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On Deck: Submersibles for the average Joe

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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On Deck: Submersibles for the average Joe | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Submarines are a hot topic in Thailand right now. These hulking underwater “monsters” have been top of the Royal Thai Navy’s shopping list for a long time and now, finally, they have been given the green light to buy.

There’s been plenty of debate in the last few years, but previous attempts were ultimately shot down. The two main sticking points have always been the cost of buying (and operating) submarines, and the need for Thailand to have them in the first place.

Regarding the former, the current military-led Thai Government has given the OK to purchasing three Yuan Class S26T submarines from China at a total price of 36 billion baht, with the first purchase contract set to be signed soon and the first submarine (13.5 billion baht) to be bought on a payment plan. Delivery is expected to be made in 2023.

Regarding the latter, the need for a submarine is rather subjective. Reasons ranging from ‘defence’, ‘security’ as well as the fact that Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia all have submarines and therefore Thailand should have them too. Those in opposition to acquiring the vessels claim that the Gulf of Thailand isn’t deep enough and the country has no regional enemies and is unlikely to have any.

Commentators who are on the ‘against’ side have also reasoned that previous grand military purchases have proven to be a “waste of money”, the most obvious example being the aircraft carrier HTMS Chakri Naruebet which was commissioned in 1997, and which spends more time in port than at sea and does not have an operating aircraft fleet for it. It is today more a ‘living’ museum than military asset.

That aside, I thought it was the right time to take a look at what is available in the market for the average Joe.

TRITON 7500/2

Ideal for the adventurer, this two-seater submersible from Triton is capable of diving to depths of almost a mile and a half. In complete comfort, the driver and passenger of this diving machine can discover parts of the ocean unexplored by man and witness the incredible lives of the inhabitants of the deep. Weighing in at 6,500kg, the Triton 7500/2 has a 12-hour endurance.

AURORA-4

If you would like to take a group of friends into the deep blue, then perhaps the 4-person ‘AURORA-4’ private submarine is for you. The spherical cabin, unobstructed by top hatches and side pontoons, maximizes the field of vision. A pilot can take up to three passengers to enjoy the wonders of the underwater world to depths of 330 meters (1,100 feet). With a dry weight of 6,690kg the AURORA-4 has a maximum speed of 4 knots.

DEEPFLIGHT SUPER FALCON 3S

A new model from DeepFlight, the Super Falcon 3S will be launched later this year and is billed as the ideal submarine for resort operations. A pilot can take two passengers on an incredible underwater excursion and the design ensures 360 degree views with increased maneuverability. Weighing just 2,860kg and with an operating depth of 100 meters (330 feet), it has a maximum speed of 4 knots.

Duncan Worthington is a long time Phuket resident and through Infinity Communications (www.infinity-comms.com) consults to leading consumer brands, hospitality and marine clients in Thailand. In his ‘spare time’ he runs the marine portal www.MarineScene.asia. #OnDeckPhuket

— Duncan Worthington

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Business

‘Fast and Furious 9’ to be partly filmed in southern Thailand, including Phuket

The Thaiger

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‘Fast and Furious 9’ to be partly filmed in southern Thailand, including Phuket | The Thaiger

The latest sequel of the ‘Fast and Furious’ movie franchise will partly be filmed in Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and Surat Thani next month.

Yesterday Piya Petonji, the film’s production manager, met with Krabi Governor M.L. Kitibadee Prawit at the Krabi City Hall before the cast arrives and filming begins.

The filming will be from July 1-27 in locations around Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and Surat Thani. It is estimated the production will bring a 340 million baht benefit to Thailand and the local film industry.

'Fast and Furious 9' to be partly filmed in southern Thailand, including Phuket | News by The Thaiger

The Krabi Governor says this is a good opportunity for Thailand to present its beautiful nature, culture and history to the world through the film. There has been no announcement of when filming may be taking place around Phuket’s roads.

The Thaiger recommends the plot of the film as a race between a visa-run passenger van and a Chinese Tour Bus to the Malaysian border, with a feature muay thai face-off on Maya Bay beach between Vin Diesel and Leonardo DiCaprio (though the 45 year old might have to get some training in before returning to ‘The Beach’).

Here’s our Top Ten movies made around Phuket and Thailand.

'Fast and Furious 9' to be partly filmed in southern Thailand, including Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Leonardo in Phuket last year during a quick break

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People

From ‘Sawadee’ to ‘Pad Thai’. Who was Phibun?

The Thaiger

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From ‘Sawadee’ to ‘Pad Thai’. Who was Phibun? | The Thaiger

by Dan Brook

Thai culture is ancient and one can even see evidence of its beautiful bronze-age civilisation in Ban Chiang, near Udon Thani in Isaan, Thailand’s lesser-visited north-east region.

But not everything in Thai culture is quite so old. In fact, some major things closely associated with Thailand are relatively recent — and all of them are related to Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram.

Phibun – as he is often called in the West, though he is better known as Chomphon Por in Thailand — was one of the leaders of the coup that overthrew the absolute monarchy in 1932, creating the constitutional monarchy that Thailand has had since. He also exerted more state control over the economy through nationalisation.

Culturally, however, Phibun may have had even more influence. As Thailand’s longest serving prime minister, he supported fascism (though he later de-emphasised this and embraced a form of democracy), extreme nationalism, and a cult of personality focused on himself. His photos were ubiquitous and his quotes were regularly in the newspapers. He mandated that Thais salute the flag, know the national anthem, and speak Thai.

Phibun changed the country’s name from Siam to Thailand in 1939, changed the new year from the traditional Thai one on April 13 to the European Gregorian one on January 1, and codified, promoted, and possibly created Thailand’s signature eponymous dish, pad thai, by adapting a Chinese noodle dish. His law requiring Thais to wear hats in public, however, clearly did not endure.

Shortly after he simplified the Thai script, Phibun adopted the word sawadee (from svasti, the Sanskrit word for blessing or wellbeing) from a Chulalongkorn University professor and made it the “official” Thai greeting, starting in 1943, still commonly used.

Any one of these changes is huge. Combined, Phibun helped create modern Thai culture as we know it!

Dan Brook, Ph.D. teaches sociology at San Jose State University, from where he organises the annual Hands on Thailand (HoT) program. Dan has free ebooks on Smashwords. 

From 'Sawadee' to 'Pad Thai'. Who was Phibun? | News by The Thaiger

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Events

Toon’s running again, pounding the pavement for Thailand’s hospitals

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Toon’s running again, pounding the pavement for Thailand’s hospitals | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Kao Kon La Kao Foundation

Artiwara “Toon” Kongmalai has started his latest series of charity runs, kicking off in north-eastern Nong Khai province to raise funds for small hospitals to help them buy much-needed equipment.

Artiwara and his entourage started at 5am under the title of “Kao Kon La Kao – Kao Tor Pai Duay Palang Lek Lek – Isaan” (One Step Each by Each Person – Move On With Small Force – Northeast).

Artiwara led the first lap of the run for 10 kilometres before handing over the task to another actor. During the first hour of the run, donations worth of 15 million baht poured in, according to the Kao Kon La Kao Foundation Facebook page.

Toon's running again, pounding the pavement for Thailand's hospitals | News by The Thaiger

The first run of the Isaan charity run series aims to raise funds for eight hospitals in the region.

Toon became a national hero following the huge success of his epic 2017 charity run “Kao”, which took him and other participants all the way from Thailand’s southernmost to northernmost tips.

By the conclusion of that drama-filled effort, Toon had not only raised more than 1 billion baht for hospitals in need, but also catapulted Toon to ‘national hero’ status. That run has even become the subject of a Netflix documentary film (highly recommended viewing. It’s called “2,215”, referring to the number of kilometres he ran during the epic fund-raising journey).

Toon’s ‘Kao’ project raised more than 1.6 billion baht in total for hospitals between 2016 and 2018. On May 8 this year, the project officially evolved into the Kao Kon La Kao Foundation. The Thaiger will continue to follow the progress of the new fund-raising journey.

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