Vol. VIII No. 47 - Tuesday
November 24 - November 30, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chiang Mai Mayor still unofficial

Prime Minister unperturbed, confirms visit to Chiang Mai, Thaksin’s stronghold

White tiger cub dies of kidney failure at the Night Safari

Mae Moh villagers to get respiratory center

Japanese performance artists will open the 18th Comic Party

10 tons of smuggled tobacco seized in Chiang Rai

Woman found stabbed to death in the trunk of her car

Art and culture event at Wat Si Supan

CMU promotes increased awareness, health and education for the disabled

“Uncaged! The Art of Ability” exhibition increases awareness of Cerebral Palsy

 

Chiang Mai Mayor still unofficial

Municipal council members fail to show at meeting

Chiang Mai Mayor Tassanai Buranupakorn expresses
 disappointment after the postponed meeting.

Nopniwat Krailerg
After only 6 out of 24 Chiang Mai Municipal Council members showed up at the first Council meeting of new Mayor Tassanai Buranupakorn’s tenure on November 18, he will be forced to call another meeting in order to announce his policies.
Regulations require that the new mayor announce his policies to the Municipal Council within 30 days of the approval of the election results by the Election Council.
If he cannot make the announcement to Council members within that period then he will be required to send out his written policy to all members. Only then, once all Council members have been informed of the new policies, will the new mayor’s role become official.
Sutat Srilom, President of Chiang Mai Municipal Council, was forced to postpone the meeting and inform Council members of the rescheduled date due to the high number of no-shows. Tassanai Buranupakorn, who was ready to read his policy to the council, left the building disappointed.
Denying speculation that the Council members intentionally did not attend the meeting, Mayor Tassanai Buranupakorn said, “I think we need to be optimistic about this. The missing members might have some business that requires them to be elsewhere. I don’t think that they did this in an attempt to negotiate for positions. About the meeting’s rescheduling, it is up to the president of the council as well as rules and regulations. I will be present at the re-scheduled meeting.
The Municipal Council consists of 24 members, until recently all members of the Chang Ngan group, led by Poolsawat Warawal, former deputy mayor under Boonlert Buranupakorn, now the President of the Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization. However, the group split in the last election and 18 members sided with mayoral candidate Wipawal Woraputtipong while the remaining 6 members supported the campaign of the new mayor, Tassanai Buranupakorn. However, representatives of the Council members denied rumors of a split, suggesting that all members are free to make their own decisions.
 

 

Prime Minister unperturbed, confirms visit to Chiang Mai, Thaksin’s stronghold

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Friday reaffirmed that he will visit the northern province of Chiang Mai, stronghold of fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, on November 29, while urging police to take legal action against a local radio broadcaster who is allegedly inciting the public to harm him.
The premier commented in response to reports that Chiang Mai Red Shirt protesters led by the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) will rally against his visit.
The premier said there have been reports of possible attacks against him from time to time, but this time it was announced by a community radio host, which is considered illegal.
Mr Abhisit said police must take legal action against those who violate the law, especially against a particular local radio broadcaster now being served an arrest warrant.
The premier stood firm that he is unafraid but is duty-bound to carry out his planned activities.
“It will be a pity if the meeting (of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce) cannot be held and unable to achieve reconciliation as planned.” Mr Abhisit said.
The prime minister conceded that his life is under threat, saying that the National Security Agency is now considering whether to impose the Internal Security Act (ISA) during the Red Shirt rally on November 28 in the capital when the UDD planned to besiege Government House.
Meanwhile, Satit Wongnongtoey, Minister to Prime Minister’s Office, said Friday that warning letters have been sent to local community radios which incite the public to cause disturbances several times.
“If it is obviously found that they violate the law, I will order the closure of the community radios. Legal action must be taken against them immediately,” Mr Sathit warned. The government will not abuse power by interfering with the community radios, but precautionary measures are necessary as the prime minister is being targeted by some elements.
In another development, Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanand on Friday met with concerned agencies to plan security measures during the prime minister’s visit next Sunday. (TNA)


White tiger cub dies of kidney failure at the Night Safari

Staff reporters
Pluang, the 8 month old female white tiger cub at the Chiang Mai Night Safari has died of kidney failure, Narong Tananuwat, Managing Director of Chiang Mai Night Safari announced November 13.

The white tigers at the Chiang Mai Night Safari

Chatree Koohateparak, head of the Veterinary Department and Naratip Worawattanatam, assistant head of the Veterinary Department said that Chiang Mai University’s Veterinary Center did the autopsy on the rare tiger cub. They hope to investigate further into the cause of death to find the contributing factors to the cub’s illness and subsequent death. They reported that Pan, Pluang’s brother, is currently in poor health, receiving medical attention while his condition is being constantly monitored.
Prasert Niamjan, the animals’ caretaker, reported that white tigers often need special care. Because white tigers are so rare in the wild the breeding pool has been limited to the small number of white tigers in captivity. Interbreeding among the tigers often leads to genetic defects.
Narong Tananuwat accompanied the press to visit Henry, one of 7 white tiger cubs in the Chiang Mai Night Safari. He was photographed bottle feeding the tiger cub at the Photo Corner at the Night Safari.


Mae Moh villagers to get respiratory center

The government has approved 36.5 million baht to build the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Center at Mae Moh Hospital to provide respiratory health care for local residents affected by pollution from the coal-fired power plant in Lampang’s Mae Moh district. The Mae Moh Power Plant and Lignite Mine is one of the largest coal-fired power plants in South East Asia.
Villagers have long complained of respiratory health problems arising from pollution emissions at the plant and 4 years ago the government appointed a commission to investigate the local hospital’s ability to handle respiratory cases. The commission, consisting of doctors, government officials and representatives of the local people concluded that the local hospital did not have adequate facilities to treat respiratory illnesses that have arisen in Mae Moh since the plant opened.
Prasert Kijsuwan, Director of Mae Moh Hospital, explained the Ministry of Health will divide the 36.5 million baht provided by the Electrical Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) towards construction of the building, data and information services, specialized medical personnel and research. Construction on the medical center is expected to start at the beginning of next year.
The power plant has an annual production capacity of 2,400 megawatts and accounts for roughly 12 per cent of the country’s electricity generation. Half of plant’s output serves the North, while 30 per cent is sent to the Central provinces and 20 per cent to the Northeast.
EGAT was ordered by the courts earlier this year to pay compensation and to relocate villagers whose health had been affected by the power plant. EGAT claims the controversial plant has implemented programs to tackle pollution problems. (PRD Chiang Mai)


Japanese performance artists will open the 18th Comic Party

One of 10 Japanese cosplayers

One of Japanese performance artists

Japanese Consulate-General in Chiang Mai
10 Japanese cosplayers will be visiting Chiang Mai as a part of the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths. They will be taking part in many of the events related to the Lanna-Japan festival, like a Japankiku radio show on FM 98.5, the Bong Odori Dance Festival on November 29 and participating in a talk on Japanese pop culture at Chiang Mai University on November 30.
Cosplay, or costume play, is a type of performance art where the performers don costumes to represent a specific character or idea, usually drawn from popular Japanese culture. Characters are often taken from such sources as manga, anime, comic books, classical novels and computer games. The term can also be broadly applied to any costumed role-playing apart from the traditional stage.
The cosplayers will pay a visit to the Municipal Offices on November 27 as well as be present at the opening ceremony of the 18th Comic Party, presided over by the Mayor, on November 28 at the Central Airport Plaza.


10 tons of smuggled tobacco seized in Chiang Rai

10 tons of smuggled dried tobacco has been confiscated at the Ban Chaem temporary checkpoint in Chiang Rai Somchai Sujjaponse, Director General of the Customs Department, and Somchai Poolsawat, the Customs Department’s Vice Director for Enforcement announced at a press conference Sunday, November 15.
Customs officials at the temporary checkpoint found the 191 sacks of tobacco at the checkpoint on the Mekong River on the Thailand – Laos border but no one came forward to claim the tobacco. It is assumed that the bags had been smuggled from Laos to be processed and sold in Thailand.
The Director General said the Customs office plans to track down and arrest the smugglers as importation without a license is illegal. (PRD Chiang Mai)


Woman found stabbed to death in the trunk of her car

Two French citizens under suspicion

Staff reporters
The body of Suchada Sittisarn, 33 years old, was found in the trunk of her car with stab wounds to her neck and body. Police found the woman’s red Mitsubishi parked at the home of her boyfriend, Richard Mara Frederick, 66, in Chiang Mai’s Mae On district.
Police from Mae On Police Station, led by Pol. Lt. Col. Manop Jittjaroonpan were called to the scene to investigate the murder. Mr. Frederick and his friend Marco had already left for Mae Sai to renew their visas when the police arrived. Police in Wiangpapao district in Chiang Rai caught sight of the two men in a Jeep Cherokee on the morning of November 15 and detained the suspects for transfer back to Chiang Mai.
According to Pol. Col. Panudet Boonrueng, a deputy commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police who helped lead the interrogation, the two suspects denied any involvement in the crime. They have both been sent to Maharaj Hospital in Chiang Mai to undergo an examination for evidence of blood or fibers. Their Jeep Cherokee and blood-stained shoes have been seized in the investigation.
According to Pol. Lt. Col. Kanit Prasansuk, no charges have yet been filed but the statements of the two suspects have helped to further the investigation. He added that the police plan to further investigate the case and as soon there is enough evidence to prove their involvement, the two French men will be charged with the crime.


Art and culture event at Wat Si Supan

Supoj Thiamyoj
Wat Si Supan on Wua Lai road will be the site of a new festival to promote and preserve the art and culture of Chiang Mai November 28 and 29 it was recently announced by Prof. Dr. Apinan Posayanon, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Culture. Chiang Mai is the first province to hold the event that falls under the government’s creative arts and culture project in its Thai Khem Khang “creative economy” economic recovery plan.

Prof. Dr. Apinan Posayanon, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Culture, discusses the new event for the promotion and preservation of Chiang Mai’s art and culture. The even will be held between November 28 and 29 at Wat Si Supan on Wua Lai Road and at Tha Pae Gate

The festival will start at 6:00 pm on Saturday November28 with performances of Lanna style dancing, Khon drama and an exhibition from the Wua Lai community on its way of life. Continuing Sunday, November 29, regional handicrafts, textiles and artworks from local artists will be on display as well as another Khon drama performance from 5:00 pm. At 6:00 p.m. Minister of Culture Teera Slukpetch will preside over the opening ceremony. Organized by the Chiang Mai Community Art and Culture Center, for more information, please contact the Ministry of Culture’s public relation department, 0-2422-8853-8, or Chiang Mai Culture Office, 0-5311-25956.

Khon drama by the Fine Arts Department


CMU promotes increased awareness, health and education for the disabled

Dr. Pongpisut Jong-Udomsuk, the Director of Health Systems Research Institute, and Prof. Dr. Pongsak Angkasith, Chiang Mai University’s President, with representatives of Chiang Mai University’s disabled students.

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
With a goal of increasing opportunities for higher education for the disabled, increased health care, new methods of learning and increasing community awareness and acceptance of the disabled, Chiang Mai University and the Health Research Institute pledged a continuation of cooperation between the two organizations on October 29 at Chiang Mai University.
Chiang Mai University has held classes in the humanities, engineering, architecture and other subjects for about 800 disabled people since 2004, thanks to financial assistance and support from the Health Systems Research Institute. The University promised to continue these programs as they have proved quite successful.
Prof. Dr. Pongsak Angkasith, Chiang Mai University’s President, and Pongpisut Jongudomsuk, the Director of Health Systems Research Institute, signed a renewal of a memorandum of cooperation between the University and the Health Systems Research Institute with a plan for creating a strong network for disabled people in the upper North.


“Uncaged! The Art of Ability” exhibition increases awareness of Cerebral Palsy

Mai and Wichai greet visitors to the exhibition opening.

Story by Shana Kongmun
Photos by Liam Morgan

“Uncaged: The Art of Ability,” an exhibition displaying the artwork of two talented young artists opened Saturday November 14 at the Mute Mute Gallery on Tha Pae road. Presented in the exhibition are over 60 pieces of two courageous Thai children, Mai Aeju and Wichai Gavilla. These two young boys have been literally un-caged from the confines created by their cerebral palsy, poverty and the ignorance surrounding their condition with the help of Cultural Canvas and Baan Piranan, a resident care facility for individuals with cerebral palsy. Cultural Canvas Thailand worked together with Baan Piranan to teach the boys how to express themselves through their art. Their creativity and ingenuity shines in their artwork, expressed in multiple mediums.
What started as weekly art workshops to teach the two boys art grew into a full blown exhibition featuring their art. Mai and Wichai, with the help of Baan Piranan, overcame great hardship, abuse and neglect to transform into two lovely boys with a yearning to learn, to express themselves and to take part in the world at large. Cultural Canvas Thailand is a volunteer organization that hopes to foster equality, community interaction and social change through artistic outreach and volunteer services in conjunction with local organizations. Cultural Canvas volunteer Aimee Aubin said, “Art and therapy have given these children a voice, something to call their own. They’re no longer trapped behind stigmas and stiff bones. Today, they’re not patients- they’re artists.”
Mai and Wichai,as well as other residents and artists of Baan Piranan, were on hand to greet exhibition goers According to Piranan Singjalai, the occupational therapist in charge of Baan Piranan, the children under her care at the residential facility had suffered neglect and abuse until their rescue. Mai was quite literally caged, spending his life in a small bamboo cage under his mother’s wooden hut when Piranan found him. He is now a bright, alert boy whose determination and personality shine through.
Mai and Wichai’s artwork is displayed along with information and stories pertaining to cerebral palsy. Audience members are invited to take a journey through two floors of exhibition space portraying the boys’ stories, their art, and presenting their experience through multiple mediums. The exhibition’s goal is two-fold: to increase awareness and understanding about cerebral palsy and to raise money to continue the support of organizations advocating for struggling social groups. All of the artwork displayed is for sale by donation. Audiences’ donations will go directly to Cultural Canvas Thailand and Baan Piranan, continuing to provide them with the resources necessary to transform the lives of struggling social groups in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The opening exhibition will run at the Mute Mute Gallery until November 30th.

The boys’ artwork on display at the gallery.



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