Chiang Mai New Years countdown
Tussanai Buranupakorn and President of the PAO Boonlert Buranupakorn
introduce the lighted decorations that symbolize the 7 wonders of the world.
By Phitsanu Thepthong
Chiang Mai Municipality invited all walks of life to ring
in the New Year at the “Chiang Mai Count Down 2010” held from December 25,
2010 –January 1, 2011 at Tha Pae gate grounds and around the city moats.
Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn and Boonlert Buranupakorn,
the President of Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO),
said at Chang Puak Gate that this year the Municipality and the PAO
organized the New Year’s celebration under the theme of “Honoring His
Majesty the King with the 7 wonderful things of the world” to run for 7 days
and 7 nights, honoring the 7 wonders of the world.
Festive seasonal lighting has been installed at the moats
and inside the old city.
This grand event is held to celebrate His Majesty the
King’s 84th birthday in 2011 as well as focus on the cultural diversities of
ASEAN University Games in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai welcomed the athletes of the 15th ASEAN
University Games this past month. Hosts Thailand remained at the top of the
board with 58 gold medals, ahead of Indonesia with 46, Malaysia with 37 and
Vietnam 34. Full story and pictures on page 20, while you can meet some of
the athletes on Sports
Hilltribes receive aid for coffee processing facility
Chang Kian villagers receive aid from the Japanese government for a coffee
The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance
program provided 5,343,600 baht to the project “Raising the standard of
living of minority ethnic groups near Chiang Mai, Phase 3”, at Khun Chang
Kian village in Chiang Mai and Mae Suai and Wiang Pa Pao Districts in Chiang
Rai Province. On December 22, 2010, Kazuo Shibata, Consul-General of Japan
in Chiang Mai, Hidefumi Ichikawa, Trustee of All Life Line Net, a nonprofit
organization registered in Japan, and Jumphol Yangyuenkul, the chief of the
Khun Chang Kian village attended the opening ceremony of a coffee
In order to promote sustainable agriculture for hilltribe
people, All Life Line Net has planted young coffee trees in hilltribe
villages in cooperation with the Faculty of Agriculture of Chiang Mai
University. The coffee trees, which were planted at Khun Chang Kian village
and Mae Suai District during the first and second phases of the project
funded by the Japanese Government, are now growing steadily.
All Life Line Net held a preliminary seminar about
techniques of processing coffee beans and development of market channels,
and have constructed the coffee processing facility, because the coffee
trees are now profitable to harvest. Chiang Mai University is also
continuously providing technical support. All Life Line Net have held a
seminar about forestry preservation and sustainable agriculture as
environmental education for children, enhancing this community’s future by
expanding the project site.
It is expected that the hilltribe people’s living
standards will be improved and the project will lead to sustainable
development in those areas. For more information, please contact: Mr. Sato,
Consul or Ms. Hoshii and Ms. Hamaguchi, Coordinator for GGP Consulate-General
of Japan in Chiang Mai,Airport Business Park, 90 Mahidol Road, T. Haiya, A.
Muang, Chiang Mai 50100 053-203-367 (PR)
Mae Hong Son readies
for PAO election
Candidate number 2, Arkaradej Wanchaithanawong is running for the President
of the PAO in Mae Hong Son.
Two candidates registered in the first day for the
President of the Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) in Mae Hong
Son accompanied by cheering supporters, particularly Karen hilltribes people
who turned up to support their local-born candidate, Chaipetch Ingaew of the
Democrat Party who stressed the importance of electing local Mae Hong Son
people to solve Mae Hong Son issues.
Candidate number 2 went to Arkaradej Wanchaithanawong,
former 2 term PAO President and son of a Chiang Rai Member of Parliament,
who stressed his administrative experience in the position.
Election day is set for January 30, 2011 and out of a
total population of 240,000 people about 140,000 people are eligible to
promoted to stop burning
Local scientists, farmers and monks join together in Mae Chaem
prepare the furrows for planting
in the sustainable agriculture workshop held in Mae Chaem.
A new program was initiated in December by the
“Postgraduate Volunteer Monk Campaign for Hilltribe Development” (PVMCHD) of
the Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University in Chiang Mai. Twenty-five local
monks and highland farmers gathered at Wat Koo in Mae Chaem for the
First Annual Workshop and Seminar on Sustainable Farming. The Workshop,
supported by a grant from the National Science and Technology Development
Agency (NSTDA) Northern Network, was conducted by faculty from Maejo and
C.M.U. Colleges of Agriculture.
Anyone who lives in Chiang Mai or the surrounding area is
well aware of the terrible pollution problem that descends upon us every
year from March to May due to the burning of forests and fields in the
The Symposium consisted of one full day of training on
modern sustainable farming techniques designed to promote soil fertility and
combat soil erosion in a sloping highland terrain.
Ajarn Teerapong from the Maejo Faculty of Agriculture
presented his award-winning technique for utilizing rice straw and corn
stalks to create compost instead of burning. Dr. Mattiga from C.M.U. taught
the participants how to cultivate their land utilizing a special technique
for furrow planting and all-year/multiple cropping. Based on over 35 years
of field research, her methods are proven to enhance productivity, and soil
fertility, and minimize soil erosion. If the farmers adopt these methods, it
will eliminate the “need” to clear their fields by burning.
The second day was devoted to hands-on training at a
nearby Research Demonstration Farm, conducted by the C.M.U. Faculty of
Agriculture. Participants were trained to prepare the furrows for planting
following the proper contour lines utilizing specially designed farming
The Workshop also featured the introduction of a unique
portable “Nigino” tilling machine, provided by I.E. Machine Tools Co., a co-sponsor
of this event. The machine, which is a key component of this initiative, was
used to demonstrate to hilltribe farmers the feasibility of automated
tilling as a viable alternative to traditional slash and burn clearing and
According to Pa Suchat, the Director of the PVMCHD
Program, it has proven to be ineffective to ask indigenous farmers to
abandon their traditional method of burning (which is simple and easy) for
alternative methods that are too labor-intensive and difficult. He feels
that education, automation, and support and inspiration from his Graduate
Monks are the keys in helping to change these traditional methods and
This program is focused, structured, and committed to
sustainability. The Graduate Monks, who are the primary change-agents, will
have heartfelt motivation and eyes-on-the-ground 365 days per year.
If this initial pilot Program is successful, attempts
will be made to secure additional funding to replicate this process for the
remaining 100 villages in the five other Networks; to provide more training
and more machines for more farmers.
For further inquiries and opportunities for collaboration:
contact Dr. Jonathan Nash, Project Coordinator at email@example.com.
Commander of 3rd Army meets with Mae Hong Son locals
Army Region Commander Lt. Gen. Wannathip Wongwai visited Mae Hong Son to
meet with local government officials, politicians, kamnans, village heads,
and community leaders and members to discuss prevention measures to deal
with drug smugglers along the border with Myanmar. About 500 people attended
the meeting held in December at the Srisangwal Hospital to listen to the
Commander stress the intent of the Army in blocking drug trafficking into
Thailand. (By Khajohn Boonpath)
Meet the Consuls
Honorary Consul of the Republic of Austria
Khun Pravit Arkarachinores, the honorary consul for the
Republic of Austria is a charming man with a twinkle in his eye and, as a
native of the city, an expert in the way things work here. He is one of the
longest serving honorary consuls in Chiang Mai. A graduate of Montfort
College, he earned his Bachelor’s in Economics at Thammasat University in
Bangkok and Master’s in Economics at Colorado State University in the United
States. He said he lived in the cold of Colorado for three years and didn’t
mind the snow but loved the beautiful colors of the autumn.
A former President and one of the original founding
members of the Northern Thailand Chamber of Commerce he was also a member of
the drafting committee for the 1950 Constitution, a member of the Chiang Mai
Municipal Council and then a councilor. He was also the Chairman of the
Chinese Temple, the oldest one in the city he noted, and the managing
director of Lanna Hospital.
He became Honorary Consul in 1994 when the Ambassador to
Thailand at the time realized Austria needed an Honorary Consul in Chiang
Mai because of the numbers of tourists that needed some help. ‘I didn’t have
any connection but a Chiang Mai University professor recommended me to the
Ambassador and he felt that my good connections in the city would be of help,’
Khun Pravit said.
The Austrian Honorary Consul offers services to Austrian
residents of the Northern provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun,
Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Phrae, Sukhothai and Uttaradit. Notarial services and
document certification and he said they are willing to help people do their
Visa applications and will send them to the Austrian Embassy for them, “No
need to make the long trip to Bangkok,” Khun Pravit said, “We are here to
help. We have time to sit and talk with you and help you with your
He added that any Austrian in need is more than welcome
to come to the Consulate which is found on Huay Kaew Road, just before the
Canal road. He said, however, that the Austrians tend to not have many
problems. He noted that the most Austrians living in the North are in Chiang
He noted Thailand’s friendly relations with Austria since
King Rama V travelled there for a visit. In past years, they have hosted an
annual party on Austria’s National Day with government officials, consuls
and others coming to the parties.
He said one of the things he finds most interesting about
Chiang Mai are the large number of temples or Wats to be found scattered
around the city. He said he has always wondered where they found the money
to build so many, where all the people came from to build them as, he noted,
the city had a very small population when it was first founded. He hopes to
have a chance to sit down with some of the noted experts at Chiang Mai
University to discuss the reasons for so many temples in the town. Another
unique aspect of Chiang Mai that he loves is the fact that “Chiang Mai still
has its own royal family, it’s not the same as other provinces.”
He expressed concern that this beautiful, old city needs
to be preserved however, “It has grown very modern and efficient compared to
before, but we have a unique culture and history and we need to preserve Old
Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai people need to work and preserve the Old City.”
He said, as a native of the city, one of the things he
loves most is the friendly and gentle nature of its citizens. “Chiang Mai
people have good hearts and are generous,” he added, noting their acceptance
of so many different races and nationalities to the city.
National Disaster Day in Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son provincial authorities organized a
promotional campaign marking National Disaster Day on December 26 in a bid
to increase awareness of safety measures and disaster mitigation.
Hong Son Governor Kamthorn Thavormsatit presents a helmet to one of the
students as part of the safety campaign which included wearing helmets while
Governor Kamthorn Thavornsatit presided over the opening
of the parade led by an ATV rider and consisting of motorcycles from various
organizations, students, and government and army officials, and public
relief organizations. The Municipality sent its fire engine to offer
demonstrations to interested students.
Governor Kamthorn noted that six years ago on December 26
the tsunami disaster hit the 6 southern provinces of Phuket, Phang Nga,
Krabi, Ranong ,Satun, and Trang, in the worst disaster in Thailand’s recent
history killing 5,300 Thai and foreigners.
“That was a lesson learnt that we should be on alert and
be prepared to prevent the damages caused by disasters, so people should be
aware of safety measures to help mitigate disasters. On this occasion, I
would like to ask everyone in Mae Hong Son to concentrate more on mitigating
the damage from disasters, so that the people in society can live safely,”
Chiang Mai bomber arrested
Chiang Mai police arrested a front line member of the
Red Shirt group- who bombed four places in San Kamphaeng district,
according to the Provincial Police Bureau, Region 5.
Lt Gen Chaiya the Commissioner of Provincial Police Region 5 with the
suspected bomber; Theersak Suwan
Commissioner of Provincial Police Region 5 Pol. Lt.
Gen. Chaiya Siri-amphankul reported that Theerasak Suwan a 31 year old
resident of Kheelek in Mae Rim had been arrested with a knife and the
components to make more bombs.
CCTV video footage taken at bombing sites in San
Kamphaeng between December 19 and 22 led the police to arrest Theerasak.
Theerasak confessed to police that he had placed bombs in a rest room at
the San Kamphaeng District office, at an orchard in Chaechang district
and on a road leading to Chaechang village and finally in the restrooms
at Wat Chaechang; the bombs damaged both the District Office and the
The suspect said that he used to take part in
political demonstrations with the Red Shirt groups before but that he
had not done this out of political motivation or that he had been
ordered but to create disruption and chaos. Police continue to
investigate the background of the bombings. Pol. Lt Gen Chaiya added
this was a serious issue for national security.
Illegal weapons factory in Mae Ai
Authorities confiscated a number of illegal weapons in Mae Ai.
Acting on a tip off, authorities raided a factory
producing illegal weapons manufactured to sell to drug traffickers along
the Myanmar border in Mae Ai on December 23.
Police at the Provincial Police Region 5 headquarters
said they arrested Suriya Thiongrat, Suchart Artha, and Wicharn Kantha,
from Mae Ai, and charged them with possession of illegal weapons and
drugs and of the illegal manufacture of weapons after drug suspects
arrested in Chang Puak were found with guns they said that had been
purchased from the factory in Mae Ai.
Begging street elephants
remain a problem
Mahout charged with assault on foreigners
Rittiphong Techaphan, representing the Governor, talks with Saengduen
Chailert of the Save the Elephant Foundation and other supporters at the
protest at City Hall after a mahout was in court for attacking
Members of elephant protection groups demonstrated at
City Hall and submitted a petition to the Chiang Mai Governor to present
to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva on December 24. A mahout in charge of
a begging street elephant appeared in court that day charged with the
assault of Australians Kingsley William 41 and Kim Kavanagh, 31 on Loi
Kroh street on December 13 after they had an altercation regarding the
Sangduen Chailert, chairwoman of the Save the
Elephant Foundation, praised by Time magazine as a Heroine of Asia in
2005 was accompanied by Carol Buckley, founder of Elephant Aid
International and representatives of the Elephant Home Foundation were
joined by about 30 foreign volunteers from the elephant preserve and
concerned residents at Chiang Mai City Hall.
Holding signs protesting the begging elephants, they
submitted the letter to Rittiphong Techaphan, chief of the Chiang Mai
Provincial Authority Office.
Saengduen Chailert of the Save the Elephant
Foundation said that at there are an increasing number of mahouts and
elephants begging on the streets of Chiang Mai. “There are about 200
elephants in the country; this gives the country a very bad reputation
when film crews come to Thailand to cover Thailand’s elephants.”
She added “We have also submitted about 30,000
signatures of foreign tourists protesting against the roaming elephants
and mahouts. It is a shame since the Thai elephant is the symbol of
Thailand. We will continue to fight against this problem until the Thai
government helps to solve the problem of begging elephants.”
Carol Buckley of Elephant Aid International added
that they were calling for changes not just to remove the elephants but
to offer better living conditions for mahouts and elephants. She pointed
out that “Thai elephants are really a beautiful thing for Thailand, and
Thais should help protect and preserve these elephants in the right
She said that elephants find the city streets
torturous, adding, “I believe that the Thai government has a budget to
help relieve the status of Thai elephants. And from traveling around the
world, I have never seen the roaming elephants anywhere like in
Yabaa traffickers arrested
Using govt concession bus to transport
men were detained by police after it was found they had transported
drugs via the Nakorn Chai Air bus company.
After finding bus tickets on the passengers of a
Toyota pick up truck on December 14, police stopped the Nakorn Chai Air
from Mae Sai to Bangkok and found a package containing 46,000 Yabaa
tablets and 770 grams of Ya ice that had been placed in the bus by the
A police checkpoint set up by the Pha Muang Task
Force and the Mae Chan police in Chiang Rai intercepted two men in a
pickup truck. A search of the truck yielded two bus tickets in the names
of the two men leaving Mae Sai at 6 a.m. This alerted police who stopped
the bus and found the packages of drugs in the hold.
Wed Sirisalung 33 and Pong Ladsalung 38, of
Pattananikhom District, in Lopburi Province were detained for further
questioning and legal action.