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King’s Cup: Hi Fidelity moves ahead

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PHUKET: In the first of two races today in the Racing Class of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, veteran sailor and 2001 winner Neil Pryde steered Hi Fidelity to provisional honors, followed by Spanish boat Pris Play with Fred Kinmonth’s Stella-Minter-Ellison finishing third. The highly rated Thai boat Pasaya, which is being chartered by a team from Switzerland this year led by Andrew Bienz, had a disappointing day and finished well back. In the second race, Ray Ordoveza’s Clariden-Karakoa grabbed provisional honors, followed by Hi Fidelity while a much improved Hollywood Boulevard finished third. Peter Ahern’s Yo!, which won the first race in the regatta, could manage only a sixth and a fifth place today. Ray Roberts’ Hollywood Boulevard made one of the more unusual moves before racing started this morning. As one of the media boats was making its way past the sleek Racing Class boat, crew members signaled for it to move in closer. Three crew were then transferred from the racing boat to the media boat. The reason given was to make Hollywood Boulevard lighter. With the three crew offloaded, it was hoped the boat would be a bit quicker, but it was not to be, at least in the first race. Hollywood Boulevard came a disappointing seventh. In the second race, however, the weight loss paid dividends and Hollywood Boulevard managed a better finish, in third place. It is now unclear if the three crewmen will be asked to lose kilos before the next race or be relegated to the media boat for the rest of the regatta. In the first race in the Sports Boat Class Scallywag took provisional honors for Jeremy Muller with Panic!, skippered by Stuart Harrison, coming in second and David Hamilton aboard Luk Loma third. The two new Phuket 8 boats – Securicor Somtam Express and Image Asia Attitude – which look great on the water, had a disappointing day and finished at the back of the pack. The second race was a repeat of the first with Scallywag beating Panic! and Luk Loma third. John Wardill’s Australian Maid took provisional honors in the first race of the Cruising Class today, closely followed by Marcel Liedts’ Hocus Pocus 2 and X-tream, sailed by Suwan Poopoksakul. Regular King’s Cup campaigner Big Buzzard, with George Olivet at the helm, won the second race in the Cruising Class today, with X-tream second and Australian Maid third. Rob Williams’ Di Hard took provisional honors in the first race in the IRC 1 Class. Hot on his heels was Ruby Tuesday with John Vause at the helm. David Lindhal was third on La Samudra. Di Hard fell back into third place in the second race, which was won by La Samudra with Octopussy second. Those enthusiastic young sailors aboard Royal Thai Navy 1, who won the IRC 2 Class on the first day’s racing, finish last today, but their comrades on Royal Thai Navy 2 saved some face by finishing third. Jock Combie’s Fi Tuen was second behind Juanita Spencer’s Dewi Bayu Gotcha Lagi. Race organizers moved some boats from IRC 3 to the IRC 2 class yesterday in an effort to see more competitive racing. Bob Ashman, at the helm of Simba, who finished second in the IRC 3 Class yesterday, went one better today to take provisional honours in his class. Bettering his first day’s result was Graham Lind, whose boat Sumatra finished second today, a step up from yesterday’s third place. The Thai-registered Aproache Sailing, with Antonia Escribano as skipper, finished a close third in the IRC 3 Class, which was hotly contested today in good winds of between 10 and 15 knots. Ray Bradshaw took provisional honors in the unusually named Gladys Guttenburg in the Ocean Rover Class, followed by Ok-La with George M Jonannes at the helm and John Fenn’s The Four Winds. In the Classic Class, Stephen Pepperell’s Long White Cloud took provisional honors, but not before a battle with Julian Hill’s Sanook, which finished second, and Marc Massari’s magnificent Sylvia, which cruised elegantly into third place. The Ocean Multihull Class was another division which was closely contested today. Phil Atkinson’s Fine Pitch was declared the provisional winner, despite some controversy over where the finish line was placed. Mark Pescott finished second aboard Cyrene and King’s Cup veteran Radab Kanjanavit piloted Cedar Swan into third place. Conditions were near-perfect for racing, starting with good, steady winds gusting up to 15 knots off Kata Beach Resort with a few patches of sunshine. The wind picked up to between 15 and 18 knots early in the afternoon for the second race of the day, for the leading four classes of boats. Three protests were lodged after today’s sailing, keeping the international jury busy.

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

International Schools

Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket | The Thaiger

Chalong police in Phuket say they have yet to start investigating the illegal hiring of foreign teachers at an international school in Rawai. Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally in which 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

Somkiet Sarasin, the Chalong police leading investigator of the case, says the 2 Brits were informed that police were processing a charge of working illegally in the country against them, in which both denied the charges. Somkiet says the 2 were released on bail, but did not confirm the amount of bail that was set by the police.

“They are still staying in Thailand. I am not worried. I have their passports. I am not available to explain [any details] because the investigation is still ongoing.”

“This is normal for an investigation when the suspects deny the charge against them. I have to check more information against their claims. This case will probably be concluded next month.”

However, the investigation has yet to begin, with Somkiet saying he has not even questioned the owner of the school, despite his claims the case would be finished next month.

“The investigation into the school will take time. The investigation into the two British people must be finished first.”

Such allegations of foreign teachers working illegally have recently been in the news after Sarasas Witaed Sainoi Pitiyakarn School, in the central province of Nonthaburi, saw 7 foreign teachers probed for being hired illegally. That school, along with others in its private network, made nationwide news after CCTV caught a Thai teacher hitting, pushing and dragging a young student in the classroom. Such widespread violence against students has long been a sad component of many Thai schools, in which some of the teachers are unqualified and unlicensed to teach, but are hired anyway.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Tourism

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend

The Thaiger

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Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | The Thaiger

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says that Phuket has received a much-needed 300 million baht boost over the 4 day long weekend with around 54,000 tourists flocking to the island from last Thursday through to yesterday.

Phuket Office Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, reports that the average expenditure per visitor was about 5,500 baht, which was higher than the average spend for a Thai tourist to Phuket 2 years ago. She also noted that random checks on hotels showed that occupancy rates climbed to about 35%, with most guests staying 2 nights. But most of Phuket’s hotels remain closed.

Nanthasiri also says that many of the tourists concentrated themselves in the Phuket Old Town area, especially around Thalang Road, Phang Nga Road, and Dibuk Road in order to enjoy at the Sino-Portuguese shophouse architecture and historical locations. In fact much of Phuket Town, including its many markets and alley eateries, were doing roaring business, The Thaiger can vouch for the heavy traffic, on the roads and footpaths, over the past 4 days.

“This special holiday made Phuket tourism livelier, even though it was not as same as the situation before the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In fact, despite the welcome surge of visitors, it was still a long, long way from its previous tourist levels with much of the west coast, which has largely catered for the international tourist traffic, was still very quiet in places like Patong, Kata and Karon.

Phuket wasnt the only destination that has profited off of the long weekend as Chiang Mai saw droves of Thai tourists visiting its Royal Park Rajapruek as well as the northern city’s other nearby national parks and tourist areas. Visitors came from all over to see the blossoming of flowers in a beautiful display at the park as well as enjoying the air-purifying flowers as they relaxed. Tourists were able to rent a bicycle for 60 baht if they wanted to exercise while taking in the scenery and could also pay a visit to the orchid greenhouse, which hosts a variety of orchids in bloom. TripAdvisor recommends to set aside 2 hours to visit the park.

Next holiday weekend, on November 27 and 28, Pattaya is expected to get a tourism boost as its annual fireworks festivalis set to bring in travellers who have taken advantage of package deals offered by some beachside hotels. Such packages were offered for advance bookings, where holidaymakers could view the firework shows on the rooftops of their hotels. The firework displays are said to be long with breaks of entertainment-packed shows, featuring live music and student bands amongst others.

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Thailand

Covid tourism standstill gives Thailand’s southern sea gypsies a break

The Thaiger

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Covid tourism standstill gives Thailand’s southern sea gypsies a break | The Thaiger

Phuket’s sea gypsy communities are getting a much needed break after the Covid tourism standstill have their traditions a break from the tourism onslaught. 42 year old Sanan Changham says now there is an abundance of fish and shellfish to eat. Tourist boats have been docked at the quay, making fishing easier for the Chao Lay, or “people of the sea.“

“We don’t dive as deep as before, so it’s less dangerous.“

More than 9 million visitors came to Phuket in 2019, impacting the sea gypsies and their way of life, mostly located at the southern end of the island. The booming tourism brought a decline in fish stocks, decreasing fishing grounds and loud construction of hotels. And the traffic. Such hotels signal an even bigger threat to the 1,200 Chao Lay in Rawai, as property developers have tried to evict them from their ancestral strip of land that faces the sea.

Ngim Damrongkaset, a Rawai community representative, says he hopes the area where developers have taken a stake is abandoned.

“They want to drive us out of our homes, but also to deny us access to the sea.”

For the Chao Lay people, the fight to keep their land has been unequal as most are illiterate and were unaware of the fact that they could register their land, but the government is trying to help them. One way for authorities to buy the land and entrust it to them.

Narumon Arunotai, an anthropologist at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, says the government must seize the opportunity provided by the pandemic to rethink their vision on Chao Lay.

“Covid is an opportunity to change mentalities. Mass tourism in Phuket has been a catastrophe for the sea gypsies.“

The land in Rawai was originally claimed by Indonesian ancestors of Sanan, before the island became flooded with international travellers. But since tourism has become more profitable, authorities have cracked down on the sea gypsies unless they are sailing in protected marine reserves.

“Before, we risked being arrested by a patrol or having our boats confiscated.“

For the animist Chao Lay the beach is a vital space where they keep their colourful wooden boats and where they pray and give thanks to their ancestors. But not only their unique cultural heritage has helped them navigate the waters.

The Chao Lay people are experts at detecting any abnormalities in the water, as such they were able to escape before the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami hit, while saving loads of tourists. Furthermore, Children of the Moken have 50% better visual acuity in the water than their European counterparts, according to a 2003 study.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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