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XI No.3 - Sunday July 22 - Saturday August 4, 2012


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Update by Saichon Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
NEWS
 

City provides health screening for the elderly

The Chiang Mai Municipality organized free health screening for elderly in the city recently at the Municipal Offices. Nurses and health professionals were on hand to screen for eye and hearing tests, blood pressure, BMI and other basic health tests. Nurses are seen here taking the blood pressure of elderly residents who visited the facility over 4 days of free tests. (Photo courtesy of the Chiang Mai Municipality).


Mae Hong Son receives medical assistance from Japanese

The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP), is providing funds amounting to 3,563,000 baht for “The Project for the Improvement of Medical Referral Systems and Health Services in Mountainous Areas in Maelanoi District, Mae Hong Son Province”. On July 16, 2012, Mr. Kazuo Shibata, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, and Dr. Thossaphol Ditsiri, Director of Maelanoi Hospital, jointly signed a funding contract for the project at the Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai.

Universal healthcare coverage in Thailand has allowed many people to access basic medical treatment more easily and free of charge. However, the regional disparity in terms of opportunities for medical treatment has become more prominent.

Maelanoi Hospital, which is the only government hospital in Maelanoi District, covers 35,000 people in Maelanoi District, which borders Myanmar and surrounding areas in Mae Hong Son Province. 90% of the area comprises of rugged mountains and 80% of the residents are ethnic minorities such as Karen and Lawa. Since many roads in these mountainous areas are unpaved, and transportation and communication to villages are limited, it is difficult to transport patients to hospitals quickly in emergency cases.

In addition, for people living in such remote areas, it is not easy to access health and medical services. In order that more people can access the services, Maelanoi Hospital has provided regular mobile clinic services which include dentistry and prenatal checkup, targeted at remote and mountainous villages. However, vehicles and equipment in good condition, which are highly necessary and frequently used for emergency transport, emergency life saving, and local health services, are currently lacking at the hospital.

In response to a request from Maelanoi Hospital, the Government of Japan has decided to provide funds for a 4WD ambulance and a 4WD pick-up truck for the mobile clinic service, able to run on unpaved mountain roads, a transportable ultrasound system for prenatal checkup, and a defibrillator for emergency life saving.

In Northern Thailand, the Government of Japan has supported a number of medical institutions tackling health and medical problems in mountainous areas. It is expected that this assistance for Maelanoi Hospital will strengthen the emergency transport system and health services in Maelanoi District and neighboring areas, helping the health and medical services to reach all and reducing the regional disparity. For more information, please contact Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP). 053-203-367. [email protected]


Bringing the world together to help elephants

World Elephant Day

World Elephant Day will be held for the first time on August 12, 2012. (Photo by Shana Kongmun)

At 3 a.m. on April 17, 2012, an elephant was born in Central Thailand’s Sublangka Wildlife Sanctuary. Canadian Patricia Sims was ecstatic.

“It’s the first time a baby has been born to two formerly captive elephants who were reintroduced to the wild, and naturally mated,” recalls Sims. “We had been waiting for two years for this to happen. Finally, we had a joyful ending for our film and cause for optimism.”

When Sims, a documentary film producer, left for Thailand two years ago, she had no idea her passion would become her obsession and that the lesser known of the elephant species would become the subject of a film she hadn’t foreseen. Nor did she have any inkling that her idea of a ‘world elephant day’ (http://www.worldelephantday.org/) would actually come to fruition.

“These elephants needed someone with a loud voice who could try and let the world know that they, too are in peril like their African cousins,” says Sims. “For these animals, their loss of habitat has reached epidemic proportions and are on the endangered list. I had to do something.”

Hollywood actor William Shatner has also pitched in. He is ardent about elephants, as well as the narrator of Sims’ film, “Return to the Forest.”

“Elephants are among the most fascinating creatures,” says Shatner. “What limits there are to their intelligence, we don’t know. What we do know is that they can communicate between each other over thousands of miles, which would then also mean that every elephant is linked to every other elephant in the world. What wonderful creatures.”

Yet as much as we love elephants, we are decimating their habitats, senselessly poaching their populations, and threatening their future existence.

On August 12th, those who work with elephants and those who love elephants will come together for the first-ever World Elephant Day to spread awareness, share knowledge and provide solutions about better conservation and management.

It was thanks to a young elephant named Nong-Mai – an elephant used for street begging in Bangkok – that Sims was introduced to the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation, a unique Thai non-profit organization that releases captive elephants back to the forest. Nong-Mai now roams free as a wild elephant in one of the Foundation’s vast sanctuaries.

The Elephant Reintroduction Foundation (http://www.elephantreintroduction.org/eng/menu1_en.html) commissioned Sims and Clark to make a documentary about the organization’s mission and the reintroduction of elephants back to the forest. This documentary, called Return to the Forest, will be released on August 12, 2012 on the World Elephant Day website (http://www.worldelephantday.org/). https://www.facebook.com/worldelephantday; Follow on Twitter: @ElephantMovie.


Trees planted in honor of HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn

Chiang Mai students and the Municipalty joined together on July 31, 2012 to plant trees in honor of the 60th birthday of HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn which was on July 28. Celebrations in honor of his birthday were also held at the Chiang Mai University Convention Center where government officials joined together to honor his birthday.

Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn joined the students, Deputy Mayors and Municipality officials at the Lanna Park to plant many trees to symbolize the strength of His Royal Highness. (Photo courtesy of Chiang Mai Municipality)


Asarnha Bucha and Khao Pansa begin August 2

Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn lights candles at Wat Chiang Yuan in preparation for the start of Buddhist Lent.

Asarnha Bucha Day recognized as the day that the Buddha gave his first sermon and his birth, falls on August 2 this year. Both August 2 and 3, the start of Buddhist Lent, are considered two of the most holy days in the Buddhist calendar and are public government holidays.

The Buddhist Holy Day of Asarnha Bucha falls on the 15th night (15 kham) of the full moon during the eighth month of the Buddhist Lunar calendar.

Asarnha Bucha Day on August 2 is worshipped because of three important events occurring on the day; called the “Triple Gem” the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

These commemorate, firstly, the first sermon given by the Buddha, called the “Dharmachakapavattama Sutta” concerning the “Four Noble Truths” presented to the Buddha’s first five disciples. Secondly, the day is considered to mark the birth of Buddhism and thirdly, it is considered the day the Sangha was established. On this day, the first person listened to the Buddha’s sermon, realising the truths contained therein and became the first Buddhist monk. This created the Buddhist order “Sangha” and the day is known as “Sangha Day” as well as Asarnha Bucha Day.

The Thai government established the observance of Asarnha Bucha Day in 1958. Buddhist temples throughout the Kingdom arrange ceremonies venerating the important historic events in the past. Devout Buddhists participate in the ceremonies by presenting offerings to monks, listening to sermons and performing ritual prayers.

The entire day is revered and certain precepts are adhered to by the more devout Buddhist, and by those who have the inclination and opportunity to do so. The Wientian ritual ceremony is performed in the evening as many go to nearby temples bringing candles, flowers and joss sticks, completing three trips walking around the temple area sacred grounds.

Khao Pansa

Khao Pansa falls on the first full moon (1 kham) of the Buddhist Lunar calendar during the eighth month of every year, which this year equates to August 3, and ends on the 15th full moon (15 kham) of the 11th month of the Buddhist calendar, usually in October. During a leap year it is identified during the second eighth month.

The term “Khao Pansaa” can also translate to entering the months of the rainy season when monks return to the temple for the duration of the rains, usually to the temple where they were ordained. They stay there for approximately three months. The monks are not supposed to leave the temple, or stay overnight at any other location during the months of rain. Although the rainy season is considered to be longer than three months, lasting up to four or even more, monks are only required to remain at the temples for three of the four months. During the last period of the rainy season they can then go elsewhere when the “Katin” ceremony is performed.

The Katin ceremony sees followers of Buddhism all over Thailand attending temples in the morning, bringing food, necessity items, money, the traditional candles, garments and ceremonial items for the monks, with flowers and candles in hand.

For those people having devout faith they may refrain from the recognised eight offences for the duration of the three month rainy season just as monks do, while others may give up a single vice, with yet others recognising the 5-8 offences for the day.

Many people take time away from their work on Khao Pansaa to recognise the importance of the Buddhist Holy Day. Everyone is invited to participate in the temple ceremonies and to refrain from offensive behaviour for the day, and to make the same effort thereafter.

These two holy days are no alcohol days and bars, restaurants and stores will refrain from selling alcohol on the 2nd and 3rd.


Japanese Consulate recognizes outstanding Japanese residents

Mr. and Mrs. Kumahata were awarded a certificate in recognition of their efforts to promote Japanese language and culture in Chiang Mai by Japanese Consul-General Kazuo Shibata.

The Consulate General of Japan and Consul-General Kazuo Shibata recognized the outstanding contributions of local Japanese residents Mr. Turu Kumahata and his wife Nobuku Kumahata at the Consul-General’s residence recently

The couple were recognized for their work in promoting Japanese culture and language through Japanese language programs and cultural activities to teach Chiang Mai people more about Japan. The couple formed a teaching club called “Assistance for Japanese Education in Northern Thailand” or AJENT where they teach the Japanese language but also calligraphy, Shodo and many other traditional Japanese arts.


Hand, foot and mouth disease in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn visited the Nong Hoi child care center as children are being encouraged to wash their hands thoroughly. (Photo courtesy of the Chiang Mai Municipality)

The Chiang Mai Municipality continues its prevention campaign in city nursery schools to fight hand, foot and mouth disease outbreaks among the toddlers who attend the schools operated by the Municipality. The Public Health Office is conducting classes for the children to learn to wash their hands and providing antibacterial wipes for schools.

There have been over 500 reported cases in Chiang Mai Province, according to Emerging Infectious Diseases Bureau director and Disease Control Department spokesman Dr Rungruang Kitpati these are neither new strains nor mutations of the disease that primarily hits children under the age of 12 and particularly those under the age of 5 years old.

The number of patients has reached almost 14,000 and July and August are considered the peak contagious months, doctors have warned parents not to panic but if their child has a fever to keep them from going to school to prevent the spread of the disease. Teachers are being urged to report any children with rashes on their hands or mouth as this is one of the symptoms.


Senior Advisor to the UN Visits Payap University International College

By Mark Hefner

Professor Dr. Aung Tun Thet, Senior Advisor to the UN Resident Coordinator in Myanmar, spoke on Friday July 13, 2012 to an international audience at Payap University’s International College about Myanmar’s reform and doing business in Myanmar.

Professor Dr. Aung Tun Thet talks about the future of business in Myanmar.

Dr. Tun Thet said the country is reforming and there’s no turning back. “Myanmar is a country with many challenges ahead but it’s also a country that’s filled with opportunity and the Burmese are cautiously moving forward with their reforms.”

The professor also added that while Myanmar is open for business, they are careful about who they do business with. Labor reforms and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are concerns the Burmese government is considering in their bid to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). The country is looking into allowing 100% foreign ownership of business within its borders; however, the details of this have not yet been released.

Myanmar’s large working age population, untapped natural resources, their strategic location between China and India, access to international sea and air ports, and friendly demeanor to FDI as well as educational reforms will hopefully transform the country from a least developed country to a developed country during the 21st century.


Happy Birthday to HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn on his 60th Birthday

On the most auspicious occasion of the 60th Birthday of HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn the Chiang Mai Mail would like to join the Kingdom in offering our heartfelt wishes for a most happy birthday.

HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was born on July 28, 1952, in the Ambara Villa of the Royal Dusit Palace in Bangkok, the second of four children, and the only son of Their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great and Queen Sirikit.

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej conferred his son with the title of ‘Somdech Phra Borama Orasadhiraj Chao Fah Maha Vajiralongkorn Sayam Makutrajakuman’ on December 28, 1972, making him the Crown Prince and Heir to the throne.

The Crown Prince has continued the Royal Family’s assistance programmes in underdeveloped areas around the country and visited depressed urban areas around Bangkok distributing food and necessities to people in need. He has been active in support of the country’s great agricultural pursuits.

HRH Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and Mom Srirasmi Mahidol are the proud parents of HRH Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, born on April 29 at 6:35 p.m. at Sriraj Hospital in Bangkok. It is the couple’s first child.

 


Happy Birthday to HRH Princess Soamsawali

Chiang Mai Mail joins the people of Thailand to humbly wish Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawalee a very Happy Birthday Friday, July 13.
(Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household)

The Chiang Mai Mail would like to join the Thai nation in wishing HRH Princess Soamsawali a very happy 55th birthday which she celebrated on July 13, 2012. The Princess is very active in many Red Cross programs for children who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. She was commended by the UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé for her “tireless dedication, commitment and leadership” in the country’s HIV response and presented HRH with a plaque for her ongoing efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Her tireless dedication to this cause for the past 25 years has ensured that many children have received the help and medication they needed.


Rainy season brings Dengue fever to Chiang Mai

The Municipality has begun spraying around temples, schools and public areas to reduce dengue fever mosquitoes. (Photo courtesy of Chiang Mai Municipality).

By Shana Kongmun and Nopniwat Krailerg
As the rainy season starts up in earnest the numbers of dengue fever cases reported in the city continue to rise Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn reported to the Chiang Mai Mail in a recent interview. Dengue fever is on the rise nationwide with the Department of Public Health reporting over 17 000 cases of dengue fever this year with 18 deaths, a higher rate of infection than the same time last year and affecting more adults than children.

The Mayor pointed out that most people make the mistake of thinking dengue mosquitoes bite at night, “People use mosquito nets when they sleep at night but the mosquito bites in the day time.”

The Chiang Mai Mayor reports on the latest numbers of reported cases of dengue fever to Chiang Mai Mail Managing Editor Shana Kongmun

He said the city has over 300,000 people in 40sqkm so education is the best method to prevent the rise of dengue fever. “We have 40,000 households in Chiang Mai; we need the help of the people to control the birth of mosquito larvae. We have to give out information as we can’t possibly visit them all.”

A campaign has been launched at schools to remind students that dengue mosquitoes breed in even the smallest pool of water, so to dump the water out of any buckets, cups, potted plants, in fact anything that can hold water. Also to teach that mosquitoes bite in the day time, so people must use mosquito repellent even in the daytime, although the Mayor pointed out they had found mosquitoes with the dengue virus out at 8 p.m. “They are adapting, so we must be careful,” he noted.

Dr. Atthapol Cheepsattayakorn, Deputy Director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Control 10 Chiang Mai, said that the 8 Northern Provinces had 511 reported cases of dengue fever with no deaths reported from January to June 30, 2012. Phrae had the highest infection rate followed by Nan, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Chiang Mai and Lamphun, respectively.

Mayor Tussanai pointed out that this is simply reported cases, those who went to the hospital and were diagnosed with the disease. “Many people do not get a serious case and are strong so they do not go to the hospital and it is not included in the numbers. I think the real infection rate must be higher.”

He noted that the main concern was to minimize the number of patients, with education and prevention by spraying around schools, temples and community areas, was to reduce the breeding grounds of mosquito larvae, Chiang Mai can help fight dengue. He added that while the mosquito born disease Chikungunya has been spreading in the South there has only been only one reported case in Chiang Mai, a few months ago.

Dengue fever is characterized by a high fever, rash, painful joints, and severe headaches. It is also known as “Breakbone fever” because patients report severe pain in the bones and joints, as if they were breaking. Normally lasting 2-7 days, the disease is characterized by a high fever, 40 C (104 F). In some the disease can proceed to critical resulting in internal and external bleeding and fluid in the lungs. Patients who begin to bleed or who feel severely ill should go to the hospital immediately.

The number of cases in Chiang Mai currently stands at 97 year to date. The number of reports of dengue fever begin to rise in June; June saw 45 cases reported in the city, while by the 16th of July there were 38 reported cases and the numbers are expect to peak in August.


Chiang Dao residents protest road construction

Construction began in 2005

Chiang Dao residents close Highway 107 near Mae Na in frustration over road construction that has been ongoing since 2005.

Nopniwat Krailerg
More than a thousand Chiang Dao residents blocked Highway 107 on July 5, 2012 in frustration over the long delayed completion of construction around the 70 km mark. The residents said the construction had been ongoing since 2005 and the delays had made the road unsafe with many accidents resulting in injury and death.

The residents submitted a petition to the Highway Department and District Office of Chiang Dao over the 6 km stretch of highway in Mae Na, Chiang Dao District wich has still not been completed despite promises by the contractor, Sahamit Inter-Engineering Co. Ltd, of its completion by April 2012.

Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul, the Deputy Director of the Highway Department Thanin Somboon and Chiang Mai ‘s Member of the House of Representatives Julaphan Amornwiwat met and negotiated with the protesters and residents of the village in a bid to find a solution together.

The preliminary negotiations led the villagers and contractor to sign an agreement that if construction is not fully completed by August 2012 that the Highway Department will terminate the contract immediately. The Highway Department will then provide its own construction and operations crew to work with long suffering residents to solve the road issue.


First Chula Kite competition held in Chiang Mai

Nopniwat Krailerg
Ton Pao in San Kamphaeng District held the first Chula Kite fighting competition in the North this month. This is the first event of its kind in the North, previous competitions have been held in the South, Central and Isaan regions of Thailand.

The Mayor of Ton Pao Municipality Supakhin Wongsa presided over the opening of the kite competition that showed off the “Chula kite” made popular by HM King Rama V with the first contest for a royal gold cup was held at the Dusit Palace in 1906. Kite flying and kite fighting competitions have been popular in Thailand for centuries with even HM King Rama II reported as flying kites competitively.

This ancient sport involves fighting between the male “Chula Kite” and the female “Pakpao Kite” with teams battling their kites out in the sky.

“Everyone should work together to encourage children to learn the arts of Thai culture and the ancient sport kite flying.” He noted that kite flying and kite fighting is now internationally popular as well and hopes to hold further competitions in the Municipality in the future.


51 million Baht approved for National Games in December

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai will be hosting the 41st National Games in December and has been given a budget of 51 million Baht for maintenance at the 700 Year Stadium as well as other budgetary needs.

Deputy Chiang Mai Governor Ritthipong Techaphan chaired the meeting of the Organizing Committee of the 41st “Chiang Mai Games” that approved the budget Initially, each party submitted to the Board of Directors budgets totaling over 79 million Baht but under scrutiny by the Board it was determined that 51 million would be sufficient for everyone’s needs.

The Board also issued a progress report on the upcoming Games as well as determining pay practices, eliminating duplication among the departments and ensuring the efficient use of funds.

The Board of Directors, each party has proposed a budget that will be used to manage the overall amount of 79,289,300 baht

Chiang Mai was chosen by the Sports Authority of Thailand to host the 41st Annual National Games from December 9 to 19, 2012 at the 700 Year Stadium and other sports fields as needed.


Bar owners agree with Governor to enforce laws strictly

Nopniwat Krailerg
The owners and managers of over 150 liquor stores, nightclubs, bars and karaoke bars met with Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul in early July to sign an agreement to enforce certain regulations in their facilities including underage drinking, fire safety, and closing times.

Secretary of Chiang Mai Adisorn Kamnerdsiri, Muang District Chief Chaiyasith Rattana-Chaisit and the heads of four police stations as well as relevant departments also attended the meeting at the Muang District Office on July 3, 2012.

The District Chief signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the owners to enforce laws and regulations in 8 specific areas including underage drinking, underage servers, weapons, drugs, closing times, fire exits and fire safety, as well as to keep staff off the sidewalks from calling out to customers so as to maintain the cultural beauty of Chiang Mai.

The Governor noted that it is his responsibility to ensure that the laws are enforced and that the safety of the community is maintained. He said that the owners must be strict in the matter of drugs in their venues and that staff in bars must be over the age 20. He noted that it had been discovered students would hide their uniforms in their bags so as to go drinking so ID checks should be enforced. He also informed the bar owners that they must check for weapons as they endangered the lives of residents and tourists, noting that Chiang Mai did not want a repeat of the recent attacks in Phuket.

He also noted that they should heed their neighbors’ complaints about noise and closing times. There had been complaints in the moat area around Loi Kroh, on Chang Moi Road, JJ Market area, Santitham and Nimmanhaemin areas of noise and of drunken people disturbing the area with shouting and urinating in public.

He concluded that Chiang Mai is not like Pattaya or Phuket, that tourists come here for the beauty and history of Chiang Mai culture and nature and that the laws need to be strictly enforced.


Under the Spotlight

Ron Gerrits; Creating Balance

Ron and staff distribute backpacks and books to hilltribes kids.

By Shana Kongmun
“I admit, I don’t like to ask people for money, it feels like begging,” so Ron begins the discussion of his innovative idea to raise money for charity. Ron Gerrits is a Dutchman who moved to Thailand four years ago and started the Creating Balance Foundation. Ron has an extensive background in working with homeless and runaway children in Holland.

“I started out as a policeman” he said, and then laughed and asked, “surprised?” He said he worked with youth and sexual crimes; he ended up helping victims and working with homeless children. He developed a program for first time runaways, saying that these kids shouldn’t be placed in a regular shelter with kids who had been on the streets for some time, pointing out that the exposure to those who had already been hardened by street life made it difficult to help the new kids. The program placed these new runaways in foster homes, “with real families in real homes”. He said in the town he lived in everyone had this notion there were no homeless children because they weren’t sleeping and staying in the streets, he uncovered where these kids stayed and what made them homeless.

He then quit the police and started a program for homeless kids, “I like to work with people and help them to develop. My heart is not in the office and not in the Boardroom.” A city in Holland asked him to develop something to help those who are stuck in addiction, who keep relapsing over and over. This was after one of his first visits to Thailand where he decided to bring the recovering addicts to Thailand to do volunteer work.
“These people have skills but they have no self-worth. Their whole life has been negative so they forget they can help. This program gives them responsibility and the positive reactions to their work shows them they do have value.”

Ron kept returning to Thailand, “There was just something special about Chiang Mai that called me here.” Ron realized that this program of self-worth could be applied to the marginalized poor in Chiang Mai, the orphans, the needy, hilltribes children from families so poor that they can’t afford to take care of their children. His Foundation purchases supplies for children whose families make less than 5,000 Baht a month; uniforms, clothes, shoes, and backpacks, so that they “don’t feel like they are so very different from the other students.”

Ron visits all the families in the program regularly to assess the situation, to determine their needs and then to give them supplies. But, he noted, “You don’t help children to build up a stable future by giving them just backpacks.”

He wants to expand the Foundation’s goals by offering students the chance of traineeships, further education, language skills and technical training to help them further their lives after school. “All this takes money and I hate to ask people for money.”

Which is where his innovative membership card comes into play. Many companies offer reward cards, this is the Orchid Charity Card, businesses sign up as members and offer special promotions and discounts. The card for consumers costs 500 Baht for 6 months with all proceeds going to purchasing supplies and establishing teaching camps for kids.

He said that business members can sell the card; locations to buy the card can be found on the website as well as business members and special promotions and offers. Business sponsors will get a newsletter that shows exactly what is happening with the money. He would also like to see sponsors provide traineeships to vocational students, giving the students an opportunity to learn. Ron noted that many of these students are like the addicts he used to work with, they don’t feel they have value or skills, that people can’t recognize their strengths because they can’t promote themselves, often their very backgrounds can be a disadvantage when starting in the working world, The traineeships will give them the opportunity to overcome those disadvantages, he believes. He also believes that seeing these kids grow in self-confidence and be able to represent their communities in a positive way will help to overcome some of the prejudices they often face.

Ron has several distinguished locals on the Board of the Creating Balance Foundation including Auntie Boon or Somboon Suprasert and Jiamjit Boonsom, President of Zonta International Chiang Mai and of Boonsom Farms renown.

“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle,” Ron said of his project, “with many small pieces that when put together make a big picture.”
More information about the Charity Orchid Card can be found on www.orchidcharitycard.com and on the Creating Balance Foundation at www.creatingbalancethailand.com.


First Skĺl club established in China

The first Skal Club to be established in mainland China has been officially approved by the Chinese government authorities. Skal International Beijing has been officially formed with both Chinese Nationals and Non Chinese Nationals as individual members.
It is the first tourism non-government organization with individual members to be officially sanctioned by the government of the People’s Republic of China. Enrique Quesada, President of Skal International, said he looked forward to the formal inauguration of the new Skal Club.

“The Executive Committee of Skal International was delighted to approve the first Skal Club in mainland China and looks forward to welcoming many new Skal members from China into the Skal organization.” Mr. Quesada said.

Skal International was established in 1934 and is a professional organization of tourism leaders from around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship. Skal International has approximately 18,000 members in 450 Clubs throughout 87 nations. It is the only international group uniting all branches of the travel and tourism industry. Its members, the industry’s managers and executives, meet at local, national, regional and international levels to discuss and pursue topics of common interest.

“China is the world’s largest burgeoning tourism destination and the establishment of a Skal Club in mainland China will open enormous opportunities for the travel industry to do business in China, both inbound and outbound, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds. I have no doubt there will be significant membership growth of Skal International in China”, said Mr Quesada.

The inaugural meeting of Skal International Beijing will be held at the Beijing Asia Hotel in Beijing on Wednesday 15th August, 2012 at 4.00pm.


2nd Annual Nimman Shopping & Dining Rally

The Governor of Chiang Mai, M.L. Panadda Diskul is joined by TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa and others in waving the starting flag to launch the shopping rally.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Visa and Bangkok Air joined with Nimmanhaemin Road businesses to hold the 2nd Annual Shopping & Dining Rally. Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul was joined by TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, TAT Chiang Mai head Chalermsak Suranont and the head of the Bangkok Air office in Chiang Mai to open the event on Saturday, July 7, 2012.

30 teams of 90 people joined in the competition, each with 1000 baht to find certain items. Prizes included tickets to Koh Samui, Bangkok, and the Maldives as well as other awards from sponsors dusitD2 Chiang Mai, Centara Duangtawan Hotel and from Central Pattana Co. Ltd. Prizes were valued at over 100,000 Baht.

The TAT Deputy Governor said the success of the Nimman Shopping & Dining Rally in conjunction with the Amazing Thailand Grand sale campaign shows the support of businesses. TAT sponsored the activities of this fun and colorful event for the second year.

Shoppers surged out of the gate at Warm Up Café to start the rally.


The Siam Tulip Festival to be held at Royal Rajapruek

The Siam Tulip Festival will be held
at the Royal Rajapruek Park from August 9-31, 2012.

The Highland Research and Development Organization will be holding the annual Siam Tulip Festival from August 9-31, 2012 at the Royal Rajapruek Park in honor of HM the King’s 85th birthday as well as the 80th birthday of HM the Queen and the 60th birthday of HRH the Crown Prince.

The Curcuma is also known as the Siam Tulip or the Blooming Krachiao. The event is held to promote the flower in the North, which has the largest fields of curcuma. The fields of Pa Hin Ngam National Park and the surrounding area are covered with the pinkish-purple flowers of the Siam Tulip. There will be competitions for best flower, exhibitions, and specially decorated gardens using curcumas, as well as academic seminars on the plant.


AirAsia tops in traveler polls

In the annual Skytrax World Airline Survey global survey conducted by London-based aviation consultants Skytrax, almost 19 million travelers polled worldwide chose AirAsia as the World’s Best Low Cost Airline for the fourth consecutive year. AirAsia came out tops in the independent survey that measures airlines’ product and service standards as well.

AirAsia’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes was present to receive this prestigious award held at Farnborough International Airshow in London, United Kingdom on 12th July 2012. AirAsia was also named Best Low Cost Airline – Asia, for the fourth consecutive year as well in the same award ceremony.

Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said, “This comes as great news to us, we were overwhelmed when we found out that we came out tops in Aviation Week’s Top Performing Airlines Report, beating other longer-established airlines and even Europe’s largest low-cost carrier! We emerged tops in a report that measures airlines’ financial and operational performances, and we are once again voted the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline by our valued guests around the world in this Skytrax World Airline Survey!”

“We would like to thank all our guests for their support and their belief in us to provide opportunities for everyone to fly. We will continue to uphold our promise in giving all of you the best service with everyday low fares, and we are proud to be your People’s Champion for the fourth consecutive year,” added Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. (PR)


500 students fall ill from Salmonella tainted eggs

500 students fell ill from salmonella infected eggs donated by a parent.

Nopniwat Krailerg
More than 500 students fell ill on the morning of July 9, 2012 after eating boiled eggs donated to the Suksa Songkroh School in Mae Rim District by a parent in a merit making attempt. Students with the severest symptoms were sent to area hospitals while the rest of the students were housed in a temporary field hospital inside the school auditorium.
Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul and Dr. Wattana Kanchanakamol Chief of the Chiang Mai Public Health Office visited the school to offer students and parents their encouragement.

The Chiang Mai Public Health Office reported that 127 patients were admitted to hospital with severe symptoms and septicemia at 9 different hospitals; Kawila Base camp Hospital, San Sai Hospital, Doi Saket Hospital, Hang Dong Hospital, Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital, Dara Rasami Hospital, San Kamphaeng Hospital, Mae Tang Hospital and Nakorn Ping Hospital.

Dr.Wattana Kanchanakamol said that the symptoms included vomiting, diarrhea, a high fever and low blood pressure. One 17-year-old schoolgirl suffered from shock due to severe septicaemia and low blood pressure.

The Governor noted that the eggs had been boiled several days before being served and that while the parent meant well that food that is not fresh should not be donated or served. He noted that this should serve as very serious lesson for everyone on the importance of food safety and that all schools in the 25 Districts of Chiang Mai Province had been instructed to put in place a policy to ensure food safety and cleanliness in the cafeterias.

Dr Wattana Kanchanamol said lab tests confirmed that the diarrhea had been caused by a drug resistant strain of Salmonella bacteria; the resistance is due to antibiotics being mixed in chicken feed. He added that the donor family had boiled the eggs several days before and had not refrigerated them before delivering them to the school for dinner. Some of the eggs also went to other agencies and one student from the Northern School for the Blind fell ill before they could be informed to discard all the eggs.

The doctors warn that the students could suffer relapses or infect others as they will be carrying the bacteria for 3 more months.

Authorities insist the eggs did not hit the general markets in Chiang Mai but did warn consumers to make sure that their eggs are properly cooked and refrigerated.


Police arrest ladyboy in burglary of wedding shop

Niranont Inmongkol points to the costumes and jewelry that he had stolen from Love Code Studio on Wua Lai Road.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Love Code Studio on Wua Lai Road reported to police on June 30, 2012 that their shop had been burgled at 3 a.m. The plate glass window had been smashed and 12 Thai wedding dresses and costumes had been snatched from the shop. The dresses were valued at 120,000 Baht. CCTV footage showed a ladyboy breaking into the shop and stealing the dresses.

Police stopped Niranont Inmongkol, age 35 of Phayao Province, on a JRD motorbike at Tha Pae Road near the Chiang Mai Commercial College on July 3, 2012. He confessed to police after a search of his home yielded 29 Thai costumes as well as accessories such as necklaces, earrings and belts that he had broken into the building and stolen the clothes.

Additionally, he confessed that he had broken into Chan Song Wedding Shop on Charoen Muang Road and had stolen clothes and items valued at more than 450,000 Baht. He told police that he planned on selling the clothes to a Cabaret show that travelled from Pattaya every year to perform in Chiang Mai.


Army sergeant shot his girlfriend in an argument

Second case of murder-suicide in Chiang Mai

Nopniwat Krailerg
Mae Ping Police were called out to a Kawila Army Camp apartment block after witnesses found the bodies of Sergeant Waipoj Rattanapen, age 47 and his girlfriend, Sinjai Pupee, age 22, dead in the room. Sinjai had been shot through the head by a 9mm handgun found near the body of Waipoj who had been shot in the mouth with the bullet entering his head.

The weapon belonged to the Sergeant and the couple had been dead for 2 days. A close friend of the young woman said that the two had been dating for about a year before Sinjai moved into the Sergeant’s apartment. She said that Sinjai had been working at the Entertainment Center at the Big C and had gone out with her and some friends on the evening of July 9. They dropped her off at their apartment later that evening. Sinjai called a friend at 3 a.m. to ask them to come pick her up as the Sergeant had hit her in the head with his gun. But nobody was able to pick her up. The friend reported that Sinjai had not come into work on the 10th so she went to her apartment to check, the Military Police were there to check on Sergeant Waipoj as he had not reported for duty when they found the two bodies in the room.

Police believe that Sergeant Waipoj shot his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself.


Frenchwoman killed in suicide-murder

Nopniwat Krailerg
Saraphi police were called to the MS Village in Saraphi District on July 6, at 9:30 p.m. by a relative of one of the victims after he found the couple dead at their residence.

The 47 year old husband, Thai national Ampol Sathatu, was found dead with a gunshot to his head while his French wife, Sereve Jordano, also age 47, was found nearby with gunshot to the left side of her head. A gun was found under the bed.

Police investigation did not show any sign of robbery or of any trespass into the house. Pol. Col Yuthana Kanchan, Superintendent of the Saraphi Police said that neighbors reported the couple had moved into the house several years before and money problems had caused the married couple of 20 years to argue regularly. Police believe that Ampol shot his wife and then himself as his money problems drove him to suicide.
Police will continue to investigate to determine the reason behind the deaths.


UDD Red Shirts block road at Don Chan

Anti coup d’état protest

Nopniwat Krailerg
More than 300 members of the Red Shirt Chiang Mai United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) gathered under the overpass at the Superhighway at Don Chan to blockade the road with 100 songthaews and 50 tuk-tuks at 9 a.m. on July 12, 2012.

Protestors held signs stating “We’re anti coup d’état of all forms” and signs with a red foot on the face of former Prime Minister and Democrat Leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The protestors, led by former Pol. Lt. Col Suraphol Fulmoonchareon, former Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Wichit Tamool and Sriwan Chanpong, gathered to show their opposition to all forms of coups. Police escorts were on hand for the blockade which lasted from 10 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

The leaders said that Thailand, which had democracy for more than 80 years had seen 24 successful coups, in particular they were opposing the coup of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was overthrown by the military on September 19, 2006. The protestors added that six years had gone by with charges that could not be proved against the former Prime Minister and this had damaged the country both economically and socially, dividing the nation as never before.

“We do not accept the claims of certain groups on national political issues and the use of force, fraud, or the law to overthrow the government of the country. We are for the protection of democracy and the people’s government to the utmost,” leaders stated.
After the blockade disbanded leaders said they would do this again if needed.

Leaders carried banners showing
a red foot over the face of former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajjiva.


7 dead in drug shootout at the border

Chiang Mai Mail staff reporters
Soldiers from the Pha Muang Task Force were involved in a shootout near the Myanmar border in Doi Pha Mee in Mae Sai District of Chiang Rai in the early morning hours of July 16, 2012, leaving 7 men dead.

The National Police Chief Pol. Gen. Preawpan Damapong was joined by the Police Region 5 Commander Pol. Lt. Gen. Suthep Dejraksa and the Director of the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) Vichai Chaimongkol visited the village of Doi Pha Mee in Tambon Wiang Pang Kam in Mae Sai district at 8 a.m. on July 16 to view the scene.

Members of the Pha Muang Task Force and police were patrolling the area opposite Tachilek in Mynamar after they had received reports that armed groups were transporting drugs into Thailand. Around 4 a.m. the officers came upon a drug trafficking caravan of more than 15 people coming up a steep ridge. The police called on the group to halt but they opened fire on the police and the Thai forces returned fire.

Many members of the group escaped into the forest but they left behind 7 bodies along with 70 kg of crystal methamphetamine or Ya Ice and 550,000 methamphetamine tablets (Yaba) worth over 100 million baht as well as several AK47’s and 9 mm weapons with ammunition.

The police believe that the armed groups come from the Wa and they have been hired to protect Akha people carrying the drugs over the border into Thailand.


City provides free mobile services to residents

As part of the city’s ongoing efforts to provide residents with services, the mobile unit visited residents of Chiang Mai on Saturday, July 7 from 9 a.m. providing health services including dental checks, rabies vaccinations, contraception for dogs and cats, distribution of chemicals against mosquitoes, haircuts, legal services and social services. This is part of the Municipality’s ongoing public service project to provide services for the working members of Chiang Mai city. Here two women bring in their dogs for free rabies vaccinations as part of the city’s bid to vaccinate both pets and temple dogs around the city to reduce the incidence of rabies.


Making merit for HM the King

Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul is seen here offering alms to novice monks near Wat Phra Singh.

In the ongoing celebration of the 2600 years celebration of the enlightenment of Buddha and in honor of HM the King’s 84th birthday, Buddhist monks travel along well-known routes for people to offer alms and make merit. The event is sponsored by the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Association of the North for Chiang Mai.
Sundays they will be at the Kruba Srivichai Monument from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Mondays the monks of Wat Phra Singh walk from the temple to Chiang Mai Gate from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Saturdays they walk from Wat Chetupon near the Prince Royals College across the Rattanakosin Bridge and back from 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.


CAMT offers short film project for students

Somchai Sienglai, Secretary of the Ministry of Culture awards students who participate a shot film project.

The College of Arts, Media and Technology (CAMT) at Chiang Mai University, the Ministry of Culture and the Thai Red Cross Society held a short film project for secondary school students in the North. The project was held from May 17-20 where students were taught short film techniques by CMU film students. The secondary students then submitted their short films for competition on Jul 7, 2012.

Dr.Noppasith Jakpithak, Assistant CMU President for Academic Affairs said that the current culture and way of life threatens the rich culture of the past. One of the reasons for this is the lack of interest in the media to offer stories that are interesting and yet promote social values. This project offered students the opportunity to develop their creativity and further develop social values through the medium of film.

Somchai Sienglai, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture said that the agency is the voice of the government and is responsible for promoting the film and video industry. That offering students choices allows them to avoid drugs, and other activities that troubled children with no outside opportunities often face. The project offers the students skills for the future and develops their minds offering a lifelong lesson that is good for the future of the country.


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

City provides health screening for the elderly

Mae Hong Son receives medical assistance from Japanese

Bringing the world together to help elephants

Trees planted in honor of HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn

Asarnha Bucha and Khao Pansa begin August 2

Japanese Consulate recognizes outstanding Japanese residents

Hand, foot and mouth disease in Chiang Mai

Senior Advisor to the UN Visits Payap University International College

Happy Birthday to HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn on his 60th Birthday

Happy Birthday to HRH Princess Soamsawali

Rainy season brings Dengue fever to Chiang Mai

Chiang Dao residents protest road construction

First Chula Kite competition held in Chiang Mai

51 million Baht approved for National Games in December

Bar owners agree with Governor to enforce laws strictly

Under the Spotlight

First Skĺl club established in China

2nd Annual Nimman Shopping & Dining Rally

The Siam Tulip Festival to be held at Royal Rajapruek

AirAsia tops in traveler polls

500 students fall ill from Salmonella tainted eggs

Police arrest ladyboy in burglary of wedding shop

Army sergeant shot his girlfriend in an argument

Frenchwoman killed in suicide-murder

UDD Red Shirts block road at Don Chan

7 dead in drug shootout at the border

City provides free mobile services to residents

Making merit for HM the King

CAMT offers short film project for students

 

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