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Opinion: In mourning

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PHUKET: The Gazette joins the Phuket community in mourning the death of Paiboon Upatising, who passed away after a long battle against cancer last week.

A descendent of Chinese immigrants, Mr Paiboon was a highly-successful businessman, who used his own good fortune to help those in need.

In addition to having exclusive rights to sell Boon Rawd Brewery products on the island, Mr Paiboon was the island’s leading residential real estate developer. He developed the wide network of Phuket Villa residential estates throughout the island,which have brought prosperity to so many families: numerous buyers who bought on mortgage agreements have seen their assets more than quadruple in value over the years.

Mr Paiboon’s Christian faith was reflected in the numerous projects he initiated and saw through to completion as President of the Phuket Provincial Administration Authority (PPAO). Despite the tuk-tuk mafia, he managed to introduce Phuket’s first practical and low-cost public transport system with the Po Thong ‘Pink Bus’ network, which is a godsend for students and low-wage workers in Phuket Town and the surrounding sub-districts. This service provides inexpensive and reliable transport options to many communities that could otherwise never have afforded to move around the island, including the Sea Gypsy community on Koh Sireh.

The list of Mr Paiboon’s achievements are too numerous to be listed in this limited space, but it is worth noting just how effective he was at gaining support from such a wide spectrum of groups, from the Thai Buddhist and Muslim to ethnic Chinese communities, as well as Phuket’s large expatriate community.

Mr Paiboon also had a fine sense of humor. Once when asked by this editorial writer if he would take offense at being referred to as ‘The Pink Panther’ in print for his propensity to paint all PPAO assets in his trademark color, he said he loved the idea.

It is hard to fathom how Khun Paiboon could have been forced out of office over accusations of corruption at the PPAO Hospital in Rassada, as has been alleged.

Redevelopment of the long-abandoned facility in Phuket’s poorest area stands as yet another example of Mr Paiboon’s work for the development of Phuket and care for its least fortunate residents.

The Gazette hopes that the probe into these alleged improprieties is conducted quickly and in a fair and transparent way, so as not to unfairly tarnish the legacy of one of the island’s most popular and successful public administrators.

 

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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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