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Phuket’s first purpose-built school mindfulness centre opens at UWC Thailand

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s first purpose-built school mindfulness centre opens at UWC Thailand | The Thaiger

UWC Thailand (UWCT) welcomed its community back last week with a brand-new addition to its campus: a purpose-built, student-centric Mindfulness Centre. As the island’s leader in mindfulness-based education, the addition – intentionally situated at the school’s main entrance – has been well-received by students, staff and parents alike.

“Mindfulness is integral to a UWCT education, and has been an ongoing focus since the school was founded in 2008. When deciding where to locate the new centre, we chose the entrance of the school so that it would be the first thing guests at UWCT encountered and enquired about,” explained Jason McBride, UWCT’s Head of School. “It highlights our commitment to integrating mindfulness into campus life with a dedicated space for practicing.”

The centre is used each day for secular mindfulness practice by classes ranging from Nursery to Grade 12, where students explore how to ‘pay attention to the present moment, on purpose, with kindness and curiosity,’ with the school’s Mindfulness Mentor Kru Lucy Keller. UWCT’s boarding students also use the space for meditation and yoga in the evenings to ready themselves for a restorative night’s sleep. 

“With mindfulness, students learn to give themselves the breathing room they require to take in what’s happening in and around them, see it more clearly through a positive lens, and react more intentionally. By being curious about, and attending to, present moment experiences students learn about their reactions, patterns, and themselves. They begin to understand that they have a choice and can take space to respond rather than react to everyday stresses. Mindfulness also supports students in developing self-compassion and through this, compassion for others,” said Keller.

In fact, Daniel Goleman and Richard. J. Davidson’s recently published book ‘Altered Traits-Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain and Body’ finds that there are five main ways mindful meditation impacts us in a positive way when practiced over time: it improves our resilience to stress, increases our compassion for others, improves attention and focus, increased selflessness, and a variety of health benefits including increased pain tolerance, reduced inflammation and cortisol, as well as an increase in an enzyme called telomerase known to increase cell life. 

Mindfulness at UWCT goes beyond the students and is embedded into how the school’s teachers teach. It requires staff to be grounded in present moment awareness with an attitude of non-judgment, kindness, and curiosity. UWCT staff learn this first by participating in mindfulness training under the guidance of Keller and others through ongoing staff sessions. Teachers are encouraged to spread mindfulness throughout the day with short moments of stillness where relevant, particularly before and after special events, challenging news, testing or exams.

To assist in this endeavour, Keller co-plans with the teaching staff to help them look at other subject areas through a mindful lens. While during mock and final exams, students receive an exam along with a mindfulness schedule, where pre- and post-exam meditations of five and fifteen minutes take place to calm nerves and increase focus and then let go of any residual post-test stress. 

Phuket’s first purpose-built school mindfulness centre opens at UWC Thailand | News by The Thaiger

Kru Lucy Keller explaining mindfulness techniques to UWCT’s Grade 4 students

While Keller is delighted to have the centre as a place to teach, her role is to ensure mindfulness is happening everywhere on campus, whenever needed throughout the day. One way this is done is through the practice of a morning “Time In” session in the secondary school and through ‘Morning Meetings’ in the Primary school.  

Keller explained: “‘Time In’ is an invitation to pause, and pay attention with kindness and curiosity to things as they are.’ This is an ideal way to set the tone in creating a positive and productive learning environment by allowing students time to be present, self-aware and reflective. By training attention in this way, they create the space needed to be able to see more clearly and make more intentional decisions about how they move forward in their day. This is not only supportive to their own well-being and learning but also impacts the whole community as kindness is at the core mindfulness.

The practice of a “Morning Meeting” is based on the Responsive Classroom model, these meetings help create a sense of belonging and respect, allocating time at the start of the day for students to focus on developing their social-emotional skills using self-awareness and mindfulness practices, alongside team building and time to connect with others.”

The school also offers mindful parenting sessions so that the community can support UWCT students’ mindfulness practices at home. The school’s focus on mindfulness has attracted attention and visits from some of the world’s experts on mindfulness including Buddhist Monk and writer Matthieu Ricard – dubbed “the happiest man on Earth”; and B. Alan Wallace, one of the foremost Buddhist scholars and teachers on the planet.

In fact, Wallace – who has a study also referenced in ‘Altered Traits’ – will be at UWCT this November 17th and 18th to deliver a two-day seminar on his four aspects of mental balance framework from 9am to 3pm each day. All UWCT staff will be in attendance, as well as a number of secondary students and parents. For mindful Phuketians, this is an incredible opportunity to learn from a world-class expert, compliments of UWC Thailand and Thanyapura Sports & Wellness hotel. Those interested in attending should contact the school directly via [email protected] Spaces are limited. 

For more information, please contact Samantha Gayfer, Sr Manager of Communications & Philanthropy .

EMAIL: [email protected] | PHONE: +66 6-5061-4780



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The 5th Annual Stargazer talent contest returns to CC’s Hideaway

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The 5th Annual Stargazer talent contest returns to CC’s Hideaway | The Thaiger

This year the winner will receive 35,000 baht in prize money!

CC’s Hideaway, located in Kata, proudly presents its fifth ‘Stargazer Talent Contest’ which will take place on April 27 between 6 pm and 11 pm. 

The goal of Stargazer is to create an opportunity for new individuals and groups to perform and promote their special talents and, with media and hundreds of guests in attendance, maybe even get their big break.

Stargazer is open to the Thai and expat communities alike. In previous years, the contest has attracted contestants from around the world, including Thailand, the US, Russia, Australia, Singapore, the UK, Italy, Canada, Kyrgyzstan and The Philippines.

Stargazer brings together a wide range of singers, bands, dancers, acrobats and actors who are scored by spectators and professional judges.

This year, the winner will receive 35,000 baht and a the Stargazer trophy, second place will receive 20,000 baht and third place will receive 10,000 baht. There is also the ‘People’s Choice’ award, as chosen by the audience.

The 5th Annual Stargazer talent contest returns to CC's Hideaway | News by The Thaiger

Past winners include Same Size Crew, Bboys dance team (2015), Khun Maatam Rapter from Chiang Mai who sing’s like an lady (2016), Spectrum dance team (2017) and Daisy & Alvin, popular local Phuket performers (2018).

In line with CC’s Hideaway commitment to give back to the Thai community, the resort will donate a portion of the revenue generated by Stargazer to the Life Home Project Foundation whose mission is to offer children who are affected or infected with HIV/AIDS a more dignified life, prevent the spread of this disease in Phuket and fight against the stigmatisation of people living with it. 

To apply, email [email protected] with a short biography, a photo and a link to a video of your performance. Contestants must be aged 13 or over.

Entry is free for the first 25 people who come before 7 pm and is 250 baht thereafter, including a drink. Guests and contestants are encouraged to dress in neon colours.

For more details, visit HERE, call 076 333 222 or email [email protected]

https://web.facebook.com/thethaigernews/videos/1688011211276700/

Tim Newton speaks to last year’s winners, Daisy and Alvin Tumulak

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Phuket

Legality of Seastead likely to be tested in an international court

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Legality of Seastead likely to be tested in an international court | The Thaiger

The perceived naiveté of the team surrounding the seastead structure off Phuket’s south-east coast are about to be tested as the matter is likely to end up in an international court.

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam says that the Thai government has the right to demolish the floating sea home and welcomed the threat of a lawsuit by its builder, Ocean Builders. Ocean Builders is a well-funded group backed by Peter Theil.

“Peter Andreas Thiel is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, philanthropist, political activist, and author. He is a co-founder of PayPal, Palantir Technologies and Founders Fund.”

The media narrative has been of a naive couple who wandered into the offshore lifestyle project and then went into hiding when questions started to be asked and the Navy came knocking at their offshore front door.

At the same time the Thai Government has rolled up its sleeves and showed its angry face claiming that the project was a threat to national sovereignty and security.

Some enthusiast local media included the threat of ‘death penalty’ in its reportage (covered in the Act relating to treasonous acts against the sovereignty of Thailand)  providing sensational headlines for international tabloids.

Speaking at a press conference at the King Prajadhipok’s Institute yesterday, Wissanu said Thai officials could remove the floating structure, which is located to the southeast of Koh Racha Yai, approximately 22 kilometres  from the Thai mainland, because its presence clearly violated Article 119 of Thailand’s Criminal Code as threatening the Kingdom’s security and sovereignty.

(These claims continue to be made by Thai officials without any explanation or evidence on how the 6 metre aluminium and steel structure threatens the country’s security.)

Wissanu says the structure would also be an obstacle to marine navigation as it is located near a sea drilling site.

But the company behind the project, Ocean Builders, has announced it will sue Thailand in an international court if the government removes the seastead. This legal test in a court, predicted by The Thaiger, will force the Thai Government to measure its hard-line position on the seastead in an international court of law.

But Wissanu kept pouring on the local rhetoric yesterday…

“The Thai government would be glad if a lawsuit is filed. We want a lawsuit to be filed so that we will have a chance to explain the truth.”

“Attempts have been made to build seasteads in several nations but no government had allowed them and builders were always arrested and legal action taken against them,” according to Wissanu.

From the Ocean Builder website…

“We are just beyond 12 nautical miles from shore. Under International law this puts us just outside of the territorial waters of Thailand but within their 200 nautical mile excusive economic zone. This means that we are not subject to Thailand laws other than those that deal with their natural resources (drilling for oil, mining, etc.) and no interfering with their customs (can’t act as a way to get goods and people into Thailand to get around their import and visa laws). As well as following the law of the sea which prevents “egrevious acts” such as murder, slave trade, etc.”

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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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