living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thailand – Doctor says Thailand should match WHO’s pollution standard

Via: Bangkok Post

A doctor providing medical care to haze-affected patients in the North has called for an adjustment to the pollution safety standard.

Dr Chaicharn Pothirat, chief of pulmonary, critical care and allergies at Chiang Mai University’s faculty of medicine, said the current maximum safety level of 120 microgrammes per cubic meter per day for particles less than 10 microns is far higher than that set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In 2005, the WHO set the maximum safety figure at 50 ug per cu/m per day, but it has not been adopted in Thailand.

Dr Chaicharn said prolonged exposure to the hydrocarbons present in haze increases the risk of cancer and damage to the respiratory system.

Dr Chaicharn said doctors in the North had in recent years noticed an increase in non-smokers with lung cancer.

Medical research conducted between 2008 and 2010, based on emergency visits by doctors from the faculty, found incidences of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and long-term lung disease increased in parallel to every 10 ug per cu/m rise.

”With haze, we tend to discuss just the damage to tourism, scenery, visibility, and sore eyes and noses,” said Dr Chaicharn. ”Those impacts are small when compared with the long-term health risks. How many people in the North will die of cancer because of it?”

Dr Chaicharn called on officials to adjust the standard to more accurately reflect the problem. ”We first have to admit the fact that we have a problem, a serious problem,” he said.


personal thought:

I believe the two leading Englisgh language papers, the Bangkok Post and the Nation, should post BOTH the Thai ’50 microgrammes per cubic meter per day’,  AND the WHO/US/ EU ‘120 microgrammes per cubic meter per day’ in EVERY article/editorial.



April 8, 2012 Posted by | Bangkok Post newspaper, climate, The Nation newspaper | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chiang Mai hopes for a long-stay life preserver

Via: Bangkok Post

The long-stay market is a strong niche and it would improve tourism revenue in the province after political protests last year.

“Cultural tourism has been promoted for a long time, but competition in the field is intense. Many other provinces have attractive Songkran celebrations,” said chamber president Narong Kongprasert.

The chamber reported that local tourism declined following political protests by supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra last April and May, But the incidents took place in a limited area and did not tarnish the province.

“It’s time to refocus our strength,” said Mr Narong. “We are confident that Chiang Mai is still a tranquil place with nice weather and perfect to be a second home.”

Living expenses in Chiang Mai are lower than Bangkok, while its low crime rate is another advantage.

The province is a long-stay hub for foreigners, especially Japanese. About 3,000 Japanese are long-stayers and have a close community through the Thailand-Japan Longstay Association.


“We expect to welcome more Japanese elderly in years to come. Once the number rises to 10,000, it means the province gets revenue up to 4 BILLION baht ($133 million USD), much the same it earns from selling longan for the entire year,” Mr Narong said.


my view:

The Japanese population increasing from 3,000 to 10,000 sounds a little ambitious; but hey, good luck.

April 22, 2011 Posted by | Bangkok Post newspaper, cost of living | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mekong River – Xayaburi dam

Via: Bangkok Post


“Wait be Damned”

Construction work around a controversial dam in Laos which is expected to provide cheap energy to Thailand is well underway despite the project not yet receiving official approval.

An investigation by the Bangkok Post Sunday which visited the area surrounding the Xayaburi dam on the Lower Mekong River last week found major road works under construction and villagers preparing to be relocated.

Several of the villagers said they were to receive as little as US$15 (450 baht) in compensation for moving from the area.


Via: Than Nien News

With less than a week to go before the Mekong River Commission’s Joint Committee makes a decision on a major hydropower dam on the river, environmentalists highlighted its infeasibility and called for its cancellation.

If built, the dam could perpetrate an ecological catastrophe, they said.

“Disruptions to fish migration and food supplies for MILLIONS in the Mekong basin are likely if the first mainstream dam on the lower Mekong is allowed to go ahead,” the WWF, one of the world’s largest independent conservation organizations, said in a statement released Thursday (April 14).

Expert analysis showed that the feasibility study and environmental impact assessment prepared for the Xayaburi hydropower dam in Laos failed to address key environmental risks, the WWF said.

The US$3.5 billion dam, to be built in northern Laos, would generate power mostly for sale to Thailand.

April 17, 2011 Posted by | Bangkok Post newspaper | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thailand – ‘downhill for our education system’

Via: Bangkok Post


It is more than a SURPRISE and QUITE a SHOCK when the results of the nationwide O-Net test, which measures students’ basic knowledge in various subjects, shows that on average Thai students fail miserably, especially in the important subjects such as English and mathematics, noted Thai Rath.

Out of a mark of 100, here is the average of each subject scored by students countrywide:

Thai language – 42.61

social studies – 46.51

English – 19.22

mathematics – 14.99

science – 30.90

physical education and health studies – 62.86

arts and crafts – 32.62

career and technology – 43.69


Thai Rath posed questions to education critic/academic Assoc Prof , Faculty of Education, Chulalongkorn University.

Q: As an academic on education, how do you feel about the nationwide O-Net result?

A: “The failure has been consistent for the last three years which is the period of transition from the previous education reform to the present one. . . .”


You can read the rest of the interview with Dr Sompong Chitradap, here:

April 16, 2011 Posted by | Bangkok Post newspaper, education | , , | 3 Comments

(1 of 3) the very brave and inspiring – Nitcharee Peneakchanasak

via: The Bangkok Post

Nitcharee Peneakchanasak continues to make progress in her recovery from a train accident in Singapore in which she lost both legs below the knees.

The 14-year-old, a pupil of Princess Chulabhorn School in Trang, fell onto a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) track at Ang Mo Kio station in the city state on the morning of April 3.

“Nong Than” was immediately taken to nearby Tan Tock Seng Hospital where she is now recovering.

One of her legs was severed by the train as it came into the station, and the other was so badly mangled that it had to be amputated by surgeons.

“I’m recovering really well after the surgery and hopefully I’ll be able to leave hospital in the next four weeks,” said Nong Than, adding that yesterday she received a basket of flowers from the secretary of Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn who was in Singapore until yesterday.


Nong Than said she also wanted her case to be “a wake-up call” for Thai authorities who were duty-bound to provide proper safety measures on the BTS.

In addition, she demanded the Thai government pay more attention to the plight of the disabled by providing basic public infrastructure that would help to get around more easily and make their lives more enjoyable.


First of all, I know Singapore is a VERY RICH country, and Thailand is not.

However, speaking from personal experience; I believe the government can do more, and should do more, to help the disabled.


‘broken left femur – 6-week post-op’


‘broken left femur 12-week post-op’


And finally, I want wish the VERY BEST to Nong Than.

April 14, 2011 Posted by | Bangkok Post newspaper, Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

We all live in a second-hand submarine!

via: Bangkok Post – Arglit Boonyai – 2 April, 2001


After 60 years of planning, the navy may finally get the weapons of their dreams – a FLEET of SIX shiny, new submarines.

Except they are not new, they are not shiny and I can’t for the life of me think what we are going to use them for.

Let’s start with the reasons for the purchase. Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban has defended the purchase, saying that the 7.7-billion-baht ($254M) procurement is “necessary for maritime territory protection”, and that “some countries in the region have submarines and could pose a threat to the national interests.”

Note: some countries in the region (specifically, neighboring countries):

Burma, Cambodia, Malaysia, and ‘land-locked’ Laos


Q: In the end, who is going to tell us why?

 If we were to ask the government, those responsible for the approval of military spending, the answer is obvious. They are willingly giving taxpayers partial ownership of a submarine, because they want to keep the military happy – and we all know why that is.

A: Votes, perhaps?


via: Bangkok Post

Surachart Bamrungsuk, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of political science, said he disagreed with the prime minister’s plan to purchase the six submarines at a time when the country is facing economic hardship.

He said Thailand had NO REAL NEED for the submarines.

“I believe [the plan to buy the submarines] is a government populist policy to GAIN VOTES from military officers,” he said.


The story behind the very cool photo:

April 3, 2011 Posted by | Bangkok Post newspaper | , | 1 Comment

Everyone is a critic!

Bankok Post : (dated 18-Mar)

 The abrupt change from more than 30C to 17-19C since Wednesday was caused by an intense high pressure system from China that covered Thailand, said director-general Torsak Wanitkhachorn.




Got it? Now read the …

Bangkok Post – Letter to the Editor (dated 18-Mar)

“Shivering in this heat!

Thursday’s Bangkok Post promised 37 degrees Celsius as the maximum temperature for the city. In reality it was 20C.

The map showed sunshine, but it was raining.

Who is responsible for the newspaper’s weather forecast? The text and map symbols are also contradictory. If in the top right corner the prediction is ”cool with morning fog”, why is the maximum temperature at 37 degrees? The longer text promises ”thunderstorms with gusty wind” but the map shows sunshine!

The Post should either get its weather services from a better forecaster, or at least update the maps to follow the text. No need to have a fixed ”sunny” map for the entire summer season. Perhaps looking out of the window might help!


“Weather forecast for tonight: dark” – George Carlin

March 18, 2011 Posted by | Bangkok Post newspaper, climate | , , , , | 1 Comment

1. SAVAGE price hike looms – Bangkok Post

The prices of many food and consumer goods products are set to skyrocket at the end of this month and the public is being warned they will have to reach far deeper into their pockets.

The scrapping of price controls between manufacturers and the Commerce Ministry, which will take effect at the end of this month, means it will cost a lot more for people to buy many products, including fertilizers, pharmaceutical products, detergent and soap.

Adding to consumers’ woes, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) said yesterday that prices of food products are also set to soar soon.

Visit Limprana, an FTI executive, said food prices are expected to surge by about 10-15% over last year.



Three Thai businessmen managed to maintain their positions in this year’s Forbes The World’s Billionaires list, despite many new entrants, particularly from Asia. The fortunes of all three Thai billionaires have improved over last year

Ranked No 1 in Thailand for two years, with a net worth of US$6.5 billion (Bt197 billion), Charoen Pokphand Group’s Dhanin Chearavanont and his family are ranked 152nd in Forbes’ 25th annual ranking of the richest people in the world. Last year, net worth of $2.1 billion put him at 463rd.

Safe to say, these guys are going to do okay.



Many Thai people will be severely impacted by the price increases.

At the household level, increasing food prices have the greatest effect on poor and food-insecure populations, who spend 50 to 60 percent or more of their income on food, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

March 11, 2011 Posted by | Bangkok Post newspaper | , , , | Leave a comment