Vol. IX No. 3 - Tuesday
January 19 - January 25, 2010



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

HRH Princess Srirasmi visits the SiriWattana home for the disabled

Deadly intersection sees two shootings in one week

Chiang Mai residents get a glimpse of a partial solar eclipse

Modern Japanese Design showcased in new exhibit

Kasem Parameesilkhajorn, Member of Chiang Mai Municipal Council

Nok Mini opens new Chiang Mai – Udon Thani route

SME’s are the focus of a recent seminar at Chiang Mai University

Training center for Hill Tribes receives a helping hand from the Japanese government in Phrao

Local performers featured in Lanna Performing Art 2010 show

Swine Flu update; San Sai has highest number of cases, Chiang Mai sees new swine flu death

Truck totaled in drunk driving accident

Mae Hong Son border shoot out yields 40,000 yabaa pills

Rong Wong-Savun “The Eagle King of the Literary Garden”

 

HRH Princess Srirasmi visits the SiriWattana home for the disabled

HRH Princess Srirasmi paid a visit to the Siri Wattana Cheshire Foundation Home for the Disabled at Ban Thongyoo in San Phi Suea on January 11.

HRH Princess Srirasmi presented a survival kit to one of the residents
of the Home for the Disabled on January 11.

Supoj Thiamyoj
HRH Princess Srirasmi paid a visit to the Siri Wattana Cheshire Foundation home for the disabled at Baan Thongyoo in San Phi Suea on January 11.

HRH Princess Srirasmi visited with one of the elderly residents of the Home for the Disabled at the Siri Wattana Cheshire Foundation.
In 1978 land was donated to H.M. The Queen by Thongyoo Teeyaporn and the Rotary Club of Thonburi members for the construction of a home for the disabled, the home was opened in 1982 with H.M. Queen Sirikit and HRH Princess Soamsawali attending the opening ceremony.
Khunying Trungjai Itharat currently manages the home under the guidance of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Many governmental departments like the Fisheries and Agriculture Departments and specialist programs under the Chiang Mai government, including handicrafts and farming, cooperate with the home to help train the disabled residents.
The Siri Wattana Cheshire Foundation under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty Queen the in Thailand has 5 homes, one each in Chiang Mai, Samut Prakan, Roi Et, Phetburi and Pathum Thani. The home’s goal is to provide a peaceful place for the disabled to live securely and to provide them with occupational training so that they can further support themselves.

HRH Princess Srirasmi observed some of the residents
creating handicrafts during her visit to the Siri Wattana Cheshire
Foundation home at Baan Thongyoo in San Phi Suea.

 

Deadly intersection sees two shootings in one week

The motorbike belonging to the German shooting victim,
Josef Schuller at the intersection on the Chiang Mai - Phrao road.

Supoj Thiamyoj & Nopniwat Krailerg
The Likit Cheewan intersection on the Chiang Mai – Phrao Road in San Sai has been the scene of two deadly shootings in the past week. The first was that of German national Thomas Schuller. Pricha Rattanahongthong, 39, was arrested on January 13 and charged with the shooting death of Thomas Josef Schuller, 43. The incident took place at the Likit Cheewan intersection on the Chiang Mai – Phrao Road on January 11 at 7 pm.
According to witnesses at the scene, the German man had been weaving through traffic on his motorcycle which resulted in the suspect honking at the victim and chasing him. Witnesses reported that the German had raised his middle finger to the suspect. When Mr. Schuller stopped for the traffic light, witnesses report that the suspect got out of his car, knocked the German man off his motorcycle and shot him twice in the back. He then got back in his car and drove away. Witnesses took down his license plate number and reported it to the police when they arrived.
Mr. Pricha denied all involvement in the murder when arrested by police but the police state that the case is solid and there are many witnesses to the crime.
Three days later, Asaba Saesao, 37, a hill tribe resident of Chaiprakarn, was shot 5 times by the pillion rider on a motorcycle while stopped at the very same intersection on January 14. According to his girlfriend, Kanchana Saechu, 26, they were returning to Chiang Mai city from Mae Jo in his pickup truck when they stopped at the red light at the intersection. Two men, one wearing a green shirt and one wearing a black jacket pulled alongside the truck. The pillion rider pulled out a gun and shot Mr. Asaba in the chest 5 times, killing him instantly. Police are searching for the suspects but so far have not apprehended them. Police will investigate the deceased’s background as there is a suspicion from the style of the murder that could indicate an involvement in drugs.


Chiang Mai residents get a glimpse of a partial solar eclipse

National Astronomical Research Institute
Pairote Saengphuwong, Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai joined Wittaya Sathitkhanitkul, Director of Ratchapruek Park, and Assoc Prof Dr. Bonnraksa Suthorntham, the director of National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Narit) (Public Organization) in welcoming Chiang Mai residents to view the annular partial solar eclipse that took place on January 15.

A view of the annular eclipse captured in Chiang Mai on January 15.

A large number of teachers brought their students to the park to observe the eclipse using 15 telescopes and solar scopes brought to the park just for the eclipse.
Chiang Mai saw just 73.6% of the eclipse which started around 2 pm and peaked around 3:30, while a narrow band through Africa and Asia saw the entire ring of the annular eclipse. It was the longest solar eclipse in a millennium with the full eclipse lasting 11 minutes and 8 seconds. NASA said such a sight won’t be seen again until the year 3043.


Modern Japanese Design showcased in new exhibit

The Japanese Consul General in Chiang Mai Junko Yokota (5th from the left)
and guests presided over the opening ceremony “Japanese Design Today 100” exhibition on January 8 at Chiang Mai University Art Centre.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Japan Foundation, in cooperation with Chiang Mai University Art Centre and CNX Art Connex, opened the contemporary design exhibition from Japan titled “Japanese Design Today 100” presided over by the Japanese Consul General in Chiang Mai Junko Yokota on January 8 at Chiang Mai University Art Centre.
The exhibition features the finest of modern Japanese design in household products; from furniture, tableware, and electrical appliances to robots, musical instruments and vehicles. All fine examples of Japanese design which showcase characteristic Japanese skill, precision craftsmanship and inventiveness in creating new combinations of form. New trends involving greater interaction between modernist designs and the traditional Japanese, as well as items showing the roots of contemporary design from postwar Japan were on display.
A unique collection of design items from Japan will be showcased at the “Japanese Design Today 100” exhibition at Chiang Mai University’s Art Centre, Nimmarnhaemin Rd. from January until 21, closes on Monday, open 9 a.m.to 5 p.m.


Kasem Parameesilkhajorn, Member of Chiang Mai Municipal Council

Jedsadapiong Wongkiew
The recent winner of the lucky number 9999 license plate at the Land Transport auction bid 1.8 million baht to win. He went on to pay a further 480,000 for the 5555 license plate. Kasem Parameesilkhajorn, Member of Chiang Mai Municipal Council, said that he had bid that high in order to raise money for a worthy cause, helping victims of accidents.

Kasem Parameesilkhajorn, Member of Chiang Mai Municipal Council won the lucky 9999 license plate at the recent auction for charity.

“I bid that much money to raise money for the Drive Safety Foundation and in honor of the King. I bid on the lucky number 9 because HM the King is the 9th King of Thailand. HM the King’s good works inspired me to make a good bid. I wanted the nation to see how much Chiang Mai people love their king,” he added.
Mr. Kasem, a native of Suphan Buri, moved to Chiang Mai when he was 22 years old and fell in love with not only the traditions art and culture of the city but married his wife here. He started a construction company as well as businesses in San Sai Market, at the inspiration of Member of Municipal Council Dr. Krai Dabthum; he went back to school and earned a degree from Chiang Mai University. Wanting to help his community he was encouraged by his friends to run for local office, only recently taking his seat as a representative of Chiang Mai Municipal Council. He hopes that he will be able to succeed in helping Chiang Mai on a national level, saying that he hopes people will be able to say he had done well as a politician.
He was concerned that the local political situation was too divisive with Administrative officials needing to be chosen based on performance and not on party politics.
“For Thai politics, I think they can have difference of ideas but we shouldn’t separate to some color or any one side. We should unite together to follow the Royal words,” he concluded.


Nok Mini opens new Chiang Mai – Udon Thani route

Phitsanu Thepthong
Nok Mini Air has expanded its wings, launching the Chiang Mai-Undo Thani route, with SAAB 340B- 33 seaters.
Dr Jain Charnnarong, the President of Nok Mini told Chiang Mai on January 12 at the Kantary Hills Hotel, Chiang Mai that Chiang Mai City will be the new hub for Nok Mini Air links, under the name of SGA that will be celebrating its 3rd year anniversary in February 2010 for its SGV operations in Chiang Mai.

Phitsanu Thepthong, left, editor of Chiang Mai Mail won the lucky draw for a round trip ticket from Chiang Mai to Udon Thani from TAT Director Chalermsak Suranant.

“Nok Mini is growing up with Chiang Mai city, and it will operate more new routes, now with Chiang Mai-Udon Thani, under the concept “Air Links to Charming Places” he said, having launched the new service to Udon Thani on Sunday, January 17.
President Jain added that Nok Air, under the wing of Thai Airways International, used to operate this air route linking the North and Northeast region, but was forced to close the route. But this time, Nok Mini, under the SGA, is using two aircraft with 33 seats for this latest route. The daily flight will depart Chiang Mai at 3.20 p.m. and arrive in Udon Thani at 4.40 p.m., and depart Udon Thani at 5.00 and arrive in Chiang Mai at 6.20 p.m.
“This will give tourists, business people and government officials from Chiang Mai and nearby provinces and countries a choice for a traveling to the Northeast without undergoing a connecting flight in Bangkok” he remarked.
President Jain expects that about 6,000 travelers per week will be traveling by Nok Mini Air on this route, it takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes for each flight.” After launching this Chiang Mai -Udon Thani route, we plan to launch Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai with Sibxuangbanna in Southern China” he added.
Dr Jian said “Nok Mini is planning to increase routes to other cities by using this hub for convenience and time saving. Nok Mini will facilitate business traffic between the North and Northeast.”
Chalermsak Suranant, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chiang Mai Office said, “ Chiang Mai is now an outstanding and famous traveling centre of the North, as well as the commercial and investment hub and as shown by the increasing number of tourists every year, also a travel hub.”
“TAT offices plan to promote Chiang Mai tourism and restore confidence in the region, this shows that Chiang Mai is prepared for the increasing demand from travel and the economy,” Chalermsak noted.


SME’s are the focus of a recent seminar at Chiang Mai University

Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Chumporn Saengmanee participated in a meeting to study and analyze the status of SME’s: economic, social and cultural role in the North at Chiang Mai University.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Youthasak Supasorn, Director of The Office of Small and Medium Business Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP) and Chiang Mai University recently held a seminar to study and analyze the status of SMEs economic, social and cultural role in the North. The first meeting of the seminar included small to medium business enterprises as well as major businesses in the public and private sector in 8 northern provinces, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Lamphun, Lampang, Nan, Phrae, and Phayao.
“SMEs are widespread in each region nationwide with an estimated 2.82 million enterprises or 99.7%, of which some groups play a significant role in growing the economy while other businesses play a significant role in changing society and others work in defining their identity or culture in the area. Furthermore, some groups might use cultural capital others create a new culture. All of the SMEs are significant factors in propelling Thai society and economy at present so, the results from this study will help OSMEP have a database which will lead to fundamental strategic planning in support of SMEs that matched with potentiality and strong point of economy, society, and culture in the North, : the director of OSMEP explained.
The analysis will focus on studying the status of SMEs in the Northern provinces and their economic roles; such the structure of the business, the capabilities in the business, the environmental factors and the position of the business in the value chain. In addition they will study the linking of SME businesses in each group and with the major operators and their role changing in social structure and as well as the link between SMEs, the and community and the environment, the role of SMEs business as an indicator of society. Further studies will be of the cultural role SME’s play such as the structure and position of the SMEs that use cultural capital to grow the business, and how their unique culture in a business sense.
Two further meetings are scheduled, with the 2nd meeting held at Tak covering the lower Northern region 1, and the 3rd meeting at Nakhon Sawan covering the lower northern region 2.
The study also extends to other regions with the OSMEP working with Silpakorn University to study the Central Provinces, the Northeastern region with Mahasarakarm University, the South with Songkla Rajabhat University and Bangkok with Thammasat University. Results are expected to be published in March.


Training center for Hill Tribes receives a helping hand from the Japanese government in Phrao

Praseng Na Keeree, left, Director of the Thai-Lafu Foundation (TLF) and Junko Yokota, Japanese Consul General in Chiang Mai signed the funding agreement for the new training center on January 12 at the Japanese Consul General in Chiang Mai .

Japanese Consulate General in Chiang Mai
The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP), is providing funds amounting to 2,615,000 baht for the construction of a training center for ethnic minorities in Phrao District in Chiang Mai. Mrs. Junko Yokota, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai and Mr. Praseng Na Keeree, Director of the Thai-Lafu Foundation (TLF), signed the contract at the Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai on January 10.
In Thailand there are about one million ethnic minority people, many of whom live in remote, mountainous regions and lack educational and medical facilities, are involved with drug trafficking, prostitution, and are HIV/AIDS infected. Since 1994, the TLF has been promoted education and programs to prevent the spread of HIV infection to ethnic minorities. Because it is necessary to have a comprehensive approach to solve HIV issues, , the TLF has focused on the economic self-reliance of ethnic minorities by providing not only education about health but also various training programs on issues such as community development, environmental conservation, and organic agriculture. Due to its’ successful reception among ethnic minorities, the TLF’s network of Self-reliance Support has expanded to 35 villages and 11,721 people with many people wishing to attend the training. However, the TLF has only one conference room with a capacity for 20 trainees and no accommodation facilities for trainees from afar.
In response to a request from the TLF, the Government of Japan will bear the construction costs of a training center with accommodation facilities. The expanded facilities will provide more effective and widespread training for self reliance which should lead to stabilizing the means of village incomes as well as sustainable community development. For more information contact Mr.Sato, Consul, or Ms. Hoshii and Mr. Tsuda, Coordinators for GGP. Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, Airport Business Park, 90 Mahidol Road, T. Haiya, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50100. Phone: 053-203-367. Fax: 053-203-373.


Local performers featured in Lanna Performing Art 2010 show

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
Local dancers and musicians were showcased in the Lanna Performing Arts 2010 show sponsored by the Thai Art Department of Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai Municipality, the Greater Mekong Sub-region Art Center and Chiang Mai Rajabhat University’s Music and Drama Department on January 10.

Chiang Mai Deputy Mayor Sunthorn Yamsiri presided over the opening of the Lanna Performing Art 2010 show on January 10.

The well attended three hour show featured traditional Lanna arts like sword dancing, musical performances, a sa budcha drum show and the folk dance of the elephants. The event was organized to promote the uniquely historical Lanna music and dance performances for residents and tourists to enjoy and to give local performers a chance to display their skills.

Saran Suwannachot, a student of the Thai Art Department at Chiang Mai University performed the Lanna fighting arts dance, Forn Joeng.

Asst. Professor. Manop Manasam, a lecturer at the Faculty
of Fine Arts at Chiang Mai University performed the traditional
Lanna folk dance, dance of the elephants.


Swine Flu update; San Sai has highest number of cases, Chiang Mai sees new swine flu death

By Staff reporters & TNA/MCOT
In a recent press conference to update the public on the swine flu situation, Dr. Surasingha Witsarutrat, the Deputy of the Provincial Public Health Office in Chiang Mai, said that while swine flu in Chiang Mai is not too serious, it needs to be monitored until the end of the cool season as there is still an average of 10 patients a week. He continued that at its peak there had been 200 cases a week. Chiang Mai Public Health Office also plans to investigate the hospitals to determine if patients are going undiagnosed.
Records from the Public Health Office show that from April 28, 2009 to the present reveal that there have been more than3, 800 influenza patients with 2,300 confirmed H1N1or swine flu cases. 4 people have died from the flu while San Sai saw the largest number of patients with the Muang district, Saraphi and Hang Dong following. 71% of all confirmed patients were students.
The Ministry of Public Health has 5 policies in place to try and reduce the transmission of the swine flu in Chiang Mai, through public education regarding prevention, diagnosis and treatment, helping high risk groups like the elderly and students to maintain a healthy immune system through preventative measures, encouraging behavior that reduces the risk of transmission, such as hand washing, wearing masks and covering ones nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, and encouraging the infected people to stay home and away from crowds.
In a weekly report on the A(H1N1) flu situation from January 3-9, Permanent Secretary for Public Health Dr Paichit Varachit confirmed four new fatalities.
The dead were identified as a 24-year-old man living in Chaiyaphum, a 30-year-old woman in Roi Et, a four-year-old boy in Nakhon Ratchasima and a six-year-old boy in Chiang Mai.
All had suffered from asthma and obesity.
Counting from May 2009-January 9, the country’s cumulative A(H1N1) death toll stands at 30,805. Chiang Mai, Trat, Chiang Ra, Phayao and Songkhla were the first five provinces reporting the highest cumulative number of deaths.
During the past week, a number of persons with flu-like symptoms who received medical treatment at hospitals have increased from nine per cent to 10 per cent. For more information or cooperation about A (H1N1) please calls 053-216592.


Truck totaled in drunk driving accident

Driver walks away with minor injuries

The totaled truck belonging to Badin Sirwong,
an official of the Mae Hong Son Agriculture Office.

Khajohn Boonpath
In the early hours of the morning on January 15 police were called to the scene of an accident in the Muang district of Mae Hong Son in front of the Thailand-Myanmar Border Coordinating Center. Badin Siriwong, an official of the Mae Hong Son Agriculture Office was found in his wrecked Isuzu D-Max pickup truck. He told police that he had a few drinks at the farewell party of the Director of the Mae Hong Son Agricultural Office that evening. After leaving the party, while driving through the Muang district, he lost control of his truck. The truck jumped the footpath and hit a tree. He was taken to the hospital but suffered only minor head injuries.


Mae Hong Son border shoot out yields 40,000 yabaa pills

Chiang Rai arrest uncovers 14,000 yabaa pills.

Khajohn Boonpath & Supoj Thiamyoj
Acting on a tip off on the plans of a drug smuggling ring to move quantities of yabaa into Thailand a special unit of the 7th Infantry, in a joint effort with the Special Task Force encountered 3 armed men near the village of Ban Hua Lang in Mae Hong Son during a patrol on January 10.The men opened fire on the task force when encountered and fled into the jungle, abandoning their backpack which contained 40,000 yabaa pills.

Mae Hong Son Governor Kamthon Thawonsathit and military personnel inspect the haul of 40, 000 yabaa pills discovered after a shoot out between drug traffickers and Army personnel.
It is believed that the uniformed men were members of the UWSA or the United Wa State Army. It was believed that at least one of the men was injured but that they crossed back over the border into Myanmar. The UWSA is a well equipped military force and widely believed to be the biggest single drug producing and trafficking group in South East Asia. While the UWSA stated last year to have taken a harder line on drug trafficking, large numbers of drugs are still found crossing the border. Last November the Task Force arrested 3 men carrying 300,000 yabaa tablets over the border from Myanmar.
Mae Hong Son Governor Kamthon Thawonsathit revealed that they have information that a major drug trafficker in Myanmar plans to send a large influx of drugs into Thailand so blockades and patrols have been stepped up in the border area and a raid by rangers is planned in an effort to combat the increased trafficking.
In Chiang Rai, The Pa Muang Task Force and Wiang Kaen police uncovered 14,000 yabaa pills hidden in a recycling truck after receiving a tip off. The truck was discovered travelling from Wiang Kaen to Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai on January 14. One man and three women were taken into custody and taken to Wiang Kaen Police station for further questioning.


Rong Wong-Savun “The Eagle King of the Literary Garden”

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
An exhibition of the literary works, photographs and portraits of national artist Rong Wong-Savun had its grand opening at the Chiang Mai University Art and Culture Centre on January 9, the event runs through January 30. There are music performances and seminar s every Saturday at noon Also showings of the biographical film “In The Memory Of Rong Wong-Savun”.

A fan of National Artist Rong Wong-Savun appreciates his many photos and literary works at the exhibition of his works.
Rong Wong-Savun was born on May 20, 1914 in Chai Nat province, his father was an engineer of Royal Irrigation Department and his mother from a family of farmers. He studied at Amnuay Silpa School and Udomsuksa School in Bangkok but he was asked to leave the school for fighting with a teacher.
Rong lived a exciting and diverse life, working as a steersman, forestry camp manager in the North, a model and an actor with an enduring interest in photography and writing . He worked for the Thai language newspaper Siamrath and was a foreign correspondent in the United States. He earned a Master’s degree in Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley during those years.
With more than 50 years in book society, Rong is considered one of the greatest writers of Thailand and received the nickname “The Eagle King of the Literary Garden”. An author of documentaries, articles, short stories, novels and more, he produced more than 100 books many of which were made into plays and movies. He was designated a National Artist in 1995.
Rong Wong-Savun died of Chronic Renal Failure March 15, 2009 at the age of 77 years old. H.R.H.Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the cremation ceremony at San Ku Lek Cemetery in Chiang Mai on January 18.



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