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Pa Khlok man named Phuket’s ‘Outstanding Citizen’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Pa Khlok man named Phuket’s ‘Outstanding Citizen’ | The Thaiger
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PA KHLOK, PHUKET: A 47-year-old Muslim man with no education past high school has won top honors for Phuket in a nationwide search for the most outstanding citizen in each Thai province.

Jeerasak Torthip was named an ‘Outstanding Citizen’ for his work in securing a simple, sustainable way of life for the people of Bang Rong Village, a coastal community of about 1,000 Muslims in tambon Pa Khlok.

Mr Jeerasak was awarded the honor through a project called Thaen Khun Paen Din (‘Showing Gratitude to the Country’) 2552, run by The Nation Group together with the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.

He was credited for his devotion over the past decade to restoring and protecting the natural environment in Bang Rong and ensuring the community sticks to a traditional, Islamic way of life.

Mr Jeerasak said he encourages his neighbors to resist the temptations of materialism, stressing the importance of mangrove forests to their way of life.

“In the past, the people of Bang Rong earned a living through rubber tapping, sea fishing and farming fish in mangrove forests,” he said. “Eighty percent of village people use mangroves as a source of food. Besides that the mangroves played a role as a barrier to the 2004 tsunami.”

Materialism destroyed this traditional lifestyle, he said.

“Villagers sold their land to property developers in exchange for money to buy cars and live lavishly,” he said.

When the mangrove forests started being destroyed it became harder and harder for villagers to make a living, he said.

“Then we became aware of the mangrove’s importance and realized it was time to start recovering these treasures and our old way of life,” he said.

He uses his position as a leader at Bang Rong Mosque to instill the community with Islam-based beliefs about conserving nature.

In 2002, Mr Jeerasak and other mosque leaders created a project called ‘Bang Rong Agrotourism’.

The project is based at Bang Rong pier, which is surrounded by over 2,000 rai of mangrove forest.

Tourists can hire canoes and boats to explore the forests, take a bicycle tour of the village or go trekking.

“We use tourism activities as a tool to manage community resources on both land and in the sea, through a process of informal learning,” he said.

“The villagers are offered an opportunity to remain in the community rather than seek work elsewhere. They also learn to value their own resources.”

Around 50 tourists visit the Bang Rong mangroves every day, he said.

Fish raised in floating baskets in the mangrove forests are caught by local fisherman then sold to tourists at the Krua Chumchon Bang Rong (Bang Rong Community Kitchen) restaurant.

“All the guides for tourism activities are people from the community. Everything runs in a cycle,” he said.

Mr Jeerasak’s community projects don’t stop at agrotourism, however.

The mosque committee started a savings fund with 30 villagers back in 1997.

The fund now has more than 700 members with almost 30 million baht in savings, Mr Jeerasak said.

“With this fund, we’ve bought back many plots of land from investors and given scholarships to poor but smart students so they can get a university education,” he said.

Mr Jeersak talked of his feelings on receiving the ‘Outstanding Citizen’ honor.

“I never expected to receive it,” he said. “Everything I’ve done is for my neighbors, and because of my love for the land and – especially – my love for His Majesty the King.”

He would put his award on public view at Bang Rong Mosque, he said.

“Because without the contribution of Bang Rong residents, we could never have won this honor,” he said.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan

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Phuket

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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