Vol. VIII No. 23 - Tuesday
June 9 - June 15, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


OUR COMMUNITY
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

‘Green and Clean’-true community service in action

New ‘mini-movie’ screenings by local filmmakers at See Scape Gallery

Free lychees for arrivals at CNX

Child deaths drop sharply

‘Green and Clean’-true community service in action

Elena Edwards
The first of a series of 8 ‘Green and Clean’ community projects aimed at a number of city districts and initiated by the city’s mayor, Dr. Duentemduang na Chieng Mai, took place on June 3 in one of the city’s older areas.

The gaily-painted Chiang Mai Zoo bus was a popular feature, especially when the ‘pair of pandas’ gave a performance!
‘Green and Clean’ means exactly that; the projects aim to help advise local people on everything from recycling waste through taking proper care of their and their children’s health , to purifying well water and treating ponds and stagnant water to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes. It even includes free sterilisation by injection of local dogs, to prevent disease and unwanted puppies!
Municipality and local health employees, together with a number of other experts in various relevant fields, all giving their time and knowledge for free, had assembled under one (outdoor) roof, and set up their booths. We saw advice and inoculations being given against swine flu, free haircuts, (a very popular area!) free eye testing and vision screening, a doctor and nurse giving advice and assessments to the elderly, local teachers and the deputy mayor, Soontoin Yamsiri, providing fun activities for local children, organic cultivation being explained, recycling being encouraged, even help being given with official paperwork. Local police were in attendance to give advice on any problems—the army were there too, on a public relations mission which seemed to be going very well! Even the provincial authority was involved, having provided a stall full of household necessities such as mugs, plates, cleaning tools, etc, at prices which made them easily available to even the most cash-strapped households.

Much appreciated were the free haircuts for all at the Green and Clean Festival.

The entire project was being monitored by local municipal officials, in order to determine exactly the needs of this particular community, most of whom seemed to be very happy to be there, especially when the gaily painted PR bus from Chiang Mai Zoo arrived, and two guys in panda costumes jumped out, thrilling all of the children and most of the adults as well! The entire 8-event programme is being funded partly by a donation from Dr. Duentemduang, with the balance being made up by the municipality. Later in the evening, of course, a huge party, with the inevitable karaoke, was held, enabling those who had been working all day to join in and enjoy themselves.
During a rare quiet moment, we were introduced to the headman (rather, in this case, headwoman), of the community, a very tiny and very determined lady who had been born in the district, as had her parents and grandparents. The deep roots of her love for the area were very obvious, even in translation. The community was re-established as a city area as late as 1984, after a series of disastrous floods had been prevented from happening again by the raising of the land by several metres. When villagers had first moved into the area, although it is not far from the present city centre, the land had been uncultivated and was mostly forest. When we asked this very impressive woman about the personal qualifications for her position, she replied, ‘A good heart, a love of people, and a great deal of free time’, adding that ‘The community comes first…personal life comes second!’
The whole day was a wonderful example of true ‘care in the community’ in action, with all different sectors either helping or being helped, and everyone having a great time in addition to teaching and learning.

 

New ‘mini-movie’ screenings by local filmmakers at See Scape Gallery

Some of the local filmmakers are pictured here at the See Scape Gallery with Chakkrit Chimnok (left).

Supoj Thaimyos
The See Scape Gallery on Nimmanhaeminda Road, Soi 17, launched a new cinematic project on May 31, featuring short movies made by local filmmakers and artists.
‘Running Time’, was the first show of its kind in Chiang Mai; the 10 films, shown in the gallery’s mini-movie theatre, represent the work of Santiphap Inkongam, Sutthirat Supaparinya, Tesprateep Tesprateep, Chakkrit Chimnok, Pattree Chimnok, Chaisiri Jiwarangsan, Chatchai Suban, Pisithpong Siraphisut, Patavee Viranuvat and Tanyanun Aoi-Aree.
The programme is set to continue, with the aim of sharing, expanding and publicising local film-makers’ work to Chiang Mai movie-goers.


Free lychees for arrivals at CNX

Supoj Thaimyos
A lychee promotion aimed at encouraging visitors to eat more local fruit was held at Chiang Mai International Airport, (CNX), on June 3, with large numbers of the delicious fruit displayed at the arrivals entrance.

Boonlert Buranupakorn and CNX staff distribute free lychees to passengers from the recently arrived TG flight 114 from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

The project’s opening ceremony was presided over by former Chiang Mai mayor and local businessman Boonlert Buranupakorn, who explained that the fruit would be distributed free to arriving passengers between the hours of 8.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m., until June 12. This season, the price per kilo of locally grown lychees has fallen considerably, due to surplus production.


Child deaths drop sharply

Mid-way report card for the health-related Millennium Development Goals mixed, says WHO

Deaths of children aged under five years have dropped by 27% globally since 1990, according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) estimates. But in WHO’s first progress report on the health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) released last week in the World Health Statistics 2009, other results are mixed.
An estimated 9 million children aged under five years died in 2007, significantly fewer than the 12.5 million estimated to have died in 1990, the baseline year against which progress towards the goals is measured. However, in many African countries and in low-income countries generally, progress has been insufficient to reach the MDG target, that aims for a two thirds reduction in child mortality by the year 2015.
“The decline in the death toll of children under five illustrates what can be achieved by strengthening health systems and scaling up interventions, such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets for malaria and oral rehydration therapy for diarrhoea, increased access to vaccines and improved water and sanitation in developing countries,” said Dr Ties Boerma, director of WHO’s Department of Health Statistics and Informatics.
The MDGs were initiated by the United Nations and its partners to achieve significant improvements in eight health and development areas by 2015.
“At the mid-way point, the analysis shows encouraging signs of progress,” said Dr Boerma. “But there needs to be more effort to strengthen health systems in countries affected by high levels of HIV/AIDS, economic hardship or conflict. Moreover, there is a need to pay greater attention to the poorest groups within countries where progress is often the slowest and child mortality rates remain high.”
“Areas where there has been little or no movement are notably maternal and newborn health. An estimated 37% of deaths among children aged under five occurs in the first month of life, and most of them in the first week of life,” said Dr Boerma. “While the data are patchy and incomplete, it appears that the regions with the least progress are those where levels of maternal mortality are highest.”
“The challenges ahead are those presented by weak health systems, those associated with noncommunicable chronic conditions, and emerging health threats such as pandemics and climate change,” said Dr Boerma.
World Health Statistics 2009 is an annual report based on more than 100 health indicators collected from WHO’s 193 Member States. These indicators provide a snapshot of global health trends. However, the data have some limitations. More information about WHO’s health statistics can be found at: http://www. who.int/whosis/en/index.html



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