Vol. VIII No. 2 - Tuesday
January 13 - January 19, 2009



Home
Automania
News
Business
Book-Movies-Music
Columns
Community
Art, Music & Culture
Happenings
Dining Out & Entertainment
Features
Academia Nuts
Letters
Social Scene
Sports
Travel & Tourism
Chiang Mai FeMail
Daily Horoscope
Cartoons
Happy Birthday HM Queen Sirikit
Current Movies in
Chiangmai's Cinemas
Advertising Rates
Classifieds
Back Issues
Updated every Tuesday
by Saichon Paewsoongnern


NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Funeral rites for former Abbot held at Wat Suan Dok

Long-tailed boat capsizes in Kok River

New Year park visitor numbers exceed control recommendations

Former US President to help build homes for needy in Chiang Mai

Kayan hill tribe aid road safety campaign

ASEAN Summit to be held in Hua Hin

Government committee will inspect entertainment venues

Random drug-screening urine tests carried out on Mae Hong Son students

Fuel shortages in Pai affect tourists over New Year

Global economic slowdown hits SMEs in Chiang Mai

 

Funeral rites for former Abbot held at Wat Suan Dok

Crowds pay their last respects as flames rise from the funeral pyre
of Phra Amornweti at Wat Suan Dok on December 28.

Saksit Meesbukwang
The funeral of Phra Amornweti (Wan Khemjaree), Wat Suan Dok’s former abbot, who died at the age of 79 after a 2 year battle with lung cancer, was held on December 28. The funeral rites at Wat Suan Dok were led by Chiang Mai’s senior monk, Phra Wisutthikhun, accompanied by senior and high-ranking monks in Chiang Mai together with Phra Amornweti’s students and followers.
Phra Amornweti was born to a small family in tambon Baan Paen, in Lamphun’s Muang district, on April 28, 1929, and spent 59 years as a member of the Sangha. He was ordained at his local Wat Pasang Noi, and resided there before he began his intensive studies. In 1953, he gained the por tor 5 level from Wat Phrathat Haripunchai, and in 1981, he graduated with a master’s degree in sociology from Benaras Hindu University, India. He was famous for his expertise in reading Lanna sermons.

 

Long-tailed boat capsizes in Kok River

Rescue workers on the river bank stretcher
an injured passenger from the capsized long-tail boat.

Saksit Meesubkwang
A long-tailed boat transporting a group of tourists along the Kok River in Chiang Rai province capsized after crashing into underwater tree stumps, resulting in 2 injuries. The boat was one of a group of 3 which had been hired to take visitors from a village in Mae Sai district to the 5th Chiang Rai Beautiful Flower Festival being held at Had Chiang Rai. The injured were taken to a local hospital for treatment.
41 year old Pensri Moonil told reporters that she and a group of her friends had planned to visit the flower festival after touring the Karen Ruammit village and riding elephants and had hired the boats to transport them to the festival site. She had been flung into the water when the boat capsized, but had suffered no injury, although the group had lost digital cameras and mobile phones.
As a result of the accident, the local police commander is calling for more safety measures on long-tailed boats during local festivals, including life-jackets. He also stated that, if it was found that the owner of the boats had been negligent, he would be prosecuted.


New Year park visitor numbers exceed control recommendations

Thai and foreign revellers flocked to Chiang Mai province’s top tourist destinations for the New Year holiday. Popular destinations in the area were Doi Inthanon National Park, the number one visited site in the country, and the San Kamphaeng hot springs, where visitors bathed and soaked in the thermal pools.

CMM Reporters
Doi Inthanon National Park was ranked ‘most visited’ during the New Year holiday period, with visitor numbers totalling 69,319 over the 5 days, 16,627 of whom arrived on January 1. The high numbers exceeded the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department’s visitor control measures introduced last July, which allow only 3,000 visitors per day.
The ‘top ten’ national parks are Doi Inthanon, Huay Nam Dang, Doi Pha Hom Pok, Doi Suthep-Pui, Phu Kradung, Khao Yai, Kaeng Krajarn, Erawan, the Surin islands and the Similan islands.
The third-ranked Huay Nam Dang welcomed 60,319 visitors over the 5 day holiday, against a daily allowance of 850; Doi Suthep-Pui accommodated 32,985 during the 5 days against the recommended 2,790 per day. Only Phu Kradung did not reach the maximum allowance of 5,000, with just 3,000 visitors staying at the park, mainly due to the deterrent effect of the tough walk to the park’s famous cliff.
Upai Wayupat, the department’s director general, has admitted that the control measures were ineffective, but added, “Despite the ineffective measures, the parks have provided measures to tackle possible problems. Staff have been assigned duties to facilitate visitors, more camping areas have been provided for their convenience, and the use of songthaews to transport visitors on Doi Inthanon mountain has helped relieve the crowds.” He did not, however, touch on the effect on the parks’ environments and fragile ecosystems of the extremely high level of visitor numbers overall.


Former US President to help build homes for needy in Chiang Mai

Habitat for Humanity plans to build 82 homes for Thai families in need as a present to the His Majesty the King in honor of his 82nd birthday in 2009.
The 82 homes, to be built in Chiang Mai, will be the centerpiece of the 2009 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.
“We plan to honor His Majesty with this important project, which will focus on how we work with families to transform their lives and those of their children for themselves and for their country,” said Dr. Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, a member of Habitat’s international board of directors and vice chancellor of St. John’s University in Bangkok.
Every year since 1984, former US president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn have donated one week of their time – and their building skills – to Habitat.
The Carters will join thousands of volunteers in building houses and bringing attention to the need for decent and affordable housing to countries along the Mekong River. The event will also launch a five-year Habitat for Humanity campaign to assist families across this part of Southeast Asia.
The site in Muang Lane sub-district of Chiang Mai will be the main location for the 2009 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. The event runs from 15-20 November 2009.
The week-long 2009 building project will secure homes in partnership with more than 200 families, and will initiate projects to provide tens of thousands more homes.
Several Thai and international companies have already indicated their support for the project. Early sponsors are set to include Thai-based G Steel Public Co. Ltd, a leading Southeast Asian steel maker. Others indicating their support include US based Delta Airlines, Citigroup Inc., The Dow Chemical Co. and Cisco Systems Inc., along with Nissan Motor Co. of Japan.
During the week, Habitat volunteers from around the world will also be building in four other countries which border the Mekong River. Builds will take place in rural communities in Yunnan, southwestern China; outside Vientiane, capital of Laos; in slum areas of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh; and in a fishing village in northern Vietnam.
The Mekong region – defined to include Vietnam, Yunnan province in China, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia – has seen significant economic growth in the past 20 years. Yet it is still home to some of the poorest families in Asia. Nearly one third of the population of an estimated 250 million lives in poverty, many living on less than the equivalent of one US dollar a day.
The 2009 Carter Work Project will mark the fourth time the former US president and his wife have built with Habitat for Humanity in Asia. Previous Carter Work Projects were held in India in 2006, in South Korea in 2001 and in The Philippines in 1999.
(Source Habitat for Humanity)


Kayan hill tribe aid road safety campaign

Kajohn Boonpath
A road safety campaign timed to coincide with the New Year week was launched December 30 at Mae Hong Son’s ‘Fish Cave,’ headed up by members of the Kayan hill tribe. Thongchai Wongrianthong, Mae Hong Son governor and the head of the province’s Land Transportation Office, presided over the opening ceremony.
The province’s mountainous terrain and narrow, curved roads are known to cause problems for visitors unused to the driving conditions, resulting in a high level of accidents in the area. Two hours after the campaign’s opening ceremony, two further accidents occurred in the locality, with a visitor from Yala province being severely injured after he lost control of his motorcycle, and two pick-up trucks colliding and slightly injuring a number of passengers.


ASEAN Summit to be held in Hua Hin

CMM reporters
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has announced that the 14th ASEAN Summit will be held from February 27 to March 1 in Hua Hin, the fourth change of venue for the meeting. The southern resort, 150 kilometres from Bangkok, is the site of His Majesty the King’s summer palace, and a stronghold of Democratic Party supporters.
PM Abihist stated that his reason for the change of venue was to avoid possible protests by demonstrators either in Bangkok, the recently announced site of the summit, or in the alternative venue, Chiang Mai.


Government committee will inspect entertainment venues

Thailand’s Ministry of Interior has issued stringent new measures, including the establishment of a special committee to inspect entertainment venues monthly, to prevent tragedies as happened in the fire at Santika Club on New Year’s Eve.
Interior Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul chaired a meeting last week of agencies relevant to fire and safety procedures at entertainment venues to lay out stringent security and prevention measures.
He said special units will inspect entertainment venues once a month and will take legal action against offenders, including the possible revocation of their licenses.
A special committee has been set up to head entertainment venue inspections, with sites having an area of over 200 square metres being required to submit certificates of building inspections having taken place. The meeting also approved criteria for fire prevention systems and visitor limitation.
Minister Chaovarat ordered governors of all provinces to inform the owners of entertainment venues to take more care with the safety of their patrons and pay particular attention to lighting, fire prevention systems, stage performance equipment and the limitation of visitor access. (TNA)


Random drug-screening urine tests carried out on Mae Hong Son students

Kajohn Boonpath
Mae Hong Son province has targeted 15,000 students in 80 schools and colleges for random urine tests to screen suspect drug users, in an effort to control student narcotics usage. The local Drug Combating Centre, in cooperation with the Education Commission, recently carried out tests at the Nawamintrachinee Vocational College as part of its anti-drug campaign aimed at academic institutions.


Fuel shortages in Pai affect tourists over New Year

Heavy traffic in Mae Hong Son over the holiday period led to severe fuel shortages in Pai district.

Khajohn Boonpath
Mae Hong Son’s Pai district suffered a severe fuel shortage for two days over the holiday period due to supplies from Chiang Mai being held up because of traffic congestion on narrow roads in the area, and the effect of the New Year celebrations on employees at Chiang Mai’s oil reserve station, which was out of service. More than 50 cars were marooned at gas stations, and benzene and gasohol were in short supply.


Global economic slowdown hits SMEs in Chiang Mai

The global economic slowdown has bitten into the revenue of SMEs in Chiang Mai, many of whom are struggling to stay afloat due to rapidly dwindling sources of income.
Chiang Mai’s House of Celadon is currently holding a massive sale in an attempt to attract more buyers in order to reduce high stock levels caused by a sharp drop in foreign customers. The owner, Thatsanee Yaja, admitted that exports had decreased by 80%, after export markets in the USA and Europe were hit hard by the financial crisis, saying “I’ve never been in this situation since I started this business twenty years ago. In the past, we still had some opportunities in crisis but this time we face both internal and external factors. For each 100 pieces we used to sell, we are now selling 40.”
According to a report by the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, the city’s SMEs cover mostly the handicraft, textile and tourism sectors. Some 200 factories and businesses, out of 30,000 in the city, have already closed down. The rest are trying to adjust their operations to survive.
“Laying off workers is not an option now. Companies, especially those in the hotel and service sector, are trying to survive by reducing overtime and working hours and days,” said Arkom Supangpao, Chiang Mai-Lamphun SMEs Association President.
The Chiang Mai chapter of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) had reported previously that SME business in the city was valued at approximately 110 billion baht each year. For 2009, however, it is projecting that the figure is expected to shrink by 20 percent, as most SMEs rely on exports. Concerned business operators have urged authorities to take the matter into account as it could affect the overall economy of the city.
“Our businesses will survive if low interest loans with the extended payback period of non-performing loans are provided,” said Veerayuth Sukwattako, Chairman of the Chiang Mai FTI. (TNA)



Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
189/22 Moo 5, T. Sansai Noi, A. Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210
THAILAND
Tel. 053 852 557, Fax. 053 014 195
Editor: 087 184 8508
E-mail: [email protected]
www.chiangmai-mail.com
Administration: [email protected]
Website & Newsletter Advertising: [email protected]

Copyright © 2004 Chiangmai Mail. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Advertisement