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OPINION: A sad, but inevitable, farewell to The Nation daily

Tim Newton

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OPINION: A sad, but inevitable, farewell to The Nation daily | The Thaiger
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Sad news that after 48 years, The Nation Multimedia Group is shutting up shop on its daily newspaper.

It’s final edition hit news stands around Thailand today (June 28).

It wasn’t entirely unexpected and is a decision that every newspaper has either already made, is constantly reviewing or will have to make in the future, probably soon. The Nation Multimedia Group’s CEO maintained that there would be no reductions in editorial staff. When these announcements are made there is always promises of a rosy online future and no reductions in staff. In reality there has to be a reduction in staff to make the transition from paper to online fiscally possible.

For The Nation it was somewhat of a perfect storm of problems that precipitated yesterday’s announcement to go online-only.

Thailand’s expat and english-speaking demographic is changing. The numbers of English-speaking expats is dropping but the numbers of non English-speaking expats is growing. The same is reflected in the tourist mix passing through the Kingdom these days. It’s just an evolutionary transition that’s also reflected in the nationalities buying property in Thailand.

A hard core of expats, some of The Nation’s devout readers, are also finding it increasingly difficult to stay in Thailand. Take a long-term British expat for example, living happily on their UK pension and spending long days by the beach. With the British pound plunging against the Thai baht the real cost of living has gone up, a lot, for many of these long-termers. Then add the steadily rising costs of living in Thailand and new requirements for long-stay visas and the long days at the beach are getting more expensive and more complex.

OPINION: A sad, but inevitable, farewell to The Nation daily | News by The Thaiger

Then

The expat mix is also getting a lot younger. You guessed it, younger people are more inclined to read their news and seek information online.

Finally, the advertising revenue for newspapers is getting very thin on the ground. Newspaper advertising is expensive, non-intuitive and certainly not ‘real time’ as demanded by both readers and advertisers now. Business owners are moving away from newspaper ads when, for a fraction of the cost, they can directly target THEIR customers with an online ad. AND it’s totally measurable – more eyeballs on their product for a fraction of the cost.

The strong baht, falling exports and political uncertainty are also eating into business advertising spend and confidence as well.

There’s also a lot more choice for advertisers these days as the revenue creeps away from the old triumvirate of press, radio and TV. At the same time online platform traffic soars in numbers and new platforms and innovations get added every day.

OPINION: A sad, but inevitable, farewell to The Nation daily | News by The Thaiger

Now

The Nation’s daily paper is just another victim of the relentless technological march.

The people (me included) who used to make it a daily habit to trawl through the pages of the dailies are getting older, moving across to the online platforms, simply dying or leaving Thailand. At the same time a few thousand smartphones will be bought today bringing almost instantaneous news to their screens, along with hundreds of choices of media, opinions, formats and, yes, advertisements.

The sight of people travelling on public transport, or walking around, heads buried in their screens is scary to us ‘old-timers’. But the smartphone, and to a lesser extent tablets, laptops and desktops, is where people will increasingly source just about everything they need to know. They will ‘choose’ what they want to read, not some editor’s view of the world or slanted choices of news to publish.

It’s a sad day when any venerable banner, like The Nation, has to cease publishing but we, the consumers, have already determined their fate, and the fate of the remaining newspapers in Thailand, by making the move online. The publishers are adjusting to the new technology as well and following the new money-trail.

The Thaiger has an editorial partnership with the Nation Multimedia Group.

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,900 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 450 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and is now the General Manager and writer for The Thaiger. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue.

Transport

Suvarnabhumi’s new terminal ready for 2022

The Thaiger

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Suvarnabhumi’s new terminal ready for 2022 | The Thaiger
GRAPHIC: Artist impression of the new Sat-1 terminal at BKK - hok.com

The extension of the Suvarnabhumi terminal will be operational by the start of 2022, according to Thai transport minister Saksayam Chidchop. The new Satellite Terminal 1 at Suvarnabhumi International Airport will increase the total capacity of Thailand’s largest airport terminal by 15 million passengers a year, allowing the total airport capacity to cope with traffic up to 90 million per year.

The 4-level concourse building has 28 aircraft contact gates, 8 of which will serve aircraft up to the A380 jumbo size. A new underground automated people mover and baggage handling system connects the new building to Suvarnabhumi’s main terminal.

The concourse’s contemporary design is infused with subtle cultural references that add to its “Thainess”. It includes a diamond-patterned ceiling, with crisscrossing arched ribs infilled with timber-coloured slats. Interior gardens follow the trend of Singapore’s Changi adding a tropical landscape.

Construction on the 3rd runway has also commenced and should be receiving aircraft by 2023.

Suvarnabhumi Airport management has also used the downtime, whilst the airport has been quiet during the ‘disruption’ to fix the potholes and ‘sinkage’ in parts of the existing runways. Some 700,000 square metres of runway and taxiway service is under repair at this time, soaking up a budget of 4 billion baht.

The new terminal and repairs come at a time when world airline traffic is at its lowest for decades. The world wide Covid-19 pandemic has closed borders, grounded entire airline fleets and decimated the world’s travel industry. Since March when air traffic plummeted, there has been a gradual ungrounding of fleets, primarily in non-commercial and non-passenger-carrying fleets. Commercial scheduled traffic is still very low.

Suvarnabhumi's new terminal ready for 2022 | News by The Thaiger

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Events

Bangkok locations for Loy Krathong – float away the woes of 2020

Maya Taylor

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Bangkok locations for Loy Krathong – float away the woes of 2020 | The Thaiger

The Loy Krathong festival is tonight, this year coinciding with Halloween. If you’re living in Bangkok you’re spoiled for choice with launching locations.

There is no equivalent word in English for ‘krathong’. You might hear it described as a small boat or vessel. Many shops, market and roadside stalls will display ready-made krathongs, or in parts so you can assemble and decorate to create your very own krathong. Try and steer away from the polystyrene ones with bits of plastic and lots of pins. They will end up washed up on some riverbank or lakeside as pollution – dangerous to fish, animals and you.

Loy Krathong is a festival celebrated annually throughout Thailand The name could be translated as “to float a basket”, and comes from the tradition of making krathong or buoyant, decorated baskets, which are then floated on a river or water catchment. Loy Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar so the exact date of the festival changes every year.

Authorities are also urging people to avoid the new craze of “edible” Krathongs this year. Using bread and other edible products can become a problem for the catchments’ ecology and may even kill the fish if they try and eat too much of it. Bread also doesn’t float very well!

Here’s a useful guide with a few options to launch your environmentally-friendly krathong. How to make a krathong? Below…

Bangkok locations for Loy Krathong - float away the woes of 2020 | News by The Thaiger

Chao Phraya River – The River Festival 2020
Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river is hosting another three-day party, with ten piers participating in krathong workshops, arts and crafts, and Loy Krathong rituals at nearby Buddhist temples. A free shuttle boat will connect the different piers. Check out the Facebook page for more information.

Bangkok locations for Loy Krathong - float away the woes of 2020 | News by The Thaiger

Asiatique
If you’re ready to experience Loy Krathong the way the locals do, head to Asiatique, the riverfront night market, which is where you will find the biggest crowds and some impressive shows. Traffic in the area will be very bad and there’ll be long queues to take the shuttle boat in front of Saphan Taksin BTS Station.

The Temple Fair
Head to Wat Saket for its long-running temple fair, popular with Bangkok residents for decades. Buddhist merit-making rites take place at the top of the hill, while at the bottom, you can enjoy weird and wonderful street food and a carnival-like atmosphere. Check more details HERE.

Bangkok locations for Loy Krathong - float away the woes of 2020 | News by The Thaiger

The Park
Around 30 of the city’s parks will be open for Loy Krathong but note that alcohol is prohibited. You can float your krathong at Lumpini Park, Chatuchak Park or Benchasiri Park among others. A major park celebration will be held under the east bank of Rama VIII bridge and near the Sam Yot MRT, at Khlong Ong Ang.

The Universities
Chulalongkorn, Thammasat and Kasetsart universities, and others, are holding Loy Krathong celebrations this year. Chulalongkorn will open its pond to the public but note that only small candle krathongs are permitted. The Tha Prachan campus at Thammasat host an afternoon fair, with participants invited to bring environmentally friendly krathongs. Kasetsart will hold a similar event in the evening. All universities will have food stalls and entertainment on offer. Check university websites for details.

The Romantic Date
Couples who want to avoid the crowds and have a quieter celebration may want to head to the riverside arts centre, The Jam Factory. After setting your krathong afloat, grab some popcorn and enjoy a couple of Thai movies being screened outdoors on a vintage projector. Free entry.

Hotels
Just about every hotel in Bangkok will be hosting some sort of Loy Krathong event. If they’got a pool, be assured the staff will be decked out in traditional Thai finery, and you’ll be invited to float a Krathong. Many of the events will have a charge and include dinner or buffet.

Or make you own and launch it in the bath

Happy Loy Krathong!

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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Protests

Four released, three re-arrested, drama outside the Bangkok Remand Prison

The Thaiger

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Four released, three re-arrested, drama outside the Bangkok Remand Prison | The Thaiger

Another evening of drama, but this time not in the streets but during the release and re-arrest of several of the key anti-government protest leaders. 3 of 4 protest leaders who were released on bail by the Criminal Court yesterday, after the court rejected a police request to keep them detained on remand, were re-arrested. The court rejected a police request on grounds that it was “unnecessary for them to be detained further” and that the court “must consider the rights and liberties” of the detainees “who are still students”.

Just moments after their release police placed more charges on them before they were able to walk from the jail to awaiting family and crowds of supporters.

The only protester to walk free was Patiwat Saraiyam who was released from the Bangkok Remand Prison early last evening with no other charges awaiting her.

The re-arrest of Parit “Penguin” Chivarak, Panupong “Mike Rayong” Jardnok and Panasaya Sitthijirawattanakul was strongly objected to by the the protesters’ lawyer, Noraseth Nanongtoom. He claims that the police action was unlawful, because the arrest warrants, issued by the police in 3 provinces, were invalid after the 3 protesters had acknowledged, but denied, all the charges. He said that they would resort to “civil disobedience” claiming their re-arrest was illegal. He said he would petition the court to free the 3.

None of the 3 protesters were allowed to meet with their lawyer before the charges were laid.

The Guardian reports that all 3 of the released protesters ended up in hospital.

“Three prominent Thai pro-democracy leaders are in hospital after chaotic scenes outside a Bangkok police station overnight as officers tried to slap them with further criminal charges.”

The warrants for arrest were filed by police in Ayutthaya, Ubon Ratchathani and Nonthaburi provinces.

The police’s re-arrest of the 3 protest leaders also caused drama among their families, friends and supporters, who were waiting outside the Bangkok Remand Prison, in some cases travelling for many hours to get to Bangkok, to welcome their freedom, after hearing about the court’s order granting them bail.

In the developing chaos outside the remand prison “Penguin” ripped off his shirt and Panusaya took to the PA system that had been provided by the growing number of supporters . They pledged to keep protesting peacefully and challenged their re-arrest.

More drama followed when “Mike Rayong” was carried, clearly compromised and slumped in the arms of a police officer, from a police van that had brought him from the remand prison to the Pracha Chuen station station before being taken away in an ambulance. He is said to be in a satisfactory condition at the Praram 9 Hospital, recovering from what police described as a “minor scuffle”.

Local media reports that he fainted after allegedly being put in a “chokehold” by attending police.

To date, around 80 people have been arrested in connection with protests staged around the country, mostly in Bangkok. Most are now free on bail but a handful remain behind bars.

In other news the Appeals Court has rejected a bail application for protest leaders and human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, citing his release could lead to his participation in more unrest or an attempt to flee. Anon was arrested and charged over various transgressions at the Thammasat University campus and nearby Sanam Luang on September 19 and 20.

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