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Phuket Gazette: Gender inequality; Public debt; 4 Forbes’ heroes

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Phuket Gazette: Gender inequality; Public debt; 4 Forbes’ heroes | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Gender inequality still a problem among police cadets, say female students
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: The Royal Police Cadet School is proud of a recent workshop it conducted on ending violence against women in the community.

However, in practice, its female students still experience gender discrimination at the school, claiming some of their male peers have even given them the silent treatment for their attempt to prove that women and men are equal.

“Most male cadets here have a really strong gender perspective. They can’t bear the fact that women can shoulder a rifle like they do,” a female cadet said sadly.

Speaking on condition that she be identified only as ‘Tuk’, she said gender discrimination was so severe she once decided to call the course quits.

“I felt uncomfortable. Apart from many strict rules, there were certain issues about female nature. For example, when I have my periods, I always have a bad stomach ache but they failed to understand why I couldn’t join their normal training,” Tuk recounted.

Four years ago, she entered the school with its first batch of female cadets. At the time, there were about 20,000 female applicants but only 60 emerged the best in both physical and academic tests.

Tuk couldn’t stand the pressure in school, so she decided to leave during her third year.

“Most Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School (AFAPS) graduates who study here tend to not accept female cadets as they think women ruined their system,” one male student at the Royal Police Cadet School admitted. He agreed to give the interview on condition his name be withheld.

The student said about 70 per cent of male students still had a bad attitude towards female police. Some might express their feelings clearly, such as not stopping to bow to more senior female cadets, even though such action violates regulations.

When graduates from boys-only schools move to higher-educational institutes, their attitudes about gender equality do not pose much of a problem because most institutes have graduates from girls-only and co-ed schools.

However, at the Royal Police Cadet School, most students are still male – 80 per cent of the current students at this school coming from the AFAPS. It was big news when 80 Royal Police cadets voluntarily joined the three-day training over the past weekend to increase their knowledge of the nature, extent, and seriousness of crimes perpetrated against women.

“Some male cadets changed their masculine attitudes after women proved they could do everything men do. But there are still extreme individuals who won’t talk or participate with us,” said Key, a third-year female cadet, who hesitated before speaking softly.

Tuk, who resumed her study at the Royal Police Cadet School, reckoned that things had changed in a better way. Yet, when asked whether the workshop on ending violence against women would erase wrong gender perspectives, Tuk gave a firm “No”.

Anek Anonthawan, a teacher at the Royal Thai Cadet School, insisted that the girls’ presence at the institution so far has benefited the males.

“At first, there were heated debates on whether girls should be accepted as police cadets. But we explained to students that police need policewomen to work on sensitive cases and all understood it.” Anek said.

Nattaporn Seedajai, an administrative teacher, said the school’s practices had been adjusted to ensure they suited the physique of both males and females.

“Female cadets have colored and softened the atmosphere here,” Nattaporn said.

However, the less tough physical training has not made male police cadets happy and has led to anti-female cadet feeling in the school.

“Police cadets used to be proud of their system, their programmes. But when things changed, they blamed the girls,” a male police cadet said.

Although Nattaporn has welcomed the girls to his school, he still apparently believes females can’t be as strong as males. “I respect a female police cadet’s spirit, but I feel pity for a little girl who has to be trained hard like men,” Nattaporn said.

He also felt sorry for female cadets who may not be allowed to join an award ceremony where the royally-granted swords are presented and all male graduates attend.

“To date, no female police officers have got the swords even though their male peers receive one each. So, I am not really sure whether female graduates from our schools will be allowed to join the ceremony. I love them all but I won’t be able to help in this regard,” Nattaporn said.

Govt warned over surge in public debt
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: The government must address the rising level of public debt and cut populist spending to free up funding for investment in infrastructure projects, participants in a seminar said.

The Finance Ministry projects that public debt will rise to about 54 per cent of gross domestic product in the next four years, up from about 42 per cent currently. The debt-to-GDP ratio is considered safe as long as it is below 60 per cent, according to the ministry’s Public Debt Management Office.

But economist-turned-politician Trairong Suwankiri yesterday warned that if the Finance Ministry’s assumed GDP growth rate of about 4-5 per cent did not materialize, public debt would be much higher than projected.

“So if average GDP growth in the next four years is about 2-3 per cent, the country will face a problem of unsustainable public debt,” he said at seminar hosted by the Thammasat Economics Association.

The current and past governments have run fiscal deficits in an effort to bolster the economy in the face of the global financial crisis and last year’s severe floods. The government plans to run a deficit of about Bt400 billion this year and Bt300 billion next year.

High public debts can sink a country quickly, as seen in the case of the late-1990s financial crisis in Argentina, which had public debt of only 50 per cent of GDP, Trairong said.

Greece, so far, has been kept afloat only by bail-outs from the European Union, he said.

By continuing to waste a lot of money on the rice-pledging scheme this year, the government will add to the public debt, Trairong said.

Former finance minister Somkid Jatusripitak urged the government to invest more in infrastructure projects, education, and research and development to support sustainable growth.

Short-term economic stimulus will not lead to sustainable growth, he said.

Thailand could take advantage of the Asean single market if the country can improve its competitiveness through productive investment. Thailand’s competitiveness now lags behind those of Singapore and Malaysia, Somkid said.

He warned that political conflict would lead to a further erosion of the country’s competitiveness as the right people are not put into the right jobs because of nepotism and other forms of corruption.

“The country now lacks consciousness; people do not know what is right and what is wrong,” he lamented.

Bhanupong Nidhiprabha, dean of Thammasat University’s economics faculty, said fiscal stimulus was the right solution, as the global economy is slowing, but cautioned that public spending must be well targeted.

Teerana Bhongmakapat, former dean of Chulalongkorn University’s economics faculty, warned the government not to be complacent over public debt. O

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Crime

Anti-Corruption Commission official sentenced for pointing loaded gun at taxi driver

Caitlin Ashworth

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Anti-Corruption Commission official sentenced for pointing loaded gun at taxi driver | The Thaiger
PHOTO: NewsBeezer

A National Anti-Corruption Commission senior official was sentenced by the Criminal Court to 1 year in jail with a 2 year suspension for pointing a loaded .38 Colt pistol, threatening a Bangkok taxi driver back in 2018. Nation Thailand called it a “very lenient” sentence.

The assistant secretary general of the commission, 54 year old Piset Nakapan, must also pay a fine of 31,000 baht. He was charged with weapon in violation of Section 309 of the Criminal Code, carrying a weapon in public, threatening others, and violating the Firearms Act.

Footage from the taxi’s dashboard camera shows Piset getting out of his car and pointing the loaded gun at the taxi. He said to the driver, Pipat Seesa-on, “Why are you following me? Drive back and use another road.”

At the trail, Piset confessed to the charges and gave Pipat 2,000 baht as compensation. Since he confessed, the court commuted his sentence in half, cutting down the 2 year jail term to just a year and a 62,000 baht fine down to 31,000 baht. His jail term is suspended for 2 years, with mandatory probation check-ins every 4 months.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Some tourism officials concerned with political climate, ask government to open dialogue

Caitlin Ashworth

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Some tourism officials concerned with political climate, ask government to open dialogue | The Thaiger

In the midst of Thailand reopening its borders to foreigners on the Special Tourist Visa, political protests have only grown in Bangkok and are now being held in cities across Thailand. Now tourism operators are worried and are asking the government to engage in dialogue with the protesters. President of the Tourism Council of Thailand Chairat Trirattanajarasporn says he’s worried about another coup (Thailand’s had 12 since 1932) being used to solve the problems rather than talking it out.

“If the situation’s gone too far, I am concerned a coup will worsen the economy and affect the country’s image on the global stage… A coup is not the ultimate solution to the problem.”

Now that the protests are spreading across the country, Chairat says some tourist destinations could be impacted. In Bangkok, traffic has been blocked on busy intersections by thousands of protesters. BTS and MRT stations have also been shut down during some protests. He adds that people also tend to save their money during times of protest movements rather than spending it on trips.

“At this moment, the government has to show protesters and Thais the improvements they have brought about during the past 6 years, instead of harassing them for speaking up.”

On the flip side, Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn says he’s checked with TAT’s 29 overseas offices that have been monitoring international feedback and no one has reported concerns with Thailand’s political climate, adding that the visitors on the Special Tourist Visa are sticking with their plans to travel to Thailand.

“It is too early to assess the impact on tourism as mass gatherings have occurred recently and there has been no violence.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Media censorship, Thai parliament to meet, STV flight arrives | October 20

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Media censorship, Thai parliament to meet, STV flight arrives | October 20 | The Thaiger

Thaiger News, posted daily around 5pm, Thai time, with all the latest updates, news and information.

Court orders suspension of Thai TV news channel during political protests

The Criminal Court has agreed to suspend the Thai media company Voice TV for allegedly violating the State of Emergency orders which prohibit media content “considered to be a threat to national security”.

Talk about the Voice TV shut down has been circulating for a few days, along with threats to close down other media voices. It’s not the first time Voice TV has come to the attention of the NCPO, in the past, and the current government.

The digital ministry spokesperson said this morning that “Voice TV will be suspended”. The order applies to all of the company’s online platforms, including social media accounts.

They’ve also instructed the closure of The Standard, The Reporters, Voice TV, Prachatai and the Free Youth movement Facebook page. But, for now, those media platforms still seem to be online.

House Speaker confirms agreement for special parliamentary session

The Speaker of the lower house of Parliament has confirmed that there is cross-party agreement for an extraordinary parliamentary session to be convened in the wake of the ongoing political unrest.

Chuan Leekpai has notified PM Prayut Chan-o-cha of the agreement to hold the special session in a bid to seek a political resolution to the conflict.

In his letter to the PM, Chuan calls on the cabinet to back the declaration of a special session. He proposes an initial general debate so MPs and senators can express their opinions and work towards a solution to the current impasse. The PM has already voiced his support for an extraordinary session of parliament.

Meanwhile, a number of opposition figures are calling for the state of emergency imposed on Bangkok to be lifted, declaring its implementation illegal and unnecessary.

Jailed Thai activists, protest leaders, pro-democracy doctor, released on bail

Thailand’s Appeal Court has granted bail to a number of anti-government protesters and protest leaders, on condition there is no repeat of the offences they’re accused of. Sort of doubt that’s going to stick.

They must also report to the court every 2 weeks. Protesters have been charged with sedition, violating the Covid-19 emergency decree by holding an illegal gathering, using an amplifier without authority to do so, and breaking the Computer Crimes Act.

Yesterday’s three “pop up” protests were held outside of central Bangkok and again surprised police. The protest gatherings all attracted up to 2,000 people each and were held, and then dispersed, peacefully, without police intervention.

Police threaten jail time for anyone taking selfies at protests

The State of Emergency recently imposed on Bangkok amid escalating political unrest carries some sweeping powers, some of them targeting the younger, connected mobile generation.

Police are warning that anyone taking a selfie at anti-government protests is risking 2 years in jail and a fine of up to 40,000 baht.

The emergency decree is being invoked in everything, from the arrests of protesters and their leaders, to the threat of restrictions being slapped on media outlets whose reporting is deemed unfavourable.

41 foreign tourists to arrive in Bangkok today on Special Tourist Visa after 7 month ban

Just 41 foreign tourists are expected to arrive in Bangkok today under the special tourist visa. A small, yet major step forward after a 7 month ban on international tourists which was put in place in late-March.

The visa allows a 90 day stay that can be renewed twice, adding up to about 9 months. But the tourists departing from Shanghai, China and arriving in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport at 5pm, allegedly, will only be in Thailand for 30 days, and that includes their 14 day quarantine.

The flight arriving today was first going to have 120 to 150 tourists, but now it’s down to just 41. We’ll soon know if they actually arrived. Never before has the arrival of so few tourists kicked up such interest.

Pickup truck crashes into elephant as herd runs across Chon Buri road

A herd of wild elephants running across a road in Chon Buri caused a driver to crash into one of the elephants, damaging his Isuzu pickup truck and injuring the passenger.

The man says he was heading to the province’s Ban Ang Kraden district when a group of about 20 elephants ran out of the forest and cut in front of his truck. He says he couldn’t stop in time and crashed into one of the elephants.

The injured animal didn’t stop and continued to run across the road, following the rest of the herd into the forest. Local officials are tracking the elephant’s footprints to find the injured elephant and provide medical treatment. The 20 year old passenger was rushed to hospital and is in a satisfactory condition.

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