Vol. IV No. 15 - Saturday April 9 - April 15. 2005
Home
Automania
News
Business News
Book-Movies-Music
Columns
Community
Happenings
Dining Out & Entertainment
Features
Academia Nuts
Letters
Social Scene
Sports
Travel
Who's who
 
Free Classifieds
Back Issues

 

 


NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Bus travelers increase as fares pegged

April temperatures to exceed 42 Celsius

Chiang Mai spends millions on Green and Clean project

EGAT and local residents again in conflict

Chiang Mai deputy mayor arranging water distribution for Songkran

This year’s official Songkran activities

PTT encourages use of gasohol to save currency reserves

Chiang Mai-Bangkok trains fully booked for Songkran

Mae Ping River dredging leads to many river encroachment prosecutions

Christian Conference of Asia selects new Thai chief

Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) discusses ways to prevent drugs in Northern provinces

Reducing the road toll at Songkran

Pilot project for Brain Based Learning in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Night Safari to open during Songkran festival

12,000 policemen to get wet during the Songkran festival

Police collide with Hmong drug dealers

Police return stolen Buddha image to Jetiyanusorn Temple

Police suppress influential gangs and threaten police accomplices

Bus travelers increase as fares pegged

Chiang Mai bus station warns tour agents not to increase bus fees

Saksit Meesubkwang

Tickets sales booked before the Songkran festival have increased by over 30 percent as many tourists, both Thai and foreigners, will visit us, plus Chiang Mai migrant labor will return to visit their families during the festival. Consequently, Chiang Mai Arcade domestic bus station has set up centers to accommodate passengers for 24 hours during the Songkran festival, and is going to check all buses before leaving the station.

Chiang Mai provincial transportation office will be responsible for keeping accidents to a minimum and to ensure passenger safety by checking the bus driver before he takes the wheel. This policy is especially applied during Songkran festival, as it needs all sectors to cooperate to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities.

Tour bus agencies are not supposed to increase fairs during holiday periods, but they can present a request if necessary on a case-by-case basis.

Chiang Mai provincial transport office has prepared 300 reserve buses to carry the large number of travelers during Songkran festival, both in and out of the Chiang Mai bus station. It is calculated that 850 buses would leave the station daily.


April temperatures to exceed 42 Celsius

Time to crank up the air-conditioners

Staff reporters

Temperatures in several northern provinces, including Mae Hong Son, Lampang and Phrae, have risen past 40 degrees Celsius, while residents in Chiang Mai and Lamphun are trying to escape the hot weather by walking through department stores. Waterfalls are also full of visitors during the weekends, and ice purchases are booming.

The highest temperature was measured in Tak province at 42 Celsius, but there are still clouds despite the hot weather, plus thunderstorms in some areas. Mae Hong Son is cloudy, hot and humid.

Rakchai Srinuan, weather forecaster at the Northern Meteorology Center, said that a low pressure trough covered the north of Thailand, sustained by south-easterly and southern winds. This has led to hot weather in the day and thundershowers in some areas.

This brush fire weather, in addition to weed burning in Mae Hong Son, has lead to continual forest fires, causing smoke to cover the province. It is reported that there are about 70,000 patients suffering with pulmonary disease and it is feared that this number may increase if the hot weather continues. In addition, there is a risk of traffic accidents due to poor visibility.


Chiang Mai spends millions on Green and Clean project

Nopniwat Krailerg

30 million baht will be spent on the development and improvement of former San Kamphaeng district office, now know as Kwuang San Kamphaeng, to develop Chiang Mai, and to support tourism according to the “Green and Clean” policy.

Prinya Panthong, vice governor of Chiang Mai and the leader of the project, said that a budget of 75 million baht had been approved. Kwuang San Kamphaeng would be a center to organize activities such as stage performances, SMEs and OTOP goods displays, a center point of local trade, and a conference building for residents.

The balance of 45 million baht will be spent on developing the canal around the city, renewing the perimeter walls of the Hai Ya fortress on Wualai Road and developing public parks including a community as a living record of Chiang Mai history. Encroachers on the area have already been repulsed.

The vice governor added that the Green and Clean project is not only for making Chiang Mai beautiful, clean and green, but to also protect ancient sites, culture and artifacts, to maintain these traditions for Chiang Mai province, and to encourage tourism.


EGAT and local residents again in conflict

Locals want CMU to research environmental problems

Saksit Meesubkwang and Nopniwat Krailerg

On March 28, Rianchai Uankham, the president of Networks of Nature and Environment Protection in Wiang Haeng district, together with 17 members of his flock, presented a petition to the president of Chiang Mai University, requesting them to continue researching the effects of the Wiang Haeng development project towards the environment.

Deputy Prof. Dr. Thanan Anumanrachathon, of CMU receives the petition.

This came about after the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) had found about 20 million tons of lignite, which could produce electricity, but local residents and NGOs had opposed the project, citing adverse environmental impact.

The petition requested CMU to continue researching the effects, be they positive or negative. Therefore, ten network sectors, all of them Wiang Haeng residents, had gathered to support the research to end. Then, the local residents could consider supporting the project or not.

Rianchai Uankham said that 70 percent of Wiang Haeng residents wished CMU to continue, but did not want findings supporting the development project. If the lignite project was approved, it would affect the planting of onions and garlic which might have to discontinue.

The CMU representative, Assoc. Prof Dr. Thanan Anumanrachathon, received the petition and said, “CMU is willing to do research, as it is an accepted and trustworthy academy institute. We will research and be unbiased, as per our obligation to protect the environment and lives of residents. The president has consulted with several researchers to process the research correctly, and we have paid much attention to this issue.”

“It’s not important if the project will be approved, but we would like to know the project’s impact toward the environment and local lives. We request every sector concerned to cooperate, as it could lead to a serious situation,” he added.


Chiang Mai deputy mayor arranging water distribution for Songkran

But no alcohol permitted near the moats

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

Chiang Mai municipality held a conference to advise on the preparations for “Pawenee Pee Mai Muang Chiang Mai” (Northern Chiang Mai New Year), which will take place on April 1 - 16.

Pornchai Jitnawasatian, deputy mayor of Chiang Mai, was the chairman of the conference.

Water should not be an issue at this year’s Songkran festivities.

“This year, Chiang Mai municipality is very much prepared for the Northern New Year. We can assure people about security, and we have decorated the canal with Lanna flags and art, to welcome Phra Puttha Sihing which will be paraded around the city. We also have purified the canal by changing its water and adding EM. People can use the canal water for splashing with the confidence that it is clean water,” Pornchai said.

He added, “We have provided officers to prevent and control unexpected situations as well. This year, Chiang Mai municipality will not permit loudspeakers, or the sales of alcohol and glass bottles in the area nearby the canal.”

This year, the municipality is going to emphasize ancient tradition and culture. The highlight will be the parade of Phra Puttha Sihing on April 13. The parade floats will be beautifully decorated, to encourage the good image of Buddhism and the faith of Buddhists. People can pour water on Buddha images in 50 temples on that day.

Chiang Mai municipality is allowing the private sector to hold the ancient tradition and culture beauty contest entitled “Mae Ying Kee Rode Theep Gang Jong” (Ladies riding bicycles while holding umbrellas). The parade of the beautiful bicyclettes will start at 7 a.m. from Tourism Authority of Thailand office to Thapae Gate. There will also be a Miss Songkran contest on April 14-15 at Thapae Gate from 6 p.m. to midnight, together with other activities that do not involve loudspeakers or glass bottles.

The Public Water Works office is also going to set up water providing machines on several points in the municipal area to serve people as every previous year. When they have perfected turning the water into wine, the Chiangmai Mail will be the first to let you know.


This year’s official Songkran activities

April 9-15 at Lok Moree Temple
18.00-23.00

-109 monks perform Buddhist ceremony
-demonstration of local craftsmen
-construction of small sand castles
-ancient flag competition
-Hmong hill tribe musical instruments performance
-local drum playing competition
-local dance competition
-local kids’ dance performance

April 12 at the courtyard in front of the Three King’s Monument
10.09 - ceremony of worship for the Three Kings

April 13 at Thapae Gate 06.00-24.00
-presenting breakfast to monks
-mixing market
-Thai Lanna of the past parade, with ladies holding
umbrellas
-religious possessions competition
-opening ceremony of Northern New Year
-beauty contest
-invite Phra Putta Sihing out of the temple to pour
water around Chiang Mai City
-local performances

April 14 at the Tourism Authority of Thailand office 13.00-14.00
- parade of sand and wood to temples on Thapae Rd.

April 15 at Ratchadamneun Rd. to Chiang Mai governor’s residence
-a parade of people going to pour water on the governor’s hands

April 12-15 at Jet Lin Temple 10.00-23.00
-construction of small sand castles
-pouring water on monks’ hands
-northern blessing competition
-demonstration of supplies for pouring water
-pouring water on adults’ hands

April 12-15 at Chiang Mai Buddhist Place 13.00-24.00
-pouring water on Phra Siri Mongkalajarn monk and
Buddha image
-local performances
-small sand castles competition
-Larb (mince meat) competition
-mixing market
-kids’ local costumes competition

April 11 and 15 at Phra Singh Temple 09.00-24.00
-presenting breakfast to monks
-Lanna culture performances
-singing contest
-northern artists performances
-Buy Sri competition


PTT encourages use of gasohol to save currency reserves

Claims using gasohol could save about 7 billion Thai baht

Staff reporters

Thailand is wasting money importing fuel oil, according to local fuel distributors, PTT Public group.

Chaiwat Churit, deputy chairman of the board of the PTT, said that the increasing prices of crude oil on the world markets has resulted in Thailand having to pay too much for imported fuel oil, and PTT encourages Thais to use gasohol instead of gasoline.

Thailand needs to find reserve energy to save several hundreds of millions baht in foreign currency, and gasohol would be 1.50 baht cheaper than gasoline per liter. Gasohol is a fuel made of 90 percent of 91 octane fuel and 10 percent ethyl alcohol, which, it is claimed, produces clean and efficient energy as good as 95 octane fuel.

“In Bangkok PTT has set up 300 gasohol stations, and is going to add 100 more throughout Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai, Lampang and Phitsanulok,” he said.


Chiang Mai-Bangkok trains fully booked for Songkran

Staff reporters

Subin Niboon-atthapon, head of Chiang Mai Train Station revealed, “Tickets from Chiang Mai to Bangkok during Songkran festival on April 15-18 have been fully reserved except for standing tickets in third class, and tickets from Bangkok to Chiang Mai during April 8-13 are also fully booked. However, they plan to add two more trains from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, train numbers 963 and 964.

The train on April 12 will leave from Bangkok at 5.45 p.m. and arrives in Chiang Mai at 7.05 a.m. on April 13, and the train on April 16 will leave Chiang Mai at 6.30 p.m., arriving in Bangkok 7.05 a.m. on the next day. Sleepers are 1,200 baht per bed and seats are 800 baht including two meals. However, train tickets from Chiang Mai to Bangkok from now till April 14 are still available.


Mae Ping River dredging leads to many river encroachment prosecutions

Nopniwat Krailerg

Dredging the Ping River is set to tackle about 30 km in Chiang Mai and about 10.5 km in Lamphun district. The examination of the river banks has resulted in almost 100 charges of river encroachment, but so far only two have been filed. The rest are in the process.

Restaurants and buildings along the riverside.

The governor revealed a plan to beautify the riverside environment when dredging is complete and residents along the river are requested to upgrade their houses to impress tourists.

The benefit of dredging the Ping River is the prevention of floods and drought. Normally, water in the Ping River near Nawarat Bridge overflows, but dredging prevented this during the last flood and supplied sufficient water for consumption instead. A deeper river will also support riverine tourism.


Christian Conference of Asia selects new Thai chief

PM Thaksin continues with his moderate southern approach

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) was held in Chiang Mai from March 31 to April 6, entitled “Building Communities of Peace for All.” Asian church leaders shared ideas on how to solve problems of violence and to achieve world peace.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra poses with the Asian Christian leaders.

On April 4, PM Thaksin Shinawatra joined the conference at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel, Chiang Mai to address the church leaders. “The central theme of your conference focuses on a vitally important principle for all religions. It is also a major issue presently facing peoples and governments of the world. We all love peace, but sometimes peace can be so elusive. It often seems to run away from us, until we have to give chase with every effort we have. Indeed, the past decade has witnessed growing violence and acts of terrorism in virtually every region. Our own Asian continent has also not been spared from their fatal effects,” he said. “At present, much of the world’s attention focuses on anti-terrorist activities and how best to counter the threat of terrorism. However, we may well have neglected the crucial question of how we can eliminate terrorism and radicalism at their source. This may perhaps be done through a process of understanding, empathizing, and reaching out. By ‘understanding’, I mean that we must try to comprehend the root cause of radicalism and deal effectively with any inherent sense of injustice”, the PM said, referring to his new attitude towards the southern Thailand problems.

During the conference, Prawate Khid-arn was elected head of the Asian Christian body, the first Thai in this position. The head office of CCA is to be moved from Hong Kong to Chiang Mai, making it more convenient to cooperate between Thai Christians and international Christians. A site has yet to be found.


Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) discusses ways to prevent drugs in Northern provinces

Saksit Meesubkwang

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) held a seminar on system management to prevent drug dealing within eight Northern provinces, at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel on March 23. Almost 300 participants attended.

Pinyo Thongchai, deputy secretary general of ONCB

Pinyo Thongchai deputy secretary general of ONCB, said, “A system management to prevent drug dealing depends on pursuing drug issues and receiving information from residents. There are an estimated 10,000 drug dealers for whom there are arrest warrants out but they have escaped from the country or hide in different provinces. Some narcotic laws will be reformed to update suppression in many different cases and for preventing escapes, as many drug dealers are covering their activities by establishing a good public image, helping society or with charitable activities. They are running legal businesses but dealing in drugs in the back.”

He added that the government’s policy to suppress drugs during the last two or three years had not only led to volumes of drugs being found, but also to a number of deaths. Therefore, agents are transferring drugs with small groups of people along the border of Burma and Laos. The small groups never know the head drug dealer and cannot inform police even if they are arrested provided they have avoided death in the inevitable shootouts. As making arrests becomes more difficult, more police need to consult each other to catch up with new methods of drug dealing.

Regrettably, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) has not paid much attention to agricultural products from north to central Thailand transferred in large refrigerated trucks parking at Pathumthani Thai market. However, ONCB has been concerned about this issue and is going to take action soon.


Reducing the road toll at Songkran

The usual call, but no really workable solutions

Nopniwat Krailerg

As the number of fatalities from traffic accidents in Chiang Mai during the Songkran festival every year is related to drunk driving, several sectors in Chiang Mai are cooperating to prevent accidents and targeting a maximum of 22 deaths.

The Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Chiang Mai has established accident prevention and solving centers in every district and sub district. Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 has also set up 84 checkpoints and is adding another 156 points. They have been set up from Denchai district, Phrae to Maeprik district, Lampang, to facilitate traffic and to check blood alcohol levels.

Chiang Mai land transport office has also established a 24-hour passenger protection center at Arcade Terminal Bus Station by checking the blood alcohol level of drivers before they leave the station. Chiang Mai municipality plans to rescue people from drowning in canals and the Ping River by providing a special rescue teams in six stations. Chiang Mai Public Health has emergency doctors ready to aid tourists and is setting up a tourist service center in every district to reduce the death rate. The emphasis is on safety of drivers and facilitating people during the Songkran festival.


Pilot project for Brain Based Learning in Chiang Mai

PM says it’s good for his hometown

Nopniwat Krailerg

PM Thaksin Shinawatra gave a speech on April 4 at the Central Duangtawan Hotel Chiang Mai, concerning Brain Based Learning (BBL) or brain learning management process for children under 19 years of age. The National Institute for Brain-Based Learning has selected Chiang Mai province to run a pilot project of BBL, and to be a model for the brain learning process in the new world, according to the Thai government policy.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra giving a speech in relation to Brain Based Learning

The government considers this an important project, as children are the future of the country. The first step is the development of 100,000 children from infants to 19 years old during the years 2005-2006, funded with 340 million baht, and in cooperation with the National Institute for Brain-Based Learning, local offices and NGO volunteers in different areas.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra said, “Thailand has not paid sufficient attention to children’s free time, so we have to invent and develop knowledge institutes. Brain Based Learning is a new project for Thailand. Between 1980-1990, special research was undertaken all around the world, and it was learned that the human brain would normally be completely developed after reaching the age of twenty; however, a small number of cells continue to develop thereafter.

The Chiang Mai students in the project

“Cells in human brains never stop developing, but they will atrophy if not used. The brain is like a CPU of a computer, it can work efficiently with good software and several CPUs work better than only one. Several CPUs could compare with several human brains, and it will be beneficial if they work together systemically. Chiang Mai has been selected to be the pilot for the project because it is my home town, and I would like to see this brain development in Chiang Mai children.”

The National Institute for Brain Based Learning (NBL) is a special organization working under the Office of Knowledge Management and Development, established on June 18, 2004, to study knowledge of human brains by using various technologies to foster the study process of children.


Chiang Mai Night Safari to open during Songkran festival

Double pricing is official

Nopniwat Krailerg

Plodprasop Surasawadee, chairman of the committee for planning the Night Safari checked the readiness of the Night Safari on March 19. Col. Boonrit Lert-wattana-ruangchai, commander of Thai Army Engineers Department, revealed that the basic structure of Night Safari was almost 98 percent completed. The safari routes were almost ready, including Lanna style buildings, decorated with elephant figures, and there was just some decorative work left. Cages were also almost completed, and the jaguar trail was expected to be operational when the park opens.

Plodprasop Surasawadee, Night Safari Chiang Mai planning and processing committee chairman.

Plodprasop Surasawadee said, “The Night Safari is surely ready for visitors on April 13; however, some parts remain uncompleted and therefore will be closed, but we will invite the PM to see for himself. The construction will be finished, but electrical systems and the overall atmosphere is probably only 50 percent. The jaguar trail is the first part ready to be visited and there will also be other animals around that area such as kangaroos, jackals and water animals. The first opening is also for testing the management within the Night Safari.”

However, Plodprasop admitted that processing animal imports from Australia was delayed, but local animals were ready. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment had assigned Zoo Thailand Organization to take care of this issue but it was transferred to be under the management of Night Safari office on March 15. The Night Safari reassured that 60 percent of imported animals would be arriving soon, except koalas which would arrive within the next three months. All parts of the safari would be 100 percent ready and open on January 1, 2006.

“The benefit of this project is not from selling tickets but from increasing tourists visiting and spending more time in Chiang Mai. The safari confirms it will sell tickets at 200 baht for Thais and 400 baht for foreigners,” said Plodprasop. Presumably foreigners will be seeing twice as much as the locals for twice the local fee.


12,000 policemen to get wet during the Songkran festival

Nopniwat Krailerg

There will be many tourists visiting the Northern provinces during Songkran, which is why the bureau chief has provided 12,000 policemen to serve and assure people and to prevent accidents.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 revealed that he had assigned police officers in the eight Northern provinces to find methods of reducing and preventing accidents during Songkran festival, targeting a decline in traffic accidents by 30 percent. The appalling statistics are 5,000 accidents in the eight Northern provinces in 2004 that led to 64 fatalities.

He has asked the police to be strict with drunks, motorcycle riders without helmets and unlicensed drivers and those not using safety belts. There will also be 156 checkpoints established along the main and minor roads to prevent accidents and drug transfers. He warns people who like to carry guns and high pressure water guns they can be prosecuted.


Police collide with Hmong drug dealers

Nopniwat Krailerg and Saksit Meesubkwang

The Pha Muang Task Force, cooperating with the narcotic suppression division of the Police Provincial Bureau Region 5, rendezvoused with drug dealers at Mae Khong River side at Baan Hua Kwan, Tambon Baan Saew in Chiang Saen district, Chiang Rai. The officers found 208,000 Ya Ba pills after pretending to buy the drugs for 500,000 baht. Two drug dealers were arrested, identified as Pan Muaseng, 69, and Wichai Muaseng, 20, both Laotians living in Baan Don, Ton Peung City, in Laos PDR, but two others were lost in the Khong River, making for a different, but welcome conclusion, however, they had been shot before falling overboard.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya checks an AK- 47 assault rifle at the press conference.

The police modus operandi was the usual scenario of having been informed by spies, acting as drug dealers, about an ongoing drug transfer from Laos to Thailand, Maj. Gen. Pairat Thongjaktu, commissioner of Pha Muang Task Force, assigned marine officers along Mae Khong River in Chiang Rai to cooperate with police to suppress this gang.

Exhibits found from the Laotian drug traffickers, 208,000 ya ba pills and an AK-47 assault weapon.

After a long vigil, a long tail boat with three men and an old woman on board chugged in from Baan Doi Thad, Laos PDR to Baan Hua Kwan, Thailand. The sting officers had set an ambush and suddenly appeared to arrest the culprits when, inevitably, shots were fired. Later it was learned that two Laotians had been shot dead, and the mother and son were arrested. 208,000 Ya Ba pills, an AK-47 assault weapon with 24 bullets and a shotgun were found.


Police return stolen Buddha image to Jetiyanusorn Temple

Saksit Meesubkwang

On March 31 several heavyweight police officers returned a Buddha image to Phra Kroo Suthep Kantigo, the head of Tambon Sanpuleuy monks in Doi Saket, Chiang Mai. The antique bronze Subduing Mara image, 5 inches on the base and 6.5 inches high, was retrieved on March 30 after it, together with two other Buddha images, was stolen from Jetiyanusorn Temple on November 6, by Phra Charawut Thammawaroe, 32, the then acting abbot of the temple.

Students dance for joy and to say thanks in front of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 after receiving the Buddha image.

On March 19, the police arrested Phra Charawut Thammawaroe and found only one Buddha image, dubbed Phra Fonesaenha, which was sold in a Bangkok market at 120,000 baht. Later, the police searched for the rest of the images, cooperating with investigation police from Doi Saket Police Station, and returned one bronze Subduing Mara image to the temple and local residents.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Police Provincial Bureau Region 5 returned the Buddha image to Phra Kroo Suthep Kantigo, the head of Tambon Sanpuleuy monks area 2 at Tambon Sanpuleuy in Doi Saket, Chiang Mai.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong said, “Thanks to all police of Police Provincial Bureau Region 5 and police of Doi Saket Police Station for having pursued these Buddha images till they were returned to Buddhists who respect them. As for the remaining image, we are searching for it and I believe that we will find it soon.”


Police suppress influential gangs and threaten police accomplices

Nopniwat Krailerg

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya chaired of a conference about controlling temptation and pirated products. The commissioner assigned officers to suppress influential gangsters in several provinces. He also reported that the 30 member strong-arm gang extorting parking fees around Chiang Mai city canal and the gang at the Night Bazaar had been captured. “Police in cahoots with the gangs, or failing to suppress them, will be punished,” he declared.

The commissioner said that many entertainment places originally applied to open as restaurants but soon changed to entertainment venues and, especially during school vacations, many underage teenagers can be found visiting such places. Police would raid these dens of underage iniquity, looking for drugs and violations of the closing hours.



Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
189/22 Moo 5, T. Sansai Noi, A. Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210
THAILAND
Tel. 053 852 557, Fax. 053 014 195
Editor: 087 184 8508
E-mail: [email protected]
www.chiangmai-mail.com
Administration: [email protected]
Website & Newsletter Advertising: [email protected]

Copyright © 2004 Chiangmai Mail. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Advertisement