A most happy birthday to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
The entire Chiangmai Mail
staff joins the Kingdom of Thailand in humbly wishing HRH Princess Maha
Chakri Sirindhorn a long, healthy and happy life on this occasion of the
Royal Anniversary of Her Birth.
Her Royal Highness Princess
Maha Chakri Sirindhorn was born on April 2, 1955, the third child of Their
Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand.
HRH the Princess studied from kindergarten to high school at Chitralada
School in Bangkok. She ranked first in the National School Examinations in
the primary level (grade 7) in 1967 and in upper secondary level (grade 12)
Ranked fourth in the National University Entrance Examination, HRH the
Princess enrolled in the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University and
graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, first class honor, and a gold
medal in History in 1976. She continued her studies in two graduate programs
concurrently, obtaining an M.A. in Oriental Epigraphy (Sanskrit and
Cambodian) from Silpakorn University in 1978, and an M.A. in Pali and
Sanskrit from Chulalongkorn University in 1980. She enrolled in a doctoral
program at Srinakharinwirot University (former College of Education) in
1981, and was awarded a doctoral degree in Developmental Education in 1987.
The principle of using education as a means for community and social
development, which HRH the Princess acquired during her doctoral studies
along with her former experiences in the field, has provided her with a
solid base for her subsequent involvement in community development
In addition to her formal degree programs, HRH the Princess has attended
several training courses and workshops to enhance her knowledge and skills
in effective integrated development. These subjects include computer,
cartography, meteorology, survey and photogrammetry, remote sensing and
geographic information system and nutrition.
HRH the Princess has acquired first-hand experiences in working on
development projects initiated by Their Majesties the King and Queen. These
projects involve a number of diversified fields including health and
hygiene, education, water resource development, agriculture and cottage
industry by regularly accompanying Their Majesties on visits to remote areas
since the age of sixteen.
From these experiences, HRH the Princess has developed special interests in
agricultural extension to improve school children’s nutritional conditions;
supports education from pre-school to tertiary levels; and mother and child
care. She has also concentrated on helping the handicapped, especially in
using information technology (IT) to develop independent living and learning
HRH the Princess runs several philanthropic organizations and foundations.
She has been Executive Vice President of the Thai Red Cross Society since
1977; Executive Chairman of the Chaipattana Foundation (in charge of His
Majesty’s development and environmental preservation projects), Ananda
Mahidol Foundation (to promote higher education), the King Rama II
Foundation (to conserve and promote Thai Culture); President of the Sai Jai
Thai Foundation (to support disabled veterans), Prince Mahidol Award
Foundation (to award prizes annually to members of the international
community for outstanding performances in the fields of medicine and public
health); and Adviser of the Committee of Thai Junior Encyclopedia Project by
Royal Command of H.M. the King.
HRH the Princess began her teaching career in 1979 when she started teaching
the General Education Program at Chulalongkorn University. A year later, she
joined the Department of Law and Social Sciences, in the Academic Division
of Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy. Presently she is Director of the
Department of History, and has played an active part in revising its
curriculum. She also supervises the Thai Music Club at the Academy.
Occasionally HRH the Princess gives special lectures at several other
institutions and regularly attends academic conferences and seminars both in
and outside the country.
In addition, HRH the Princess represents Their Majesties in various royal
functions. She also presides over ceremonies as well as other social and
charity functions all through the year. In 1991, HRH the Princess was
awarded the Magsaysay Award for Public Service.
HRH the Princess likes to travel around the Kingdom and abroad to obtain
knowledge of physical geography and peoples’ varied lifestyles. One of her
favorite pastimes is writing articles, poetry and short stories. Proceeds
from her written accounts of her overseas travels are the main source of
income for the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Foundation which was set up
in 1979 to support needy students in schools, vocational colleges and
HRH the Princess loves Thai literature and studies literature of other
countries. She enjoys playing classical Thai instruments and practicing Thai
classical dancing. She also paints and is keen on sports, including jogging,
swimming, biking and trekking - which gives her an opportunity to learn
about plants, trees and geographical features of the areas.
In addition to her knowledge of Pali, Sanskrit and Cambodian, HRH the
Princess is communicative in both English and French and has been learning
Chinese, German and Latin.
Thailand’s costly political stalemate likely to continue after Sunday’s elections
By Denis D. Gray
With a defiant prime minister and tenacious opponents confronting one
another through daily street protests and backroom maneuvering, Sunday’s
parliamentary election appears unlikely to end a prolonged stalemate
that is taking a political and economic toll on Thailand.
The election was called by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a telecoms
tycoon turned politician, who hopes to reassert his popular mandate in
face of a strident but so far peaceful movement working for his ouster
and accusing him of corruption, abuse of power and damaging the
country’s democratic institutions.
With a mass following among rural voters who benefit from Thaksin’s
populist policies, his party is almost certain of victory at the polls.
But neither the activists nor opposition parties, who are boycotting the
election, are likely to bow quietly to the verdict of the ballot box.
The election could well exacerbate the crisis.
“Most endgame scenarios paint a bleak outcome, with a high risk of
political paralysis regardless of the election result,” a recent report
by DBS Vickers Securities said.
For a start, the new lower house of Parliament might not even be able to
convene since the law requires that all 500 of its seats be filled, an
unlikely event given the boycott and complicated electoral rules. A
hamstrung government, hounded by its opponents, might widen divisions in
Thai society and further damage the already suffering economy.
Rifts between the advantaged urban classes and the rural poor, between
political groups that once could have compromised and even, as
sociologists point out, among family members have grown worse since late
last year when the anti-Thaksin movement began to coalesce.
“The current political crisis, if protracted, could hurt investments,
confidence and tourism.... Delays in infrastructure spending,
privatization and liberalization will be inevitable,” the analysis by
the securities firm said.
Thailand’s gross domestic product growth could slow to as low as 3.2
percent from the earlier projected 4.5 percent if the conflict is not
resolved, with the country unable to move forward with several free
trade agreements and a portfolio of infrastructure mega-projects worth
up to 1.8 trillion baht (US$46.2 billion; €38.4 billion), according to
the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
The street protests are also scaring away some tourists and more
cancellations are expected. The Tourism Authority of Thailand, which
oversees the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner, says 65,000
people, mostly Chinese and Singaporeans, have already scrapped planned
Thaksin’s opponents say the country would spring back on track if he
simply exited the political stage. But the prime minister has vowed not
to give in to “mob rule,” as he calls the protests, and repeats that he
was democratically elected by a landslide in the 2005 elections.
However, he has complained about feeling old and tired and hinted he may
leave politics at some date in the future possibly a face-saving move
that would allow the proud Thaksin to step down after he wins the
“I think the premier is seeking a way out. Let’s give him time to step
down. Don’t kick him out. Why don’t we wait another couple of weeks as
he won’t resign before the general election as that would make him
appear as if he had lost,” says Wasun Potipimpanon, a prominent
But another scenario has the opposition simply running out of steam and
Thaksin riding out the storm and lasting until his term expires in 2010.
The anti-Thaksin forces are pushing for another finale to the crisis:
Thaksin resigns and the highly revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej appoints
an interim government until elections can be staged.
But the constitutional monarch prefers to stay above the political fray
and has so far given little indication he might step in as he did in
1992 when he put an end to a violent clash between protesters and the
military, ushering in an era of democratic rule.
“Royal intervention is the wrong way and sets a bad precedent for the
future of our democracy. I think royal intervention would amount to
throwing the years since May 1992 into the wastebasket,” says Thongchai
Winichakul, a Thai historian at the University of Wisconsin.
But others, like the opposition Democrat Party, argue that to save
democracy one must rid the country of a leader who has tried to subvert
it, muzzling the media, eroding the system of checks and balances and
corrupting institutions that would allow the people to replace a leader
through strictly democratic means.
“The status quo we have now, the prolonged stalemate cannot last
indefinitely because Thailand has become ungovernable,” says political
scientist Thitinan Pongsudhirak. “Our policy-making apparatus has
stalled. As long as Thaksin is forced to fight for his survival on a
daily basis he cannot be running Thailand.”
First day of senate candidate
enrollments in the Northern region
Yuparaj Wittayalai School was designated by the Election Commission of
Chiang Mai and 36 senate candidates enrolled on the first day.
When applying to enroll, a former Chiang Mai member of parliament also
presented a letter to the commission, asking them to keep a close eye on all
candidates to make sure they campaigned properly. He said that he had known
various candidates to campaign illegally; therefore he would like the
commission to make sure that all candidates stayed within the rules.
First day of senator candidate
enrollment in Chiang Mai
Sathaporn Santiboot, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Commission said he
believed that the current political situation had polarized the electorate,
but predicted a turnout of over 70 percent of residents who would exercise
their right to vote in the polls. He added that the Election Commission had
not received any reports of illegal acts, but nevertheless, would monitor
the situation closely.
In Chiang Rai, 24 candidates enrolled on the first day, amidst huge crowds
of cheering supporters, whilst in Mae Hong Son, Ekkachai Ruankam, the
Director of the Election Commission of Mae Hong Son said three candidates
applied in the first few minutes of opening.
Chiang Mai air pollution is getting worse
The Regional Environment Office in Chiang Mai tested the atmosphere in
the city and found that there is more than 200 micrograms per cubic meter of
air pollution, a large increase over the acceptable norm of 120 mg per cubic
meter. This has in turn seen a speeding up of a campaign to prevent further
pollution caused by smoke from fires, by asking people who witnessed illegal
burning off to telephone the call center and report the incident.
Apiwat Kunarak, director of Regional Environment Office 1, agreed that
during the last few weeks, air pollution in Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Chiang Rai
and Mae Hong Son had risen alarmingly. Recent evaluations of air quality in
the area of Chiang Mai on March 21 showed that the pollution had risen to
210-215 microgram per cubic meter which was considered as being in crisis
and had exceeded the figures for the previous year.
In another response, Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai Governor issued orders to
the Local Administration Organizations in Chiang Mai to set up special
organizations. These organizations are to be ready to help local people who
phone in to the Call Center in Chiang Mai, concerning any illegal
incineration that occurs in the province. Any one found lighting fires
during this crucial period will be asked to stop immediately, with
disobedience liable to punishment from the Chiang Mai Governor.
The Director of Regional Environment Office also said that there is a Call
Center for air pollution at the Regional Environment Office 1, located
inside Chiang Mai City Hall, phone number 0-5389-0000 with people on 24
hours standby ready to answer calls. Upon being called, officers will act
within 30 minutes. If it is found out that there is any illegal burning
taking place, those persons will be warned and ordered to cease their
activities. In the case of any disobedience, they will be threatened with
against GM rice in Chiang Mai
Green Peace traveled
to Chiang Mai to give advice to farmers.
Green Peace in cooperation with the Alternative Agriculture
Network (AAN), Chiang Mai, brought Northern rice to display in the
“Lanna Yoo Dee Mee Heng” event that was organized by 16 NGOs of
Chiang Mai at JJ Market on March 25, 2006.
This activity was held to express the importance of rice in
everyone’s diet and to warn people that Genetically-Modified (GM)
rice was likely to be grown in Thailand and enter the food chain
without the consumer being aware.
GM rice was already being grown extensively in China with little or
no regard for the long term effects of consuming this product. It is
claimed that without extensive testing in the field there is a
distinct possibility of cross-pollination with other less desirable
species of plant creating a monster that will spread out of control
and be resistant to conventional pesticides and herbicides.
At present, Thailand has no biological law on the statute books to
prevent contaminated, or Genetically Modified Organisms being
imported into the country. Furthermore, there is no law preventing
the importation of GMOs in food, so because there is no easily
discernable way to distinguish these products, it is extremely
likely that GM rice could enter undetected into Thailand.
This activity was held to demonstrate to Thai farmers that GM rice
was unnecessary, because there were conventional ways of planting
rice naturally, achieving substantial crops without using chemical
fertilizers; and by this method, making it safe for both farmers and
This activity was organized in three provinces of the Northern
region, Phayao, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. The activity also offered
information about GM rice and supported organic agriculture and
permanent agriculture. These two kinds of agriculture were presented
in an unusually entertaining way in the form of a play; and farmers
who were involved with organic agriculture were invited to share
their knowledge with the audience. There was also an exhibition of
different rice species and advice on planting and husbandry offered
to farmers as well.
Ministry of Culture looks for
culture in karaoke bars?
Borphit Wittayawiroj, the director of Chiang Mai Cultural Office
reported that the Cultural Office is the provincial organization responsible
for controlling online games and Internet services, in order to protect the
interests of children who use these services, and karaoke bars.
This organization ensures that online games and internet shop businesses
comply with the rules laid down in the Tape and Television Medium Control
Act, 1987, and monitor the ages of children playing online games, including
controlling the time they spend playing them. The Minister of Culture issued
his 3rd ministerial orders to the Provincial Cultural Offices on March 12th,
2006, urging them to inspect the premises of game and Internet-service
centers more regularly and ensure that the regulations were being enforced.
Chiang Mai Cultural Office has issued orders that every online-game and
Internet-service center will have to register their business, or submit a
request for their service permission. This act applies to karaoke, game and
Internet centers, which will have to request permission to provide a service
involving the use of tapes and television medium.
In the Muang Area, the application form can be submitted at the Coordinator
of Culture, Muang district located at Tilokaracha Hall, Muang District,
opposite the Three Kings monument. In other areas outside the Muang area,
the application form can be submitted at the Coordinator of Culture at the
district office in each district. Videotape rental shops, stores, and
exchanges have to fill in an application form for their tapes and television
rental, exchanging, or selling business; and submit the form at the
administration office, Chiang Mai Cultural Office, on the 4th floor of
Chiang Mai City Hall, tel. 0-5311-2595.
Undoubtedly this will now keep a small army of clerks in work for the next
North Koreans enter Thailand, hoping to be sent to a third country
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Five North Korean women voluntarily surrendered themselves at Chiang Rai
Provincial Court on March 24th, after entering Thailand illegally. A North
Korean interpreter was located to assist the police with translations and
the five women admitted entering Thailand with the hope that the Thai
authorities would order that they be sent on to a third country. The women
said they had left North Korea and had traveled by boat down the Mekong
river; eventually coming ashore in Thailand at the port of Chiang Saen. They
then caught a bus to Chiang Rai and chose the Provincial Court to surrender
themselves to the authorities.
Earlier this month on March 13, officers from Muang Police Station, Chiang
Rai also arrested two North Korean men and four women. They were each fined
2,000 baht but none of the illegal immigrants had any money. They were put
in jail for ten days instead of paying the fine and had just been released
on March 23rd. The group was sent to Mae Sai Immigration for further
processing. North Koreans entering into Chiang Rai have become a growing
problem for the province owing to the fact that they firmly believe they can
pass through Thailand into a third country.
Property seizures in five areas around Chiang Mai
Senior police officers in Chiang Mai recently reported on drug-related
property seizures that have occurred in five areas around Chiang Mai; namely
Chaiprakan district, Mae Ai district, Fang district, Hang Dong district, and
Tambon Na Wai. They gave details of houses and property that has been
seized, as a result of 11 lawsuits, with 17 people being accused. The value
of the property is approximately 35 million baht.
The officers responsible for these seizures come from the police forces in
the afore-mentioned districts, with Chaiprakan Police Station chalking up
one lawsuit and a massive total of 100 impounded properties worth 30 million
baht; three lawsuits from Mae Ai Police Station and six impounded properties
worth 683,870 baht; three lawsuits attributed to Fang Police Station; with
three properties seized worth 450,000 Baht; two lawsuits brought by officers
from Hang Dong Police Station and four impounded properties worth 168,500
baht, and finally, two lawsuits fromTambon Na Wai Police Station; with five
properties seized which were valued at 329,500 baht.
The Chaiprakan police station’s exceptionally high tally of 30 million baht
was due to the fact that the Chiang Mai Governor, together with the
commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, were able to seize
the contents of Sarana Saetang’s house, as well as his business selling
construction accessories, including a cow farm in Tambon Nong Bua,
Chaiprakan district. They also impounded property belonging to other
drug-lords in the Wei Hseuh-kang and Haw networks in Fang and Chaiprakan
district. Impounded properties included houses, land title deeds, cars, and
trucks; and also included an orange and lychee farm.
There was an urgent investigation after Chaiprakan police officers found a
Toyota car parked beside a road in See Dong Yen district. They discovered
100,000 ya ba pills hidden in the car; and a check of the car registration
number revealed that the vehicle was owned by Sarana Saetang and Pornkamon
Thepprathana, who unfortunately escaped arrest. Officers decided to issue a
warrant for the arrest of these two persons and seize the car and seized
both the criminal’s properties.
These police activities are part of their ongoing war against the
drug-dealers, with the concept “All together, eliminating illegal drugs”,
which was set by the top echelons of the drug-suppression police for the
period March 1 – August 31, 2006. This emphasizes serious hard-line
operations in order to completely eliminate illegal drugs.
Christy Sarah Jones murder investigation continues vows commissioner
Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayutthaya, Commissioner of Provincial
Police Bureau Region 5 talked with Chiangmai Mail about the progress in the
investigation of the violent death of Christy Sarah Jones, 23; an English
tourist found murdered at a guesthouse in Chiang Mai.
The murder occurred over 5 years ago on August 10, 2000. This case is still
attracting attention from various people, including the press agencies in
Europe and her relatives in England who are pressing the Thai authorities to
continue searching for the perpetrator in order to bring him to justice.
The Commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 revealed that although
this investigation has been transferred to the Department of Special
Investigation, Ministry of Justice (DSI); officers of the Provincial Police
Bureau Region 5 will also still continue to investigate this case. After he
had been promoted to his present position at Provincial Police Bureau Region
5, he has been searching for clues to the murder in cooperation with the
investigation being conducted by the DSI on the orders of Pol. Gen. Sombat
Amornwiwat, director general of the DSI.
“At the time of the murder we did everything we could; such as interrogation
and DNA examination suspects, but there was insufficient evidence to build a
case strong enough to identify the accused. In a case of murder there must
be sufficient evidence to sufficiently identify anyone to make an arrest;
especially forensic evidence and eye-witnesses,” said Pol. Lt. Gen.
Last year, Sue and Garrett Jones, the mother and elder brother of Christy
Sarah Jones, together with English Police Officers and consulate officials,
laid a wreath at the crime scene to commemorate the five years since Christy
Drug trafficking analysis
center for Chiang Mai
Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai Governor reported the seizure of property
owned by the Wei Hseuh-kang’s drug dealing network in Chai Prakan, Chiang
Chiang Mai foresaw the importance of gathering intelligence in tackling the
drugs problem, so Chiang Mai Provincial Police Station was approved to house
the proposed Narcotics Center, where information and intelligence concerning
illegal drug trafficking could be collated and analyzed. This will be the
first narcotics intelligence analyzing center in Thailand with its own data
base, which will cross-reference many aspects of information concerning
drug-dealing networks, communication, news, and finance and delivery routes.
The new Narcotics Center will be a great aid to the police in their efforts
to eliminate drug dealing. The center’s modern equipment and technology will
give them swift access to up to the minute intelligence about drug
trafficking networks, communication, and money laundering through the banks,
drug transfer routes, and drug delivery. Police officers will undergo
training courses at the center to enable them to make full use of its
facilities to bring drug offenders to justice.
The Chiang Mai Governor also said that Chiang Mai is one of main drug
trafficking routes for narcotics coming from the nearby Northern provinces,
who share over 200 km of common border with neighboring countries. Although
the amount of illegal drugs being transferred is obviously decreasing, the
drug-suppression officers are still on high alert and will continue their
efforts to rid the country of the scourge of illegal drugs.