Vol. IX No. 11 - Tuesday
March 16 - March 22, 2010



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


MAILBAG
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Baby elephants in the streets

Excessive water and rationing

Apology to Siam Ocean World

Double pricing continued

No Red shirt news?

Begging elephants in the city

 

Baby elephants in the streets

Greetings from the USA
We spent a wonderful two week vacation in your beautiful city last February. We found the people, the food and atmosphere was one of the most welcoming we have ever experienced.

We were planning a return visit this coming November but are now not sure how much we would enjoy it. We have seen the news about all the young elephants begging in the streets of Chiang Mai and understand that this is against the law.  Not only against the law but not something we wish to see happening in your beautiful city. Elephants were the reason we visited in November, to spend time at the Nature Park seeing elephants just being elephants.  Begging in city streets is a cruel and dangerous life for this symbol of your country. We are hoping officials can find a solution to this that will allow mahouts and elephants alike to live a better life. Until then, we will have to postpone our next visit.
Sincerely yours,
Sandra and Susan Goodwin

 

Excessive water and rationing

Dear Sir,
I note that the Director of the Irrigation Office claims that rice farmers used ‘excessive’ amounts of water this year (CM Mail March 2nd). I believe that the Director is not being completely transparent with the facts. I have no doubt that rice farmers will use what water is made available to them - but who makes that water available?

Normally irrigation water rationing occurs in this area – the start depends on what storage has been made during the rainy season. In poor rainy seasons this is usually begins at the start of the year but, this year, there was no rationing until February! Since everyone concerned was aware of the situation well before the start of the year, why was this so? Only the Irrigation department can answer for ‘excessive’ use – not rice farmers.
Yours sincerely,
Concerned water user.


Apology to Siam Ocean World

Dear Editor:
I apoligise to Siam Ocean World, to the editor of the Chiang Mai Mail and its readers as well about informing you wrongly with regard to ‘double pricing’ as to entrance fees of Siam Ocean World in Bangkok. I trusted the rumor, but I checked it by myself, too late I agree, and it turned out to be totally untrue. Every adult has to pay 850 Baht irrespective to colour black, white, yellow, red or brown. So, everybody is welcome in Siam Ocean World on the same conditions. And for me it is a lesson to check my information in the future more carefully!
Nick.


Double pricing continued

Regarding Nick’s letter in the previous edition re pricing discrimination at Seaworld Aquarium at Siam Paragon, I would encourage him to report the matter to the contact given below, provided by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. I would also encourage others who have similar grievances to do likewise. I have no idea how effective such reporting will be, but at least an agency does exist to listen and (hopefully) act. Current legal guidelines on pricing stipulate unequivocally that there can only be one price charged for entrance/admission fees and that this must also be prominently displayed upfront.

Businesses are, however, granted the freedom to undertake marketing and promotional activities, and may for example legally offer non-discriminatory group discounts.

Thailand abides by internationally-recognized consumer protection practices. In the event that an individual consumer feels that they have been subject to unfair business practices, these grievances can be filed with the Consumer Protection Board for Thai nationals or the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Office of Tourism Development for visitors to Thailand.

Reporting unethical practice: Tel/Fax: +66 (0) 2216 6512. mail: [email protected] tourism.go.th
Ron Lister

Chiang Mai


No Red shirt news?

Dear Editor,
On the brink of the red shirt rally going to Bangkok this Sunday, March 14, of which a large number will come from Chiang Mai, there is not ONE word in the NEWS section about it. Not one story about how people feel. Not one word about where the money is coming from to get people there. The town where Thaksin started everything - okay, San Khaempang, but it is close enough to Chiang Mai - has not one thing to say about the revolution that is about to take place.Can you not see it?  Do you not think this is news?

Please tell me. Is there another English language newspaper I can read in Chiang Mai? This one has gone beyond missing the point to being almost blind!
Stan Pressman


Editor response:
Dear Stan, thank you for your email regarding red shirt activity reporting. The Chiang Mai Mail is a weekly and as such, reporting on such fast moving news as the Red Shirt activity will generally result in the publication of old news that has already been covered extensively in the dailies, on television and on the internet. However, we are happy to cover more Rak Chiang Mai 51 activity in the city when and as it happens.
Regards
Shana Kongmun

Managing Editor 


Begging elephants in the city

I am writing to your paper in the hope that your circulation may find willing participants in the efforts to correct a sad and developing story on the streets of Chiang Mai.

I have visited your city four times now, and love the lively and creative atmosphere that is so pervasive there. I am also a big supporter of anything that will truly benefit your Nation, your City, your culture, the people who live there and the elephants who have played such an important role in your history.

Since last summer’s push by Bangkok to provide alternatives for the street-begging elephants and their mahouts, there has been a continued and most obvious increase in the numbers of elephants who are coming in to Chiang Mai to ply the streets and pry the dollars out of tourists’ pockets. Every night there are more reports of young elephants hanging about, and in one case being abandoned, on the streets. These are young elephants. They should be by nature still with their mothers and families, and far from the dangers and mistreatment of the streets of any city. It is happening though in a city that I love! I am so disappointed in the inaction of the authorities there. I know that it is against Thai Law to be using these babies within a city and in this way. I am well aware that these young people who are with the elephants are in many cases hungry themselves, and so fall prey to the irresponsible owners of these elephants. These owners reap fine rewards for their cruelty and greed. The mahouts who do actually own their elephants are sometimes ill-advised on the dangers and the proper care for their elephants. There is a picture this morning of an elephant having a lit cigarette held at the end of its trunk…its breathing apparatus! There are reports of drugging the elephants, so that they can do double duty in logging or in trekking camps. The situation is deplorable. This is your National symbol after all. Why is that they are allowed to be treated in this way in Chiang Mai? You should know better. The tourists who support these activities are merely uninformed. I and many others are trying to correct this! I am writing to you, and to the travel websites and International news outlets, and also across my Facebook network, about the problem.

There are alternatives! The City of Bangkok managed to set them up and to find them. The Thai Government has been involved too. The elephants and their mahouts need to be given the word about the alternatives … and about the fact that they are breaking the Law. They need to see that they can live with their elephants in a way that honours the traditions, and that supports their families. The others “owners” need to be taken to task for breaking the Law, so they will stop tearing the babies away from their families, and putting them to work and at last to die in a terrible way.

Thank you for listening, and I hope that some action will be taken very soon to stop this.
Sincerely,
Jane Stanley



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