It’s been quite annoying; DBI and DBD::MySQL seems to default to Latin 1, and it appears that the client side way of “updating” to UTF8 is to issue “USE NAMES utf8” as ytour first query when you connect to MySQl (in my case, 5.5.x). The alternate is to tell the server that it should automatically do this query each time a client connects, or alternatively, disable encoding negotiation and use everything as UTF8. Here’s a few links I found useful:
And a quote from the second:
init-connect=’SET NAMES utf8′
As you’ll see in the first link above (Stackoverflow), adding params with spaces to Amazon RDS is a little tricky from Win platform – and you have no choice but to use the CLI tools for RDS to do this.