HM the King’s appearance brings joy to our hearts
Royal doctors report the King’s condition as stable and physically stronger
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, the world’s longest-serving
monarch appeared in public last Friday for the first time after being
hospitalised for more than a month.
Wearing a short-sleeved blue shirt and black trousers, the 81-year-old
monarch was seen on national television in a wheelchair at Siriraj Hospital
paying homage to the statue of his grandfather HM King Chulalongkorn the
Great, revered as one of the greatest kings of Siam who contributed
significantly to modernising the kingdom in various aspects including the
bureaucracy and infrastructure more than a century ago.
His Majesty also paid respects to statues of his late parents Prince Mahidol
of Songkhla and Her Royal Highness Princess Sri Nagarindra, the Princess
Mother at the nearby Centennial Pavilion within the hospital compound.
He looked alert and cheerful, much the same as in previous public
appearances. He raised his arm to greet the public as he was wheeled through
the hospital corridor.
The king’s appearance brought great joy to His subjects waiting to get a
glimpse of their beloved monarch. Hundreds of well-wishers shouted, “Long
Live the King,” and put their hands together in prayer.
“I am so happy our royal father is better. I hope he leaves the hospital
soon because Thailand needs him,” said a teary-eyed 62-year-old retired
teacher Wasana Sriboomtham at the hospital.
The Royal Household Bureau issued its 33rd statement Thursday, saying the
monarch was recuperating and regaining strength. His overall condition is
stable and he is reportedly to have a good appetite and is sleeping
normally. A team of physicians continue to provide him with antibiotics and
The bureau said it would no longer release daily updates regarding His
Majesty’s condition unless the condition improves markedly. Doctors have
asked the King to remain in hospital so he can fully recover from a lung
The disappearance from the public eye of the revered king has caused great
concern and was linked to the largest decline in nearly two months in the
bourse last Wednesday after rumours circulated among investors of the
deterioration in the King’s health.
The management and staff of the Chiang Mai Mail join the people of Thailand
in wishing His Majesty the King a speedy recovery. AP/TNA/CMM
HM King Chulalongkorn the Great
Fond memories of a Great King
On Friday, October 23, the Kingdom of Thailand observed Chulalongkorn Day,
commemorating a great king.
King Rama V monument stands tall in front of Chiang Mai City Hall.
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn the Great (Rama V) was born in 1853, the son
of His Majesty King Mongkut (Rama IV) and Her Majesty Queen Thep Sirinthorn.
In 1868, He was given the title Duke ‘Meun Phikhartnaresueansurasangkas.’
HM King Chulalongkorn ascended the throne in 1868, with the title ‘Phrabat
Somdej Phra Paraminthra Maha Chulalongkorn Bodinthorn Thep Phaya Maha
Mongkut Burutsaya Ratanaraj Rawiwong Warut-tapong Saboripatara Wora
Khatiyaraj Nikarodom Jaturatana Borom Maha Chakarapaddiraj Sangart
Boromtammika Maha Raja Thiraj Boromanat Bopitara Phra Chulachomklao Chao Yoo
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn lived with one purpose in his mind and heart:
the happiness and well-being of the Siamese people. His Majesty would often
dress as a commoner and move among his people with only two or three
advisors. In this way, he could find out how his subjects really felt and
see what was happening in his Kingdom.
There is one famous story of His Majesty and two counselors who, after a
hard day’s travel, stopped at a farmer’s house to ask for a drink of water.
Rural hospitality being a hallmark of Thai people, the family asked the
three strangers to stay and have food with them. Speaking freely, the farmer
and his wife told the strangers of how their life was progressing and what
they would like to see done for their village by the ‘Great King who lives
in the Palace in Bangkok.’ The farmer’s son noticed that one of the
strangers looked familiar. He went and looked at a daguerreotype the family
had of the King. Running back to the group, the family learned that they
were serving food to the ‘Lord of Life’ in Siam. HM King Chulalongkorn the
Great did this often and thus became ‘in touch’ with the needs of the
Another story of the great love and respect happened in 1893. The territory
hungry French had formulated a plan to take the Siamese territory of Laos
and certain valuable territories on the Eastern Seaboard which produced
precious rubies and sapphires.
In a carefully formulated plan, a French warship entered the Chao Phraya
River. It was required by international law that all foreign ships fly their
colors when entering the waters of another sovereign country. The French
deliberately did not do this. When hailed by the river guard to fly their
colors, the French ignored the guard. The guard fired a warning shot over
the French ship’s bow.
The French Embassy in Bangkok was prepared in advance to carry out the plan.
Bringing a letter sent from France months before the incident, it stated
that Siam had performed an act of aggression on the French and must pay huge
The French were not prepared for what happened next. Hearing of the huge
demands, Siamese both wealthy and poor brought cartloads of jewels, precious
metals and every valuable possible to the Royal Palace and offered it to His
Majesty to keep the French out of Siam.
The French had not imagined that Siam was so wealthy and the people so
devoted to their King.
Siam was able to pay the reparations but the French, deciding this was not
enough, took all Siamese territory east of the Mekong River.
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn was wise, knowing that Siam could not resist
the French and British and held the motto of ‘giving up some so as not to
Siam lost over 160,000 sq. kilometers of territory to the French and
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn was the first Siamese monarch to visit the
West. He believed in adopting all things good from the West while Siam kept
its culture. The wise King Chulalongkorn made Russia a strong ally of Siam
to counteract the British and French influence in SE Asia. He followed the
Chinese concept of ‘have strong allies but make sure their borders are far
Many of the Royal Princes were sent to study in Russia. In His letters to
His sons, HM King Chulalongkorn wisely warned them ‘do not feel that you are
important because you are a prince. In Siam, there are many princes, whereas
in Russia there are few. Do the best you can at your studies and that is
HM King Chulalongkorn’s most noteworthy achievement in Siam was the
abolition of slavery. He did not do this in a haphazard manner as it was
done in other countries. He devised a complex method of ‘freeing’ slaves so
that older ones would not be left in poverty with no place to live. Younger
slaves were to be released by ‘stages’, responsibility falling to the owner
to see that they had a way of supporting themselves.
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn the Great is beloved of Thai people and
considered a truly ‘enlightened’ ruler among historians. His Majesty died on
October 23, 1910, after the second longest reign in the history of the Thai
He is remembered and loved by the Thai people and the date of his death is
commemorated every year. Ceremonies are held, offerings are made to his
memory and the entire student body from the university that bears his name
perform obeisance before his statue.
Locally, city officials, people from the business community, members from
local charitable organizations, the private sector and many local residents
assembled in the morning in the field in front of Chiang Mai City Hall to
celebrate this Remembrance Day for King Rama V, all paying homage to one of
the greatest and most highly revered Kings of Thailand. Each organization
and institute presented wreaths to the King Rama V statue.
Would that all countries were so lucky to have one such enlightened ruler in
their collective histories.
Dr . Iain Corness
There is a tendency to look upon a newspaper as several pages of
processed dead trees with ink embossing describing items of “news”. That
concept is incorrect.
However, newspapers themselves are not something ‘new’. Newspapers have been
around for centuries. It is accepted that the first newspaper was printed in
1605 and the first English language edition in 1620. That makes your Chiang
Mai Mail a veritable infant, having first been published in 2002.
But back to the dead trees. Any newspaper, and that includes this one, is
not a dead object, but has a life of its own. It reflects the needs of any
society, and as those needs are constantly changing, due to many factors,
then the newspaper must change with those needs. As the society lives and
evolves, so does the newspaper.
If we take Wikipedia as reflecting public opinion, we are told that, “A
newspaper is a publication containing news, information, and advertising.
General-interest newspapers often feature articles on political events,
crime, business, art/entertainment, society and sports. Most traditional
papers also feature an editorial page containing columns that express the
personal opinions of writers.” A hefty task, but does sound as if Chiang Mai
Mail is not all that far off target.
Of course, it may sometimes be difficult to respond to change, or the
response comes too late, or the newspaper becomes too set in its ways, in
its modus operandi. This requires editorial staff remaining acutely aware of
“now” as opposed to “then”. Also a hefty task.
Having recognized these factors, this is why Chiang Mai Mail, for its
seventh anniversary, promises you a constantly evolving future, with a
newspaper reflecting all sections of the Chiang Mai society. It is not a
publication for certain ‘cliques’ but one that should have something for
We are sufficiently realistic to know that there is no one thing that can be
all things for all people, but we can try to have some thing for the
majority of people, and that is you, gentle reader.
Welcome to the Chiang Mai Mail’s eighth year. We are excited by the changing
future. We just hope you are as well.
Chiangmai Biker Association
hits the ground running
Chiang Mai’s Governor Amornpan Nimanant (middle
on the back row) pictured with the presidents of 15 clubs of bikers in
Chiang Mai that are united in the Chiangmai Biker Association.
The Chiangmai Biker Association (CBA) was officially introduced to
the Chiang Mai public on October 11 at 5:00 p.m. at Lan Charng in the
Imperial Mae Ping Hotel. The introductory event was presided over by
Amornpan Nimanant, Chiang Mai’s Governor, Gen. Sangkom Chantaratam, the
association’s consultant, and Kankanit Chaichankanit, the president of the
association, and was attended by approximately 300 members of the
Chaichankanit said that the CBA was founded to encourage cooperation among
the members of 15 biker clubs in Chiang Mai, in particular relating to
social and benevolent activities in Chiang Mai and the nearby provinces. The
association has already initiated useful projects and participated in
beneficial events held in Chiang Mai since its establishment, including a
tree-planting event, a project for the restoration of temples, and parades
for the promotion of Chiang Mai’s festivals.
The president assured everyone present that his association would continue
to organize as well as take part in productive and beneficial activities for
The pictures at the introductory event of the
Chiangmai Biker Association held at Imperial Mae Ping Hotel on October 11.
Chiang Mai’s panda family
feature in new photo exhibit
Chiang Mai Zoo’s Director, Thanapath Pongpamorn
(black jacket), receives a cheque for 336,537.50 baht from a representative
of Kirin Beverage to support the panda research project in Thailand.
Chiang Mai Zoo’s Director, Thanapath Pongpamorn, presided over the
opening of a photo exhibition on October 12, featuring 60 frames that record
the lives of giant pandas Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui since their arrival at
the Chiang Mai International Airport in 2003, and Lhin Ping since its birth
According to Pongpamorn, Chiang Mai Zoo earns approx. 50 million baht per
month from direct public interest in the panda family. The zoo is planning
to archive the artificial insemination for the panda twins within the
remaining period of 4 years in which they are allowed to stay in Thailand
and a permanent panda research center is to be established in the long term.
The photographic exhibition can be viewed at the Chiang Mai Zoo until the
end of October and copies of all the photographs are available for purchase
with the proceeds going to the fund for Thailand’s panda research project.
Chiang Mai Tourist Police receive
a visit from Australian counterparts
Pol. Lt. Col. Yutsit Boonklam, the Inspector
of Chiang Mai Tourist Police (2nd from left, front row), receives an
honorary shield from Mark Mckiernan (3rd left front row), Scot Kennedy
(4th left front row) and Kittipop Jairin (2nd right back row), all
representatives of the Australian Federal Police in Thailand.
Representatives of the Australian Federal Police from the
Australian Embassy in Bangkok, consisting of Mark Mckiernan, the Senior
Liaison Officer, Scot Kennedy, the Liaison Officer, and Kittipop Jairin,
the Investigation Assistant, recently paid a visit to the Chiang Mai
Tourist Police station on October 19.
They were welcomed by Pol. Lt. Col. Yutsit Boonklam, the Inspector of
Chiang Mai Tourist Police who received an honorary shield from the
Australian contingent in appreciation of the Chiang Mai Tourist Police’s
assistance and support to the Australian Federal Police in Thailand.
Locally-grown hill tribe
Arabica coffee a success story
In the provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong
Son production of Arabica coffee has been growing steadily since
its introduction in 2005, with production this year expected to
reach 74,850 bags of the aromatic beans.
Although only a small percentage of the total coffee produced in
Thailand, some 890,000 bags, the ‘hill tribe coffee’, as it is
marketed, is aimed at the premium speciality coffee market both
at home and for export. Awareness of and demand for the brand
has been stimulated by tourism in the region; with a large
number of coffee bushes still to reach maturity, it is expected
that the sector will develop into a profitable, if small-scale,
GMS countries to showcase tourism, trade and culture in Chiang Rai
The 6 countries that form the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS),
namely Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, have been
invited to take part in a 15th grand regional fair to be held in Chiang
Rai to help boost trade, tourism, and cultural ties.
Chiang Rai governor Sumeth Saengnimnual says the event will be held from
December 8-15 at the old Chiang Rai airport (Wing 416) and will provide
an ideal opportunity for all the nations taking part to further
cooperation amongst themselves and boost the regional economy,
especially during the high tourist season.
The 7-day event will feature many various activities including stage
shows and performances. These activities will be divided into several
categories including an exchange on arts and cultures, goods and
products on display and sales, kad mua, mixed/ busy markets, One Tambon
On e Product (OTOP products), Royal Project exhibition, a motor show,
and lastly a joint seminar on economic development by the 6 GMS
Sompong Kulwong, the Chiang Rai mayor, has announced that a grand
opening ceremony for the fair will be held on December 8, beginning with
a magnificent parade representing the 6 GMS countries involved, and
moving from Nalai Road to the fair ground area. From 8.30 -9.30 p.m.
during the period December 8 -11, the fair will feature the various
nightly entertainment shows and performances designed to showcase the
different arts and cultures of the nations making up the sub region.
Yipeng Festival ’09, for the
preservation of the cultural and
natural environments of Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai will celebrate its largest Yipeng festival this year. This
was the proud boast of the Office of Tourism and Sports of Chiang Mai,
Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organization, Chiang Mai
Municipality and the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association.
Yipeng Festival will run between October 31 and November 3, with the
theme being the preservation of nature and air and reducing water
pollution and the preservation of the art and culture of Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai Governor Amornpan Nimanant, wants the preservation of nature
and cultural heritage and the Lanna traditional lifestyle, including the
cultural tradition of “Long Sapao” using natural materials such as
trunks and leaves of banana, papaya or bamboo, done in the past during
the Yipeng Festival for the purposes of family bonding and merit-making.
Residents and tourists are encouraged to hang Lanna style lanterns
instead of releasing them into the sky, in support of the campaign to
save the earth and reduce air pollution, and will be the highlight of
Chiang Mai Yipeng Festival 2009.
In addition to the “Kratongs” parade, the contests and fireworks, the
tourists and residents will witness the decorated “King Prajadhipok
Cultural Road”. All these activities are funded by the Chiang Mai
Provincial Administrative Organization.
According to Boonlert Buranupakorn, the president of Chiang Mai
Provincial Administrative Organization, the “King Prajadhipok Cultural
Road” is organized with the aim of designating Chiang Mai as the center
of Lanna heritage, and to establish Chiang Mai as a world travel
Sarawut Saetiaw, the president of the Chiang Mai Tourism Association,
said his association has been assigned the responsibility of the “King
Prajadhipok Cultural Road” and will decorate the road, from Chang Phuak
Gate, Three Kings Monument to Chiang Mai Gate, with 20,000 Lanna style
lanterns, with the largest and most beautiful “Kom Pad” or rotating
lantern and arches.
The Yipeng Festival is to take place between October 31 and November 3,
starting at 6 p.m. each night with free tours along the road provided by
the Chiang Mai Night Safari’s shuttle buses.
Yipeng lanterns should be
released after 9.30 p.m.
Pol. Capt. Prapawat Prasertsuwan, Executive Vice President of
Chiang Mai International Airport, at the weekly press conference,
requested cooperation from government organizations, educational
institutions, local administrative organizations and the communities not
to adversely affect air traffic through the release of Yipeng lanterns.
Capt. Prapawat Prasertsuwan, Executive Vice President of Chiang Mai
The Department of Civil Aviation requested that Yipeng lanterns not be
released until after 9.30 p.m., and the details about these activities
should be given Chiang Mai International Airport on 053-922274, so that
the pilots could be warned to avoid the areas from which the lanterns
are released, just in case they did not see them.
At the moment, there are 11 flights from four airlines scheduled to
arrive after 8 p.m. at Chiang Mai International Airport, but the
Department of Civil Aviation will arrange for all the flights to arrive
at the airport before 9.30 p.m. during the Yipeng Festival period.
To show the magnitude of the problem, in 2007, 1,161 lanterns fell into
the area of Chiang Mai International Airport. In 2008, the number of
lanterns decreased to only 365 lanterns, through the good cooperation
among the different sectors in the province.
Drug checkpoints during Loy Krathong Festival
Pol. Lt. Gen. Somkid Boonthanom, the commissioner of Provincial
Police Region 5 has asked for tight control at 40 permanent
checkpoints around Thailand’s border area to counter drug
trafficking into internal areas of Chiang Mai during the period
of Loy Krathong Festival.
As the drug trafficking gangs might try and sneak in with the
big crowd of tourists coming into Chiang Mai during the Loy
Krathong Festival he has commanded that the police officers set
up temporary checkpoints in addition to the 40 permanent
checkpoints around the area.
He also added that more young people aged between seven and 18
have been arrested for drugs, especially the children in border
districts who have been tricked into becoming drug users and
drug dealers and then used for drug trafficking.
The police region 5 has organized a project against drug use,
emphasizing on the community’s support to protect their
children. As part of the project, the police officers are sent
to give lectures on the topics of drugs and look for clues that
might lead to drug gangs. (PRD Chiang Mai)
An Australian foiled in insurance scam
David Conomos, a 23-year-old Australian, went to the
Chiang Mai Tourist Police Office in the morning of October 9,
and reported the theft of his belongings. These included a white
Apple computer with additional hardware, a brown wallet with a
Mastercard credit card and two Visa credit cards, a Panasonic
camera, a black Nokia mobile phone, some books and sundry other
However, early in the afternoon, the Tourist Police, led by Pol.
Col. Wirapong Putsarangsi, the Superintendent, went to his hotel
room looking for clues, but instead, they found all the
so-called missing items.
Conomos did not thank the police for “finding” his “stolen”
goods, but then confessed that he lied about being robbed as he
wanted to obtain compensation money from the insurance company.
The tourist police sent him to Muang District Police Station for
prosecution. The insurance company should be very pleased, even
if Mr. Conomos is not.
American rock climber falls to his death
The body of Jeremy Joe Riveira, a 30-year-old American
who was residing at BMP residence in Chiang Mai’s Muang
district, was found at the base of a cave in the popular rock
climbing area, 800 meters from the Chiang Mai – San Kamphaeng
Hot Springs road.
Josh Morris, the owner of Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures
and an expert on rock climbing said that he presumed that the
dead tourist practiced the free solo style, which is a very
dangerous style of a rock climbing as the climber does not use
rope or other safety equipment. It is believed that the deceased
climber would have lost a hand-hold and fell the 200 meters
through the roof of the cave and would have died on impact.
The retrieval team had to climb to the peak of the cliff, and
rappel down 200 meters to the bottom of the cave through the
hole on top of its roof. Alongside the body was a digital camera
on a tripod in recording mode.
The dead body was later identified as Riveira and the police
presume that he died the day before he was found.
The body was sent for autopsy at Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai
Hospital, and his death was also reported to the US Consulate in
Heavy storm cuts power in Photaram Road
A short but very heavy storm, preceded by high winds,
occurred in and around Photaram Road, near Wat Ched Yot, on
Monday evening, October 19.
Road, 7.00 a.m. Tuesday, 20th October.
The wind brought down the top braches of some tall trees which
fell onto power cables underneath, resulting in the total
collapse of four supporting posts. One post caused some damage
to a neighbouring house and it was fortunate that there were no
passing vehicles at the time.
Power to the surrounding area was cut off at 6 p.m., but prompt
work by electricity repair teams restored electricity to many of
the affected houses with the hour.
Road, 5.00 p.m. Tuesday, 20th October.
Daylight the next day revealed the extent of the damage and
traffic was diverted to adjacent soi’s. A team of workers with
three mobile cranes commenced repairs to the damage shortly
after 7 a.m. and had restored power to all the affected
buildings by 5 p.m. in the afternoon when Photaram Road was
re-opened to traffic.
Gang targets women
The four miscreants are made to line
up by Chiang Mai Provincial Police.
Members of a gang of young hoodlums have been arrested
by the Chiang Mai Provincial Police. Pol. Col. Panudet
Boonrueng, the Deputy Commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police,
paraded Kirati Poomkong or Benz, 18, a Mahasarakham resident;
Abew Muetae or Biaw, 22, a Chiang Mai resident of Hmong descent;
Ati Mayeur or Lha, 22, a Chiang Rai resident and Mongpong or
Jai, 24, a Burmese.
They were arrested in possession of two Honda motorcycles,
mobile phones, pawn tickets for mobile phones, a helmet, and a
12 inch knife used in the crimes. They admitted to charges of
rape and theft.
According to Pol. Col. Panudet Boonrueng, the Deputy Commander
of Chiang Mai Provincial Police, the gang admitted to nine
robberies and one rape during September and October: theft and
rape in the area in San Phi Suea sub-district; theft of a mobile
phone and 700 baht cash at Waroros Market; theft of cash and a
portable MP4 music player at Tha Pae Gate; theft of a mobile
phone and cash at Ka Chao Market in San Phi Suea sub-district;
theft of a mobile phone and 14,000 baht cash at a location near
Mae Rim Police Station; theft of a mobile phone and 2,500 baht
cash at Nong Hoy Market; theft of 2,000 baht cash at Kam Thiang
Market; theft of 700 baht cash at Louis Intersection in San
Kamphaeng district; and another theft in the area near Chiang
Mai Provincial Electricity Authority Office. All the victims
were female motorcyclists.
The police are still tracking the other four members of this
criminal gang including Tommue Chado, Boy, Tualek and Bank. It
should not be long before the police apprehend the hoodlums as
they have done very little to hide their trail. However, the
sooner these criminals are removed from the streets of Chiang
Mai, the better it will be for everyone.
Flash floods damage
Mae Sariang Highway 108
The route between Mae Hong Son’s Mae Sariang district
and Chiang Mai’s Hod district is served by Highway 108. Flash
floods have damaged this highway, and the Department of Highways
estimates that the repair would require three days. Mae Hong
Son’s Governor Kamthorn Thavornsathit wishes to inform tourists
and the people who need to travel to Mae Hong Son to use Highway
The damage to the Highway 108 was caused by flash floods
occurring at Km 13 from Mae Sariang district and about 25 meters
of the highway were swept away, so strong was the flooding. Road
working equipment has been sent to the area and repairs are
It is important that the repairs are expedited quickly, as more
tourists from Bangkok Metropolitan Area are coming to Pai and
Pang Ma Pha, as the climate in the two districts is becoming
While Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son residents can use Highway
1095, the damage has caused problems for the residents in Sop
Moei district and Mae La Noi district going to Chiang Mai, as
they are forced to travel an additional distance of 200 km.
Japanese registered bikes
confiscated by Mae Ping police
Mae Ping Police inspect the Japanese
plated motorcycles which are being discovered in increasing
numbers in Chiang Mai province.
With the theft of motorcycles increasing in Chiang Mai
province, this has become a headache for the local police force.
However, on October 15, Pol. Col. Aksorn Wongyai, the
Superintendent of Mae Ping Police Station, sent a team to
inspect a suspicious motorcycle repair shop operating without
any official business name in the area of Wat Kate sub-district,
Muang district. This back street enterprise was operated by
A quick search for registration documents turned up 11
motorcycles with no paperwork. A more detailed look at the
motorcycles showed that the same 11 were sporting Japanese
license plates. These included one black/green Yamaha Fino
motorcycle, one Honda Giorno motorcycle and nine Honda ZX
Anyone who suspects that any of these motorcycles are their
property can contact the Vehicle Theft Prevention Center
(oxymoron) at Mae Ping Police Station: tel. 053-140-222 to 421.
However, if these machines have been directly imported from
Japan, this poses another question – how did they get in?