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Koh Phangan hotel probed after complaints of cultural appropriation for Angkor Wat design

Caitlin Ashworth

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Koh Phangan hotel probed after complaints of cultural appropriation for Angkor Wat design | Thaiger
PHOTO: Le Palais

A Koh Phangan hotel is saying sorry for using Cambodia’s culture and famous landmarks, including the popular Angkor Wat, in what looks to be a case of cultural appropriation, misusing or misrepresenting a culture and profiting off it. An investigation into the claims of cultural appropriation has been launched by Surat Thani Culture Office.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts is also now reviewing the complaints about the hotel’s use of Cambodia’s ancient landmarks which also include UNESCO World Heritage Sites Bantaey Srey and Bayon Temple, the Khmer Times reports. Ministry spokesperson Long Punna Serivath says they will talk with the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to determine whether the hotel’s use of Cambodia’s culture has an effect on the country’s economy.

“The temples of Angkor Wat and other UNESCO World Heritage Sites are cultural resources that we are obliged to help preserve and promote.”

The hotel overlooking the island’s popular Haad Rin beach, an area known for its raunchy Full Moon Party, first opened in 2014. The Bangkok Post says the hotel is owned by a Cambodian couple. The hotel advertises temple-inspired rooms like the “Angkor Rooms,” saying in a description that the “Angkor Wat is the most valued and admired of the Khmer Empire, The Palace of the King.”

The Angkor Wat in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province is the most renowned temple in the country. It is featured on the country’s national flag and it was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. The temple is part of the Angkor Archaeological Park with ruins dating back to the 9th and 15th centuries.

Cambodia’s Khmer Times reported the outrage and criticism over the Koh Phangan hotel’s use of Cambodia’s culture for commercial purposes. Here’s what some netizens said, according to the Khmer Times:

Angkor Wat is the property of Khmer people. It is not right that a foreign country steals our culture”.

This is the brand of Khmer, Thai must ask for permission from Khmer.”

It’s really sad, a thief has stolen the culture of Khmer heritage

The Le Palais Hotel wrote a post on Facebook apologising for the building’s design, saying they are “extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused you and would like to clarify the vision from our founder’s heart and intention.” They say the hotel’s design was inspired by the “greatness” of the Angkor Wat and that Cambodia is the “motherland” of Thailand’s founder.

“We launched the hotel humbly only for the admiration, appreciation and passion for the magnificent art. The construction, decoration here were handmade and heart-made by Thai and Cambodian teamwork. Nonetheless the greatness will always remain to the great Angkor Wat and will never be compared.”

President of the Tourism Association of Koh Phangan Vichai Khongmun says the hotel complies with building regulations, adding that Angkor Wat design might encourage tourists to visit the real place.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Khmer Times | Le Palais

Please accept our heartfelt apologies..We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused you and would like…

Posted by Le Palais on Sunday, October 4, 2020

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Angy

    Monday, October 5, 2020 at 10:48 am

    now they can open thousand complaints from Venice, Rome, Paris. All kind of cultural approprations are made in Thailand but also in other contry. Big problem coming for Las Vegas soon.

    • Avatar

      Ling

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 12:58 am

      That’s exactly what I thought. Las Vegas is the perfect example.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, October 5, 2020 at 11:04 am

    Absurd. It’s hardly pretending to be Angkor Wat.

  3. Avatar

    Jeff Jewel

    Monday, October 5, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Oh gawd. Cultural appropriation….what a crock. People are dupes.

  4. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, October 5, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    Petty Thai officials. What happened did they not get their brown envelopes!
    Any chance they get they say: no you cannot do that.
    Cultural appropriation?
    There is a Mall in Pattaya. Terminal 21.
    It has the leaning tower of pisa. It has the Eiful Tower. Some New York bridge.
    Go after them for Cultural appropriation.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, October 5, 2020 at 3:50 pm

      Actually it was petty Cambodian officials …..

      • Avatar

        Jilted John

        Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 1:48 pm

        Believing what you read on an online Thai media outlet then questioning it’s content isn’t the smartest of moves…

  5. Avatar

    Paul

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 8:21 am

    I agree that almost all fuss about cultural appropriation is nonsense. Should we try to shame Japanese businessmen for wearing Western suits? Please don’t pay attention to the eternal complainers

  6. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Cambodia?
    Well: Petty Cambodia officials. What happened did they not get their brown envelopes – then.

    lol

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

100+ Covid-19 infections cancels all prison visits

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100+ Covid-19 infections cancels all prison visits | Thaiger
PHOTO: Close quarters in prisons make dangerous conditions for Covid-19 spread

After a small Covid-19 outbreak reported yesterday, the Corrections Department has now cancelled all prison visits from tomorrow through May 5, after testing revealed more than 100 people infected within the prison systems in Narathiwat, a border province in the south of Thailand, and Surat Thani. Originally 2 prisoners in Narathiwat Central Prison were confirmed to have Covid-19 Friday, with contract tracing and testing revealing 5 inmates and a prison staffer who travelled to Surat Thani also have the virus. Now, further testing revealed that 112 infections have been identified in Narathiwat’s prison.

In order to prevent the spread in the confined spaces of a prison, several actions have been implemented. Aside from suspending all visitors, inmates will not be allowed to participate in any off-site work programs, and incoming prisoners will be tested twice and be isolated for 2 to 3 weeks before being assimilated into the common prison population. With visitations cancelled, the Corrections Department confirmed they will allow “virtual visits” through the Line app. Plans are being worked out to handle problems like court appearances remotely for any detainees or prisoners affected.

In Surat Thani, after the 5 prisoners and 1 prison official contracted Covid-19, testing was done on 135 inmates who were considered high risk. The preliminary results seem to be all negative. In the far south, the Deputy Governor of Narathiwat reported that medical officials had administered Coronavirus tests to 791 prisoners and prison staff thought to be high risk. Narathiwat Central Prison has a total population of 2,334 inmates and 97 staff members.

Of the 112 positive Covid-19 test results at Narathiwat Central Prison, 87 are male inmates, 23 are prison officials. Also afflicted are 1 female prisoner and 1 nurse. Prisons present some unique challenges and controversies when dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic. For example, last week arrested protestors complained of human rights violations when prison guards claimed to be attempting to administer Covid-19 tests at unusual hours.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Southern Thai people turn from tourism to gold panning

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Southern Thai people turn from tourism to gold panning | Thaiger
PHOTO: Traditional panning for gold replaces tourism for income in Southern Thailand

Thars gold in dem hills!

With tourism in Thailand struggling due to Covid-19, and an economy needing some help, some people in the southern Thai region of the country have found income in an unusual source: panning for gold. The Sukhirin region close to the Malaysian border is known for gold deposits in the Sai Buri River and surrounding mountains. Villagers who made money before with tourism have now returned to panning for gold using old-fashioned manual techniques their ancestors used, without the aid of any machinery. Well, just an old pan.

Locals had previously made money selling food to passing tourists or acting as a tour guide to take people around the area, where travellers seeking to get away from the crowded and overdeveloped tourist areas that attract the most foreigners find many unique activities. Kayaking was a popular local activity with up to 150 people a day sailing down the rivers that are now filled with locals panning for gold. The prospectors are now making their income from the gold they collect which sells for 1,500 baht per gram. Families that work together can often collect at least one gram a day.

Thai Gold prices have reached record highs over the last 2 years and many Thai people have traditionally used gold and gold jewellery as a form of savings and investment, pawning their gold rings and bracelets in times of financial emergencies. The gold collected from these Southern villages will be used to make jewellery in Bangkok.

The region had invested in expanding into ecotourism but the pandemic put all their construction plans on hold. A cable car was being built to transport people up to the tops of the mountains to beautiful temples. The area’s unique history attracted people to their annual Rocket Festival, typically a north-eastern celebration.

In 1932, France was granted a 25 year mining contract in the jungles. They extracted almost 2000 kg of gold before World War II forced closure. The mining tunnels still exist and sometimes attracted adventurous tourists, but now sit vacant aside from snakes. In the 1960s the Thai government incentivised northerners with 18 rai of land each to move to the region. As a result, the area stands out in the Muslim region with 90% of the population being Buddhist, and most still speaking Isan dialects.

SOURCE: France 24

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Thailand

Boy killed by lightning strike in Surat Thani, 5 others injured

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Boy killed by lightning strike in Surat Thani, 5 others injured | Thaiger
Stock photo by Philippe Donn for Pexels

A 12 year old boy was killed by a lightning strike while he was playing football at a field in Southern Thailand’s Surat Thani. 5 other children were also injured from a bolt of lightning and were rushed to the Surat Thani Hospital.

Heavy rain had just cleared up and the boys were playing football when lightning struck the middle of the field in the Khian Sa district.

The 12 year old Mathayom 1 student (grade 7) was pronounced dead at the hospital. Reports do not go into detail about the conditions of the other boys, ages 13 to 16, who were injured from the lightning strike.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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