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Phuket

TDA teaches sea gypsies to dive

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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TDA teaches sea gypsies to dive | The Thaiger

RAWAI: Twenty villagers from Rawai’s sea gypsy community are taking part in a five-day dive course that kicked off with a ceremony Thursday morning presided over by Minister of Tourism and Sports Dr Suwit Yodmanee.

The training, being held jointly by the Thai Diving Association (TDA) and the Phuket Office of Sports and Recreation Development, is intended to give the sea gypsies useful knowledge in safe diving practices and prepare them for possible future work as instructors in the local dive industry.

The five-day course is the first of three that have been budgeted for sea gypsies under the

Yoo Dee Mee Suk (“Good Life and Happiness”) provincial development strategy. The second course will also take place at the Rawai, while the third session will be offered to the Laem Tukkae and Tah Chat Chai sea gypsy communities.

The program is based on the Thai Dive Association’s TDA/CMAS “One Star Diver” training, which could lead to the sea gypsies entering the workforce jobs as dive master assistants.

Such a development would ease the lack of qualified local instructors in the dive industry, which has come under attack several times in recent years as being too dominated by foreigners.

Dr Suwit told the press after the opening ceremony that the project was not only good for the sea gypsy community, but also for the province and the nation.

“Before, Thailand had to send some 300 to 400 million baht overseas annually so that divers could be certified by an overseas association [PADI], but now we can certify divers by ourselves. This course will help expand career opportunities for sea gypsies beyond fishing,” he said.

Dr Suwit was speaking reference to TDA’s certification program being recognized by The Confederation Mondiale des Activites Subaquatiques (CMAS), a Rome-based international umbrella organization for diver training organizations.

Dr Suwit pointed out that Phuket’s tourism industry continues to fare well, even though it is the middle of the low season.

“My ministry and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) have many tourism promotion activities throughout the year. I think the income generated by tourism this year will be better than last year,” he said, adding that the emphasis will remain on attracting more “high quality” tourists.

The strengthening of the baht in recent months has not had much of an effect on Phuket tourism because the island remains one of the world’s most desirable tourist destinations, he said.

Promchote Traivate, head of the Phuket Office of Sports and Recreation Development, said the five-day training the sea gypsies are undergoing will include theoretical and practical training, including how to avoid decompression sickness.

The condition is common among sea gypsies, many of whom descend to the sea bottom to fish without using conventional scuba gear. Instead, they have oxygen pumped through an air hose from a boat on the surface.

The course will also cover safety aspects such as emergency first aid and how to calculate safe diving times under various conditions.

Many private companies had donated equipment and services to support the training, funding for which was approved by the Phuket Governor, K. Promchote said.

The TDA will encourage its members to employ any sea gypsies who pass the course, he added.

“They must pass an exam to become a dive master assistants, but if they do they will get the chance to gain work experience. Additional training that could eventually lead to them becoming full dive masters in the future.

“The TDA will provide assistance throughout. When they start work they will get a wage and enjoy medical coverage though social security, which is better than the 30-baht healthcare plan they currently rely on,” he added.



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Phuket

Phuket seastead will be removed today

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket seastead will be removed today | The Thaiger

The Third Naval Area Command will remove the seastead stationed off Phuket south-east coast today, belonging to an American bitcoin investor and seasteading innovators Ocean Builders.

Thai authorities plan to seize the structure as evidence in a criminal case. They fear the structure will continue to be a navigation hazard if left there.

US national Chad Elwartowski and his Thai girlfriend, Supranee Thepdet (aka Nadia Summergirl), are facing charges of threatening the Kingdom’s sovereignty. Last Sunday officials from the Royal Thai Navy and Phuket Maritime boarded the structure saying it violated Article 119 of the Criminal Code and also posed a navigational hazard.

The couple launched the ‘Ocean Builders’ seastead on February 2 off the coast of Phuket. The structure is located to the southeast of Koh Racha Yai, approximately 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometres) from the mainland.

Elwartowski has claimed that his seastead is outside Thailand’s territorial waters, but Thai authorities insist that it violates Article 119 and challenges Thailand’s territorial rights.

“The Royal Thai Navy has full authority and duty to protect national interest and marine sovereignty in the area,” according to a Navy spokesperson.

Regarding the couple’s claim that they feared for their lives, Vice Admiral Sitthiporn Maskasem, commander of the Third Naval Area, said that authorities had followed the legal procedures.

“We are neither hunting them down nor threatening them,” said the commander.

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North East

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy

The Thaiger

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Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | The Thaiger

Thailand suffers calamities at both ends of the annual weather spectrum – both drought and flood. But as the demands on agriculture grow, with a growing population and the rise of tourists and development, the effects of these two extremes are becoming more apparent.

Which leads us to this year’s outlook of lower rains which is exposing the poor management of the Kingdom’s water resources. Greater development and growing population bases hasn’t been met with more or larger water catchments.

So Thai farmers are expected to face a tough 2019 as forecasters say the drought will be more acute than usual, lowering the water levels in reservoirs in the central and northeastern provinces especially.

Int eh south, Phuket, Thailand’s largest island and surrounded by water, has an acute water shortage as of Songkran and, without adequate monsoonal rain between now and November, will be facing a water crisis if it has to rely on its own island resources.

The Director General of Department of Agricultural Extension Samran Saraban says the drought this year is exacerbated by El-Nino weather cycle which causes temperature to rise 1-2 degrees higher than normal and cause the water levels in major reservoirs to drop to worrisome level. Higher temperatures mean more evaporation and more usage of reserves.

The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has called for farmers not to grow off-season rice as drought is predicted to spread into northeastern and eastern regions. That there will likely be a new administration coping with political instability will not help leaders focus on the country’s looming water shortage.

The long dry season will lower certain farm outputs, pushing up their prices. However, an overall farm income is set to decline because the drought will leave other negative affects to farmers who are also the consumers as well. This will affect the purchasing power of farm households, which account for one-third of Thais.

Etc, etc, etc.

Economists estimated the damage from the drought on the economy this year could be high. Kasikorn Research Center estimate the drought could cost at least 15.3 billion baht. Whilst Anusorn Tamajai, Dean of Economics Faculty, Rangsit University, estimates the drought to cost even more – 20-30 billion baht -because it would affect the outputs of off-season rice, sugarcane and tapioca.

“It will dampen the purchasing power of farmers in the second quarter.”

Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence chief Yanyong Thaicharoen said that the lackluster farm income can slash the growth rate of domestic consumption this year to 3.5% versus 4.6% growth last year, in addition to other factors, namely, high household debt and slower demand for durable goods.

Spending power from farmers, according to SCB, is crucial to sustain the growth of the economy. However, the grassroots economy is bracing for negative outlook this year.

There will be intense pressure on this season’s management of Thailand’s valuable water resources, through the remaining hot season and as the catchments gather water during the monsoon.

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Thaiger | Wikipedia

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People

Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal

The Thaiger

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Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Patong Police / Theeraphong Penmit / Newshawk Phuket

A Phuket boy has been rewarded after setting an excellent example for the rest of the Patong community.

8 year old Kosin Ta-ngam, who is studying at Sai Nam Yen School in Patong in Pratom Suksa Three, has been collecting garbage in the filthy Pak Bang Canal and along Patong Beach since the beginning of this year.

He lives with his grandmother and other relatives. His grandmother has been looking after Kosin since he was 10 months old.

A certificate, scholarship and life vest have been awarded to Kosin by the Patong Police Chief Col Anothai Jindamanee for displaying excellent citizen for the community as a youth volunteer and being an active part of keeping the city clean.

The Pak Bang Canal, running through the back of Patong into Patong Bay, has been a dark, dirty mess for decades. Many promises have been made to clean it up but it remains a disgraceful waterway flowing through Phuket’s main tourist town.

The tiny eight year old seems to be able to achieve a lot more than the local municipality with all their money and machinery.

Kosin, you are the Thaiger hero for today and we salute you!

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

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