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11 year old Thai child bride sent back to Thailand

The Thaiger & The Nation

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The 11 year old Thai girl, caught up in the middle of a ‘child marriage’ storm, has been sent back across the border to Thailand. The girl’s ‘marriage’ to a 41 year old Malaysian man caused a social media meltdown and strong negative response from human trafficking groups, human rights groups and the Malaysian government.

A Malaysian social activist claims the Kelantan state government returned her to Narratiwat, southern Thailand, on Wednesday. The girl, known only as Ayu, and her mother sought help from the Royal Thai Consulate General in Malaysia’s Kelantan state where they lived. Thai authorities received the girl and she is now under the care of officers from the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.

“People teased, pressured and openly condemned the girl and the mother in public,” said the source. “The husband, however did not want to send them back, as he viewed that the marriage was done correctly, but could not stop them.”

“The ministry is supposed to protect the girl and rehabilitate her. It’s right for the Thai government to take the girl back but they have to have a long-term plan. The girl’s family is poor and no one would care for them,” he said.

While the ministry would shelter her, he said that there was concern that religious bodies might threaten the ministry to let her remain with the man.

“Religious bodies in Thailand are influential and support child marriage,” he said.

The issue surfaced after the report about the man marrying the young Thai girl in Gua Musang, Kelantan, went viral on social media in June and drew flak from many parties for allowing child marriage.

Initial investigations by the Kelantan Welfare Department found that the marriage took place in Golok, Thailand. The girl’s parents are said to be Thai nationals.

The man was fined a mere RM1,800 (14,600 baht) by the Gua Musang Syariah Court. The source said that the order for the girl to leave was sudden and the girl did not even have time to pack as she had to leave immediately.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Spectacular opening for the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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by Ramadani Saputra

From Asian Games website

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo officially opened on Saturday night Asia’s biggest sporting event at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, in a dazzling ceremony that showcased the nation’s traditional cultures.

“On behalf of the Indonesian people, we are proud and we are honored to welcome our special guests from 45 countries. With the 18th Asian Games, we, the nations of Asia, want to show [the world] that we are brothers, we are united and we want to reach our goals,” said the President, who entered the venue riding a motorcycle.

Also a story about the two Korea’s marching together in the opening ceremony HERE.

“By saying bismillahhirohmanirrohim (in the name of God, the most gracious and merciful), I declare that the 18th Asian Games are open.”

Witnessed by around 40,000 spectators inside Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, the ceremony opened with 2,200 high school dancers from 18 senior high schools across the capital who enchanted the audience with the Saman dance, a traditional dance from Aceh, the westernmost province in the country.

Welcomed by the dancers, thousands of athletes from 45 National Olympic Committee (NOC) contingents then started to walk into the arena in front of a grandiose stage designed to resemble a mountain.

Each contingent was led by a representative that wore a bird-shaped costume designed by Dynand Fariz, who is famous for his creations from the Jember Fashion Carnaval, an annual parade.

You can watch the entire lead up and opening ceremony below…

After all contingents entered the arena, spectators immediately cheered loudly when the country’s team entered the arena as the last contingent of the night.

This is Indonesia’s second time hosting the Asian Games, having previously done so in 1962 in Jakarta.

Here’s the official song from this year’s Asian Games in Jakarta…

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Chinese tourists love going local and doing their own bookings – Hotels.com

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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PHOTO: Jing Daily

How much have Chinese millennials (that’s the people born after 1990) increased their spending in the last year?

80%!

Research by accommodation booking portal, Hotels.com, reveals that younger Chinese spenders are pushing the boundaries of international travel, increasing their expenditure over the past year by a staggering 80%. Part of the increased expenditure goes to fund social media-influenced trips full of edgy experiences, high-tech accommodation, exotic delicacies and taboo ticket-items.

Keen to seek out ‘authentic experiences’, Chinese travellers are spending big and love going local – tasting exotic local delicacies (69%), scouring the streets for authentic local items (43%) and shopping for luxury items (38%). Other key research indicates that the myth of Chinese tourists spending less than other nationalities is completely wrong.

62% of Chinese millennial travellers are now being attracted away from Asian destinations and seeking far-flung parts of the world for their thrills.

Long-haul destinations are this year’s trend for Chinese travellers. While Asia continues to be a popular destination, with 49% planning to travel to Asian destinations during the next 12 months, longer journeys to Europe, Africa and the Middle East are at the top of the shopping list for next year’s Chinese travellers.

But the good news is that Thailand is still a firm favourite. Chinese travellers say they still feel welcomed in Thailand, following closely behind Japan. For Chinese visitors, key reasons for feeling welcomed in Thailand is due to the widespread acceptance of Chinese mobile wallets (64% – where they can use their mobile phones for purchases), sufficient translations and signage (41%) and ease of getting information (40%).pa

The new generation of Chinese travellers’ needs and preferences are changing radically according to this year’s report from Hotels.com. Tour groups are passé as Chinese travellers are growing to enjoy independent travel in Thailand (FITs) where they are more likely to travel on a free-and-easy basis. They’re attracted to Thai local delicacies, ease of visa application, quality and choice of accommodation and shopper’s-heaven that remains a big attraction to Chinese travellers.

With a 12% increase from 2017, Chinese travellers are important for Thailand’s tourism industry and the the report says the Thai tourism industry should maximise the benefits of understanding the changing taste of Chinese travellers.

When it comes to using and recording their memories on social media Chinese travellers leave the west behind. They not only use their phones to record their memories, they also used advanced China-only software for finding restaurants, booking accommodation, flights and tours – usually all on one platform.

The report says that travel-brag moments and selfies were a huge part of the Chinese millennial travel experience in 2017, with 65% using the reverse camera angle to boost those likes and build their own social brand. More than half (56%) of travellers said they used selfies to express feelings. Social media (52%) and video sharing (51%) are also important to all age groups when deciding where to travel.

“Older generations’ decisions and behaviour are also increasingly influenced by their digitally-connected children.”

Nelson Allen, general manager, Asia Pacific of the Hotels.com brand, commented: “While millennials were at the helm of social media influence and trends, the report found no generation was free from social networking’s undeniable influence.

“52% of Chinese travellers overall were wooed by the power of the news feed, and a third of the older generation reported their travel decisions and behavior were influenced by their digitally-connected children”.

More of the story HERE.

PHOTO: Hotels.com

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77 reportedly shot in Asian Games crackdown – Amnesty International

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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From Jakarta Post, via Asia News Network

The Asian Games have barely opened in Jakarta. The last thing they need is this explosive claim from Amnesty International.

Dozens of people have been shot by the police as part of an escalating crackdown against petty crime in the months leading up to the Asian Games, a human rights organisation alleged on Friday.

In a written statement received by The Jakarta Post on yesterday, Amnesty International Indonesia claimed that police officers had shot at least 77 people across the country between January and August this year, in an operation dubbed Cipta Kondisi (Public Safety Operation).

Among the number, 31 were shot in the Asian Games’ host cities, Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra. The organization believes that the police are taking a heavy-handed approach ahead of the Asian Games, which takes place from August 18 to September 2.

Amnesty International Indonesia’s executive director Usman Hamid said the figures reveal a clear pattern of unnecessary and excessive use of force by the police.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

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