Connect with us

Opinion

Opinion: Tour guides must be fined

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

on

Opinion: Tour guides must be fined | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The recent fine levied on a tour guide for removing a starfish from the sea in a marine national park has once again drawn international attention to how erratic Thai law enforcement appears to be when it comes to issues involving mass tourism, environmental conservation and foreign guests.

The latest uproar in social media came after a Thai tourist posted pictures of herself on Facebook with a starfish on her head. The creature was reportedly obtained by, or with the help of, the tour guide.

The guide was subsequently fined 500 baht. The tourist later apologized over the incident, saying she had been unaware of rules protecting marine wildlife inside national parks. She was never fined or otherwise punished.

The temporary removal of a starfish from the sea hardly constitutes an egregious environmental crime, especially when compared with the overwhelming and relentless onslaught against nature posed by humankind at every level. But part of the resulting uproar over this incident stemmed from the fact that the tourist got off scot-free, unlike some foreign tourists who had their holidays ruined over similar breaches.

In those cases, the foreign “criminal’s” pleas of ignorance made little difference to authorities, who also failed to charge the real culprits: their Thai tour guides. Such incidents only further consolidate negative perceptions that the Thai criminal justice system is rigged in favor of rich Thai nationals. It also reinforces negative perceptions relating to unfair double-pricing strategies in the tourism industry that have gone unaddressed by numerous administrations.

The incident will probably go some way in raising public awareness about how tourists and guides should conduct themselves in our national parks. We certainly have a long way to go in educatting people about the fact that wildlife needs to be protected and preserved, not used as a backdrop for selfies.

That the incident occurred not long before two Russian tourists were fined for ‘getting it on’ in the back of a moving tuk-tuk also indicates a trend that law enforcement is actually monitoring and taking action on ‘viral’ social media reports.

This is a worrying trend in our new millennium world that is already reeling in confusion from a preponderance of propaganda, ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion

Deputy Thai PM rattled by students’ Wai Khru anti-junta protests

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

Deputy Thai PM rattled by students’ Wai Khru anti-junta protests | The Thaiger

“It takes a child to see the junta has no clothes” – Opinion by The Nation

At a north-east school, and another in Phitsanulok last week, secondary students used the Wai Khru tradition to design the floral offerings given to teachers with an anti-junta theme. The soft protest from students drew criticism from conservatives, including the deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan. The Nation have penned this response…

No one can be surprised that Deputy PM Prawit was unnerved by children’s free expression during semester-opening ceremonies.

Read The Thaiger story about the incident HERE.

Those who fear the free expression of children also fear the future. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan was among “respected elders” unnerved last week by the political views expressed in pedestals designed by high school students.

Students across the country, from northeastern Nong Khai province to Phitsanulok and southern Trang, were paying respect to their teachers by displaying independent thought in ceremonies to mark the start of the semester.

Traditionally, each student prepares a display of joss stick, candle and flowers, while each class creates a pedestal tray to place before their teacher.

This year, many of the pedestal trays drew their themes from political events – including the scandal over Prawit’s multimillion-baht luxury watch collection.

Read the rest of the editorial from The Nation HERE.

Deputy Thai PM rattled by students' Wai Khru anti-junta protests | News by The Thaiger

Continue Reading

Opinion

Wai Khru – setting a bad example for the future. Thailand’s demand for respect from its young

The Thaiger

Published

on

Wai Khru – setting a bad example for the future. Thailand’s demand for respect from its young | The Thaiger

Hazing (US English), initiation ceremonies (British English), bastardisation (Australian English), ragging (South Asia), or deposition, refers to the practice of rituals, challenges, and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group including a new fraternity, sorority, team or club.

In Thailand, hazing is not only rife, it’s seen as a rite of passage for young Thais as part of their cultural inculcation into the subservience they’re expected to display elders or people with more money or higher positions than them. What’s mistaken for ‘respect’ is actually a cultural party trick where children and young adults are ‘trained’ to be deferential from an early age.

In recent years there have a been a few high-profile deaths of army trainees, in the care of their Academy leaders, but allegedly subjected to initiations and bastardisation that is just ‘par for the course’ for the education of young Thais.

In a response to the recent death of Phakhapong Tanyakan at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School on October 17 last year, the Thai Deputy PM and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan claimed that he “was not beaten to death, but just too weak to withstand tough training.”

He went further saying “I was once beaten more than I could take and I fainted too. I didn’t die. For this, before the school accepts kids for entry, they must give them a proper physical check-up.”

When you get you get such official, public, responses from the top you can see how this hazing culture continues to thrive in the, otherwise, Land of Smiles.

We spoke to three foreign teachers in Thailand, all speaking on condition of anonymity, about the culture of hazing in their schools and the benign version of that in primary schools, ‘wai khru’.

“Hazing is seen in many different types of social groups, including gangs, sports teams, schools, military units, fraternities and sororities. The initiation rites can range from relatively benign pranks and was khru, to protracted patterns of behavior that rise to the level of abuse or criminal misconduct.”

For the families of hazing victims these ceremonies can be catastrophic, as in the tragic case of Phakhapong Tanyakan.

A 19 year old armed forces cadet, previously subjected to harsh physical discipline, suddenly died a day after returning to school from a break. His parents were told he suffered from a sudden cardiac arrest but became suspicious of possible foul play after a detailed autopsy report never came. – Khaosod English

But he’s not the only one. Hazing and cruel or unusual initiations are conducted every day around the Kingdom but with a growing concern about the practices, both from the young students themselves and concerned older Thais, who realise the dangers of ‘persuading’ youngsters to respect elders needs examination in a modern 21st century Thailand.

We spoke to a respected senior Thai businessperson, again on the condition of anonymity, who said he had seen too much hazing going on during his time at school and then whilst training in the military.

“I was a victim of this type of bullying. I was told to ‘be a man’ and that all Thai men have to go through this. I think it is degrading and breaks human spirits. It teaches fear of those we are meant to respect. It has to change.”

It all starts when young Thais are subjected to the Wai Khru or ‘Teacher Wai’ where students are expected to prostrate themselves in front of their teachers in a show of respect. But a broad spectrum of foreign teachers not only feel uncomfortable with this faux-deference, some of them go out of their way to be away for that day or, sometimes, even speak out about their concern with this tradition.

“I made the mistake of speaking out about the Wai Khru in our school. I just found it demeaning for the poor students who had to rehearse all week for this totally meaningless show of respect. I didn’t feel respected, I felt sick. I ended up being ostracised and had to leave that school.”

Whilst many Thais continue to wonder why westerners might find all this kowtowing and prostrating could cause concern, you just need to examine the deaths in the Army preparatory schools as the end result of ‘demanding’ obedience and deference to elders. In western culture, I have learned, respect is something that is earned, not demanded.

“Hazing is undignified, humiliating and cruel… not my words, but the words of students who are made go through this horrible experience. It’s meant to be a sign of showing respect to your seniors but it’s nothing more than a shameful indulgence at the expense of the students,” said a long-term foreign teacher.

“Making students crawl around on the ground acting like animals in front of their peers, does nothing for either senior or freshie students. I have stopped attending Wai Khru day as I find it terribly uncomfortable for myself and for the students. You can see the look in their eyes as they approach you and are ordered to bow before the teacher. Teachers, like everyone else, should learn how to earn the respect of their students.”

A young female foreign teacher first thought that the Wai Khru was ‘cute’ but has changed her tune over the years.

“Wai khru was the highlight of my first year teaching in Thailand. I was, and still am, extremely humbled and deeply touched by this beautiful tradition intended to recognise a teachers’ role in children’s life and to give said children the opportunity to express their gratitude to their teachers.

“But throughout the years I have started to look at this event with a more critical eye and I wish it weren’t as rehearsed and staged as it unfortunately is. At our school, rehearsals for Wai Kru start a week prior to the event. During this week, children are drilled incessantly until they have mastered the walk, the bow and the wai leading up to the offering of the flowers that they are eager to free their sweaty little palms of.”

Wai Khru continues to be practiced in all Thai schools as a long standing tradition and show of respect for teachers.

“Although I understand and commend the wonderful intentions behind such practices, I feel that much like other sorts of drilling that these students endure, this sadly takes away from the true purpose of it all. For want of a picture perfect event, meaning is lost and a demonstration of gratitude is transformed into a dreaded labour,” she said.

An investigation into the death of Army cadet Phakhapong Tanyakan, by military investigators, found no wrongdoing by the Preparatory School. The parents have consistently called for a probe into their son’s death and are still pursuing legal action.

Wai Khru - setting a bad example for the future. Thailand's demand for respect from its young | News by The ThaigerPHOTO: Army cadet Phakhapong Tanyakan, who died at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School on October 17 last year.

Continue Reading

Environment

Thailand: Paradise Lost? Part 1.

The Thaiger

Published

on

Thailand: Paradise Lost? Part 1. | The Thaiger

by guest blogger Kent Bowie

Thailand has seen rampant tourist development and expansion over the past 25+ years, but at what cost?

Is this sustainable or even ethical?

Social media has seen an explosive growth too over the last 15+ years, and one thing that annoys many governments worldwide is how the facts and figures delivered by their own agencies often bear no resemblance to the details posted ‘live and online’ by the worldwide army of grassroots commentators and locals on site.

In fact social media is having much sway that local governments and even global corporations are being shamed into scrambling to clarify, rectify or justify areas of concern.

Not just comments by the public are now on these web-mediums, but entire films and documentaries are now made, published and shared online.

Check out this DW report about the problems of rampant tourism…

Thai tourism has more than doubled in 8 years since 2011, with 34+ million visitors a year! It is worth remembering though that it is not just tourism numbers that are causing natural destruction, more education and awareness is needed by the Thai people too.

When tourists comes, they spend, they travel, they eat, they produce waste – and not just the wrappings, litter and disposable plastic drink bottles and food cases – tourists go to the toilet, and 34+ million extra people in Thailand is a lot of extra ‘toilet’.

Currently Thailand, and particularly Phuket, are struggling with out-of-date and broken down waste disposal management. Current laws or regulations for sewage treatment and disposal are either woefully inadequate or more sadly, not even enforced. With the rampant and unabated development and construction of yet more and more condos, villas, tourist ‘leisure’ resorts and sites around Phuket, what happens to all that sewage? 

Sadly, in most cases it is simply, cheaply and conveniently (for the developers) piped through to the local klongs, waterways and beaches – out of sight and out of mind maybe?

Not so much anymore though, as an army of tourists and locals are now taking photos and videos of the rampant health transgressions and are flocking in greater numbers to social media to highlight this slow and persistent poison that is killing the heart of Thai tourism.

#อย่าให้เรื่องนี้เงียบหายลงเล จากคลองบางเทาไหลลงสู่ทะเลเมื่อเช้านี้ (11/5/62) เป็นคลิปที่ชาวบ้านบางเทาบันทึกได้ ตามคลิปน้ำเสียสีดำสนิทและส่งกลิ่นเหม็นอย่างหนักจากคำบอกเล่าของนักท่องเที่ยว กำลังไหลลงทะเลตรงหน้าหาดบางเทา จังหวัดภูเก็ต งานนี้ไม่ต้องอายฝรั่งมังคุดหลอกครับ อายชาวบ้านเขาบ้าง เขาบอกว่าร้องมาหลายปีหลายครั้งแล้ว ก็ยังเฉยกันอยู่!! อย่าให้เรื่องนี้เงียบหายไหลลงทะเลไปอีกนะครับพระเดชพระคุณท่าน"เมื่อ 10 ปีที่แล้วผมเคยไปที่หน้าหาดบางเทา แล้วนั่งเรือของชาวบ้าน ไปเที่ยวเกาะแววใช้เวลาเดินทางประมาณ 15 นาทีซึ่งไม่ไกลจากฝั่งมาก เป็นเกาะเล็กๆที่มีทรัพยากรใต้ทะเลซึ่งอุดมสมบูรณ์เป็นอย่างมาก เราสามารถไปดำน้ำแบบสน็อคได้ น้ำใสเหมือนกระจก จนเห็นปลาสวยงามและปะการังกลากหลายสายพันธ์ุได้อย่างชัดเจน แต่ถ้าเล่นปลอยน้ำเสียลงทะเลแบบไม่บรรยะบรรยังแบบนี้ เกาะแววก็คงไม่เหลืออะไรแล้วแหละครับ!!"

Posted by จิตอาสา Go Eco Phuket on Friday, May 10, 2019

Would you or your family care to sit on a beach littered with plastic, bottle tops, sand soaked in raw, untreated sewage? Do you want to swim in a brown fetid slick sliding over the once pristine waves onto the beaches?

Recently posts regarding huge black pollution flowing onto Bang Tao beaches was shared via social media.

The President of Cherng Talay OrBorTor, Ma’ann Samran admitted that “90% of the businesses in the area did not treat their waste-water” which is being released into the Bang Tao canal and – you guessed it – flowing straight out to greet the tourists on the beaches.

That’s just one area. The story repeats throughout Thailand. Similar posts have been shared recently for Krabi, Jomtien and Pattaya. And it’s not just recently but over the past decade as the situation has become more common, worse and more people are posting pictures of the ugly situation.

Unless something is done, urgently, then Thailand, along with the southern tourist money-spinner, Phuket, will continue to lose tourists, especially when so many other countries are now going out of their way to welcome them.

We will look at where the tourists are now going in Part II of our article.

Continue Reading

The Thaiger Newsletter

Keep up with all the day’s news. Subscribe here.

The latest news and information from Thailand.

* indicates required
เลว! วินจยย.อุดมสุขยกพวกตีกัน ไม่กลัวตร. หนุ่มโดนลูกหลงกระสุนเจาะศีรษะดับหน้าบ้าน [คลิป] | The Thaiger
ข่าวกรุงเทพ1 week ago

เลว! วินจยย.อุดมสุขยกพวกตีกัน ไม่กลัวตร. หนุ่มโดนลูกหลงกระสุนเจาะศีรษะดับหน้าบ้าน [คลิป]

ชมไฮไลต์การแข่งขันไทย-สหรัฐ “ฟุตบอลโลกหญิง 2019” กลุ่ม F | The Thaiger
ฟุตบอล2 weeks ago

ชมไฮไลต์การแข่งขันไทย-สหรัฐ “ฟุตบอลโลกหญิง 2019” กลุ่ม F

10 มิ.ย. ถ่ายทอดสด “ฟุตบอลโลกหญิง 2019” ไทยพบสหรัฐ ตี 2 -PPTVHD ยิงตรงจากสนาม | The Thaiger
ฟุตบอล2 weeks ago

10 มิ.ย. ถ่ายทอดสด “ฟุตบอลโลกหญิง 2019” ไทยพบสหรัฐ ตี 2 -PPTVHD ยิงตรงจากสนาม

เริ่มแล้ว งาน”1 ปี อนาคตใหม่ เดินไปด้วยกัน” ณ หอประชุมใหญ่ ธรรมศาสตร์ท่าพระจันทร์ | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง2 weeks ago

เริ่มแล้ว งาน”1 ปี อนาคตใหม่ เดินไปด้วยกัน” ณ หอประชุมใหญ่ ธรรมศาสตร์ท่าพระจันทร์

ดูย้อนหลังวอลเลย์บอลไทย-ตุรกี “เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” นัดที่ 9 | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล2 weeks ago

ดูย้อนหลังวอลเลย์บอลไทย-ตุรกี “เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” นัดที่ 9

ระเบิดความมันส์ 6 มิ.ย. ไทย-ตุรกี “วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” -ลิงก์ถ่ายทอดสด | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล3 weeks ago

ระเบิดความมันส์ 6 มิ.ย. ไทย-ตุรกี “วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” -ลิงก์ถ่ายทอดสด

ดูย้อนหลังแมทช์ 5 ดาว วอลเลย์บอลไทย-โดมินิกัน “เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” นัดที่ 8 | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล3 weeks ago

ดูย้อนหลังแมทช์ 5 ดาว วอลเลย์บอลไทย-โดมินิกัน “เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” นัดที่ 8

5 มิ.ย. ชมถ่ายทอดสดประชุมสภาผู้แทนราษฎรครั้งที่3 โหวตเลือกนายกรัฐมนตรี | The Thaiger
เลือกตั้ง 623 weeks ago

5 มิ.ย. ชมถ่ายทอดสดประชุมสภาผู้แทนราษฎรครั้งที่3 โหวตเลือกนายกรัฐมนตรี

[LIVE] “ธนาธร จึงรุ่งเรืองกิจ” แสดงวิสัยทัศน์บริหารประเทศนอกรัฐสภา : เลือกตั้งนายก 2562 | The Thaiger
เลือกตั้ง 623 weeks ago

[LIVE] “ธนาธร จึงรุ่งเรืองกิจ” แสดงวิสัยทัศน์บริหารประเทศนอกรัฐสภา : เลือกตั้งนายก 2562

11 โมง ชมถ่ายทอดสดประชุมรัฐสภา โหวตเลือกนายกรัฐมนตรี คนที่ 30 | The Thaiger
เลือกตั้ง 623 weeks ago

11 โมง ชมถ่ายทอดสดประชุมรัฐสภา โหวตเลือกนายกรัฐมนตรี คนที่ 30

เชียร์สด 4 มิ.ย. ไทย-บัลแกเรีย “วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก” 6 โมงเย็น-ลิงก์ถ่ายทอดสด | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล3 weeks ago

เชียร์สด 4 มิ.ย. ไทย-บัลแกเรีย “วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก” 6 โมงเย็น-ลิงก์ถ่ายทอดสด

เพราะมาก “แก้ม วิชญาณี” เจ้าหญิงจัสมิน โคฟเพลง “Speechless” | The Thaiger
เพลงสากล3 weeks ago

เพราะมาก “แก้ม วิชญาณี” เจ้าหญิงจัสมิน โคฟเพลง “Speechless”

[คลิป]ชาวเน็ตโวย UNHCR ตั้ง”นก สินจัย” พรีเซนต์ช่วยผู้ลี้ภัย “ปวิน” คอมเมนต์เจ็บ | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง3 weeks ago

[คลิป]ชาวเน็ตโวย UNHCR ตั้ง”นก สินจัย” พรีเซนต์ช่วยผู้ลี้ภัย “ปวิน” คอมเมนต์เจ็บ

[Live]ชมสด 21:30 ขบวนแห่ลิเวอร์พูล ถ้วยยูฟ่า แชมเปียนส์ ลีก 2019 | The Thaiger
ฟุตบอล3 weeks ago

[Live]ชมสด 21:30 ขบวนแห่ลิเวอร์พูล ถ้วยยูฟ่า แชมเปียนส์ ลีก 2019

ชมย้อนหลัง ลิเวอร์พูลชัยชนะเหนือสเปอร์ส คว้าแชมป์ยูฟ่าสมัยที่ 6 | The Thaiger
ฟุตบอล3 weeks ago

ชมย้อนหลัง ลิเวอร์พูลชัยชนะเหนือสเปอร์ส คว้าแชมป์ยูฟ่าสมัยที่ 6

Trending