HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chiang Mai Science museum’s new exhibition

Video game pulled off store shelves due to explicit content

Students learn Chinese

Summer camp from CDSC

Chiang Mai Science museum’s new exhibition

Vincent Leutwiler (student trainee)

The Doi Suthep Nature Study Center in Honor of HM the King now has a new permanent exhibition.

The museum was opened 1997 in honor of HM the King’s 50 years on the throne and has exhibits which are divided into six zones ranging from the hill tribes of North Thailand to natural wonders, including the creation of our solar system.

Children play the museum’s mushroom guessing game.

While the concept of the Nature Study center is exciting, for foreigners there is a problem in that 80 percent of the exhibits are explained only in Thai script.

The museum features a small theater for showing films, several interactive computer exhibits which are only in Thai and a holographic show of hill tribe games.

The museum features the works of HM the King, and for residents to learn more about the Doi Suthep area. The museum’s permanent exhibition 9.8 million baht price tag was covered by the Government Lottery Office.

The admission to the museum is free and it is located next to the zoo on Huay Kaew Road. For more information call 053941451 (Thai only).

Video game pulled off store shelves due to explicit content

Vincent Leutwiler

Major stores in America have pulled Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas off their shelves immediately after it received an adult-only rating from ESRB, Entertainment Software Rating Board, last Wednesday, due to sexually explicit content.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has been pulled off the shelves.

The AO rating states that people who play the game MUST be 18 years of age or older. The AO rating is the highest age restriction issued by ESRB and is rarely given to a game. ESRB rated the game because of the blood and gore, intense violence, nudity, strong language, strong sexual content and use of drugs.

Several major retail store chains in America, such as Target and Best Buy, immediately pulled the game off their shelves because they have a strict no AO-rated games policy.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas previously had a “mature” rating, or an age restriction of 17 years. However, because hidden, sexually explicit content, which could be accessed with the “hot coffee” module downloadable from the internet, the game’s producer, US-based Rockstar Games, was put under pressure by politicians and media watch groups to change the rating.

The adult content on the PC version of the game could be accessed by downloading the “hot coffee” patch from the internet. Initially Rockstar Games denied that the content was on Playstation2 or X-Box versions of the game, but a code breaking team from a well known American video game magazine managed to access the content on Playstation2 using a code-breaking device, widely available in most shops. Rockstar Games’ parent company, Take Two Interactive Software Inc. have now admitted the sex mini-games were included in the Playstation and X-Box releases despite previously having stated that the modifications had been crafted by hackers. The company also said it is working on a new, safer version of the game to render the explicit content inactive.

The rating system does, however, not play a big role in Thailand. A child can buy a game with any rating in Thai video game shops without needing to be of proper age. The game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is very popular in Thailand among youths. The game can be played in video game cafes all around town and even in the main walking areas of malls, such as Central Airport Plaza and Kad Suan Kaew. TVs are all over these malls where anyone can insert 10 baht and play the featured game. When it was first released, several gaming stations were put up at Airport Plaza where children as young as five could be seen playing the violent games.

Students learn Chinese

Saksit Meesubkwang

Thawat Choomchop, president of Chalermprakiat Somdej Phrasrinakarin Phayao School, said that the school now offers a Chinese language course for grades 1 - 6. This follows the increasing importance of economic expansion after the Thai government struck a free trade agreement (FTA) with China.

250 of the 720 students in the school have shown interest in learning Chinese, predicting it could support further business dealings with China.

Jaruensri Chaikat, president of Phayao Provincial Ladies Development Committee and president of Java Weed Products Group said that language is necessary for international business and to do business with China it is necessary to be fluent in the language.

Summer camp from CDSC

Vincent Leutwiler (student trainee)

The students of the Christian German School Chiang Mai (CDSC) were treated to a spectacular summer camp program to Wiang Pa Pau in their first week of summer break.

Swimming and going for a boat ride.

The program had a detective theme, entitled “Hot on the Trail” and was organized by several very dedicated teachers, the Kutscher family, Damaris Stucki, Barbara Kindler and Rebecca Kreis. It was open to any child in grades 1-6 and with sufficient German language skills.

The detective part of the program involved everybody seeing what it is like as a real detective, learning techniques used to solve crimes, including observation, clue detection, mapping, encryption and also how to take a plaster cast of a foot print or tire track.

There were even some suspicious goings-on the young detectives had to solve, using their newly learned skills, including the ‘disappearance’ of a fellow detective and their food which had been ‘stolen’.

But it wasn’t all work and no play, as they always found time to go fishing, play soccer or read from the bible together. They even learned to cook their food with pre-heated bricks which were then buried underground and covered with banana leaves with the food placed on top.

Due to the success of this summer program, the teachers will most likely organize this event again next year.

Even detectives need to cook.