Yi Peng Lantern Festival lights up the city
Mai Mayor Tassanai Buranupakorn, Chalermsak Suranant, Director of TAT’s
Chiang Mai Office, Boonlert Buranupakorn, President of Chiang Mai Provincial
Administrative Organization, and members of the public and private sectors
are joined at the press conference by dancers in traditional Lanna costume.
By Phitsanu Thepthong
Chiang Mai’s Loy Krathong Festival kicks off with the
dazzling Yi Peng Lantern Festival featuring colorful, beautiful lanterns
lighting up the city around the moat and at the City Gates every night.
Chiang Mai Provincial Authorities have organized a bigger and more elaborate
festival this year, with Loy Krathong starting November 20 and running
through the 22nd.
Benjapol Sithipraneet, from Lanna Lantern, noted that in
the past farmers used baskets to cover candles in order to keep them burning
when they went to their fields and from this ancient practice the modern day
lanterns slowly evolved to finally be used as a offering for Buddha. Inside
the lantern is a Pang Prateep candle, a small clay saucer filled with animal
fat or beeswax and a wick.
the colorful animal lanterns on display around the city.
Lanterns are constructed of bamboo sticks, which are
wrapped with Sa paper or colored transparent sheets and decorated with
fabric or bronze paper cut in elaborate patterns. There are 8 traditional
Lanna lanterns; the Octagonal lantern, the Jar lantern, the Star lantern,
the Tai lantern, the Hoo Kratai lantern, the Lotus lantern, the Phat
Lantern, and the Animal lantern.
Wilas Panyawong, the Chairman of Night Bazaar Business
Operators Club, said one of the highlights will fall on November 20, when
the spectacular Lanna lanterns will parade from Tha Phae at 6 p.m. along
city roads to Panthip Plaza on Chang Klan where contests for the most
beautiful design of Yi Peng lanterns and floats will be held. Concerts from
popular singers and bands will be held there until midnight every night from
the 18th, he added.
Chiang Mai Mayor Tassanai Buranupakorn, Chalermsak
Suranant, Director of TAT’s Chiang Mai Office, and Sarawut Sae Tieo,
President of Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association added that the Yi Peng
lantern festival will be a highlight of the Loy Krathong festival.
Loy Krathong falls on the full moon night every year in
November. On that day, Lanna people will pay homage to their ancestors with
joss sticks and candles as called Loi Kamod, or Loi Fire a few days before
reaching the full moon night. The Krathong Parade will be held on November
People will clean their houses and temples to prepare for
the sermon called ‘Maha Chart Vetsandonchadok” and decorate the arches of
their houses with coconut leafstalks, bananas tree, sugarcane, flowers and
lanterns in front of their houses.
To Khom Loy, first a kite released during the day, made
of multi colored paper and during the night a small hot air balloon made of
white paper fill the skies with light. It is believed that lighting from the
lanterns is sent to Phra Ketkaew Julamanee in the second heaven where Indra
During the full moon night, people will take “Sa Pao’ or
‘Krathong’ to float on the river which is meant to float bad luck away, send
offerings to Narayana and bring blessings. (Photos by Phitsanu Thepthong and
light up the sky at Tha Phae Gate.
Veterans honor fallen comrades on Remembrance Day
Sergeant Maurice Noyer, a veteran of the Free French in WWII, places a poppy
on the headstone at the memorial for those who have served their nations in
times of war.
Remembrance Day was held at the Foreign Cemetery on
November 11, 2010 to remember those who have served in times of war.
Remembrance Day is the term used by Commonwealth countries but it is also
called Poppy Day to mark the fields of poppies that covered Flanders in
World War I. November 11, 1918 marked the official end of World War I when
the German government signed the Armistice on the 11th day of the 11th month
at the 11th hour. And so, in honor of those who have served in times of war,
veterans, families and others gather to pay respects at the 11th hour, of
the 11th day of the 11th month.
The Foreign Cemetery in Chiang Mai holds many fallen
veterans and the memorial for both foreign veterans and fallen members of
the Free Thai movement of World War II is the site for the service. Deputy
Head of the British Mission in Bangkok Daniel Pruce was joined by U.S.
Consul General Susan Stevenson, British Honorary Consul Ben Svasti Thomson
and French Honorary Consul Thomas Baude for the ceremony.
However, the highlight of the event was former Free
French fighter and member of the British SAS, Sergeant Maurice Noyer, a few
centimeters shorter than when his pilot’s license was issued, he joked, but
still quite fit for a man in his nineties. He apologized for his English,
saying he hadn’t used it since the War when he had learned it while training
in Scotland. But his stories of parachuting behind enemy lines and his
charming smile and indomitable spirit left many who attended deeply moved.
Remembrance Day is held every year on November 11, at 11
a.m. at the Foreign Cemetery just past the Gymkhana Club. Be sure to take a
moment next year, to remember those who have served their countries.
from Kawila Army Camp plays “Last Post” for the silent crowd at the Foreign
Cemetery on November 11 to mark Remembrance Day or Poppy Day. Held to
remember those who have served in the armed forces in service of their
countries in times of war. (Photo by Shana Kongmun)
Meet the Consuls
United States Consul General
By Shana Kongmun
Susan Stevenson arrived in August to replace outgoing
Michael Morrow as the new United States Consul General in Chiang Mai and she
has moved quite quickly into the busy life a Consul General leads.
Originally from Ohio, she grew up in rainy Washington
State before attending the Wharton School of Business at the University of
Pennsylvania. She studied business and moved into a job with Kellogg’s of
cornflakes fame, she admits with a laugh. She was posted to Paris for a few
years, which she said, was very lovely and inspired her to apply for a job
with the State Department’s Foreign Service. She said that she was looking
for something more meaningful and fulfilling as a career and that she has
found it in the State Department.
Her very first posting was to Thailand and she studied
Thai language and culture a year before taking up her position. She said
that the first 8 weeks of language lessons were the hardest, and that
learning to tell time was a real challenge.
She served in Thailand and then moved on to other
postings, including Mexico and Hong Kong, eventually being reposted back as
Consul General after serving in Beijing. She speaks French, Spanish, Thai
and Mandarin Chinese.
She noted that her main role as Consul General is to be
the United States representative in Northern Thailand, the Consulate General
is an extension of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, she added. She is the public
face of the United States, she noted, adding that additionally, the
Consulate General also provides services to both American citizens, yes you
can get a new passport here, as well as non-immigrant visa services for
those visiting the United States.
Additional priorities as Consul General include law
enforcement, economic engagement, cultural, trade and educational exchanges,
environmental issues and democratic policies.
She said, her biggest job this year has been the 60th
anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Consulate and the continuation of
the former Consulate General’s work. They hope to have a big party to
celebrate the day, although not on the day as it falls on an important Thai
public holiday, Constitution Day, December 10.
Another big project has been the launch of the Creative
City of which the Consulate sits as an advisor on the steering committee.
She said that there are high hopes to promote the creative economy in Chiang
Mai, utilizing its universities and cultural strengths to increase business
focus on design and IT in the area.
It has been noted among the many women in Chiang Mai that
now the U.S. Consul General in Chiang Mai is a woman, the Deputy Head of
Mission in Bangkok is a woman and the incoming Ambassador is a woman. Mrs.
Stevenson said that she is not the first female Consul General in Chiang Mai,
and is, indeed, the third since its founding. She added that being a woman
in authority has not been so difficult for her, her position commands
respect and Thailand have a higher respect for women than other countries
may. She said that in the service itself, it has not been too difficult for
the pioneers of the 70’s led the way. She noted, that up until the early
70’s a woman had to resign once she married. And while its more culturally
acceptable for the wife to follow the husband in a post, her husband has
been able to structure his work so that it is possible for him to do so.
Northerners, she noted, are wonderfully polite and value
their culture so much, “I love the fact that I went to a meeting and the
director was wearing traditional clothes.” She added that the generosity of
spirit, respectfulness and graciousness of Thai people are some of the
things she finds most attractive about Thailand, she ascribes these cultural
strengths to the fact that the country has never been colonized.
Additionally, she loves the small town feel of Chiang Mai, “everything is so
much more accessible here,” she concluded.
Bank of Thailand reports on Northern economy
Director Prasopsuk Puangsakorn (left)
with Senior Director Sathorn Tophothai.
By Phitsanu Thepthong
Although the third quarter was slower when compared to
the previous quarter, the economic and monetary conditions for the Northern
region continued to expand Director Prasopsuk Puangksakorn and Senior
Director Sathron Tophothai of the Bank of Thailand reported to the Chiang
Mai Mail on November 2.
They noted that the key factors to help drive Northern
Thailand’s economic growth were domestic and foreign tourists visiting the
Northern region, the amount of VAT collected from hotels and restaurants,
the arrival number of air passengers, and hotel occupancy rates. Although
tourism partly benefited from government promotional activities, the number
of foreign tourists visiting Thailand and the North continued to decline
with heavy rains and floods hindering tourists travelling to the North.
Export growth decelerated, particularly electronic
components due to weaker external demand from markets abroad, while import
growth contracted slightly, Senior Director Sunthorn Tophothai noted.
Export value rose moderately by only 13.4 percent when
compared with 20.6 percent in the previous month. The export slowdown was
observed in high –tech products such as electronic components, vehicles and
Exports via border trade grew comparable with the
previous month following a substantial increase in exports to Lao PDR and
the southern China, but exports to Myanmar were severely affected by the Mae
Sot – Myawadee border closure, he added.
Import value fell by 2.4 percent, following a sharp
decline in imports of vegetables and fruits, fishery products, raw materials
and capital goods. In addition, imports from bordering countries also slowed
down. He added that expansion in private investment had slowed, showing a
decline in investment in the construction sector due to the effects from
last year’s crisis.
Manufacturing production negative but showed improvement
following an increase in agricultural processing industry for exports and
construction related materials production. The Manufacturing Production
Index (MPI) fell by 3.1 percent, a marginal contraction when compared with a
decline by 21.3 percent last month. This owed to a pick-up in production of
processed vegetable and fruit, jewelry and construction-related materials.
Major crops Production Index dropped by 5.6 percent when
compared with 11.0 percent decrease in the previous month. “This is due to
the decline in outputs of maize, major rice, longan and shallot caused by
drought conditions,” he added. “However, farm income remained favorable on
the back of rising major crops prices due to falling output,” said
Domestic demand expanded at a slower rate from the
previous month. The Private consumption Index (PCI), rose by 2.6 percent
down from the 4.5 percent in August due to the slowdown in VAT collection.
The Private investment Index (PII), showed sign of
improvement reflected by an increase of 2.3 percent following an expansion
in residential construction activities as well as increased imports of
Trade and consumption activities were noted to see a
slight slowdown. And the banking sector saw deposit and credit outstanding
continue to expand with commercial bank deposits rising by 3.9 percent and
outstanding credit increasing by 12.5 percent following increased borrowing
Inflation has remained low and in the Northern region
rose by 3.5 percent, lower than the 3.7 percent in the previous month.
However, prices of fresh fruits and vegetables remained high. Demand for
labor increased mainly in construction sectors. The unemployment rate stood
at low level with a rate of 1.1 percent.
Four killed in road accidents
in Lampang in one day
Ten more injured days later
minivan crashed into the swamp, injuring ten people,
after the driver lost control on a sharp curve.
Lampang Province saw four people killed in two separate
road accidents in one day and a further 10 injured in an accident a few days
later in the first week of November.
On the evening of November 2 an Isuzu pickup crashed into
a motorbike on the Lampang-Maetha Road. Two young female students of Lampang
Rajabhat University, Ms Apasara Tiemjai, 18 and Ms Pranom Mano, 18 were
found dead at the scene. The pickup was found crashed into a wall and the
driver, Kawin Hormkaen, 27, from Muang Lampang district, was taken to the
hospital where he died from his injuries.
The police said the two students were riding their
motorcycle to their dormitory when then suddenly slowed down in the middle
of the road before turning right. It was very dark with no street lights and
the pickup hit the students while driving at a high speed.
Another accident also on November 2 involved a pickup
hitting a motorcycle near the Sichum intersection of the Lampang-Chiang Rai
Police report that Lue Khamkhuen, 67, of Muang Lampang,
was driving his motorcycle in the wrong lane when he hit a pickup truck in
the inside lane. The driver of the motorcycle was killed instantly.
On November 7, an accident on the Lampang-Chiang Mai
highway injured ten people when a minivan overturned near the 25 kilometer
markers in Ban Tung Kwien, Tambon Wiengtan.
The driver Tossaporn Kongpriew, 45, was heading with
passengers for Uttaradit from Chiang Mai after merit making at a house
warming party, he lost control at the sharp curve before overturning and
plunged into the swamp. No deaths were reported and the injured were
transported to Hang Chat Hospital.
Over a million Yabaa pills seized in two separate arrests in Chiang Rai
drug suspects at Provincial Police Region 5 Headquarters
with one million Yabaa pills confiscated by police.
Nopniwat Krailerg and
Two men were arrested November 2 at a police checkpoint
in Chiang Rai with a haul of 83,000 yabaa pills stashed in the back seat,
Provincial Police Region 5 police reported.
Singaporean Narcotics Police officers were on hand
observing drug suppression activity at a checkpoint in Padaed by police
acting on a tipoff that a drug smuggling operation was planned for the area.
The two men were coming from the Muang District of Chiang
Rai when driver Naraset Chalermlertwanitch, 31, from San Sai, Chiang Mai,
and passenger Thanakrit Sae Chao, 31, from Nan Province were intercepted and
arrested. Initially the suspects denied all charges, Pol Lt Gen Chaiya Siri-amphankul
In a separate arrest on November 10, the Provincial
Police Region 5 arrested two men after they fled from a police checkpoint in
Thakaopluek, Mae Chan district, Chiang Rai.
Police said they tried to intercept the pickup truck as
it passed through the police checkpoint at 3 a.m. but the driver sped away
from the scene. Police followed the two men and a SWAT team apprehended
Suvit Khumsak, 30, from Chainart Province, and Damnoen Panprimprem, 36, from
Lampang with one million Yabaa pills worth 300 million baht hidden in the
trunk of the car, one of the biggest drug confiscations in Chiang Rai.
Damnoen confessed to the police that they had been paid
500,000 baht to deliver the drugs to Chiang Rai where the drugs would then
be sent to Talad Thai in Pathum Thani.
Vietnamese caught for log poaching in Mae Hong Son
the Mai Horm wood found poached in the forests
of Mae Hong Son’s Khun Yuam District.
The Kamnan of Tambon Mae Yuam Noi, Khun Yuam District,
Mae Hong Son, arrested a Vietnamese man suspected of smuggling Mai Horm or
Krisana fragrant wood, in a deep jungle near the Dok Bua Tong fields on
The suspect said he was hired by a Hmong investor at
15,000 baht a log to illegally cut wood and had entered the country through
the Lao border with two friends last month. The other two men are still at
Kamnan Boonthawee Phan-ngarmta, village committee members
and villagers together with forestry officials led by Kamol Nanyabutre, and
military rangers, border patrol police and Khun Yuam police found Nguyen Van
Dong in the forest with logs of poached wood at Huay Pong area in Tambon Mae
The suspect has been detained pending further
Illegal laborers detained by army
57 Myanmar residents of the Naisoi Refugee
Holding Center were detained when their vehicle was stopped by the
special task force of the 7th
Infantry Regiment in Pangmoo, Mae Hong Son, on November 4. Two pickups
were loaded with the illegal workers who were being taken to Ban Sobsoi
to harvest rice, Deputy Commander of the Task Force Colonel Boonyuen
Inkwang reported. Three Thai citizens were arrested for bringing them to
work illegally. (Photo and caption by Khajohn Boonpath)