Flora Festival at Ratchaphruek Royal Park
Chiang Mai Governor Chumporn Saengmanee, left, and Director Tassanee present
the Flora Festival to be held at the Ratchaphruek Royal Park from December
Ratchaphruek Royal Park will blossom with color and
greenery in time for HM the King’s birthday as the Flora Festival begins
December 1 and runs through February 6, 2011.
In addition to over 50 kinds of orchids and the flowering
from the Royal Project the Festival will feature an English garden in front
of the Buddha image, classes on landscaping, sufficiency economy and
agriculture, garden decorations as well as dances and performances by
popular performers. Nanthida Kaewbusai, Am Saowaluck, ETC, Best Sellor, Now
and Then, and Mint Maleewan are just a few of the scheduled acts.
Tassanee Srimongkol, Director of Ratchaphruek Royal Park
said that last year’s gardening festival attracted more than 1.5 million
visitors to the Park for the 44 days of the event and this year is expected
to reach at least that.
As part of the event, an Agriculture commodities market
by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (Chiang Mai), and Marketing
Organization for Farmers, will run from December 3 -12, followed by
Agriculture Asia 2010 from December 4 12, , and the auspicious occasion of
His Majesty the King’s birthday “Ratchaphruek Ruamjaipak Rak Por Luang
“fair, to mark the grand celebration from December 4- 6.
British Council walk a success
The British Council centre’s first celebration event for
it’s 25th anniversary was in October when they organised the centre’s first
‘sponsored walk’. Ginny Rowlands, Centre Manager said ‘We wanted to do
something that staff, families and students could get involved in but would
reach out further. Something that would raise funds for charity was an
obvious choice! We chose to donate money we raised to UNICEF to help flood
victims in Pakistan and Thailand.’
walk to raise funds for victims of the Pakistan floods by the British
Council attracted all walks of life from Chiang Mai residents.
Actually the idea of a ‘sponsored walk’ was new to Thais
but once they ‘got it’ they were really enthusiastic. Chiang Mai’s leading
school, Yupparaj Wittayalai was brought on board along with many community
members. The British Council has worked closely with the school since 2007
through its ‘Connecting Classrooms’ project. This year’s exchange students
and the school’s marching band joined the sponsored walk .
Over 250 walkers of all ages joined in. The British
Council managed to raise over 90,000 baht (just under ฃ2000), more than
doubling their target. Even though this was planned as a one off event for
their 25th year everyone hopes it will become a Chiang Mai tradition.
Mae Hong Son trade
delegation visits Myanmar
this year, Thai Deputy Minister of Commerce Alongkorn Polabutre, Myanmar’s
Director of Border Trade Department Aung Soe Thein, Mae Hong Son Governor
Kamthorn Thawornsathit, accompanied by both Thai and Myanmar delegates
visited Huay Ton Noon border pass in Khun Yuam District to discuss upgrading
it to a permanent border checkpoint.
By Phitsanu Thepthong
A 30-member group of Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce and
Mae Hong Son Tourists Business Association members was the first Thai
delegation to visit Myanmar after its general election, said Supoj
Klinpraneet, the President of the Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce.
Consisting mainly of businessmen from agriculture, trade and tourism, the
group traveled to Myanmar on a 5 day official visit in what he called a B2B,
or business to business trip.
“Trade and tourism are expected to have a bright outlook,
“he said with confidence.
They also congratulated their Myanmar counterparts for
their successful general election as well as participated in the 500th
anniversary celebration of Taung Oo city inside Myanmar. Taung Oo is an
ancient city with unspoiled traditions and rich in natural resources.
One of the main objectives was to clear the way on the
joint Thailand -Myanmar plan to upgrade the Ban Ton Noon border pass in Khun
Yuam district, Mae Hong Son, only 200 kilometers from the new capital of
Naypyidaw City, to permanent status.
Agreements between Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Tourist
Business Association and Myanmar’s UMTA on tourism cooperation, as well as
agricultural collaboration between Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Chamber of
Commerce and UMFCCI were also signed.
Royally sponsored rice distributed in Lampang
Lampang Municipality was the beneficiary of HM the King
in the form of Royally sponsored rice, receiving 46,600 kilograms to be
distributed to 26,000 families living in the city.
Lampang Mayor Nimit Jairasantikarn, and city
administrators, municipal council members, community leaders representatives
from all 43 communities in Lampang city joined to perform a ceremony to
receive the rice presented from His Majesty the King, marking his 60th
anniversary accession to the throne, as well as, his birthday celebration on
The ceremony for the royally-sponsored rice was held in
front of Their Majesties’ portraits, before blessing them with good health
and long life on November 26.
Lampang Mayor Nimit reminded the gathering “to express
our loyalty and gratitude we must do good deeds for His Majesty the King”,
Mae Sai border trade continues to grow
Mae Sot closure benefits Chiang Rai border points
By Phitsanu Thepthong
Chiang Rai’s border point at Mae Sai is expected to
thrive, according to Wiroon Khampilo, the President of Chiang Rai Chamber of
Commerce. He noted that unlike Mae Sot in Tak which has seen recent fighting,
there had not been any serious skirmishes near the border with Chiang Rai
for more than 10 years and so the cross border trade and tourism has not
seen the same negative effect.
“Political change in Myanmar after the general election
and followed by the release of the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is a
good sign. Most Myanmar people in the border areas here want to see a better
economy and improve their standard of living. The general situation here is
quite different from Mae Sot. The recent clashes just across the border
inside Myanmar have been the latest and most serious setback for businesses
in Mae Sot’s border commercial district,” he noted.
He added that the Mae Sai border point connects travelers
to the town of Chiang Tung in eastern Shan state where most of the residents
are Tai Yai and Wa and are currently not in conflict with the Myanmar
“Most of them there aim at doing more trade and business,
so the border situation does not really affect the living of people here,”
However, Wiroon added that “We are observing Myanmar‘s
junta and the situation with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Myanmar people, as well
as the new government roles. If they propose reconciliation plan, with no
more political incidents erupt inside Myanmar then this would create a
better outlook for the Myanmar situation,” he noted.
Wiroon pointed out that the border trade through the Mae
Sai-Tachilek grew 56 %, from January –September this year, when compared to
the same period of last year.
“We have proposed a plan to extend the opening and
closing time of the border- check point from 6.30 a.m. to 6.00 pm, to 6.30
a.m. to 12.00 a.m. We have submitted it to the Mae Sai District Officer and
to the Governor of Chiang Rai, as well as to be proposed to the Myanmar
government to consider extending the times of the Mae Sai -Tachilek border
check point,” he said. The proposal is expected to be announced in time for
the New Year celebrations.
Tak Chamber of Commerce President Banphot Korkiartcharoen
told Chiang Mai Mail that this year’s Mae Sot –Myawaddy check-point
closure has forced the temporary suspension of commercial exchanges and
business deals here.
The closure of the Mae Sot – Myawaddy crossing this year
has seen revenues drop by 40 percent when compared last year during the same
period he noted.
Mahataya Kasem, the owner of Angel Gems jewelry shop in
Mae Sot, also told Chiang Mai Mail that doing this business at the
Mae Sot shopping center on the Moei River was very slow. She said local
jewelers, restaurant owners and hoteliers were suffered from the sluggish
economy and with falling numbers of tourists coming for shopping they have
seen income drop by 50 percent.
“If the situation continues to worsen I think we will
move from here to do jewelry business in other provinces,” she complained,
adding that “now our hope rests on the authorities to help re-open the
“New Year is a good time for jewelry sales and we hope
that both Thai and Myanmar governments reconsider re-opening the border in
time for the holiday.
According to Prasobsuk Puangsakorn, the Director of Bank
of Thailand’s Northern Region Office, the Northern Region’s border trade in
the 3rd quarter of this year, saw substantial
increases in exports to neighboring countries of Laos and southern China but
imports fell by 2.4 percent following a sharp decline in imports of
vegetables and fruits, fishery products, raw materials and capital goods.
“But the exports to Myanmar were really affected by the
Mae Sot-Myawaddy border closure,” he told Chiang Mai Mail.
Meet the Consuls
Consul-General of Japan
By Shana Kongmun
The newest addition to the Chiang Mai diplomatic scene is
no newcomer to Thailand. Kazuo Shibata, the new Japanese Consul-General
arrived in Chiang Mai on October 22. However, he has extensive experience in
Thailand, having served in Bangkok three previous terms.
Originally from Mito City, an hour and a half north of
Tokyo, and famous for its plum blossoms in March, Mr. Kazuo said his
interest in foreign cultures was piqued at a very early age. He lived next
door to a Christian church, and while not Christian, often attended Sunday
school there. He said when he was very young, the priest gave him a pair of
real leather shoes and even better, Hershey chocolate bars. He added that
celebrating the Christian holidays and hearing of other ways “opened my eyes
to another world.”
This interest never waned and he ended up studying
International Relations at Yokohama City University and from there entered
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Before starting his post in Thailand he
underwent two years of intensive study of Thai language, culture and history
at Chulalongkorn University. He noted that the current Governor of Bangkok,
M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra was one of his lecturers during that time and
recently introduced him to a visiting Japanese Mayor, as “Luuk sit phom” (my
Consul-General Shibata noted the book by a former consul
British Consul from the 19th century and early 20th, W.A.R. Wood, Consul in
Paradise. He said, “This post is very heavy duty but when I leave I would
like to say I was a Consul in Paradise.”
The main concern of the Japanese Consulate General is
working to help the some 3,000 Japanese resident in the 9 Northern Provinces,
more than half of them are long-staying resident, many retired. He noted
that the lower cost of living in Chiang Mai, in addition to its good weather,
cultural and community activities and the gentle heart of the Lanna people
were a prime draw for Japanese retirees. “I think that due to these reasons,
the number of Japanese long staying residents will increase in Chiang Mai,”
He noted that the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce has been
very keen on promoting Chiang Mai as a destination for long staying Japanese,
even publishing a pamphlet in Japanese to help them adapt.
The Japanese Consulate General is a full service
consulate, offering visa services, and notarial and passport services for
Japanese. It can be found in the Airport Business Park on Mahidol Road and
is open weekdays. 053-203-367.
Consul General Shibata noted that the Consulate has
issued more than 4,000 visas to Japan by the end of the last month, up from
3,000 for the entire year last year.
The Japanese Consulate is active in the grant assistance
for grassroots projects in the North and welcomes submissions from NGO’s and
other organizations for projects. Applications can be found at their
Educational and cultural exchanges are another important
role the Consulate plays in Chiang Mai, with the annual Lanna Japan Festival
taking place this past month featuring Japanese pop culture. He noted that
in the past Japanese cultural promotion had involved traditional cultural
activities such as the tea ceremony and ikebana (traditional flower
arranging) but that with the advent and growth of Japanese pop culture such
as cartoons, animation and J-Pop, the Consulate is turning more of it’s
focus to that as it has more relevance to the youth of Thailand and around
Finally, the Consulate hopes to help promote Chiang Mai
to Japan both to long stay retirees and to tourists, with hopes to help
facilitate bringing direct flights from Japan to Chiang Mai. He pointed out
that while nearly a million Japanese visit Thailand every year, only ten
percent visit Chiang Mai. A number he hopes to help change.
“I’d like to make a bridge between the Japanese community
and the Thai community here in Chiang Mai, developing social networks and
activities, and to make Chiang Mai a model city for long stayers.”
And on a personal note, he said one of his own interests
lay in the dispersal of the Thai peoples. He commented that there are
villages near Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam that speak a form of Thai and eat
similar foods, and of course Sipsong Panna in China whose people are Thai Lu
and speak the Thai language. Mandalay also has a similar community and it
really looks like Chiang Mai. “I’d like to learn more about their life and
culture. I look forward to meeting one of the lecturers at CMU to discuss
this,” he added.
He noted that when he was posted to Chiang Mai his many
friends in Bangkok congratulated him and envied him on his posting and he
added that he really appreciates the gentle and polite nature of the Lanna
Log poachers nabbed in Mae Hong Son
2 Vietnamese nationals caught
the Mai Hom, or fragrant Krisana wood,
that was confiscated from the illegal logging in Mae Hong Son.
Mae Hong Son forestry officials were joined by the Army
in a raid at Ban Huay Maidam on November 15, 2010 where 6 people were found
cutting logs illegally. Four of the suspects managed to flee but officials
detained two Vietnamese nationals who were charged with encroaching on
forest lands for the valuable Krisana or Mai Hom fragrant wood.
The combined forces, led by Prasert O-staphan, also
raided a separate area where illegal logging had taken place but the
suspects escaped before the forces arrived.
On November 11, Mae Hong Son officials found illegal
logging and equipment in Ban Namsom as well, but the suspects again narrowly
escaped by fleeing before the forces arrived.
Recently forestry officials detained a Vietnamese
national for log poaching in the Khun Yuam district area.
Yabaa continues to
flow across the border
Chiang Mai police confiscate 2 million pills since October
Pol Lt Gen Chaiya
Siri-amphankul, Commissioner of Provincial Police Region 5 displays some
of the drugs confiscated since October 1
Nopniwat Krailerg, Thaweerat Pensalaphan, Khajohn Boonpath
The Provincial Police Bureau, Region 5 reported that
since October 1, 2010 they have arrested 29 suspects, and confiscate
nearly 2 million Yabaa pills and 40 kilograms of Ya-Ice (crystal
Pol Lt Gen Chaiya Siri-amphankul, the Commissioner of
Region 5 reported that there had been 17 cases involving 29 suspects and
6 deaths resulting from two clashes with police. He urged anyone
information about drug dealers or criminal cases to please contact
Region 5 Police at PO Box 99 (Region 5) or email [email protected]
Lampang Provincial Police raided a house belonging to
Waranyu Sripur after receiving an arrest warrant issued by the Chiang
Rai Court for possession of drugs with the intent to sell on November
A police search of the house revealed no illicit
drugs or weapons, but authorities seized the house, land, furniture
worth more than 10 million baht, as well as a car and pickup truck.
The police said Waranyu was with his accomplice
Damnon Panprimprem, 36, from Ban Salabuabok, Kor Kha district, Lampang
when they were stopped by Mae Chan Police Station in Chiang Rai with 1
million Yabaa pills on November 10 at Tha Kaopluek check point in Chiang
Rai. However Wanranyu fled the scene and remained at large while Damnon
remained in custody.
The Naresuan Task Force in Mae Hong Son clashed with
drug traffickers near the border at Ban Airla, Tambon Thamlod, Pangmapha
district on November 14 after they received a tip off that drugs would
be smuggled across the border there.
The Army encountered a group in the morning of
November 14, who opened fire. The Army returned fire and after the
ensuing 10 minute gun battle 5 men were found dead, along with four
backpacks containing 50,000 pills each for a total of 200,000 pills,
cash, weapons and ammunition.
The five men were identified as being members of the Lisu and Lahu
tribe from Pai District and members of the Red Wa Army.
Weapons and drugs found on traffickers killed after
a gun battle with the Army in Mae Hong Son.
Royal ThaiArmy Chief inspects border in Mae Hong Son
Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha
inspected the base at Ban Mailan in Mae Hong Son and is briefed on the
General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Commander-in-Chief of the
Royal Thai Army visited the border areas in Mae Hong Son in an
inspection tour and to gain first hand updates as to the situation
across the border in Myanmar.
Accompanied by the Third Army Commander, the 5th
Special Warfare Regiment Commander, the Naresuan Force Commander and
other deputy Commanders, he stopped at the Army Base at Ban Mailan in
Pang Mapha District in Mae Hon Son on November 18 where they were
welcomed by Col. Uthai Chaichana, Commander of the 7th
The Shan State Army has a stronghold located across
the border near Doi Tai Laeng while the United Wa State Army is
situation across the border at Ban Mai Pa-o. The Army Chief was briefed
that both forces are on alert and prepared to fight if an offensive is
launched against them by the government for not joining the “road map”
set by the government post-election.
Gen. Prayuth emphasized to the men to be on alert for
an expected influx of refugees should fighting break out, and to make
certain that border areas and villagers were secure from any overflow of
possible fighting. Additionally, he urged them to encourage area
villagers to not get involved in drug trafficking. He finally noted that
defense forces need to keep a close watch on drug smuggling across the
Sansai District receives
Japanese government aid
The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance
for the Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP), has provided
funds amounting to 3,175,500 baht for “The Project for Construction of a
Daycare Center and Youth Dormitory for Ethnic Minorities in Sansai
District, Chiang Mai Province”. On November 27, 2010, Mr. Kazuo Shibata,
Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, Mr. Chatchai Suwanwong, Senior
Deputy District Chief of Sansai District,and Mrs. Amnuayporn Jirakun,
Chairperson of the Integrated Ministries for Ethnic Minorities
Foundation, were at the opening ceremony of a daycare center and youth
dormitory at the site of the Integrated Ministries for Ethnic Minorities
Foundation in Sansai District.
The Foundation, which started its activities with HIV/AIDS
education and care for ethnic minorities in 1991, extended its
activities to protecting ethnic minority children orphaned by AIDS and
those in abusive situations along with safe accommodation. In addition,
as the number of ethnic minorities living in urban slums has recently
increased, the Foundation started a day care service allowing parents to
leave their children during work time and provide pre-primary education
so that. ethnic minority children with weak Thai language skills can
prepare for entrance.
In response to a request from the Foundation, the
Japanese government has provided funds for the construction of a
building with a daycare center on the first floor and a male dormitory
on the second floor. The day care center will accept 45 children from 6
communities, and the youth dormitory will provide safe accommodation for
8 youths aged 9-20 who cannot live with their families. In addition, the
male dormitory will be utilized for the accommodation of ethnic minority
youths from other provinces, when they participate in youth camps held
by the Foundation in semester breaks. or more information Mr. Sato,
Consul or Ms. Hoshii and Ms. Hamaguchi, Coordinators for GGP:
Lampang plans strict enforcement against alcohol sales
Lampang officials are implementing strict enforcement
of laws relating to sales of alcohol to minors and alcohol advertising
Thepin Inthakanok, Coordinator for the Lampang No Alcohol Network
The Office of the Alcoholic / Beverage Control Board,
Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health along with
Lampang Provincial Public Health Office are coordinating on the campaign
to inspect restaurants and shops for sales to minors and alcohol
advertisements that breach laws.
Members of the No Alcohol Network will be joined by
other anti-alcohol groups to give out reminder notices of the laws to
food shops, pubs and restaurants about alcohol sales.
The Lampang Provincial Public Health Office reported
that last year there were 13,051 injured and 227 deaths from road
accidents and of those 3,972 were injured and 76 died due to drunk
driving. This year, road traffic and accidents have injured 10,592 and
killed 153 while 3,255 of the injured and 67 of the deaths were from
Dr Chinoros Leesawas, of Health and Prevention, urged
a promotional campaign showing the effects of drinking and driving,
citing the deadly statistics.