Connect with us


Pa Khlok man named Phuket’s ‘Outstanding Citizen’

Legacy Phuket Gazette



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


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand5 seconds ago

Sunday Covid update: 125 deaths and 12,353 new cases

Thailand9 hours ago

Record-breaking 1 million Covid-19 vaccines given yesterday

Technology12 hours ago

Junk messages must now be blocked by Thai mobile carriers

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Kanchanaburi13 hours ago

Abusive Kanchanaburi temple rehab centre ordered to close.

Phuket14 hours ago

Phuket begins new subdermal injection method for vaccines

Bangkok15 hours ago

Police bust hotel party with ecstacy and ketamine, 59 arrested

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)16 hours ago

Phuket Covid-19: 5 new deaths and 4 new Sandbox infections

Thailand17 hours ago

Saturday Covid-19 Afternoon Update: full provincial totals

Phuket20 hours ago

Phuket man finds 30 million baht surprise on beach: “whale poop”

Malaysia21 hours ago

Transgender who fled to Thailand faces extradition to Malaysia

Coronavirus (Covid-19)22 hours ago

Saturday Covid-19 Update: 11,975 infections, 127 deaths

Thailand2 days ago

Thailand News Today | Nov 1 reopening proposed; arrest for “sexy” officer cosplay | September 24

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

Covid-19 UPDATE: Provincial totals, vaccinations and more

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

Contrary to Anutin, US says delivery of vaccines awaits Thailand

Thailand2 days ago

Sunsets, ‘Farangs’ and Boring Charisma | Thaiger Bites | Ep. 25

Tourism4 days ago

Travel data to Thailand for 106 million people unprotected online

Economy6 days ago

Cuts to import duty on alcohol, cigars, part of plan to entice wealthy foreigners

Crime5 days ago

OnlyFans content creators arrested by Thai police on pornography charges

Thailand5 days ago

Party at luxury villa in Phuket raided, homeowner allegedly assaults police officer

Coronavirus Vaccines6 days ago

Doctors say cardiac arrest caused death of man given AstraZeneca booster shot

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 days ago

Covid-19: Detailed info on vaccinations, hospitalisations, and provinces

Thailand6 days ago

Around 20 people arrested at Koh Samui restaurant for drinking alcohol, gambling, playing pool

Bangkok5 days ago

Governor says Bangkok will only re-open when safe to do so

Thailand5 days ago

Bangkok re-opening Criteria, Thai Airways keeps Struggling | Good Morning Thailand | Episode 93

Phuket3 days ago

Police suddenly began raiding Patong bars selling alcohol

Pattaya4 days ago

October Pattaya reopening on schedule according to mayor

Thailand6 days ago

Morning Top Stories | No approved October re-opening, Phuket easing restrictions | September 20

Crime4 days ago

Ex-cop “Joe Ferrari,” other officers charged with violating discipline policy over suspect’s death

Phuket7 days ago

Phuket domestic travel rules need streamlining, officials discuss

Thailand5 days ago

Government warns that posting pornographic material is illegal following OnlyFans creator being questioned by police

Thailand2 weeks ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11