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A Poem

Dear Editor:

I’ve been living in Chiang Mai for 6 months and I’m trying to get this girl at the coffee shop to go out with me. I know sonnets are a bit 17th century but I thought perhaps if you published this one it might swing things a little in my favour. Well could we at least give it a try?

To Thanya

The land is wild and fragrant. In the night
Strange perfumes stonewall the motorcycle, and the crake
and hoot of unseen watchers stake out the dark.

There is a girl. Her sorcery liquefies light
into coffee glasses, hooped with creams,
frothed-up with hazelnuts, cinnamon and mint.

That’s not the half of it. Tall and elegant
she walks like Sita on the coals, and seems
untrammelled by the world; a calm, deep pool,
unfathomed and still, the surface rippling gently with a smile
that seems to reflect a clarity within her, mellow and cool.
I’ve asked her go out with me. She’s not declined;
Though it feels like demanding the sun to pale
a little. I tumble headlong into her great, dark eyes.

P.S. If it doesn’t work and there are other interested parties out there my phone number is 0884 163 581.


Mae Kha Canal

Dear ChiangMai Mail

I notice you have a story about tree planting along the Mae Kha Canal. Well this was little more than an exercise in Greenwashing, Public Relations & Hypocrisy as the attached pics taken along the canal and the unanswered plea for assistance below show:
Dear All

Today Sunday 15-5-2011,:

Across the road from the Denchai store I found workers digging to build a fence 1 metre from the bank of the Mae Kha Canal. The fence would cut off all walking access beside the canal south of Denchai. This is an area where the project to restore the Mae Kha was initiated on 5th December 2009 with the deputy mayor & deputy governor of Chiang Mai planting trees. The contractor working today claimed that the Tessabahn's officers had approved the site boundary which would encroach on the existing path. I advised that work would best not proceed until the matter has been clarified.

In the Railway Park I found that dredging of the canal which runs along the northern edge next to the Irrigation Department land has resumed and trees planted there last year have been destroyed. Last July after a similar incident I wrote to the Mayor of Chiang Mai complaining that this was illegal and asking for compensation to pay for trees to be replanted. The Mayor never had the courtesy to reply.

This dredging has no value at all as the ancient stream which once drained the Wat Gate area from the West, McCormack Hospital from the north and from the east towards the Super Highway has long been closed off, so there is no connection to the south to the old course of the stream remnants of which can still be seen east of the railway station.

PLEASE would you all raise these 2 matters with the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor and senior officers of the municipal administration to have them rectified without delay.

Yours hoping for a clean and beautiful Chiang Mai before I die.

Ricky Ward

Thailand’s politicians must commit to old age pensions

Dear Editor:

The major political parties must commit to adequate pensions so everyone in Thailand has security in their old age. According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 13% of Thailand’s population is aged over 60. The UN predicts that by 2020, 18% will be aged over 60 and by 2030, 24% will be aged over 60. This is a major slice of the voting population, so politicians need to be aware of older people’s needs.

But only 11 of the 40 parties contesting the general election on July 3 have highlighted social welfare for older people as a key policy. Nine propose improvement to the old-age pension, mostly by increasing the amount to between THB 1,000-5,000 a month.

The Democrats have committed to maintaining the current monthly pension for older people of THB 500. But this is not enough as it is only one-third of the poverty line. There is also no mention of whether the benefit will be adjusted along with inflation.

Pheu Thai has confirmed no key policy on old age security. The party’s number one candidate, Yingluck Shinawatra, has said during campaigning that if the party is elected into government, the old age pension will be raised to THB 600 for people aged over 60, THB 700 for people aged over 70, THB 800 for people aged over 80 and THB 1,000 for people aged over 90. However, this commitment needs to be made into official policy, and, as with the Democrats, Pheu Thai must spell out how the benefit will be adjusted.

Usa Khiewrord, a social protection specialist at HelpAge International in Thailand, said poverty in old age is a major issue. The poverty rate among older people is higher than the national average, and highest in households where older people live with children, according to a 2007 report from the National Economic and Social Development Board.

“More than 50% of older people reported that their main source of income is from their family members. Very little comes from state assistance. But now that the size of Thai families is becoming smaller, family care for older people will be a big issue in the future,” Usa said.

“Currently, 80% of older people are eligible to receive just THB 500 in old age allowance per month. People who are becoming old are mostly rural and informal workers and the allowance will be inadequate, meaning they will probably fall into poverty in old age.

“We believe the current old age allowance should be replaced with a Basic Pension Fund (universal non-contributory pensions). This is a comprehensive package that will benefit the current older people and future generations. Basic pensions should be THB 1,500 per month. This would mean older people could contribute to the National Savings Fund.

“HelpAge recommends amendments to the National Savings Fund Act to ensure it gives sufficient benefit to people who will be 60-years-old in the next 20-30 years. They should have enough allowance to meet basic needs. The fund should be opened to everyone, with no discrimination.

“There should also be an integration of the Basic Pensions Fund, National Savings Fund and Social Security Fund, and the management should continue to ensure transparency and effectiveness.”

Help Age International
A global network of organisations that helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty

Burn victim needs help

Dear Editor

Please help this most deserving young lady, name At Jaranun Tanjam, who is in intensive care Burns unit at Maharraj Hospital Suthep Rd, Chiang Mai. Her partner set her on fire deliberately after she separated from him after several beatings.

She has extensive burns to 70% of her body & her doctor said she will be in hospital for at least 3 months. But he said she has a 90% chance of survival.

She had just recently opened her own shop at night market after obtaining a bank loan & she also had just started a new day job too. She is a hardworking, diligent, also very cheerful, kind & positive.

She has given permission to me to contact you, in fact was most grateful. I am hoping that you, or other organisations you can contact, can help raise public awareness & hopefully some donations to help her family to pay for her expensive medications.

She really is a most deserving case for any kind assistance you can provide.
Thank you very much,

Peter Thorp
Chiang Mai

Formula One farce

Dear Editor
I love the way Dr Iain Corness (Automania) told it like it is when he summarized the farcical Monaco Grand Prix.

This track is " no longer suitable for F1 racing ... ", he claims. Agree. It's redundant and unsafe. But, under the current FIA hierarchy, it is impossible to imagine Monaco being bypassed.

Too many filthy-rich socialites and 'celebrities' in attendance.

Too much tradition; even though that tradition is now redundant.

" The idiotic rules ... " allowed tyre changes behind a red flag with only a few laps remaining which gifted the race to Vettell and, in so doing, ruined what was (for once) shaping up to be an interesting conclusion. But we can't have an exciting finish can we?

FIA rules are ruining this 'sport' (read 'business'). The game is no longer pure; it is strangled from within.

Actually, may I suggest that Dr Corness focus onto another form of motor sport? One that is not as farcical as F1. Ignore F1 and review MotoGP or World Rally instead. At least there you will find exciting racing and simple rules.

F1 (Farce One) does not deserve the attention it receives. "

Ron Lister
Chiang Mai

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

A Poem

Mae Kha Canal

Thailand’s politicians must commit to old age pensions

Burn victim needs help

Formula One farce