“Doi Suthep is such an integral part of life in Chiang Mai. We listened as children, wide-eyed, to the story of pregnant Nang Bua Ban whose unrequited love led her to jump to her death at Wang Bua Ban Waterfall during the Second World War; as adolescents we enjoyed afternoon picnics sliding down rocks into Montatarn’s crystal pools; we naughtily snuck up to lie on the road and watch the stars with our sweethearts as teenagers; we scattered our loved ones’ ashes deep into the jungle, at peace that one day our own body-dust will also mingle with the mountain’s soil; we lit our candles and circled the sacred gilded pagoda in age-old rituals on auspicious occasions; and, at the end of a long hard day, we sit on our city balconies with a glass of wine and think how lucky we are to have such a magnificent view.”
So began my editorial in August 2006…as it does this month.
Just over eleven years ago our cover featured my story ‘Doi Suthep in Crisis’, where I offered up an alarming prognosis of a mountain range being sucked dry of its natural resources — water, wildlife, biodiversity, land — while at the same time being inundated by the alien —people, waste, traffic, development. Thankfully, much of the damage many experts anticipated at the time never materialised due to the Herculean efforts of so many, from academics and researchers to the private sector. Unfortunately though, new problems have emerged, and while our story title is not as alarmist as it was over a decade ago, there are still some grave concerns which I hope you will take time to read about so that we can spread awareness and perhaps work together to ensure our beloved mountain’s continued wellbeing.
Join me in checking into this issue again to evaluate the ‘health’ of the green ‘lung’ that is the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, as it struggles to inhale our city’s carbon toxins, but for now generously exhales its oxygen onto we residents below.
Citylife this month:
Our girl Tus Werayuttana has spent a lot of time with rubbish this month. She has talked to those garbage separators you see rifling through your bins every night, she has rubbed tubs of Vicks under her nose as she visited our city’s dump transfer station and even spent an entire day driving into the hinterlands of Hot, following a garbage truck to see for herself where our mega tonnes of waste ends up. If you have ever wondered what happens to the one kilo of rubbish you ting each day, well read on. Aydan Stuart tries, and pretty much fails, to make sense of the upcoming alcohol and cigarette tax, but he does his best and I think that his frustration reflects all of ours. I get a free trip to Hong Kong and am, as always, overwhelmed by the incredible energy and pace of the city state. Lastly, please do take time to read about our upcoming Citylife Garden Fair which is going to be fabulous this year, with money to be donated to a whopping eight charities!