Rice field in art form

 

 

 

If you have a heart for art, there is an organic rice field in Photharam district of Ratchaburi, around 100 kilometres west of Bangkok, that will, come July, surely pique your imagination.

 

Farmers and volunteers converge in Ratchaburi to plant organic rice. — Karnjana Karnjanatawe

Earlier this month local farmers joined Greenpeace supporters and volunteers in planting organic rice seedlings on a 10-rai plot. The seedlings, planted in a pattern that mimics farmers in straw hats with sickles, will be ripe for harvest in four months' time.

Touted as a new tourist attraction, the stated plot is not far from Wat Khao Rab in Photharam and just 10 minutes drive from the famous cave near Wat Khao Chong Pran that is home to millions of bats that take flight every evening.

The seedlings were of the green and purple variety, and the exercise was part of Greenpeace's efforts to encourage organic rice farming in the province. Already, farmers there produce fermented rice noodle from organic rice.

Joining the exercise were several volunteers who travelled to Photharam with their families from Bangkok, braving the strong afternoon sun to plant the seedlings. Assisting them were local farmers, while children too joined in the fun.

"This is my first time. I am worried that the seedlings may wither or die because I am not skilled at the job," said Chatchai, a civil servant, standing in the muddy field before bending down to plant the seeds. He wore shorts, a T-shirt and covered his face with a piece of cloth. To him, the job was backbreaking.

"Now I know how hard farmers work. From now on I will appreciate every grain of rice I eat," he said.

Thailand is the largest exporter of rice, accounting for 27 per cent of all rice traded on the world market.

Organic farming is the cornerstone of Greenpeace's campaign against GMO crops. Its goal is to make rice farming sustainable and maintain Thailand's lead in the long run.

Visit http://www.greenpeace.or.th for more information.

KL plans new terminal

Malaysia plans a second terminal for low-cost airlines serving Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Expected to open in 2011, the new terminal will cost US$540 million to build. It would double the airport's passenger handling capacity to 30 million annually and help ease traffic congestion at the current terminal that mainly caters to passengers flying Air Asia.

The new terminal will have more spacious waiting areas and food zone.

Fly cheap to New Delhi

Cathay Pacific, which will operate direct daily flights between Bangkok and New Delhi starting March 29, hopes to attract passengers by offering airfares 20-60 per cent cheaper than other airlines plying the route.

One-way economy class tickets by Cathay Pacific are priced at 10,785 baht including surcharges, compared to Air India's 13,795 baht, Thai Airways International's 16,895 baht and Singapore Airlines' 28,805 baht.

The special rate will remain in effect until the end of June.

Photo exhibition

Phuket Bulletin, a magazine, and Foto United are organising a pictorial exhibition whose theme is "One Day in My Beloved Phuket".

The exhibition will display works of Foto United or Saha+Phab which is a grouping of 40 professional photographers.

The exhibition runs one month starting March 29 at Phuket Thaihua Museum.

For more information, call 076-230-193.

Incheon top airport

Incheon was voted best airport last year following a survey commissioned by the Airports Council International (ACI) covering 200,000 passengers passing through 108 airports worldwide.

Incheon in South Korea was cited for service quality. For the fourth year in a row, the top three airports hailed from the Asia-Pacific region: second being Changi in Singapore followed by Kai Tak in Hong Kong.

Suvarnabhumi Airport placed 28th, although it came fifth among airports capable of handling more than 40 million passengers annually.

Lecture at Siam Society

The Siam Society is organising a lecture today titled "The Portuguese Settlement in Ayutthaya in the 17th Century" by Antonio Vasconcelos de Saldanha, PhD.

The lecture begins at 7:30 pm at the Siam Society on Asoke Road. Admission fee is free of charge.

For more information, call Khun Arunsri at 02-661-6470/7.

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