Where have all the CMU busses gone?
University bus system put on pause
Chiang Mai Municipality has suspended the recently
launched air-con bus service running between Chiang Mai University’s (CMU)
main campus and Suan Dok campus, offered for university use. Apparently city
fathers want to “keep the peace” during the APEC summit, and are
concerned that the red minibus drivers might cause a stir if the service
continues to run.
have all the CMU buses gone? Worried about another major red minibus protest
during the APEC conference, city fathers have parked the convenient new
buses until a viable solution can be found.
The parody of all this is that the bus service was only
just launched on August 1, and was already being touted as a success.
Unfortunately, soon after its launch, red minibus drivers began crying to
city hall that the service was cutting into their income.
Worried that another large protest was immanent, Chang
Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn put the project on pause to give his staff
and CMU officials time to study the situation and find an appropriate
solution agreeable to all concerned.
The municipality began running 24-seat buses between the
CMU main campus and Suan Dok campus to ease traffic problems around CMU and
assist students in getting around campus. After running for a week, this
project was deemed a success, as many students, university officials and
staff used the municipal buses instead of their own vehicles.
However, the bus route overlaps with a few red minibus
routes. Concessions were granted to red minibus drivers to ply the CMU
campus to Suthep Road to Mahajaj Hospital route, passing Chiang Mai Ram
Hospital, Kad Suan Kaew and return. Consequently, the red bus drivers
complained to the Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transportation Office that the
CMU bus route grabbed their passengers and this was affecting their income.
Concerned that the red minibus drivers would stage a
protest during the APEC meeting in Chiang Mai, the municipality stopped
running the service before the APEC meeting gets underway.
“The municipality is working hard to find the best
resolution for all concerned ... asking Chiang Mai University to research
and study the problem,” the mayor said.
Fujitsu releases new notebook computers
Smaller than a magazine
Fujitsu PC Asia Pacific officially launched two notebook
models recently, facilitating the new generation lifestyle with
magazine-size notebooks and small-office and home-office notebooks using the
concept of, “The Power of Style”.
P series, P5010, is smaller than a magazine.
The grand opening ceremony for the two newest Fujitsu
notebook models was organized at Central Airport Plaza and presided over by
Napop Nutsati, group manager of the PC Business Division of Fujitsu Systems
Business (Thailand) Ltd.
Bangkok APEC schedule planned
Eleventh APEC Leader’s Meeting scheduled for October 20-21 in Bangkok
On October 20-21, the Eleventh APEC Leader’s Meeting
(informal summit) is to be held in Bangkok.
The meeting is to be preceded by meetings of senior
officials from member countries, a CEO summit of business leaders, and the
APEC Business Advisory Council meeting.
The APEC summit is usually attended by the President,
Secretary of State, U.S. Trade Representative, and sometimes the Secretary
The theme for APEC 2003 is “A World of Differences:
Partnership for the Future” which is intended to bring together the best
potential of all APEC economies to confront the challenges of the future,
particularly in achieving the APEC goal of free and open trade and
investment for developed APEC economies.
This central theme is amplified by a series of five
sub-themes that are designed to guide APEC’s Working Groups and Forums in
achieving their goals.
Topics to be covered include: APEC Institutional
Development, APEC Structure and Activities, The 1994 Bogor Declaration, The
1995 Osaka Action Agenda, The 1996 Manila Action Plan, The 1997 Vancouver
Meetings - the Manila Framework, The 1998 Malaysia Meetings - Sectoral
Liberalization, The 1999 New Zealand Summit - End of Financial Crisis, The
2000 Brunei Summit - Toward Bilateral FTAs, The 2001 Shanghai Summit - Post
9/11, Policy Assessment and Implications.
Yarn spinning contest scheduled
for Phayao on August 25
Come along and tell your tale
The Phayao Public Health Office has arranged a Yarn
Spinning Contest for August 25 in order to provide children with moral
principles and submit merit to HM Queen Sirikit.
Petchsri Siriniran, Phayao provincial chief medical
officer said that since the month of August is regarded as the month of
mothers, and August 12 is Queen Sirikit’s birthday, the Phayao Public
Health Office decided to organize the contest, which will be held in
conference room 1 at the Phayao Public Health Office.
Competitors must be fathers or mothers who have 6 months
- 10-year-old children. Narrators must bring their children along so that
they can listen to them recite their tales. They have a choice of three
tales to choose from: the Turtle and the Hare, the Wolf and the Sheep, and
the Lion and the Rat.
Interested storytellers can apply at the Health Promotion
Development, Nursing and Recovering Department, Phayao Public Health Office.
Akha hill tribe to celebrate traditional New Year in Chiang Rai September 3
Commemorating the late Princess Mother
Akha’s traditional New Year “rocking a swing”
celebration will be organized next month in order to conserve hilltribe
culture and commemorate the late Princess Mother.
Sutat Luangmul, the president of Mae Fa Luang District
Culture Council said that Pha Hi village and the Akha Hilltribe Traditional
Leader Club, made up of 17 villages in Doi Tung Development Project areas,
will jointly arrange the Akha’s “rocking a swing” tradition to
celebrate their New Year at Ban Pha Hi, Tambon Pong Ngam, Mae Sai, Chiang
The ceremony will begin at around 9 a.m. on September 3,
and is receiving support from the Social Development Department of Doi Tung
Development Project, Mae Fa Luang District Culture Council, and Chiang Rai
This festival is being held to show respect for the Akha
tribe’s holy places, and to pass on the late Princess Mother’s wishes
for the preservation of hill tribe traditions and to provide an opportunity
for children to learn about the hilltribe cultures. Moreover, organizers
hope this activity will help promote village tourism.
The president of Mae Fa Luang District Culture Council
stated that since the celebration is in order to commemorate the late
Princess Mother’s gratefulness, alcoholic beverages will be prohibited
during the festival and celebration.
Chi Chang IT Shop officially opened
in Central Airport Plaza
“Digital Lifestyle” on display
Chi Chang Digital Lifestyle shop’s grand opening was
held on August 9 on the third floor of Central Airport Plaza. The new shop
is filled with new hi-tech products from Sony.
Chaitawat Sawapon, the director of Information Technology
Service Institute, Chiang Mai University, presided over the grand opening.
Luekuang, the marketing manager of Chi Chang presents flowers to Chaitawat
Sawapon, the director of Information Technology Service Institute, Chiang
Sumalee Luekuan, the marketing manager for Chi Chang
Computer (Thailand) Company Limited remarked that Chi Chang Shop focuses on
the “Digital Lifestyle” concept, and provides hi-technology materials
and accessories to facilitate the lives of the new generation of customers.
“There are many IT-Digital products from Sony in our
shop. Our IT experts will make suggestions and demonstrate how to use the
equipment whilst the customers are allowed to try new products freely,”
Chi Chang Shop also displayed Sony VAIO computer
notebooks and Sony CLIE hand PCs, which were presented by ex-Miss Thailand,
Patiporn Sitthipong and other Sony boy and girl models.
APEC SME ministers call for greater networking between business, government, trade promotion authorities and banks
The 10th Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Ministerial
Meeting concluded in Chiang Mai on August 8, with ministers calling for
member economies to strengthen networks between business owners, trade
promotion agencies and SMEs focused on financial institutions.
In the Joint Ministerial Statement, “Strengthening an
APEC Entrepreneurial Society,” ministers highlighted the courageous and
critical role played by SMEs and Micro-enterprises.
“The definition of an entrepreneur goes beyond the
conventional meaning of business owner and operator and that risk-taking
individuals are the driving force behind entrepreneurship,” the statement
“The development of a dynamic entrepreneurial society
requires individuals who are innovative, visionary, and ready to take the
risk of starting-up a new business.
“A vibrant entrepreneurial society is central to the
growth of the APEC economies. Substantial entrepreneurial activity generates
demand for new services, products, and jobs.”
Ministers also highlighted the challenges brought about
by globalization and the role APEC member economies have to play in dealing
with these pressures.
“To cope with the challenges of globalization, APEC
economies should focus on developing networks among micro, small and medium
enterprises (MSME) and promotional agencies, MSME banks and MSME
“The entrepreneurial environment is directly affected
by regulatory and tax burdens, labor market legislation, competition policy
and legal conditions. Each economy is encouraged to speed-up efforts towards
the removal of barriers to entrepreneurial behavior and not to introduce
regulations that overly penalize business failure.”
In the joint ministerial statement, ministers also
highlighted the role of education in promoting business development and
stressed the importance of members identifying and developing
entrepreneurial potential in their economies.
Ministers made particular note of the difficulties that
are often faced by MSMEs in accessing finance and encouraged APEC members to
seek ways and means to expand financing facilities.
Ministers also encouraged APEC members to be proactive in
developing capacity within their economies to build the capacity of SMEs to
trade beyond their borders and explore export markets.
The ministers adopted the Micro-enterprise Action Plan
that is designed to help the smallest businesses in the APEC region through
expanding access to new technologies, improving access to finance and
undertaking greater research into the challenges facing Micro-enterprises.
Ministers also expressed their ongoing support for the
ongoing cooperation between the APEC SME Working Group and other APEC
forums, such as the APEC Sub-committee on Standards and Conformance, the
APEC Finance Ministerial Meeting, SME Financing Institutions, the OECD and
business sector groups including the APEC Business Advisory Council and the
APEC Women Leaders Network.
The next APEC SME Ministerial Meeting will take place on
October 6 to 7 in Santiago, Chile. This will be preceded by an APEC SME
Working Group meeting in Vancouver, Canada, on March 8 to 10 next year and
the second SME Working Group meeting for 2004 in Santiago, on October 3 to
Officials meet to attempt to solve
Chiang Mai’s water problems
Water management seminar held in Chiang Mai
During the dry season, there is not enough water for
farmers to grow their crops. In the rainy season, flash floods inundate the
area and wash away valuable land resources. Battling these extremes is a
major undertaking, and trying to find a reasonable “middle ground” is a
Addressing the situation, Chiang Mai Governor Suwat
Tantipat last week chaired a seminar on the topic of “Integrated Water
Resources Management (IWRM)”, which took place at the Holiday Garden Hotel
on August 14.
The aim was to create good understanding among provincial
and district officials whilst working on water resource management in the
About a hundred provincial and district officials took
part in the seminar, which was organized by the Water Resources Office
Region 1 (Lampang).
Although no definitive answer came out of the seminar, a
decision was made to prepare an action plan to follow. Once set, this will
be presented to IWRM field workers at another meeting at the end of this
Since Thailand has many problems with water resources,
including drought, flood, and polluted or contaminated water, on October 31,
2000, the cabinet agreed to try to find resolutions to the nation’s water
The cabinet resolved to collaborate with the people most
affected by the situation, who they feel can best help resolve it from the
Governor Suwat said since Chiang Mai is located in the
upper Ping River Basin, we urgently need to solve problems such as
shallowness, flooding and pollution using proper administrative and managing
Suwat added that he hopes the IWRM working committees
will launch their operational plans as soon as possible.
Jurassic Era snails surface after 13 million years
Shell fossils found in Lampang where once there was a lake
Geologists in Lampang have unearthed snail fossils they
believe to be from the Jurassic Period. The white fossils, found near the
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand’s (EGAT) Mae Moh lignite mine
area, were estimated to be 13 million years old, calculated from the layers
of soil accumulated in the area.
Scientists have concluded that during the Jurassic Period
about 13 million years ago, there was a big water source or a freshwater
lake southwest of EGAT’s Mae Moh power plant, as many shells have been
During excavation at the lignite mine, workers found the
strange looking white fossils under 180,000 cubic meters of earth and
contacted their supervisor. Chuyot Sutharatanachaiporn, Mae Moh lignite
mine’s director of planning and service, contacted geologists from the
Department of Mineral Resources and the Department of Basic Industries and
Mining Region 3, Chiang Mai, to survey the area where the shell fossils were
Chuyot said that he was told that the shells looked like
freshwater snails from in the Jurassic Era. They had been accumulating at an
average depth of 6 meters of soil over an area more than 30 thousands square
meters, he said, totaling 180,000 cubic meters.
The Department of Mineral Resources will bring the
fossils to their lab to study their origin and allotted time span.
Chuyot added that Mae Moh EGAT is preparing to establish
a museum to keep the fossils, and all those found since 1954, which include
carcasses, biomass, and fossils. The foundation stone laying ceremony will
take place on September 23 this year.
Water vending machine service launched in Chiang Mai
Another 160 boxes will soon be installed
in other areas of the province
Are you thirsty? How about some nice, cool, clean water?
For only 1 baht, you can soon quench your thirst at any of a number of water
vending machines set up around the city in an ambitious new project launched
by the government on August 7.
The first vending machine of its kind was set up last
week at the Three Kings Monument. Interior Minister Wan Muhammad Nor Matha
became the fist person to officially slide his one baht coin into the slot
and receive a liter of water in return, thereby officially presiding over
the opening ceremony.
Minister Wan Muhammad Nor Matha became the first person to officially slide
his one baht coin into the slot and receive a liter of water in return,
thereby officially presiding over the opening ceremony. Another 160 boxes
will soon be installed in other areas of the province.
The current government has launched a project to supply
pure and clean drinking water to people everywhere in Thailand. 1,000
machines are being installed in Bangkok this September, and 4,000 more will
be installed throughout the country, concentrating on communities that need
them the most.
In Chiang Mai, the pilot part of the project calls for 8
vending machines to be installed in the municipal area, and 2 more in Chorm
Thong District, Chiang Mai. Another 160 boxes will soon be installed in
other areas of the province.
Wan Muhammad said, “This project will help people
(acquire potable water) as they will only need to pay 1 baht per liter,
which is ten times cheaper than the normal price of 10 baht a liter.”
It is important to note that the Public Health minister
insists that water from these machines should be drinkable and
Chiang Mai Waterworks director, Wanchai Kooprasert said,
“This project is a good alternative for Chiang Mai people to have pure and
clean drinking water.”
US consul announces revision to non-immigrant visa application procedures
The US Department of
State has announced that, as of August 1, 2003, all applicants for
nonimmigrant visas - with certain limited exceptions - must undergo a
personal interview with a consular officer.
The United States Consular Section in Bangkok currently
exempts a large proportion of applicants from interview. As of August 1,
most applicants currently exempted will need to be interviewed.
This will likely mean longer delays for visa applicants.
Applicants should apply at least six weeks in advance of intended travel.
Interview appointments cannot be expedited, even if that means an applicant
will miss his or her planned departure date. Applicants should plan
Thais to have e-passports next year
Thai nationals will soon hold e-passports, thanks to
the government’s plan to introduce the e-passports by mid 2004.
Information and Communications Technology Minister M.D. Surapong Suebwonglee
said that the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Information and
Communications Technology had agreed to introduce electronic passports, or
e-passports, for Thai citizens.
The move intends to facilitate traveling to the United
States of Thai nationals, as Washington had required that all foreigners
wanting to enter the United States must hold e-passports as of October 2004
to weed out fake passports.
With the e-passports, computer chips containing personal
data and information of individual passport holders would be installed in
each passport, making it difficult for cheaters to alter the data and
“The e-passports will be introduced in Thailand by mid
2004 at the latest to smooth the process for Thai nationals wanting to
travel to the United States, and even to other countries which are expected
to follow the US move in the future,” M.D. Surapong said. (TNA)