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Phuket Finance: Educational arbitrage

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Finance: Educational arbitrage | The Thaiger

PHUKET: I think everyone would agree that a big part of long term financial planning is saving for their children’s university fees, which continue to reach more and more astronomical heights. However, very few people realize there are many ways to greatly reduce these costs without reducing your child’s value on the job market.

Arbitrage usually refers to buying a security cheaply on one exchange while simultaneously selling on a different exchange where it trades at a higher price. Nowadays textbook arbitrage plays are hard to find and the big institutions use very complex methods to try and achieve arbitrage profits – but when it comes to education prices, arbitrage possibilities are abound.

When it comes to life-planning it is often said that one needs to begin with the end in mind. I think this is true with education as well. For instance, if you would like to see your children educated to the graduate degree level, there are many routes to get to the same institution and graduating class. The total cost of getting through from kindergarten to a Master’s degree is not going to be cheap in any case, but going about it in different ways can drastically reduce the total amount.

Encourage your kid and you may also be delightfully surprised to receive sports or scholastic scholarships. I am not a big believer on pushing kids too hard, and it is important to let kids follow their passions as well as their strengths. Obviously scholarships can’t be relied upon solely, but apply for them at every opportunity.

Where I see the possibility of generating real savings, is using the method of increasing the ‘cost level’ of education gradually throughout the entire education process. This is what I call educational arbitrage. Even without an IB international diploma, a child could graduate from a Thai school with an English program and still study abroad. Spending some time on testing your child’s strengths and weaknesses throughout his early years can pay big dividends if you get him or her tutoring where they need it.

Prepping your kid to score off the charts on standardized testing such as the SAT exam is something that should start early. While I think these kinds of test are over-rated and easily gamed, admissions staff the world over rely heavily on them to distinguish between applicants.

Transferring credits is the real key to big savings. If a parent is an American for example, the child could go to the states and work for a year to gain residency in a given state and then attend a very low cost community college. I myself first got a two year associates degree in business from a local US community college. These credits are then transferred to a bigger name four year university and you end up with the same degree as everyone else at half the price! Most countries have rules that you can use to your advantage with a little creative thinking.

I realize there is a difference between a degree and an education, but I graduated summa cum laude and am sure I left my four year school with a much better education than many of my classmates who spent all four years there. The difference comes from effort, and that is something that needs to come from intrinsic motivation, which I believe is a result of being brought up properly by your parents. Throwing money at a school isn’t a replacement for spending time with your children and instilling good values, although, maybe I am old-fashioned.

If your child gets good grades in a mid-range university and does well on standardized tests, then when it comes to graduate school he or she will be able to choose among the top schools. This in my opinion is where your education will be “judged” by the job market. If you graduated from Harvard, nobody is going to care what kind of middle or high school you went to. Work experience, a global outlook, languages spoken, and many other factors will also affect your child’s chances.

Obviously, if paying a top international school’s fees doesn’t cramp your style then I am not saying this isn’t ideal, but for many expats in Phuket, this is not a choice. If this is the case, don’t fret, there are many ways to get your child educated to a standard where his or her opportunities in the world will not be limited. It just requires creative planning and careful monitoring to make sure your child is proficient in all of the required areas.

David Mayes MBA resides in Phuket and provides wealth management services to expats around the globe, focusing on UK pension transfers. Email david.m@faramond.com or call 085-335-8573.

This article appears in the current issue (June 1-7) of the Phuket Gazette newspaper, now on sale at newsstands throughout the island. Digital subscribers may download the full issue, this week and every week, by clicking here.

Keep checking our online Phuket Business pages for the latest local and national business updates. Alternatively, join us on our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter.

— David Mayes

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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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