MAIL BAG [email protected]
So much space between cars
I realize that it is not safe for cars to stop bumper to bumper at a traffic
light and that a bit of distance between one’s vehicle and the one in front
is a good idea. In fact it is one I practice myself. If someone were to hit
me from behind then I may not hit the car in front of me or if I do not
quite so hard.
However what I fail to fathom is why some drivers stop a full car length
behind the car in front. There is no earthly reason for this and by doing so
they slow traffic down considerably. It is already difficult enough to get
through some junctions as cars are so slow to move forward and the traffic
lights seem not quite long enough to actually move traffic. Add into that
incredible distances between stopped cars and it is no surprise that
sometimes only 6 -7 cars can get through the junction before the light
I am attaching a photo of one such unnecessarily large gap. I hope that
drivers will start paying attention to the road and to other drivers around
them and realize that this kind of behavior is counterproductive to traffic
actually moving along in a reasonable manner.
Frustrated at junctions
Thank you for your report on the new songthaew routes, I saw one today that had
the sign for Central Festival prominently displayed along with the price on the
side of the truck. He had people in the back but not many I must confess.
In fact, I was a bit stunned to learn from your report that there were so many
songthaews. While they are certainly everywhere I guess I just never realized
they were in the thousands! How can any of them make a living wage with so much
competition? So often you see them empty just driving aimlessly around the city,
not just blocking traffic but putting others in danger with their sudden swerves
into the left hand lane in the hopes of snagging customers or even more
dangerous sudden stops for customers.
I rarely see more than a 5 or 6 people in a songthaew and more often than not,
they are empty. It seems to me that we could do with a big cutback in these
polluters. I agree with the routes, I think it is a great idea and think that
this could work as a public transport system. I understand that these are people
with jobs and livelihoods but again, can’t see how they actually earn very much
money given their expenses.
Perhaps the Transportation Department (since I read in your publication , the
Mayor has no authority over the) could consider retraining some of the drivers
and retiring the old polluting trucks.
More than enough songthaews
Beware the puddles
I would like to remind all drivers to beware the large puddles on the sides of
the roads after heavy rains this rainy season. I am often walking, and in fact,
prefer to walk finding that it is often faster than traveling in a vehicle at
rush hour. However, one downfall to those of us on foot are the large puddles on
the sides of the roads that many cars and motorcycles drive through splashing
everyone around them.
I am writing in to ask drivers to have a care when they drive, pay attention to
the pavements and if there is a pedestrian to slow down enough that you don’t
soak the poor soul on the side of the road. It is a small thing and won’t delay
your journey that much but will make someone else’s life just that much better.
Wet trousers are not fun
Questions for the Mayor of Chiang Mai and the current government
I read your interview with Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn with interest and would
ask that you forward a few of my own on to him if possible.
In the recent past there were many neon signs that went up all around the city.
Many of us foreigners were actually not so happy to see these. We are quite
happy with the ancient feel of Lanna/Chiang Mai, the 700-year old Rose of the
North. What is being done to help preserve some of the ancient feel and history
of the city? I believe many people hope it can retain its quaint character and
Also, in recent years, Chiang Mai had grown to be a city with a reputation that
was great for foreigners who were artists, writers, and web developers to come
and live, while earning their livings from online overseas sources. This fact
was even written up in a New York Times article which gave a very favorable view
of Chiang Mai life and the accepting wonderful ways of Thailand.
However, it has recently been announced from central government that old laws
governing visas and restrictions on foreigners working in Thailand will start to
be strictly enforced. I understand these are the laws and do not wish to break
them. What I do wish to say is that I wish there were an easy way for foreigners
who freelance and work remotely online – the way of the future for many – could
obtain a visa and work permit, pay taxes, and continue making a living here. So
many of us love Chiang Mai, and with our foreign incomes you have to imagine
that there were probably 500 foreigners in town earning and spending
approximately 22 million baht (45,000 baht/ea) per month. This is probably a
conservative guess. I know that since the crackdown announcement was made,
easily 100+ people have left, with many hundreds more planning to live elsewhere
in SE Asia by the end of August. I believe this is a loss for everyone.
Please, if there is a way, do pass along some input of the potential for Chiang
Mai and Thailand to update the laws, finding a way for people like this to live
here legally, pay their taxes, and contribute to Prathet Thai. Earning a living
through online resources is the way of the future, and a way for Thailand to
show leadership and benefit from this lifestyle change.
A concerned resident of Chiang Mai
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