Vol. VIII No. 38 - Tuesday
September 22 - September 28, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


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

New tourism drive to promote Chiang Mai as Thailand’s centre for eco-tourism

Protecting children and strengthening families

‘Calling all Angels’ – the party before the marathon!

Personalities: Dr. Duangchan Apavatjrut Charoenmuang

New tourism drive to promote Chiang Mai as Thailand’s centre for eco-tourism

Involved tourism businesses and organisations got together
at the official launch of a new tourism initiative promoting
 Chiang Mai as Thailand’s centre for ecological and adventure tourism.

Supoj Thiamyoj 
The official launch of a new tourism initiative promoting Chiang Mai as Thailand’s centre for ecological and adventure tourism will kick off between November 6 and 8 with an ‘Invaluable Culture, Beautiful Nature’-themed travel mart organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) at Suan Ratchaphruek.

A demonstration showing how Chiang Mai is be heavily promoted as the centre in Thailand for both eco-tourism and adventure holidays, with the focus on a new style of responsible tourism.

‘Northern Eco & Adventure Travel Mart 2009’ will focus on publicising Chiang Mai as the chosen travel destination for a relaxing holiday combined with the opportunity for ecological, environmental and cultural experiences – a new kind of responsible tourism.
The event’s highlight will be its ‘trade meet’, during which ecological and adventure tourism business operators from Northern provinces as well as other regions will be able to meet and become business partners. Booths featuring tourism packages and educational exhibitions themed for responsible tourism will also be featured.

 

Protecting children and strengthening families

Margaret Bhadungzong
Dr. Sombat Tapanya, a psychologist and assistant professor at Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Medicine, has a strong interest in domestic violence and learned violent behaviour as it applies to children and young people.
Dr. Tapanya received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of New Brunswick and worked as a clinical psychologist at the Somdet Chaopraya Psychiatric Institute in Bangkok between 1972 and 1984. Since 1985 he has held the position of assistant professor at the CMU Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry.
Dr. Tapanya’s interest in violence against young people has led him to the third year of his research project on positive discipline and bullying prevention in Chiang Mai, aided by a grant from the Thailand National Human Rights Commission. In addition, he is part of a research team based at Duke University studying the effects of parental punishment on their children, and another research project on youth resilience at Dalhousie University in Canada.
Recently he addressed the all-women Rotary Thinthaingarm Chiang Mai Club on ‘Violence Prevention Begins at Home and in School’. During his talk, he updated club members on the current Thai family and school situation, how it affects violence in society, and how informed adults can prevent violence against young people.
Dr. Tapanya has a vision to create a ‘Peace Culture for Youth Centre’ in a new housing project for lower income families located in Nong Hoy. Over 500 families with young children will be relocated to the project, making it an ideal location for a family service centre. Children from such families are at risk of exposure to domestic violence and of acquiring by example violent emotional responses to problem solving.
The proposed Peace Culture Centre will provide training and support for families living in that area, including offering Aikido classes for the children. In Dr. Tapanya’s personal vision, Aikido is a viable approach to self-defence through non-violence, as it involves no aggressive movements, but uses the aggressor’s own strength against him. He has been actively promoting Aikido training amongst young, underprivileged children in Chiang Mai for many years with the aim of instilling the value of a non-violent approach to life and its dilemmas. He is happy to talk to social and business groups about this and seeks their support for the sport. He believes that a non-violent approach will have long-term benefits in helping to create a society in which parents can raise peaceful children, thus reducing the likelihood of future family, community, and political violence.
After his talk, Thinthaingarm Rotarians enthusiastically considered the proposed project to the extent of discussing the formation of a volunteer group to work in the centre. Dr. Tapanya has already received an offer of a loaned property in which to house the centre, and various grants in support may also be available. After his return later this month from a violence prevention conference in Geneva supported by the World Health Organisation, Dr Tapanya will complete a project funding proposal.
Volunteers who would like to work on the Peace Culture for Youth Centre project are invited to contact Dr. Tapanya by email on som battapanya @gmail.com.


‘Calling all Angels’ – the party before the marathon!

Readers may remember a story published in this paper recently about an energetic Brit, Ray Martin, who is training here in Chiang Mai to run in the New York Marathon on November 1 in order to raise funds for the Elephant Nature Park, a Nepalese orphanage and world cancer research.
Ray contacted us last week to let us know that not only his training was going very well, (in this heat, Ray? well done , my son!), but also that he has finalised details for his ‘Calling all Angels’ fundraising evening at the Taste from Heaven vegetarian restaurant on Thapae Road, near Thapae Gate.
On the evening of October 4 from 6.30. p.m., 70 ticket holders, (that’s the most the venue can hold), will enjoy delicious food, raffles for prizes totalling at present well over 43,000 baht, with more to come in, and an evening of fun with like-minded friends. The guest of honour will be Lek Chailert, the founder of the Elephant Nature Park. All proceeds from the evening will be donated to the ‘Calling all Angels’ campaign, more about which can be read on www. thedailyexplorer.com.
Tickets, which need to be purchased in advance, will cost 250 baht per person, and include a vegetarian buffet, soft drinks, (alcoholic drinks extra) and two raffle tickets, more of which can be purchased at 50 baht each on the night. For more info and to book, call Ray on 089-000-2633, or email on [email protected] Tickets are first come- first served, with 20 sold already—don’t miss this one!


Personalities: Dr. Duangchan Apavatjrut Charoenmuang

An academic and former city planner in Chicago, author of a number of books on sustainable cities as part of the Sustainable Cities Project funded by the Heinrich Boll Foundation, (including Chiang Mai: a Case of a City in a Valley’), coordinator of the Urban Studies Section of the Social Research Institute at Chiang Mai University, founder of the Urban Development Institute Foundation, tireless worker to improve conditions in the city she loves…Dr. Duangchan is all this, and more.
A woman with a strong personality and a determination to fight to achieve the goals set for her foundation, Dr Duangchan is rooted firmly and lovingly in the history, culture and traditions of her city, yet, perhaps due to her years in Chicago, has a practical, modern view of the problems which continue to plague Chiang Mai.
When she returned to her city from the USA, she was struck by the changes which had taken place in her absence, many of which seemed in total opposition to its heritage. Determined to take action to, if not stop, at least limit the rot, she formed an association with like-minded academics and residents and began to ask questions about demolition and redevelopment, high-rises, pollution and the lack of concern about the preservation of the city’s beautiful old teak houses, many of which had been demolished by the time of her return.
After several years, it became necessary to begin the process of registering as a foundation, due to complaints about the organisation’s non-official status – possible proof that it was having some effect! Unfortunately, because of financial constraints, the process, never fast, took 10 long years, during which time Dr Duangchan and her supporters undertook a continuing campaign against the burning of refuse which contributed, (and still contributes) in a major manner to the city’s pollution problems. She states that, until several years ago, Tambon and Obator authorities simply were not aware of the danger to health of a high level of particulate pollution! Knowing Dr. Duangchan, they will now be fully aware of the risks.
The foundation is based in Buddhasathan, located on Thapae Road opposite the governor’s residence. On September 26, a seminar/forum will be held there which should be of interest to all concerned residents. The significance of climate change will be discussed, with suggestions as to what solutions may be found, other city issues will be in focus, and a number of the mayoral candidates will answer questions on their stance on the future development of Chiang Mai. The event will take place from 6 30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and promises to be of interest to all who are concerned about the future of this historic and unique city.



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