HM King Chulalongkorn the Great
Fond memories of a Great King
HM King Chulalongkorn the
This Tuesday, October 23, the Kingdom of Thailand
observes Chulalongkorn Day. It is a national holiday, and as such, all banks
and most offices will be closed for the day.
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn the Great (Rama V) was born in 1853, the son
of His Majesty King Mongkut (Rama IV) and Her Majesty Queen Thep Sirinthorn.
In 1868, He was given the title Duke ‘Meun Phikhartnaresueansurasangkas.’
HM King Chulalongkorn ascended the throne in 1868, with the title ‘Phrabat
Somdej Phra Paraminthra Maha Chulalongkorn Bodinthorn Thep Phaya Maha
Mongkut Burutsaya Ratanaraj Rawiwong Warut-tapong Saboripatara Wora
Khatiyaraj Nikarodom Jaturatana Borom Maha Chakarapaddiraj Sangart
Boromtammika Maha Raja Thiraj Boromanat Bopitara Phra Chulachomklao Chao Yoo
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn lived with one purpose in his mind and heart:
the happiness and well-being of the Siamese people. His Majesty would often
dress as a commoner and move among his people with only two or three
advisors. In this way, he could find out how his subjects really felt and
see what was happening in his Kingdom.
There is one famous story of His Majesty and two counselors who, after a
hard day’s travel, stopped at a farmer’s house to ask for a drink of water.
Rural hospitality being a hallmark of Thai people, the family asked the
three strangers to stay and have food with them. Speaking freely, the farmer
and his wife told the strangers of how their life was progressing and what
they would like to see done for their village by the ‘Great King who lives
in the Palace in Bangkok.’ The farmer’s son noticed that one of the
strangers looked familiar. He went and looked at a daguerreotype the family
had of the King. Running back to the group, the family learned that they
were serving food to the ‘Lord of Life’ in Siam. HM King Chulalongkorn the
Great did this often and thus became ‘in touch’ with the needs of the
Another story of the great love and respect happened in 1893. The territory
hungry French had formulated a plan to take the Siamese territory of Laos
and certain valuable territories on the Eastern Seaboard which produced
precious rubies and sapphires.
In a carefully formulated plan, a French warship entered the Chao Phraya
River. It was required by international law that all foreign ships fly their
colors when entering the waters of another sovereign country. The French
deliberately did not do this. When hailed by the river guard to fly their
colors, the French ignored the guard. The guard fired a warning shot over
the French ship’s bow.
The French Embassy in Bangkok was prepared in advance to carry out the plan.
Bringing a letter sent from France months before the incident, it stated
that Siam had performed an act of aggression on the French and must pay huge
The French were not prepared for what happened next. Hearing of the huge
demands, Siamese both wealthy and poor brought cartloads of jewels, precious
metals and every valuable possible to the Royal Palace and offered it to His
Majesty to keep the French out of Siam.
The French had not imagined that Siam was so wealthy and the people so
devoted to their King.
Siam was able to pay the reparations but the French, deciding this was not
enough, took all Siamese territory east of the Mekong River.
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn was wise, knowing that Siam could not resist
the French and British and held the motto of ‘giving up some so as not to
Siam lost over 160,000 sq. kilometers of territory to the French and
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn was the first Siamese monarch to visit the
West. He believed in adopting all things good from the West while Siam kept
its culture. The wise King Chulalongkorn made Russia a strong ally of Siam
to counteract the British and French influence in SE Asia. He followed the
Chinese concept of ‘have strong allies but make sure their borders are far
Many of the Royal Princes were sent to study in Russia. In His letters to
His sons, HM King Chulalongkorn wisely warned them ‘do not feel that you are
important because you are a prince. In Siam, there are many princes, whereas
in Russia there are few. Do the best you can at your studies and that is
HM King Chulalongkorn’s most noteworthy achievement in Siam was the
abolition of slavery. He did not do this in a haphazard manner as it was
done in other countries. He devised a complex method of ‘freeing’ slaves so
that older ones would not be left in poverty with no place to live. Younger
slaves were to be released by ‘stages’, responsibility falling to the owner
to see that they had a way of supporting themselves.
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn the Great is beloved of Thai people and
considered a truly ‘enlightened’ ruler among historians. His Majesty died on
October 23, 1910, after the second longest reign in the history of the Thai
He is remembered and loved by the Thai people and the date of his death is
commemorated every year. Ceremonies are held, offerings are made to his
memory and the entire student body from the university that bears his name
perform obeisance before his statue.
Locally, city officials, people from the business community, members from
local charitable organizations, the private sector and many local residents
will assemble in the morning in the field in front of Chiang Mai City Hall
to celebrate this Remembrance Day for King Rama V, all paying homage to one
of the greatest and most highly revered Kings of Thailand. Each organization
and institute will present wreaths to the King Rama V statue.
Would that all countries were so lucky to have one such enlightened ruler in
their collective histories.
Chiang Mai residents pay tribute to HM the King
Throngs of residents line up at City Hall to pay tribute to HM the
King and wish him a speedy recovery.
A large sized portrait of His Majesty was placed in front of City Hall so
residents could honor him while he recovers in hospital.
Two books were placed in front of his portrait and well wishers formed lines
to sign the book and enter personal words of encouragement and thanks.
These tributes are being held around the country as hundreds of thousands of
people gather to express their love and devotion to His Majesty the King.
HM the King
His Majesty the King was making a gradual recovery from
his illness, as doctors said his appetite last Friday was improving and he
could perform more exercise to regain strength.
In its seventh statement on the King’s health, the Royal Household Bureau
said the King’s body temperature had come down to a normal level and
infection on his large intestines had improved.
The result of his blood test showed the inflammation of the small
diverticulum of the colon had progressively decreased. The King could
perform exercises to regain strength and was able to have more food,
according to the statement.
Meanwhile, a huge throng of people from all walks of life continued to show
up at Siriraj hospital to wish His Majesty a speedy recovery.
The King has been hospitalized since last Saturday, October 13. TNA
Growing with Chiang Mai
Translated literally, “Chiang Mai” means “New City” – and indeed with every
passing week it seems that a slightly new Chiang Mai emerges – closer to the
status of a great city and a great tourist attraction. Two weeks ago a
highly respected travel magazine listed its choices for “top destinations.”
Chiang Mai placed as the third favorite city in Asia. For those of us who
make Chiang Mai our home, this selection is just a reinforcement of what we
With this issue, the Chiang Mai Mail celebrates its fifth anniversary. We
pledge to continue to provide our readers with coverage of local events,
entertainment, social and/or political happenings, restaurant reviews and
the writings of regular columnists who bring practical advice to those of us
living away from our home country. We now print over 4000 copies per week
that are distributed in more than 150 locations.
Two immediate changes are significant only as examples of things to come. We
hope our new logo will give a fresh look to the cover page each week. With
this issue we also say good bye to the out-dated spelling of “Chiangmai” and
from now on will be known as The Chiang Mai Mail.
I have served as Managing Editor for only a short time. I have, however,
lived in Chiang Mai for the past three years and have witnessed tremendous
change. The city is growing both in population and in land mass as more and
more housing developments appear within the city and on all sides of the
official city limits. More international airlines are conveniently taking us
to destinations considered impractical just a short time ago. More hotels
and guest houses are opening – at all levels of service – from owner
occupied venues to five star international hotels. Supermarkets now provide
many of the products we were accustomed to in our home countries. Internet
Service Providers are striving to provide better and faster service, and
Cable companies are adding more and more channels.
With this change comes a need for long range planning. Our new Mayor and
other elected officials seem determined to complete stalled projects from an
earlier era and to introduce new projects which improve our infrastructure.
Plans have been introduced to create new wider roads, to upgrade existing
roads, to continue pursuing a flood management plan, and to change not only
the look of public spaces with more trees and flowers, but to make those
public spaces safer and more accessible to all.
We pledge to continue this spirit of growth and change within our own
organization. Five years is a long life for a community newspaper. Most of
our staff are volunteers who write as a service to their city—without any
compensation other than the reward of a job well done. Publishing a weekly
newspaper demands absolute dedication. Within the context of a bi-lingual
operation, we are aware of the challenge to keep our newspaper relevant to
the lives of our readers. We report not only past events, but what is
happening now, and what is yet to come—and to some extent interpret the
significance of that information to the life of a non-native reader.
The Chiang Mai Mail remains an important force in Chiang Mai and I am
reminded of this every day through phone calls, emails and letters from
readers—young and old. Our readers are intelligent, professional, cultured,
and well-traveled. They demand useful information that is both timely and
interesting. We owe our presence every week to our readers but also our
loyal advertisers. Feedback from each of these sources keeps us humble and
I will continue to strengthen our editorial coverage by providing more local
news, local sports, school news and more community events. We hear you and
we agree! We always welcome your contribution of news tips, photos, and
story ideas. As our city grows and our readership grows, the editorial staff
faces many challenges. We are up to those challenges and thank you for your
I am grateful to our employees, our contributors, our readers and our
advertisers. Change in our city and our newspaper are unstoppable. I look
forward to the future of this newspaper and to the future of this important
and dynamic city.
Kicking and Screaming
Vol. 1 - Issue. No. 1
26 October 2002
Vol. VI - Issue. No. 35
23 October 2007
Dr. Iain Corness
Kicking and screaming. Does that describe the staff of the
publishing company? Or the newspaper itself? Or perhaps the readership? Or
perhaps all three?
After five years of association with your Chiang Mai newspaper I must
honestly report that it is indeed all three, but for different reasons, and
in different ways.
The first group, the publishing company, has had its fair amount of
excitement, traumas, highs and lows. Nobody would deny that it has been a
hard road from time to time. When management problems looked like bringing
the whole company down, it certainly was a time when it appeared that
kicking and screaming as the project looked like foundering was a
possibility. However, some very clear and determined thinking in the
publishing group managed to keep the project alive with a web version during
the hiatus when the newspaper disappeared from the newsstands. But those
days are now fortunately behind us. The publishers can see the way ahead.
The screaming is over.
Kicking and screaming in the newspaper itself had also been noted. A failure
to note and follow tell-tale signs that were being given, produced internal
problems that affected both content and depth in the newspaper. But most
reporters and writers stuck by the publication and new growth in the
newspaper began again. The content is expanding. The depth is coming. The
kicking is over.
What about our readership? It too has done its fair share of kicking and
screaming at us, and at times we deserved it. Sure, there were extenuating
circumstances, but Chiang Mai wanted a weekly newspaper, and we stumbled at
times. Forgive us and help us as we go forward from our five year
anniversary. We got this far, and we are firm in our resolve to see you
through the next five, ten, twenty years, and even further. Chiang Mai Mail,
its publishers and its staff promise you that the resolve that published the
first edition of Chiang Mai Mail is still there. And it is stronger with the
benefits of five years of hindsight and five years more experience.
The new Chiang Mai Mail is your weekly newspaper, published in the English
language, and it is here in the North to stay. Thank you for your support.
City plans biggest ever
Loy Krathong festival
Mark your calendars – Loy Krathong activities begin November 18th
and run through the 25th. The official start date is November 22.
Mai’s Mayor Pang officially announces the biggest and grandest Loy Krathong
the city has ever seen will kick off on November 18th.
The Municipality of Chiang Mai plans to hold the biggest ever Loy Krathong
or Yee Peng festival this year, according to Madame Mayor Dr. Duentemduang
This year the Loy Krathong celebrations will honor the grand celebration of
the 80th birthday of His Majesty the King on December 5.
Official celebrations will begin on November 22 at the Three Kings monument
in the old town with Krathong floats making their way around the city. A
contest will be held to select the most beautiful floats.
In addition, there will be a Miss Yee Peng beauty contest with the most
beautiful girls from the North competing in traditional Thai costumes.
Special lighting and decorations will cover the city to celebrate the
occasion and the Mayor said a “clean–up campaign” will be also launched to
keep the city clean as thousands of tourists descend on the Chiang Mai for
this yearly spectacle.
This year’s theme is the Lanna culture and it will be grandiose according to
Warnings will go out to residents regarding the ban on fireworks and alcohol
during Loy Krathong. The Mayor added it was necessary to avoid people
A haven for pedophiles
Corrupt law enforcement, sex networks provide
cover for pedophiles in Asia
Michael Casey, Associated Press Writer
In an Internet exchange intercepted by Cambodian police, two
teachers - apparently foreigners - discuss how easy it is to pick up mostly
homeless boys between 10 and 14 years old and bring them to their apartments
“I am having a wonderful time with them sexually. Some of them are very
interesting. There is never a dull moment,” one of the teachers wrote,
according to a transcript published in 2004 by Beyond Borders, a Canadian
organization combating sexual abuse of children. “Last night, four boys
spent the night and I like all four of them.”
A high-profile manhunt in Thailand last week for a suspected pedophile
highlights how Southeast Asia has become a magnet for pedophiles. Some
commit their crimes with relative impunity, walking hand-in-hand with
underage girls in Bangkok or with boys in a resort hotel on the Indonesian
island of Bali. Some work as English teachers, giving them access to
Across the region, hundreds of thousands of children are believed to work in
the sex trade, mostly in Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the
“Everything here makes the crime easy,” said Rosalind Prober, president of
Beyond Borders, who is visiting Bangkok.
“This can be an open crime in Thailand when Western men are obviously in
front of people carrying on in this way,” she said. “It becomes normalized
so they don’t think they are doing anything wrong.”
Some pedophiles use secretive rings in cyberspace to find their victims. The
networks offer tips on the best places to meet children or arrange sexual
rendezvous in luxury condos or on private yachts.
To get access to such networks and earn credibility among their fellow
pedophiles, individuals often must provide evidence of sex acts they have
committed with children.
Others turn to jobs like teaching or tutoring that gives them ready access
to youngsters. Teaching English is especially popular because jobs are easy
to get and the position carries with it a level of authority that makes it
difficult for the children and even their parents to question abuses.
“The children are sitting ducks. This is their teacher. This is someone you
trust and tells you what to do,” Prober said. “You very quickly get trapped.
There is such a level of control and power by a teacher. It’s multiplied
when it comes to a foreign teacher.”
Poverty contributes to the problem. Many of the victims are the poorest
children, including beggars, street children and the homeless.
“It’s all a manifestation of poverty that creates the vulnerabilities,” said
Richard Bridle, UNICEF’s deputy regional director for East Asia and the
Pedophiles also take advantage of Asian legal systems where cash bribes can
lead to charges being dropped or victim’s relatives and other witnesses
suddenly changing their stories.
Asian governments have begun to address the problem, enacting tough laws and
moving to convict pedophiles in Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia. Thailand,
for example, has toughened its screening process for teachers since the high
profile case of John Mark Karr last year.
Karr, who had worked as an English teacher in Bangkok and South Korea, made
headlines when he claimed to have killed 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, a long
unsolved murder in the United States. He was arrested in Bangkok and flown
back to the United States, only to be freed when DNA tests failed to place
him at the crime scene.
“It is very good now that we have the police help us screen teachers to make
sure there is no previous (criminal) record,” said Poramit Srikureja, an
assistant chairman of the Christian school in Bangkok where Neil taught. “It
is a lot more difficult now to get teachers.”
The Neil case, experts said, shows that law enforcement agencies are better
coordinating their activities and giving priority to pedophilia cases.
“We are beginning to see a trend going toward better laws, better policing
and more awareness within public that this isn’t acceptable,” Bridle said.
“I see this particular case as a great cause of optimism and great cause for
redoubling efforts to both catch these people committing these crimes but
also looking at vulnerabilities that underlie why children become victims.”
Night Safari feed
suppliers fight for land
Dee Jantakalak (left),
representing the farmers, hands over a petition to provincial official
A seven rai plot of land that is being used by villagers to grow feed for
animals at the Night Safari has become the latest conflict in the problem
plagued tourist attraction.
Last week some 30 farmers who formed the Animal Food Production enterprise
were joined by farmers from neighboring Mae Hia, Nong Kwai and Suthep and
showed up at Chiang Mai city hall to protest a move by the Agricultural
Promotion and Development Office who wants to reclaim the land to build an
The farmers protest petition was handed over to provincial official Chumporn
Dee Jantakalak, the enterprise’s president, said that the 7 rai of alleged
public land had been deserted and used by the villagers in the three tambons
to feed their animals for the past 30 years. Since the opening of the Night
Safari was established, the group of farmers had been using the land to grow
grass and sell it to the Night Safari.
Then came along the Agricultural Promotion and Development Office - Region 6
and asked the farmers to move out of the area citing that the land would be
used for the construction of an office building even though there is no
title deed for the piece of land.
The provincial government official informed the farmers that he will take up
the matter with the Governor of Chiang Mai who may have the final decision
on who gets to use the plot of land.
HM the King endorses
Election Day decree
His Majesty the King has endorsed a Royal Decree
determining Thailand’s next general election be held on December 23rd of
HM the King signed the Royal Command endorsing the decree last Thursday,
according to Cabinet Secretary-General Surachai Phuprasert, giving the royal
seal of approval to the current election process.
The Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary has already returned
the decree to the Cabinet Secretariat and it is expected the decree will be
published in the Royal Gazette on October 24 and take effect on the
following day, said Mr. Surachai.
The planned December 23 general election is seen as a solid move towards
democracy by Thailand after the kingdom has been under the military rule for
over one year since a bloodless coup on September 19, 2006.
The upcoming poll is being seen as evidence proving that a full restoration
of the Thai democracy is ready to proceed and the current leaders are
committed to their promise to return sovereignty to the people by holding
the poll within a year after the coup. TNA
Deputy PM and governors
talk about poverty
Deputy Prime Minister Kosit Panpiamrat held a meeting at Chiang Mai city
hall last week to discuss the ongoing rural development and poverty
eradication projects that are taking place in eight Northern provinces.
The governors from the provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun,
Lampang, Phrae, Nan, Phayao and Mae Hong Son met with the deputy PM to
review the progress being made in each state and to inform the deputy PM on
the current situation.
The rural development and poverty eradication projects were initiated by the
current government to provide assistance to those in need.
The deputy PM said that some of the older projects which began under the
Thaksin government may be revised to better suit the needs of the people.
He added that he expected the next government to follow through on these
Fake 100 dollar bill bust
The chief of security at a casino in Tachilek, Myanmar and two
others were detained by police in Chiang Rai and charged with smuggling fake
US bank notes.
bundle of counterfeit 100 dollar bills seized by police in Chiang Rai.
Courtesy of Chiang Rai’s Provincial Police Division Investigation Unit.
The three suspects were identified by police as Charoen Wannawong, 60, a
resident of Fang district, Chiang Mai who works as chief of the security at
a casino, Vichien Boonket, 63, a resident of Chiang Rai and Vinai Serncheep,
43, a resident of Bangkok.
Police were tipped off that the three men were transporting and attempting
to sell counterfeit US 100 dollar notes. As police approached the suspects
gathered in the parking lot of the Big C store in Chiang Rai, the alleged
smugglers tried to escape and struggled with police when they were detained.
A search of their belongings produced 180 fake 100 dollar bills that are
re-sold on the black market at 800 baht a piece according to the police.
of the suspects puts up a struggle as undercover police in Chiang Rai take
him into custody. Courtesy of Chiang Rai’s Provincial Police Division
The suspects claimed that foreigners playing in the casino in Tachilek gave
the suspects the counterfeit bills.
The police believe the suspects are part of a bigger smuggling ring and
expect more arrests to take place.
Police Major General Songtham Artchapat, the commander of Chiang Rai
Provincial Division said one of his officials had received a tip-off and an
investigation ensued leading to the arrest of the three men.
Suspect Charoen admitted to police that they were transporting the fake
dollar bills to hand over to someone from Bangkok.
According to the police currency smuggling is common in the border towns of
Mae Sai, Chiang Saen, and Chiang Khong.
to be reopened soon
Chiang Mai province is preparing to reopen Kiw Phawok
border pass for trade between Thailand and Myanmar. It is anticipated that
more than 50 million baht per month of trade will be generated with this
border crossing that connects Kiw Phawok with Pong Pakhem, a mostly Shan
village in Myanmar.
Chiang Mai governor Wiboon Sa-nguanphong and his team held a meeting at the
Border Operations Center in Chiang Dao to promote the opening of Kiw Phawok
Border Pass as soon as possible to facilitate cross border trade and
investment between the two countries.
The unrest in Myanmar is now under control said the Governor and they have
received requests from local business operators and locals.
The Thai military have submitted proposals to their counterparts in Myanmar
and anticipate that there will be no problems.
The opening of the border post is expected to generate more than 50 million
baht in trade per month principally through consumer goods, buffalo imports
and agricultural products.
The government agencies involved includes the Chiang Mai Trade Organization,
Immigration, Customs, Public Health, Police, Military and local volunteers.
The Livestock Department will set up a quarantine zone for animals on a 5
rai plot of land and a border market will also be opened. Officials stated
that these facilities will be opened as soon as possible. CMM Reporters