HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Response to Life in Chiang Mai

Deadly mushroom

Paramilitary forces on border

Flooding solutions


Response to Life in Chiang Mai

Dear Editor,

I read Life in Chiang Mai by Colin Jarvis with great interest as I am a 67 year old retired guy living in CM for 2 years, ever since I retired, in fact.

I love it here and when I went back to UK to re-visit relatives and sort out some business issues in August last year I could not wait to get back to CM. In fact after a few days I was homesick, making me realise CM is now my home.

Your article was, therefore, very pertinent. I am a gay man living with a delectable young Thai guy and I generally enjoy good health, with lots of Thai and farang gay friends to associate with, which helps to keep me mentally and physically healthy. The thought of having to leave all this behind because of ill health is almost unbearable. But as your article illustrates, this can and does happen.

Your suggestion regarding setting up a suitable nursing home is excellent but I fear the possibility of UK and/or European governments contributing to the costs are fairly minimal. I say this particularly with regards to the UK, where that government recently defeated an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights by aggrieved pensioners world wide who do not receive inflation increases in their pensions, where the country in which they reside does not have a ‘reciprical agreement’ with the UK. This includes Thailand.

The judgement in favour of the UK government seemed to be based on very tight legal technicality rather than anything to do with human rights! If the UK won’t give its pensioners a fair deal, what hope is there that they will help support them when in real need?

The arguments put forward by the appellants mentioning that there is actually a huge net savings to the UK because we live abroad, as we are no longer a ‘burden’ on their health services, social security benefits, local government concessions such as free travel, meals on wheels, etc, etc seems to be totally ignored.

Having said that, I know a retired, elderly Dutch couple who tell me that their government does extend their state health care to include their medical costs here in Thailand. They have both recently contracted Dengue Fever and their medical costs at the Ram hospital will be covered under their national health service. So perhaps other European governments do the same and typically the UK treats its elderly people with a degree of contempt, despite having paid some of the highest taxes in the world for all their working lives.

In conclusion: a great idea that should be pursued via the European Commission and Parliament, so that if a majority of European countries supported it the UK might be shamed in doing the same and maybe even agree to unfreeze our pensions!

Yours in hope and with my full support,
David C.


Deadly mushroom

Dear Editor:

White mushrooms deadly to sparrows.and thus not very good for us, I assume. Overnight last night, two clumps of quite attractive looking mushrooms appeared in our small garden. Dirty white in color, growing in groups of 3 to 5, the biggest approximately 4 inches across the top and grown to about the same height; the tops almost flat (ie only slightly conical) with very dark brown undersides.

I determined to pick ‘em and chuck ‘em before our 5 year old noticed. By then 3 sparrows lay dead, right up close to them.

Please pass this on to everyone with gardens and small children. And bird lovers!


Paramilitary forces on border

Dear Editor

In your recent edition of the 16th of aug. the readers are informed that (quote) : ‘ the Security Council has okayed the training of villagers as part of a border defence unit to keep the peace and ensure security. About 1200 people from several villages in Pai and Mae Hong Son took part in the training exercise under the supervision of the Third Development Division.’

I hope that the Chiang Mai Mail will also report about the human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings and torture which will inevitable occur when para-military forces will be deployed in Thailand.

Flooding solutions

Dear Editor,

In a recent interview with the Chiang Mai Mail (Vol IX No 30) Chiang Mai’s Mayor, Tassanai Buranupakorn, expressed his concerns regarding possible future flooding of the town centre by the rising waters of the Mae Nam Ping.

I wonder if he might care to consider a solution adopted by my home town in England.

Shrewsbury, a town in the Welsh Borders, shares a number of features with Chiang Mai. It has a compact, historic centre. And it has a river flowing through it; in this case the River Severn. The Severn occasionally breaks its banks, and this used to cause massive disruption and property damage to low-lying areas of the town centre.

To deal with this the authorities could have built a large earth levee or bank. This would have solved the problem, but it would have detracted from the scenic charms of the historic town centre and destroyed sight lines along the river.

What they opted to do instead was to install ‘demountable flood barriers’.

These are normally kept stored away, but are available should the river threaten to flood the town. They consist of steel posts that are inserted into pre-existing slots. Between these posts special long steel plates are slotted into place. The plates are cleverly designed to seal with each other, and so keep the flood waters out. The whole thing can be assembled by a small team of people in just a few hours.

And it works! Recent floods that have devastated other towns along the river have spared Shrewsbury. The citizens consider it money well spent. For further details Google “Shrewsbury Floods”.

Steve Brooks