is it an epidemic or isn't it? Does HIV always lead to AIDS? Do the drug
companies focus only on treatment and not cure? Is there any truth in the
rumour that men of Anglo-Saxon descent can't catch it? (...)
I am very proud to take up my duties here as the first Governor of Chiangmai
who was actually born in the Province. My father was formerly the Sherrif
of this district before becoming Governor of Lampang and I am a former
student of Prince Royal College, Chiangmai.
My last post was as Governor of Sisakhet and, of course, Chiangmai is
so very different. It has changed rapidly in the past 30 years, and has
become too westernised in some ways, but the people are faithful to Buddhism
and this has helped to preserve our culture over 700 years of history.
There is much natural beauty here and if you drive out of the city you
quickly see the extent of unspoilt nature right on our doorstep. Our economy
is generally good, with an average annual income of 60,000B per head, but
the tourism industry enjoys a relatively short season and this is a problem
with which I hope to assist. Our traffic is very congested, and one of
my first meetings here began to consider whether we should plan overpasses
- or the more expensive underpasses - to relieve it. I am very concerned
about road safety and there must be better training for the Traffic Police
and all road users. There is air pollution from vehicles and garbage which
is not being disposed of properly.
Chiangmai is a gateway for drugs, traded from the north west, and the
night life here makes this too easy. Illegal gambling is another problem
which must be addressed.
But these aspects should not prevent us from enjoying the many unspoilt,
traditional attractions of the city and Province. I extend a warm welcome
all our visitors and, for all who live here, I look forward to updating
you on events as I see them in this column each month.