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Patong beautification an ugly mess

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PATONG: Hotels and other businesses in Phuket’s capital of fun, having battled their way through the effects of the Bali bombing and the Sars epidemic, are now viewing with despair another deterrent to tourists. The deterrent this time is of local origin – a “beautification program” which has the beachfront looking like Sarajevo at the height of the Balkans war. Tourists trying to get from the beach road onto the beach itself need to battle across a construction site. Wolfgang Meusburger, General Manager of the Holiday Inn Patong, in a letter to the Patong Municipality on behalf of other hotels in the area, wrote, “We appreciate that the municipality is trying to … beautify the beach, but we have a hard time understanding why it has to be done during the high season.” Phadungwong Intong, Supervisor of Starbucks in Patong, agreed that the construction has had a significant impact on business, with the number of coffee drinkers down on last year by about 30% to 40%. Not everyone is despairing. Mark Chaiyaboon, Resident Manager of the Patong Beach Hotel, said that the project was good even if it currently disrupts businesses around Patong. Pointing out that similar projects and arguments had occurred in Pattaya, he said that he beleived the long-term outcome would be a big improvement. “I just think that right now everyone is upset because they are tearing up the road,” he said, adding, “There might have been a better way of planning it. “Some places are probably facing a little bit of a downside but in the long run everything will be a lot better than it is right now.” Novotel Coralia General Manager Rodney Trutwein said, “Obviously, doing it in the high season will affect some of the guests that go to Patong beach, but if you do it during the low season you have the Asian tourists and you also have the rain and the wind to contend with. So when is a good time?” Supagorn Meegaew, the Patong Municipality engineer supervising the walkway construction, explained that the Patong Beach Coastal Landscape Development, as the project is known, is aimed at making the beach look more pleasant and more organized and also at keeping the beach cleaner by using a 2.5-meter-wide walkway to separate the beach from the road. The Municipality had been planning the beach beautification project for about two years, he said, but had had to wait for budget from the government. He said, “when the government finally gave funding we didn’t have time to conduct a survey [of local businesses] because we were in a rush to start building.” He conceded that, ideally, it would have been better if a survey had been done. Clean Technology, the construction company hired by the Municipality, was chosen because it submitted the lowest bid, K. Supagorn told Gazette. The 40-million-baht, three-kilometer-long project consists of three parts. The first section of walkway starts where Prachanukhro Rd meets Thaweewong Rd and extends to Soi Bangla. The second section starts at the Loma Fountain on Thaweewong Rd and ends before Phra Baramee Rd. The third section goes a little way into Kalim from Patong. K. Supagorn said, “We started building in the low season and it was supposed to be finished by now, but it was delayed because people said that we were building too far out onto the beach, so we had to move it back five meters before we could resume construction.” The problem, says the Holiday Inn’s Mr Meusburger, is that ground for the entire length of the beach has been ripped up at the same time. “I’ve already had three couples leave the hotel. They said, ‘We are not coming to a beach where we cannot walk anymore, it’s just very unpleasant.'” He added that they had moved to Karon. K. Supagorn said that the Municipality was in a rush to complete the walkway before the end of December and so the contractor was trying to build the first and second sections at the same time. But, he added, Clean Technology did not have enough workers, which was slowing down construction and making it look doubtful whether it would be finished on schedule. So far the project is only half-complete.

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Phuket

Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ประชาสัมพันธ์ เทศบาลตำบลวิชิต

Hundreds of residents in Phuket’s Wichit subdistrict attended a workshop focused on reducing stress from to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. A psychologist was even on site to help those who had extreme mental stress and a Buddhist monk taught meditation techniques to reduce physiological effects of stress.

The event was planned in response to an online survey conducted by the municipality asking residents about how much stress they were experiencing from the economic climate. They found that some residents had serious stress issues brought on by the pandemic and financial problems, according to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat.

“The loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 situation has resulted in some people in the area suffering serious stress, which can lead to serious mental health issues.”

Around 350 people attended the event. The mayor says it was the first step in caring for the residents’ mental health. Local officials plan to hold similar workshops in the future.

“It was a good opportunity for people to realise the importance of mental health and to learn techniques of how to deal with stress, which will help people to maintain their physical health and avoid developing mental health problems.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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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, south of the island. Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally in which 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

Somkiet Sarasin, the 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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