Anti-war demonstrators stage peaceful ride for peace
Rallying cries were, “World still says no to war” and “End US occupation of Iraq”
Anti-war protesters marked the first anniversary of the
war in Iraq on March 20 with a peaceful rally around the city.
demonstrators staged a peaceful ride through Chiang Mai on March 20, calling
for an end to US and British occupation of Iraq.
About a hundred members of the United for Peace chapter
in Chiang Mai, mostly Europeans, some NGO personnel and Chiang Mai
University students, assembled for the anti-war demonstration, calling for
an end to the U.S. and British occupation of Iraq and for the Thai
government to withdraw troops.
The protesters, easily identifiable by their bright
orange “End all wars for profit and power” t-shirts, joined the
internationally organized day of protest being dubbed the “Global Day of
Action Against the War”.
The demonstrators took their message to the streets of
Chiang Mai, riding bicycles and motorbikes, trailing orange balloons behind
them. The event started at the PTT petrol station on the CMU campus, moved
along Huay Kaew Road, and proceeded around the city’s moat. They passed
the British Council, Kawila Military Camp and stopped at the US
Consulate-General’s Office on Witchayanond Road.
At the US consulate, they released orange balloons into
the air before dispersing.
United for Peace opposes the war and US President Bush
because they believe the war was waged for profit and power for Bush. They
also suggested that PM Thaksin Shinawatra withdraw Thai troops from Iraq, a
resounding call being made by some Thai people.
Briton charged with indecent behavior
Also found with 12 passports and stolen items
Tourist and Immigration Police forces in Chiang Mai this
week arrested British visitor Kenneth John Harding, aged 52, accusing him of
indecent behavior, stealing a camera, making false declarations to police,
traveling on an expired tourist visa and being in possession of 12 fake
arrested British visitor Kenneth John Harding, aged 52, charging him with
several significant offenses. (Photo Saksit Meesubkwang)
A travel company operator had tipped off police, alleging
that he had witnessed Harding taking photos of his (the owner’s) niece
having a bath, when Harding had gone to use the company toilet.
A police search of Harding’s luggage allegedly turned
up a camera and a video camera, which were later shown to be stolen from a
tour guide, plus 12 counterfeit passports and two albums of obscene
photographs of young girls and boys.
Harding had flown from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in January
this year, and stayed at a guesthouse in the city.
His home address was given as St Mary Church, Torquay,
Pol Col Sakolrat Theerasawas, Tourist Police deputy
commander, and Pol Col Shinapatra Tansrisakul, Chiang Mai Immigration Police
superintendent, led the investigation.
City beautification urged
Theresa Green gets municipal vote
Chiang Mai Municipality urges city dwellers to plant and
care for trees in the municipal area, to beautify the city’s environment
and impress visitors.
municipality planted grass and flowers in the median dividing strips along
Huay Kaew Road, and is asking the public to water them.
Ken Santitham, permanent secretary of Chiang Mai
Municipality, said that the engineering office had encouraged Chiang Mai
residents in this regard, as part of environmental concerns.
The municipality planted grass and flowers in the median
dividing strips along Huay Kaew Road and selected other roads in the city.
The municipality is now asking the residents who live nearby to water the
flowers and grass and encouraged them to plant trees in front of their
houses to increase the amount of shade in town.
Thip Tara Haeng Puang Chon fountain dedicated to HM Queen Sirikit
The Thip Tara Haeng Puang Chon fountain has been built
within the Phuping Palace to celebrate the occasion of HM the Queen’s 72nd
birthday and will be open to the public later this month, after the Queen
returns to Bangkok.
beautiful new fountain will soon be on tourist itineraries.
Chalermsak Suranant, director of TAT, Northern Office
Region 1 said that Thip Tara Haeng Puang Chon fountain was built as an
offering to HM Queen Sirikit, thanking her for her merciful heart in working
so hard for her subjects. “This fountain will be one of the tourist spots
situated in the palace surroundings,” he said.
The fountain is 15 meters high and has three tiers. At
night is lit from below with computer controlled red, white and blue
For more information, contact Phuping Palace, telephone 053 223 065, 053
219 932 or TAT Northern Office, Region 1, telephone 053-248 604, 053 248
Government wants everybody ‘wired’
Internet to be the net to catch Thailand’s people
The Thai government through the Information and
Communication Technology Ministry (ICT) has assigned the Telephone
Organization of Thailand (TOT) to organize instruction activities in 12
targeted provinces to introduce Thai people to computers and how to use the
youths are already getting involved in the “Internet for Thai Youths”
TOT launched the scheme at Kad Suan Kaew shopping center
with a call to the faithful called, “Thailand advances with Internet in
people’s heart” to build up the people’s computer skills and reduce
the technology gap between rural and urban people.
The training course is being divided into two parts:
“Internet for Thai communities” and “Internet for Thai Youths”. All
course trainees will be instructed through an “edutainment technique” -
combining educational and entertaining activities.
This scheme will be launched in the 12 provinces of
Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Sawan, Phitsanulok, Udorn Thani, Khon Kaen,
Nakhon Ratchasima, Chonburi, Phetchaburi, Surat Thani, Phuket and Songkhla.
Each neighboring province of these 12 will send 100 Tambon Administration
Organization members or community leaders to attend the “Internet for Thai
1,200 high school students in grades 7-11 from 120 rural
schools will attend the “Internet for Thai Youths” course. Computers
will be provided for each attendee during the courses. TOT’s engineers
will set up the training system.
Dr Satit Limpongpan, TOT chairman said that since TOT is
the telephone leader, it intends to support Internet use in every community.
The company decided to launch this scheme to enhance Thai people’s
abilities to use the Internet, thereby lifting the Thai standard of living.
The training course will instruct website design and homepage design.
This training course will run every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until July
Entry-Exit permits for
border traders put forward
Seminar held to discuss alien cross-border movements
A seminar on entry and exit permits for people in special
economic zone under the Quadrangle Economic Cooperation plan will be held on
March 30 at Ratchaprachanukroh School No. 15, Chiang Saen district, Chiang
Sermchai Kittirattanapaiboon, president of Chiang Rai
Chamber of Commerce (CRCC), said that the CRCC in collaboration with the
House committee on Foreign Affairs, will organize the seminar. Wing
Commander Decha Sukharom, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee will
preside over the opening and will give the keynote address.
Speakers will include Chiang Rai Members of Parliament,
Chiang Rai Governor Narin Panichkij, and the police superintendent of Mae
Sai Police Immigration Office.
This seminar will provide some basic understanding to
help people solve the problem of illegal alien migration, as well as to
promote trade and investment in the Quadrangle Economic cooperation area.
Chiang Rai’s economy is growing, and main sources of income include
agricultural products, tourism and border trading.
The economy is set to boom, Sermchai said, with the
industrial estate to be developed in Sridonmool village, Chiang Saen
district. He said he expects that Thai and foreign investment projects will
be sited in this new industrial estate, and this will bring strong job
opportunities as well.
Sermchai also said that if border trade is properly
developed, Chiang Rai will become the gateway for foreign goods in this
area, which, of course, begs the question of whether it is better to be a
hub or a gateway.
This includes importing low cost goods and products from
China, and becoming an important port for the exporting of Thai dried
longan, jasmine rice and rubber to the markets in South China.
Onion union leader claims bribes have been offered
Turned down as he wouldn’t skin his mates
Again in March, more than 500 protesting onion growers
from Mae Wang and San Patong districts gathered at Chiang Mai City Hall to
register their second demonstration over the dicey problem of low onion
The onion growers are still complaining, as their tears
seem to have fallen on barren ground. No agreement with the government has
yet sprouted over the glut of onions and the low prices being offered. Onion
growers want a minimum of 7 baht per kg, and want the government to
guarantee this price.
protesting onion union leader of Mae Wang and San Patong districts, Saokham
Yon-in revealed “influential persons” had offered bribes to end the
Rather than negotiate with the protesting onion growers,
Saokham Yon-in, the representative for Mae Wang and San Patong districts,
revealed that he had been offered bribes by “influential persons” to end
the demonstration and would receive higher prices for his onions.
However, Saokham said he refused the offers made by
“influential persons” because many onion farmers are being adversely
affected by the low price problem and he would be considered a selfish
person if he peeled away from his group and accepted the perceived bribe of
higher prices. He also said that he had recorded the proceedings and would
make the tapes public if no assistance was forthcoming.
This time, the protesters asked Governor Suwat Tantipat
to introduce urgent assistance for farmers left with 8 million kilograms of
onions; however, they learned that the province has approved a budget of 25
million baht for no interest loans to help relieve the situation. The
growers can show that the investment cost in growing onions is 4.60 baht per
Provincial Public Health Office fires up anti-smoking laws
Shops selling to minors targeted
Chiang Mai public health office pharmacist, Pison
Sribundit said that they have discovered many shop owners are flouting the
law by selling cigarettes to people under 18 years old, in contravention of
the Tobacco Product Control Act of 1992.
Mai public health office pharmacist Pison Sribundit.
To demonstrate the ease by which cigarettes could be
bought by minors, they sent a youth, dressed in a Boy Scout uniform, to
attempt to purchase cigarettes at five retail outlets. This was monitored by
the Phuping Police Station. The junior “undercover” officer was
successful in purchasing cigarettes from four of the five outlets, and the
Phuping Police were successful in charging the retailers with breaking the
The outlets included Tops supermarkets in the Central
Airport Plaza, Q 8 gas station Mini-mart on Suthep Road, a grocery store in
the front of the Kad Suan Kaew theatre, and the 7-11 on Huay Kaew Road. All
were fined 2,000 baht each, and the employees given a suspended one month
Pison Sribundit added that this operation was part of a
build up towards “No Smoking Zones” in public areas such as clinics,
medical care centers, hospitals, institutions, universities, department
stores and restaurants. Also, all retail outlets that sell cigarettes must
be declared non-smoking in an effort to protect teenage health. After all,
if youth gang violence and helmetless motorcycle riding doesn’t get them,
then health officials don’t want cigarettes to, either.
He said his office would make a survey of all areas in
April, with a repeat of the undercover smoking sleuths. Other steps include
campaigns to educate retailers and ask them to display non-smoking stickers
within their areas. Interested retailers can receive the stickers at the
district public health offices in their areas at no charge.
Whilst the Chiangmai Mail applauds this public health promotion,
taking police personnel away from stopping more serious demeanors is perhaps
not the most efficient way to utilize the police force. Perhaps a look at
teenage crime would benefit society more?
Sex Film Festival held
in Chiang Mai
But the message was safe
Ratchai and Autsadaporn Kamthai
The Teenpath project under the Program for Appropriate
Technology in Health (PATH) in cooperation with M-Plus group screened the
Safe Sex Film Festival at the Major Cineplex, Central Airport Plaza.
Plus and Teenpath members Patcharapong, Thanaphat, Hathairat, Theerapat,
Pulin, Ausana, Nittaya and Saowanee spread the safe sex message at their
Five short films from universities around the country
were screened in the festival to encourage Thai people, especially
teenagers, to discuss the sexual issue and promote sexual education to
prevent the spread of HIV. Around 200 people aged between 15 and 25 years
old attended the film festival.
The five short films were ‘Test Kit’ from Kanchit
Sobchokchai, a TV commercial director; the ‘Story of Girls from the
Education Faculty’ by Phra Chormklao Thonburi’s Technology and
Communication Arts; Sukhothai University students’ film the ‘Wonder from
Communication Arts’, Suan Sunantha Rajabhat Institute; ‘Question Mark’
from Mass Communication Faculty, Thammasart University and ‘Make Love
Story’ from the Architecture Faculty, Thammasart University.
Hathairat Suda, a program assistant from PATH, said that
these five films were selected from 17 films entered under the theme
“Desire and Safety”. They provided opportunities for university students
to produce their short films by granting 10,000 baht and arranging a one day
workshop on short film production for each group.
Before being shown in Chiang Mai, the festival was also held in Bangkok
and Chiang Rai, said Hathairat. It will also be held in another 17 provinces
including Lampang, Phitsanulok and other provinces in the Northeast,
Central, East and South.
32 million baht Buddha image being built in Chiang Saen
In honour of HM the Queen’s 6th cycle birthday
Pramual Rujanaseri, deputy minister of interior, escorted
by Narin Panichkij, Chiang Rai governor, traveled up-river to inspect the
construction of the Four Nations Buddha image.
The construction of this Buddha image will be finished
before HM the Queen’s August 12 birthday this year, and it would become a
center of Buddhist respect.
This Four Nation Buddha image is to be called Phra Buddha
Nava Lannatue and will be built on the Mekong River bank, in the area of Sob
Ruak village in Tambon Wiang, Chiang Saen district, Chiang Rai. It had been
estimated that the construction of this Buddha image would cost about 32
Chiang Saen district is an attractive destination for
tourists because of its location, enabling tourists to sail across to Burma
and Laos, said Deputy Interior Minister Pramual.
After the inspection, deputy minister sailed up
northwards along the Mekong River to pay homage to Phra Kruba Boonchum
Yannasangwaro, abbot of Prathat Donruang temple inside Burma.
It was noticed that the Mekong River for a distance of 15
kilometers, starting at the Golden Triangle and continuing into the Burma
and Laos border areas, is dried up because of hydro-electric power dams
construction in south China.
After the construction of Chinese dams blocking the
Mekong River is completed in two years time, the water level of the Mekong
River will once again rise and the river should become an important sailing
route for traveling and trading, just as it was before, said the deputy
minister. We all hope so, otherwise it will be a trekking holiday to visit
the Four Nations Buddha.
Quadrangle Project finds Mekong River a rocky road
Chinese FTA disadvantaging Thailand
Kamthai and Linda Ratchai
The Committee for the Joint Economic Quadrangle
Cooperation (JEQC) from the 10 northern provinces met in Chiang Mai on March
20 to discuss problems regarding the progress of the economic cooperation
plan among the countries located along the Mekong River.
Committee chairman, Rachan Veeraphan said this was a part
of their responsibility to push economic development, particularly in the
upper North, under the Quadrangle’s ambitious plan. However, it became
very apparent that there are still many obstacles. One principal problem
being that the cargo ships cannot transfer Thai fruits exports northwards to
south China, because the Mekong River is unsuitable for shipping at present.
“Because some newly built hydro-electric dams are
underway in China, this has caused the Mekong River to dry up, resulting in
water too shallow for river transportation,” he said.
Anant Laothammathat, vice- president of JEQC, added that
China plans to build about another twenty hydroelectric power dams.
“Currently only three of the planned dams have been constructed. If all
twenty dams are built, they will cause the Mekong River to dry up and this
will affect all other countries along the river, including South China,
Thailand, Laos and Cambodia,” he said.
Therefore, the committee will ask the Thai government to
negotiate with the Chinese authorities to stop constructing more dams to
stop the negative impact on the Mekong River.
Another item discussed involved the FTA with China. This
year’s tonnage of exported longan and lychee to China is down, while
Thailand imported a great deal more Chinese fruits during winter. That puts
Thailand at a disadvantage.
With river transportation being a problem, it was agreed
that land transport from Thailand’s border to China, such as Nan
province’s Huay Kron-Pakbeng in Laos route and another from Chiang Rai
through Keng Tung to Lar, the Burmese and Chinese border town and then up to
Sibsong Panna in China should be developed as an alternative for Thai fruit
exports to China during dry season.
However, the Huay Kron-Pakbeng land route has not been
constructed, although the Thai government approved the plan and provided an
800 million baht budget for road construction. Using this route, it would
not take more than 10 hours to travel from Nan province to Chiang Rung or
Jinghong in southern China.
It was suggested that the Keng Tung route through Burma
would be another convenient way to transport fresh Thai fruits to China,
because of the good condition of the asphalt road connecting to Sibsong
Philippine Ambassador visits Chiang Mai Immigration
The Philippine Ambassador, His Excellency Antonio V.
Rodriguez, Vice Consul Frank Olea and members of the embassy staff visited
the office of Chiang Mai Immigration Superintendent Pol. Col. Jinabhadra
Antonio V. Rodriguez and his wife met with Chiang Mai Immigration
Superintendent Pol. Col. Jinabhadra Tansrisakul.
After presenting his credentials to Suwat Tantipat, the
CEO governor of Chiang Mai, the ambassador and entourage visited the
immigration offices in Mahidol Road, along with Philippine residents of
Chiang Mai, Lampoon and Lampang.
Antonio V. Rodriguez, Pol. Col. Jinabhadra Tansrisakul and local Philippine
The Philippine ambassador came to thank Chiang Mai immigration for the
assistance they had offered Philippine nationals residing in the northern
area of Thailand, and to discuss any problems that had been encountered. He
also provided contact details of officers within the Philippines Embassy for
immigration officials to quickly liaise with in the event of any future
mutual enquiries concerning Philippine nationals.
Central Kad Suan Kaew launches road safety campaign
If everyone follows suit the carnage will be reduced
Central Department Stores, Kad Suan Kaew branch, launched
their road safety campaign of turning on headlights and wearing a helmet, at
the Kad Suan Kaew shopping centre.
Mai Deputy Governor Prinya Panthong demonstrates how to wear a helmet while
riding a motorcycle.
Deputy Chiang Mai Governor Prinya Panthong attended and
flagged off the motorcycle caravan along Huay Kaew Road.
This event was organized in support of the government
policy on road safety and to make the department store’s staff more aware
of the importance of road safety measures, to reduce the shocking road toll.
staff form a procession with headlights on and wearing helmets.
Unfortunately, some of the helmets they are wearing would be ineffective in
The major cause of motorcyclist fatalities is no protection for the
skull, and a move to promote the wearing of helmets is a step in the right
direction. Now if the government will legislate for appropriate standards of
the helmets to be sold and that helmets must be done up, this will then
produce a significant reduction in road deaths.
IBO/UNESCO Cambodian Project
Phnom Penh benefits from local teachers
The International Baccalaureate Organization in
conjunction with UNESCO has developed a three-year program to promote active
learning in Cambodian schools.
together puzzles takes a lot of concentration.
Last year, two international schoolteachers gave a series
of workshops for local Cambodian teachers to show ways in which children can
be more actively involved in their classroom learning. This year, the second
year of the project, three visiting teachers actually taught lessons,
observed by local teachers.
would have thought that learning could be so much fun?
Sean Murphy, principal of the Junior School and Sara
Shadravan, Early Childhood coordinator, both from Prem Tinsulanonda
International School, Chiang Mai were chosen to participate in this part of
“It was a wonderful experience to work with the
teachers, students and teacher-trainers in Phnom Penh. They were
enthusiastic and receptive to new teaching strategies,” commented Sean
we become a rectangle.
Sara Shadravan added, “We felt really privileged to be
involved in such an exciting project in a very real and practical way.”
Annie Auckland, an ex-teacher from Prem who has been
heavily involved with the development of this program, was also very much
involved with the teaching aspect of this section of the project. Annie
taught demonstration lessons to students in Grades 4-6 while Sean and Sara
delivered lessons to Grades 1-3.
The Cambodian teachers found these classroom lessons with their 40-50
students extremely helpful and have requested more. When the full project
begins in September 2004, support from other International Baccalaureate
Asia Pacific schools will be necessary to continue this work.
Samaritans Chiang Mai reveals high suicide rate in 2003
248 admitted to hospital, 55 attempts successful
Guide and advise is the way to stop suicide, especially
for those who are sad and lonely - the people most at risk, said Assoc.
Prof. Dr. Prieb Kuramarohit, assistant director of Samaritans Chiang Mai.
The Samaritans Chiang Mai is a counseling service center for people who feel
rejected and desperate.
Dr. Prieb also revealed that the suicide rate in Chiang
Mai is far too high. In 2003, 248 suicidal patients were admitted to 21
community hospitals, and 55 of them were successful in taking their own
Men commit suicide more than women. The age group most at
risk is 20-49 years old with most being students or workers who have
emotional or life problems. Those who committed suicide included 35 married
people, 14 singles and 6 divorcees.
“From research, we have found that suicidal people were
disappointed, felt that they were at fault, quarreled with close family or
suffered from chronic diseases like AIDS. Sadness and wanting to be alone
were the first symptoms,” she said. Dr. Prieb suggested that at risk
people need opportunities to let off steam and by cheering them up you can
stop them committing suicide.
Samaritans Chiang Mai are organizing courses for
volunteer counselors on April 3-4, from 8.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m., at Far
Eastern College, Chiang Mai. Contact 09-5127350, 01-5316330, 01-6716799 or
Samaritans Chiang Mai (from 6-10 p.m. only on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays
and Saturdays) or tel. 053-225977-8.