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7-Eleven – Can’t live without it

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Love it or hate it, the local 7-Eleven has become an integral part of daily life for most people living in urban Thailand.

From its humble beginnings in 1920s Dallas, Texas, where ice factory employee John Jefferson Green began selling milk, eggs and bread from an improvised store in front of the factory, it has grown to be the largest franchise operator in the world with over 50,000 stores. It seems to have found the perfect niche here in Thailand, with some 7,000 stores, surpassed in number only by the US and Japan.

So what is it that makes them so popular? Well, in a word, convenience. Where else can you grab a quick cheap bite to eat, withdraw some money from the ATM, pay a bill, top up your phone credit, buy a few beers and a copy of the paper in under five minutes, all in air conditioned comfort?

Well, nowhere else really, and that’s the recipe for their popularity. But, before you accuse me of leading the cheer squad for this westernized shopping experience that has so rapidly encroached on Thai life, it’s important to remember some of the ways the 7-Eleven experience has been “Thai-afied”.

Firstly, the prices. Items at 7-Eleven are reasonably priced, unlike in the West where “convenience” is factored into the cost at an astonishingly high rate, often making items twice as expensive as those in a large supermarket. This points to the Thai eye for value and a good bargain. If 7-Eleven set their prices too high, no one would go.

Secondly, more often then not, the stores serve as a gathering point for local vendors, where they can set up their stalls with free lighting and the promise of a constant flow of foot traffic – so rather then completely nudging out local traders, a symbiotic relationship is often formed.

Thirdly, they function as a sort of all-hours banking service. There is almost always an ATM, bills of all sorts can be paid in one spot and you can reliably break a 1,000-baht note at any time of the day or night. They are also one of the only places you can consistently find a rubbish bin in a country sorely lacking public bins.

So despite the valid criticisms of the high-calorie, low-nutrition food they purvey, and their smothering of small mom-and-pop stores, it seems certain that they are here to stay. And if the decrepit soi dog that sleeps right in the doorway of my local store has any say in it, there are some things about Thailand that even 7-Eleven will never change.

— Mark Knowles

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We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

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When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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