Make Chiangmai Mail | your Homepage | Bookmark

Chiangmai 's First English Language Newspaper

Pattaya Blatt | Pattaya Mail | Pattaya Mail TV

 
 
MAIL BAG  [email protected]
 

Student inductions: welcoming, team-building or ritual humiliation?

Dear Editor,
There is much to be said in favour of the oerganisation of participatory activities to welcome new students when they start at a university. However, some recent local unfortunate incidents of very-unpleasant hazing serve to remind us that activities arranged for freshmen ought to be a positive experience, rather than an ordeal.
At the very least, it is a fine thing for the various student societies, departmental committees and university sports teams to be represented at freshers fairs, introducing each organisation to the newcomers. For it adds greatly to an undergraduate’s enjoyment of university life – as well as to his or her personal development – to actively participate in such community organisations whilst a university student.
And then there are the student-organised ‘’installation’’ activities, intended as inductions to student life. Without a doubt, some local arrangements along these lines have strayed far beyond what is reasonable, fair or even decent. The older-student organisers of the worst of these have sometimes indulged in planning the ritual humiliation of freshmen, presenting them with the very opposite of what really should be arranged – not with a warm welcome, but instead with a frightening ordeal. University authorities around the World, including here, need to take seriously the danger of such activities going too far, by monitoring and controlling them as needs be.
The recent traditional group hike up Doi Suthep, arranged at Chiang Mai University (CMU), shows exactly how such freshman inductions can be conducted in a positive way. The singing of faculty songs, the strong group support from other freshmen and senior students, plus the shared (but harmless) endeavour, all contributed to the build-up of worthwhile team (i.e. faculty, and university) spirit, and all could participate without ever being humiliated or ridiculed.
Other types of senior-student-arranged welcoming activities for freshmen can also be done in an impressive, though unthreatening, way. For example, freshmen at CMU’s large Faculty of Medicine were recently welcomed by the senior medical students laying on a truly delightful evening of beautiful traditional Northern Thai music and dance for them. Bearing in mind that some of these newcomers arrive from far-off parts of Thailand, this lovely presentation of Lanna historical and cultural themes was very appropriate.
This was a splendid cultural show, clearly enjoyed just as much by the talented volunteer medical student performers as by those of us lucky enough to be involved with it. The student-organised show was arranged and conducted at a professional level. The great amount of necessary teamwork and mutual support required to lay on a lengthy, varied and talented performance of this nature would itself contribute much to the team spirit of the faculty.
Furthermore, the wearing of the medical faculty’s own special Lanna clothes, by the student audience members as well as by the performers, contributed more in that direction. Having some freshmen on stage as some of the performers also did much for inclusivity within the faculty. All this is to the good. Again, it demonstrates that freshmen inductions can and should be pleasurable experiences, rather than being an ordeal to get through.
Let us hope that those two nice CMU freshman induction activities, mentioned above, will serve as exemplars - discouraging the senior student provision of other unpleasant forms of student induction activity and encouraging more of the enjoyable and wholesome ones.
Signed,
Paul Surtees



New underpass at Superhighway

Dear Editor,
It was with great dismay that I read your news that they plan on constructing a new underpass where the Mae Jo road meets the Superhighway. Why don’t they wait until the Mae Rim road construction is finished? I live in Mae Rim and, like most other Mae Rim residents, use the Mae Jo road to get home. With this new construction they have just made traffic that much worse!
Don’t they consider how these things will impact traffic? Also why are they putting in a costly and difficult to construct underpass? Why not just construct an overpass which will cause much less impact on traffic and take far less time to construct?
While I am at it, I should like to say that the Mae Rim road construction of an underpass at the Canal Road was completely unnecessary. That road is not that busy in the first place. In the second place, they are building this enormously wide road which will then funnel down into only a few lanes once it reaches Mae Rim anyway. I do not see how this will help traffic at all.
I wonder about the feasibility studies that are done on these projects and who does them. Do they take into account traffic patterns when they do them or do they only look at the soil and the impact on the environment? Do they take into account how useful it is? Or how necessary it is? Do they take into account how much disruption it will cause and if the new underpass will actually make the disruption worthwhile?
I am not opposed to the new underpass at the Superhighway but the timing could not be worse. Why can they not wait until the Mae Rim road is finished so that they do not cause even worse traffic jams then there already are?
Signed
Mae Rim resident


Three Kings Monument impossible for pedestrians

Dear Editor,
Ratchaweetee Road at the Three King Monument near the Museum is impossible to walk on. There are motorbikes on the places to walk all day long and the cars and tuk tuks parking where the motorbikes and bicycles should normally park.
The police seem to accept this and to protect some coffee shops and restaurants for parking. The minibus and motorbikes from Yupparat Wittayalai School fill the roads and parking spaces and leave the pavements full. It is also a very dangerous place to drive the car as it is always so full of parked vehicles and minibuses.
Signed,
Three Kings Monument lover


What happened to parking enforcement?

Dear Editor,
I recall reading in your publication some time back that the Traffic Police were going to enforce parking laws and would clamp and fine car owners who parked illegally. There was even a flurry of such actions around the city but it seems that is no longer happening except perhaps on Suthep Road where they have a new policy of only parking on one side of the road. According to drivers who use this road regularly, it has made a difference.
However, in other parts of the city, it seems this is no longer the case. I see people parked illegally quite regularly and nothing done about it. This illegal parking makes everything far more difficult for everyone on the road and is quite inconsiderate. I call on the police to start ticketing illegally parked cars again. Not only will it help ease traffic congestion on narrow roads it will also add to the coffers.
Chiang Mai needs to do something about enforcing traffic laws regularly and it needs to do it now. Traffic is getting out of hand and without people following the law it will only get worse.
Signed,
Stuck in traffic


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Student inductions: welcoming, team-building or ritual humiliation?

New underpass at Superhighway

Three Kings Monument impossible for pedestrians

What happened to parking enforcement?

Note: Letters printed herein in no way reflect the opinions of the editors or writers for Chiang Mai Mail, but are unsolicited letters from our readers, expressing their own opinions. No anonymous letters or those without genuine addresses are printed, and, whilst we do not object to the use of a nom de plume, preference will be given to those signed.
E-mail: [email protected]