This issue of
Citylife

Your say

Keeping Eyes Out
I appreciate if my photo and comments on Chiang Mai environmental issues could be exposed through your fine magazine.
Travelling frequently in and around Chiang Mai for several years, it seems like many local communities do not take pollution seriously enough and may be major contributors of smoke pollution (setting forests and rice fields on fire in March and April) as well as throwing their household garbage in the canals.

I presume these appalling facts should be dealt with by the various village leaders, through the loudspeaker announcements as well as by the various district offices, that eventually have to sort out the misery.

Making the villagers environmentally responsible should be a major concern for the local authorities. The same should apply to foreigners being aware of environmental deterioration and hence, supporting Thailand in becoming greener and cleaner. This may be achieved by personal behaviour, as well as by sharing their concerns when the environment is turning at risk.
Kind regards,
Argus
Argus meaning:
1. Greek Mythology: A giant with 100 eyes and was later slain by Hermes.
2. An alert or watchful person; a guardian.


Immigration Woes
The national newspapers and other media have reported extensively about the difficulty of obtaining a TM30 within the required 24 hours of arrival. Therefore I would like to tell you of my happy experience and maybe you could pass on this useful information in your excellent newspaper.

I can speak only from my perspective as a long stay retired visitor (seven years) in Chiang Mai living in a rented house on a long lease who occasionally travels within Thailand and abroad. Last week, after a short trip to Phuket, I visited Chiang Mai Immigration to self-report my TM30 because my landlady was in New York and unavailable. I ignored the reception in the main room full of foreigners. Instead I went to the door in the far right corner of the room. I went upstairs to an office marked TM30. This is where a landlady would go to submit a TM30 for her new foreign guests. Inside was a desk with a sign saying TM30 here documents not required’ (in English). I asked the officer if I could self-report without my landlady being involved. The officer smiled and said yes. I gave her my passport which she scanned. The computer read my passport ID number and delivered my information. The officer asked if I was still living at the same address in CM as previously reported on my previous TM47 (90 days reporting). I said yes. She printed off the TM30 form already completed by the computer. I checked the details and signed it. She tore off the bottom slip and clipped it into my passport. I smiled and said thank you. She smiled and wished me a good day. The total time required was less than five minutes.
I applaud CM Immigration for their fast, efficient and friendly service.
Thank you and best regards,
Alistair Cunningham


Where did the Scarecrows Go?
Hello, I’ve been living in Chiang Mai for a while and Thailand is my home. As an immigrant here it’s like having no voice since we are not supposed to criticise. Yet I believe there is a lot to gain for Thailand from hearing an outside point of view sometimes. After all I live in this country by choice, so I’m really willing to keep it and make it the best place ever. However, I thought of your magazine as someone with a voice and open minded. Please hear me out on some local matters.

I would like to raise a concern about a new trend in agricultural practices: Rice farmers are now, on a large scale, using firecrackers to chase birds away from their newly planted fields. The direct consequence is that everyone living in the area will be delightfully woken up by the loud sounds of explosions as early as 6.30 am. Consistently. This practice goes on all day long at a pace of up to five explosions per hour. So everyone in the area can feel how nice it is to live in a war zone with continuous loud explosions at their door steps. I can literally feel the blast from 50 metres! The fact is that farmers use this tactic for around a week to protect sprouting rice from birds’ appetites. But farmers plant their rice at different times, so this bombing war zone and delightful alarm clock is part of everyday life.

May we question the efficiency of this practice? When one farmer uses loud firecrackers to chase birds away, they usually land on nearby rice fields. Which again will blow huge firecrackers to chase them away…and so on, causing birds to have rather short memories. So it appears to be a constant harassment of the birds and the neighbours, with little effective results. The need of the farmer to constantly be on field, under the harsh weather conditions, is certainly a burden too.

What happened to scarecrows? Or flashing banners? Those techniques show a constant and direct threat to birds which may be more difficult to set up but the farmer is then free of its obligations and his presence. How about sharing some of the rice with the birds in a designated area? One must raise the fact that birds come to eat farmers’ crops because their food supply has been destroyed by the farmers’ activities themselves! Sharing a little bit to help the natural environment to survive is certainly praiseworthy and a win-win attitude.

On top of the already accepted use of heavy chemicals to kill, the practice of burning yielded crops and creating air pollution is at a point of worldwide records! This new trend is now creating a new area: noise pollution. What kind of farming practice uses gun powder? If this is permitted then what will have next: riffles and bullets, hand grenades, weaponised drones?
It’s wrong. It must stop!
Thanks for hearing me out.
Looking forward to your thoughts on the subject if it’s any relevant to you.
Your friend and reader.
Anonymous