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Government goes retro with new ‘moral code’ for students

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Government goes retro with new ‘moral code’ for students | The Thaiger

“…kissing the cheeks of a member of the opposite sex or embracing them is “inappropriate.”

The Cabinet has approved the Education Ministry’s new regulations banning students from holding public gatherings, “inappropriate” displays of affection and causing public nuisance. The attempt to control students’ moral and social behaviour is a major step for the Junta, away from building roads and taming dissenting politicians to the private lives of its younger citizens.

The new regulations, which will be implemented after being published in the Royal Gazette, is a revamp of the 2005 regulation on students’ conduct that warned students against public displays of affection and causing a public nuisance at night.

The new regulation now also forbids public assembly likely to disturb order or go against morality, inappropriate acts of affection and obscenity in private and public places, and causing a nuisance. The regulation appears to be heavy on rhetoric but light on specifics, leaving broad interpretation for the ‘moral police’.

Education Ministry spokesperson Chalam Attatham said the 2005 regulation had to be revised in line with modern society and to close some loopholes.

He says the new rules better aim to protect students and promote acts that are appropriate and socially responsible. He said that though student behaviour seems to be improving, with fewer cases of them engaging in brawls, “[the new regulations] will give schools and authorities a tool to oversee their students”.

Meanwhile, Montri Sintawichai, director of the Child Protection Foundation, said: “What students need is not punishment, they need help.

“If a student is at risk of or is engaged in acts of sexual intimacy, apart from alerting the school or parents, we will also need good measures to help [them] continue their education and prevent such acts in the future,” he said.

Montri said a public assembly that may cause indecency and public nuisance is too broadly defined, as it could include singing or playing the guitar loudly.

Warat Phrueksakulnan, the director of Bureau of Scout Movement, Red Cross Youth and Student Affairs, said in an interview with Kom Chad Luek, that kissing the cheeks of a member of the opposite sex or embracing them is “inappropriate”.

Warat added that authorities overseeing student conduct should deter students from such acts by conducting random patrols at risk-prone areas every month and keeping a close watch during events such as Valentine’s Day.

Some students, however, find the regulations too intrusive.

Piyamanida Tumcha from Chulalongkorn University said the regulation infringed on her rights. “What if I like skateboarding, but people in my neighbourhood say it causes a public annoyance, am I banned from it?” she said.

She also questioned how the regulation could be enforced effectively, especially the ban on physical affection in public and private places.

“If it is done in private, I wonder how it harms the public? Also, if it is done in private places, how can they know and enforce the regulation?” she asked.

STORY: The Nation



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Thailand

Thailand is ‘least miserable’ country in the world again

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Thailand is ‘least miserable’ country in the world again | The Thaiger

Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says he’s delighted over Thailand’s rating as the “least miserable” economy in the latest Bloomberg Misery Index. The annual Misery Index is calculated as the sum of a country’s inflation and unemployment rates.  The index compares the average of economists’ forecasts for each country.

The US moved six places to 13th least miserable and the UK improved four spots to 16th least.

Thailand scored 2.1 in the 2019 Index, which was the same score it received last year, making it the “least miserable” country out of 62 economies as rated by Bloomberg. Switzerland improved to second least miserable. Venezuela was rated the “most miserable economy” with inflation projected at about six million percent this year.

But Bloomberg says that Thailand is often rated least miserable due, in large part, to its rather unorthodox way of counting employment as well as their low fertility rate and aging population.

The Bank of Thailand lists Thailand’s unemployment rate at 0.9 percent and inflation at 1.1 for last year.

Thailand is 'least miserable' country in the world again | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Phuket seastead being removing by Thai Navy today

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Phuket seastead being removing by Thai Navy today | The Thaiger

Navy officers are in the process of dismantling and removing the Phuket seastead today.

About 300 navy officers are currently in the process removing the structure off the south east coast of the island. The operation is expected to be done by today, according to a spokesperson. The seastead will be kept at the Phuket Deap Sea Port as evidence in the case against the builders, Ocean Builders, and Thai/American couple who had been ‘living’ there for a short time.

The Phuket Vice Governor Supot Rodrueng Na Nongkhai says documents will be summited to the Office of Attorney General within one week.

But the company behind the project, Ocean Builders, has announced it will sue Thailand in an international court if the government removes the seastead. This legal test in a court will force the Thai Government to test its hard-line position on the seastead in an international court of law.

Speaking at a press conference at the King Prajadhipok’s Institute on friday, Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said Thai officials could remove the floating structure from the seas off the Thai mainland, because its presence clearly violated Article 119 of Thailand’s Criminal Code as threatening the Kingdom’s security and sovereignty.

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Plastics

Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year | The Thaiger

By the end of 2019 Thailand will be free from three types of plastic – microbeads, cap seals and oxo-degradable plastics.

Then by 2022 four other types of single-use plastics will also be banned – lightweight plastic bags less than 36 microns thick; styrofoam food containers for takeaways; plastic cups and plastic straws – according to a road map approved by the Cabinet.

The Plastic Waste Management Road Map 2018-2030 also includes an ambitious plan for Thailand to use 100 per cent recycled plastic by 2027 in various forms, including turning waste into energy.

The Cabinet has acknowledged the road map and assigned the Natural Resource and Environment Ministry to formulate a draft action plan for plastic waste management, so it is in line with the 20-year national strategy.

Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year | News by The Thaiger

The Cabinet also called for clear details on related agencies’ role in the integration of the work for managing plastic waste, which will also get huge participation from the private and business sectors. The related state agencies should create various mechanisms to propel this forward such as creating a good understanding among agencies, continuously implementing a public relations campaign via social media to achieve the set goals, the Cabinet instructed.

The work procedure must consider lifecycle plastic-waste management so steps are taken from the very start: with plastic products designed applying the “Eco Design” approach, manufacturing and post-consumption disposal which will include garbage separation, transport and storing, recycling and proper disposal.

According to the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion, Thais generate as much as 1.14 kilogram of garbage per head per day, contributing to the 27.04 million tonnes of waste per year.

One person uses approximately eight plastic bags a day – or 500 million plastic bags per day for the whole nation.

Most of the plastic waste ends up in the oceans, accounting for 16% of garbage in the seas.

SOURCE: The Nation

Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year | News by The Thaiger

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