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Phuket’s Lionel Cleary passes away

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket’s Lionel Cleary passes away | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A wake for well-known and much loved long-term Phuket resident Lionel Cleary will be held at Nikita’s Beach Restaurant on the Rawai beachfront this Sunday from 3pm.

After weeks in hospital due to a fall, he eventually succumbed to organ failure this morning at Bangkok Hospital Phuket.

He was 76.

Mr Cleary first arrived in Phuket with friends via an overland trip from Lahore in 1965 at the age of 30.

That trip inspired him to return almost annually until 1986, when he spent much of each year in Phuket until 1994.

On retiring that year, he settled permanently in Phuket and soon established himself as part of the growing expat scene in the south of the island.

As with many expats who come to Phuket to “retire”, he took on a number of English-teaching positions in the late ’90s and also did a brief stint as proofreader for the Phuket Gazette.

Together with a number of other Rawai and Kata expats, Lionel was a regular attendee at the many Mom Tri’s Boathouse events over the past 17 years, most notably their art exhibitions, literary evenings and wine tastings.

He was also a keen and regular attendee at the Assumption Catholic Church in Phuket Town.

Mr Cleary was born in London of Irish and British parents. During the bombings of WWII, he was evacuated to Ireland with his sister. He spent several years there before returning to England.

At about 20 years of age he went to live with his aunt and uncle in California, where he worked with the Wells Fargo Bank for several years. He then studied Spanish at the University of San Francisco and completed a four-year course in two years.

During university holidays he journeyed south to Mexico, staying in both the northern deserts and southern jungles, gaining a love of the Mexicans and their way of life, and becoming well versed in many dialects.

He was one of the first westerners to see the Lacandon Indians of Chiapas in Mexico’s south and spent a significant part of his life there.

After graduating, Mr Cleary spent many years teaching Spanish in schools in San Francisco.

Travel, however, remained one of the loves of his life. He spent almost every school holiday literally travelling the world.

On one of his longest trips he drove an old Volkswagen van from London, through Europe to Greece, on to Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Northern India, Delhi, Calcutta and back to London.

He spent quite some time in Patna, India, where one of his uncles was a priest. He also trekked in Nepal and spent a lot of time in Eastern Europe.

In London’s Irish Club, he spent many happy hours rubbing shoulders with politicians, businessmen and movie stars.

With his gentle charisma and keen sense of humor, he was always able to command attention and respect from his students and almost everyone else he came in contact with.

Something of a purist, he hated the arrival of the Coca-Cola culture into native communities, but above everything else he was a people person who loved to travel and he led an incredibly colorful life.

He will be fondly remembered by his many, many friends in Phuket and around the world.

— Peter Notley / Bill Curran

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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

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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International Schools

Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

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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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Tourism

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend

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Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | The Thaiger

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says that Phuket has received a much-needed 300 million baht boost over the 4 day long weekend with around 54,000 tourists flocking to the island from last Thursday through to yesterday.

Phuket Office Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, reports that the average expenditure per visitor was about 5,500 baht, which was higher than the average spend for a Thai tourist to Phuket 2 years ago. She also noted that random checks on hotels showed that occupancy rates climbed to about 35%, with most guests staying 2 nights. But most of Phuket’s hotels remain closed.

Nanthasiri also says that many of the tourists concentrated themselves in the Phuket Old Town area, especially around Thalang Road, Phang Nga Road, and Dibuk Road in order to enjoy at the Sino-Portuguese shophouse architecture and historical locations. In fact much of Phuket Town, including its many markets and alley eateries, were doing roaring business, The Thaiger can vouch for the heavy traffic, on the roads and footpaths, over the past 4 days.

“This special holiday made Phuket tourism livelier, even though it was not as same as the situation before the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In fact, despite the welcome surge of visitors, it was still a long, long way from its previous tourist levels with much of the west coast, which has largely catered for the international tourist traffic, was still very quiet in places like Patong, Kata and Karon.

Phuket wasnt the only destination that has profited off of the long weekend as Chiang Mai saw droves of Thai tourists visiting its Royal Park Rajapruek as well as the northern city’s other nearby national parks and tourist areas. Visitors came from all over to see the blossoming of flowers in a beautiful display at the park as well as enjoying the air-purifying flowers as they relaxed. Tourists were able to rent a bicycle for 60 baht if they wanted to exercise while taking in the scenery and could also pay a visit to the orchid greenhouse, which hosts a variety of orchids in bloom. TripAdvisor recommends to set aside 2 hours to visit the park.

Next holiday weekend, on November 27 and 28, Pattaya is expected to get a tourism boost as its annual fireworks festivalis set to bring in travellers who have taken advantage of package deals offered by some beachside hotels. Such packages were offered for advance bookings, where holidaymakers could view the firework shows on the rooftops of their hotels. The firework displays are said to be long with breaks of entertainment-packed shows, featuring live music and student bands amongst others.

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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