Chiang Mai records 6 accident deaths in first two days of Songkran
In the first two days of the “seven dangerous days” of
Songkran, 6 men were killed in road accidents according to Chiang Mai
Provincial Authorities, this despite the efforts of the Disaster Prevention
and Mitigation Department’s Road Safety Centre to reduce the number of
Songkran deaths and accidents to below last year’s numbers.
47 road accidents were reported, with 48 injuries; 36 of
those injured were men, plus the 6 men who have died so far this Songkran
season. 5 people alone were killed on April 13, with Chiang Mai reporting
the highest number of deaths in the nation for Songkran day. Officials said
the majority of accidents were caused by people driving drunk.
Deputy Chiang Mai Governor Pairote Saengphuwong has
called for a meeting among the government officials and authorities
concerned to prepare for a higher number than expected road accidents. He is
also calling on the public to not drink and drive. (PRD).
Faham holds traditional
Songkran New Year festival
Mayor Preecha Worakul washes the hands of monks in the
traditional Songkran ceremony held behind Wat Kha Jao.
On April 9 the Faham Municipality and Faham Culture
Council organized a traditional Songkran Festival, honoring the elderly in a
traditional hand washing ceremony. In addition, a good health contest and
best costume contest was held to celebrate the National Day for the Elderly.
Ruj Wannarat, Vice President of the Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative
Organization (PAO), presided over the opening ceremony of the traditional
Ruj Wannarat, Vice President of Chiang Mai PAO took part
in the traditional Songkran ceremony on April 9 in Faham by washing the
hands of elderly residents.
Preecha Worakul, Mayor of Tambon Faham Municipality said
the municipality held their Songkran day celebrations on the banks of the
Ping River behind Wat Kha Jao on April 9. More than 500 elderly residents
attended the traditional ceremony.
The traditional ceremony was held to promote and preserve
the local culture and ways and to pay respect to the elderly in Faham.
The organizers also provided local sports and games,
medical check-up services for the general public and staged the “rod nam dam
hua”, the traditional water pouring ceremony for the elderly near Paton
Bridge and at the boat landings.
The Songkran parade took place in Chiang Mai city on
April 13, with dancers joining the parade of important Buddha images. Locals
and visitors thronged to the parade to bless the Buddha and watch the parade
Croston Children’s Home in Lamphun receives new bio water filter
The Croston Children’s Home in Lamphun was the recipient
of a bio-sand water filter donated by Janet Kirwin. Ms Kirwin was the lucky
winner of a biosand water filter donated to the ThailandeFreunde booth at
the Chiang Mai City Life Garden Party back in February.
However, she felt it would be put to better use elsewhere
and asked Thailandfreunde and Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon to find an
appropriate place to donate the filter. Dirk cast about and decided on the
Croston Children’s Home. The filter was installed April 9, saving the home
at least 400 baht a week on drinking water. Money that can now be used to
purchase food and other necessities.
Poy Sang Long festival
celebrates Thai Yai culture
A novice is carried on a relative’s shoulders
as part of the Poy Sang Long ceremony in Mae Hong Son.
and Jedsadapong Wongkiew
Both Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son celebrated the Poy
Sang Long ordination ceremony of the Thai Yai culture. Locally called
‘buad look kaew’, the ordination ceremony is annually held during the
Songkran festival in April, which is regarded as an important merit-making
festival for the Thai Yai living in the Northern provinces of Chiang Mai,
Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son.
This ordination, on which the final day features
young pre-teen novices dressed in colorful finery, with faces powdered
and rouged, and wearing a turban adorned with flowers, are carried on
the shoulders of their male relatives to the temple to the tune of
traditional Thai Yai music. At the temple the boy is then ordained into
the temple to exchange his colorful finery for the simple saffron robes
of a Buddhist monk.
29 young novices took part in the ordination ceremony
in Mae Hong Son. Hosted by the Mae Hong Son Municipality and Tourism
Authority of Thailand the event is unique to the Thai Yai or Shan as
they are also known.
Suthep Nuchsuang, Mae Hong Son Mayor said the
ceremony, also known as the Poy Sang Long festival was held from April
9, - 11, at Wat Muay Tor, tambon Chongkham, Mae Hong Son.
In Chiang Mai, this ceremony is held in the Thai Yai
temples, like Wat Ku Tao, Wat Pa Pao, and Wat Padaed, and by the Chiang
Mai Municipality, along with Tourism Authority of Thailand.
One of the ceremonies was held on April 5, starting
at Tha Pae gate, with Sunthorn Yamsiri, Deputy Mayor of Chiang Mai,
presiding over the opening ceremony. The colorful procession moved along
Moon Muang road to Wat Pa Pao for the ordination ceremony.
This celebration of this ceremony hopes to preserve
the traditions of the Northern ethnic cultures, and to draw attention to
local Thai Yai art and culture. With this aim, music, cultural
performances and festivities honoring the Thai Yai culture took place at
Wat Pa Pao.
In the past, only the wealthy could afford to be
ordained in the Poy Sang Long tradition but the changing times have
required additional financial help so that more may join. Several groups
and agencies have organized the ceremony now with a budget ranging from
200,000 baht to one million depending on the number of novices
Thai Yai residents of Chiang Mai take
part in the annual Buddhist
ordination ceremony, Poy Sang Long.
Photo Exhibition by HRH Princess
Maha Chakri Sirindhorn at CMU
Sunnatha Rattanawadee, the Deputy Dean for the Fine Arts
shows Flight Lieutenant Suriya Sueksakitch, the Assistant
Minister of Culture, around the photo exhibition at Chiang Mai University.
186 photos taken by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
are now on display to the public at the Arts and Culture Hall at Chiang Mai
University until April 30.
All of the photos, taken between 2008 and 2009 both in
Thailand and abroad during official visits, were chosen for the theme “If
you walk continually you will reach your destination”. The exhibition
reflects her attention to detail and sense of humor.
The opening ceremony was held on April 9 and presided
over by Flight Lieutenant Suriya Sueksakitch, Assistant Minister of Culture.
The exhibition was organized by The Office of Contemporary Arts and Cultures,
along with Photo Associations of Thailand.
Royal permission was granted to afford the general public,
both Thai and foreign, the opportunity to view the photos taken by HRH
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
SME Fair held in Chiang Mai
The Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Promotion Office
of Ministry of Industry organized the first big SME fair and seminar in
Chiang Mai, from April 8 -10. Charnchai Chairungruang, the Minister of
Industry, presided over the opening ceremony for the Thai Khem Kaeng SME
fair held at the Chiang Mai University Convention Center
Chairungruang, the Minister of Industry gives the opening remarks at the SME
Fair at CMU Convention Center.
The Thai Khem Kaeng concept, or strong Thai Project 2010,
hopes to promote SME projects in the North and throughout the rest of the
country. The SME Promotion Office plans to hold 20 similar events across the
country to boost SME projects and help with trade and marketing and promote
SME’s across the country.
Minister Charnchai said that the Ministry of Industry has
plans to launch SME projects in several fields by the main the SMEs
Under the fiscal year budget for 2010-2011, and the
policy of the SME Promotion Office, importance will be given to the
development of SMEs into the three main issues; sustainable SME promotion,
generating more revenues from basic SMEs, and linking SMEs with neighboring
countries into a regional economy.
The strong Thai SMEs Project 2010 event is expected to
help Thai SME operators to learn more about products and development
Yuthasak Supasorn, Director of the SMEs Promotion Office,
said Chiang Mai is a center of economic development in the North that is
preparing its basic infrastructure and offers high potential for SMEs
“By next year, Chiang Mai will have its new conference
center that can hold an international Expo fair with products from the
regional level on display. Chiang Mai will be able to welcome more SME
businesses and grow,” he said.
Director Yuthasak added that the SME Fair was expected to
help generate revenue in Chiang Mai, especially during the run up to
Songkran. He added that more than 200 SME operators, businesses and
representatives of financial institutions and networkers participated in the
The idea behind the current fair are the 5 Super S’s; S 1
is Small (SME products), S 2 - Smart (up-to-date), S 3 - Special (innovative
ideas and designs), S 4 - Strength (good management), and S 5 – success.
This concept is the catalyst in driving SME businesses to make the regional
Finally Director Yuthasak expected around 50,000 people to
attend the SME Fair in Chiang Mai which would help to boost trade up to 200
million baht in Chiang Mai alone.
Some of the many SME operators with booths at the SME Fair
on April 8 – 10.
Tourist numbers drop
Tourist numbers have dropped as much as 40 percent from
last year, Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanant announced. He believed
that the political unrest had affected Chiang Mai’s tourism more than
Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanant announced the drop
in tourists for the Songkran holidays.
Initially, it had been expected there would be at least
300,000 visitors to Chiang Mai, boosting revenues in the city by as much as
1 billion baht.
The Governor said that due to political unrest and the
recent explosions in the city, security has been stepped up and that he
ordered all officials to be on high alert.
“The current political factor has affected tourism,
however, we can ensure that tourists and visitors to Chiang Mai this time
will be safe,” he assured, adding that the police have stepped up patrols
and enforcement to keep things safe.
Chiang Mai is rich in arts and culture and the Governor
added that he believed Chiang Mai people would not create any violence
Governor Amornphan also asked all sides for help in
keeping Chiang Mai peaceful and to return the city to normality.
Local spa owner gunned down
Mrs. Chayaras Rana, 37, was gunned down by an unknown
assailant on a motorbike outside her business, the Leelawadee Saraphi
Massage and Spa on April 6. She died instantly. The housekeeper, Mrs.
Buathep Oon-okdaeng, 54, was by her side holding Mrs. Chayaras’ one year old
son when the gunman opened fire. She and the little boy escaped injury by
quickly ducking down behind the car.
The Mae Ping Police are investigating possible motives
for the shooting and are investigating to find more evidence in an effort to
find the killer, still at large.
Songkran accidents over
50 percent higher in first two days
The second day of the long Songkran holiday on Tuesday
recorded 69 fatalities from road accidents nationwide, bringing the total
deaths in the first two days to 116, said the government’s Road Safety
The centre reported 929 injuries and 870 road accidents
occurring on Tuesday. Near half of the accidents, 47 percent were related to
drunken driving followed by speeding at 20 per cent. Motorcycles were
involved in many accidents, accounting for 87 per cent of accidents
The highest number of accidents occurred in the southern
province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, while the most deaths were reported in
Chiang Mai in the North with five fatalities. Forty six provinces reported
About 66,000 police officers were deployed to over 2,500
checkpoints across the country, and inspected more than 700,000 vehicles.
Legal action was taken against about 65,000 motorists or nine per cent of
those stopped for checking by the police. Most were offenders who wore no
On Monday and Tuesday total accidents were recorded at
1,427, an increase by 497 from the same period last year or 53.5 per cent
higher. The total deaths during the two days were 114, an increase by 19
from last year. The number of the injured was 1,536, an increase by 544 or
54 percent from last year.
Anucha Mokkaves, the director of the Disaster Prevention
and Mitigation Department and secretary-general of the road safety center
said the major cause of road accidents was drunken driving and speeding,
particularly by young drivers who drank and rode motorcycles to enjoy
splashing water with other revelers on road.
Officials at checkpoints were instructed to strictly
check alcohol level of the motorcyclists. (TNA)
400,000 yabaa pills
confiscated in Chiang Rai
Acting on a tip-off from the Drug Suppression and
Coordination Centre that a high volume of drugs was expected to be smuggled
across the border from Tachilek in Myanmar, the Pha Muang Task Force set up
an observation checkpoint in Mae Sai District, Chiang Rai on April 11.
400,000 yabaa pills confiscated by the Pha Muang Task
Force in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai.
At 5 p.m. members of the task force were informed that
four men had crossed over the border and hidden bags in a corn field just
inside the Thai border. When the task force approached, the four men fled
back across the border into Myanmar. After a search the team found
fertilizer bags containing a total of 400,000 yabaa pills with the marking
There has been increased smuggling activity of yabaa over
the border from Myanmar since the New Year.
Rak Chiang Mai 51 take protest on the road
NBT and Kawila Army Camp visited by protestors
Members of the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group
protest in front of
the Kawila Army Camp.
A convoy of about 100 vehicles carrying nearly 300 red
shirt protestors led by Worawut Rujanapinant, alias DJ Daeng Songkwae, and
Mrs. Theerawan Charoensuk protested at the NBT television station on April
12 around 1 p.m. Travelling from their base at the Grand Waroros Palace
Hotel, they passed out flyers and wreaths decorated with photos of those
killed in the Bangkok demonstrations as they passed through the city.
People splashing water early in the Songkran holidays
witnessed the caravan pass as leaders used loudspeakers to state their case
as they travelled on trucks adorned with red flags and stickers for
dissolution. They travelled through Chang Puak Gate to Waroros Market and on
to Kawila Army Camp and then the NBT TV station.
They stopped in front of Kawila Army Camp, which has been
blockaded with barbed wire, to beep their horns and give a speech attacking
both the government and the Army. They then travelled on to the NBT TV
station and from there, many of the group dispersed while others returned to
the Grand Waroros Palace Hotel in the city.
Protestors carry wreaths and photos of those killed in the
Rak Chiang Mai 51 protestors at the City Hall compound
after pulling down the barbed wire defenses.