your doctor every time you get sick and waiting for another chit-chat
with your neighbors while you are watering you plants. Doesn’t your heart
feel happy just thinking about all those things?
If you do not have the garden in your house yet, what are you waiting
for? It is time to do ‘Gardening’!
by Kathryn Brimacombe
I lay on my back, floating in the warm primordial fluid
of the sea, the hot breath of the sun caressing my face. I stretch my limbs
taut and exhale, feeling myself rise then relax my muscles and inhale,
allowing my body to fold and slowly sink into the clear blue waters of the
Andaman. Holding my air deep inside, my hair floating around my face like
waving sea fans, I open my eyes and watch small silver fish flash in the
sunlight, flickering around my legs then disappearing with quick twists of
their lithe bodies. I watch until my lungs feel like they are on fire then
kick my feet and shoot upwards, breaking out of the ocean with a gasp of
limestone cliffs, karst formations and caves that fall right into the ocean
make the area an extraordinarily beautiful place to explore.
giant orb sinks beneath the horizon, pulled down slowly by the force of the
sea to be swallowed whole by Neptune himself.
Treading water, I gaze around me at the majestic
limestone mountains that surround Railay Beach in Thailand’s southern
province of Krabi, marvelling at their formations, which appear like they
have been carved by hand. I look to the palm-fringed beach of Hat Railay
West, or Sunset Beach, the golden sand glowing softly in the late afternoon
light. My boyfriend waves to me from our sarong laid out under the shadow of
a broad-leafed tree, with piles of books and bottles of water. I wave back
then swim slowly towards him, the water streaming between my fingers like
Beach is a haven for travelers seeking the excitement of climbing limestone
cliffs, sea canoeing and kayaking, cave exploring and diving.
Railay Beach, which is divided into two beaches, Hat
Railay East and Hat Railay West, is a haven for travelers seeking the
excitement of climbing limestone cliffs, sea canoeing and kayaking, cave
exploring and diving. The geology is perfect for such activities. Not only
does the pristine clear sea and coral reefs offer excellent scuba diving and
snorkelling, the limestone cliffs, karst formations and caves that fall
right into the ocean make the area an extraordinarily beautiful place to
explore. Tidal erosion and wave action have created overhangs so that you
feel like you’re swimming or kayaking right under the colossal blocks of
stone, while erosion by heavy rainfall has formed caverns covered with
stalactites and even giant chambers called hawngs, created when the ceiling
of caverns collapsed.
We arrived on Railay Beach a week ago by long-tail boat,
which we caught from the Chao Fah pier in Krabi town. The supposed 45-minute
journey took more than an hour as we were met by heavy seas and high waves.
By the time we began approaching Hat Railay East, the sky was darkening and
our bodies and bags were soaking wet from the frothing waves crashing into
the narrow wooden boat. Our captain, a thin older man with lined leathery
skin and a worn baseball cap, handed my boyfriend a tin can to scoop the
water over the side. But his effort was fruitless. For every can of water he
tossed out, another wave washed in.
Thinking about our wet clothes, journals and cameras, I
began wondering whether this trip to Railay Beach was worth it. Dusk was
settling in deeply and I was shivering with cold. But then suddenly, the
canvas of the sky metamorphosed into a landscape of colour, as if an artist
had pressed his brush into the back of the canvas so that the colour bled
through the fabric to meet our eyes on the other side. Pinks and oranges
fused with reds, yellows and purples, so that the entire sky was on fire. I
changed my mind.
As the hues above paled darkly, the bow of our boat slid
up onto the sand of Hat Railay East. At last on land, we pulled our drenched
bags onto our backs and, with a wave to the captain who had to make his way
back to Krabi town in the blackness, headed off into the night in search of
a place to sleep.
I squeeze the water from my hair and settle back down on
our sarong on Sunset Beach, facing the sun as it slips closer to the sea. I
scrunch my toes into the soft sand, and smile as I lean my wet head against
my boyfriend’s chest. We are silent, waiting patiently, while others,
oblivious to the sea which is now the colour of ripe papaya, continue to
chat animatedly in clustered groups or lie on the sand with their eyes
closed, feeling the last tendrils of heat on their backs.
The sun shines a glittering path along the ocean’s
surface right to the water’s edge so that the light sparkles like jewels
on the waves, and soon conversations slow in tempo and cease, as all eyes
turn to gaze at the dazzling view in front of us. The giant orb sinks
beneath the horizon, pulled down slowly by the force of the sea to be
swallowed whole by Neptune himself. As the limestone cliffs on either side
of the beach darken to a gentle velvety blackness and wispy clouds glow with
gold, the sky and sea silently deepen to the colour of blood, a hue so
vibrant and rich, gasps of amazement are carried on the gentle, sweet sea
breeze. For several minutes we watch as the fingers of red extend like
northern lights over our heads to the far reaches of the sky in the east, as
if to entice the sun to rise again.
As the sun sinks lower into the abyss, the sea and sky soften to a dark
wine, stars begin to dot the heavens, and black waves crash onto the shore,
the scent of salt and evening flowers heavy in the air. With a sigh of
contentedness and tranquility, we collect our things and return to our
bungalow, to wash the sand and salt off our skin, and dress for the night.
Another dreamy day on Railay Beach spent, our memories linger in
anticipation of another breathtaking sunset tomorrow.