MAIL BAG [email protected]
Crackdown on intersections
Well, I hate to admit it, but I was probably among the first to get written
up at the start of the recent crackdown on traffic violations. With my
license in my wallet and always a proper helmet, I had all but ignored the
warnings about the crackdown, imagining that it hardly applied to me. If
anything, I was looking forward to others (i.e., car drivers) getting caught
and some order being put to the traffic flow of major intersections like San
Dek and Rin Kham.
So you can imagine my surprise at being ticketed on Tuesday two weeks ago! I
drive a Honda Wave and drove as I normally do, heading up Huay Kaew towards
Nimman. It was just after 1 pm on a Tuesday. I wove past the cars stacked up
at the light and maneuvered my way to the front as usual to wait for the
light to turn green. I had been there at the front of the cars, somewhere
about a foot into the crosswalk (which nary a soul ever uses), for only
about 30 seconds before being motioned to advance to the corner and have a
word with a policeman. Innocently imagining my helmet and license meant I
could be found to have committed no wrong, I pulled over to find out what
the matter was. It turns out my choice of stopping was in violation of the
“behind the white line law” – a violation that I do know exists. So
technically I know I can’t gripe about my 400 baht fine, which I was later
relieved of at the station over by Warorot Market.
I do, however, have some misgivings. The crackdown, intended to put people
into line and ease traffic congestion/unruliness, seems hardly affected by
people like me being pulled over. In fact, that line at the intersection is
easily 10m back of the actual corner – odd to set the line so far back like
that. It’s also quite hard to breathe when waiting in line surrounded by
cars on all sides, so it’s quite normal for motorcyclists to crave the
“clean” air at the front of the line.
In any case, I was a bit upset to see several other people do just as I and
another had done, and not get pulled over and ticketed while I was being
written up. I was also sad to see the usual number of cars running the red
lights and blocking the flow of the next side’s chance to cross the
intersection on their green light. These people who foul up the flow of
traffic are quite greedy in my eyes, and no doubt they take it when they
can, as everyone else has done it to them before when the other sides had
their turn. This is a real place I’d like to see the focus being put on
efforts – the red light runners.
As it has now been two weeks since my ticketing now I’ll add two last bits.
One, it seems a great revenue generator, as when I went to pay and collect
my license at the station around 8 pm that night, there were about 12 rolls
of violation receipts rolled up and numbered by case numbers. I
conservatively put the rolls at 80 tickets each, though some clearly had
over 100 per roll based on the issue numbers. My ticket, not the most
expensive at 400B, still gives a quick calculation of 384,000 baht. Sure, I
might have seen rolls of tickets from a previous day, but I don’t think so.
Anyway, I noted it’s certainly a hefty little cash generator. Second, since
the crackdown has been in effect, I do actually notice not just motorcycles
stopping behind the lines on all sides, but even cars as well. In fact, I
did see a car getting ticketed from the middle island beside Maya last week
for being over the line of this often used crosswalk. I was a little happy
to see that it’s not just motorcycles being picked on. I’ll be quite curious
to see what kind of payoff this has for drivers in the future. For now, we
know where the immediate benefits are flowing first.
Dog poisonings in Mae Rim
I found 3 abandoned dogs near my house in Mae Rim in February of 2012. I would
visit them every day to feed them, took them to the vet to get their shots and
after a week of nobody claiming them, I took them home and tried to find homes
I ended up keeping all 3 and fell in love with them. It took a lot of doctor’s
visits to nurse them back to health as they’d suffered malnutrition from a young
age. It also seemed that one had some sort of accident, maybe hit by a car, as
her stomach was inflated with water on one occasion requiring emergency care.
Anyway, she completely recovered but was always the most delicate of the 3.
Because I found them in my neighbourhood, they always wanted to leave the house
to go exploring every afternoon. Our house is fenced in, but they managed to dig
their way out and even climb fences. They would always just do a big lap and
On Boxing day 2012, they escaped for one of their usual gallivants, but one
walked back into the house and dropped dead, foaming at the mouth with bloodshot
eyes. The other 2 were nowhere to be seen, so with all my house guests we went
on a search mission. Another casually walked home, but we never found the third.
We plastered the neighbourhood with her photo, visited neighbours. It turns out
that that week about a dozen dogs were poisoned. I rushed the one dog left to
the vet that day to make sure she was fine, and she was. He confirmed that the
dog that the symptoms of the dog that had died were result of poisoning. Some
neighbours think it was the “Aw-Boh-Taw” (editor’s note: Tambon Administrative
Organization) but we have no proof. We can’t imagine it was anyone in the
neighbourhood because it’s a very friendly neighbourhood and practically every
house has dogs, with most of them being on the streets.
Recently, more dogs have been poisoned, one belonging to a neighbor, a very
friendly good natured dog that is well-liked in the area. Another dog was killed
the next day in Pongyang.
We are hoping to bring attention to this issue, this is dangerous not only for
pets but for children as well and whomever is doing the poisoning is being not
only callous but highly irresponsible and everyone in the neighbourhood is
calling for an immediate stop to the poisonings.
Concerned Mae Rim Resident
Stingy Chinese tourists
How stingy can you get?
I have been shocked to see many Mainland Chinese tourists here in Chiang Mai
take photos in very inappropriate situations. In the walking streets, groups of
them crowd round interesting stalls, completely blocking them form potential
real customers. They slowly take lots of pictures of the goods on display, buy
nothing, then move on to the next one.
Even worse, they often take intrusive close-up photos of the beggers, disabled
street performers and so on, but without ever giving a tip. This is the height
How sad that such horrible stingy tourists come to Chiang Mai, and in such
Disgusted of CM
Disappointing food choices at the new Maya mall
For a year, watched the building of The Maya Lifestyle Center from my condo
window, and was so looking forward to some great new places to eat. mean, as the
Nimmanhaemin area has so many Condos and Western expats whom I imagine would
support local restaurants, instead of having to go to the other side of town, I
envisioned this new Lifestyle Center would have a New York Pizza and Pasta, a
Mexican Grill, an Au Bon Pain, Irish Exchange, Riverside at the Maya, Outback
Steakhouse, Rang Mahal, or even a Whole Earth.
I was so excited when the outside video panel went up in November ’13, but the
plaza was postponed until latter January. Now, in my second year of waiting for
great food, I’m still waiting. Not a single Western venue, not even pizza. No
Italian, Mexican, Indian, American, Austrailian, not even a white meat chicken
curry. Great place for Japanese and Fried Thai, but I don’t eat Japanese or
fried, and so I don’t go to the theater, or spend any time shopping around,
although I occasionally go to the small, after-thought, basement Rim Ping market
if I have too. Much prefer the Rim Ping at Mee Chok Plaza.
Nimmanhaemin boasts of being an extraordinary restaurant district; however, in
two years, having visited more than twenty in this neighborhood, only found 2
that I would return to.
I’ve heard that Kad Suan Kaew is planning a remodel, and maybe will attract a
few lifestyle restaurants for local expats and tourists, so perhaps another year
or two, and I won’t have to travel across town for a shopping, theater, eating
My favorite Chiang Mai restaurants: Whole Earth, Riverside, The Teak, The House,
Dukes, Taj Mahal, Sizzler. My favorite food: Massaman (white meat) chicken