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Phuket Opinion: Why not to cook

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Opinion: Why not to cook | The Thaiger

PHUKET: This island has ruined me for cooking. I used to take no small amount of pride in my forays into the kitchen. I’m no Jamie Oliver to be sure, but I like to think I make a pretty mean spaghetti Bolognese.

Alas, living in Phuket my culinary skills, along with my neglected cookware, sit on the shelf gathering dust. Why? You may ask. Well, it’s because food here is so good, cheap and widely available that cooking at home becomes pretty much nonsensical.

As I prepare for work each morning, I ponder which tasty breakfast snack I will grab from the street-side vendors today.

A strong dark-iced coffee for 20 baht? Always. Three freshly-fried, custard-filled dough balls for 10 baht, hmm… why not? Sticky rice with banana? A steamed bun filled with pork and egg? Or perhaps something more substantial, like a bowl of hearty boiled rice with pork? The choices are endless.

Rarely do my thoughts turn to the packet of cornflakes on top of the fridge, which these days seem more like a Warhol-esque modern art piece than a viable breakfast option.

At lunchtime it’s the same; should I go to that guy with the fantastic roast duck or that place with the super crispy pork stir-fried with Thai basil? Wherever I go, I can be reasonably sure that the food will be tasty, filling, served lightning-fast and cost less than a bottle of water in most western countries.

As dusk falls, the cluster of local food vendors near my house begin preparing their respective specialties and laying them out in neatly stacked piles on their carts. This is where I really come to ruin, as my eyes are invariably bigger than my stomach. Strolling through the throng of vendors, my hands begin to fill with snacks; steamed corn, skewered barbecued meats of all descriptions, spicy and sour somtam, spring rolls, fried chicken or fish with super hot chili sauce.

The variety is amazing, the value incredible, and there are always new dishes to try for the first time.

Granted, my culinary wanderings have so far stopped short of the fried insect stall, but I will have to try them one of these days.

When I bring home my bounty from the market and begin to devour it, I often spare a thought for those poor suckers still slaving away over a hot stove to make their dinner, and suddenly I don’t feel so bad for not cooking.

— Mark Knowles

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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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Opinion

Buddhists call for boycott of Hilton & Waldorf Astoria Hotels with the opening of Siddhartha Lounge

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Buddhists call for boycott of Hilton & Waldorf Astoria Hotels with the opening of Siddhartha Lounge | The Thaiger

OPINION: The Buddhist Times

Since its creation in 1996, Buddha-Bar Paris has been using the name and image of Buddha in it’s Bars and Hotels throughout the world. Typically the franchises use large statues of Buddha in their Bars and around dance floors and in restaurants similar to a Buddhist temple.

What makes the use of Buddha’s image in these bars most insulting to Buddhists around the world is that Buddhism does not support the consumption of alcohol. So to use the Buddha’s image as decoration to promote the consumption and sale of alcohol and as a prop on dance floors and in restaurants is especially disrespectful and hurtful to Buddhists.

Now comes a further insult with the Buddha-Bar franchise opening the Siddhartha Lounge at Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. (Siddhartha Gautama being the full name of Buddha).

According to the Knowing Buddha Organisation in Thailand what the Buddha-Bar franchise is doing is not only disrespectful but it is immoral. The foundation points out that “Respect is Common Sense”.

Buddhists feel hurt by the misuse of the name and image of their father, as people of other faiths would be if the image of Christ or Mohammad were used to promote bars and nightclubs.

The Buddha–Bar, restaurant, and hotel franchise created by French-Romanian restaurateur Raymond Vișan and DJ and interior designer Claude Challe, with its original location having opened in Paris, France in 1996.

Raymond Vișan, according to Wikipedia, had the idea of establishing the chain of restaurants and bars which came from his fascination with the Orient. However at the age of 60 Visan suddenly died of terminal cancer. The franchise was continued by co-founder Claude Challe and Vișan’s wife Tarja, who took over the reins of the Buddha Bar franchise upon Vișan death.

Critics of the Vișan’s and Claude Challe say that these self described artists and creators have created nothing but bad Karma and Sin for themselves. They suggest that Buddha-Bar franchise is a form of “grotesque Plagiarism ” which has merely hi-jacked a 2500 year old religion, using the name and image of Buddha, who imparts peace, compassion and loving kindness, for the purpose of selling alcohol and making money. As any case of plagiarism it is expected that Buddha-Bar and Waldorf Astoria will soon find them selves in the courts say Buddhims advocats.

Buddhist around the world are calling the Boycotting of Waldorf Astoria Hotels Hilton Hotels, Buddha-Bars and the music of Claude Challe, demanding that they stop using the image of Buddha and instead creat their own brand.

The views expressed in this editorial do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of The Thaiger or its staff

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Opinion

Pattaya getting set for the Indian era – OPINION

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Pattaya getting set for the Indian era – OPINION | The Thaiger

by Dan Cheeseman

I was a bit taken back by posters across the social networks where I shared the post that simply would not accept the Indians were bringing any value to Pattaya. Claiming Thailand would regret squeezing out the Western market and turning to the Chinese and Indians. It came across as sour grapes to me and also a delusion of grandeur from many of the Brits and Aussies that for some reason hold themselves on such a high global status.

I am a Brit and in the past probably have fallen victim to such delusions but am now refocused and aligned to the shift in the global market. I can see just how real this Chinese and Indian market has become and see no reason for it to not to continue growing.

According to Tourism Authority of Thailand, Indian arrivals into Thailand is expected to reach 5 million by 2023.

It is well documented what is happening in Thailand with the Chinese tourist and investor but still, the Indian market gets skirted over by many who refuse to accept anything other than the stereotypical images.

But they are wrong to do so and I think the winners in Pattaya will be those that embrace the Indian market as there is an increasing percentage who have good money in the pocket and are ready to spend it.

Just this week I was with a hotel developer and they exactly spoke of the shift in investors that parallel what we are seeing through tourism. They said before the Western market was good but now that has cooled, then the Russians came but that too has eased off; both due to changes in exchange rates from their end. Then the Chinese started to buy but as their exchange rates became less strong against the baht and getting money out of their country that slowed, but now has recovered somewhat.

He then said what others have also been saying, that the Indians were now becoming a very important market for selling too.

Whilst many restaurants are looking to target the F.I.T (Free Independent Traveller) Chinese tourist, I personally think the Indian tourist is a better fit for Western-type business in town.

Read the rest of the editorial HERE

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Opinion

OPINION: It’s time to go – Brexit

The Thaiger

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OPINION: It’s time to go – Brexit | The Thaiger

by Gill Parker

(The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the owners, staff or management of The Thaiger)

Adios, Au revior, Auf wiedersehen, Ha dee and Addio Europe. Breaking up is hard to do but we’re outta here.

Enough is enough. The British people voted to leave the European Union and that’s that. You can argue that the referendum was non-binding, or that there was misleading information peddled, by both sides, during the referendum campaign. But the British people made up their mind, a legal vote was held, and it’s time for the British parliament to honour the people’s wishes. Now.

Bring on October 31 and cut the apron strings, with or without a ‘deal’.

It’s urgent that the people of Britain are given the chance to move forward from this messy farrago that has embroiled British politics and conversation for the past four years. The polarised conversation, the ruination or families and friendships, and the incompetence of government to find a way to actually break away from the EU, has to stop.

Brexiteers or Remainers would all probably prefer that there was some sort of deal in place before October 31 but that looks doubtful, so just pull the plug and be done with it. The alternative? Another year of destructive argument, a repeat of ALL the same arguments and, likely, no better situation.

Leave the EU to sit and giggle, their arms folded watching the British people squirm, and let’s focus on future trade deals, re-linking with a world trading environment that has radically reshaped since the 2016 Brexit vote. Let’s have our politicians bicker about reviving an independent British economy, fixing up the NHS, galvanise a new approach to immigration and get people back to work.

If Britain continues to fiddle along, without a break, the economy will continue to suffer. Whilst there is no resolution, there is confusion. Businesses need clarity – currently there is little. Better we hit the ground hard on October 31 and then start to rebuild the British economy with assurance.

There is also acute concern that the hallmarks of the British democracy are being brought into question. The Head of State is being dragged into conversations and Constitutional conventions are being threatened. Testing these conventions could threaten the very fabric of everything we are trying to preserve.

Meanwhile the British Labour Party lacks leadership able to take on the cavalier PM who has made it clear, he wants out, “deal or no deal”, on October 31. The British prime minister has made his position abundantly clear, whilst the opposition is divided, seemingly rudderless, without any clear plan of its own how to move through the current impasse. They will surely suffer at the hands of voters when an election is called, and that will be soon.

There is plenty of work to do but with a clean break on October 31 we will at least be able to start that work – start planning for the future rather than looking back over our shoulder.

Deal or no deal, it’s time to go.

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