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Kingdom celebrates 105th Chulalongkorn Day

HM King Chulalongkorn the Great.

Friday, October 23, marks the 105th anniversary of HM King Chulalongkorn’s passing. Chulalongkorn Day is a national holiday here in the Kingdom, meaning banks and government offices will be closed. However, as usual, ATMs and many foreign exchange booths will remain open.
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn the Great (Rama V) was born in 1853, the son of His Majesty King Mongkut (Rama IV) and Her Majesty Queen Thep Sirinthorn. In 1868, He was given the title Duke ‘Meun Phikhartnaresueansurasangkas.’
HM King Chulalongkorn ascended the throne in 1868, with the title ‘Phrabat Somdej Phra Paraminthra Maha Chulalongkorn Bodinthorn Thep Phaya Maha Mongkut Burutsaya Ratanaraj Rawiwong Warut-tapong Saboripatara Wora Khatiyaraj Nikarodom Jaturatana Borom Maha Chakarapaddiraj Sangart Boromtammika Maha Raja Thiraj Boromanat Bopitara Phra Chulachomklao Chao Yoo Hua’.
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn lived with one purpose in his mind and heart: the happiness and well-being of the Siamese people. His Majesty would often dress as a commoner and move among his people with only two or three advisors. In this way, he could find out how his subjects really felt and see what was happening in his Kingdom.
There is one famous story of His Majesty and two counselors who, after a hard day’s travel, stopped at a farmer’s house to ask for a drink of water. Rural hospitality being a hallmark of Thai people, the family asked the three strangers to stay and have food with them. Speaking freely, the farmer and his wife told the strangers of how their life was progressing and what they would like to see done for their village by the ‘Great King who lives in the Palace in Bangkok.’ The farmer’s son noticed that one of the strangers looked familiar. He went and looked at a daguerreotype the family had of the King. Running back to the group, the family learned that they were serving food to the ‘Lord of Life’ in Siam. HM King Chulalongkorn the Great did this often and thus became ‘in touch’ with the needs of the Siamese people.
Another story of the great love and respect happened in 1893. The territory hungry French had formulated a plan to take the Siamese territory of Laos and certain valuable territories on the Eastern Seaboard which produced precious rubies and sapphires.
In a carefully formulated plan, a French warship entered the Chao Phraya River. It was required by international law that all foreign ships fly their colors when entering the waters of another sovereign country. The French deliberately did not do this. When hailed by the river guard to fly their colors, the French ignored the guard. The guard fired a warning shot over the French ship’s bow.
The French Embassy in Bangkok was prepared in advance to carry out the plan. Bringing a letter sent from France months before the incident, it stated that Siam had performed an act of aggression on the French and must pay huge reparations.
The French were not prepared for what happened next. Hearing of the huge demands, Siamese both wealthy and poor brought cartloads of jewels, precious metals and every valuable possible to the Royal Palace and offered it to His Majesty to keep the French out of Siam.
The French had not imagined that Siam was so wealthy and the people so devoted to their King.
Siam was able to pay the reparations but the French, deciding this was not enough, took all Siamese territory east of the Mekong River.
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn was wise, knowing that Siam could not resist the French and British and held the motto of ‘giving up some so as not to lose all.’
Siam lost over 160,000 sq. kilometers of territory to the French and British.
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn was the first Siamese monarch to visit the West. He believed in adopting all things good from the West while Siam kept its culture. The wise King Chulalongkorn made Russia a strong ally of Siam to counteract the British and French influence in SE Asia. He followed the Chinese concept of ‘have strong allies but make sure their borders are far away.’
Many of the Royal Princes were sent to study in Russia. In His letters to His sons, HM King Chulalongkorn wisely warned them ‘do not feel that you are important because you are a prince. In Siam, there are many princes, whereas in Russia there are few. Do the best you can at your studies and that is enough.’
HM King Chulalongkorn’s most noteworthy achievement in Siam was the abolition of slavery. He did not do this in a haphazard manner as it was done in other countries. He devised a complex method of ‘freeing’ slaves so that older ones would not be left in poverty with no place to live. Younger slaves were to be released by ‘stages’, responsibility falling to the owner to see that they had a way of supporting themselves.
His Majesty King Chulalongkorn the Great is beloved of Thai people and considered a truly ‘enlightened’ ruler among historians. His Majesty passed away 105 years ago, on October 23, 1910, after the second longest reign in the history of the Thai nation.
He is remembered and loved by the Thai people and the date of his death is commemorated every year. Ceremonies are held, offerings are made to his memory and the entire student body from the university that bears his name perform obeisance before his statue.
Locally, city officials, people from the business community, members from local charitable organizations, the private sector and many local residents hold ceremonies in the morning at the Chulalongkorn monument in front of the Banglamung district offices to celebrate this Remembrance Day for King Rama V, all paying homage to one of the greatest and most highly revered Kings of Thailand. Each organization and institute will present wreaths to the King Rama V statue.
Would that all countries were so lucky to have one such enlightened ruler in their collective histories.


The Government of Japan provides a Fire Engine for Huaypong Sub-District, Mae Hong Son Province

Mr. Shinya Aoki, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai (4th left), and Mr. Satien Khayandee, (4th right),Chief Executive of Huaypong Sub-District Administration Organization jointly signed the funding contract at the Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai.

Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai

The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP), is providing funds amounting to 2,858,000 baht for “the Project for Procurement of a Fire Engine in Huaypong Sub-District Administration Organization in Muang District, Mae Hong Son Province”. On 13 October, 2015, Mr. Shinya Aoki, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, and Mr. Satien Khayandee, Chief Executive of Huaypong Sub-District Administration Organization, jointly signed the funding contract at the Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai.
Huaypong Sub-District is located in the southern part of Muang Mae Hong Son District, and is a vast mountainous area. The Sub-District has a population of 6,952 in 15 villages and most of the residents comprise ethnic minorities with low average incomes such as Shan and Karen and are engaged in agriculture. As the west part of the Sub-District borders Myanmar, there are also almost 5,000 refugees and migrants from Myanmar living in this area. They can live peacefully alongside the residents without any communication problem because they are also Shan and Karen. However, problems associated with rapid population growth, such as shortage of agricultural land and scarcity of water for daily life are beginning to surface.
In such a mountainous area, haze from agricultural burning and forest fires is a serious issue because many inhabitants are still engaged in slash-and-burn agriculture. Most of the residents use water from streams for daily life, however, the shortage of running water in the dry season from January to May is becoming a serious problem which is exacerbated by climate change due to global warming, deforestation in water resource areas and increasing demand for water for agricultural. Therefore the Sub-District Administration Organization is obliged to supply water to all 15 villages daily during the dry season using a single fire engine. However, this is practically impossible because of the wide area to be covered and the age and poor condition of the vehicle.
In response to a request from Huaypong Sub-District Administration Organization, the Government of Japan will bear the costs of purchasing a medium size fire engine with a water tank and crane. It is expected that this support will contribute to ensuring the security of the residents in Huaypong Sub-District and the nearby area as well as mitigating smoke haze and aiding conservation of the natural environment in the north of Thailand.
The Japanese government intends to continue supporting projects which contribute to the mitigation of haze and the preservation of the environment as well as projects which improve Human Security of ethnic minorities from Myanmar in the north of Thailand through its Grant Assistance for Human Security Projects scheme (GGP).


Situation update for tourists in Bangkok

Erawan Shrine in Bangkok has seen worshipers and tourists return to pay their respects after the bomb blast on August 17, 2015.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to report that in the wake of Monday’s incident at Ratchaprasong’s Erawan Shrine, tourist events and activities are continuing as normal in the city with Bangkok’s most popular attractions and shopping districts still thronging with visitors enjoying the wide range of attractions on offer.
Normality returned to the areas of the city most popular with tourists thanks to an increased security and police presence in all areas popular with tourists. Visitors have been reassured by the stepped up security and understand that everything possible is being done to ensure their safety while they are visiting Bangkok or travelling further afield.
Bangkok’s premier tourist attraction, The Grand Palace, has reported that numbers of tourists visiting have remained steady with high numbers of visitors, local and international coming through the gates to see the Royal Palace and the temple complex of Wat Phra Kaew. Other tourist attractions in old Bangkok such as the stunning riverside temple of Wat Arun, and Wat Pho, famous for its reclining Buddha are also recording high numbers of tourists visiting. Many of these visitors are coming via the city’s Chao Phraya River Boats which are operating as normal. All the city’s other piers are also recording usual numbers of commuters and tourists.
In Bangkok’s backpacker district of Khao San Road in Bang Lam Phu, travellers are still able to enjoy the restaurants and shops in the area which are as busy as always and the confidence of tourists in the area has been boosted by the increased police patrols.
In Bangkok’s shopping districts of Sukhumvit, Siam, Silom and Ratchaprasong, as well as the popular Chatuchak Weekend Market, shops and restaurants have remained open and a number of tourists and local shoppers have continued coming to the big malls and stores in the downtown Bangkok. The weekend has seen large numbers of people visiting central Bangkok’s entertainment districts and cinemas.
Worshipers and tourists have also started coming back to the Erawan Shrine to pay their respects to the Four-Faced Brahma God, and the people who lost their lives following the five-faith religious ceremony that was held at CentralWorld on Friday. Many said they came to offer moral support and to show their faith to the Erawan Shrine.
Looking ahead, TAT is still on track with the 2015 global marketing activities with several travel trade events and road shows in the pipeline between now and December to maintain tourist confidence and strengthen the image of Thailand as a top tourist destination.
The Tourism Monitoring and Communication Centre of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), with 27 overseas offices and 35 domestic offices, is closely monitoring as well as assessing the situation, and will be providing regular updates. (TAT)
Useful contact for tourists:
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports +66 (0) 2134 4077
TAT Call Centre 1672
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hotline +66 (0) 2644 7245 / 2643 5522 / 85 065 9927
Tourist Police Hotline 1155


New Walking Street Market debuts on Nimmanhaemin Soi 8

The new Kad Luang Nimman Soi 8 opened on Friday, August 21, 2015 offering Chiang Mai three walking street markets during the week.

Nopniwat Krailerg
A new Walking Street Market titled Kad Lang Nimman Soi 8 was launched on August 21, 2015 by Pongsatorn Thongyu, the owner of the large parking lot where the new market is located. Kad Luang Soi 8 will be held every Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will have vendors selling food and drinks, crafts, souvenirs and other items.
Pongsatorn Thongyu said that the Nimmanhaemin area has many Thai and foreign tourists and that the new market will be very attractive for visitors as it takes place on Fridays. He noted that there are already two markets, one on Wualai on Saturdays and one in the Old City on Sundays but by opening on Friday this will give Chiang Mai a total of three days of walking street markets in different areas of the city.


Chiang Mai works to increase security for tourists

The government is working to boost tourist confidence in security measures around the city.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Government officials met with hotel and shopping mall representatives to work out details on cooperation to ensure the safety and security of tourists after the August 17 bomb blast in Bangkok killed 20 people and injured more than 130, both Thais and tourists.

Montri Piyakul head of Tourism and Sports Chiang Mai Office chaired the meeting on August 20, 2015 to work together to form a strategy to increase tourist confidence in their safety and security in Chiang Mai. One result was the establishment of a coordination center for the private and public sector.

Surveillance measures were also discussed including checking on all CCTV cameras and ensuring they are effective, Tourist police and volunteers at tourist attractions and public areas such as shopping centers and increased security measures at the airport, train station and bus stations.


Man arrested with Yaba after highway stop

Jakraphan Noruang confessed to police after being arrested with 16,000 Yaba pills hidden inside his car.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Chiang Mai Highway Patrol arrested a Saraphi man with 16,000 methamphetamine pills in his possession after receiving an alert to stop his car by the Region 5 Police.
Police arrested 29 year old Jakraphan Noruang after receiving a request from the Region 5 Police, he was stopped on the Super Highway at the flyover bridge near the Xin Sheng School in Saraphi in Sub-District Nong Phung in Saraphi District. A search by police uncovered 16,000 methamphetamine pills hidden inside a gray Mitsubishi sedan. Police also found a gun in the car. The suspect confessed to police that he was smuggling the drugs to Central Thailand for sale.


Chiang Mai locals condemn Bangkok attacks

Police increase security

Krisada Kampangkaew and members of the Chiang Mai Cyclists Club submit their petition condemning the violence in Bangkok to Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya on Tuesday, August 18, 2015.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai locals met with Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya to hand him a letter condemning the bomb blast in Bangkok that killed 20 people and injured more than 100 at Erawan Shrine on August 17, 2015. There were more attacks on Tuesday August 18 but no reported deaths or injuries. The dead include people from China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia as well as many Thai people.
Krisada Kampangkaew led the members of the Chiang Mai Cyclists Club in submitting the petition to the Governor on Tuesday, August 17 at City Hall. They group offered their condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed in the attacks.
Police Region 5 has ordered Chiang Mai police to beef up security in the area; implementing checkpoints and patrolling popular tourist areas and busy spots. Chiang Mai International Airport, Railway Station and Bus Stations are at the highest security alert level.


Bike for Mom sets World Record

Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya (far left), President of the PAO Boonlert Buranupakorn (center) and Director of the Pinkanakorn Development Agency Sarawut Srisakun lead the cyclists at the start line.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Over 7,000 people in Chiang Mai joined the nationwide event “Bike for Mom” on Sunday, August 16, 2015 to set the Guinness World Record for number of cyclists on the road at one time. Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya opened the event which started from Chiang Mai International Convention & Exhibition Center (CMICE) at 3:09 p.m.
Joined by President of the Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) Boonlert Buranupakorn, the group cycled the 32 kilometers to the Chiang Mai Night Safari and back to CMICE.
Bike for Mom was held to honor Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on the occasion of her 83rd birthday on August 12, 2015. Nationwide over 300,000 people took part in the cycling event that beat the previous world record set by Taiwan with 72.919 in 2012.


New 1000 baht banknote has features for the blind

The face of the new 1000 baht note will have special ink and feature HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Bank of Thailand Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul announced the launch of the new 1,000 baht banknote featuring a portrait of King Chulalongkorn and special Braille markings for the visually disabled.
The new notes, which will be put in circulation on August 22, 2015, will have special security features including watermarks, reflective holographic foil, latent images with color shifting ink, and special security threads that change color upon tilting the note. The new features will also make authentication by machine easier.
The notes will feature King Chulalongkorn on the reverse and HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej on the face. The new notes will be available at banks on August 22 but all previous notes will remain legal tender.


Donation Center for Myanmar flood victims at City Hall

Chiang Mai Governor announced the opening of a money donation center for the flood victims in Myanmar at the Damrongtham Center at City Hall.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya reported that the government has set up a bank account to receive funds and a donation center at the Damrongtham Center at City Hall for cash donations.
Rakhine, Chin and Kachin States have been declared in a state of emergency and tens of thousands people displaced in the floods that have ravaged northern Myanmar recently. Sixty nine have died in the heavy flooding that began on July 22, 2015.
The Chiang Mai Damrongtham center opened for money donations at the first floor of City Hall or transfer to Krungthai Bank account number 983-5-96381-9 Account Name "Donations to help flood victims in Myanmar" or direct donations through the Chiang Mai Governor. For more information contact Call Center 1567.


Minister M.L. Panadda Diskul visits flood warning system project in Hang Dong

Minister M.L. Panadda Diskul visited a flood warning system in Hang Dong District on August 6, 2015.

Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office M.L. Panadda Diskul returned to Chiang Mai on August 6, 2015 where he joined government officials in inspecting a flood and mudslide warning system set up in Hang Dong District.
Rainfall measuring equipment was set in place to measure the amount of rain, relative humidity and temperature sensor and when rainfall amounts reach what could be dangerous levels messages via email and text message are sent out to area residents. Twenty two districts have had 243 of these machines installed in vulnerable areas.
M.L. Panadda Diskul said that there was a great concern of heavy rains upstream creating the potential for flooding and mudslides and that the equipment would give residents forewarning of extreme weather conditions and reduce the loss of life and property of area residents.


Japanese government funds Youth HIV/AIDS education project

The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects, is providing funds for “The Project for Youth HIV/AIDS Education in Chiang Mai” conducted by a Japanese NGO, PH-Japan. On July 29, 2015, Mr. Shinya Aoki, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, and Ms. Jeeranun Mongkondee, Regional Director for Thailand, PH-Japan, jointly signed the funding contract for the Project at the Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai.
Thailand has been effective in preventing the transmission of HIV on a national scale. However teenagers now in Thailand are among the most likely generation to be affected by HIV infection. It is suggested that the major reasons for HIV infection today include declining HIV/AID knowledge, inconsistent condom use and increase in multiple partners. The youths have confused views on how to protect themselves from HIV.
PH-Japan has conducted a project for HIV/AIDS prevention for university students since 2002. Based on this experience, PH-Japan will start a Project targeting youths in Chiang Mai Province with preventative HIV/AIDS education in cooperation with the Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office and School Officials.
In response to a request from PH-Japan, the Government of Japan has decided to provide funds amounting to 4,561,764 baht for the third phase of the Project. The funds will be used to procure educational equipment, to arrange learning for youths, and to arrange seminars for youths and school officials on HIV/AIDS prevention. It is expected that youth HIV/AIDS prevention education will provide clear and accurate information regarding HIV/AIDS that is relevant and meaningful to youths, and more youths will obtain knowledge about HIV/AIDS properly in order to reduce their HIV infection risks.


Chiang Mai undergoing waste management as trash piles up

Chiang Mai is to undergo waste management in a sustainable manner as garbage continues to pile up, especially in business areas and communities.
According to the Chiang Mai Governor, Suriya Prasartbandit, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) has recently been signed, in relation to a waste management pilot project.
The pilot project is a collaboration of local authorities and educational institutions in Mae Rim district.
Meanwhile, Mae Rim sheriff Passadej Honglada said the amount of trash is likely to increase significantly in the next couple of years. To tackle the problem locals will be encouraged to participate in the waste management project, in which they will learn how to make recycle the items disposed of. (NNT)
 


Bike for Mom to set World Record

Chiang Mai Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya announces the readiness of Chiang Mai for the Bike for Mom event on August 16, 2015 at 3 p.m.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Thailand hopes to set the Guinness Book World Record for simultaneous number of cyclists on the road in one event. The government is expecting over 100,000 people and possibly up to 200,000 people to take part in the event nationwide, topping Taiwan’s record of 70,000 people.
Chiang Mai is ready for the big Bike for Mom event on Sunday, August 16 where over 7,100 cyclists are expected to cycle 32 kilometers from the Chiang Mai International Convention Center (CMICE) to the Chiang Mai Night Safari and back. Riders will be asked to scan a bar code to ensure certification by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya said that the first 1,000 registrants will receive their free Bike for Mom cycling shirts and special pins bestowed by HM the Queen at a special ceremony at CMICE on August 12, 2015 at 1 p.m. Those who are number 1,001 and onwards will receive cycling shirts at the start on August 16 at noon at CMICE.

 


 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Update October 23, 2015

Kingdom celebrates 105th Chulalongkorn Day

The Government of Japan provides a Fire Engine for Huaypong Sub-District, Mae Hong Son Province

Update August 24, 2015

Situation update for tourists in Bangkok

New Walking Street Market debuts on Nimmanhaemin Soi 8

Chiang Mai works to increase security for tourists

Man arrested with Yaba after highway stop

Update August 19, 2015

Chiang Mai locals condemn Bangkok attacks

Bike for Mom sets World Record

New 1000 baht banknote has features for the blind

Update August 8, 2015

Donation Center for Myanmar flood victims at City Hall

Minister M.L. Panadda Diskul visits flood warning system project in Hang Dong

Japanese government funds Youth HIV/AIDS education project

Chiang Mai undergoing waste management as trash piles up

Bike for Mom to set World Record