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Chiang Mai Citylife > Articles > Talking it Over

Talking it Over

Rather than stretching out the same conversations about traffic, pollution and ‘noise’ with the same old friends and cquaintances, coming to pretty much the same old conclusions and doing absolutely the same old nothing about it, the editorial team thought it might be time for me to branch out and meet some folk with mono-syllabic names to discuss Chiang Mai with.

We chose three urbanites: Pradd, 31, a forward-thinking marketing employee of Kasikorn Bank. Fai, a pretty, confident 25 year old PhD student and Oh, 33, an amiable and thoughtful policeman who is into meditation when he’s not being a cop. In a kind of improvised, open-forum conversation the three talked about the pros, cons and other splendours and irritations of the city they have chosen to live in. Here are some of the best quotes from the conversation:

Pradd:
“Chiang Mai is a growing economy, and more employment options will become available. A lot of people want to conserve culture, but tradition must meet the modern also.”

Fai:
“We need to live with the expansion of the city.”

Oh:
“Crime rates reflect economics – if the economy is good people have more. Crime is not really a product of expansion. Now the economy is not so good, crime reflects this.”

Pradd:
“It’s hard to go back to Lanna ways. Even if we wear the clothes, it’s just a fashion now, not a tradition.”

Oh:
“It’s some station’s police policy to wear traditional clothes on Fridays.”

Fai:
“You think the traffic is bad here . . . I come from Bangkok, and one of my reasons for coming to live here is the good traffic situation.”

Oh:
“The thing with the songtaew is quite political. The municipality has tried to push a better bus system onto the city already but the taxi community has power, and it has been hard to create a better public transport system.”

Fai:
“All we need is more organistion. The songtaew system is too abstract, the prices can change. They charge me more when they realise I’m not from the around here.”

Pradd:
“What will the future bring? I see the rich getting richer, the middle staying in the middle and the poor staying poor. The poor will move out to the suburbs and much of the city will be taken up by people who have come from Bangkok.”

Fai:
“I don’t need all the gadgets, BBs and so on.”

Pradd:
“These days everyone wants the latest stuff. But look at all the debt they are in.”

Oh:
“It’s fine having ‘global’ needs, but they have to be within your revenue. You can’t control materialism, everyone has a right to buy what they want, and these things will come, it’s all about the marketing.”

Pradd:
“The life of consumerism doesn’t really work. Now ‘want’ has changed to ‘need’. But you buy a car, and then in a day or two you’re no longer impressed by your car.”

Fai:
“More people usually equal more problems. Look at Pai, now it’s damaged. Chiang Mai needs to think about infrastructure, it needs to deal with all the more people coming. But it’s still a nice city, and it can still be nice in ten years.”

Oh:
“Chiang Mai is not as complicated as other tourist places such as Phuket or Pattaya. We don’t have organised crime here, just local crime.”

Oh:
“The charm of Chiang Mai is its variety. That’s why people come here, there’s so much happening.”

Fai:
“There are lots of foreigners here now, tourists, but also expats. I think they should learn something about Thailand, the culture, if they want to stay here.”

Oh:
“It’s everyone’s human right to travel, to move where they want, to stay where they want, but we shouldn’t invade other’s privacy.”

Pradd:
“If I have any free time I go on some kind of tour with my friends.”

Oh:
“My job is stressful, so I go somewhere quiet when I have time.”

Fai:
“I just like staying in the CMU area.”

Pradd:
“Technology can help reduce problems, as well as create them.”

Oh:
“I see no red and yellow in the future. We will develop as a society, we have to help each other. I think they will be solutions to other problems, like the environment. We just need to create an awareness of issues so that they become part of people’s consciousness.”

Fai:
“I had to drive 25km to and from work in Bangkok and it took 4 hours of traffic jams. It’s cheaper here to live, convenient, loads of places to go. Warm Up is close by!”

Oh:
“More boutiques. Keep the money within the community. If we can produce the things we don’t go elsewhere for them. Buy and sell within our community, create more self sufficiency.”

Fai:
“Foreigners and Thais alike, are very irresponsible drivers. We need safer roads.”

Pradd:
“We need to learn about change, adapt to it. I want to see us having adapted to all the issues surrounding population increases, like pollution, like traffic. I think we will see advances in technology that can nullify these problems. People will gain more knowledge in the future.”