Vol. VI No. 40 - Tuesday
November 27, - December 3, 2007



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Fallen soldier receives Royal condolences and hero’s funeral

Royal Flora a big hit with the public

Immigration announces new requirements for retirement visas

Rose Show this year promises to be the most enchanting ever

Chiang Mai Zoo holds religious ceremony to ward off ill fortunes

Lord Buddha’s relics at Mae Jo University

Villagers campaign for clean drinking water

 

Fallen soldier receives Royal condolences and hero’s funeral

Wiboon Sa-nguanphong, governor of Chiang Mai presents the family with condolences from the Royal family.

Saksit Meesubkwang
Mr. Wiboon Sa-nguanphong, Chiang Mai Governor was the representative to present the wreaths of their Majesties the King and Queen and the Royal Family to 1st Lt. Chatchai Krajangsut, Chief of Special Forces group 506 in Yala. He was killed after sustaining heavy injuries because of a hidden bomb on a roadside in the Bayi Village, Moo 4, Talingchan, Bannangstar.
His wife and his children are aware of the Royal families’ kindness. The body was taken to Wat Phra Singh Temple in Chiang Mai for a funeral ceremony, and the royal sponsored funeral was held on November 15th at the Kulek Graveyard in Muang District, Chiang Mai. Gen Surayut Chulanond, Prime Minister presided over the ceremony.
1st Lt. Chatchai Krajangsut is survived by hid wife, Mrs. Praiwan and 2 children Najaree 17 and ; Ms. Najaree, a 17 and Apichat, 11.
1st Lt. Chatchai who served at his post in Yala for 14 months, was promoted 9 levels in rank.

 

Royal Flora a big hit with the public

Mr Montree Yaowaratt Director of the 2006 Rachapruk Royal Project Administrative Office said that at the Royal Flora organized in honour of His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday and was held at the Expo Center Building at Rachapruk Park 2006 in Chiang Mai attracted almost 10,000 visitors each day.
On the first day the number of people who attended totalled 7,000 and on the second day more than 8 000 people visited Rachapruk 2006 Park. Tourists were thrilled by the Northern OTOP trade fair with more than 300 stalls set up.
From the opening of the event after visiting the Royal Flora, visitors liked to visit hokham luang (the Royal Tower), aakharn phuech rai din (the Soilless Vegetable Tower), ruen rom mai (the Tree Shaded House), ruen thalay sai and the Orchid Park of which the larger plant pots had fertilizer added which has helped to make them blossom even more beautifully.
There is also the aakharn mai muong naw, which has Kiwi Plants, and other plants put on show and most importantly, at the end of the month tulips will be on display for tourists.
The exhibition ended on November 25 and as of the 26th until December 10, the Agricultural Academic Department will organize a fair. On December 5 there will be a large ceremony in honour of His Majesty the King’s Birthday (CMM reporters)


Immigration announces new requirements for retirement visas

CMM reporters
The Immigration authorities have issued new requirements for foreigners wishing to apply for a retirement visa, including the need to have an ATM card and a credit card.
The Immigration Department announced the new rules early this month.
Applicants using visa application form TM 7 have to enclose their passport, a 4 x 6 cm photograph, 1,900 baht fee, proof of income (certificate of bank deposit and bank book savings account, or a fixed account for at least the last three months), and proof of an appropriate amount of money from abroad through the bank in a certain period of time, such as a certificate of transfer from abroad or copy of a banking transfer order.
In the event of having any dependents such as a husband, a wife or children, then the relationship certificate approval with Thai translation certified by the embassy or consulate must be presented.
The authorities reserve the right to ask for any additional necessary documents in the event of requiring a copy of an ATM and credit card statement, a bank statement, a bank book, and a certificate of pension from the embassy in the event the source of such an amount cannot be checked.
Regulations for taking into consideration a foreign applicant’s extension for staying in Thailand require that the foreigner be more than 50 years old, and not forbidden to enter into the kingdom. The foreigner must have financial proof of a deposited amount of no less than 800,000 baht, or a monthly income of no less than 65,000 baht, or an annual income of no less than 800,000 baht in total.
For more information please visit www.immigration.go.th


Rose Show this year promises to be the most enchanting ever

The Chiang Mai Rose Growers’ Group will be holding its annual Rose Show from the 21st to the 23rd December at J.J. Market on Asdathon Road , Amphur Muang. The show will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and can be accessed by turning left off the Superhighway just past Tesco Lotus.  Features include Cut Rose and Potted Rose competitions, demonstrations of rose propagation and the preservation of roses in silica sand, plus an advisory Rose Clinic. There will also be an exhibition of roses from the Royal Bhuping Palace . For amateur rose enthusiasts, this year’s tutorial will be on pruning and rehabilitating weak rose plants; a useful guide to successful growing.  
Free admission and convenient parking facilities. For further information, please contact the Chiang Mai Rose Growers’ Group on 081-7420242. (CMM Reporters)


Chiang Mai Zoo holds religious ceremony to ward off ill fortunes

On November 18, Mr. Thanaphat Phongphamorn, Director of Chiang Mai Zoo invited a famous Buddhist monk, Phra Khru Palatkrit Titviriyo abbot of Wat Prabat Pang Faen. Bang Faen, Doi Saket, Chiang Mai to preside over a ‘ward off ill fortune’ ceremony for visitors to the zoo.
The ceremony was held in the grounds of Wat Kudin Khaw in Chiang Mai Zoo and give food to the animal of their sign of the zodiac. The zoo put officers on duty to assist those wishing to give food to their animal zodiac birth sign.
Many visitors participated in the ceremony to ward off ill fortune.
Mr Thanaphat said that the zoo had organized the ceremonies to give visitors a chance to make merit and participate in the ill fortune ceremony. This year is the year of the Pig and those born under the year of the Pig are not charged entry into the zoo. Those born under other signs of the Zodiac can also participate in the ceremony as it is held once a month at Wat Kudin Khaw at the zoo. Those who participate in the ‘ward off ill fortune’ ceremony can also give food to their zodiac animal. Officers are on duty to assist and provide explanations on how to perform the ‘ward off ill fortune’ ceremony properly.
There are numerous ways to perform the ceremony to lessen one’s bad fortune, namely: 1. Save the life of or release an animal that is at risk of losing its life or be killed. 2. Make merit by giving property for the upkeep of animals, which is compared to giving life. 3. Make merit and participate in the religious warding off ill fortune ceremony. 4. Keep the vows and don’t offend anyone physically, verbally or mentally.
Visitors can participate in the ceremony once per month. Next month’s ceremony will be held on December15. (CMM Reporters)


Lord Buddha’s relics at Mae Jo University

On the auspicious occasion of the 80th birthday of His Majesty the King this year, Mae Jo University and Chiang Mai Provincial Authority have invited the public to pay respects to Sacred Relics of Lord Buddha which was brought from Sri Lanka recently.
This is a special occasion in honor of His Majesty the King as well as the celebration of Mae Jo University’s 75th anniversary of its establishment.

Phra Rattanasarn, leads the procession to circle the Lord Buddha’s holy relics.

The event is held from very day from 8. 00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m. at the Diamond Jubilee Sports Circle, Mae Jo University, Chiang Mai until December 15.
A parade to carry the Buddha relics to a house serving as the temporary residence at the sports center was held last week. Attending the ceremony were Dr. Amnuay Yossuk, the president of Mae Jo University Council, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Thep Pongpanitch, president of Mae Jo University, as well as a management team, were on hand to welcome the Phra Rattanasarn, deputy Supreme Patriach from Sri Lanka along with other delegates.
During the 30 days of celebrations, Buddhists attend the ceremony to pay their respects to the relics, participate in religious ceremonies to enter monkshood and become a novice, praying, worshiping, meditating and performing dharma practices. Religious performances by the Pe Ra He Ra Fine Arts troupe from Sri Lanka and the Thai fine arts troupe are also being held to mark this religious event.
This ancient Buddhist tradition allows devotees to view the relics as a way of renewing their faith. The relics are symbolic of the Buddha’s reappearance among his followers. Thus, the Buddha relics are the symbols of Buddhism qualities and characteristics of enlightenment.
Relics ensure that the presence of Buddha is perpetuated. These are always kept in monasteries, where they are enshrined in stupas. Before the first century, relics were instrumental in spreading Buddhism and establishing new centers of religious significance. (CMM Reporters)


Villagers campaign for clean drinking water

Saksit Meesubkwang
Greenpeace the independent global organisation to protect and conserve the environment revealed that levels of lead and copper in the Northern Industrial Estate in Lamphun were four times higher than the standard safety limit, and it was discovered there were unknown causes for many sicknesses in children
On November 13, 2007, 20 villagers of Ban Nongped and the Greenpeace group posted “Toxic” signs and details of genotoxic pollution on the Ban Nongped (Banklang, Muang, Lamphun) water tank, which is located in the Northern Industrial Estate in Lamphun. This was done to attract the government’s attention to protect the underground water resources.
The Greenpeace collected tap water samples from Ban Nongped for testing and discovered that the water contained four times the amount of lead and copper and eight times the amount of zinc according to the standard safety limit for Thai drinking water.
Greenpeace Southeast Asia volunteers invited the Pollution Control Department through Mr. Anukul Suthapan (Director of Industrial Waste Water, Pollution Control Department) to “bring clean water back to the community”, to listen to the villagers’ problems, and to collect water tap samples at Ban Nongped for testing.
Mr. Ply Pirom (Coordinator of toxic substances, Greenpeace Southeast Asia) said that in 2007, Greenpeace collected samples of tap water from 7 villages around the Northern Industrial Estate in Lamphun, to inspect it for toxic substances. It was found that the tap water sample from Ban Huyaped contained four times the amount of lead and copper and eight times the amount of zinc in keeping with the standard safety limit. The lead substance affects the blood system, kidneys and reproductive system, including retarding the mental development of children. Regarding the high quantity of copper, it destroys the kidneys and the liver, and high amounts of zinc will obstruct the body’s absorption of some vitamins.
Mr. Ply was hopeful that the Pollution Control Department would come to control and perform detailed tests of the water resource at Ban Nongped for genotoxic pollution, and cooperate with concerned departments to search for the source of these toxic substances. Responsibility would be given to persons associated with the leak, to take care of the problem so that the water from the water sources for this community could be used safely, including issuing rules to prevent such a problem from arising again in the future.
He disagreed with suggestions that the solution would be to replace the available natural water resources with using water from the Provincial Waterworks Authority, or buying bottled drinking water. This is because it would not solve the root of the problem. He said, “this problem must be solved at its root, and people who create these problems must bear the price for them. They cause the community to lose water resources and incur higher costs for expenses resulting from buying drinking water to replace the tap water.
Mr. Anukul Suthapan, the director of Industrial Waste Water at the Pollution Control Department, said that the water needed to be tested and analyzed to see if it really has been polluted with toxic substances. Then further steps to track down the source of such toxic substances would follow. For the moment it cannot be confirmed whether toxic substances really have contaminated the water.
Mr. Chamnong Chantaklang, the Ban Nongped village chief, said that the villagers didn’t know about the toxic water until Greenpeace tested it and found that the levels of toxic substances were higher than the safety standard. Right now, approximately 300 villagers from 30 households won’t dare to use the tap water, but they must buy drinking water instead, which incurs a higher cost for daily living. The officers associated with this have been asked to investigate and solve this problem as soon as possible.
The Ban Nongped village chief continued to say that the village’s tap water doesn’t have any sign of being unclean, because it looks clear and doesn’t have any chemical smells. However, after allowing the water to sit for a while it was found that it had cumulated thick yellow sediment. He could not offer an explanation as to what the cause was.
Regarding the villagers, no one was critically ill, but it wasn’t known if they had any accumulated illnesses. It was noticed that the children in the village always have stiffness in their bodies compared with children from other villages.
Mrs. Orapin Maneekat, a Ban Huayped representative, said that her family had already bought drinking water for some time, because she noticed the water vat in the water tank was corroded at the bottom. However, she didn’t pay much attention to it until the Greenpeace investigation, which made her afraid, so she changed to buying drinking water instead. This caused her to have more expenses. She was unsure if the problem came from the industrial park or not. She wishes for officials to inspect it and to solve the problem soon.
Mr. Danai Sarapruk, the Director of the Public Health Department, Banklang Sub-district Municipality, said that after knowing about the toxic water from Greenpeace, the Municipality had already informed the villagers provisionally for safety and for them not to use the village tap water until receiving the test results.
The Banklang Sub-district Municipality will provide drinking water for the villagers, which will reduce their expenses until the problem is solved. In the meantime a study will be conducted on the water, which is provided by the Provincial Waterworks Authority to Ban Huayped village, to see if the toxic pollution from the water resource still remains.



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