HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Something fishy from Bangladesh for Chiang Mai

Star-struck experts celebrate a trio of happy occasions

Bikers from Bangkok rally to save petrol, reduce pollution

Talented Chiang Rai girl receives financial support from PM

Something fishy from Bangladesh for Chiang Mai

This time it’s the fish hub

Phitsanu Thepthong

Thai Airways International (THAI) and Imperial Mae Ping Hotel held a Bangladesh Seafood Festival from September 23-25 to introduce inexpensive and fresh seafood to the northern Thailand market.

(L to R) Prachak Chaemrassamichot, executive vice-president of THAI, Prinya Panthong, deputy Chiang Mai governor, Prakaidao Hovattanakul of THAI, Nivat Chantarachoti, general manager of THAI in Bangladesh, Vorapong Muchaotai, GM of Imperial Mae Ping Hotel, and a member of the THAI staff during their inspection tour of the Bangladesh seafood at the festival. (Photo by Nopniwat Krailerg)

This was the first time seafood has been brought in to Thailand from Bangladesh’s Chittagong City. The Thai national carrier ferried 3,000 kilograms of fresh seafood supplied by the Bangladesh Seafood Entrepreneur Association to Chiang Mai, in two hours.

The festival was to promote the government’s policy of turning Chiang Mai city into an aviation and transportation hub in the northern region and to encourage bilateral tourism and trade between Thailand and Bangladesh.

Apart from the festival, there was a seminar on imports and exports for the over 100 business people and entrepreneurs, domestic and foreign exporters and hotel industry personnel.

Deputy Governor Prinya Panthong, who presided over the opening of the festival, said, “This is a great sign of cooperation in air cargo and transportation. This is the age of globalization which helps promote bilateral trade and tourism.”

Prachak Chaemrassamichot, THAI executive vice-president, said the carrier still supported Chiang Mai as the aviation hub in this northern region. “The Chiang Mai-Chittagong air route is as a good example that is appropriate for promoting this northern capital as the aviation hub,” he said.

However, he did say, “Chiang Mai airport is still lacking in infrastructure, experiencing traffic jams in a not well-planned city. These are big obstacles for development, despite Chiang Mai being rich in medical, trade, tourism, education and agriculture sectors.”

Vorapong Muchaotai, general manager of Imperial Mae Ping Hotel, said he was grateful to be able to support the seafood promotion.

Demien Gonsalves, managing director of United Service Agency, spoke on import and export formalities between the two countries. “The food festival here is a sign of good relationships between Thailand and Bangladesh, and will benefit the people of both nations.”

Veeradej Metheetharnpongwanitch, managing director of Northern International Cargo Co., Ltd., spoke on the custom formalities and import tax. Documentation would take about two days to complete, but could be speeded up into one day. There were many cargo service representatives to help facilitate importers of seafood.

Nivat Chantarachoti, general manager of THAI in Bangladesh, said that THAI could airfreight about three tons of seafood per flight on the Chittagong-Chiang Mai route.

Star-struck experts celebrate a trio of happy occasions

Autsadaporn Kamthai

This year sky-gazers celebrate the 400th anniversary of the observation of the Supernova in the Milky Way on October 9, 1604. Thailand celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birthday on October 18, 1804 of HM King Mongkut (Rama IV), who is called the “Father of Thai sciences” and Chiang Mai University turns 40 this year.

Participants at the international meeting at the Chiang Mai Hills Hotel, Chiang Mai on October 4.

To mark these three special occasions, the 5th International Conference on Oriental Astronomy (ICOA-5) was held at Chiang Mai Hills Hotel from October 4-8. The Astronomy Conference is held every three years and member countries take turns in hosting the event. The first conference was hosted by South Korea in 1989.

About 50 participants from various countries, including the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Netherlands and India, attended.

The Faculty of Sciences at Chiang Mai University hosted the event, with support from the Ministry of Science and Technology, National Research Committee and Astronomy Association of Thailand, Northern region.

The conference aimed at presenting various topics on oriental astronomy and to encourage cooperative research among countries. It was hoped the conference would arouse people’s interest in astronomy, said Assoc Prof Boonraksa.

A new development in astronomy in Chiang Mai is the construction of the national astronomy research center on the Doi Inthanon Mountain which is expected to be finished in the next two years.

Asst Prof Amnat Yousukh, CMU vice-president, and Assoc Prof Boonraksa Soonthorntham, faculty dean, opened the conference.

Bikers from Bangkok rally to save petrol, reduce pollution

At least they use less fuel than cars!

Nopniwat Krailerg

The roar of more than a hundred bicycles filled the air last week as bikers arrived in Chiang Mai after a 700km ride from Bangkok, to promote a campaign to save energy. The event was organized by the Thai Environment Institute and the Bicycles Club for Health of Thailand.

Bikes pass a temple along Thapae Road.

The six-day “songlor soo Lanna” (or bikes to Lanna northern region) project left the capital on September 27, passing through Suphanburi, Nakhon Sawan, Phitsanulok, Uttaradit, Lampang, to arrive in Chiang Mai on October 2.

The sign says Don’t Use Petrol.

Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn welcomed the bikers at the Thapae Gate grounds, where they were joined by the Chiang Mai Sunday Bicycle Club to explore the streets of the city.

The bikes were decorated with stickers saying “Let the oil prices increase and be expensive, but not for bikes.”

Veeraphan Tomeeboon, public relations officer of the Bicycle Club for Health of Thailand, said the bike-athon had been organized to express concern at oil prices increases in Thailand and the global oil crisis.

Traffic congestion in the major cities resulted in more emissions and worsening air pollution. Many agencies were therefore trying to address the situation by supporting public mass transportation, and replacing fossil fuels with other fuels such as biodiesel or gasohol.

“There is an easy way to help solve this problem, by using ‘non-motorized transport’ are such as walking or riding bicycles,” he added.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is also keen to promote the use of bicycles, and approve bicycle paths in the city, especially on Charoen Prathet, Changmoi, and Loy Kroh roads, he said.

The bicycles event also aimed at increasing public awareness on saving energy and reducing air pollution by changing to bicycles.

Talented Chiang Rai girl receives financial support from PM

Staff reporters

A Mathayom 3 student of Samakkee Wittayakom, Chiang Rai has received a 300,000 baht bursary from PM Thaksin Shinawatra after she wrote to him asking for assistance to become a professional tennis player.

Yongyuth Tiyapairach, the PM’s secretary-general, handed over the funds to Warachaya Wongtianchai at Samakkee Wittayakom School in Chiang Rai on his behalf.

Warachaya is a talented tennis player and has won many tournaments. She won the Tennis for Youth trophy at the age of 15, and won the Thailand Tennis Championship for Youth titles at the age of 14 and 16. Recently, she came second at the International Youth Tournament in the United States. Despite her tennis playing skills, her family could not afford to support her to attend many national and international tournaments because of the high costs involved.

She decided to write a letter to PM Thaksin, describing her dream to be a professional player like her role models Paradorn Srichaphan and Maria Sharapova, but mentioned her inability to afford to participate in tournaments.

Yongyuth gave her a further grant of 50,000 baht and Thai Airways International (THAI) committed itself to supply free air tickets to attend international tournaments for one year.

Yongyuth also pledged to ask for support from other organizations such as PTT Public Company to encourage her to become a professional tennis player for Thailand.