NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Royally Initiated Product sales exhibition expected to revive business for SMEs

A ‘Des.Res’. for the panda family Chiang Mai Zoo’s snow dome opens

5 Rak Chiang Mai 51 leaders face arrest after riots

Cabinet approves new laws on computer game control and movie censorship

Domestic consumption of longan boosted at Three Kings’ Monument

Three Chiang Mai reservoirs to be linked to improve water supplies

Rak Chiang Mai 51 hosts Thaksin’s 60th birthday celebration

Pilot project by Thai Health Promotion Foundation calls for expat input

Expats’ Club presentation slams commercial over-fishing in native cultures

British Legion Marches into Town

FERC Scholarship Committee interviews young scholars

 

Royally Initiated Product sales exhibition expected to revive business for SMEs

Supoj Thaimyoj
A sales exhibition of locally made art and craft products generated under the Royally Initiated Project scheme will be held August 7 -12 between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. at the Chiang Mai Sales Centre for Royally Initiated Products, located opposite Chiang Mai Zoo. The display will honour the birthday of HM Queen Sirikit and her support of traditional local products, the Model Farm project, the Highland Agricultural Development and the Reforestation Project.

One of the locally made products which will be on display and sale at Chiang Mai Sales Centre for Royally Initiated Products’ special exhibition.
The exhibition will include traditional art and crafts from all regions as well as agricultural products. There will also be a display area set aside for video presentations of Her Majesty’s activities. Outside the building there will be 300 stalls selling selected products for the Chiang Mai area. All profits from sales will go to Queen Sirikit’s SUPPORT project, initiated to financially assist the development of craft products in regional communities.
The president of NOHMEX, Nattaphong Hanpatarachaikul, has promised the display of more than 200 handmade ceramic and wood products designed for the export market, in the hope that local SMEs will find opportunities through the exhibition to create business in spite of the present economic crisis.

 

A ‘Des.Res’. for the panda family Chiang Mai Zoo’s snow dome opens

Chiang Mai governor Amornpan Nimanant ,left,
and guests of honour at the opening of Chiang Mai Zoo’s
Panda Snow Dome, pictured at the opening ceremony.

Supoj Thaimyoj
Chiang Mai Zoo’s much publicised panda family now have their promised new home, with the official opening of the specially built snow dome on July 17, headed up by the Chiang Mai governor, Amornpan Nimanant, and his wife Sunetra.

Everyone’s dressed for winter - courtesy of the Zoo, who provide the overcoats!
The special snow dome was built for Chuang-Chuang, Lin Hui and their as yet unnamed cub to bring their living conditions closer to those of their natural habitat in the much colder temperature of China’s high mountains, where snow is common in winter. An additional benefit to Chiang Mai tourism was that visiting Thais would be able to experience very low temperatures. Eventually, it would also allow the panda cub to have adjusted to weather conditions in China’s Cheng Du area before she is returned there in 2 years’ time.
The snow dome itself was built on a 580 square metre area, with a budget of roughly 60 million baht provided by the government and the Zoological Association. The artificial snow-generating system, comprising two parts, a German compressor system and an American snow blow machine, was tested and announced complete on July 6. Inside, the snow dome consists of a terrace to view the snow and a space for snow sledding for the tourists, with the temperature inside the dome being maintained at between 0 and -10 centigrade.
Visitors to the dome will be able to first watch and photograph the panda family from the special viewing terrace, after which the pandas will be moved inside and spectators will be able to play in the artificial snow themselves. Coats and gloves for those unused to such cold will be provided by the Zoo!

Guests at the opening of the Snow Dome,
shown enjoying themselves in the snow, a rare experience.


5 Rak Chiang Mai 51 leaders face arrest after riots

CMM reporters
Chiang Mai police are preparing to issue arrest warrants shortly for the 5 Rak Chiang Mai 51 leaders involved in the violent protests which erupted over the recent visit of the Finance Minister to Chiang Mai. A report on the case has been submitted to Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, whose brief is security.
According to the chief of the Provincial Police Region 5, Pol-Lt Gen Somkid Boonthanom, the warrants will be issued within the next few days, and will accuse the 5 leaders of illegal assembly by more than 10 people, inciting a riot and obstructing the police.
The charges will be based on actual evidence. Gen. Somkid has stated that he is not concerned about the likelihood of police being put under pressure by the red-shirted group.
A total of 18 police officers were injured during the riots in two separate confrontations, one outside Chiang Mai University when police attempted to stop rioters from entering the campus and the other outside a police station where a leading United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) member was being detained after a hand gun and ammunition were found in his vehicle at Chiang Mai International Airport.


Cabinet approves new laws on computer game control and movie censorship

Sirporn Raweekoon
Concern about the unsuitable content of an increasing number of computer games and movies available to Thai children has led to cabinet approval of proposals by the Thai Ministry of Culture. A game rating system will be put in place to guide parents in their choice of games for their children, an age-related limit will be placed on the number of hours young people can play computer games in internet cafes, and new controls on movies will be introduced. A further legal amendment and IT system which will prevent youngsters under the age of 18 years from gaming for more than 3 hours per day is also proposed.

Pictured is the Minister of Culture, Teera Slukpetch, presiding over the ‘Good Games’ initial exhibition held in Chiang Mai.

The new laws, which will operate under the 2008 Film and Video Act, will introduce non- compliance penalties for internet cafes of closure of up to 90 days or removal of operating license. There is, however, a recognition that playing computer games can help develop computer familiarisation and skills. Movies have been reclassified into 7 categories, and will only be screened to appropriate age groups. Those which insult the monarchy and religion, risk undermining national unity and international relations, and contain gratuitous sex scenes will be banned.
Rating will be similar to that used for TV programmes, using a suitability index. Due to the difficulty of varying viewpoints in rating computer games, the countrywide Mahidol University ‘Good Games’ touring exhibition is being used as a checkpoint for the public, parents and the young players themselves to contribute ratings from differing perspectives on a large number of popular games. The new system will be created from rating received, based on the several criteria. These will include violence, (the capability to shock or scare by harmful and unlawful behaviour, extremely violent scenarios and the promoting of attitudes such as inhumanity); blood and its realistic presentation; sex, (including nudity, near-nudity and style of clothing, sexual relationships between characters and wrong attitudes e.g. sexism) and language, (vulgar, offensive, ungrammatical or slang). Ratings will be given on a scale of 4-1, and will also be categorised by age. The aim is to eventually rate every computer game available for purchase in Thailand.
Mahidol University’s ‘Good Games’ exhibition’s initial outing was held at Chiang Mai University’s Convention Hall on July 23, presided over by the Minister of Culture, Teera Slukpetch, who stated that an age-determined ministerial regulation concerning the times during which children will be permitted to play computer games in internet cafes is being considered. Below the age of 15, youngsters will be allowed to play between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays, and 2 p.m and 10 p.m on weekends. Those aged between 15 and 18 will be allowed to play between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. on week days and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m on weekends. The minister added that all provincial governors had been appointed as members of the Safe and Creative Media Commission.
The ‘Good Games’ exhibition also distributed a CD of creative games as part of the White Game Cafes project countrywide. Talks on game topics were popular, as were samples of games for youngsters to try out, and a contest to discover the Thai game which best represented the country’s art and culture. The exhibition also featured a game addict clinic, aimed at giving parents a chance to discuss their children’s problems with a specialist consultant.

Crowds of young people and their parents attended Mahidol University’s
‘Good Games’ exhibition, held recently at CMU’s Convention Hall.


Domestic consumption of longan boosted at Three Kings’ Monument

A local longan grower smiles in the hope that
 the Longan Fair will boost her business.

Supoj Thaimyoj
A fleet of trucks filled with locally grown longan fruit bound for China was given a great send-off at the Three Kings’ Monument on July 26, where a Longan Fair had been set up to focus the local and national consumer market on the delicious fruit.
In attendance was deputy Chiang Mai governor Chuchart Kilapaeng, with guests of honour including the deputy president of the provincial administration Dusit Nontanat, the president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce Narong Kongprasert, the chairman of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce and Dr. Ken Santitham, the clerk of the municipality.

One of the fleet of trucks filled with longan which are travelling from Chiang Mai through Chiang Kong, Huay Sai, Luang Nam Ta, Bo Ten, Bo Han and Sip Song Panna to their final destination in China.
The purpose of the event was to deal with the issue of the decline in the wholesale and retail price of the fruit due to over-supply, which is causing financial problems for growers in the region. It is hoped that promoting awareness of the fruit and its potential through local chambers of commerce will encourage domestic consumers to purchase larger quantities.
To this aim, cooking demonstrations of unusual ways of using longan were set up, with fish steamed with the fruit served with a delicious dip, (provided by the chef from the Suriwong Hotel), proving very popular. Various well-known Chiang Mai hotels’ chefs took part in the demonstrations, using a number of interesting variations on the longan theme. Booths displaying processed longan products also proved popular.
The fleet of trucks will travel from Chiang Mai through Chiang Kong, Huay Sai, Luang Nam Ta, Bo Ten, Bo Han and Sip Song Panna before it reaches its final destination.


Three Chiang Mai reservoirs to be linked to improve water supplies

Siriporn Raweekoon
An increase in the amount of water supplies needed due to the expansion in both the industrial sector and the population in Chiang Mai and Lamphun provinces has resulting in the bringing forward of a tunnel project which will link Mae Kuang Umdomthara, Mae Ngad and Mae Tang reservoirs.

Pictured is Prof. Dr. Lert Chantanapap, the senior consultant and director of the project which will increase the amount of water in Chiang Mai’s Mae Kuang Udomthara reservoir

Research has shown that, although Mae Ngad and Mae Tang reservoirs are forced to discharge large qualities of water annually due to their restricted size, Chiang Mai’s Mae Kuang reservoir has an over- capacity of approximately 150 million cubic metres. Linking the three will provide 147 million cubic litres of water for household use, and approximately 50 million cubic metres for industrial use, which at present has an insufficient allocation of 13.31 million.
As the terrain in which the three reservoirs are located is mountainous, underground tunnels are considered to be the best option. A tunnel between Mae Tang and Mae Ngad is already under construction and due to be completed this month. Research and design for a 23-kilometre tunnel linking Mae Ngad to Mae Kuang was completed in March, with construction scheduled to begin in 2012. A budget of approximately 4,600 million baht of government money has been allocated to the project.
Prof. Dr. Lert Chantanapap, director and senior consultant of the project, states that the linking of the three reservoirs will not only ease the 2 provinces’ water shortages, it will also reduce the risk of flooding without impacting on the natural landscape of the area.


Rak Chiang Mai 51 hosts Thaksin’s 60th birthday celebration

Pictured is the 2492 feet-long sheet of mulberry paper used as a mega-birthday card on which supporters wrote messages of congratulation.

Supoj Thaimyoj
‘Red Shirt Central’, otherwise known as the Grand Wararos Palace Hotel in Chiang Mai’s old city, was the obviously chosen venue on July 26 for a huge party to celebrate the 60th birthday of fugitive ex- PM Thaksin Shinawatra.
Auspicious numbers featured strongly in the celebration, with a 2492 feet-long sheet of mulberry paper used as a mega-birthday card on which supporters wrote messages of congratulation. The Buddhist year 2492, (1949), was Thaksin’s year of birth. The numbers game continued with 3,000 pieces of cake brought by red-shirts from Chiang Mai and nearby provinces, an achievement which, according to their former leader during his phone-in, should be in the Guinness Book of Records, along with the birthday card.
A Rak Chiang Mai 51 leader, Kanyapak Maneechak, said in her speech that, in the eyes of the group, Thaksin is still their Prime Minister, and urged those who support him to continue to work as a group to bring him back. Thaksin’s brother-in-law and former PM, Somchai Wongsawat, was briefly on hand to celebrate with the 5,000 supporters.
During the party, Thaksin’s expected video phone-in from an undisclosed location, provided his supporters with a song from their absent leader in which he stated that he would return, plus a 25 minute address in which he promised that 100 global TV channels would broadcast collectively in an effort to solve Thailand’s economic and educational problems. This network, to be called Voice TV, would cost 1 billion baht to set up and is expected to be on air by next month. He also promised that, if he was allowed back into Thailand, pardoned and re-elected to his former post, he would spend 120 billion baht to solve the problem of poverty. Reports state that over 1 million signatures have already been collected from supporters on a petition which requests a Royal Pardon for the convicted ex-PM.. Red shirt leaders have vowed to collect at least 5 million names.


Pilot project by Thai Health Promotion Foundation calls for expat input

Elena Edwards
A new health and environmentally-focused initiative has recently been set up in Chiang Mai by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, led by its project manager Nuttaphon Jaruwannaphong. The project, the Social Marketing and Communication Plan, is community-based, and will involve cooperation between the Thai government, the business sector, city residents, students and the expat community.
It is designed to support a number of the foundation’s other health plans, which deal with issues such as alcohol, tobacco, accidents and exercise for health,
Thai Health aims to mobilise support and social capital from groups in Thai society. Together with its partners, it will carry out effective communication campaigns. For Chiang Mai, the foundation is aiming to involve both Thais and foreigners in a study of the city and the development of problem-solving strategies which will benefit both groups.
Activities will include raising social awareness of major local health issues; the support of partner organisations working with the issues of garbage management, water and organic food; the essential involvement of the media for health promotion, including collaboration with universities on curricula and training of students in health promotion and working with all media in developing effective health promotion models.
Training will be provided to organizations involved in health promotion, together with assistance I the development of media material to organisations such as exercise and community groups. Long-term communication campaigns that provide clear messages to targeted groups and induce behavioural changes that enhance health will be supported. Subjects will include children and young people, the family, consumer protection, and public policy.
The foundation’s strategies will include public relations campaigns, on, offline, and in local media publications, which will disseminate information about projects supported by Thai Health, and encourage their replication. Exhibitions and events will be organised for both the general public and target groups.
The project in Chiang Mai is intended to be a pilot which, if successful over its 6 month duration, will be applied to the rest of the country by the foundation. A request has been made by Thai Health through the Chiang Mai Friends’ Group to foreigners living in the city to participate in the project by sending notification of perceived problems with possible solutions. The foundation is looking for people who are willing to be involved in brainstorming and working together with local people to improve the health of and lives of all residents.
Please send any communications or suggestions to [email protected] between now and the end of August. Your involvement and help will be very much appreciated.


Expats’ Club presentation slams commercial over-fishing in native cultures

CMM reporters
The recent fortnightly meeting of the Chiang Mai Expats’ Club held at the Shangri-La Hotel featured yet another interesting guest speaker, freelance documentary film-maker Jon Wong.
Malaysian-born Jon has gained international recognition in his chosen field, underwater filming. Although admitting, at the outset of his presentation, that funding for his work has largely been down to his own efforts, he has gone on to tackle some very emotive – and politically sensitive – issues. He uses his documentaries to attempt to get across to world-wide audiences the serious ramifications of continued commercial over-fishing, particularly on indigenous native cultures in one of the world’s most environmentally important ecosystems – the unique biodiversity of the marine life and coral reefs of the Indonesian archipelago and the South China Sea.
Not surprisingly, Jon’s extremely graphic video images, especially those of turtles, stimulated a great many thought-provoking questions from CEC members. Those who would like to see more of Jon’s documentary footage, (some of which is presently still in rough-cut, un-edited form), are invited to let the CEC Board know of their interest, as Jon is happy to set up a special screening at a future date.


British Legion Marches into Town

David Hardcastle
Chiang Mai is well on its way to having a sub-branch of the Royal British Legion, following well attended meetings at The Olde Bell on Loi Kroh Road.

Dr. Robert Duncan, recently returned from the last official D-Day Normandy Landings commemorations in France, pictured at the Royal British Legion’s recent well-attended Press Night at the Olde Bell, sponsored by AA Insurance Chiang Mai, Pedr, the pub’s popular landlord and several private sponsors.
The UK charity, which helps millions of former and current servicemen and their families, was founded in 1921 and is best known as the ‘custodian of remembrance’ on November 11th annually, and the world famous Poppy Appeal. A branch has existed in Pattaya for several years, and only a few more members are now needed to make the Chiang Mai British Legion a sub-branch.
Welfare Officer Glenn Croston told a packed meeting on July 22 that membership was open to all who supported the Legion’s aims, irrespective of nationality, and Colin Hardcastle gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the younger generation. Many were surprised to learn that since WW2, only one year, (1968), had no UK service personnel killed in action. The Legion’s Social Meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month, at The Olde Bell, beginning at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome.
The annual non-denominational Remembrance Day gathering will be held at the Foreign Cemetery, Chiang Mai, from 10.45 a.m. on November 11. After the traditional 2 minutes silence, traditions of respect will also be held by Seri Thai and the local branch of the US Veterans of Foreign Wars.
With thanks to www. mychiangmai.com


FERC Scholarship Committee interviews young scholars

Members of the Fund for the Education of Rural Children,
pictured during their recent tour of FERC-supported rural schools.

CMM reporters
Members of the FERC scholarship committee recently toured rural schools in which their young scholarship recipients study in order to monitor the progress of each student. Frank Weicks, scholarship committee chairman, Glynn Morgan and Norman Robinson, committee members, along with administrators from Region IV Department of Education, spent several days going from school to school to sit with the youngsters and talk about their studies and their progress. Yuwan Pujeenaphan, Region IV Administration and member of the scholarship committee, coordinated the tour.
Scholarship students are selected from 120 schools located in five governmental districts, and include both Thai and ethnic hill tribe students. Many of the schools are located in such remote areas that students must board on site. The seven schools visited are spread out over Region IV and each varies in layout and focus. Santisuk School, for instance, is designated a self-sustaining school. Students and teachers, working together, grow much of their food. One school was closed because of concerns that a sick student may have H1N1 influenza, but the team will return there at a later date.
The team was delighted to learn that a graduating scholarship recipient from Mae Wang has become the first student from that school to ever attend university. His expressed educational goal on applying for the scholarship was engineering, and he has been admitted into an engineering program of study in Bangkok. They were further interested in the supplementary courses of study that have been undertaken with FERC scholarship funds, including special maths and English language courses to upgrade student skills and increase the probability of their being accepted into university.
At the Ban Kad Wittayakom School in Mae Wang, the FERC scholarship committee members were surprised to be offered a tour of an historic site that is partially located on the grounds of the school. 18,000 Japanese soldiers who were killed in Burma, India and Thailand during World War II are commemorated there at a beautiful shrine.
The FERC scholarship committee and its individual members, as well as members of the board of the foundation may be contacted through its website, www. thai-rural-education.org. Donations to FERC through its website are tax deductible under U.S. tax laws.