Baby panda Lhin Ping’s long-stay dependent on new
Thai-Chinese research centre
Following a visit by the Minister of Natural Resources and the
Environment Suwit Khunkitti to Chiang Mai Zoo to check on the progress of
the new baby panda, it seems that the possibility of the cub’s being able to
stay in Chiang Mai for more than the 2 years agreed may be on the cards.
The government of China may be nearing agreement on the establishment in
Thailand of a joint Thai-Chinese panda research centre, according to the
minister. A longer stay for the new arrival may improve Chiang Mai’s local
and international tourism and economic prospects.
The minister added that the Chinese authorities have noted the effort that
Chiang Mai Zoo and veterinary officials have put into the project, and said
talks are continuing on that basis. Apparently, very few details remain to
be discussed and agreed on. The budget for the project is not expected to be
high, and will be partly financed by profits from the ‘Name the Panda’
contest, the final result of which, announced last Monday, is that the cub
will be named, in Chinese, Lin Bing, and referred to in Thailand as Lhin
Ping, a Thai transliteration which links the cub to the Ping River.
4 possible names were short-listed by a panel of judges from many suggested
names on many thousands of postcards. For the final judging, ‘Lin Bing’,
(Lhin Ping), meaning in Chinese, ‘forest of ice’ attracted 13.2 million
postcard votes, 60% of the total sent in.
The lucky winner of the 1 million baht prize, a car and a trip for 2 to
Chengdu in China, is two-year-old Nong Plai Fah Sikahom from Sakhon Nakhon,
whose grandmother Maliwan Philasri sent 8 postcards on behalf of her
granddaughter, four with the winning name. Maliwan has been looking after
the little girl since her parents split up last year, and says that the
money will be used to ensure Noi Plai Fah gets a good education. An amount
will also be donated to charity in Noi Plai Fah’s name, and family will
build a new house. The car will be used by her mother, Anoma Posawang, for
her daily travel to her place of work in Bangkok
A party and Mothers’ day event was held August 12 at the Zoo, during which
the young winner was awarded her prize. Before the ceremony started, Nong
Plai Fah was given a chance to see the cub, first through the glass screen
at the clinic, and then close-up. At first asleep, the baby panda woke when
the child became excited and yelled, ‘Please, bring her out!’, although she
was afraid to touch Lhin Ping.
Major Chiang Mai organisations stress
caused by political unrest
Representatives from the joint consortium of
Chiang Mai business federations and associations, SMEs, and the 7 Chiang Mai
universities and vocational colleges, pictured giving their statement urging
the government to find a solution to the political dispute and asking for
the prompt completion of the city’s International Convention Centre in order
to boost tourism and the local economy.
Concern about the economic situation in Chiang Mai has been
expressed by a consortium comprising all the major organisations in the
city, both private and educational.
The Federation of Thai Industries’ Chiang Mai chapter, the Chiang Mai
Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Banks in Chiang Mai, the Association
for the Promotion of SMEs in Chiang Mai and Lamphun, the Chiang Mai Tourism
Business Association, NOHMEX, the Thai Hotels Association, Chiang Mai
University, Mae Jo University, Payap University, Chiang Mai Rajabhat
University, Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna, the North-Chiang Mai
University, and the Far Eastern University stated August 11 at Airport Plaza
that violent political protests and political uncertainty have severely
damaged the city’s investments, tourism and export businesses as well as the
income of its citizens.
The consortium considers that if the political situation is not resolved, it
will be impossible for the city and the country to recover from the damage
caused, and has issued a statement asking all concerned to put aside their
differences and work together for the good of the country’s economy, its
tourism industry, and its businesses.
The statement makes the following points; firstly, that democratic means of
expressing differing opinions must be supported without resorting to
violence, with the right to protest within the law without violating the
rights of others or harming tourism prospects being respected if adhered to.
Organisations should cooperate to ensure the welcoming, correct and honest
treatment and safety of visitors to the city.
Secondly, the government needs to urgently solve the political problems in
order to create harmony within the Thai community. This will help revive the
economy. Officials in charge of order in the community must do their jobs
according to the law, with justice, and the application of a single standard
Thirdly, in order to attract more business events to the city, the Chiang
Mai International Convention Centre needs to be completed as quickly as
possible. This will also create more jobs for Chiang Mai residents, and
become a permanent source of income for residents and the province.
The statement will be delivered to the Chiang Mai governor, Amornpan
Aung San Suu Kyi verdict attracts
The verdict and sentence announced last Tuesday at the end of Nobel
Women’s Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial have attracted worldwide
condemnation, led by the USA and the United Nations.
President Obama, in a written statement, criticised her further
imprisonment, and also expressed concern about the 7 year hard labour
sentence given to John Yettaw, whose trial was delayed due to his poor
health and epileptic attacks. ‘Today’s unjust decision reminds us of the
thousands of other political prisoners in Burma who, like Aung San Suu Kyi,
have been denied their liberty because of their pursuit of a government that
respects the will, rights, and aspirations of all Burmese citizens’. Obama
In the UK, PM Gordon Brown expressed his outrage, referring to a ‘sham
trial’, and stated that Britain would urge the international community to
agree further sanctions and a total arms embargo against the Junta. ‘I am
both saddened and angry at today’s verdict which showed that the military
regime in Burma is determined to act with total disregard for accepted
standards of the rule of law and in defiance of international opinion’, he
The French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s office released a statement saying
that the president was calling on the European Union to impose new sanctions
In an apparent act of support for Suu Kyi, Australian Prime Minister Kevin
Rudd announced that Radio Australia will resume broadcasts into the pariah
The Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith is calling on the
international community to voice its condemnation of the verdict and
sentence, and will contact his Thai counterpart, to discuss further action
within the international community.
Further East, Malaysia wants an urgent meeting of ASEAN to discuss the
verdict, which has also been condemned by members Indonesia and the
Philippines. India’s foreign ministry spokesman, although not denouncing the
outcome, urged the Junta to recognise the need for political reform and
China and Russia have asked for more time to consider a draft statement
condemning the verdict, although many political analysts believe that China
will not back any United Nations action proposed against Burma.
ASEAN itself, criticised internationally in the past for its soft stance on
Burma, has issued a rare statement condemning the verdict and sentence.
However, analysts believe that the Junta will not pay a great deal of
attention to condemnation from either the international community or ASEAN,
of which Burma is a member state.
CMU female staff and students enter Buddhist sisterhood
Pictured are the 78 CMU staff and students who
temporarily entered the Buddhist sisterhood in order to make merit and
attend a 3-day retreat
A Nek Kam Ma Charini ordination ceremony was held August 11 at
Chiang Mai University, to enable 78 female faculty members, employees and
students to temporarily enter the Buddhist sisterhood in order to make merit
for Queen Sirikit on her 77th birthday. During the ceremony, presided over
by CMU’s Dean Prof. Dr. Pongsak Ungasith, participants were instructed in
basic Dharma practice by Phra Kru Paowanawirat, Wat Rampoeng’s senior monk.
The ordinants attended a 3-day retreat held between August 11 and 13 at
Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in San Sai district.
Counterfeit goods worth
20 million baht destroyed
by Mae Sai customs
As part of the struggle against counterfeit goods, approximately 20
million bahts’ worth of pirated merchandise seized by Mae Sai customs
officers during the past 9 months was recently crushed. The goods were
intercepted and confiscated at border checkpoints in the area and at local
Goods destroyed included movie DVD’s, music CD’s and fake designer bags and
clothes. The majority of the haul comprised products made in China and
transported by road via Burma for sale in the north of Thailand and Bangkok.
Counterfeit goods make large profits for the manufacturers, and have caused
international concern, particularly in the USA.
Local entertainment venues
plagued by ‘music police’ sting
Bars, restaurants and places of entertainment in the city are
again being plagued by a well-known sting known locally as the ‘music
police’ scam, in which ‘officials’ enter premises where music is being
played and demand to inspect the business’s computer for illegally
downloaded MP3s. They then state that unlicensed downloads have been
found and that a hefty fine will have to be paid, or the computer will
be seized. The conversation then turns to a ‘settlement amount’, usually
around 30-50,000 baht. If the owner of the premises is on site, insists
on seeing some identification, prevaricates, mentions his lawyer, or
asks questions about identity, etc, the ‘official’ will usually leave.
In the case of legitimate investigations of this nature, there will be a
representative from the Thai Music Association with documentation,
accompanied by a police officer, again with identification. This
Association covers the use of music by Thai artists only. In the case of
international music, there is no right to enforcement. If the MP3s have
not been illegally downloaded or purchased, any computer cannot legally
A local Thai lawyer recommends that any owner confronted with an
‘official’ should not let him near the computer, as it has been known
for scammers to download illegal MP3s onto a machine. The ‘official’ and
anyone accompanying him, should be asked to provide identification,
which should be photographed if possible. Employees should be fully
informed and instructed on how to proceed, as they may be uncertain
about legalities. Under no circumstances should a computer be allowed to
be removed, nor should any ‘fine’ be paid over by an employee or owner
unless legitimacy has been fully established
Ancient forest monk tradition under threat in north-east
Monks in Thailand’s north-east who live in forest
retreats in order to follow the tradition of solitary mediation
may be forced to give up their ancient way of life, based on
that of the Buddha himself
A Forestry Department ruling stating that such retreats are
breaking the law will result in the closure of 68 of the sites,
but does not seem to apply to commercial sites such as resorts
in the same areas which are illegally occupying forest land.
The abbot of a Rayong Wat, Phra Khru Samusuchin Pariboono,
chaired a meeting of concerned monks last Tuesday, during which
he stated that he wished only to see justice, with the
regulations applied to all stakeholders, not just to monks.
He stressed that forest monks have a duty to protect and
preserve the forests, adding that the Forestry Department was
incorrect in stating the monks were destroying the environment
by their practice. After also admitting that a very small
minority of forest monks may not have been protecting their
environment, he conceded that those retreats could be closed.
Chularat Boonyanakorn, director of the National Buddhism Office,
agreeing that a few retreats are breaking the law and noting
that the issue is controversial, has requested a clear directive
from the department, in order to avoid social conflict over the
Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Thin Thai Ngam celebrates its 50th anniversary
District Governor Waewdao Limlenglert, of
District 3360 R.I. (left), releasing fish into the Ping River during a
merit-making ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the Chiang Mai
Thin Thai Ngam Rotary Club.
The Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Thin Thai Ngam celebrated the 50th
anniversary of Chiang Mai Rotary Club last week by releasing 20,000
fishes into the Ping River at Montfort College in honour of HM Queen
The merit-making event was attended by District Governor Waewdao
Limlenglert, of District 3360 R.I., the club’s president Assoc. Prof.
Rome Jiranukom, and a number of the club’s members. All were welcomed by
Brother Meesak Wongprachanukul, the school’s director, who also took
part in the ceremony.
The releasing of such a large number of fish was aimed at increasing the
present population in the river in the hope that it may become a source
New exhibition at 116 Gallery features 35 Thai artists
With more than a brief nod to Mothers’ Day, the new exhibition
at 116 Gallery on Charoenmuang Road has as its subject as well as its
title, ‘The Love of Mother and Child’, and is being held in honour of
the birthday of HM Queen Sirikit.
work depicting a mother and child by Prayom Yondo, one of the 35 artist
featured in 116 Gallery’s new exhibition.
60 works are presented; all are expressions of the concepts of love,
faith and warmth towards the mother, and are products of the artists’
emotions and gratitude to their own mothers. The exhibition opened on
August 9, attended by a good crowd including all 35 artists represented.
116 Gallery is housed in an interesting 75-year-old building, renovated
specifically as an art gallery. The gallery itself was intended as a
space both for nationally-known Thai artists to display their work and
for the encouragement of new talent, as well as encouraging interest and
learning about art in the general public.
For more information, please call 053-302-111, or email on
Guests at the opening of 116 Gallery’s new
pictured admiring the artworks on show.
1500 orchids planted in Chiang Mai Zoo’s forested areas
A project to re-establish orchids in the forested areas of
Chiang Mai Zoo was launched August 4, inspired by Maejo University’s
orchid preservation and cultivation project inaugurated by HM Queen
Sirikit in 2006.
orchid re-establishment project in the forests around Chiang Mai Zoo was
inspired by a similar Maejo University project inaugurated by HM Queen
Sirikit in 2006.
At the event initiated by the zoo, Maejo University and Chiang Mai Zoo
officials placed 1500 orchids amongst the trees in the grounds of the
zoo, aiming to create a more relaxing and beautiful horticultural
environment for visitors from Thailand and the rest of the world. It is
also hoped that the project will provide an opportunity for the study
and awareness of orchids amongst students and all those interested in
these lovely plants.
On the same theme, the 28th Lanna Flower Festival was held between
August 10-12 at Nong Buak Hat Park, organised in cooperation between the
city’s Municipality, the Chiang Mai Orchid Organisation, the Patan
Agriculturists Group, and Chiang Mai’s Bonsai Association. Again the
focus was on orchids, with flowers and trees for garden planting and
contests in which the winners received a Queen Sirikit Royal trophy.
Also featured were community products and agricultural products, all for
Rat-killing contest to
protect against plague
In response to the news that pneumonic plague has broken out in
an isolated district in western China, the Chiang Mai Municipality is
offering 5 baht per dead rat to stallholders at Muang Mai fresh market
as part of its campaign against rodent-borne diseases.
The ‘special offer’ comes in the form of a rat- killing contest, with
the winner standing to gain 1000 baht and the runner-up 500 baht. As a
result, enthusiastic stallholders are spending their nights rat-hunting.
According to the municipality, if the scheme is successful, it will be
expanded to other fresh markets in the city.