This is an open forum for you, the reader, to express your opinions. Write to: [email protected] Subject : Your Say. Letter can be on any topic but priority will be given to letters under 200 words. Letters may be edited for clarity or conciseness. Name and contact details must be supplied.
Chiang Mai Chagrin
I believe your magazine should raise the issue of the continuing denigration of Chiang Mai and the ignored efforts of city planners to improve this bad situation. I’ve been told there is a planned 14-story building to be erected in an eight-floor building zone (mentioned in your May 2013 issue.) I wrote a note to the governor last year, expressing that something must be done to correct the uncontrolled development issues confronting Chiang Mai, however, there was no action or acknowledgement of my letter.
During my professional career I enjoyed assignments in some 26 countries. Nine years ago, when seeking a retirement home area, I selected Chiang Mai, because I felt the culture was strong and vibrant – I felt it had the strongest cultural bonds of any city I had visited. The city was both a very liveable and historical gem.
Today, there are many problems I’ve become aware of: Steady, dramatic increase in traffic; congested roads where flow is not optimised (example: Rincome Junction, Huay Kaew, Nimmanhaemin and Superhighway); cheaply constructed, gaudy buildings (especially on roads surrounding the moat) that are painted wild colours; sidewalks being used for everything but walking (and they require constant diligence to avoid falling); temple land leased for commercial purposes; and electrical wires in abundance
I believe, as a town and city planner, the Thai architectural and planning talent should be mobilised. I suggest a fast track international competition be held in order to develop plans for the future of Chiang Mai city. Invitations should be issued to the world’s greatest architectural planning firms. There are also a number of examples to consider (such as Luang Prabang, Laos) for what can be done in order to save Chiang Mai from further decline.
Firstly, [in reference to “Love or Something Like It”, June 2013] one doesn’t need to be a woman posting about sexual assault to attract comments that are snide, flippant and outright disgusting. Most people posting on ThaiVisa attract responses along those lines, as you would have seen had you read other threads therein.
Secondly, intimidation and street violence is a huge problem in many countries now. It affects everyone who dares to venture out – why bring in the gender politics by singling out women?
And why pooh pooh pragmatism? Being pragmatic and using common sense achieves positive results NOW. The simple fact is that men and women have a responsibility to modify their behaviour to avoid making themselves the next victim … for however long it takes chardonnay drinkers at swanky soirees to change the mindset of societies.
No Way, José
No. We all have a responsibility to make sexual assault unacceptable at all levels of society. The process of changing attitudes and laws regarding rape and assault needn’t start with the educated elite, as the commentator above implies. Also, sexual assault is not a result of what we wear or drink. It is a result of how ideas of power are constructed and manifested in a patriarchal world, and how we educate our boys regarding sex, masculinity, and respect.
Since the author [Casey Hynes] is writing from the perspective of a single female traveller, I believe attempting to write from a young man’s or child’s point of view would be pointless bordering on the ridiculous. Clearly she flies the flag for pragmatism citing her own behaviour. However, I agree with her whole-heartedly that the scourge of sexual violence needs to be addressed in a different manner. Mainly because current pragmatic, immediate action is achieving a temporary result. Where does the slippery slope of acceptance and pragmatism end? Curfews? Military patrols after dark? There is a deeper issue which needs to be addressed is the point.
[Ed. These are only samplings from a rather in-depth debate held in the comments section in the Citylife e-version of the June edition of “Love or Something Like It” – check it out and feel free to join the discussion at www.chiangmainews.com!]
Highs and Lows
It was nice to read that Chiang Mai was voted by Monocle Magazine as one of the world’s five most loveable cities, but more interesting to hear what they say is wrong with this city. Under the heading “what we’d fix” they say “strong laws are needed to control unchecked developments and keep things low-rise.”
Could you tell me what current rules or guidelines exist to check the new buildings that we see all over town? Are there height restrictions for any zones in the city or can a developer pretty well build whatever they want?
[Ed. Check out the article “In the Zone” (Citylife, October 2012). The colours on the map indicate the height restrictions of the buildings in each zone of the city. For the most up-to-date information, call the head of Department of Public Work and Town and Country Planning, Wichai Kajornpreedanan, at 081 881 8351. We are looking into getting more information about this topic for a future article.]
Dog Meat Dogma
[In response to “Creepy Cuisines”, July 2013] I really don’t see why eating dog meat is any better or worse than eating pig or cow meat. Thailand would be a much cleaner and safer place with less aggressive stray dogs if there was less of a stigma towards dog meat.
The Chicken or the Egg
Is there really any difference between eating chicken or eating a chicken foetus? It’s amazing how meat eaters can make such a specious distinction. Taking it one step further, they shouldn’t eat eggs either. Shock! Horror! Next stop vegetarianism. Like a good Buddhist ought to be.