City News

 |  March 29, 2013

CityNews, Chiang Mai’s first daily-updated English language online news site brought you the city’s biggest news events last month, as well as some hard-hitting feature stories that we hope you enjoyed.

So, what happened in Chiang Mai last month? The pollution is on everyone’s lips…and nasal cavities, and eyes, and lungs, and hair… In short, the city’s dreams never came true and in spite of all the hype about combating pollution it was business as usual this year. We received passionate comments every day from readers who have had it not only with pollution but with the seeming lack of response by our local government. Are they really better at writing PR than they are at delivering anything that resembles progress?

On a happier note, Songkran is coming! The city is trying to clean up the festival this year, to make it a more traditional affair. We’ll see about that.

We had some great feature stories this month from writers all over Thailand and abroad, and we introduced you to some people who are doing groundbreaking things throughout this country.

Here are some of the main stories:

The ‘music police’ were busy last month so we felt compelled to help:

The ‘Music Police’ – Putting an End to Extortion

“I had a huge confrontation around 8:30 p.m. Friday. It was my second. An employee’s passport and CDs were taken. There were at least two threats of murder – directed at me and my Thai partner – if we didn’t pay.”

“They [police] said not to be intimidated by this man. He knows the law well and he also knows that the moment he TOUCHES someone or their property he can immediately have charges put against him. So it is just threats. If he touches your equipment or computer, then you have every right to press charges. Take pictures and video as evidence and report to the station immediately.”

The follow-up, two days after we published the original story:

Local Businesses Relieved – The Copyright Cops Have Been Arrested by Chiang Mai Police.

“Chiang Mai City Police Station arrested Watchara Yensin (51) and Chatchapong Sangla (38), who both had claimed they worked for copyright agencies and who it is alleged to have been extorting money from various entrepreneurs in Chiang Mai for many years.”

A multimillionaire, doing charitable work and making changes in education, is getting amazing results:

Hill Tribe Kids Being Taught How to Learn – Getting Highest Test Scores in Chiang Mai

“Ten years later, after selling his company, Molecular Probes, for 325 million dollars, Haugland used the profits to start a new venture, The Haugland Foundation.  ‘I have kids who have learned addition and subtraction in 4 months, kids that are 3 – 4 years old,’ he told me. ‘We have accuracy rates of 97%. One of our classes got perfect scores [on their Thai exams]; in other classes 8/10 students passed. I have betters ways to teach the kids than rote learning, and it has proved to make the children faster, and more accurate.'”

Editor James Austin Farrell’s opinion about the city’s apparent inefficacy concerning pollution…and other matters:

Politics, Policing and Keeping Up Appearances

“We read a lot about what will be done, but we don’t see much material related to what’s happening. There’s hardly a photo or criticism concerning the fires raging in Mae Rim right now, or the smoke billowing from the forests of Doi Pui. The media, for the most part, looks like an appendage of the establishment, not a reactionary force that supports the public’s welfare.”

Humour from Tom Clegg’s blog:

Thailand, so amazing, they used the word twice!

“I can imagine the phone conversation between the Thai and Indonesian tourist authorities ending in a coin toss for superlatives. Indonesia got ‘Wonderful’. Result! Cambodia is ‘The Kingdom of Wonder’, which I think is fair enough, and ‘Malaysia – Truly Asia’ has a nice ring to it. ‘Vietnam – Timeless Charm’ is a bit fusty, and ‘Mystical Myanmar’ is lazy alliteration, and wrong, because the country is called Burma.”

Our readership is growing by the week, as is the number of writers who want to write for us. We value your comments, and it is often these very comments that move us to write stories, so please stay involved! Chiang Mai has a conscience, and we hope to show that on CityNews. If you have an event, a show, an opinion, or a story you want to share, please contact

Enjoy the New Year!

For all these stories and more, visit