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Thanyapura gives back to the community

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Thanyapura gives back to the community | The Thaiger

PHUKET: “Now more than ever, companies need to demonstrate transparency. They must show they are attuned to environmental issues. They should reduce carbon emissions, promote zero waste and host CSR activities to engage the public,” said the President of International Business Affairs of The Nation
Multimedia Group Pana Janviroj in the foreword of the latest issue of CSR Thailand magazine.

But there are companies out there who don’t need encouragement and do not wait for times to get worse to launch their corporate social responsibility activities. For some people and companies, CSR is their daily bread.

Phuket’s Thanyapura, under the new leadership of Philipp Graf von Hardenberg, is one such company.
Philipp took the reins of the sports complex just over a month ago and is already engaging his coworkers in their first CSR project.

“I mostly want to do something for the kids and young people,” says Philipp. “For me, the most important thing to do is educate them.”

These are more than words. Philipp and his legacy of work with Yaowawit School and efforts with underprivileged children in Phang Nga are well known in Phuket. And with a bit of effort and luck, so will his next project.

To state the obvious, schools need computers. At the same time, many schools in poorer regions have no way to afford IT infrastructure for their students. Government programs dedicated to solving this problem are usually expensive and ineffective – remember the recently scrapped One Tablet Per Child (OTPC) project?

Luckily, someone in San Francisco came up with a great idea to put the millions of old, unused
computers that lay around people’s houses and offices to work. These days, technology advances very fast, and marketing experts convince us to buy newer, faster, better machines all the time. In the meantime, the old ones, even though still perfectly functional, are left to the mercy of dust and time.

“I know people who have three, four old computers they never use and they have nothing they can do with them,” says Philipp.

This is how Labdoo was born – a non-profit, collaborative social network which allows enables laptops loaded with educational applications to reach schools throughout the world.

image

“The Labdoo people came up with a simple idea to wipe the unused computers clean, install new free software and donate them to schools and educational institutions in need. All you need to do is bring your old computer to the hub where a volunteer computer expert will take care of it. After that, the computer will be carried by a courier to it’s destination,” explains Philipp.

“This idea is free and it works already around the world,” he adds, and indeed it does. Since its inception in 2010, the Labdoo platform has grown to support over 310 schools in more than 95 countries, deploying more than 58 operational hubs spread over five continents while benefiting more than 73,000 students from around the globe.

Philipp started working with Labdoo in Germany. He got in touch with one of the local hubs and told them about the Yaowawit School. Soon after, he got registered in the program and was acting as a courier, carting computers to Thailand.

What’s wrong with this picture? It didn’t take Philipp long to realize things could be organized better.

“All together, I brought more than 20 computers from Germany to Thailand, but over time I realized that it doesn’t make sense to carry computers from Europe to Asia if I can get perfectly fine computers here. This is when I came up with the idea of starting a hub in Thailand,” he explains.

“I spoke to our IT team in Thanyapura and asked if they would be willing to volunteer some time to take care of the computers for schools. I asked the same question to some older students at Phuket International Academy… and everybody said it was a great idea.”

This is how the Phuket Labdoo hub came to be. As of now, it is up and running and waiting for your old, unused laptop that’s rotting away somewhere in your house. All you need to do is bring the computer to the front desk of Thanyapura and they will take care of the rest.

At this moment there are four members of the Thanyapura IT staff, plus two adults from the Phuket International Academy and 12 to 15 students involved in the program.

It shouldn’t take longer than a week for your computer to get a new life which consists of a new Linux-based operating system and new educational software, all approved by Labdoo. Once it’s ready, it’s the hubs responsibility to deliver it to those in need.

“There is one small, poor Burmese school that will get the computers – the sixth graders of the Phuket International Academy spend one day a week in that school – our kids do tutoring there, teach English and so on. This is the first school we want to help,” explains Philipp.

“There is also an orphanage about 2km from Thanyapura run by a Swedish couple who will get computers too. I also need some for Yaowawit School,” he adds.

Once the news spreads, there will surely be more. The computer’s owners can also decide where their gear will end up and once they name a beneficiary, all they have to do is to carry the machine to its new home.

“We brought the idea to Thailand and hope it will spread,” says Philipp. “We’re looking for people in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chaing Rai to start hubs too, and we’re getting a great response. By the end of the year there will be four to five hubs in Thailand.”

All that is needed now is your old, unused yet still usable laptop. An estimated 50 million tons of
e-waste are produced each year. If you do not want to add to this number, bring your computer to Thanyapura to keep it up and running for a good cause.

— Maciek Klimowicz

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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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