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“Nation Party’ gay festival plans in doubt

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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“Nation Party’ gay festival plans in doubt | The Thaiger
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PHUKET CITY: Despite Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura having already given his blessing for Asia’s largest gay and lesbian festival, the Nation Party, to be held in Phuket, the event may be staged elsewhere because Karon Municipality is worried about the possible consequences of hosting the party.

The news broke yesterday following a closed-door meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall on Wednesday between the Governor, the party organizers, Kata-Karon Municipal officers and Tourism Authority of Thailand Phuket Office Director Suwalai Pinpradab.

The Nation Party, organized by the Fridae.com website, is already being promoted as starting on November 4, with nine parties being held over three days and nights.

The event, traditionally held in Singapore, was moved to Phuket after the Singaporean Police denied the organizers a license to stage the party on the basis that it was “contrary to the public interest”.

The organizers then requested permission to hold the party at Karon Stadium from November 4-6. Permission was denied, but that decision is now being reconsidered at Gov Udomsak’s request.

Thawee Thongcham, Mayor of Kata-Karon, said, “Some [local residents] are worried about noise, and some say that drunk revelers might have sex on the beach. It could destroy the image of Karon.

“We are worried that we might not be able to control the situation. Karon is a place families visit. We don’t have problems involving sex. We don’t want teenagers seeing and copying bad behavior.”

K. Suwalai told the Gazette that Gov Udomsak was firm in his support for the event. However, she said, “The organizers and Karon Municipality need to look at what rules both sides can accept. If both parties fail to agree, the organizers can still arrange to stage this event in another country.

“We need to discuss details. For example, they would party all day and all night. This conflicts with Thai law, so we need to look at whether they will accept closing the event each day at 1 am,” she said.

But, she added, “This is a good opportunity for Phuket.”

She said that if it does go ahead she expects at least 2,000 people to attend the festival, each spending at least 4,000 baht a day, generating revenue of 24 million baht for the island over three days.

“Most people who attend events like this are not like those who go to full moon parties – most of them are upper-class people. But we need to see whether they will accept our rules,” she said.

K. Suwalai added that the organizers will come to Phuket at the end of this month to decide finally whether the party will be held in Phuket or not.

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

Phuket

Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital

The Thaiger

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Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital | The Thaiger

A female prisoner is on the run after escaping from Vachira Hospital in Phuket during a doctor’s appointment. 58 year old Siri Phodam allegedly escaped after asking her prison escort officer to use the toilet. But she took a long time to come back, and was found to have escaped. CCTV cameras caught her dressed in a blue hospital patient shirt and a sarong leaving the hospital quickly. A Phuket prison officer says the woman is 158 centimetres tall and has dark skin.

“Some of our own officers are searching for her, and we have also sent the prisoner’s description to all Phuket police stations. However, at this stage we have not found any clues.

Female prisoner on the run after escaping from Phuket Hospital | News by The Thaiger

“If anyone finds a person matching the prisoner’s appearance, please inform us by calling 076 212 104.”

Siri was imprisoned after being charged with posessing illegal drugs and lived in Moo 2, Rawai.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival gets the green light – VIDEO

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival gets the green light – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

WARNING: The content below contains photos and videos of self-mutilation that some may find disturbing.

Somehow Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival is to go ahead next month, but officials say they will ask participants to strictly observe social distancing. Good luck with that! For those who don’t know, the festival isn’t exactly known for the food. It’s known for blood, body mutilation and more blood.

During street processions for the weeklong event, also known as the Nine Gods Festival, so called “mah songs” are known to practice self-mutilation and are said to enter a trance-like state, channeling spirits through their body. “Mah” means horse in Thai, and many suggest the mah song acts like a horse for the spirit to ride.

Many mah songs pierce their checks, ears and lips, some with large swords and thick needles. Some slice their tongues continuously for hours, blood dripping down on the street. Others appear to be in a trace walk barefoot as firecrackers explode on the ground.

Mah songs march down Phuket’s streets for hours with a team of devotees to help tend to their wounds, adjust the piercings, wipe away drool and blood, and keep them hydrated. It’s understood that devotees wear white as a symbol of purity. It’s also reported that they abstain from eating meat, drinking alcohol and having sex during the weeklong festival.

It seems gruesome, but it’s actually very spiritual. Business owners and locals line the street, some setting up altars. Mah songs stop at each one and do a quick ritual. Some mah songs carry a black flag, waving it over onlookers who bow their heads and place their hands in the “wai” position. Some spend time blessing the elderly and handing out bracelets to children. During a procession last year, a woman held up a bracelet as said “the ‘Spirit’ gave this to my mother.”

This year, the festival will have to be a little different to abide by coronavirus prevention measures. The Bangkok Post says it’s the first festival since the outbreak. The head festival organiser Prasert Fukthongphol says “we will seriously enforce social distancing measures and require all participants to wear face masks.”

The grotesque piercings, noisy parades and visits to the shrine, are good news for Phuket’s tourism and bad news if you’re a vegetable. Many adherents to the Chinese-heritage local festival will go without sex, alcohol and meat for the week of so of the festival. The week of events and ceremonies hopes to scare away the bad gods again but, especially this year, attract some extra visitors to the festival.

Another Vegetarian Festival in Chon Buri has also been given the green light. The event is planned for October 16 to the 26. This year’s main event for the festival will be in Naklua at Sawangboriboon Thammasathan Foundation at the Sein Sua Chinese Temple, but many other events will be around the city throughout the week.

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Phuket's annual vegetarian festival gets the green light - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Pattaya News

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Phuket

Officials says no illegal land encroachment at Phuket’s Sri Panwa resort

Maya Taylor

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Officials says no illegal land encroachment at Phuket’s Sri Panwa resort | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sri Panwa Phuket Resort - Sri Panwa Phuket

After coming in for some negative online attention recently, the land title deeds of the Sri Panwa Phuket resort have been investigated and found “to be in order”. The 5-star hotel first attracted the attention of netizens when its owner, Vorasit Issara, publicly criticised anti-government activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, calling for her arrest. He also claimed she wasn’t Thai, a factually wrong and inflammatory statement.

His Instagram tirade prompted outrage from those who support the current protest movement, with netizens calling for a boycott of his property and leaving several negative comments on various review sites. Trip Advisor suspended the hotel’s account due to the online attack.

Shortly after, the Civil Society for State Welfare called on the Social Security Office to clarify its investment in the resort’s trust fund. This was echoed by at least one opposition MP and anti-corruption activists.

Responding to the land rights issue, the Phuket Land Office has issued a statement to say the hotel does not occupy state land. The resort stands on 56 rai of prime real estate, overlooking Phuket’s south-eastern coast. The land office has confirmed its paperwork is all in order.

Meanwhile, it’s understood Charn Issara Development, owners of the property, have threatened to sue the resort’s critics for defamation.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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