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Vol. XI No.1 -January 1 - January 31, 2012


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NEWS
 

Northern Exhibition Center highlights products around the region

Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul and President of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce Narong Kongprasert open the event at Central Airport Plaza.

By Shana Kongmun

The newest push to highlight the creative aspects of both Chiang Mai and the North opened at Central Airport Plaza on January 25, 2012. Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul was joined by President of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce Narong Kongprasert for the new exhibition which features products from Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, and Mae Hong Son. The craft exhibition closes Sunday, January 29, and features artisans with pottery, woodcraft, hand woven textiles and other featured products from the Upper North.

Dancers featured the various handicrafts on display, here a lovely piece of pottery.

Governor ML Panadda Diskul strolled around the exhibit, chatting with the exhibitors and admiring the handicrafts.

This beautiful ceramic Thai ship is one of the many beautiful pieces on display.


CMU student crowned the Miss Bor Sang Umbrella Festival

Miss Bor Sang Thanaporn Phothatip is surrounded by runners up and media and popular vote winners at the Miss Bor Sang Umbrella Festival Beauty contest.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai University student Thanaporn Phothatip won the Miss Bor Sang Umbrella Festival beauty contest at the 29th Annual Bor Sang Umbrells Festival held in San Kamphaeng from January 20-22.

The media vote went to Nantthachat Anuwongcharoen, while Chompoonuch Chaimonkol took the popular vote. The contest is comprised of beautiful girls from various educational institutes around Chiang Mai.


36th Annual Flower Festival starts February 3

One of the many elaborate floats that take part in the Chiang Mai Flower Festival Parade. It falls on Saturday, February 3, 2012.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The 36th Annual Chiang Mai Flower Festival is scheduled to run from February 3 to 5 with exhibitions, flower and plant sales, OTOP products, and food at Suan Buak Haat Park, Adisorn Kamnerdsiri, Secretary of Chiang Mai said.

The opening ceremony for the parade is scheduled for Saturday, February 4 at 8 a.m. at Nawarat Bridge in front of the Governor’s Residence. Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul will preside over the opening of the grand floral parade. The parade will go from Nawarat Bridge to Tha Pae Road, Kotchasarn Road, Rajchiang Sean Road, Boongruangrit Road and then turn inot Suan Buak Haat Park where the floats will remain on display throughout the festival. There are 22 floats taking part in the parade this year and all will be decorated with the flowers that make Chiang Mai so famous, he noted.

The theme of the opening ceremony will be “Chiang Mai; The Most Splendid City of Culture” and the concept of the festival this year revolves around HM the King and the influence he casts over the nation. “Nopburi Srinakornping: The City of Splendid Culture and Beautiful Blossoms, The Shadow of the Greatest King” is the main theme. Performances will reflect the sacred mountains of Doi Suthep, the abundance provided by the Ping River, peopl’'s beliefs and way of life, and the guardian spirits that protect and look over Chiang Mai and her people.

Miss Chiang Mai Flower Festival beauty contest will be held on Friday, February 3 at 7 p.m. at Suan Buak Haat Park and will have two categories; beauty pageant blossoms which will focus on evening dresses decorated with flowers, and an International Beauty Pageant also with evening dress decorated with flowers. There will be a magic show, dance performances and live music.

Khun Adisorn concluded that Chiang Mai is ready for the 36th Annual Flower Festival and invites the people of Chiang Mai to host their visitors with the warm hospitality and graciousness for which Chiang Mai people are known.


Road repairs across the city

As part of his pledge for the coming year, Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn is instituting major road repairs and construction. Here he is seen with officials checking into road construction on Mengrairatmi Road, Soi 3 in the Chang Phuak area on January 18, 2012.


Chiang Rai policeman killed in ambush at police checkpoint

The body of fallen Pol. Sub. Lt. Sirawit Poonkamlang is carried in the coffin to Wat Huay for the funeral ceremonies.

Nopniwat Krailerg

One policeman was killed and another man wounded after a pickup truck with ten men pulled up alongside the checkpoint and men in the truck opened fire on the police with AK47s. The incident began on January 22 at 4:20 p.m. when two young Akha men driving a motorcycle to Mae Fah Luang were stopped by the police at the checkpoint.

The second man received a phone call and then handed the phone to police where an unknown man said his son should leave if he didn’t want to get into trouble. Moments later, a Toyota pickup truck with Myanmar license plates pulled up alongside and opened fire at the officials.

Pol. Sub. Lt. Sirawit Poonkamlang was shot in the neck and as he lay in a pool of blood, Senior Sergent Yothin Keawkameai ran out to pull him to safety; he was shot twice in the leg and hip. The pickup truck fled back across the border to Myanmar and the two policemen were taken to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital. The body of a Burmese man was found bout 20 meters from the checkpoint after the attackers drove off.

Police believe that a criminal gang from the Lahu village in Burma across the border from Baan Pha Khao village were involved.

Chiang Rai Governor Tanin Supasaen went to the hospital to make merit for the fallen policeman whose funeral is being held at Wat Huay in Krai Mae Sai District in Chiang Rai.


Mobile services units restart health services and more for public

The Chiang Mai Municipality’s program to provide mobile health and other services to citizens restarted this year with the first scheduled event held on January 18 at Suan Dok. Deputy Mayor Nutchudej Wiriyadiloktham attended the mobile unit which provided health checkups, rabies vaccinations, massage, appliance and motorbike repair, ID card registration and low cost vegetables for sale.


QUIRKY PICS

Reader Zoe notes that there is nothing quite like a good synopsis to work out if the movie is worth watching. And the extras really are something!

Life in Chiang Mai and Thailand is often peppered with amusing signs written in funny “Engrish”. Most enjoy seeing signs and trying to figure out what was meant, and it is always taken with good humor by both the reader and the writer. If you find yourself out and about and see one of these signs, feel free to send it in, even a camera phone snap will work, [email protected]

While Ron says that if he had a few of these, he’d be wishy washy too!


Opium fields slashed in Mae Taeng

Nopniwat Krailerg

Fields of opium were slashed in Mae Taeng this week, grown by villagers in the mountainous areas. Maj.Gen. Niwatchai Thanomtham, Asst Commander of the Drug and Office of Military Region 3 Coordinator Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) and other officers worked with narcotics control officials from other countries to slash and burn opium fields found in the Lisu village of Baan Loom Tambon Pa Pae in MaeTang District. Soldiers from the Infantry Division 7 cut the opium fields and gave villagers food and agriculture supplies to stop them from growing opium.


House fire damages home

Supoj Thaimyoj

Authorities believe that a microwave oven in the kitchen sparked off a house fire on Sripoom Stadium Road opposite Chiang Yern School on 12:40 p.m. on Friday, January 20, 2012.

The fire department of the Chiang Mai Municipality took about 20 minutes to control the fire which started in the kitchen, and living area, causing damage to the ceiling, the kitchenette and dining and living area. Preliminary damages are estimated at about 35,000 Baht.


New U.S. Consul General arrives in Chiang Mai

Mr. Kenneth L. Foster is the new U.S. Consul General in Chiang Mai and took up his role here on January 18, 2012

Kenneth L. Foster arrived in Chiang Mai to take up his duties as Consul General for the United States on January 18, 2012.

Ken Foster grew up in Fairfax, Virginia and is a graduate of Columbia University/SIPA (MIA 1986) and Lehigh University (BA 1984). He speaks Thai, Khmer, French and Haitian Creole.

Mr. Foster joined the Foreign Service in 1987 and first served as a consular officer in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, from 1988-89. He then returned to Washington and was the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) staff assistant from 1989-90, and a consular officer in the Office of Overseas Citizen Services (CA/OCS) covering Southeast Asia from 1990-91.

After studying Khmer (1991-1992), Ken joined the Office of Admissions, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM/A) as a refugee officer from 1992-94. He went back overseas as the consular chief in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from 1994-1996, returned to the U.S. in 1996-97 to learn Thai, and then served in Bangkok from 1997-2000 as the visa section chief.

He started a new professional direction in 2001 and served as the Public Affairs Officer in Phnom Penh. He then joined the Office of Public Diplomacy, Bureau of East Asian Affairs (EAP/PD) in 2002 as the country coordinator for Mainland Southeast Asia. He left that tour early to take an assignment in 2003 as the special assistant in Office of the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R), and then served as the senior projects officer in the Office of the Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) for six months in 2004.

Ken was the Cultural Affairs Officer in Bangkok (2004-2008), and then served as a Program Officer in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration at the Department of State from 2008-2009. From June 2009 to January 2012 Ken was the Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok before moving to Chiang Mai to take up his new post as Consul General.


Chinatown readies for the Year of the Dragon

Chinese New Year Festival on January 23-24

President of the PAO Boonlert Buranupakorn (middle) and Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn (right) join the Consul General for the People’s Republic of China Dr. Zhu Wei Min (left) in making merit at the Chinese temple in Waroros Market on January 18.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Year of the Dragon will start on January 23rd with festivities taking place at Khuang Maen Road, Chang Moi and Witchayanon Roads in Waroros Market and run through January 24 it was recently announced by President of the Provincial Administration Organization Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chinese Consul General Dr. Zhu Wei Min and Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn at a press conference held at the Chinese temple on January 18, 2012.

Chinese Consul General Dr. Zhu Wei Min, President of the PAO Boonlert Buranupakorn, Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn and TAT officials and police join in announcing the upcoming Chinese New Year festivities.

The Chiang Mai Municipality has joined with Chinese associations and clubs in Chiang Mai and the TAT Chiang Mai office to hold the 10th Annual Chiang Mai Chinatown Festival which will start with a parade celebrating Chinese New year from Tha Pae Gate at 9 a.m. From there, the parade will go to a stage set up in front of Waroros Market where Governor ML Panadda Diskul will officially open the festivities.

There will be a Miss Chiang Mai Chinatown 2012 contest, music from the Symphony Orchestra from the People’s Republic of China, food and a 60 meter long dragon that will be the highlight of the event. Nightly activities are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Mayor Tussanai said that the Chinese New Year celebrations carry on the traditions of Chinese Thais living in Chiang Mai. He added that the many colorful decorations, lion dancers, food and music are a big tourist draw for Chiang Mai’s Chinatown area.


Chiang Mai Mayor checks out "Chinese New Year food safety campaign"

Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn is joined by Public Health officials in checking out the Siri Wattana market ahead of Chinese New Year.

Nopniwat Krailerg

On January 19, Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn and public health officials went to Siri Wattana Market in Muang Chiang Mai to promote the Chinese New Year food safety campaign. The campaign encourages market vendors to follow food safety standards, especially for raw meat and food.

The campaign also works to encourage food safety awareness among consumers and to provide consumers with an opportunity to choose foods that are safe. The campaign also promotes insecticide free vegetables as well and educated vendors in safe methods of cleaning vegetables and keeping raw meat safe for consumers.


Authorities intensify drug trafficking suppression as production in Myanmar increases

Police inspect a major drug bust in this file photo.

Nopniwat Krailerg and Supoj Thaimyoj

Increased production of methamphetamines, or Yaba and crystal methamphetamine, Ya Ice, along with opium production in border areas in Myanmar has northern drug suppression police concerned.

Col. Supoj Buranajaree Chief of Staff CDI-North said that the situation is quite serious, with the border areas such as Tachilek Province in Myanmar, near Mae Fah Luang in Chiang Rai and Pang Sang, headquarters of the United Wa State Army, near Mae Ai in Chiang Mai as two major areas linked with drug trafficking into Thailand. Additionally, Wa, Tai Yai and Lahu people have been enlisted to carry drugs over the borders into these areas.

He noted that in the past year the area under opium cultivation in the Shan State has increased to an estimated 3.6 billion acres capable of producing 14 tons of heroin. He noted that there are several new “brands” of heroin being marketed here and abroad, indicating a new supplier bringing drugs over the border into Thailand.


New bus route opens from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang

Deputy Permanent Under Secretary of the Ministry of Transport Silpachai Jarukasemwattana presided over the opening ceremony of bus route number 8, Chiang Mai – Luang Prabang.

Supoj Thaimyoj

Air conditioned buses started running from the Arcade Bus Station in Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang after Deputy Permanent Under Secretary of the Ministry of Transport Silpachai Jarukasemwattana presided over the opening ceremony of bus route number 8 on January 19 at the Arcade Chiang Mai Bus Terminal.

Silpachai said "In this first phase air-conditioned buses from Chiang Mai will pick up passengers at Chiang Rai and Chiang Khong then cross the border to Bor Keaw District in Laos PDR. From there the travelers will switch to a bus from the Naluang Company to travel on to Luang Namtha and Luang Prabang. The total travel time will be 18 hours and tickets will cost 1,200 baht.”

The completion of the 4th Thai Laos Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River is due to be completed in another year or so and the route will change to cross there, with a fare of 1,500 Baht. It is believed that opening up bus routes across the borders will result in an increase of trade and tourism between the two neighbors.

He added, “There are routes between Udon Thani - Vientiane, Nong Khai-Vientiane, Ubon Ratchathani - Pakse, Champasak, Mukdahan - Savannakhet, Khon Kaen - Vientiane, Nakhon Ratchasima - Vientiane, and Nakhon Phanom -Thakak in Kammuan district. There are also plans to open a bus route between Udon Thani - Vang Vieng soon."


Jazz Festival comes to the City!

Nopniwat Krailerg

The free "Chiang Mai Jazz in the City Festival 2012" will hold concerts at NIM City Daily on Mahidol Road Saturday 21 and Sunday, January 22, 2012 as a celebration of jazz music. Leading musicians such as Koh Mr. Saxman, Pom Autobahn, Mom Laconic, Kai Pannipha, Calories Blah Blah, Jum Nareekrajang, Kaori Kobayshi from Japan and many artists from Chiang Mai will be performing at the Festival. The opening ceremony begins at 6.30 pm.

The first ever Jazz in the City Festival was held in January of last year and the success of it prompted organizers to repeat this popular music event. Fundraising for flood victims as well as rural schools in Chiang Mai will be held at the event.


HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn officially opens Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2011

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the Grand Opening celebrations for the Royal Flora Ratchapruek 2011.

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the opening ceremony of the International Horticultural Exposition Royal Flora Ratchapruek 2011 in Tambon Mae Hia on January 15, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra also spoke at the event and she was joined by Deputy Prime Minister Chumpol Silpa-Archa, also the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Teera Wongsamut, the Minister of Agriculture, Chiang Mai Governor ML. Panadda Diskul, Ambassadors and ranking Government officials. Many local residents and tourists also attended the grand opening ceremony.

HRH the Princess visited the Royal Pavilion (Hor Come Luang) and enjoyed 7 Lanna performances. Following the ceremony she visited the gardens via electric vehicle.

The International Exposition at the Royal Flora Ratchapruek 2011 opening was delayed by the flooding in Thailand but unofficially opened to great acclaim in November and will run through March 14, 2012.


Mobile Cabinet approves over 128 projects

400 billion Baht budget earmarked for Chiang Mai

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra chaired the first mobile cabinet meeting of her tenure in Chiang Mai on January 15, 2012.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra held the first mobile cabinet meeting in her hometown of Chiang Mai on Sunday, January 15 at the Bank of Thailand’s Northern Region Office. Four major projects were proposed and approved in principle, including projects to improve public transportation, develop underground utilities, infrastructure development and integrated water management account for the initial projects. 200 million Baht has been earmarked for public transportation, 180 million for utilities, 742 million Baht for infrastructure and over a billion Baht for integrated water management for the North.

A high speed rail project linking Chiang Mai and Bangkok was approved in principle by the Cabinet.

Health care will also receive funding, a technology and innovation Park was also proposed as well as improvements to the city’s ring roads, the monkey cheeks project to help flooding in Mae Taeng and Phrao Districts, waste management and the proposed constructon of a new tobacco factory that should bring jobs back to Chiang Mai.

The Chamber of Commerce for the Upper North also proposed a new international exhibition building for Nong Hoi, to open border trade in the Chiang Dao District, bring direct international flights to Chiang Mai and allow long stay visas of up to 3 years.

Anutama Amornwiwat, the Deputy Prime Minister's office spokesman disclosed that the meeting between the Prime Minister, the Chiang Mai Government and private sector agreed on projects to develop 8 Upper North provinces with projects such as a High-Speed train between Chiang Mai and Bangkok, a new highway between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, build a new railway route in Denchai, Phrae to Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai.

Other proposals for areas of the Upper North include a special economic border zone and the opening of permanent checkpoints at Kiew Pha Wok in Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai, Khun Yuam in Mae Hong Son, and Baan Huak in Phayao.


One millionth visitor to Royal Flora Ratchapruek 2011

Police Sub Lt. Amnuay Singhto of Phitsanulok received the award for one millionth visitor to the Royal Flora Ratchapruek 2011 from the mascot Nong Koom. He received a hotel and restaurant voucher for the Atanaya Hotel and an award from Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.


Wat Suan Dok slated for renovation

Foundations at risk from earthquakes and airport

Cracks are appearing in the foundation of the historic pagoda at Wat Suan Dok.

The Ministry of Culture approved 20 million Baht in renovations for the 500 year old Wat Suan Dok that has seen damage to the foundations from earthquakes and vibrations of airplanes landing at Chiang Mai International Airport.

The Minister of Culture Sukumol Kunplome visited Wat Suan Dok including the famed "temple tree" created by Kruba Siwichai and the 500 year-old Wat Suan Dok pagoda ready to worship Phra Sri Sittimethi the Abbot of Wat Suan Dok. He visited with the Abbot of the temple to find out what the issues are.

The Abbot noted the cracks that have begun to be visible in the temple and felt that the constant vibrations of planes from the airport may contribute to the problem. Chiang Mai University sent experts to measure the noise level of the vibrations from the airplanes and will release the report shortly. If it is revealed that the planes are affecting the pagoda a request will be sent to Chiang Mai International Airport to see if they can find a way to alleviate the problems to protect the historic temple.


Administrative Court judge orders Chang Puak Mayor to sign law over high buildings

Dr. Prakong Vithayasai of the Political Development Committee, spearheaded the charge to restrict building heights in Chang Puak.

Supoj Thaimyoj

The Chiang Mai Administrative Court has issued an order to the Mayor of Chang Puak to sign the Draft Act on Building heights as enacted by the City Council on December 30, 2011. The City Plan to limit building heights was set into place in 1999 and expired on December 31, 2006. However, local complaints over the environmental impact, including increased traffic problems, were spearheaded by Dr. Prakong Vithayasai of the Political Development Committee who submitted them to the City Council for review.

The final act was approved on December 2010 and submitted to the Mayor of Chang Puak to be signed into law. However, the Mayor postponed the signing of the law and was finally ordered by the Administrative Court on December 27, 2011 to sign the act into law within 30 days. The Mayor has yet to sign the act into law.


Video journalists released in amnesty in Myanmar

The Free Burma VJ campaign confirmed the release of all the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) video journalists (VJs) in an amnesty of political prisoners on 14 January 2012.

Seventeen VJs were in prison on highly arbitrary charges when the campaign began on 3 May 2011. For security reasons, only five of the VJs were named in the campaign. Four unamed VJs had been freed during a separate amnesty on 16 May 2011. On Friday 14 January, the remaining 13 reporters for DVB, some of whom had been serving sentences of more than 60 years, were released.

The Friday amnesty saw around 300 political prisoners freed from lengthy spells in jail, including high-profile dissidents such as Min Ko Naing and Ashin Gambira. In addition, many ex-intelligence, customs and government employees, including former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt, was released.

Aye Chan Naing, DVB chief editor, said: '' They had done great journalistic work in exchange for their freedom. We are very happy for them and their families. They are real heroes of DVB and we salute them."

Géraldine May, the campaign coordinator, said: "The Free Burma VJ campaign won't stop with the release of the VJs. We need to make sure they are safe and that their release is unconditional. For example, freed DVB reporter Sithu Zeya said conditions were attached to his release: if he commits any crime in the future, he will be forced to serve his full 18-year sentence. We also should keep in mind that more political prisoners remain behind bars."


QUIRKY PICS

Reader Ron notes, “A few of these and I would be wishy washy too!”

Life in Chiang Mai and Thailand is often peppered with amusing signs written in funny “Engrish”. Most enjoy seeing signs and trying to figure out what was meant, and it is always taken with good humor by both the reader and the writer. If you find yourself out and about and see one of these signs, feel free to send it in, even a camera phone snap will work, [email protected]

And adds, that this menu was doing really well until the very end.


Chiang Mai hosts colorful Balloon Fiesta

Miss Chiang Mai joined Deputy Governor Worakarn Yokying (4th left), President of the PAO Boonlert Buranupakorn (3rd left) and TAT Director Chalermsak Suranant (2nd left) and Balloon Fiesta organizers at the announcement of the event ath will be held from January 20-22 in San Sai Luang.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Participants from 10 countries will be taking part in the Chiang Mai International Balloon Fiesta 2012 which will feature unique and colorful balloons in all shapes.

The Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) are joining together to host the event which celebrates the 80th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on August 8 of this year and the 60th birthday of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn that will fall on July 28.

The event will bring together balloons from 10 countries; United States, Belgium, New Zealand, India, Netherlands, Germany, Vietnam, Malaysia, Switzerland and Thailand.

Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai Worakarn Yokying said that the International Balloon Fiesta will attract many visitors to Chiang Mai as activities and festivals continue weekly. He welcomed visitors to Chiang Mai to enjoy the many activities the province has to offer.

President of the PAO Boonlert Buranupakorn noted that the PAO and the Province are working to offer activities on a regular basis, providing continuity in the calendar of events. He added that this international event shows the international draw of the city while Chalermsak Suranant, Director of the TAT Chiang Mai office said that the number of tourists to Chiang Mai had increased this year and that the average length of stay had gone up to an average of four nights from two with the many attractions including the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek, events like the balloon festival and the cool winter weather.

PAO President Boonlert Buranupakorn added that the colorful balloons would be in unusual forms including a cat, a pig, a pirate ship, an ice cream cone and many other unique shapes. He concluded noting that the event will be held from January 20-22 in front of the San Sai Luang Municipal Building and will offer a family theme park, music and dance performances, food and rides in tethered balloons.


Chiang Mai flood victims receive aid

Residents of river side communities were hit by rising water from the Ping River after nine weeks of heavy rains caused flooding in the city. The damage from 3 days of flooding has been estimated up to 3 billion Baht.

Nopniwat Krailerg

More than 4,282 households in Chiang Mai will receive government designated grants of 5,000 Baht per household next week after flooding hit Chiang Mai in September of 2011 after nine weeks of heavy rains caused flash floods and landslides in the mountains. The Ping River overflowed causing more than 1 billion Baht in damage to the city and up to 3 billion Baht in lost revenues.

Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn said that aid will be distributed to residents of the Kawila, Tha Sala, Nong Hoi, Nakornping, Mengrai and Padaed Sub Districts can go to the Chiang Mai Municipality to receive distribution of government funds on January 17, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon and then in the afternoon from 1 p.m.to 4 p.m.


Governor announces arrest of drug dealers in the city

Nopniwat Krailerg

Governor ML Panadda Diskul announced the arrest of a 28 year old Muser hill tribe man from Phrao District in Chiang Mai who had been found with 582 grams of crystal methamphetamine or “Ya Ice” and 17,700 methamphetamine pills, or “Ya Ba” on Thursday, January 12, 2012.

The man was arrested on January 11 after police searched him and found 1 gram of Ya Ice and 10,000 Baht in cash after a tipoff had led them to a gas station on Rajchiangsaen Road where they stopped the suspect on his motorcycle. The suspect, 28 year old Manop Laser, led the police to his parked car where 17,300 Ya Ba pills and 580 grams of Ya Ice were uncovered. A further search of his residence in Mae Rim yielded 400 more pills and one more gram of crystal methamphetamine. The suspect confessed to police that he had been purchasing drugs from a man in Chiang Rai and selling them in Chiang Mai.


Children’s day this Saturday

Panyaden School is just one of many organizations that will be holding activities on Children’s Day, they have scheduled Play and Learn activities to be held at Central Airport Plaza’s G floor, D Zone.

Saturday, January 14 is Children’s Day across Thailand, originally held was held time on the first Monday of October 1955 it was later changed to the second Saturday of January. Teacher’s Day Falls on Monday, the 16th.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has set the theme for this year’s Children’s Day as “Unity, Knowledge, Wisdom, Preserving Thai Identity, and Learning Technology.” Activities will be held across the city for children to participate. The Chiang Mai Municipality will be holding free events with games and other activities at the Municipal Stadium from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. while the Chiang Mai Zoo offers free entrance to children under 135 cm. Kad Suan Kaew shopping mall and Central Airport Plaza will host various activities including Panyaden School and NARIT, the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand. Wing41 lets children in to meet Air Force officers and climb aboard jets. Government offices are usually open to children. Royal Flora Ratchaphruek will hold educational activities, games and music shows at their Kids Eco-Park from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Known as Wan Dek, in Thai, Children’s’ Day is celebrated across the country and is celebrated to give children the chance to have fun and to create awareness about their roles in the development of the country.


10 car accident on Superhighway

Nepalese man found dead in Ping River

Ten cars were involved in a bumper to bumper collision on the Superhighway on January 10 at about 9 a.m. Despite a warning sign to not drive too closely near the site of the accident, the ten cars lined up were bumper to bumper in the accident. Nobody was injured but traffic was clogged as clean up took over an hour.

A Nepalese man who is visiting Payap Northwestern University was found dead in the Ping River near Waroros Market at 11 p.m. on January 9, 2012. A friend called police and rescue after the 27 year old man fell into the river, he told police that they had been drinking on the banks of the river when the man fell in.

A former policeman recently released from prison after serving time for drug possession and distribution was found dead on the side of the road in Lampang on January 8, 2012. The man was shot in the head while he drove his motorcycle, police found 11mm casings in the area. Police believe the victim may have been involved in a gunfight with the attackers, wounding one of them. They have contacted area hospitals for reports of gunshot victims.

Three men were arrested by Chiang Mai police on January 5, 2012 after investigation of a fake bomb led them to the two men from Mae Rim and one man from San Patong. Although the bomb was not real, the police have charged the pranksters with causing fear and panic by planting a fake bomb that was found around 2:15 p.m. on December 30, 2011.


TOT introduces free wifi hotspots around Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Mail online reporters

The Telephone Organization of Thailand in conjunction with the Ministry of Information and Communication will introduce 20,000 wifi hotspots around the country with some opening in Chiang Mai recently. The hotspots can be found in the airport, bus stations, district and government offices, educational institute’s shopping centers and public areas. WiFi users will need to register on MICT’s website: http://www.mict.go.th/. Full name and ID card number are required; it appears the site may not take passport numbers. Users are allowed to access the internet for free for 2 hours each connection for a total of 30 hours each 30 days.  New registration is required at the end of the 30 days. The speed should be about 2 Mbps. [email protected] is the wifi connection to look for in public areas.


Municipality re-institutes mobile health services

The Chiang Mai Municipality has restarted their mobile health services unit offering eye checks, health checks for blood pressure, weight and BMI. In additional rabies vaccinations for pets will be provided and the Lanna Institute of Technology will offer repairs for motorcycles and electrical appliances.

The first event takes place today at Wat Chiang Man from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. while the next clinic is scheduled for Wednesday, January 18 at Wat Suan Dok from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, January 25 from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Kawila.

 


QUIRKY

Only one? Reader Ron asks.

Life in Chiang Mai and Thailand is often peppered with amusing signs written in funny “Engrish”. Most enjoy seeing signs and trying to figure out what was meant, and it is always taken with good humor by both the reader and the writer. If you find yourself out and about and see one of these signs, feel free to send it in, even a camera phone snap will work, [email protected]

Thailand isn’t alone in the world when it comes to quirky signs, this Seoul bathroom sign got one reader to pull out the camera.


Chiang Mai New Year’s accident toll

Chiang Mai Mail online reporters

Chiang Mai Province had 10 deaths and 102 injuries in 91 accidents during the New Year’s “7 Dangerous Days”. Nationwide, 335 people were killed and 3,375 people were injured in 3,093 accidents. The death toll was 23 percent lower than last year. Chiang Rai had the most accidents and injuries with 121 people injured in 115 accidents.

The majority of accidents were the result of drunk driving and speeding, while 81 percent involved motorcycles and took place during the afternoon. The Thai government makes efforts to reduce the high death toll and accident numbers every year but so far has only seen incremental drops in numbers.


Cabinet meeting in Chiang Mai to focus on mass transit, flooding

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her cabinet will be attending a mobile cabinet meeting in Chiang Mai on January 15 where they will meet with local and provincial government officials Governor ML Panadda Diskul recently announced.

The meeting will focus on the transportation issues Chiang Mai faces and focus on mass transit, traffic alleviation and control. Additional attention will be paid to water management and flood issues that occur in Chiang Mai. Water management at the Mae Taeng and Mae Kuang Dams will be discussed as will managing the Ping river overflow. Additionally, plans have been drawn up to request burial of public utilities cables and health and health services.


Second TEDx event in Chiang Mai spotlights city as center of creativity

Chiang Mai is a creative city that develops and attracts diverse talent across different sectors and industries. In the spirit of TED’s mission of “ideas worth spreading” and to further develop Chiang Mai’s creative economy, the city of Chiang Mai will present its 2nd TEDx event in under a year. It is the 5th such event in Thailand to date.

The TEDx Programme (x =independently-organized TED event) under TED aims to bring communities, organizations and individuals together to stimulate dialogue and catalyse ideas through a TED-like experience at the local level.

TEDxThapaeGate will take place on Saturday, 21st January 2012 at Chiang Mai University, with a focus on the theme of ‘Creativity & Innovation’. More information can be found at www.tedxthapaegate.com. The organizing team of volunteers is led by Martin Venzky-Stalling.

TEDxThapaeGate will present a combination of TEDTalks videos and live speakers to spark deep discussion and connection within the group. The exciting lineup of speakers from Chiang Mai, Bangkok, London, Tel Aviv and Berlin will share innovative and inspiring ideas from their respective fields, including science & technology, entrepreneurship, design, creative business management, innovation in agricultural and environmental management. www.tedxthapaegate.com for more information. (PR)


Family friendly New Year celebrations at Tha Pae Gate

Push for alcohol free events

The huge tree made out of thousands of used CD’s lit up Tha Pae Gate for the festivities.

A family friendly atmosphere reined over Tha Pae Gate with dance performances, music concerts from popular Thai acts and an alcohol free zone that kept the area relatively trouble free. The Municipality instituted a strong drive to keep the area alcohol free in a bid to reduce accidents and keep the area safe for families and visitors.

Partygoers at Tha Pae Gate were entertained by two Emcees, offering free t-shirts, santa hats and more to the crowd who then enjoyed performances of some top Thai pop singers.

The Countdown to 2012 began with the Deputy Mayors of Chiang Mai lighting the giant Christmas tree made of thousands of recycled CDs and ended with Governor ML Panadda Diskul, President of the Provincial Administration Organization Boonlert Buranupakorn and Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn joining the crowd in the countdown to end 2011 and bring in 2012 with a display of fireworks over the city.

Chiang Mai mascots wandered through the large crowd that saw the entire Tha Pae Gate area closed off and turned into a walking street market with food, games, and handicrafts for sale.

Chiang Mai Deputy Mayors launched the evening’s countdown to 2012 by lighting the giant tree.

Visitors and locals enjoyed taking their photos with this group of fabulously dressed performers.

This gentleman won a Santa hat from the Emcees while several children also won hats, t-shirts and Santa hats.

Fireworks lit up the skies of Chiang Mai to ring in 2012.


A fatal New Year

Road accidents claimed 314 lives in first six days of the “Seven Dangerous Days of New Year”.  3,166 people were injured, Buriram topped the list with 18 dead, 12 of those from one accident. Death toll numbers are up slightly from last year although the number of accidents is slightly lower. Drunk driving accounted for over 30 percent of the accidents.

The flood of returning visitors has left Chiang Mai Arcade Station packed while flights to Bangkok are reportedly full and the roads south out of the city busy. Police have set up checkpoints along the highways to check for dangerous driving and search for drugs being transported to Bangkok.


QUIRKY PICS

Ron saw this in front of an electrical store in Chiang Mai. It explains a lot!

Life in Chiang Mai and Thailand is often peppered with amusing signs written in funny “Engrish”. Most enjoy seeing signs and trying to figure out what was meant, and it is always taken with good humor by both the reader and the writer. If you find yourself out and about and see one of these signs, feel free to send it in, even a camera phone snap will work, [email protected]

Even Bangkok Air gets into the swing of things with this bester sign!
 


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Chiang Mai New Year’s accident toll

Cabinet meeting in Chiang Mai to focus on mass transit, flooding

Second TEDx event in Chiang Mai spotlights city as center of creativity

Family friendly New Year celebrations at Tha Pae Gate

A fatal New Year

QUIRKY PICS
 

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