Buddhist faithful walk up Doi Suthep
to make merit on Visakha Bucha Day
monks are joined by the faithful in the walk up Doi Suthep
mountain to Wat Phrathart on the evening before Visakha Bucha Day.
Locally called “Wai Sa Paramee” the ceremony held on
Thursday, May 27 at Wat Phrathart Doi Suthep involves the Buddhist faithful
walking 11 kilometers to pay respects to the Phra Boromathart Chedi which
holds an important Buddhist relic.
Visakha Bucha Day or Vesak Day celebrates the birth,
enlightenment and death of Buddha, falling on the full moon, as most
Buddhist holidays do, of the 6th month of the lunar
Three sets of monks’ robes donated by Her Majesty the
Queen and royally sponsored holy water for sprinkling on the Buddha images
was carried from Wat Lokmolee by a traditional Bussabok carriage in a parade
along Huay Kaew Road to the opening ceremony held at the Kru Bah Sriwichai
Statue at the foot of Doi Suthep Mountain.
The general public traditionally walked up for a distance
of 11 kilometers to Wat Phrathart Doi Suthep, so as to join in sprinkling
royally-sponsored holy water to Buddha Images at the temple on Doi Suthep
Deputy Governor Chumphorn Saengmanee presided over the
ceremony to start the parade of royally sponsored offerings. The Deputy
Governor, also seated on a Bussabok carriage, travelled along the road
leading up to Doi Suthep where he was joined by thousands of people, many
dressed in traditional Lanna style.
This ceremony, a long standing Lanna tradition held the
evening before Visakha Bucha Day, is widely attended from Buddhists and
tourists from across the region.
It is believed that anyone who participates in the walk
up to Wat Phrathart Doi Suthep, and does the “vien tiane”, or walking around
the Grand Stupa for three rounds on Visakha Bucha Day, will receive the
results of making merit; virtue, luck, and prosperity.
women dressed in traditional Lanna costume pass through
Tha Pae Gate in the parade to Doi Suthep on the evening of Thursday, May 27.
National Tree day aims
to make Doi Kham golden
Kamnoerdsiri, Muang Chiang Mai District Chief Officer,
planted the first Ratchaphruek tree to start the “Term Sri Thong Hua Doi
Kham” Project, which aims to not only reforest, but turn the forest golden
in honor of HM the King’s projects to conserve the environment.
Local villagers from Mae Hia, Suthep and Nong Kwai joined
hands with the Insitute for Highlands Research and Development and the Royal
Project Foundation to plant trees for National Tree Day at Ratchaphruek
Royal Park on May 28. The event, aimed at increasing awareness of the need
for environmental conservation, coincides with the start of the “Term Sri
Thong Hua Doi Kham” Project to plant 8,500 Ratchaphruek trees in Doi Kham to
honor HM the King on his 85th birthday. The
Ratchaphruek tree is the national tree of Thailand and a symbol of HM the
Day of Remembrance
of Remembrance was held at Wat Phra Singh to honor the memory of those who
lost their lives in Bangkok during the protests. 88 people lost their lives
and more than 1900 were wounded since the protest began in March. Candles
and incense were lit by Pol Lt Gen Somkid Boonthanom, the commissioner of
Provincial Police Bureau, Region 5, and monks offered prayers at the
ceremony held at Wat Phra Singh, on Thursday, May 27, 2010. (Photos courtesy
Chiang Mai celebrity turns 1
Chiang Mai Zoo throws birthday party for Lhin Ping
Lhin Ping reached her first birthday in style on May
27 when the Chiang Mai Zoo threw a big party for the furry celebrity.
Wildly popular among Thais, both local and across the country, the birth
of Lhin Ping was heralded widely after many unsuccessful years of
attempted mating and artificial insemination of her parents. She even
now has her own Panda TV channel where panda fans can wait and watch for
her every move.
Lhin Ping is fed treats by her keepers at the Chiang
Mai Zoo in celebration of her one year birthday on May 27.
Director of Zoological Park Organization of Thailand
Dr. Sophon Damnui presided over the opening ceremony, beginning with a
merit making ceremony in the morning, followed by birthday blessings and
the birthday party complete with cake.
The Panda display section decorated with dolls, toys,
and a large ice sculpture of wishing Lhin Ping a happy first birthday.
Members of the Lhin Ping fan club brought gifts for the young panda as
A special video presentation was shown, from Lhin
Ping’s birth to today, music and games were also available for the
guests at Lhin Ping’s birthday party. The birthday celebration for Lhin
ping was held for four days from May 27-30, the Chiang Mai Zoo, also
arranged a Khantoke dinner.
Other animals in the zoo were also on hand to wish
Lhin Ping a happy birthday in the gala to celebrate the birth of the
panda. Since her birth, the Zoo has seen a 60 percent increase in
visitors and revenues of more than 20 million baht due to the panda’s
Lhin Ping has reached 36 kilograms and is now able to
eat bamboo, bamboo shoots and fruit, although she has not yet been
weaned from her mother.
The Thai government is currently negotiating with the
Chinese government to extend Lhin Ping’s stay for another two years so
that she remains with her parent, Lhin Hui and Chuang Chuang until they
are returned to China.
Thai-Burmese Border Committee meeting held in Mae Hong Son
Thailand’s Chairman Col Uthai Chaichana, and Myanmar’s Chairman Lt Col Aung
Aungto at the Thai Burmese Border Committee meeting in Mae Hong Son on May
The Thai-Burmese Border Committee (TBC) held a local-
level meeting at the Rooks Holidays Hotel in Mae Hong Son on May 25, with
Thailand’s Chairman Col Uthai Chaichana, and Myanmar’s Chairman Lt Col Aung
Aungto chairing the joint meeting.
Col. Uthai Chaichana credited local level meetings as
developing and improving the relationship between the two countries and Lt.
Col. Aung Aungto of Myanmar added that past bilateral relations had been
good and he expected the relationship between the two countries to improve.
Representatives from local businesses, governmental
agencies and local administrative organizations took part in the bilateral
talks, which focused on cooperation between the two countries in the
repatriation of criminal suspects and Myanmar cooperation in providing
intelligence on drug smuggling over the border into Thailand.
Myanmar asked for Thai help in repatriating long neck
Karen villagers to Myanmar, information on minority groups residing in
refugee camps on the border in Thailand, and Thai cooperation in an
enforcing Thai aircraft to remain outside Myanmar airspace.
Mae Hong Son Governor Kamthorn Thawornsathit asked that
they requested the opening of border passes for trade and investment be
trialed at the local levels, Tambon to Tambon or district to district and
that long term border trade expansion be handled at the Provincial level.
Supoj Klinpraneet, the President of the Mae Hong Son
Chamber of Commerce added that they expected trade negations between the two
countries would continue at the national level. He also proposed the opening
of the border passes at three locations; Ban Huay Ton Noon in Khun Yuam
district, Ban Saohin in Mae Sarieng district and Ban Nampiengdin in Muang
The Mae Hong Son Provincial Authority met with Deputy
Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot in April where a memorandum of
understanding was signed (MOE) that talks would continue between the two
countries to foster trade and investment for the next 5 years.
Supoj concluded, “The TBC meetings held here in Mae Hong Son will also
help foster trade and investment links at the regional and national levels.”
Season of change as friendly faces bid farewell to Chiang Mai
Mai Mail’s editor, Phitsanu Thepthong (left), managing editor,
Shana Kongmun (2nd right) and Managing Director, Tony Malhotra (right)
presented Alexander Barrasso a good luck plant as a farewell gift.
By Shana Kongmun
The Chiang Mai Mail would like to join with the U.S.
Consulate General of Chiang Mai in bidding Alexander Barrasso, the political
and economic chief at the Consulate, and his lovely wife and family a fond
farewell and a hearty bon voyage as they make their way to Alex’s next post
in Italy. A generous and friendly man, Alex Barrasso attracts every one he
meets with his charming smile and friendly and engaging manner.
Nirund Jivasantikarn, Ed.D., Ph.D., the Honorary Consul of Belgium.
U.S. Consul Michael K. Morrow and his wife Shannon hosted
the farewell party for Mr. Barrasso in their home on the grounds of the U.S.
Consulate General on Wednesday May 26. The party was well attended by many
of the lives that Alex had touched in his three years here in Chiang Mai.
Roshan Dhunjibhoy, of Lanna Dog Rescue, talked of Alex’s
help in promoting the use of Seeing Eye dogs in Thailand. She described the
astonishment of people when he came to give talks and brought his dog to
show the locals what tremendous help dogs could provide. She went on to say
that his help in this matter had been invaluable, that showing the world
what could be accomplished with the help of a Seeing Eye dog gave people an
added appreciation for the love and devotion they offer us humans, asking
for so little in return.
Thai and expatriate residents alike attended the party,
with Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Chiang Mai
University Vilawan Svetsreni talking puppets, to Gao Linprasert discussing
the different accents of Thailand with Shannon Morrow. Staffers from the
Consulate were there to offer their goodbyes to a popular colleague; and
many well wishers dropped in to wish safe and happy journeys to Alex
Barrasso, a man whose warmth and generosity of spirit shines brightly.
Saksoong and Worawan Thanamongkol of the U.S. Consulate General
in Chiang Mai at the farewell party for Alexander Barrasso.
Dhunjibhoy, of Lanna Dog Rescue (right) is joined by one of her colleagues
at Lanna Dog Rescue to bid Alexander Barrasso a fond farewell.
Kongmun (left) joins Michael K. Morrow,
his wife, Shannon, their son Brett.
K. Morrow, U.S. Consul General chats with Vilawan Svetsreni,
Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Chiang Mai University.
Mae Hong Son fights to limit spread of bird flu
Son Provincial Livestock officials spray chemicals
to kill the spread of bird flu around chicken farms.
Mae Hong Son Provincial Livestock Office launched a bird
flu prevention campaign on May 26 as officials sprayed chemicals around
chicken farms to prevent a serious outbreak of the bird flu. Officials are
concerned that the unusual weather could facilitate the spread of bird flu.
Billboards are being erected and brochures and manuals
are being handed out to villagers to teach them about bird flu and how to
One of the villages targeted was the Karen village of Ban
Huay Suatao, a small village in HM the Queen’s project in Tambon Phabong.
Officials are especially concerned for those in the long neck Karen villages
as they have high numbers of tourists visiting and the spread of the flu
could be accelerated.
Bird flu outbreaks often occur this time of year as birds
migrate South and can spread the disease.
Chamlong Ariyachak, the chief of the Mae Hong Son
Livestock Office expressed concern, “This year, it is expected that there
will a higher chance than normal of outbreaks of the bird flu because of the
change of weather. The hot weather helps spread the disease more than normal
weather,” he concluded.
Community Radio Station shut down
Chiang Mai Mail
The Wihok Community Radio station run by Therdsak
Jiamkitchwattana, a local leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD)
also known as “yellow shirts” was shut down by the Chiang Mai Provincial
Task Force Center in Chiang Mai on Monday, May 24. Therdsak was also a
leader of the Thai King Protectors group.
The combined forces of police and military personnel
belonging to the Task Force Center raided Therdsak’s house on Thippanaetre
Road, confiscating radio equipment, a computer, poles and antenna , tires,
national flags, His Majesty the King’s Phor Por Ror flag, a rifle and some
Therdsak was told by the Task Force, when complaining
about the raid and search, that the Task Force was implementing the laws and
performing their duties without any double standard since they will be
searching every radio station that broadcasts on Thai politics
The Police will determine if any charges will be laid
after examining the results of the raid.
38,000 yabaa tablets
seized in Chiang Dao
Supoj Thaimyoj and
The Pha Muang Task Force clashed with 3 drug traffickers
at the Kiew Pa Wog border pass in Chiang Dao on May 22, resulting in the
deaths of two local men and the seizure of 38,000 yabaa tablets in a joint
effort between the Center to fight against Drugs, the 2nd
Calvary Company and the Pha Muang Task Force.
Members of the Pha Muang Task Force inspect the haul of
drugs and weapons found after a gun fight resulted in the deaths of two drug
Members of the Task Force encountered three men on
motorcycles crossing the border from Myanmar, when ordered to halt the three
men opened fire. Two men were found dead and on had fled. The two men were
identified by local authorities as being local, Theerachai Machaiya, 30, and
Charoon Yata, 30, both of Tambon Pingkonh in Chiang Dao district. A search
yielded 38,000 yabaa tablets as well a shotgun and grenade.
Local authorities believe the two men were middlemen,
operatives for the Red Wa in connecting with local drug dealers.
Bangkok City Hall holds religious rituals to revive spirit of people
after Ratchaprasong protest
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra on the morning of
Wednesday, May 26, presided over a combined religious ceremony of five faith
groups as part of the city’s rehabilitation measures to bring healing to a
wounded public spirit and to restore normalcy for the tourism sector after
more than two months of protests by the anti-government ‘Red Shirt’ United
Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).
The religious ceremony, participated in by five religions—Buddhism,
Christianity, Islam, Brahminism and Hinduism—was jointly organised by the
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and the Ratchaprasong Square Trade
The religious ceremonies, prayers and rituals, took place
at the Statue of King Rama VI, at the entrance of Lumpini Park, facing
Saladaeng crossroads where much violence took place, at the intersection of
Ratchadamri, Rama IV, and Silom roads, across from Chulalongkorn Hospital in
central Bangkok, starting from 6.30am.
Thais and foreigners living in the area and vendors who
were affected by the protest joined the ceremony held at Ratchaprasong, the
intersection of Ratchadamri and Rama I roads. Many members of the public
queued to give alms to 1,000 Buddhist monks. Mr Sukhumbhand said the
ceremony was to mark the beginning of new life for the city, both for the
residents of Bangkok as the symbolic city for all of Thailand’s people.
The governor urged people of all groups to focus on
forgiveness, leave the conflict and violence behind and come to join in
united to bring back beautiful Bangkok and to help create an even stronger
On Sunday, May 23, the BMA sponsored a municipal cleaning
day under the slogan “Together We Can” to clean up Ratchaprasong and its
surrounding areas vandalised by the protesters.Many volunteers joined the
campaign in a spirit of helping the country resume peace and order. Many
brought their own cleaning tools, garbage bags, brooms, towels, rags. Many
companies located in the area and independent groups disbursed water, food,
and energy drinks to support the volunteers throughout the day. (TNA)
Songthaew driver first arrest in riots
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Sayan Saengsiri, 42, of Saraphi District was arrested in
his home after the police were issued a search warrant to search his home.
The Chiang Mai Courts issued the search warrant on May 23 and the police
searched the home of the red songthaew driver.
He confessed to police that he delivered the tires that
were used to burn the Assistant Governor’s residence on Wednesday, May 19.
He told police that he had been hired by the Rak Chiang Mai 51 Group to
deliver the tires in his songthaew.
Red shirt supporters burned down the home of Surachai
Chongrak, the permanent secretary of the Chiang Mai Provincial Authority who
serves as the Assistant Governor, as well as the entrance gate, security
booth and other structures in residence of Governor Amornphan Nimanant.
Damages are estimated at more than 3 million baht.
Chiang Mai Police continue their investigation into the
arson and vandalism and expect to arrest further suspects.