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Video Report: Light up the night with Loy Krathong

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Video Report: Light up the night with Loy Krathong | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Tourists and island residents don’t have to go far to explore the wonders of Thailand’s rich cultural heritage as one of the country’s most romantic, tranquil and beautiful holidays is just around the corner.

Loy Krathong, the ‘Festival of Light’, takes place on the full moon of the 12th lunar month of the year,
falling this year on November 25, next Wednesday.

The holiday will see events, contests and krathong releases throughout the island.

Loy literally means ‘to float’, while krathong refers to the lotus-shaped vessels that are traditionally made of banana leaves and contain candles, joss sticks and small offerings of food and flowers.

Traditionally, thousands of people across the nation release the krathong onto rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea. The offerings are made to give thanks to the goddess of water and to seek forgiveness for past misdeeds.

Young couples can be seen, especially by the water at Saphan Hin, floating krathong and lighting up khom loi lanterns to release into the sky – an act thought by many to bring good luck and love to those who take part in the festival together.

The festival usually includes beauty pageants, fireworks and krathong-making contests using materials such as banana leaves, cross-sections of banana tree trunks, coconut bark or paper.

Schedule of Loy Krathong in Phuket:

Patong

Nov 25, 6pm – midnight: At the police box at the end of Soi Bangla, there will be a Miss Noppamas beauty pageant for children, a krathong contest, cultural performances by students from Thaksin University Songkhla campus, as well as an adult Miss Noppamas beauty pageant.

Karon / Kata

Nov 21 – 25, 6pm – 11pm: At the Nong Harn Park, there will be food vendors, One Tambon One Province (OTOP) vendors and cultural performances.

Nov 25, 6pm – 11pm: At the Nong Harn Park, there will be a Miss Noppamas beauty pageant and other cultural performances.

Rawai / Nai Harn

Nov 23, 6pm – midnight: At Nai Harn Lake, there will be a Look Thoong sining competition.
Nov 24, 6pm – midnight: At Nai Harn Lake, there will be a Miss Noppamas beauty pageant for kids.
Nov 25, 6pm – midnight: At Nai Harn Lake, there will be a krathong contest and Miss Noppamas beauty pageant.

Chalong

Nov 24, 5:30pm – midnight: At the field opposite Ladthiwanaram Temple ‘Wat Tai’, there will be a krathong contest and a Miss Noppamas beauty pageant for kids.

Nov 25, 5:30pm – midnight: At the field opposite Ladthiwanaram Temple ‘Wat Tai’, there will be a Miss Noppamas beauty pageant.

Phuket City

Nov 24, 9am: There will be readings of morale tales at the Information and Communication Technology Center.
Nov 24, 7pm – midnight: At Saphan Hin, there will be a Miss Noppamas beauty pageant for kids.
Nov 25, 9am: At Saphan Hin, there will be a krathong competition and drawing contests.
Nov 25, 4pm – midnight: At Saphan Hin, there will be a Loy Krathong parade and celebrations
Nov 25, 5pm – 10pm: At Boat Plaza, there will be an adult and children’s Miss Noppamas beauty pageant.

Cherng Talay

Nov 25, 6pm – 11pm: At Wat Bangtao, there will be prayers and merit making opportunities.

Srisoonthorn

Nov 23 – 25, 5:30pm – midnight: At the Bang Maruan Lagoon, there will be stage performances as part of the ‘Remembering the Bang Maruan Mine of Yesteryear’ Festival. Organizers will additionally be showing classic Thai movies on the big screen and vendors will be selling OTOP products.
Nov 23, 5:30pm – midnight: At the Bang Maruan Lagoon, there will be a krathong contest, Loy Krathong Parade and a performance by famous Look Thoong singer Sornchai Mekvichean.
Nov 24, 5:30pm – midnight: At the Bang Maruan Lagoon, there will be a Miss Noppamas beauty pageant for kids.
Nov 25, 5:30pm – midnight: At the Bang Maruan Lagoon, there will be a conert by Look Thoong singer Oijai Danisan.

Thepkrasattri

Nov 25, 9am: At Moo Baan Tha Maprao, there will be sea boxing competitions, boat racing and swimming competitions.
Nov 25, 5:30pm – midnight, at Moo Baan Tha Maprao, there will be Miss Noppamas beauty pageant for kids, krathong contest and stage performances.

— Kongleaphy Keam

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Phuket

Phuket’s annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket’s annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Marina Krasnopolska

WARNING! Content below contains photos of self-mutilation that some may find disturbing.

The flags on Go Teng poles were lowered on Monday, ending Phuket’s annual Vegetarian Festival and symbolising that the spirits have returned the heavens. The flags are raised at the start of the festivities each year at participating shrines, calling on the spirits to descend from the heavens.

This year, 2 men were electrocuted while taking down the festival flags. A steel pole with the flag touched a power pole, electrocuting and burning the workers as they were trying to lower the flags. They were taken to the hospital.

During the festival’s street processions and ceremonies so-called “mah songs” channel the descended spirits. They enter a trance-like state and many practice self-mutilation to channel the spirits. “Mah” means horse in Thai, and some say the mah song acts as a horse for the spirit to ride.

Some mah song pierce their cheeks and other parts of their body with steel spikes and sometimes swords or other bizarre choices (we’ve seen petrol pumps, javelins, samurai swords and kitchen utensils). During the street procession, they walk for hours with the self-inflicted piercings, seemingly posessed by ‘spirits’ and muttering all sort of strange chants, verging on mild cases of Tourette syndrome. A team of devotees for each mah song wipe away blood and keep the wounds clean. Some mah songs even slice their tongue for the street procession. Blood drips on their chest and the ground. Waiting bystanders line the streets hoping for the blessing of a passing mah song. Some mah songs carry a black flag.

The event is an annual spiritual ‘cleansing’ for those in watching the processions. Onlookers lining the street bow their heads and place their hands in the “wai” position as the mah song waves flags and banners over their heads. Businesses along the procession route often set up an altar outside their shop and mah songs stop at each one to do a short ritual.

The Phuket government gave the festival organisers the “okay” to hold this years event with hopes that it would increase domestic tourism and generate much-needed revenue after the Thai government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic crippled Phuket’s tourist economy. Before this year’s festival, Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupana asked that the mah songs “limit the level of torturing.” He also called for a limit on the number of people at ceremonies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

His calls were largely ignored.

The spirits will again return in 2021 to Phuket again cleanse the island’s large Thai-Chinese community.

Photos of the 2020 Vegetarian Festival by Marina Krasnopolska.

Phuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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