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Phuket Opinion: ‘Unframe’ your vision of the world

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PHUKET: In this week’s hard-copy edition of the Phuket Gazette, we are proud to carry the Phuket launch issue of the China Daily’s Asia Weekly newspaper. The journal offers Gazette readers a long-awaited – and much-needed – fresh perspective on the economic giant at our doorstep, and her relationship with Asia and the world.

More than a million Chinese tourists have already visited Thailand so far this year, with more than 400,000 of them arriving in Phuket. The Phuket Chamber of Commerce expects more than 700,000 to visit us by year end.

So, if you or the business you work for are not already catering to the Chinese inbound market, either through tours, accommodation, dining or entertainment – don’t worry; you are very likely to be doing so in the near future.

More important for Phuket expats generally, however, are the news and business stories, as well as the political and economic analyses, provided by the Asia Weekly. Many of our readers will be challenged, and many for the first time, to read stories about Asia written from a new perspective, be the author Asian or not.

Many expats on the island would like to believe that they have lived in Asia long enough to gain a “true” understanding of their adopted surroundings. The sad truth, though, is that many simply haven’t.

Far too often a person’s frame of reference is set at an early age, when perceptions are cast into the mold of whatever news source the individual began reading when he or she first took an interest in global affairs.

Those frames are all too often accompanied by eyes, ears and minds closed to the host culture, and tend to remain with their victims for the rest of their lives.

Recurring testimony to this preconditioned mindset are many of the comments posted under news stories in the Gazette Online, where the the authors write as though they were back home – ‘down on the farm’, as it were. Or, equally frequently, as though they were new arrivals – just off the boat and completely befuddled and distressed by the goings-on around them.

‘Should’, ‘could’ and ‘would’ are three words that every expat should be wary of when passing judgment on – ahem, “assessing” – the actions and behaviors of others. More often than not, such assessments are accompanied by the writer’s declaration of long term local residency, as though such status would somehow validate the views that he or she proffers.

We would encourage such readers to try to break the steely grips of their frames of reference, noting that the frames are perhaps just that, no less confining than the walls of the proverbial box. We would also encourage ‘the boxed’ to expose themselves to potential enrichment, enlightenment and surprise.

Surprise? Certainly. What could be more surprising than a recent editorial in theChina Daily Asia Weekly castigating the concept of internet censorship?

Surprise yourself again and again over the weeks and months to come. Have a taste of the Asia Weekly, this week and every week, in your Phuket Gazette.

 

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