Vol. V No. 5 - Saturday January 28 - February 3, 2006
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FEATURES
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Frosty phenomenon at Doi Angkhang

National Children’s Day 2006 in Chiang Mai

Frosty phenomenon at Doi Angkhang

Royal Project Foundation

Frost coating on Chinese Lily.

With the coming of the winter season, many tourists travel to Chiang Mai; to see a rare and unusual sight. One, it could be said, that many Thais have never seen before in their lives.

The final destination of these tourists is the summit of Doi Angkhang, in Fang district Chiang Mai province, where, wending wearily up the precipitous roads toward the upper slopes, they see before them a sight that will remain etched in their memories for the rest of their days. There is a scene of ethereal beauty, the trees and bushes glistening in the rays of the rising sun, a sight so incredible it brings tears to the eyes. To view this magical wonderland is why everybody has risen from their beds at such an unearthly hour and braved the teeth-chattering cold. Namely, to see “The Frosty Phenomenon”!!

The staff of Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang showing the dew that changed to frost which turned the plastic white covering the strawberry plot.

With Thailand’s climate being tropical for the most part, people living in the central and southern parts of the country have never experienced frost. Indeed, even those living in the lowland areas of the north might say it gets a little chilly when the sun goes down, but usually the temperature stays above zero. It is only in the winter on the higher mountains in the north of the country that the temperature can fall at nights to below zero. On January 4th and 5th, 2006, the temperature on Doi Angkhang fell to zero, causing the dew on the leaves and grasses to freeze. When this occurred the whole landscape turned white and created a scene of incredible beauty. The frost, or Moei Kab in northern language, or Mae Ka Ning in northeastern language, giving cause for concern when it occurred around the vegetable and fruit plots of the Royal Agricultural Station at Angkhang in Fang district Chiang Mai province.

The picture of frost-bitten plants.

As recently as 1976, only a few trees and grasses grew on Doi Angkhang, the whole area having been cleared for opium growing. In the dry season, the atmosphere would be thick with smoke from burning the forest in preparation for mobile plantation, growing opium, and clearing ground for the red and white Angkhang apricots grown by villagers. Older residents of the local villages recall that the lowest temperature they have ever experienced around the Angkhang valley, which lies 1400 meters above sea level, was minus 10 degree Celsius during November to January. Jamras Inthorn, a member of the staff of the Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang who has worked here for more than 30 years said that in his life of work at Angkhang, he had never been faced with weather cold enough to make a thermometer explode which he thinks must be lower than minus 10 degrees Celsius. During that period, many annual crops such as Red Kidney beans and coffee were frost-affected and withered. Between 5-8 a.m. we could see the frost on apricot stems, but hopefully they will survive. During the frosty weather he likes to make lollipops by putting red and green syrup in a cup outdoors at night. The next morning, that syrup would be frozen into a lollipop. He also makes Kra Dang curry, a local northern Thai food which goes to a jelly in cold weather.

Like country dwellers the world over, Jamras relies on his experience to forecast when the frost is likely to occur. Usually, seven days prior to the temperature falling to zero, he will notice three significant events. First, the skies over Doi Angkhang will be cloudless. Secondly, the temperature between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. will be abnormally hot; around 28-38 degrees Celsius. The last sign is that we would see steam spouting out from two spots in the Sinkhole valley near the helicopter park.

Frost damage on Ornamental Brassica.

Frosty peach flowers.


National Children’s Day 2006 in Chiang Mai

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai Governor presided
over the Children’s Day opening ceremony at Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna.

Children playing on a jet plane Every year the second Saturday of January is devoted to Children’s Day. On this day children are taken out by their parents, to join in the many activities that have been organized especially for children by both government organizations and the pri-vate sector. This year, PM Thaksin Shinawatra gave his Children’s Day message, being “Those wanting to be intelligent should keep reading and thinking.” (Presumably he meant Chiangmai Mail and not Sondhi Lim-thongkul’s Manager Daily.)

Chiang Mai PAO organized various activities where their parking area was converted to a children’s amusement park containing many different attractions, with toys, dragon castle, divine altar, magic bag, amazing science, computer robot, environment, agriculture, art and languages. Alongside all this, there were foods and drinks provided, including gifts and toys. Children could play on everything free of charge and almost one thousand children took advantage.

Children playing on a jet plane at Wing 41, Chiang Mai.

Not to be outdone, Raja-mangala University of Technology Lanna also prepared many activities for children and this extravaganza included stage shows and entertainments organized by different faculty students of the university.

In addition, games, chil-dren’s performances, music and many more activities were organized by the Public Relations Office Area 3, on Chang Klan Road, including giving the youngsters the opportunity to be a TV news reporter!

One of most popular places that the children like to visit is Wing 41, Chiang Mai. The thousands of children attended this ever popular venue, to see jet planes and a spectacular air show put on by pilots from the Royal Thai Air Force. However, those passengers from Chiang Rai who were forced into a holding pattern for more than one hour over Phitsanulok were not as enthralled.

Children showing great interest in an army weapon and model.

Chiang Mai University also provided activities for children and Chiang Mai Zoo and Chiang Mai Night Safari proved popular with the children also.

The private sector, not to be outdone, did its part on the day with Central Airport Plaza and Kad Suan Kaew stores preparing a fun filled day for the children to enjoy. Kad Suan Kaew provided a dinosaur zone for children to experience along with many other games and attractions, which because of its popularity and location, caused a traffic jam on Huay Kaew Road.

Children’s Day was originally the idea of Ed Kulkanee, a representative of the International Children Security Federation who introduced the National Children’s Day to encourage citizens to pay attention to children’s importance and to stimulate children to think about their own self-worth.

The first Children’s Day in Thailand took place on the first Monday of October, 1955. Later in 1963, this was changed to be held on the second Saturday of January.

Kitty joined Children’s Day at Chiang Mai PAO.

Future artist coloring a plaster model.

Very happy with amusement instruments provided free at Chiang Mai PAO.

Children interested in an army weapon.

Children’s performance at Lanna Hall, Central Airport Plaza

Wing 41 attracts many children and parents to visit on Children’s Day.

Many children joined in Children’s Day activities at Kad Suan Kaew Department Store.