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Opinion

Phuket Opinion: Do you speak Zulu?

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Opinion: Do you speak Zulu? | The Thaiger

PHUKET: There are very few phone calls non-morning people like myself handle well before 7am. However, when the tour guide to a well-known adventure tour agency rang at 5am to pick up a friend staying at my place for her Similian tour, I was more than pleasant. Two hours of interrupted sleep and nine phone calls later, I wasn’t.

In most situations, I’m apologetic for not being able to speak Thai. I am in Thailand, so the burden of the responsibility for communicating with locals is on me. However, companies that target markets that speak English, Russian, Chinese or Zulu should have corresponding language skills that surpass page one of any “Learn to Speak…” text.

Recent news has highlighted the “plight” of Thai tour guides as they struggle to compete against other guides who speak foreign languages. Thai guides claim foreigners are stealing their jobs, jobs that are reserved for Thais by law.

Just last month more than 200 tour guides called on Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkaosuttirak to standup for their rights and protect their jobs (story here) – and yet there I was the day before their public bemoaning answering the phone for a third time in 15 minutes.

It was the driver, again: “Hello?”

“Yes, hello, when will you be here?” I asked.

“I don’t know where you are,” the driver informed me, yet again. What he had attempted to do before his first phone call at 5am in which he informed me he couldn’t find my apartment and his third phone call is a mystery.

Calmly, I gave him directions.

However, the driver, who was taking my friend to the speedboat, had never heard of Chao Fa East Road, and instead asked if there were any Thais loitering about my apartment at 5:30am, so he could talk to them – sadly, I had dismissed my harem of bar girls only moments earlier.

After he explained yet again that he didn’t speak English, the line went dead.

Moments later, another man called to inform me that his driver didn’t know where I lived.

I thanked God, as no doubt this man would be my savior.

It turned out he also didn’t speak much English, and though just as pleasant as the first man, he failed to know where I lived or where Chao Fa East Road was.

However, it was clear the tour company felt it was my problem they were unable to speak English, “Use the internet! Just use the internet,” I yelled into the phone, having finally lost my patience.

A quarter hour later, call nine – they were outside. No wonder Thai guides need job protection. Best of luck in 2015.

— Alex Stone

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Opinion

“Racial profiling and xenophobic” – a rant against Dual Pricing

The Thaiger

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“Racial profiling and xenophobic” – a rant against Dual Pricing | The Thaiger

The rules are applied in a lumpy fashion at various tourist hot spots around the country as well as some national parks. Sometimes it’s applied, sometimes, not, sometimes there are signs, sometime they make it up as they go, sometimes they will allow local expats in for the Thai price.

There are dual-pricing apologists who say ‘Hey, it’s cheap anyway, so pay up and shut up’. Whilst dual-pricing whiners say it’s unfair, racist and shows a lack of grace towards tourists and foreigners.

Here’s the story from ‘Despondant Foreigner’. You can have your say on the post at our Facebook page

“I would like to share my story with you that happened to me this morning. I visited Promlok waterfall in Nakhon Si Thammaratt with my Thai wife, child and wife’s family. Upon arrival two soldiers approached our car and my wife began talking to them. They explained to her that as today is Songkran all Thai’s get to go to the waterfalls free of charge but I had to pay. Then a woman dressed in yellow approached the car who confirmed what the soldiers said and told my wife that this is a new law. Well we were all disgusted and proceeded to drive back down to the bottom of the waterfall where we could all swim for free.

I am absolutely disgusted by this. Yet another example of Thailand’s racial profiling and xenophobia towards foreigners. The fact that I am married and have children here doesn’t make a difference. Because I have white skin I must pay the fee whilst all Thais go in free.”

SOURCE: ThaiVisa

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Opinion

Fox News fake news, Phuket gets a bullet

Bill Barnett

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Fox News fake news, Phuket gets a bullet | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett, C9Hotelworks.com

As Phuket moves slowly into low season, a story published in the international media by the US-based Fox News about how tourists could face the death penalty over taking photos at the island’s airport is a highly flaw piece of sensationalist fake news.

Clearly there is no likelihood that the Thai authorities will apply a legal maximum penalty under the Air Navigation Act for tourists posing for selfies as airplanes land. More likely would be a  charge of trespassing and a fine.

Clicking into Google this morning the story is now running with the New York Post, MSN and other news outlets abroad.

What is distressing is to see how news providers sensationalize Thailand and Phuket with little regard as to the consequences of the economic impact of such a story.

For most readers, what they will remember when reading such a piece is only the headline about Phuket, Mai Khao Beach and the death penalty.

What a sorry state of affairs mainstream news has become.

To read the Fox News article clock HERE.

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Election

Is Thanathorn the new Thaksin? Will the ‘establishment’ tolerate his new political vision?

The Thaiger

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Is Thanathorn the new Thaksin? Will the ‘establishment’ tolerate his new political vision? | The Thaiger

Is Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit a popular fad or does he, and his party, have the staying power to make him a sustainable threat to the entrenched Thai political elite?

Many analysts are comparing Thanathorn to Thaksin in his early days. They say there are clear similarities. First off, Thanathorn is facing the kind of legal trouble that Thaksin faced when Thailand’s political crisis started to brew.

After becoming Thailand’s PM, Thaksin faced a share transfer scandal in which he moved his company shares to poor servants, allegedly to avoid stock market restrictions imposed on people owning big lots of stocks. Now, 40 year old Thanathorn is facing a legal controversy over his previous ownership of media shares, which could still doom his election candidacy.

The allegations are yet to be considered by the Election Commission.

Thaksin, in spite of repeated denials, was always alleged to have controversial political ambitions. Thanathorn, meanwhile, is seen in an increasingly similar situation. The list of complaints is growing, many to do with his perceived unorthodox ideology that contrasts with the conservative political ‘Thainess’ that includes non-negotiable support for the Army and Monarchy.

Thanathorn has been criticised for something he said about the Khana Ratsadon Party, which played an instrumental role in changing Thailand’s system from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy in 1932. The secretary-general of Thanathorn’s party has also been forced to deny making highly-controversial comments about Thailand’s political culture.

Future Forward did very well on March 24, surpassing pundits’ predictions for the new party. Analysts say the success is due to three main factors — Thanathorn’s youthful image that attracted the majority of first-time voters, the dissolution of the Thai Raksa Chart Party that shifted a lot of votes to Future Forward, and the new party’s fresh ideology and perspectives.

He, and the party, attracted a lot of newer voters along with a core of disaffected voters who are looking for change.

But Thanathorn’s looming legal trouble is described as a potential banana skin. It concerns a large number of shares he had in a media company, which were transferred to his mother so that he could qualify as an election candidate.

One apparently-private document, which he is relying on, showed he transferred the V-Luck Media Company shares on January 8, before he applied for election candidacy. Another document, which his accusers are relying on, apparently showed the transfer was brought to the authorities’ attention after he became an election candidate.

Controversy continues to build around the young billionaire and chances are it will grow.

SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Thaiger

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