NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presides over funeral rites of National Artist Narong Wongsawan

Chiang Mai to begin beautifying program

Chiang Mai University hosts video seminar with noted U.S. academician

Egrets make a stunning site in Phayao

Help Lhin Ping help Thailand’s elephants; buy a Lhin Ping t-shirt

Creative Economy conference to address Northern Thailand’s IT economy

Pang Oong Park restrictions lifted as peak of high season passes

Myanmar-Mae Hong Son in free trade talks

Nok Mini opens new Chiang Mai-Udon Thani route

Japanese government to fund projects in Lampang and Chiang Mai

Travel agents from around the North attend tourism meeting

Miss Bo Sang Umbrella Festival crowned

Chiang Mai Tourist Police launch swine flu information campaign

Chiang Mai Governor appeals to residents for donations to Haiti earthquake victims

Factory owner netted in large drugs haul

Health Department fears increased severity in second round of swine flu

Major drug haul of key component in ya ice manufacture in Chiang Rai

Speaker’s Corner at Prem

 

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presides over funeral rites of National Artist Narong Wongsawan

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn lights
a sandal wood flower before placing it in the funeral pyre.

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously presided over the funeral rites of Narong Wongsawan the legendary and beloved National Artist at the San Ku Lek Cemetery in Chiang Mai on January 18.
Amornphan Nimanant Governor of Chiang Mai along with a contingent of civil servants and members of the public, were on hand to receive her as she arrived to preside over the royally sponsored funeral ceremonies.
Narong Wongsawan was born on May 20, 1914 in Chai Nat province and after completing his studies worked as a journalist for various newspapers writing columns and reviews. He was also a respected screenwriter.
As ‘Rong’ Wongsawan, his nom de plume, he wrote many short stories. His style of writing was unique and he usually told stories of his own life experiences. He used old fashioned words to tell modern stories.
He was named National Artist in 1995 for his contribution to the furthering of knowledge and preservation of Thai literature.
He died on March 15, 2009 at the age of 77 in Chiang Mai.

The cremation ceremony of Rong Wongsawan
was a somber yet magnificent affair.

 

Chiang Mai to begin beautifying program

Electric cables to go underground on Tha Pae and Chang Klan Roads

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai City Municipal Council met to discuss the planned preparations to move power cables underground on Tha Pae Rd. and Chang Klan Rd. Chiang Mai Mayor Tassanai Buranupakorn announced on January 19, that the planned start date is set for April of this year.
He added that they hope to finish the job by the middle of the year and remove not only power cables and posts but also telephone lines.
He reiterated the importance of making sure all contingencies were taken into account so as not to interrupt power and phone services for area residents. He added that meters would need to be moved ahead of time and that backup generators would be put into place in case of power outages during the move.
Once the cables are moved underground, the road will need to undergo repairs and that trees and flowers were planned to add greenery to the city streets.
“With all organizations now in agreement, we plan to start work in April and, together with the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) plan to finish this project around midyear.” The Municipal government will be responsible for water works, man holes and landscaping while the PEA will be responsible for the installation of the underground cables. The PEA has a budget of 58.6 million baht, and the Municipal Government has received 150 million baht towards this project.
The underground cables are expected to require lower maintenance and provide a steadier rate of electricity as they will have less exposure to the elements and lightning strikes.
The project was initially proposed under former Mayor Boonlert Booranupkorn but was postponed until the current mayor took his position.


Chiang Mai University hosts video seminar with noted U.S. academician

Students, academicians and members of the public attend a video seminar hosted by the U.S. Consul General in Chiang Mai at Chiang Mai University on January 20.

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai and Chiang Mai University held a seminar via the Digital Video Conference (VC) system, on the subject of the Thai Democratic Status, on January 20 with a presentation by the U.S. academic, Professor Robert Albritton of the University of Mississippi, whose focus has long been on Thai politics. A former lecturer in Chiang Mai and the Prince of Songkhla University, Professor Albritton, discussed political theory and its applications to the Thai political process.
Students, local civic leaders, academics and the general public were invited to participate in the video conference, discussing social contract theory as proposed by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Professor Albritton quoted John Locke in the context of the current political crisis, stating that while democracy will always have conflicts, it is not the democratic way to resolve crises.
“When discussing the Thai Constitution, the supreme law (constitutional law) of the country must express the people’s goodwill,” Dr. Albrittton remarked, and commented that while the Thai Constitution of 1997 was a good one, there were still conflicts about it among the people of Thailand.
“Particularly, those weak parts of the Constitution need to be reformed as this is the main issue that has lead to the conflicts among different interest groups that want to change the Constitution”, he noted.


Egrets make a stunning site in Phayao

Thousands of white egrets are flocking to Phayao Lake in their annual cool season migration. The Department of Phayao Community Development urges locals and tourists alike to view the spectacular scene in the early evening around dusk.
Yuthaphum Namwong of the Department of Phayao Community Development added that the best area to view the sunset and the egrets glowing white in the dusk is from near Khundech Bridge in Ban Tom. This annual event is enjoyed by birders, nature lovers and tourists alike for not only the stunning images of thousands of egrets on the lake but also the beautiful scenery of the area. (PRD)


Help Lhin Ping help Thailand’s elephants; buy a Lhin Ping t-shirt

Zoo mascots join in to announce the new program
to raise money for elephants by selling Lhin Ping t-shirts.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Zoological Park Organization of Thailand is now offering panda fans to the opportunity to join the Lhin Ping Happy Family by buying a Lhin Ping t-shirt and at the same time, help Thai elephants. 300 lucky families who buy t-shirts will get the chance to take their photo (not more than 4 people per family) with Lhin Ping and the panda family. The proceeds of the Lhin Ping Happy Family t-shirts will go to help Thailand’s elephants and to develop the Royally sponsored Elephant Kingdom Park in Surin Province. The park is a refuge for Thai elephants and plans to dig two new water wells to provide irrigation for crops for the elephants. Choose from three t-shirt types and send your preference on a post card (with return address) to Panda Show Center Chiang Mai Zoo 100 Huay Kaew Rd. Doi Suthep, Muang district Chiang Mai province 50200.
The lucky winners will be announced in April, May and June and all proceeds will support the “Bring the Elephant Back Home” royally sponsored project.
Dr .Sophon Dhamnui the director-general of the Zoological Park said animal friends can help each other, like the Lhin Ping Happy Family Project so that the pandas can help Thai elephants.


Creative Economy conference to address Northern Thailand’s IT economy

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
U.S. Consul General Michael K. Morrow and Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Pairote Saengphuwong announce an international conference to be held in Chiang Mai on February 18-19 at the Shangri La Hotel titled “North Thailand’s Creative Economy conference: Opportunities and Challenges in IT Sector”.
Organizations associated with the conference include the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, Chiang Mai University Department of Computer Engineering, and the Public Relations Office Region 3 Chiang Mai.

U.S. Consul General Michael K. Morrow, left, and Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Chumporn Saengmanee announce the upcoming Creative Economy  Seminar to be held February 18 and 19 at the Shangri-La Hotel.
Michael K. Morrow, U.S. Consul General, stated that the conference will be one of the many events held over the next year in celebration of the Consulate’s 60th anniversary in Chiang Mai. The conference is aimed at attracting investment into the IT industry of northern Thailand. This will help strengthen and diversify the Northern economy which is heavily reliant on the seasonal industries of tourism and agricultural.
According to Choomporn Saengmanee, Chiang Mai Deputy Governor, Chiang Mai offers an array of excellent public, private, and educational resources for the IT sector to tap into. In hosting the conference, the U.S. Consulate intends to enhance the image of northern Thailand as a regional IT hub.
The Conference’s key note speakers will be U.S. Ambassador Eric G. John and Deputy Minister of Commerce Alongkorn Ponlaboot. Conference participants will include local, national, and international representatives from the government, private, and academic sectors including; IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, TTC Technology, Mycos Technologies, Creative Kingdom Animation, Jimmy Software, Software Park Thailand, NECTEC, TOT, and TT&T. The conference will provide bilingual translation service (Thai –English) for conference participants. For more details about the conference and registration, please visit http://chiangmai.usconsulate.gov/  or http://www.buyusa.gov/thailand/en/ceconf.html.


Pang Oong Park restrictions lifted as peak of high season passes

Mae Hong Son has revoked the need for tourists to register for passes for their cars at the Mae Hong Son Folk Arts and Handicrafts Center to enter Pang Oong Park. Now that the high tourist season has passed, the restrictions are no longer necessary. Prior to that, tourists needed to register their cars and reserve a room and no more than 450 were allowed per day so as to reduce the strain on resources of this popular destination. For those that did not wish to stay, they were required to park at Ban Na Pha Phaek and take the community minibus in an effort to reduce the stress on natural resources large numbers of tourists bring. Pang Oong Park or Ban Ruam Thai as it is known, is a highly popular eco tourism destination famous for its natural scenery, pristine waterfalls and famous tea plantations. (PRD)


Myanmar-Mae Hong Son in free trade talks

Khajohn Boonpath
The Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce officials and officials from Myanmar held free trade agreement talks on January 25 and 26 in an effort to increase cross border trade and investment and to enable ASEAN agreements with Mae Hong Son. The Deputy Minister of Commerce, Alongkorn Polabutre, attended the first meeting in Mae Hong Son’s City Hall on the 25th and the Thai Chamber of Commerce attended the event on the 26th at the Golden Pai Resort in Mae Hong Son. The Director General of the Myanmar Trade Department, the Director of the Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and the Director of the Chamber of Commerce for Loikho, Mandalay and Tongyee as well as business associates participated in the meetings to increase cross border trade.


Nok Mini opens new Chiang Mai-Udon Thani route

The inaugural flight of Nok Mini Airline’s Chiang Mai – Udon Thani route departed Chiang Mai on January 17, 2010.


Japanese government to fund projects in Lampang and Chiang Mai

Mrs. Junko Yokota, Japanese Consul General Chiang Mai and Mrs. Amnoauyporn Jirakoon, President of the Mission for Tribal People Foundation sign an agreement to fund the construction of a day care center and dormitories for Hill Tribe children in San Sai, Chiang Mai.

Supoj Thiamyoj
Lampang’s Organic Agriculture organization is set to receive grant assistance from the Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP) to the amount of 3,012,000 baht. Junko Yokota of the Japanese Consul General Chiang Mai signed an agreement to that effect with Kannika Kuankajorn, Director of the Thai Volunteer Service Foundation on January 20, 2010 at the Japanese Consul General Chiang Mai office.
The Thai Volunteer Service Foundation plans to build a training center and accommodation for those interested in organic agriculture in Ngao, Lampang, stating that area residents had shown great interest in using organic techniques.
The next project to be approved was the construction of day care and dormitories for Hill Tribe children in San Sai, Chiang Mai” by the GGP which pledged 3,175,500 baht towards the construction and agreed between Junko Yokota and Amnoauyporn Jirakoon, President of the Mission for Tribal People Foundation.
The Foundation wants to build a day care center and dormitories for the children of working Hill Tribe parents in the San Sai district thus allowing the children further social and educational development. The building will consist of a day care center on the first floor and dormitory accommodation for boys on the second, most of the being orphans and prone to mistreatment if left to fend for themselves.


Travel agents from around the North attend tourism meeting

Sarawut Sae-Tiaw, President of the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association (3rd from L) and Mr. Worapong Moohchowtai President of Development and Marketing, Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association (4th from L) and a committee member of the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association at the event on January 18.

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
The Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association held its first meeting of 2010 with more than 300 travel agents from 17 provinces in the Northern region attending the event at. Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel on January 18.
Wansadej Tawornsuk, Deputy Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) gave the keynote speech discussing tourism development in the north, with Wittaya Klongsup, Secretary of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce also speaking on the future of Chiang Mai. Photo contest winners were announced from the Yee Peng Lanna Chiang Mai contest and awards were handed out for outstanding members of the association.
Worapong Moohchowtai, President of Marketing for the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association discussed future projects in development such as the Caravan Road Show R3a Road in March from the 13th to the 19th, which will target attracting tourists from China to use Chiang Mai as a base for exploring the region.


Miss Bo Sang Umbrella Festival crowned

Supoj Thiamyoj
A student from Chiang Mai Rajabhat University won Miss Thida Rom Bo Sang or Miss Umbrella, at the 27th beauty contest held on January 17 in San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai. The beauty pageant was held at the annual Bo Sang Umbrella and Handicraft Festival in Bo Sang.

Miss Umbrella Festival Phakaprai Sukham wears her crown after winning the contest.

This year, Miss Phakaprai Sukham, 22, a student in the Tourism and Hospitality Department of Chiang Mai Rajabhat University crowned Miss Umbrella; she also won Miss Sweetheart by popular vote.
The first-runner up was Miss Watcharawan Dechanuphanont, a student from the Mass Communications Department of Payap University, the second-runner up was Miss Thalatchanant Pimchan, a student of General Agriculture at Chiang Mai University. The third runner up was Miss Warunee O-Chawat, a student from the Management Science Department of the Rajamangkala University of Technology Lanna, Chiang Mai, while the fourth runner up was Miss Darin Suwannut, a student from the Geology Department of Chiang Mai University.

Miss Umbrella Festival winner Phakaprai Sukham poses with
the runners up at the conclusion of the Miss Umbrella beauty contest.


Chiang Mai Tourist Police launch swine flu information campaign

Chiang Mai Tourist Police, together with the Tourist Police Mascot handed out free antiseptic hand gel and face masks in a new campaign to promote awareness of H1N1 influenza prevention measures among tourists in Chiang Mai. The campaign, organized by the Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organization and Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office in coordination with the Tourist Police, included stage performances and educational exhibits at the Three Kings Monument on January 17.


Chiang Mai Governor appeals to residents for donations to Haiti earthquake victims

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
Amornphan Nimanant, Governor of Chiang Mai, called on Chiang Mai residents, local organizations and the Thai Red Cross Society of Chiang Mai to help the millions of Haitians left homeless, hungry and injured after the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanant calls for local residents to donate to help people in Haiti.

To facilitate donations, they can be made by area residents at the Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Office, accounting department, City Hall Chiang Mai Chotana Rd. A. Muang Chiang Mai or at the Thai Red Cross Society of Chiang Mai 196 Rasapakinai Rd. T. Sri Phum A. Muang Chiang Mai or by transfer to “Red Cross Chiang Mai” savings account no. 390-4 -21918-9 Bangkok Bank ,Chang Pruek branch and send the slip which your name, surname, phone number to Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Office, accounting department.


Factory owner netted in large drugs haul

980,000 yabaa pills found

Staff reporters
The owner of an orange processing plant was arrested on January 20 after local police received a tip off that a large shipment of drugs from Fang was expected to be sent to Bangkok from the factory. A police raid on the factory yielded 980,000 yabaa tablets hidden in baskets ready for shipment. Surapin Suponsophon, 54, the owner of the plant located in Baan Huai Moung, was arrested by police for drug trafficking but denied all knowledge of the drugs.

Surapin Suponsophon was arrested after 980,000 yabaa pills were found in her orange packing plant.
Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Pairote Saengphuwong announced that it was one of the biggest drug arrests in Chiang Mai and that cooperation between all departments had resulted in the arrest, with a hope to further track down the drug trafficking network. He added that the details of any concerned citizens offering information that leads to arrests will be held in complete confidence by the authorities.


Health Department fears increased severity in second round of swine flu

Supoj Thiamyoj
Swine flu or the H1N1 flu virus has seen an increase of 8-10 patients being admitted to hospital every week in Chiang Mai with a total of 6 deaths. The rate in the city has maintained a steady rate through prevention and treatment. However, Dr. Surasigha Wisrutrat, Deputy Director of the Chiang Mai Department of Health, expressed concern that the spread of the virus in the areas outside of the city would continue to grow as people on the outskirts and suburbs of the city were less likely to go to the doctor to have their illnesses treated.

Dr. Surasigha Wisrutrat, of the Chiang Mai Health Department, gives the latest update on swine flu in Chiang Mai.
The Health Department started giving flu vaccinations for those in high risk groups at Nakornping Hospital on January 11. The Health department estimates there are 2.8 million people at high risk across the country with over 4000 of those in Chiang Mai. Dr. Surasingha will target those in high risk groups for the vaccination, with a total of 57,560 people. Doctors, nurses and public health staff, pregnant women over 3 months, obese and disabled people, those with congenital diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Asthma, Stroke, Renal failure, Cancer patient receiving chemotherapy, Thalassemia, Immunodeficiency and Diabetes are among those considered high risk.
However, the Health Department found that many people in high risk groups did not come for the first round of vaccinations through either lack of information or a fear of side effects. However, unless allergic to the vaccination side effects have been minimal.


Major drug haul of key component in ya ice manufacture in Chiang Rai

Peerapol Saelee of Chiang Rai was arrested with pseudoephedrine,
 a key component in the manufacture of ya ice on January 13.

Supoj Thimayoj
986,500 pseudoephedrine pills were confiscated by the Pha Muang Task Force and military rangers from the 3rd and 2nd Cavalry Regiments in Baan Khao Sai in Chiang Rai on January 13. Acting on a tip off that the drug, used to make ya ice, was being smuggled in bulk over the border, police stopped a pickup truck driven by Mae Sai resident Peerapol Saelee, 33, and found the pills hidden in a bag in the truck. The value of the drugs could be as high as 7 million baht. Mr. Peerapol was taken to the Mae Sai police station to be charged with drug smuggling.


Speaker’s Corner at Prem

Vianna Unland talks about the perils of global warming and the need for action in her speech at Speaker’s Corner at Prem International School

Students at Prem Tinsulanonda International School practice their speech making skills at the Speaker’s Corner on campus on January 22. The ten and eleven year old students chose their topics and formulated their speeches, practicing for some time before speaking at the square in front of the auditorium.. Prem International School encourages social responsibility among its students and this was displayed in the topics chosen, with students emphasizing global warming, species extinction and the logging of rainforests.