Chiang Mai rings in the New Year
Wat Phra Thart Doi Suthep Rajaworamahaviharn was the scene of a
Buddhist merit making ceremony to welcome the new year. Phra Thep
Worasithacharn, the abbot of Wat Phrathart Doi Suthep wished all visitors to
the temple good luck and good fortune and offered his blessing to His
Majesty the King at the wat which houses famous relics. Chiang Mai governor
Amornphan Nimanant joined in the ceremony which took place on midnight,
Boonlert Buranupakorn, the President of the Chiang Mai Provincial
Administration Organization led the countdown to midnight for the crowd
gathered at the party at Think Park on Nimmanhaemin road.
Tha Pae road, from Wat Saen Fang to Tha Pae gate was closed from 5 p.m. To 3
a.m. By the Chiang Mai Municipality so that residents and tourists alike
could flock to the area to celebrate the final countdown. Mayor Tassanai
Buranupakorn, led the celebration by hitting the sa budchai drums.
Performances by well known artists and a display of fireworks at midnight
culminated the celebration to usher in both the New Year.and the new decade.
Happy New Year Chiang Mai
We at the Chiang Mai Mail would like to take this time to wish all of
our readers and residents of Chiang Mai a Happy New Year and a Happy New
Decade. On this unusual New Year, featuring not only a “once in a blue moon”
event, that is two full moons within a calendar month, but also a partial
lunar eclipse, we can only hope that its a good omen for everyone in Chiang
Mai for a prosperous, peaceful and happy new year. Take this time to look
back at 2009 and send out thanks for all the wonderful experiences you had
and the people that you shared them with and then turn and look to 2010 and
feel the excitement of what will be. Happy New Year, Chiang Mai!
Thai veterans receive help from American veterans organization
By Peter Noyes
On December 24 the American Veterans of Foreign Wars
(VFW)organization’s Chiang Mai Post 12074, with the support from the Thai
Veterans Service Organization of Chiang Mai, donated winter bedding and
jackets to 50 needy Thai veterans in Ban Khun Yuam, Changwat Mae Hong Son.
The VFW Post was represented by Post Commander Michael Holmes and VFW member
Chalothorn “CD” Suwanswetr.
Post Commander Michael Holmes donates blankets to needy Thai veterans.
(Photo by Peter Noyes)
Commander Holmes told the group that the American veterans wanted to present
the small donations to acknowledge the brotherhood that exists amongst
veterans around the world. He specifically recognized the Thai veterans for
the their contributions in making Thailand a country where American expats
are so grateful to be able to live. The Thai senior veteran told the VFW and
the Thai Service Organization that they were overjoyed to receive the
donations, not only because of the winter weather, but because that it was
further proof that their service to their country was not forgotten.
Members of the Thai Veterans Service
Organization join hands with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Chiang Mai Post
12074 to donate blankets and warm clothing to needy veterans. (Photo by
Lucky residents move into
new development built
in honor H.M. the King
Tassanai Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai’s Mayor, gave
a giant key and home address plaque to Kaewwan Wannarit, a resident from Ban
Mai Pattaya Community, in front of her new home in the Tong Thin Thai
Housing Project on December 24.
The first four residents moved into their new homes at the Tong Thin
Thai Housing Project, built in honor of His Majesty King Bhumibol
Adulyadej’s 84th birthday. A special nationwide project to provide homes for
underprivileged people, the houses in the project were sponsored and
constructed by the Chiang Mai Municipality.
The entire project is due for completion in 2011, but the first four
residents received their home ownership papers and new house number plaques
as well as keys from Mayor Tassanai Buranupakorn in a ceremony on December
Those interested in donating to the project can contact Chiang Mai
Municipality’s Social Welfare Division at 053 -259022-3.
seen to improve
The north of Thailand has seen growth in the local economy in the
third quarter of 2009 due to increased investment, construction and tourism,
Chantawan Sucharitkul, senior director of the Bank of Thailand’s northern
regional office revealed recently. Government measures to increase spending
and income have resulted in increased income in the agriculture sector as
well as consumer spending and has boosted expectations that economic
conditions in the north will continue to improve in 2010.
Lhin Ping is a boon to
Chiang Mai Zoo’s coffers
In response to the large numbers of visitors, the Chiang Mai Zoo
has extended the period for 7 month old panda cub, Lhin Ping to visit
the outdoor enclosure with visiting hours now open from 8:30 a.m. to
9:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., from January 3 to February 21.
to right) Naruetat Charoensettasilp, Director of Chiang Mai Zoo
Aquarium, Sopon Damnui, Director of Zoological Park Organization of
Thailand, and Tanapat Pongpamorn, Director of Chiang Mai Zoo, announce
the latest revenues for the Zoo.
The popularity of Lhin Ping has increased the Zoo’s revenues, Sopon
Damnui, Director of Zoological Park Organization of Thailand, added,
saying that the Zoological Park Organization has seen a total of 50
billion baht in revenue from 5 parks nationwide with the Chiang Mai Zoo
accounting for 122 million baht of that. In 7 months, the revenues from
the panda enclosure alone have reached 86 million baht and its expected
that the number of visitors to the zoo for reached 150,000 during the
Suwit Khunkitti, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, plans to
travel to China after the New Year negotiate with the Chinese government
for an extension of Lhin Ping’s stay at the Chiang Mai Zoo. Sopon added
that he plans to personally visit the Chinese Embassy to request the
Ambassador’s help in the matter. Sopon is hopeful that the extension
will be granted as the Chinese government has expressed satisfaction at
the Zoo’s management of the pandas.
Lucky 9999 license plate
goes for 1,810,000 baht
Several victims of road accidents
receive donations from the fund set up by the Land Transport
Lucky license plate number 9999 sold under auction for
1,810,000 baht, with proceeds to be donated to the Department of
Land Transport’s fund for road accident victims. The winning
bidder for the favored license plate was Municipal City Council
member Kasem Parameesilkajorn at the December 19 and 20 auction
of license plates and commemorative Lhin Ping images held at the
Empress Hotel by Chairat Sa-nguansue, Director-General of
Department of Land Transport. More than 1200 people registered
for the auction, and on auction day another 300 showed up for a
chance to bid on one of the 301 lucky number license plates and
images of the panda, Lhin Ping that were available.
Assathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket, Director of the Chiang Mai
Provincial Land Transport Office, said that the auction had
better than expected result, earning around 20 million baht,
adding that he believed it was due to the special blessings
conferred on both the license plates and the Lhin Ping images.
This is the third time the Department of Land Transportation has
auctioned off lucky license plates, earning 22 million baht the
first year and 18 million baht on the second auction.
Carabao to perform in Chiang Mai to benefit the Thai Orchids Conservation Project
A three hour concert featuring Carabao, Pu Pongsit Kampi
and Baowee will be held at the 700 Years Stadium on February 5.
In addition, 6 of the performers from the Academy Fantasia
reality show will perform at the Mae Jo University Stadium.
Foundation of Native Thai Orchids led by Gen. Picharnmek
Muangmanee, 2nd from left, and Dr. Chao Duangduen na Chiengmai,
2ndfrom right, Chairwoman of the Chiang Mai Cultural Council,
show some of the native orchids that the organization hopes to
protect. With them is Itthiruth Sinthuraks, MD of CIA, right.
The events and a golf tournament are sponsored by the Foundation
of Native Thai Orchids and the Creative in Action Company (CIA)
to raise funds for the Thai Orchids Conservation Project
initiated by Queen Sirikit.
According to Ittiroj Sinturat, Managing Director of CIA, the
arrangements for the Carabao led Bao-Parn Concert have taken
about 3 months. It is to be the north’s largest concert yet and
Carabao’s biggest in recent years, with magnificent sound and
light systems. The tickets for the Academy Fantasia concert are
priced at 300 baht and for the Bao-Parn concert range from 200
baht, 300 baht and 400 baht.
Spiritual unfoldment and
meditation comes to Chiang Mai
Rajesh and Jasmini Ananda, (2nd from
the right and far right) founders of the Foundation for
International Spiritual Unfoldment (FISU) explain meditation
practices and the need for the unification of mind, body, and
spirit that meditation can help bring to its practitioners to
Chiang Mai Mail editors, Phitsanu Thepthong, far left and Shana
Kongmun, 2nd from the left.
By Shana Kongmun
FISU, the Foundation for International Spiritual
Unfoldment is now offering courses in Chiang Mai for those who
find the hustle, bustle and stresses of everyday life
overwhelming at times. Based in London with centers in Hong
Kong, Cyprus, Greece, South Africa, and soon, the United States,
Chiang Mai is their latest expansion into offering a meditation
program based on individual personality and needs. The spiritual
unfoldment meditation school of thought holds as a key principle
that since each person is an individual, spiritually, mentally
and physically, they must therefore be treated individually when
it comes to the way they should practice meditation on that path
to spiritual unfoldment. The focus is on the practice of daily
meditation to learn relaxation which preserves energy offers
more mental energy and endurance to cope with stressful
situations. Non-denominational, FISU seeks to encourage people
to not only use meditation techniques for relaxation but to help
them develop a keener understanding of their own spiritual and
FISU leader Rajesh Ananda and his wife Jasmini were recently in
Chiang Mai to give talks and to help establish the latest
center. They are both very excited about the latest expansion,
explaining that the Buddhist tradition of meditation is
compatible with their own system and that they believe their
system of meditation and conscious effort in one’s life can
offer an alternative to the more intensive methods of Vipassana
meditation currently available in Thailand. Anyone interested in
learning more should contact FISU at www.fisu.org.
Tour bus crashes into
parked cars at Doi Suthep
A tour bus carrying foreigners and
into parked cars on Doi Suthep December 28.
A Bangkok based tour bus carrying ten Thai and American tourists
crashed into parked motorcycles and cars at Doi Suthep on
December 28 when the bus slipped out of gear. The bus driver
told police that the hand brake on the bus was faulty and he had
to put it in gear in order to park the bus on the mountainside.
However, the bus slipped out of gear and the driver was forced
to turn the wheel in order to hit parked motorcycles and cars
instead of going over the side of the mountain. One woman
sitting in her car was injured while others only sustained minor
Police have taken both bus and driver into custody to determine
if the driver was careless or the bus company at fault for
Tulip Festival at Doi Pha
Daeng in Chai Prakan
20,000 imported tulip bulbs in bloom
at Doi Pha Daeng for the cool season.
About 20,000 imported tulip bulbs imported from the
Netherlands and China were planted over 2 rai at Doi Pha Daeng
in November. The tulips are in bloom now and so the Provincial
Administrative Organization (PAO), in cooperation with Cha Pra
Kan District, held a Tulip Festival in Doi Pha Daeng from
January 1 to January 3. The hillside is covered red, white,
purple and yellow flowering tulips of four different species,
leaving a majestic view for those driving the Chiang Mai – Fang
According to Boonlert Buranupakorn, President of the PAO, 9
local administrative organizations as well as government units
and the private sector have been in cooperation to boost Chiang
Mai’s tourism. He expressed confidence that the province would
see no less than 500 million baht as revenue from tourism during
this year’s high season, and Chiang Mai’s charm as a beautiful
tourist city would be restored and expected to draw more
visitors next year.
Honda Civic car on fire
A Honda Civic caught fire near the
Padead Bridge on December 30. The driver of the car parked his
car immediately upon seeing smoke come from the engine
compartment and called firefighters for help. Two water trucks
from the Padaed sub-district fire station and the Chiang Mai
fire station extinguished the blaze within 15 minutes. Since the
vehicle was not NGV powered, firefighters presumed that poor
maintenance was the cause of the fire.
Chiang Mai Mail incorrectly identified the award received by the
ThailandFreunde Chairman as the EU Tolerance Award when the
correct name is the European Tolerance Award in the article
titled “ThailandFreunde Chairman receives EU Tolerance Award”
published in the December 22 issue. The European Cultural Forum
was mistakenly named as the Cultural Forum of the European
Union. Our apologies for any confusion these errors may have
Thai police close 2009 with strong push against software piracy
Bangkok (December 28, 2009) –With only days remaining in
2009, Thai police officers continue to make progress in their
efforts to reduce software piracy among companies that use
unlicensed software products.
Since the start of this month, the Economic and Cyber Crime
police division (ECD) has found 27 million baht of unlicensed
software being used at companies in the telecom, automotive,
design, publishing, construction and manufacturing sectors.
Police officers also found nearly 300 PCs in December loaded
with unlicensed software, including products made by Adobe,
Autodesk, Dassault Systems Solidworks, Microsoft, Siemens and
Thai Software Enterprises.
crackdown on copyright crime across Thailand.
In one particularly substantial bust, police officers found 131
PCs loaded with a wide variety of unlicensed software products.
This company operates a large manufacturing facility in Samut
“We see this as a strong ending to a strong year of software
piracy police enforcement,” said Police Colonel Sarayuth
Pooltanya of the ECD. “As we continue to get a steady-stream of
tips, evidence and intelligence about companies that are
violating the Thai Copyright Act, we fully anticipate more
success in 2010 in reducing Thailand’s software piracy rate.”
The Thai anti-piracy net is catching a wide variety of
companies, say police. Companies large and small based in
Bangkok and a variety of provinces, operating in a wide range of
sectors, are finding themselves under pressure to adhere to Thai
Copyright Act B.E. 2537.
Among the recent noteworthy police raids are a hi-tech firm in
Nonthaburi that was caught using unlicensed software on 34 PCs
and a company in Chon Buri that was caught manufacturing items
for the auto and electronics industry using 45 PCs loaded with
high-value design software worth nearly 11.5 million baht. The
company in Chon Buri is listed on the Korean stock exchange and
operates a highly regarded, award-winning research and
development department. In addition, police officers found nine
million baht worth of unlicensed software at company with listed
assets of nearly four billion baht and annual profits of nearly
200 million baht. This company, which operates in Samut Sakorn,
owns numerous patents for their product designs.
Police also note that while some of the internationally
developed software products pirated in Thailand have higher
values, there is no product that is pirated more frequently than
made in Thailand software products. Police say that more than 90
percent of the raids in 2009 included software products
developed and copyrighted in Thailand.
“With a software piracy rate of 76 percent, it is only natural
that we have a wide variety of violators using a wide variety of
software products, including those made in Thailand,” said
Police Colonel Sarayuth. “Police enforcement efforts are
especially important given the government’s emphasis on building
a creative economy through development of intellectual
Those who report the use of unlicensed software by calling
02-714-1010 or by reporting it on line are eligible to receive
an award of up to 250,000 Thai Baht. The identity of the caller
is protected. More information is available online at
Police shut down
illegal gambling dens
Some of the business owners arrested
for running illegal gambling dens in Chiang Mai city.
A December 26 crackdown on illegal gambling saw a raid of
suspicious restaurants and shops throughout Chiang Mai’s Muang
district by Chiang Mai Provincial Police led by Deputy
Commander, Lt. Col. Weerawut Niamnoi. 20 establishments were
found to be offering illegal gambling. 10 people were arrested
and charged with illegal gambling and about 1000 football
betting sheets were confiscated.
Provincial Police Region 5 Commissioner Somkid Boothanom
requested the crackdown in order to fall in line with general
policies and laws. He added that parents need to be more
vigilant in teaching their children about the dangers of
gambling and the problems that can arise from gambling.