Connect with us


Opinion: Paddle boarder’s laudable mission

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: The efforts of Australian paddle boarder Damien Rider to raise awareness of child abuse, which is an important, yet seldom-discussed, topic deserves the support of everyone on the island.

At first glance, an 800-kilometer solo paddle board expedition through some of the planet’s most notoriously shark-infested waters in Australia might seem an impractical and dangerous way to try to raise awareness of child abuse issues back on terra firma. But a closer look into Mr Rider’s difficult life journey as a victim of extreme forms of childhood abuse reveals a personal triumph.

Those traumatized by direct and indirect violence at school or at home deserve all the support society can give them. By setting up the ‘Paddle Against Child Abuse’ (PACA) foundation to raise awareness of these issues and trying to provide direct assistance to young child abuse victims, Mr Rider is taking the next step – and apparently healing himself in the process.

‘Child abuse’ is a very broad term, one that encompasses a wide range of negative behaviors from neglect to actual physical and mental harm. The key to preventing child abuse lies in maintaining strong family units that provide children with a sense of comfort and positive support, allowing them the confidence to grow and flourish.

‘Social media’, perhaps inappropriately named, given how unsocial it makes people, is a growing concern when it comes to abuse, as pointed out by Urai Maidukem of the Phuket Shelter for Children and Families on Koh Sireh. Too often children and parents are plugged into their phones, forgetting to take the basic steps necessary to develop those close bonds vital for creation of a strong family unit. However, such media is a double-edged sword, which can also be used by victims as a comfortable way to cry out for help.

Here in Phuket, we can still witness child abuse all around us, everyday. Most often it comes in the form of sheer neglect, such as when careless parents allow teens to speed around on motorcycles without a helmet, or to stay out late at night unsupervised.

Despite the gravity of the problem, talk about child abuse seems to arise only in the wake of incidents that are reported in the media, such as when an irate teacher metes out excessive corporal punishment to a disobedient student, or when other forms of violence result in maiming or death.

For the most part, however, cases of child abuse remain hidden behind closed doors, but even when they don’t, most of us tend to look the other way, even when the child is staring us in the face.

If Mr Rider’s PACA can raise awareness of some of the issues involved, and if a center can be set up to help child abuse victims, it would mean a very significant step – or paddle – in the right direction.


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Expats2 hours ago

List: China has over 50% of all foreign-owned condos in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Government plans 10 million vaccines for July

World7 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Vaccine deaths investigation, PM heads to Phuket, BMA extends vendor licences | June 18

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Thailand8 hours ago

1 million AstraZeneca doses arrive, Anutin says “more” on the way

Drugs8 hours ago

1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine and heroin seized near Malaysian border

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

Pattaya bars plead for government help

Thailand8 hours ago

Colour-coded zoning revised, restrictions to ease nationwide

Transport9 hours ago

Department of Land Transport will reopen, issue licenses

Best of9 hours ago

Top 8 Things to do in Chiang Mai

Tourism9 hours ago

Krabi schedules 82 flights per week from late October

Best of9 hours ago

Top 6 Online Forums in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Friday Covid Update: 3,058 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand10 hours ago

Worker falls off roof in Chon Buri, sustains multiple injuries

Phuket10 hours ago

Talad Kaset market in Phuket reopens

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

PM Prayut tests negative after parliament maid has Covid-19

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8