HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Very pleased to have a weekly English newspaper here in Chiang Mai

The difference between ‘Taxis’ in Yangon and Chiang Mai

Thanks for pointing out the real dangers across the Border

Very pleased to have a weekly English newspaper here in Chiang Mai

Dear Chiangmai Mail,
Congratulations on your 1st anniversary and we are very pleased to have now a weekly English newspaper here in Chiang Mai as well. You have been extremely helpful to promote the events of the Amari Rincome Hotel all the time, which was very effective and we got a great response. It is also very interesting to read all your articles about CNX and the region as an expatriate. This sort of information I missed out usually during the last 7 years. We wish you much success for the future and keep up the good work and spirit.
Kind regards,
Marc + Luxami Dumur Utaipol
(Formerly Amari Rincome Hotel)

Congratulations to the whole team

On the occasion of the 1st anniversary of Chiangmai Mail we would like to congratulate the whole team.

Within a remarkably short period, you achieved to institute a devoted and entertaining newspaper one is indeed looking forward to every week. Because of your excellent internet presentation, it is easy for us to read every issue regularly, even in Germany.

We certainly wish for your continuing growth in future, and that you will be able to retain the success you deserve.

Keep up the good work.

Monika and Harald Eimermacher

Moenchengladbach, Germany

20 October 2003

Congrats on your one year anniversary

Dear Marion,
Congrats on the one year anniversary! I hope for continued success. I’m so proud to be a part of the publication and hope that my small contribution will help increase interest and the circulation. Thanks so much for the opportunity to write.

Time passes fast!

Dear Michael, Marion and the Chiang Mai Mail Team;
I just saw that you are 1 year old already! Time passes fast! My sincere and genuine congratulations. The first year is the hardest, the second is harder, and then I am told, things do improve. Lets hope things improve for all of us sooner rather than later.

Sincere best wishes,
Daniel and everyone at Citec Asia

Myanmar Mail?

Dear Michael and Marion,
Having seen the start up of your business enterprise in Chiang Mai and the growth rate in regards to circulation, advertisement sales and number of editorials, (I like the one in your “Letters” section) I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to your first anniversary. Being not able to subscribe and receive the paper here (I tried that one with your sister paper, the Pattaya Mail, but have received out of 10 only 5 issues, the mail and postal system here is supposed to have some flaws), I look forward in getting a good “sniff” at it every Saturday evening through the internet. Just received an oversized letter, which was sent by mother end of June by registered mail. It arrived here by mid July and I got a reminder on Wednesday (mid October) to pick it up. I thought it might be better to send my secretary to do this kind of thing, thinking about how a post office here would look like and that they might walk me through catacombs full of foul wooden shelving and rotten paper smell.

My secretary was welcomed by a stern warning not to have mail stored for such a long time with the post office because of lack of space. They had already sent two reminders previously (which we never received). However, against the payment of a storage fee (believe it or not, a letter containing 8 photos and a greeting card from my mother), they would certainly forget our lack in cooperation to be available as a recipient for the past 3 months. Sorry, I’m drifting away from the purpose of my address to you, but I wish you all the best for all future endeavors and look forward to a similar operation of yours here in Myanmar.
Ike Burnett

“Hey Lin Hui.” “Yes Chuang Chuang?” “Did we make it in time to beat the rise in immigration fees?” “I hope so, we’re not old enough to get a retire visa.”

The difference between ‘Taxis’ in Yangon and Chiang Mai

What does Myanmar and Thailand, in particular the city of Chiang Mai have in common? The baht busses and the public transport vehicles do stop and go wherever and whenever they would like to.

What is the difference between Chiang Mai baht busses and public transport in Yangon? The number of people on one bus is tenfold the number a baht bus driver would take on in Chiang Mai, and I hope I do not give them an idea of how much more money they could possibly make per ride.

All the vehicles here have brand names, Daihatsu, Toyota, Mazda, just to name a few, and all have one thing in common: they are more than 20 years old. Their tires do not have a millimeter of profile, which makes them easy turning into curves and corners without the driver having spent too much effort turning the steering wheel into the direction he intends to go.

They all have added space at the back, a platform, which fits another 10 people standing during peak hours. Price for a ride is 20 kyat, the equivalent of 80 satang. That sounds cheep, but with 80 persons and space for 20, I would prefer spending a bit more and have fewer elbows in my face, less hands on my buttocks and a better smell in my nose, if you know what I mean.

Sitting next to the driver costs an affordable 50 kyat or 2 baht. I was told that accidents do not happen often here, which is actually a surprise, but occasionally you see a person falling off the platform, either being pushed from the inside by someone preparing himself to get off at the next stop or slipping out of the sandals because of the rain.
Still alive and kicking in Yangon
Ike Burnett

Thanks for pointing out the real dangers across the Border

We really must thank Ike Burnett for his most informative dispatches from Burma. Previously I had thought that the issues facing that unhappy country were trivial ones such as an oppressive military dictatorship, desperate poverty and ongoing civil war. How much more disconcerting it is to learn about real issues and challenges such as traffic jams, golf course conditions and worst of all ... body odour.

Faced with such an appalling situation it is unsurprising the country is in such a mess. His last report on the deplorable body odour situation was particularly enlightening. No wonder about half a million internally displaced people (IDPs) cower in disease ridden jungle. It becomes clear why over a hundred thousand refugees in Thailand live in perpetual dread of being returned. Suddenly the term refoulement has new and poignant meaning. Little wonder then, too, that between two and three million Burmese are prepared to endure exploitation and abuse by Thai authorities to work illegally in Thailand.

Previously I had imagined that in denying basic humanitarian assistance to the IDP population, Thailand was participating in a massive crime against humanity. Lack of food, shelter and basic health care is distressingly the least of their concerns. Obviously the situation is far worse than previously imagined. Relief NGO’s have got their priorities all mixed up and it is the chronic and appalling lack of body deodorants which much first be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Those groups working inside are also clearly misdirecting their energies. Instead of wasting their energies with HIV clinics and education it is rather golf clinics and coaching which is needed. Although Burma spends less of it’s GDP on education than any other nation on earth bar one, none of this reaches the vital golf sector. If golf education is neglected then how will ordinary Burmese people be able to benefit when the SPDC next decide to arbitrarily confiscate, without compensation, more farmland for golf courses?

We hear a lot, too, of the need to free Aung San Suu Kyi, Min Ko Niang and over one and a half thousand other political prisoners. Only Mr. Burnett has identified the impossibility of further progress without the liberation highly paid ex-pat execs in air con taxis from the tyranny of gridlock. What makes this all the more galling is that while atrocities like these are perpetrated upon ex-pat execs a frivolous debate twitters on about whether what is being done to the Karen and the Shan people constitutes genocide or a plain old garden crime against humanity.

We have no need to thank Mr. Burnett for reminding us all of the charms of Chiang Mai. That much is axiomatic. But it is in alerting us to the real problems of Burma with his impassioned reportage that he has done us a great service.
Dave O’Hanlon