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Diving: A diver’s tale – chasing the dream of a lifetime in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Diving: A diver’s tale – chasing the dream of a lifetime in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHUKET: There comes a time for some of us, the lucky ones, when the finances are settled and we have already waded through a midlife crises to be reborn. The world is our oyster… and rather than blowing the 20 to 40 years of hard work at the proverbial oyster bar, some turn to the diving industry.

Martin Edwards is one of those lucky individuals. Happily married, 59 years old and full of drive to pursue his dreams in the underwater photography business, it is hard not to imagine the envy of those still slaving away in an office, your humble writer included.

“Retire from sales? I’ll be selling ’till the day I die mate!” Martin says when it’s suggested that he has actually retired. Though perhaps not officially retired, the life-style change is noticeable.

“The previous twenty-plus years were spent in my own business – plastics industry, manufacture, repair and agency lines. Also, representing 3M in Far North Queensland.”

“Typically, a week’s work for me would involve driving 1,500-2,000 kilometers, as my territory covered Mackay – Mountain Isa through to Cairns. I was out of town every second week: leaving on a Sunday, returning Fridays. The last time, I was away 32 out of 52 weeks, when training and conferences were factored in.”

Now, Martin is most often found on either an island cruise trip or dive boat, camera kit in hand.

The deep desire to spend more time in the water with a camera isn’t a new one for Martin. Back in 1984, he got his hands on a Nikonos II with a strobe – not an easy beast to wield for 24-36 shots a tank.

“Back then, there were very few people with the skills. I was frustrated by only having ‘x’ number of shots on the film.

“I floundered for about a year before giving it up… that was when I was only diving six or seven times a year. It was back when I was a relatively new diver.”

It wasn’t until about 2002, when Martin completed his PADI Dive Master, entering the professional sphere of the industry, that he returned to the dream. A dozen years and an underwater wedding later, Martin’s new office is the Andaman ocean and the wonders that abound there.

“I like big pictures. A combination of people with marine life, whether it’s a shark, a clown fish or a manta. I like that balance – gives it depth, perspective and size,” Martin explains.

“I’ve been working in sales for thirty odd years, so I like working with people. I like to capture a candid moment, something when they aren’t blowing bubbles in front of their face…”

With a portfolio already loaded with classic giant manta ray and leopard shark shots, Martin is now looking to give more room to his artistic side as he explores the world of underwater nudes.

“It’s very hard, particularly for the models: swim up, breath hold, come down with the right expression on their face. So it’s very, very difficult for them,” Martin admits.

Nonetheless, he’s ready to get to work and bring something new into the underwater-nude-photography scene. What exactly that is? Well, Martin says we’ll just have to wait and see… either way, not a bad direction for another go at life.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Business

Out of 37 countries, Thailand has the worst pension system, says Bloomberg

May Taylor

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Out of 37 countries, Thailand has the worst pension system, says Bloomberg | The Thaiger

Thai Residents reports that on Sunday, Bloomberg published an article on the world’s best pension systems, using information gathered from the 2019 Melbourne Mercer Global Pensions Index.

The survey looked at the pension systems of 37 countries with metrics including employee rights, savings, the number of homeowners, growth of assets, and growth of the economy. The purpose of the analysis was to determine what was needed to improve state pension systems and to gauge the level of confidence citizens had in their state pension system.

The Netherlands and Denmark were found to have the world’s best state pensions, with Australia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, and Chile next. Out of all 37 countries, Thailand finished last, with what the report described as an extremely ineffective and ambiguous system.

“Thailand was in the bottom slot and should introduce a minimum level of mandatory retirement savings and increase support for the poorest.”

Out of 37 countries, Thailand has the worst pension system, says Bloomberg | News by The Thaiger

Photo: WorkpointNews

Thai Residents states that only those employed within the government system in Thailand are eligible for a pension based on salary. For most Thai citizens, pension amounts vary from 600 baht to 1,000 baht a month, depending on the recipient’s age.

A report carried out by The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) advises Thai citizens to have at least 4 million baht saved by the time they retire, but Thai Residents reports that 60% of Thai retirees have less than 1 million baht in savings, with one in three citizens who have reached retirement age are forced to continue working in order to survive.

SOURCE: thairesidents.com

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Bangkok

Tax on salt content being considered

Greeley Pulitzer

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Tax on salt content being considered | The Thaiger

The Excise Department is considering imposing a tax on the salt content of food to encourage food producers to reduce the sodium content of snacks, instant noodles and seasoning cubes.

The director of the Office of Tax Planning said that the department is discussing a limit on the amount of sodium food can contain, in line with the standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is 2,000 milligrams of salt per day.

In reality, Thai people consume an average of 1,000 milligrams per meal, making their daily intake well above WHO guidelines, according to the director.

He said any tax imposed would be at a level which would encourage food producers to reduce the sodium in their processed food without being punitive, adding that the proposal isn’t intended to generate more tax revenue, but to help protect the health of consumers. Excessive sodium in the diet can lead to high blood pressure and kidney disease.

Fish sauce, soy sauce and salt would not be taxed.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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News

Water shortage warnings in 22 provinces

Greeley Pulitzer

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Water shortage warnings in 22 provinces | The Thaiger

People living in 22 Thai provinces are being warned to prepare for shortages of drinking water during the upcoming dry season, due to start on November 1st.

The warning was issued by the National Water Resources Office, citing low levels in reservoirs, which are the main sources for tap water production waterworks in 22 provinces.

Areas at risk identified by the office are in northern, north-eastern, eastern and southern provinces.

Measures have been adopted by agencies charged with dealing with water shortages. including dredging water channels to allow greater volumes of water to flow into reservoirs, drilling underground wells, enlarging storage ponds and the purchase of water to supply to those in urgent need.

The Royal Irrigation Department has announced that people should use water sparingly.

There are currently about 6 billion cubic metres of usable water in reservoirs in the affected provinces, with 5 billion cubic metres reserved for consumption and ecological preservation, leaving only 1 billion cubic metres for use in agriculture.

This means farmers in the Chao Phraya river basin may not be able to grow a second crop of rice this year.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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