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Obesity on the rise in the Land of Smiles

Maya Taylor

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Obesity on the rise in the Land of Smiles | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Christopher Williams on Unsplash
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Thailand has a health problem and it appears to be an even bigger concern than the current Covid-19 pandemic. The World Health Organisation says nearly one third of the Thai population is now overweight and 9% of the country is obese. Malaysia currently holds the dubious honour of having the highest obesity rate in Southeast Asia – but Thailand is now in second place.

In a report in the Chiangrai Times, leading academics and medical experts lay bare their concerns. Obesity is well-known for being a leading cause of diabetes, heart problems, arthiritis and several other debilitating conditions. And in countries with less-developed healthcare systems, this is even more of a burden.

In Thailand in particular, obesity is just as prevalent in children, with 1 in 10 children classed as overweight. 10.5% of kids under 5 are obese. That figure rises to 13.9% for those aged between 6 and 14. In adults, both men and women are getting fatter, with the highest rate of obesity being among those in the 45–59 age group, followed by the 30-44 group. This is the case with both genders.

The study also reveals that obesity rates are lower in rural areas. Central Thailand and Bangkok have higher rates, with the difference most pronounced among the male population. In particular, obesity is prevalent among Buddhist monks, with one theory being that they are regularly offered food by devout Buddhists and it is rude not to accept it.

Obesity on the rise in the Land of Smiles | News by The Thaiger

Photo: www.bangkokjack.com

Whereas junk food costs less in the western world and is more likely to be eaten by poorer families, it is the opposite in Thailand. The rise in obesity therefore is partly being attributed to a rise in income, combined with a more sedentary way of living for many. Thai men and women aged 45-59 tend to have more income and those who do live in urban areas. They have also been shown to have a higher obesity rate.

Now medical experts are warning the public of the risks associated with obesity, while the government has issued guidelines on the daily consumption of sugar, sodium and saturated fat. Schools are being encouraged to introduce more activities for children and to reduce the amount of time they spend sitting at desks.

Meanwhile, public health official Amporn Bejapolpitak says monks need to get more active and that the public should offer them healthier food choices. It’s believed that 50% of the nation’s monks are obese. Professor Jongiit Angkatavanich from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University expressed grave concern.

“Obesity in our monks is a ticking time bomb. Many of the monks are suffering from diseases that we know are actually preventable.”

SOURCE: Chiangrai Times

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Another family kept apart by Thai red tape and quarantine confusion

The Thaiger

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Another family kept apart by Thai red tape and quarantine confusion | The Thaiger

Sometimes you cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s and it’s still not enough to satisfy the paper-pushers, especially at this disruptive time in Thailand, and everywhere else. One Australian father has ended up separated from his family – he’s in Australia and his wife and 2 children are in Thailand being shuffled around Phuket and Bangkok in a Thai paperwork nightmare. Sam Kelly wants his family onto a repatriation flight being organised by the Australian Embassy out of Bangkok on June 6. For now, for reasons not immediately apparent, that’s not going to happen.

“I just want to get my family out of quarantine and onto this flight. I understand that this is not normal circumstances. But the facts are: The Thai and Australian governments have put on this flight to repatriate citizens to Australia. The Thais and the Australians have already shown they can be flexible, but now it looks as though my family might miss this flight. They have been tested and are Covid-19 free.”

The full story of Sam and his family’s plight is below. But Sam is grateful for the help from Australian consular officials up to now.

“I want to thank all the Australian consular staff in Bangkok and Canberra that have been helping me. You have been a great help in a very difficult situation.”

Sam’s story is one among thousands of families separated by the lockdowns and border closures in Thailand, and around the world. The Thaiger believes Sam’s wife and kids, and similar families, should be put on the top of the list of repatriation efforts when bans are lifted and flights resume.

The Thaiger hopes cooler-heads prevail in this case and that Sam, Kanny, Ronny and Adam are back together again soon.

Here is the full unedited text from Sam…


Help me get my family to Australia.

I’m one of the many offshore workers around the world that have been prevented from re uniting with their families

My base is in Phuket Thailand and has been for the last 15 years, I have a wife and 2 children. My wife’s name is Kannika “Kanny” Polngam who is a Thai national and my 2 kids Ronald “Ronny” Kelly (2) and Adam Kelly (5), who are dual Thai and Australian citizens with passports.

On the 12th of February I left Phuket to go on a 4 week on 4 week off rotation. I saw the situation regarding Covid-19 was deteriorating, so I started the process of getting my family out to Australia. I chose to stay here in Australia, so I was available for work, and still be able to provide for my family.

On the 5th of March my kids were taken out of school in Phuket and very strict curfews were imposed to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Flights in and out of Thailand all but stopped with the occasional charter/repatriation flight going out of Bangkok to a few different airports in Australia. I managed to secure a flight on only one of 2 flights from Thailand to Australia for the whole month of June. I spoke with Australian consular officials in Bangkok on the phone and was told that it was a good idea to get the family up to Bangkok in case they needed to do more paperwork, etc.

On around the 19th of May, I told Kanny to just lock the house up, throw away anything we don’t need, just pack a few bags and drive off the island, stay with her parents in Bangkok and wait for the flight. She obtained permission from the Wichit Police Department in Phuket Town to leave the island and drive to make the long 12 hour drive to Bangkok. After being granted permission to get off the island my family was stopped at a Surathani checkpoint which is a few hours north of Phuket and directed to drive directly to:

Queen Sirikit Stadium
Klong 6, Tanyaburi, Pathumthani, Bangkok

When they arrived on the 21st of May they were all locked into a very small apartment that was once student housing at a university.

Kanny contacted the authorities and started to make noise. Everyone in my family has been self isolated for months. The kids actually had more people from the schools and government checking on their welfare in our Phuket house than in this little state sanctioned Bangkok student accommodation. No Thais authorities are checking on their welfare now, they just get a few bags of food thrown on their doorstop every day.

After Kanny made some noise the Thai authorities came and did a Covid-19 check on everyone. The results came back negative the next day and it was agreed that they would all be released and go to my mother and father in laws house nearby in Bangkok.

Now today it is Friday, my wife just got a phone call and one of the head honchos there by the name of Mr Boonlert, he has decided to revoke what he promised which was them being released into self isolation. The date that they will be released now is the 6th of June. This is one day after this flight leaves from Bangkok to Brisbane.

Another family kept apart by Thai red tape and quarantine confusion | News by The ThaigerAnother family kept apart by Thai red tape and quarantine confusion | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Kannika and the two boys are removed from the self-isolation they had been granted and returned to state quarantine – khaosod.co.th

During this time the Australian Consulate and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have been in touch with me stating, they cannot issue a ticket for my family to fly to Australia on this special flight until the family are out of quarantine. The Thai authorities have quite happily let people transit through Bangkok who have tickets out of Thailand, but as the Thai authorities have my family in detention, the Australians authorities will not issue a ticket to fly out.

So I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, my family has:

• Been in self isolation for months
• Been checked regularly by the Thai government and their school teachers doing home visits during the time schools closed on the 5th of March
• Have attended regular doctors appointments, including a health screen for my wife to apply for an Australian visa
• Have been in enforced state quarantine for over a week now and passed a Covid-19 test which was a horrible experience for them
• Look like they might miss one of the last flights back to Australia due to this Thai state quarantine period and if by some miracle they make the flight, they have the absolute joy of doing another 2 week quarantine in a hotel in Australia

Thousands of people have travelled to Bangkok from Phuket and none of them have been quarantined, the quarantine is actually a DISCRETION. There has been Australians being repatriated from Phuket, and they have been able to travel hassle free to Bangkok and wait for their flights out. Why are my kids the only Australians that have been locked up? I’m having serious concerns about their mental health at the moment.

All I want is the best for my kids, and neither the Australian or Thai public servants are providing that now.

These boys have not played with another kid or seen a blade of grass since the 5th of March, that means that if they went to Australia, it would be over 3 and a half months by the time they finished their last isolation period.

I have paid taxes in both countries for many years. I want some sort of communication between the Thai authorities and the Australian authorities.

Why are these Australian children being detained? They don’t have Covid-19 and they need to get out of quarantine to get back to Australia on the 5th of June.

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Thailand

Thailand News Today – Monday, June 1

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thailand News Today – Monday, June 1 | The Thaiger

Returnees from UK found with high fever, hospitalised

Of the 251 Thais who repatriated from the UK yesterday 20 were found to have high fevers and rushed to hospital, according Suvarnabhumi Airport’s deputy director.

The Thai Airways charter flight arrived at the airport at 2.20pm. Screening found that 20 passengers had high fever and they were rushed to hospital. 16 passengers also opted for the alternative 5 star state quarantine facilities, while the rest were transported to the government’s specified facilities in Bangkok and Samut Prakarn.

A Korean Airlines flight arrived last night, also at Suvarnabhumi, bringing 194 Thais from South Korea. Screening officers found 13 of the passengers with high fever. 18 of them upgraded their mandatory 14 day quarantine at a designated hotel.

Thailand has registered on only new Covid-19 case today, another Thai returnee, this time from Russia.

No “new normal” for Thailand’s deadly road toll

In what will come as no surprise to most, the death toll on Thailand’s roads has resumed its upward trend after a brief interruption during the Covid-19 lock-down.

More people are back behind the wheel or the handlebars, and with that, the carnage has returned to Thailand’s roads.

In Phuket, a truck ploughed into a power pole on Saturday, killing the Thai driver and a Burmese national who was hit by the falling power pole as he rode his motorbike on the opposite side of the road.

In the west of the country yesterday, a mother and 3 year old daughter were killed, when the car they were travelling in, left the road and slammed into a tree in Kanchanaburi.

Another accident in the south killed an 80 year old woman in Nakhon Si Thammarat, when the motorbike she was a pillion passenger on was hit by a car.

As of our recording time, 29 people have already died on Thailand’s roads today and another 1,629 have been injured. Annually some 21,000 Thais die on the road, putting it into the Top 10 countries in the world for the most dangerous roads.

Police identify individuals seeking bribes from Pattaya hotels, no charges filed

Pattaya police say they’ve identified a number of individuals chasing kickbacks from hotels in exchange for being listed as a Covid-19 quarantine facility.

However, as none of the hotels involved have filed a complaint, the individuals in question have not been charged. Well, yet anyway.

With hotels across the city shut down as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, some people have attempted to exploit the desperation of those in the hospitality sector. The statement from the Pattaya police comes in the wake of the government pledging to crack down on such extortion and identify those responsible.

Thai PM Prayut is pressing for legal action to be taken against those involved

Southern mayor backs bounty for shark hunt after boy’s foot was bitten

People are searching for a shark after it apparently bit a boy’s foot at a pier in the southern province of Satun. The local mayor even said he’ll give a cash reward of 1,000 baht to whoever catches the shark. He even took a long tail boat out on Saturday afternoon to scope out the scene and try and track down the shark.

Last Thursday, a 12 year old was playing on the pier with two of his friends. Something bit him when he was swinging his legs in the canal. The boy is okay, but he needed 50 stitches (yikes!!).

Researchers from the Marine and Coastal Resources Department say the bite is most likely from a bull shark.

14,000+ people contract dengue this year

More than 14,000 people have contracted dengue fever and 11 have died so far this year, the country’s north and east the hardest hit.

From Jan 1 to May 25 this year, 14,136 people were found to have caught dengue fever, or 21.2 per 100,000 population. Eleven people died from the disease during the period.

The five provinces with the highest numbers of dengue fever cases were Rayong, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Mae Hong Son and Nakhon Ratchasima.

25 arrested after police raid online gambling base in Mae Sot

Police arrested 25 people involved in online gambling after a raid Saturday night at a house in Mae Sot, Northern Thailand, right on the Burmese border.

Police also confiscated equipment used for the online gaming. Out of the 25 people arrested, 5 of them were Thai and the rest were foreigners, mostly from China.

Police seized 7 computers, 14 smartphones and 2,000 to 2,500 SIM cards. The gambling operation also has 50 bank accounts with a total of around 100 million baht.

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Government outlines new rules as massage parlours reopen for business

Maya Taylor

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Government outlines new rules as massage parlours reopen for business | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Alan Caishan on Unsplash

From today, you can once more enjoy a Thai massage, but there are strict conditions attached to the reopening of massage facilities. Suffice to say, it won’t be the same as the massage you had in the past. As the country enters phase 3 of the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, massage parlours are required to register on the Department of Health Service Support website, where they must complete an online self-assessment certificate.

They are also required to keep the department up to date by way of weekly reports on their safety and hygiene protocols. All massage parlours have been issued with a set of rules for both staff and customers. Facilities found to be breaching the conditions of operation will be shut down temporarily. Here are the rules for the “new normal” massage experience…

Guidelines for massage parlours

• Use one entrance only, with space of at least one metre between the reception desk and customers when recording personal details
• Shop operators must have a temperature screening point for both employees and customers
• Shops must provide cloth masks, medical masks, and hand sanitiser containing 70% alcohol
• Everyone in the shop must wear a mask and keep clean
• Follow good health practices issued by the Public Health Ministry
• Massage chairs must be placed at least 1.5 metres apart
• Only one customer per room, but in case of a large room, a folding door or curtain can be installed to separate the room into individual areas
• Provide safe payment options such as online payment
• Prepare and provide clean clothing to customers. When massage is over, the clothing must be removed and cleaned
• Prepare a proper ventilation system
• Employees must change into uniform before providing service
• During service, talk to customers only when necessary

Guidelines for customers…

• Wear a mask throughout the service
• Cooperate for temperature screening and provide true information about personal details
• Clean hands both before and after the service
• Follow the shop’s advice

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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