HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Kids' Corner

HM the Queen honored by a charity walkathon

Tony Ballís Bird Watching Diary

Northern kindness builds the future for the disadvantaged

Chiang Maiís Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders

Kids' Corner

Marvin really likes sunflowers, so he decided to grow some of his own. When he looked at the seeds he wanted to know how it turned into a flower because it was small and hard. I explained to him that when you put the seed in the ground and give it water the outside of the seed becomes soft and dies and falls off. The new shoots begin to grow until you can see some of the plant poking through the top of the soil. Marvin decided to grow a bean seed using a glass jar and some paper towel so that he could see what happens as the seed begins to grow and change into a plant. Do you like growing plants? Write to Marvin and tell him what sort of flowers you like the best. You can send your letters to:

Marg and Marvin
Chiangmai Mail
156-158 Im-boon Housing Estate
Muangsamut Road
T. Changmoi, A. Muang,
Chiang Mai 50300
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 053 234 145


1) Which flower is like a well-dressed animal?
2) What kind of flowers do you wear on your face?
3) What did the bee say to the rose?
4) What did the rose say to the bee?


1) A dandelion (dandy lion)
2) Tulips (two lips)
3) Hi bud!
4) Buzz off!

Bye from Marg and Marvin

HM the Queen honored by a charity walkathon

Saksit Meesubkwang

The probation volunteers, Justice Ministry, Drug Addicted Rehabilitation Club and Chiang Mai Probation Office held its first charity walk and mini marathon on the occasion of the 72nd anniversary celebration of Her Majesty the Queen this year.

The winning team from Mae Hong Son.

Chamaiporn Baude, the wife of the French consul, was the event organizing chairperson and she and Chiang Mai deputy governor, Prinya Panthong, presided over the start of the competition which was held at Royal Lanna Ror 9 Public Park.

Deputy governor Prinya with some of the participants.

The winners in each category were: (boys aged 12-15 years) Kasem Laomee from Prachanukroah School, Mae Hong Son; (girls 12-15 Jinda Plertoh also from Prachanukroah School, Mae Hong Son; (youths aged 16-19) Norkaew Noimoh; (adults 20-29) Direk Pinthip (men) and Vichitra Khamjunwana (women); (adults 30-39) Poonsawas Ariyanont, (adults 40-49) Vichan Duangsaket, (adults 50-59) Thaweep Hengwan. The overall winning team was from Prachanukroah, Mae Hong Son which featured in seven categories.

Deputy Governor Prinya presents a cup to the one of the contestants.

The winners also received trophies in the name of the Minister of Justice Pongthep Thepkanchana, permanent secretary of the justice minister, Somchai Wongsawas, the director-general of the Probation Department Dr Kitti Kittipong Kittayarak, Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat, and the chairman of Thai Product International Dr Santi Pongphandecha.

Tony Ballís Bird Watching Diary

Tony Ball

To start with: a little bit of Thai bird history - the number of species documented in Thailand over the years is 962, this represents approximately 10% of the worldís bird population. Out of these roughly one third are migrants and they leave April-May, going north to breed, and return September-October for a well earned rest.

We are now at the stage (April 2004) when the birds have itchy wings and have been building up their energy to make the long flight. The birds of northern Thailand donít have that much of a struggle as they donít have to cross the large expanses of seas and oceans as some birds do. Those unlucky birds can lose great numbers on migration due to loss of energy and only the sea below them - quite tragic. So that feeding binge is very important. The land traversing migrants donít get off scot-free, they are predated on by the many raptors that line the route and sometimes migrate with them, a sort of meals-on-wings to be partaken of whenever the hunger pangs strike.

A little about how I employ my time: often it is walking around lakes, tramping up and down mountains, mostly down and whatever flat stretches I can find due to a leg condition which produces cramps when I ask them to do too much. But all-in-all a very satisfying pastime seven days a week, usually mornings. I have in the past done checklists of birds for various National Parks but this is dying out because I am running out of parks who want a checklist done.

One problem which is becoming a major one is the destruction of habitat and it really is major. Slash-and-burn, which is traditional in Thailand, is a cause for real concern. Not only does it take away cover for the birds to skulk in but quite often it is done in the lead in to the nesting season. It is also done during the nesting season with tragic results, disintegrating nests, broken eggs and dead nestlings.

The next Diary will cover my daily travels and any interesting birds I come across.

Northern kindness builds the future for the disadvantaged

Many hands get behind charity projects

Marion Vogt

Close your eyes and imagine you live in a remote village in the mountain. You live there, because you always lived there, your family lives there, and now you have a family of your own. Times have changed since you were young, and you know how hard it is to survive without education. You want your own children to lead a better life. You want them to be educated and at least have a chance, and a choice, but the schools are so far away from your village, which you canít leave because you have to take care of your parents, and your children walk kilometers after kilometers, day after day. During the rainy season you are always worried that something might happen and most days your precious little ones leave at dawn and come back at sunset.

H.E. Palakorn handing over the first cheque of 50,000 baht to Khunying Yao Raveepan Sucharekul. (Photo by Michael Vogt)

Fortunately there are many people with kind hearts who try to relieve the burden on these parents. The Narong Sakdatorn Foundation aims to provide educational assistance for poor children and destitute children in Chiang Mai. According to the foundationís philosophy all the money will be spent on the needs of poor children, such as previously the foundation gave annual scholarships to children in Chiang Dao, Fang, Mae Ai and Mae Jam.

Wanphen Sakdatorn and Hagen Dirksen were delighted to pass on the cheques to H.E. Palakorn. (Photo by Michael Vogt)

In 2003 some people involved in the Narong Saktadorn Foundation saw the deterioration of the Nong Bua Schoolís dormitory building, and asked their chairman, former governor of Chiang Mai, and now Privy Councillor H.E. Palakorn Suwanrath to help them build a new dormitory. H.E. Palakorn then started collecting money from his relatives and friends and spent almost a million baht to build the new dormitory for Nong Bua School, which is located 45 kilometers from Chiang Dao District Office and 117 kilometers from Chiang Mai City Hall.

Monchai Tesaphaet receives his share for the project.

Most students are Karen and Lisu, and their parents are exceptionally poor. 24 of the students come from remote villages especially from Huay Dindam village, over five kilometers away and much too far for little ones. Since the school does not get any financial assistance from the government, it allowed students to stay at their classrooms, but the number increased to 50, which made even this solution hopeless, however early in March, the Narong Sakdatorn Foundation started to build a dormitory for this school. H.E. Palakorn together with his team built the Baan Nong Bua School a dormitory for student whose houses are too far from the school. The dorm will provide protection and relieve the worry for the parents. H.E. Palakorn together with his wife Khunying Dhasaniya Suwanrath, presided over the handing over ceremony on March 27 at Nong Bua village.

The day before, Wanphen Sakdatorn and the Hon. Consul of the Federal Rep. of Germany, Hagen Dirksen donated 500,000 baht for ten different foundations and organizations which all support physically disabled or socially disadvantaged children. These 10 foundations included Baan Ging Keaw Wiboonsanti, the Innocent Child Assistance Center of the northern region, Baan Thammakorn, the Blind School of the North, Auditory Education (Sottasuksa Anusarn Sunthorn), Chiang Mai Handicapped Rehabilitation Center, Chiang Mai Eyes Foundation, Su Kwan Doi Luang Club, Special Education Center Educational Region 8 and the International Foundation for Northern Handicapped.

Some of the lucky students in front of their new building at the Nong Bua School in Chiang Dao District.

Chiang Maiís Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders

Natural wonders for some - really disgusting for others

Dominique Leutwiler

It is hard to believe that the usually annoying insects could provide great interest for any first grader, but that was indeed the case. At the Christian German School (CDSC) the first graders took a closer look at the world of insects and suddenly a fascination for these creatures started to grow day by day.

Ask a first grader to paint a butterfly, and the image will be filled with the most amazing colors and shapes. Even when it comes to the bees, then suddenly they look pretty in the black and yellow stripes and the children will be creatively placing them in beautiful green surroundings. Bugs suddenly donít look quite that scary, once they have been put on a piece of paper. And everybody who learns for the first time how ants live can suddenly look at those little animals from a new point of view. All this, was enough to get the first graders from CDSC excited about a field trip to the Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders in Chiang Mai.

1st Grade CDSC pupils in the Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders in Chiang Mai

The collection in the Museum includes thousands of specimens of insects, butterflies, seashells, fossils, rocks and natural wonders from Thailand, all collected over a period of more than 50 years. The two story building is filled with enough insects and natural wonders to satisfy the curiosity of the first grade, but of course there was also one girl commenting, ďYuk, this looks really, really disgusting!Ē when one of those big ugly bugs was found.

The museum also carries other interesting items such as rare stamps, strange coins and other rarities. It is an interesting place to visit not just for children, but also for anybody who has an interest in the world of insects and natural wonders.