Vol. VIII No. 17 - Tuesday
April 28 - May 4, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


Chiang Mai FeMail 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Care for Dogs cares for Cats

Foreign bank card users face new charges at ATMs

A Tale of Eight Ducks

Opinion

 

Care for Dogs cares for Cats

Gill, Care for Dogs
Nothing’s ever perfect! We solve one problem, another arises. That’s life. For Care for Dogs, whose efforts to educate the owner of the 3 caged dogs in Doi Saket were featured in the paper’s last three issues, problems arise daily. The report below, by Gill, concerns three lovely Persian cats who were dumped at a temple by their owners, possibly because they all needed unaffordable veterinary care.
A monk at Wat Doi Kam recently reported that 4 cats had been dumped at the temple. As all dogs and cats there have now been sterilised, he was keen to have them removed before they bred. Subsequent tests showed that Snowy, Sooty, Star and Shmoo were positive for feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). The two viruses are found in cats worldwide, and are contagious, although infected cats can live happily for many years, or even recover, given the right medication. The viruses do, however, as they affect the immune system, cause increased susceptibility to cancer and other diseases, including bone marrow and reproductive disorders. Cats with FeLV and FIV need to be kept indoors and away from other felines, as the viruses are spread by contact through exchange of bodily fluids, e.g saliva. Treatment includes support and reinforcement of the immune system, treatment of secondary diseases and good nutrition.
Loving and responsible owners can successfully manage the diseases and continue to enjoy their wonderful companion. All 4 cats are now in a foster home, being cared for and with their strength being built up to the point where sterilisation can be done. After that, they will be ready for adoption. The veterinary costs are high, in excess of 10,000 baht, a major expense for the donation-funded charity. Care for Dogs would like to request much-needed and appreciated support for the costs from cat and dog-lovers in our community. It would be wonderful, too, if any readers would consider adoption, maybe two together for company.
For more info please contact our cat adoption coordinator Gill, on 087-189-1623, or email on [email protected] You can find more photos and info on how to donate via PayPal or bank account on www.carefordogs.org. Thank You.

 

Foreign bank card users face new charges at ATMs

This is not good news, girls! Next time you’re out shopping at Airport Plaza and spot yet another ‘must have’ goodie, perhaps you should think twice before rushing to a machine and using your foreign bank-based ATM card to fund the purchase. Between the exchange rate, the charges which may be levied by your home bank and the new ATM usage charge of 150 baht (3 or $4.5) which is, since last week, being levied by most Thai banks’ ATMs, it might not be such a bargain after all.
It seems that the Thai Bankers’ Association (TBA) of which all clearing banks in Thailand are members, has decided to improve its members’ balance sheets by hitting in again. Yes – you’ve guessed it – on tourists and expats. Shooting one’s own foot seems to be a habit in LOS these days. Perhaps farang shoppers without Thai bank accounts should vote with their wallets by keeping them closed. ‘Must haves’ are like buses. If you wait long enough, another one comes along. Perhaps the TVA will have seen sense by then.


A Tale of Eight Ducks

Elena Edwards
Six months ago, their new home finally completed, our next-door neighbours Roger and Jason arrived from the UK to begin their new lives in Chiang Mai. Jason, a dedicated and highly qualified zoologist, already had his priorities sorted. If it was green and grew, if it swam, trumpeted, squeaked, squawked, twittered or quacked, that was fine by him! His first improvement to the environment of our tiny rural moo baan involved our large (and largely ignored), lake, previously home to nothing more exciting than a carpet of lotuses in the wet season, which deteriorated to a brown mess as the dry season approached. Jason wasted no time in discovering that the expat owner of an even larger lake further up the road had vastly overestimated the number of fish he needed to stock his watery feature. As a result of his generosity, within a very short time, fish-feeding was a regular morning occupation chez Roger and Jason, This, of course, provided a source of instant and noisy alarm and enjoyment to this writer’s three highly intelligent rescued street dogs and one dozy golden retriever!
Soon after our new neighbours had decided that a lake without ducks was just a boring old pond, the arrival of two beautiful pure white Muscovy ducks was a cause for celebration. Christened Jemima and Jeremy, they both seemed to settle in well, although Jemima would occasionally go on a reconnaissance flight around the immediate area, returning to Jeremy when food was due to be delivered. One day, however, she failed to return. Poor, lonely Jeremy, left on his own with no-one to quack to, began walking around the rice fields and into the village to search for her. And, tragically, fell foul of the mafia element of the local soi dog community. Disaster.
Our lake, however, was not to remain duckless and boring for long. After a few weeks, our local shop owners, having heard of 6 potentially homeless ducklings, donated them to a depressed Jason, who began to rear them in his and Roger’s newly and carefully designed garden. Which, shortly, became a mud-hole occupied by 6 very happy and fast-growing ducks. Time for the lake, then. Having clipped their wings, Jason made a pen for them on the lakeside, to protect them from night-prowlers of the canine variety. Unfortunately, one night, the soi dog mafia returned, broke into the pen and killed one duck. The rest escaped onto the water, one with a broken wing. Stern words were passed on to local dog-owners via the village shop. The broken-winged duck soon became famous due to his motorcycle rides (quacking happily and occasionally taking a nap) with Jason to the veterinary hospital, and his habit of quacking insults at the posh lap-dogs whilst he was there. Fully healed, he and the rest of the ducks finally settled down to enjoy a comfortable lakeside lifestyle with breakfast and supper provided.
Several months later, wonderful and unexpected news! Jason heard (again via the village shop) that Jemima had been spotted living close to a local man’s flock of chickens, sneaking in while they were being fed. Home again, via the basket of Jason’s bicycle, and with her wings re-clipped, the little lost duck is now making new friends with the five ducks-in-residence. Who, it must be noted, are not keen to swim yet, as they seem to be scared of water. Or maybe, of the now huge fish population in the lake. Jason hopes that Jemima can teach them that a duck’s proper place is in water, on a lake. Breakfast eggs and, hopefully, baby ducklings, are expected. All’s well that ends well.


Opinion

A news item in an English language newspaper recently caught my eye. Having shared, in Opinion last week, my heartfelt concern about the reaction to the Bangkok violence of various Foreign Offices worldwide and its effect on the tourist trade, the article’s subject matter became a ‘must have’ for this week’s comments!
According to that worthy Bangkok newspaper, Pattaya hoteliers, restaurateurs and retailers have finally taken matters into their own hands and decided on a joint ‘sale of the century’ in the hopes that it will revive their flagging businesses. In the case of hotels, it’s more of a ‘giveaway’ than a sale, as they are planning to literally offer rooms for free to tourists from May 1 to October 31, with operators at all levels joining in the promotion. Given that the total number of hotel rooms available in Pattaya exceeds 20,000, and that advance bookings are at an all-time low, that’s a fine example of meeting a problem head on. Restaurateurs and retailers will be offering discounts of up to 50%. The result may well be that, for the first time in a long while, Pattaya will be a lot cheaper than Chiang Mai! Pattaya has another advantage – the sea. It may well be somewhat polluted, but, it’s cool, it’s wet, it’s pretty, and it’s there!
Good news, hopefully, for a town which has been hard hit economically with the ‘double whammy’ of the world recession and the recent red-shirt riots which resulted in the cancellation of the ASEAN conference. But where does that leave Chiang Mai? Tourist revenues have dropped like the proverbial stone. Our city also lost out due to the last-minute move of the ASEAN summit to Hua Hin. The last thing our local tourism operators, hoteliers, restaurateurs and retailers need is serious competition on price from anywhere, especially from a seaside resort! In the article, a representative of the Thai Hotel Association stressed that all sectors in Pattaya were cooperating for the first to re-establish the city as a safe and popular tourist and convention destination. Is it too much to hope for that all tourism sectors in Chiang Mai could get together in the same manner? Given the reports of actual price increases here during the last few months, and the number of meetings of concerned parties during the same time frame, all with no discernible results, hope of some common sense and togetherness dawning does not spring eternal! Unfortunately.
On a related subject, it would appear that our local Rak Chiang Mai 51 red-shirted residents, experts at howling their concern for the traditions and culture of Lanna both on air and on the streets, may have shot the town they purport to love in the foot again! Immediately the Pattaya ASEAN economic summit was cancelled, PM Abhisit assured its international participants of his plans to relocate and restage it in the immediate future. Chiang Mai was mentioned as a possible venue; it would now seem that Phuket will be the favoured destination. It doesn’t take a giant leap of the imagination to work it out. Chiang Mai, home of ex PM Thaksin, hotbed of ‘revolutionary violence,’ can’t risk another cancellation and unbearable loss of face! Reality, of course, has a different flavour. Chiang Mai, packed solid with SMEs, the majority of whom depend on tourism (a fast-disappearing source of much needed revenue) and don’t give a damn about politics because the rent’s due!
Thanks, guys, so sorry your leaders have all been arrested, we sympathise. NOT!



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