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Phuket V/Gov pushes Bangkok reps to buy disputed land

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket V/Gov pushes Bangkok reps to buy disputed land | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Phuket’s Vice Governor yesterday advocated national intervention in the ongoing land dispute between private property developer Baron World Trade Co and the sea gypsy community in Rawai.

Vice Governor Prajiad Aksornthammakul encouraged the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) to convince Bangkok to buy up the disputed property near Rawai Pier from the developer.

The ongoing land dispute surrounding the sea gypsy village and the villagers’ access to a nearby ceremonial site has been going on for at least a couple of decades, often turning violent.

In January, more than 30 people were injured in a confrontation between Baron employees and the sea gypsies (story here).

In February, Weerachai Tantiwattanawalop, who claims to own five rai of land currently occupied by the sea gypsies, said he and other land owners submitted a letter to Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha asking the government to step in and buy their land (story here).

The NRSA, which advises Bangkok on social affairs, completed a circuit of sea gypsy communities in Phang Nga on Thursday, before meeting with V/Gov Prajiad and officials in Phuket.

The vice governor explained to the committee yesterday that there are five sea gypsy communities in Phuket, which comprise an estimated 4,500 people. The largest is the Rawai community in question, with 244 households and a total population of 2,063, according to provincial government estimates.

“Each of these [sea gypsy] communities has its own problems,” V/Gov Prajiad told the NRSA representatives. “The community that seems to have the most problems is the one in Rawai, with the Laem Tukkae community coming in second. Their problems are primarily economic in nature, with neighboring tourism-related demand driving up land values, because these communities are located on private land.”

“We know that almost every sea gypsy area has land conflicts, in one form or another,” V/Gov Prajiad continued. “The price of land in Phuket is very high, and that really heightens the seriousness of these problems.”

Mr Prajiad told the assembly that Phuket’s provincial government has contacted the Ministry of Interior, as well as the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, requesting that Bangkok purchase the disputed land.

“After we buy back the land, we can move on to the next step, where we manage the land for the [Rawai sea gypsy] community. We’d also offer the villagers access to public utilities and education,” V/Gov Prajiad said. “I think that within six months or a year, the villagers will have a greatly improved quality of life.”

But NRSA chairman Anothai Ritthipanyawong said he disagreed with the proposed government buy-back scheme.

“To my knowledge, so many pieces of land across the country – and of course in Phuket – are under investigation about how the land owners obtained their title deeds,” Mr Anothai said.

“Most of the land in Phuket falls under that ambiguity, and I have a feeling that these pieces of land do so as well.”

“We cannot say at this point that the government has to buy back this land for the sea gypsies. I don’t doubt that the reason we’re at this point in the first place is because the land [documents] were illegally issued,” Mr Anothai said. “Why don’t we at least wait until the land ownership case is officially finalized in court?”

Vice Governor Prajiad was insistent that a government buyout is the best way to end the dispute.

“The owners who’ve bought the land are not the first owners of these plots. They’re the fourth or fifth owners in most cases. So, I do not think they have a clue as to how the title deeds were issued,” V/Gov Prajiad said.

“I was a member of one of the committees in proving that the sea gypsies had a right to the land years ago, and some people from that committee have actually passed away. It’s been that long. Years pass, but nothing ever really gets resolved.”

“This issue cannot wait,” he said. “People are in trouble. Children need to go to school. They need electricity and water at a reasonable price, like the rest of us.”

The vice governor said that the sea gypsies pay nearly three times more than their neighbors for electricity and water. He also noted that the sea gypsies’ houses are built next to each other and that sanitation is a concern for provincial authorities.

“Some parts of the sea in that area have been allocated as part of a national park or protected areas and the poor sanitation is affecting the marine ecosystem,” the vice governor said.

— Chutharat Plerin

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Crime

Sarasas school teacher charged with assault for allegedly abusing students

Caitlin Ashworth

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Sarasas school teacher charged with assault for allegedly abusing students | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Prachachat

The Nonthaburi teacher, who allegedly beat and mistreated kindergarten students, faces charges of physical assault and violating the Child Protection Act. The charges follow reports of abuse after classroom surveillance camera footage from the Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School spread on the internet. Videos show a teacher, identified as Ornuma “Khru Jum” Plodprong, pushing a child to the ground, dragging another across the room and repeatedly hitting the kindergarten students.

Your comments…

• School administrators must be investigated.

• About time. This kind of abuse is the norm in Thai schools and it’s about time they did something about it.

• How about the other 3 adults who were in that room when it happens . NONE of them went forward to help that poor kid.

• Many expat teachers I came across when my daughter was still at school were ‘illegal’ & while they should accept blame, the schools which charge for expensive expat teaching should be held accountable.

Police say more charges for violating the Teachers Act could follow. They say 8 parents are also planning on pressing separate charges. Following the reports of alleged abuse, the Office of the Private Education Commission, or OPEC, set up a committee to investigate all of the 42 Sarasas private schools around Thailand.

Khru Jum, along with staff who allegedly witnessed the abuse, were fired. OPEC teamed up with the Department of Mental Health to send psychiatrists to the school to evaluate children.

Other video footage from the Sarasas school in Nonthaburi, a suburb in Bangkok, shows a male teacher grabbing a student by the arm. The teacher was identified as a 25 year old Filipino man named Marvin.

The video has sparked an online backlash and immigration officials went to the teacher’s house to check his paperwork and also checked more than 70 other foreign teachers at the school. Immigration officials have now reported that the Filipino teacher is not legal to teach in Thailand, is only on a tourist visa and down’t have a work permit.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

7-Eleven delivery worker saves customer’s life

Caitlin Ashworth

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7-Eleven delivery worker saves customer’s life | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Komchadluek

7-Eleven employee reportedly saved a customer’s life who collapsed on the floor at the while taking a delivery in Bangkok’s Nong Khaem district. Wipassri Wanwichai had an asthma attack at the door and dropped to the ground, hyperventilating. The 7-Eleven delivery person Sumonsri “Tae” Pengthab called the emergency line and started giving her CPR.

“It would have been my last breath if it wasn’t for Tae. I am thankful and can say I have a good experience with 7-Eleven.”

Wipassri was taken to the hospital. The story was shared over the internet and the 2 later sat down for an interview. Tae said “clients are not gods, clients are family.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Bangkok

When did Bangkok have its ‘good old days’?

The Thaiger

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When did Bangkok have its ‘good old days’? | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: packthailand.com

When did Bangkok have its golden era? Of course it depends on when you were visiting, how long you were here, where you stayed, and what you were doing at the time. But the city has certainly had some ‘eras’ in the past that people nostalgically and whimsically recall as ‘special’. Here’s a few of the responses about when Bangkok really hit its straps, when we asked people on The Thaiger Facebook page.

Everyone falls into the trap of remembering the ‘good old days’, but was there a time when Bangkok really did have a golden era?

Denny says that it was definitely in the 1970s when he first came to Bangkok with his wife. He said his friends thought it was a ‘very exotic’ choice at the time. Denny, from Massachusetts in the US, returned in the 1990s to live in the Big Mango but says it had lost a certain visceral appeal and was beginning to be ‘moulded’ as a tourist destination.

“Whilst I stood out in the 1970s no one really took much notice of me. By the 1990s some of the ‘ugly tourists’ had already made a reputation and we didn’t feel quite as welcome as we used to. Whilst in the 1970s there were still plenty of bicycles’d been completely replaced by the 1990s by the ubiquitous ‘motorcy’.

‘Simone’ said… “Late 80’s and the beginning of the 90’s, when the highest building was the Dusit Thani and the first disco was The Palace. You could just put a Motorola phone on a table at The Bubble and all girls were yours while the DJ was playing ‘One night in Bangkok’. You can write a book about those times.”

When did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The Thaiger

Another writer ‘Retire’ thought the golden era was a few decades earlier.

“I think Bangkok really came to life in the 60s when it started developing it’s own pop culture style in clothing, furniture, music and cinema. It sort of regressed into a bad version of everything western later or. But there was a bright, glimmering decade when Bangkok was the hip Asian city.”

When did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The Thaiger

‘Helmer’ and his wife were posted to Thailand as for a large foreign company in the late 50s.

“When I first visited Thailand in the late 1950s I would stand out and people would stop me in the street to take a photo with me. It was very ‘Thai’ then and very few people had any English skills at all. It was a very difficult place to live as a foreigner at that stage and things slowly improved during the 60s until we had to leave in 1969. There was no high-rise in those days and shopping was all at local markets. The only cars driving around those days were all imported and they had just started filling in the old klongs to make new roads.”

When did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The Thaiger

‘Malcolm’ thought the best places in Bangkok were out of the city.

“I think the late 80s in the tourist areas, then people discovered the real Thailand outside of these areas, some places are improving to this day but still not too touristy best to keep them a secret!”

‘Ray’ forecast posts from expats who would hang around the bar-girl scene at the time…

“Stand by for claims that “Thailand was so much better” when a bar girl would gush with gratitude and do cartwheels after receiving a 10 baht tip for fetching beers all afternoon and wiping down your fat, pock-marked back with an ice-cold towel.”

When did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The Thaiger

‘Glenda’ puts the golden era firmly in the 1970s.

“The 70’s, when we were posted there was magic. No big skyscrapers, one department store on Silom road and good shopping at small family shops. A couple of supermarkets and a great day out at what was then the weekend markets. We still visit but not what it used to be.”

‘Alicia’ first came to Bangkok in the early 2000s and recalls it as being an optimistic time for the city.

“They’d just opened the Skytrain (BTS) and the city was in its early phase of changing from ‘just another Asian city’ into a modern metropolis. I was teaching at the time, King Bhumibol was still making appearances at functions and the tourists were really starting to arrive in the millions, rather than in the thousands. Businesses seemed to be booming around that time and everything seemed happy and prosperous. It was the best five years of my life. Returning in 2017 it was a completely different city and appeared to carry the burden of a big city.”

When did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The Thaiger

‘Gordon’ was much more philosophical about the question…

“The “Golden Era” is relative to the age, gender, race, sexual orientation, income, social status, nationality and experience of the individual person. Hence, the Golden Era simultaneously occurs at all times past and present, and at no time ever.”

When did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The ThaigerWhen did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The ThaigerWhen did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The ThaigerWhen did Bangkok have its 'good old days'? | News by The Thaiger

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