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ďPothole of the NorthĒ

Where is the person with the power to make a difference?

We need more of that

ďPothole of the NorthĒ

Dear Mailbag,

Iíve been living in this beautiful northern Thai city for almost five years now and I just love it. No city can compare to Chiang Mai, it is just the best. One thing, though, needs some serious improvement which the Thai government isnít taking care of very well, the condition of roads and streets. Iíve been to a few countries and Iíve rarely seen a place with so many potholes in the road.

I took this photo yesterday on a very busy road. Now imagine this without light on a bike.

One day you can drive down this really nice stretch of road which looks really new and in good condition and the next day you drive that very same way, thereís a pothole as big as one lane in it. It wouldnít be a problem if all of us were to drive around in off-road vehicles but some of us prefer to cruise around in style with a nice car. It gets harder to see them at night and harder to judge the depth when theyíre filled with rain water.

I, for example, drive a European car, and just recently I drove through one of these giant gaps in the road which happened to be filled up with water because it rained the night before, and the muffler fell off my car. Iím serious, it was scraping the road. No big deal getting it fixed but I donít have the time and money to go to a garage to get my muffler or axle fixed because it gets banged up in the potholes which nobody from the government seems to care about.

Iíve seen the good people of Chiang Mai invest their own money in cement to fix a stretch of road which doesnít even belong to them or is their responsibility to look after. I really suggest for the government to do something about this problem or otherwise people will get more discouraged to come here.

Maybe if everybody refused to drive their cars over potholes and cause giant traffic jams, the city will address this problem. If not, the name ďRose of the NorthĒ which many travel guides like to call it should be renamed the ďPothole of the NorthĒ. Iím looking forward to some changes.

Oliver Karllson

Where is the person with the power to make a difference?

Dear Editor,

Pollution in Chiang Mai is a very big problem. But the air pollution isnít the only one which is all around us; we also have land and water pollution.

Iíll start with the air. Right now Iím sitting in my living room and if I take a peek just above my computer monitor I can look out my window and see Doi Suthep. Well, actually I can only see the outline of this mountain because a dense cloud of something is obstructing my vision. I canít really see the trees or anything else on the mountain. If it were pink I wouldnít be able to see a difference.

And why can I not see the mountain? Letís see, there are a lot of cars in this city which produce exhaust emissions which would be well above the legal level if there were actually a system which would monitor the legal levels. I could name a few countries right off the top of my head where you would be jailed if you could actually SEE the fumes coming out of the cars. This would be one reason why I canít see any trees on the mountain.

Another would be the burning of old dry leaves. Everybody does it, nobody cares about it. Why is that? Donít people think that their children might want to live here in a few years if people havenít gassed themselves to death yet? Every time I take a drive slightly outside of city bounds I see people burning a huge pile of leaves. This should be banned immediately and composts should be made for people to get rid of their old leaves and organic wastes and actually help the environment.

Now the other problems are people just dumping their garbage on the sidewalk or pumping it into a canal. But you know what, just because it disappears for you doesnít mean it disappears for every body. And the smell sometimes is absolutely unbearable.

I hope a person who has the power to make a difference will use that power to actually make a difference. I think if the prime minister would arrange some places for people to get rid of organic waste he would set a good example for everybody and the public might follow.

By the way, I am attaching a photo (taken this week in the middle of Chiangmai very near the municipality!) for you to see and I just wish that the concerned people could also smell the Ďstew of deathí and the canal dumps.

Alan Smithee,
(still) Chiang Mai

We need more of that

Dear Editor,
I would like to express my enjoyment of the Big Band Jazz and Swing Concert performed by the United States Air Force Band of The Pacific Asia. The performance at the Somsawalee Theatre was brilliant. The enthusiasm shone through the music. The compere in M. Sgt Eric Horne soon brought the band and the audience together with much hand clapping. This was a page from a chapter of the history of Jazz. The music of my teenage years back in England and seldom heard today. The piano rendition of a blues composition by the King of Thailand was a bright spark near the end of the evening performed by M. Sgt Eric Horne. What a wonderful band, what a wonderful Thai Audience, what a wonderful King.

As I said when leaving the theatre to the Payap University host spokesman, ďA wonderful evening Sir.Ē
Ray Dash
Chiang Mai