Connect with us

Phuket

Thai society, Phuket struggle to survive a bender

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Thai society, Phuket struggle to survive a bender | Thaiger

Special Report

Thailand consumes more than twice as much booze as the average Southeast Asian country, and faces the multitude of problems that come along with it, according to the World Health Organization and Phuket experts.

Here, the Phuket Gazette‘s Chutharat Plerin investigates.

PHUKET: A barrage of statistics released by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its “2014 Global report on alcohol and health” detailed a growing trend in hard liquor consumption in Thailand, a trend which health experts have linked to a range of domestic, society and health problems in the country.

Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO) Chief Dr Kajohnsak Kaewjarus confirmed to the Gazette on Monday that the island has a drinking problem.

“Phuket is a province with one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption. Many people, Thais and foreigners alike, holiday here to have fun and take part in the island’s nightlife,” Dr Kajohnsak said.

Alcoholism is an issue for society as a whole, he explained, as it can lead to further problems, including crime, unchecked aggression, mental sickness and joblessness.

“This affects families’ and individuals’ health. It is also very expensive to pay for treatment,” he said.

The WHO report gave Thailand the highest rating possible for the number of “Years of Life Lost” as a result of alcohol consumption based on 2012 data. Deaths from cirrhosis of the liver totalled 28.2 per 100,000 citizens for men and 8.7 per 100,000 for women. The death rate for road accidents using the same ratio was 70.3 for men and 18.5 for women.

The effects, however, are not limited to those partaking in spirits, beer and wine. It also affects their peers and loved ones.

“Alcohol is the number one reason for domestic violence, including violence against women and children,” Jiranun Cheamcharoen, Director of Phuket Shelter for Children and Families on Koh Sireh, told the Gazette. The center functions as one of the One Stop Crisis Centers in the province.

Alcohol consumption leading to violence is not just a Phuket-specific problem though, Ms Jiranun pointed out, it reaches far beyond the island’s coasts.

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

The latest global average of pure alcohol consumption is 6.21 liters per capita, but the figure for Southeast Asia is 3.4 liters per capita – less than half of Thailand’s consumption rate, reported The Nation.

Thailand’s average consumption rate of pure alcohol per adult (15 years and older) increased from 6.8 liters between 2003 and 2005 to 7.1 liters between 2008 and 2010.

“This is even more startling when you consider that 70.3 per cent of Thais are recorded as abstainers. The remaining 30 per cent more than make up for those who don’t drink,” David Swartzentruber, who was a clinical psychologist in the United States and has dealt extensively with the medical and social issues that result from alcoholism, wrote in The Nation.

“The total alcohol consumption for Thai men in 2010 was 30.3 liters of pure alcohol and for women, 5.2

image

liters.”

Given the statistics, it becomes clear why Ms Jiranun from the OSCC pointed her finger at men as the main cause of drinking-related domestic violence in Phuket.

“Men should have more common sense. They should be gentlemen to the people around them and understand their roles as a husband and a father,” Ms Jiranun said.

“This problem will continue forever unless people are conscious of the issue, and learn what they must do to control themselves when they are drinking.”

THE LAND OF SPIRITS

Of all the kinds of alcohol available in Thailand, the trends for types consumed are a near inverse of those seen in western countries.

In Thailand, 73 per cent of the alcohol consumed is in the form of spirits, 27 per cent is beer and less than 1 per cent is wine. In the US, consumption is broken down to 12 per cent spirits, 40 per cent wine and 48 per cent beer. Myanmar, Thailand’s neighbor, has statistics more similar to the US: 12 per cent spirits, 6 per cent wine and 82 per cent beer.

Price per serving of alcohol in Thailand is much cheaper for spirits than it is for wine and beer, Mr Swartzentruber pointed out.

A 750ml bottle of wine in Phuket can be tracked down for 400 baht and deliver five servings. However, a 700ml bottle of one of the more popular Thai whiskeys provides about 17 servings for a much cheaper 271 baht.

Ruang Khao white spirits (more commonly known as lao khao), the world’s second largest spirits brand according to trade publication the Shanken Daily Report, can be found for 99 baht per 700ml bottle.

In 2013, Thailand saw a change to excise tax on alcohol, one that significantly increased taxes for beer and wine, but only marginally increased taxes on spirits, Mr Swartzentruber explained.

TAXING SOLUTIONS

Phuket Excise Office (PEO) Chief Pairuch Kulima noted that raising the taxes on spirits even more could help prevent the quantity of consumption, which might lead to the lessening of alcohol-related problems within Thai society.

“I believe that raising taxes could prevent people from buying it and might stop new drinkers from picking up the habit. It could also encourage long-time drinkers to stop,” Mr Pairuch said.

“However, people feel very differently about this. Some people want the entire alcohol industry shut down and while others refuse to let that happen.

“It’s a delicate issue. Everyone must work together to determine what is best for our nation.”
Dr Kajohnsak from the PPHO argued that education and strict control on advertisements were the solutions, rather than raising taxes on spirits, as suggested by Mr Pairuch and Mr Swartzentruber.

The PPHO receives about 50,000 baht per year for anti-alcohol campaigns in Phuket.

“People need to learn about the dangers of alcohol. There should be seminars to educate people, especially students,” Dr Kajohnsak said.

“Strict control on advertisements, as well as no longer using alcohol during celebrations, would also help.”

The experts have spoken and are in agreement that alcohol consumption, especially that of hard liquor, is staggeringly high in Thailand and can lead to devastating effects – socially, mentally, economically and physically.

From preventing excessive consumption through education to controlling promotion through advertisements to even halting possible purchases through raised taxes, the doctors, psychologists and health officials alike share at least one common goal: to raise awareness of the issue and its consequences.

— Chutharat Plerin

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

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

Phuket

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy

Maya Taylor

Published

on

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr / dronepicr

Expats living in Thailand are up in arms after Phuket officials confirmed that foreigners arriving on the island would have to pay for a rapid Covid-19 test that is free for Thais. The testing requirement is part of new restrictions now in force to combat the spread of the virus. However, it is not the cost of the test – 500 baht – that has angered so many expats, but the fact that officials see nothing wrong with charging people based on their nationality.

On Monday it was announced that EVERYONE arriving in Phuket would have to pay 300 baht if they needed the ‘rapid covid test’. But that was amended the next day. Now we have the latest example of 2-tier pricing in Thailand (below).

The news was shared by travel blogger Richard Barrow on his Facebook page and has so far generated over 430 comments (and still growing), most of them furious…

“Unbelievable. I know Thailand is xenophobic, but for the authorities to do that is an absolute disgrace. They can piss off. I’ll take my business elsewhere in future.”

“I pay Thai taxes, I have for 16 years! am happy to bring my money elsewhere then!”

“Phuketians: “Tourists please come back.” Also Phuketians: “500b khap.”

It was not just foreigners commenting however, with at least one Thai person condemning the policy…

“I feel so so ashamed of how my country (or its government) so desperately wants more money to continue their corruption. Any possible ways they can rip you off – they will do shamelessly.”

Effective yesterday, anyone flying in to Phuket from elsewhere in the country must take a rapid Covid-19 test, unless they have taken a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours or can prove they’ve received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. With less than 1% of the country vaccinated – almost none of them foreigners – the second requirement is unlikely to be met by many.

Foreigners who have to take the rapid test, regardless of whether they are tax-paying work permit holders or retirees contributing to the economy, long-term residents or married to a Thai, will have to pay 500 baht. For Thais, it is free. The focus of expat anger is not the cost, but the principle, which is being roundly condemned as xenophobic.

Foreigners employed in the Kingdom in particular, are angered, given that they have been paying tax for years and have social security coverage. In response, Phuket health officials have issued an “explanation” – that manages to explain very little.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile, while the new restrictions apply to everyone arriving by air, for those arriving by road, only people coming from the high-risk “red” provinces need to meet the entry requirements.

And, just as a footnote, if your rapid covid test conducted by airport officials happens to come back positive you will be whisked away to a Phuket field hospital for a 14 day stay.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by ThaigerSOURCE: TPN

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand’s covid vaccine passport – will it only be used for travel?

Tim Newton

Published

on

Thailand’s covid vaccine passport – will it only be used for travel? | Thaiger

Hi. Im Tim Newton. Just upfront saying that these are my personal opinions and don’t necessarily reflect that of The Thaiger.

So today the Thai Government now has officially announced vaccine passports. The documents are going to be the next big thing in the long and winding Covid road. Firstly, before some comments, the details that we actually know.

This Covid passport legislation has now been announced in the Royal Gazette, so it’s not being considered, it’s actually law. According to media info, the vaccine passport will be an official document which can be used by vaccinated people travelling abroad.

I fear this Covid passport will end up as just another victim of the unintended consequences. The benefits, mostly intended for international travellers, will be used as another way of whittling away our remaining privacies and adding another layer of little annoyances to life and work in the Land of Smiles.

Look at the vaccine roll out in Thailand. Usually a business should try and under-promise and then over deliver. In this case the Thai government have done the exact opposite. Timelines for vaccination are not being met and the ordering of vaccines appears chaotic and, at best, just slow in getting to the startline.

The PM has rushed to assure the citizenry that the delays have been caused by an abundance of caution. And unfortunately the 2 horses they’ve backed in the vaccination race are having a few bad PR days and neither may be a long term solution to the latest variants of Covid-19 spreading around Thailand. But I’ll let the scientists sort that out… certainly not the legion of instant vaccine experts that have now infected the internet.

I’m all for trying to get the country open again, as soon as practicable, and safe to do so. But I’m starting to think the best course of action is to lock my gate and resort to an online worklife and Food Panda… the mad foreign guy locked up in his house with his 3 cats.

Here in Phuket we now have an arrival regime that demands either proof of vaccine, a negative Covid test, or a 300 baht rapid Covid test at the airport. The chances of me subjecting myself to an airport officials sticking a swap up my admittedly large nose in the vague hope it will probably come back negative, is zero. Again, on a daily basis we get emails from foreigners who say they’ve been whisked away to hospitals, and more recently field hospitals, with no recourse or means of appeal, or even the chance to get a second test.

Here’s one from this morning…

I can’t call the embassy as I don’t have a SIM card, I also have been told to order outside food as they won’t feed me. They won’t provide me with my test results and told me that I’d need to stay 14 days here in quarantine, but the doctor I talked with yesterday said 5 more days. I’m so confused as to what to do next.

Now, stripping all this back to basics, I’ll concede that we’re all in this mess together at the moment, and that we may have to forego a few personal freedoms for the greater good. I have no issue wearing a mask in public. I have no worries leaving my phone number at the door when entering premises. I will do my best to stay socially distant when in public.

But all these restrictions are easy to ramp up and much harder to wind back. And, at a deeper level, our trust in institutions, governments, and medical officials is being eroded. And that’s not good as we stumble forward in trying to get the world open again.

Will I get a vaccine passport? Probably. And I’ll also expect to have to carry it everywhere I go as it’s used as just another reminder that I’m just a guest in this country and I better just get used to it.

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket requires Covid-19 vaccination or 72-hour test

Avatar

Published

on

Phuket requires Covid-19 vaccination or 72-hour test | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Checkpoints in Phuket will only allow Covid-19 tested or vaccinated travellers in.

To help wrangle the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak in Phuket, strict controls for everyone entering the island go into effect today until the end of April. The provincial communicable disease committee approved the measures in an effort to stop the proliferation of Covid-19 in the province.

The new regulations state that only people who have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine or have tested to be Coronavirus-free within 3 days of arrival, will be allowed to enter Phuket. Proper certification or documentation must be presented to verify this information – either a Covid-19 vaccination certificate or the results of a recent negative Covid-19 test.

Anyone attempting to enter Phuket without the full vaccine doses, or a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours, will be charged 500 baht for a rapid antigen test at their port of entry. For Thais, the cost is free. The 2-tier price policy has been slammed by expats and other foreigners in the country. Read HERE.

These tests generate results in about 15 minutes and then negative-tested visitors will be allowed to proceed. If a person receives the test and is diagnosed positive for Covid-19 they will be sent to medical facilities immediately for treatment.

All entrants to Phuket are also required to use the Mor Chana Covid-19 contact tracing app to check in and record their travel timelines. That mobile app is available at gophuget.com.

The new restrictions apply to local and foreign travellers except for people making deliveries that are not staying overnight. Those people will get a special certification from their companies to present at the checkpoint entrance to the island.

Phuket is now classified as a Red Zone province, one of 19 provinces throughout Thailand where infections are on the rise. 208 current Covid-19 infections were registered at the start of this week in Phuket.

In response to the increasing Covid-19 infections in Phuket, Surat Thani has made special restrictions for anyone travelling from Phuket to Surat Thani. Those people will be required to scan and register their trip through the “Save Surat” website before being quarantined for 14 days.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading
CCSA Update: 1,458 new Covid-19 cases, provincial totals | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

CCSA Update: 1,458 new Covid-19 cases, provincial totals

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | Thaiger
Phuket14 hours ago

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy

Police inspect Pattaya restaurants for compliance with alcohol sales ban | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)20 hours ago

Police inspect Pattaya restaurants for compliance with alcohol sales ban

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 days ago

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

Phuket requires Covid paperwork to enter from red zone provinces from Wednesday (April 21) | Thaiger
Thailand3 days ago

Phuket requires Covid paperwork to enter from red zone provinces from Wednesday (April 21)

7 people develop adverse side-effects after receiving Chinese vaccine | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

7 people develop adverse side-effects after receiving Chinese vaccine

Alcohol sales may be banned in restaurants, but no lockdown for now | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 days ago

Alcohol sales may be banned in restaurants, but no lockdown for now

Officials investigating woman’s alleged attempt to sell national parkland for 350 million baht | Thaiger
Eastern Thailand7 days ago

Officials investigating woman’s alleged attempt to sell national parkland for 350 million baht

Burmese prisoners granted amnesty on first day of Myanmar’s New Year | Thaiger
Crime5 days ago

Burmese prisoners granted amnesty on first day of Myanmar’s New Year

New restrictions for domestic flights effective along with other nationwide restrictions today | Thaiger
Transport5 days ago

New restrictions for domestic flights effective along with other nationwide restrictions today

Teen crashes motorbike into parked car while looking at phone | Thaiger
Thailand4 days ago

Teen crashes motorbike into parked car while looking at phone

Thailand’s covid vaccine passport – will it only be used for travel? | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)22 hours ago

Thailand’s covid vaccine passport – will it only be used for travel?

Bangkok is now a red zone. Government gives people today to get back from Songkran break. | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 days ago

Bangkok is now a red zone. Government gives people today to get back from Songkran break.

Thai Health Ministry predicts 5 likely Covid outcomes post-Songkran, warns of risks posed by partying | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 days ago

Thai Health Ministry predicts 5 likely Covid outcomes post-Songkran, warns of risks posed by partying

Thailand aims to secure 5-10 million Pfizer vaccines | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

Thailand aims to secure 5-10 million Pfizer vaccines

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4 | Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

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

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

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

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | Thaiger
Phuket2 months ago

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

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23 | Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

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

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

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

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

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

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

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

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

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

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

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

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

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

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

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

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

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

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

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

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Follow Thaiger by email:

Trending