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‘Safety’ mayhem on Phuket’s waters

The Thaiger & The Nation



Editorial by Duncan Worthington

Let’s be clear from the off that we’re talking about speedboats, specifically day tour operators who pack in the tourists on an overpowered wooden speedboat and then zip off (at speed) to stop A, B, C and D, with a lunch thrown in along the way.

In Phuket’s high season, these overpacked “cattle tours” can be seen speeding around Phang Nga Bay and to surrounding islands such as Phi Phi, Racha and many more. Their sole goal is to get tourists from A to B as fast as possible. Then from B to C in the same fashion. Customer comfort or experience is not part of the equation.

In Phuket’s low season, these speedboats can be death traps. It’s not the boat per se, but more the driver and the sea state. Phuket and the Andaman region can experience heavy rain, low visibility and large swells at this time of year – conditions not suitable for small boats to leave shore. And even when official warnings have been issued, on occasion such boats have headed out. Money rules.

This past week Phuket has seen two more accidents – two more added to an ever-growing unacceptable toll of accidents at sea.

The first took place on Monday 31st July when two speedboats – Wararat and 999 Tour 41 – collided in Phang Nga Bay. According the The Phuket News, “Nineteen people, including 16 tourists and three Thais, were plucked from the sea.”

The second incident took place on Friday 4th August when a speedboat sank in Krabi, just 500 metres from the pier at Nopparat Thara Beach. Kritsada Meuanhawong reporting for The Thaiger, wrote: “Approaching the pier the boat was hit by a series of waves and strong winds pushing the boat into a rock nearby.” The ten passengers in the sea scrambled onto nearby rocks and were later rescued and taken to Krabi Hospital. No serious injuries were reported.

The good news is that nobody was seriously injured. It appears passengers were wearing life jackets which have clearly done their job – save lives.

There will, however, be more speedboat incidents before the low season ends. And historically, there have been deaths.

Sporadic half-hearted inspections by authorities have achieved little. Drivers caught breaking laws have been lightly fined or punished, yet the carnage continues. Surely it’s time to once and for all establish a registration system of all boats, drivers and operating companies? To check all safety equipment and increase the frequency of inspections? And to hold both driver and tour operator accountable?

Across on Thailand’s East Coast, Marine Scene Asia recently boarded a private speedboat at Bali Hai Pier in Pattaya all the time under the watchful eye of a local government official. As we boarded he questioned the captain as to the presence of life jackets, where we were going for the day and he also requested to check the boat and driver’s papers.

Prevention is always better than cure.

(Reprinted from Marine Scene Asia)

- The Thaiger & The Nation

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Executed 26 year old had grilled chicken and rice for final meal

The Thaiger & The Nation



In the wake of Thailand’s first execution in nine years, a few more details have emerged about the prisoner’s last moments and of his family.

According to witnesses, the first man to be executed in Thailand in nine years was calm during the last few moments of his life.

Identified only as Thirasak by authorities, the 26 year old remained expressionless as he walked to a room for the fatal injection on Monday.

“We let him say farewell to his family that day,” said Department of Corrections director-general Naras Savestanae. He said Thirasak also chose his final meal – grilled chicken and sticky rice – and after finishing it, was taken directly to the execution room.

Thirasak was executed by lethal injection six years after he fatally stabbed and robbed Danudej Sukmak, who was a 17 year old schoolboy in Trang at the time.

The victim’s parents have never recovered from the pain of losing their son. At the time of the crime, Thirasak was 19 years old.

The execution broke the hearts of Thirasak’s family members.

“He made one last call to Mum just before he entered the execution room – but she didn’t answer the phone soon enough,” one of Thirasak’s sisters said.

She said Thirasak had, however, managed to talk on the phone to his first wife. They had two children together.

“When Mum answered the phone again on Monday, she was told to pick up his body. Mum hasn’t stopped crying,” the sister said.

Thirasak leaves behind his two wives, three children, his mother and sisters. His burial took place yesterday, immediately after his body was transported from Bang Kwang Prison in Nonthaburi to his hometown of Trang.

“I had never thought he would have been executed. Convicts of graver crimes are still alive,” Thirasak’s younger sister said yesterday.

His elder sister said she would have been able to accept his execution had other inmates on death row also been put to death.

“At the very least, prison officials should have allowed him to meet his family members one last time,” she said.

The sisters said they had kept in touch with Thirasak throughout his imprisonment.

“When he was locked up at Trang prison, we visited him often,” one of the sisters said. “But after he moved to Bang Kwang Prison in Nonthaburi, we could not make the visit due to travel expenses. We exchanged letters instead.”

A recent letter from Thirasak mentioned his love and care for his family and also told his siblings to take good care of their mother.

“Living behind bars, my caring concerns cannot actually reach her,” he said in the letter.

Thirasak had also intended to study while behind bars, according to his family.


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mu Space wants to send your name to space

The Thaiger



Space and satellite company mu Space is sending its first experimental payload beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and it wants to include a list of space fans’ names on it.

The Thai-based company is encouraging the public to write their names on a signature board installed at mu Space’s booth (Experiencing Zone 4) during the Techsauce Global Summit. The event is happening on June 22-23 at The Centara Grand at Central World in Bangkok.

A video posted by mu Space on YouTube explains that the names gathered from the Techsauce Global Summit  will be flown to space.

“This space initiative is the first in Asia and this is something Thais should be proud of. It shows Thailand’s capability to join the space race and create history”, said mu Space’s project lead Chaiyos Kosalakood.

“mu Space will send my name to space, your name, and the names of everyone who wants to join this space mission. This initiative is an initial step to make our dream of travelling to space a reality. We would like to invite everyone, both the local people and foreign expatriates in Thailand, to be part of this,” Chaiyos continues.

If all goes according to plan, mu Space’s payload will reach 100km above the Earth’s surface, where a reduced effect of gravity or weightlessness can be experienced. 

mu Space’s payload box weighs 11kg and will be stowed aboard a sub-orbital space rocket. Aside from the list of names gathered from the Techsauce Global Summit, the payload will include several scientific experiments from universities and space research agencies based in Thailand.

“Later on, we will open a competition for students to research and develop their own space products. The winning product will get a chance to be flown outside of the Earth. mu Space will make that happen,” Chaiyos concluded.

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Sadvertising: The art of making us cry and selling stuff

The Thaiger



“Sadvertising is a consumer advertising trend in which ad creators are using a certain set of strategies to play on people’s emotions and touch off feelings of sadness, melancholy or wistfulness. Touching or emotional advertising has become increasingly popular in recent years as companies work to create strong emotional ties around their products. This is based on a belief that advertising that elicits an emotional reaction from viewers is more likely to be shared, particularly online and over social media. By attempting to reach consumers on a deeper level, sadvertising represents an attempt to gain their attention in an increasingly ad-cluttered world.”

Sadvertising is something that Thai marketeers do very well. There have been some famous ‘Sads’, like this one…

One of the big ideas behind ‘sadvertising’ is the sudden shift in advertising across generations. Not too long ago, comedy and laughter were the most common advertising strategies. Sadvertising is a kind of logical progression, although it doesn’t really work the same way that comedy did. But sometimes you can combine the two…

While there is a lot of potential for innovating advertising to bring out a wider range of emotions, some experts point out that there are inherent limitations to sadvertising that do exist with comic advertising. While many forms of comedy can be considered harmless in advertising, sadness is, at its heart, a negative emotion based on negative outcomes, which is something that marketers have classically avoided.

That means that in sadvertising, marketers must walk a fine line between tugging at consumers’ heartstrings and making them feel depressed. And, mostly of course, they and make sure you have that happy ending.

Here’s one more (there are plenty of others). Have your handkerchief ready for this one…


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