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Opinion

Island View: Fear may save more lives

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Island View: Fear may save more lives | The Thaiger

PHUKET: As disheartening as it is to see our hopes of having zero deaths on the roads dashed during the ‘Seven Days of Danger’ road-safety campaign this year, the reality of the situation is that the goal is so unreasonable that officials are simply setting themselves up for failure.

Last year, there was a total of 108 road deaths in Phuket; that’s someone dying every 3.3 days on the island’s roads. So, if the seven days marked for the safety campaign were seven normal days of the year, we would still expect to have two people die. However, as officials know, these are seven of the most dangerous days to be on the roads in Thailand, as drunk driving during the holidays skyrockets.

So what is the value of setting a goal so high? Clearly setting a goal of only two people dying during the campaign seems morbid to say the least. Nonetheless, within just 30 hours of the start of the project, that is exactly what happened.

However, after years of seeing the annual goal obliterated, even the police hardly seem convinced that it is a possibility.

“Though it will be hard to achieve our goal of zero road deaths during this campaign, we will do everything we can to ensure the safety of motorists,” Lt Col Rungrit Rattanapagdee of the Phuket City Traffic Police told the Phuket Gazette this year.

Nonetheless, the heavy publicizing of police checkpoints and genuine increase in the number of people fined for not wearing a helmet, driving without a license or drunk driving, is a godsend.

Even more important than the checkpoints on primary routes such as Thepkrassatri Road – which is paved with numerous road deaths each year – are those established on secondary roads. If police make it impossible to travel to any party destination more than five kilometers away, then motorist will be forced to reconsider how they proceed during this festive season.

Though a campaign such as the Seven Days of Danger, with its depressingly unachievable goal, deserves the full support of expats, locals and tourists, police need to continue to develop a more omnipresent mystique for road safety. They need something that will generate the kind of fear that forces potential drunk drivers to just grab a taxi or a nearby hotel room, or crash on a friend’s couch for the night.

— Alex Stone

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

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Expats

Why the Chinese are more important than Western tourists to Thailand

The Thaiger

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Why the Chinese are more important than Western tourists to Thailand | The Thaiger

OPINION by Dan Cheeseman – Dan About Thailand

We need to wake up and smell the roses, us Westerners are no longer an important group for the Thailand tourism industry – in fact, we are what you would call ‘niche’ – and with good reason.

The Chinese are here in numbers and not only will this continue to grow but they also outspend Europeans per capita by 53% when in Thailand.

There are more Chinese…

The Chinese now account for 57.48% of all tourists in Thailand and what makes this even more staggering is only 8.7% currently have passports (120 million).

According to Jing Travel this could double by 2020 – that means 240 million Chinese able to travel (363% of the UK population – 66 million). They also go on to state that first time Chinese travellers are more likely to travel more close to home to begin with, so places like Vietnam and, you guessed it, Thailand.

Why the Chinese are more important than Western tourists to Thailand | News by The Thaiger

And the Chinese share of the pie will only grow.

No wonder Thailand are forecasting tourism to grow from the 38 million now to over 79 million by 2030.

Why the Chinese are more important than Western tourists to Thailand | News by The Thaiger

The Chinese Spend More…

Quite often I hear the European retaliation that they would like to see the spend levels per capita of Chinese, suggesting it to be low. This could not be further from the truth as shopping is an important factor for when they go on holiday.

The Chinese expenditure into Thailand is US$15,342,000,000 each year, which is more than any other nation. The average spend per day for a Chinese tourist in Thailand is US$192 – which is 53% more than the average Europeans US$125 daily spend.

Why the Chinese are more important than Western tourists to Thailand | News by The Thaiger

Read the rest of the story… Dan About Thailand

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Opinion

Thai government introduces new TM30T, to keep track of Thais

The Thaiger

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Thai government introduces new TM30T, to keep track of Thais | The Thaiger

PHOTO: One of the new test shopping centre locations for the new Waer Areuw program

The Thai government is introducing a new method of cracking down on home-made criminals.

In a reversal of its former policy “Good guys in, bad guys in”, the government’s criminal enhancement department is phasing in the new laws that will require Thai to report their location every time they stay overnight in a different location.

Spokesperson Phaec Than says the new policy will be called the TM30T, alluding to the highly successful TM30 form that has rid the Kingdom of foreigners.

“99% of crime in Thailand is by Thais so we believe that keeping a track of our population is vital,” says Phaec.

The new TM30T form will require Thais to report to the new Waer Areuw shops that will be set up in each province and some shopping centres. Locals will be required to report in their location within 24 hours if they have moved from their registered address. Workers, who travel more than one kilometre to work, and stay overnight, will be required to report their new location within 24 hours. And then on return.

Along with the new Waer Areuw reporting locations, there will also be a new App so people can conveniently report their new location.

“The App is safe and convenient and will be able to scan and send the 96 pages of documentation for your 24 hour reporting.”

“If you are staying with a foreigner, they will have to lodge the paperwork for you. We don’t think this should take any longer than 2-3 hours.”

Minister for criminal enhancement, Thelmee Ware Uah, says that if the new TM30T reporting is successful in reducing crime they may take the next step and issue all Thais with a convenient electronic ankle bracelet so the government can track their whereabouts, 24/7.

“We have seen some of these new wearable electronic ankle monitors. They come in a range of colours and styles and have a selection of matching handbags and umbrellas to turn ‘big brother surveillance’ into day-to-day fashion.”

The new TM30T form is a complete fabrication invented by The Thaiger.

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Opinion

The road to Vietnam

The Thaiger

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The road to Vietnam | The Thaiger

OPINION

Expat blog ‘Dan about Thailand‘ by ThaiVisa’s Dan Cheeseman, has an article about the Thai expats who are looking to regions beyond to plant their flag as the murmurings become a symphony of complaints about their current life in the Land of Smiles.

“Living in Thailand for many of us Expats is what dreams are made of. With a beautiful climate, food and wonderful Thai people, it is paradise. But everything has its tipping point yet we don’t really know what an expats tipping point was when it came to upping sticks and leaving.”

Dan, a family man who has spent time living in Pattaya and Hua Hin, reflects mostly on the plight of the British expat who has seen a falling baht/pound exchange rate, rising costs and complexities in visas, affect their capabilities and desire to continue living in Thailand.

There has been a whole number of factors in recent times that has made living in Thailand more challenging, moreso for retired expats; with the strengthening of the baht and weakening of domestic currencies causing a serious financial issue. This shifting of valuations has meant Thailand is no longer a cheap place to retire.

In reality the ‘British Expat’ is a small proportion of the 2019 Thai expat mix which is now made up mostly by Chinese, Japanese, Americans, then a wide range of many other nationalities including the British.

It has always been a finger in the air to try and guess the numbers of retirees in Thailand, if you spoke with many seasoned working expats a few years ago they would more often than not say somewhere between 250,000 and 500,000 retiree expats lived in Thailand.  But it was always pure guesswork.

Earlier this year, the United Nations Migration report put the figure at nearer 75,000 retirees living in Thailand. This was a figure that shocked many, as it was far lower than anyone could have guessed.

And so to the Thailand’s nearest neighbours, including Vietnam, which are now being touted as a viable alternative to move their pension and their lives. Dan provides evidence of a palpable interest in the communist country, still emerging from the protracted Second Indochina War, aka. the Vietnam War, and a developing economic south east asian star.

I recently had lunch with the CEO of one of the six big insurance companies for expats in Thailand. He said each week they get 5 requests from retired expats to move their Health Insurance to Vietnam. That is over 20 requests a month and if this is consistent with the other 5 insurance companies, the figure rises to a 120 expat requests a month.

At the end of the day, life does not stand still and the unpredictability of it means sometimes you just don’t see things happening – until they do. It would appear for many retired expats living in Thailand that choice is now Vietnam.

Read the full article HERE.

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