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Phuket Business: Ingredients of good showbiz

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Business: Ingredients of good showbiz | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Siam Niramit Phuket recently launched the second edition of “Thailand’s Must-See Show”, opening a massive new theater on the bypass road near Phuket Town to house it.

Good news for the local entertainment and tourism sectors, Siam Niramit Phuket’s “Journey to the Enchanted Kingdom of Siam” show provides one more compelling itinerary for tourists and residents alike.

Pannin Kitiparaporn, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Siam Niramit Bangkok and Phuket theaters, gave an exclusive interview with the Phuket Gazette on the eve of its soft opening.

Vibrant and articulate, Miss Pannin recollected the various challenges and trials she endured leading up to the launch of one the world’s largest stage productions right here in Phuket.

Involved in show business since a young age, Miss Pannin had experience running movie theaters and indoor play parks before eventually getting into the amusement park market. Having established Bangkok’s first large-scale amusement park, the now-defunct Magic Land, as well as Dream World, currently Bangkok’s most popular amusement park, she went on to realize her true calling.

“Show business is where it’s at for me, and though amusement parks do have some shows, they are not on a large scale,” she said.

“To create a world-famous amusement park would have require billions of dollars of investment, which I don’t have. And even if I did, I wouldn’t invest it [in an amusement park]. A large scale show is more viable, with a broader market reach,” she said.
She established Siam Niramit in Bangkok about six years ago.

“When we first started, we thought we were 70% prepared. However, it ended up taking us five years to get everything right. I think in actuality we were only 30% in-the-know and 70% was actually what we didn’t know,” she said.

“The first year was spent correcting everything,” she continued.

“It’s like cooking the perfect dish. You have the best kitchen, best equipment, best cook and best ingredients. But when it’s all put together and cooked, it doesn’t taste quite right,” she said.

She explained that Siam Niramit comprises five key “ingredients”, or dimensions: scale, beauty, special effects, cultural authenticity, and entertainment.

Despite an initial investment of 1.5 billion baht, the first Siam Niramit show in Bangkok sold only 60 tickets out of a total 2,000 seats. This is in stark contrast with Phuket’s sold out opening, with all 1,740 seats filled.

“Though I was down about the slow start, business gradually started to pick up due to word of mouth. We were doing pretty good by the second year, but by the third year, sales dropped back down as a result of turmoil in the capital.

“This pattern continued year after year – the yellow shirts, coup, curfew, red shirts, and now the flooding. So about three years ago, we figured we had the show about right and Phuket was the most appealing new market.

“Even without the turmoil [in Bangkok], I would have eventually come to Phuket anyway, but the turmoil is indeed a driver for me to readily come here,” she said.

Miss Pannin noted that the total starting investment for Siam Niramit Phuket theatre was about 2.5 billion baht, which covers land and construction costs in addition to recruitment.
With only one foreign national on the Phuket team – an AFX special effects specialist – she said she doesn’t plan to recruit any other foreigners, citing a successful local recruitment campaign.

She pointed out that the facility employs a staff of about 400 Thais, of which 385 were recruited locally and the rest were transferred, by choice, from the Bangkok team.

Asked about her return target, she responded, “I expect to break even within five years, though it would be nice if I can do so in the first year,” she said, adding that her monthly overheads are to the tune of 20 million baht.

Phuket Business: Ingredients of good showbiz | News by The Thaiger
Pannin Kitiparaporn CEO of Siam Niramit smiles for the camera.

Questioned about the local target market groups, Miss Pannin confirmed that her key market is foreign audiences.

“Thai people typically don’t come to Thai shows. And when they do, they think I’m doing it all for the country. Government officials from other countries assume that the show is a [Thai] government effort to preserve and promote culture,” she said.

“Siam Niramit does not have a specific target segment and the show is for everyone. It’s quite challenging to make a show that can be consumed by all audiences, no matter what language they speak or what nationality they are. So we try to keep it non verbal, without strong story lines so as not to risk losing some audiences,” she explained.

Asked about how she positions Siam Niramit against other competition in Phuket, she replied. “I don’t consider myself as someone’s competitor. People go to Las Vegas because there are many shows available.

“Likewise, tourists in Phuket can come to see my show and also see someone else’s. Variety is necessary in show business. Just like movies, no two are alike, and just because you see one doesn’t mean you should not see another.”

She concluded with yet another food analogy. “You can not know how good the food is until you taste it.”

For more information, visit Siam Niramit.

— Steven Layne

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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Central Thailand

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers

Maya Taylor

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Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

An airline executive has been arrested in the central province of Samut Songkhram, after complaints from150 employees that they had not been paid. Chawengsak Noiprasan, who had a court warrant issued against him in October, was taken to Don Muang police station from a property in the Bang Khan Take sub-district. He is a board member of Siam Air Transport.

The airline began operations in October 2014 with services out of Don Mueang to Hong Kong, using 2 Boeing 737-300s. 2 Boeing 737-800s were added to its fleet in late 2015. It expanded by adding Zhengzhou and Guangzhou in China to its network in early 2015. In late 2015, the airline launched flights to Macau and Singapore. In 2017, the airline ceased all operations.

But according to an article in the Bangkok Post, the carrier operates a number of scheduled and charter flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The Post reports that, as Chawengsak signs the company’s legal paperwork, all legal matters concerning the airline fall to him.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau says the executive has admitted to ignoring a 30 day notice issued by the labour inspector and ordering the payment of wages to 150 workers. It’s understood he is also wanted in relation to 7 other cases.

The authorities sought Chawengsak’s arrest following complaints from employees who say they haven’t received their wages for 2 months. It’s understood the airline had previously deferred salary payments for over 8 months. 150 workers filed an official complaint with Don Mueang police and also approached media outlets, asking them to pressure the airline into paying the money owed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

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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