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Phuket Vegetarian Festival blasts into 2011

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Vegetarian Festival blasts into 2011 | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Devotees at Chinese shrines across Phuket raised their go teng poles at dusk last night and began reciting incantations to invite the Jade Emperor and Nine Emperor Gods to descend from the heavens.

Among the VIPs joining Kathu Mayor Chai-anan Sutthikul in declaring the Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2011 officially open at the Kathu Shrine – the “original home” of the Vegetarian Festival – were Culture Ministry Deputy Permanent Secretary Prarop Laovanich and Pheu Thai Party spokesman Phrompong Nopparit.

Fireworks lit up the sky and lion dancers paraded in celebration of the return of the annual festival.

At midnight, nine lanterns were hung from each go teng pole at participating shrines to mark the traditional start of the nine-day festival.

The festivities begin in earnest today, with most shrines observing at least two days of prayers and ceremonies to make offerings to the gods, ahead of a full schedule of traditional activities to invoke purification of the mind, body and soul.

First to get ablutions underway on Friday will be devotees, called mah song (“spirit mediums”), at Tae Gun Tae Shrine in Baan Pasak, Thalang, where participants will bathe in hot oil from 8pm.

At the same time, devotees at Choor Su Goong Naka Shrine, south of Phuket Town, will bathe in hot water.

With purification by liquid complete, the true testaments of faith follow on the program.

On Sunday, devotees will climb bladed ladders at Bangkoo Shrine from 7:45pm. Other devotees will walk through fire at Tha Reua, Yokkekeng and Jang Ong Shrine (opposite Vachira Phuket Hospital) from 8pm; at the Tae Gun Shrine in Baan Nabon, Wichit, from 8:30pm; and at Sui Boon Tong Shrine (also called “Lor Rong Shrine“) and Sapam Shrine from 9pm.

The climbing of knife ladders will continue on Monday (October 3) at Cherng Talay Shrine from 7:59pm; at Bang Neow Shrine and the Lim Hu Tai Su Shrine in Samkong from 8pm; at Tae Gun Tai Tae Shrine in Baan Pasak from 8:30pm; and at Bangkoo Shrine from 8:45pm.

A more family-oriented ceremony will be observed at Tha Reua Shrine from 8:45pm. After devotees bathe with hot oil, a ceremony will be held during which blessed strings will be tied onto children’s wrists as a mark of purification.

“Bridge crossing” ceremonies to further confirm purification will be held at Sapam Shrine and Jang Ong Shrine from 8pm, while devotees at the Tae Gun Tai Tae Shrine in Baan Pasak, Thalang, will bathe in hot oil from 8:30pm.

The festivities continue on October 4, with a bridge crossing ceremony at Jui Tui Shrine at 8:09pm and bladed-ladder climbing at Jang Ong Shrine at 8pm.

Fire walking will be performed at Bang Neow Shrine, Lim Hu Tai Su Shrine in Samkong, Tae Gun Tai Tae Shrine in Baan Pasak and Gim Su Ong Shrine – all at 8pm, and at Cherng Talay Shrine at 8:09pm and Bangkoo Shrine at 8:30pm.

October 5, the final day of the festival, marks a day of prayer and ceremonies to bid farewell to the gods, before a massive bonfire sendoff at Saphan Hin at 11:45pm and a rousing racket of fireworks through to midnight – the official closing time of the festival.

The shrines go into cleanup mode on October 6 and before sunset, sometime between 4:30pm and 6pm, depending on the shrine, the go teng poles are lowered to mark that the gods have returned to the heavens… until next year.

Click here for a schedule of the street processions to be held during this year’s Phuket Vegetarian Festival.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent

Bill Barnett

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Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent | The Thaiger

Bill Barnett from c9hotelworks.com continues to follow the difficult journey of the Thai hospitality industry. Traditionally, now would be the start of the country’s highly profitable high season for the tourism industry. But not this year. Thai hotels find themselves in the middle of an existential crisis – either still closed, only partly open, or one of the few converted to limited ASQ traffic. The situation is dire, when you consider that between 15-20% of Thailand’s GDP is linked to tourism.

In a speech this week Thailand’s Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke clearly that only when a vaccine is approved, produced, and implemented, would the country open to substantial tourism. Given the current timelines and forecasts, this may not be likely until mid-2021 at the earliest, though subject to advancement if the process could be accelerated, which is unlikely.

For tourism and hotel stakeholders, the writing is on the wall that 2021, for the most part, will see a continued reliance on domestic travellers, and only in 2022 will there be a large-scale return in numbers of overseas visitors.

Given the winter spike in Asia, Europe, and North America of Covid-19, Thailand is not alone in relying on the vaccine to return tourism but the process will not be instant and the re-openings of borders will most certainly be staged.

HERE’s a list of 113 Alternative State Quarantine hotels.

The business reality for Phuket and across Thailand is to plan for the worst in the coming six months and only expect 2022 to see a notable uptick.

Currently, the hotel sector continues to advocate to the Thai government and Central Bank for debt and financing relief measures and assistance in a social security supplement to retain staff.

While it’s negative news, it at least allows for hotels to understand the challenges ahead, plan and adjust their operating models going forward. ‘Survive the downturn’ is the new mantra.

No vaccine, no entry. Read more HERE.

No vaccine, no flight. Read more HERE.

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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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