PHUKET: Achirawit Churmung is currently working as a professional photographer as well as a university lecturer teaching photography courses at Prince of Songkla University and Phuket Rajabhat University.
He is also one of the organizers of ‘The Quiet Beauty’, a photography exhibition being held in Phuket till the end of this month, featuring more than 70 black and white photographs developed using a technique known as ‘sliver gelatin printing’ in a dark room.
We rarely see this technique employed in the age of digital photography, but Mr Achirawit has been doing it nearly his entire life, saying that it is a passion of his.
Mr Achirawit, originally from Kanchanaburi, graduated from Rangsit University in Bangkok with a Bachelor’s Degree of Art, with a specialization in photography, in 1997. Since then, he has been involved in photography in every role he has held, giving him more than 20 years of experience in the field.
“In the past, photography was a special career. If you hadn’t learned it professionally, you couldn’t do it. Every shot using film requires skill, technique, and a lot of practice, as you could not see the end result right there on the spot,” says Mr Achirawit.
“But now, everyone can be a photographer without having to study at school – all you need to have is a smart phone. I consider this era as the biggest turning point as well as the most challenging period in photography,” he added.
However, real professionals always find a way to survive, he says.
“Those who have been studying and training in the field understand more about the usage of photographs,” says Mr Achirawit.
“For example, let’s take a photo shoot for an advertisement. I agree that an amateur can take beautiful pictures, but the feeling and meaning behind these photos goes beyond that. A professional knows how to make the end result more interesting, rather than just beautiful,” he explained.
“Let’s say the advertisement was for coffee – the picture shouldn’t just be ‘beautiful’. Instead, the photographer’s job is to make it look delicious, smooth and drinkable. There is a difference between the two.
Another example is steak. A real professional will know how to use the light when taking the picture. If you use too much light, it might look nice, but not realistic, since people normally eat steak for dinner, not breakfast. So in this situation you have to use warm evening light to make it look more realistic and luxurious. Different kinds of projects require different locations, lighting and context,” he added.
Mr Achirawit says that one of the problems that professionals face is that the market has been ‘spoilt’ by those who don’t understand the difference in quality and only opt for lower prices.
“I want to advise the younger generation of photographers that they must not only have the required skills, but also a good work ethic, including punctuality, morality and loyalty to their customers. These days, people steal each other’s photographs without giving them appropriate credit. This is not a good practice and I strongly discourage it.”
— Kongleaphy Keam
Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal
PHOTOS: Patong Police / Theeraphong Penmit / Newshawk Phuket
A Phuket boy has been rewarded after setting an excellent example for the rest of the Patong community.
8 year old Kosin Ta-ngam, who is studying at Sai Nam Yen School in Patong in Pratom Suksa Three, has been collecting garbage in the filthy Pak Bang Canal and along Patong Beach since the beginning of this year.
He lives with his grandmother and other relatives. His grandmother has been looking after Kosin since he was 10 months old.
A certificate, scholarship and life vest have been awarded to Kosin by the Patong Police Chief Col Anothai Jindamanee for displaying excellent citizen for the community as a youth volunteer and being an active part of keeping the city clean.
The Pak Bang Canal, running through the back of Patong into Patong Bay, has been a dark, dirty mess for decades. Many promises have been made to clean it up but it remains a disgraceful waterway flowing through Phuket’s main tourist town.
The tiny eight year old seems to be able to achieve a lot more than the local municipality with all their money and machinery.
Kosin, you are the Thaiger hero for today and we salute you!
Surachate Hakparn: Sidelined and sent back to the operation centre of the RTP
Thailand’s headline policeman, former Immigration Chief Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, aka. Big Joke, has been transferred to the Operation Centre of the Royal Thai Police. The order was signed by the Thai Police Chief Chakthip Chaijinda.
The order was signed and executed last night. As of today, his social media account – Facebook and Twitter – plus the Immigration Bureau Facebook page, are offline.
Rarely out of the headlines, and traversing the country seemingly breaking cases faster than the media could report them, the high-profile poster boy of Thai police seems to have come to an undisclosed impasse. At this stage no reasons have been provided for his sudden side-lining back to head office.
One of his notable pet projects was pursuing foreigners, illegally overstaying their visas, as well as central African ‘scammers’ who he rooted out in his “Good guys in, bad guys out” campaign. The media parades for these almost weekly raids were usually rolled out after midnight and included photos with him smuggly glaring down one of his captive perpetrators.
He’s also come into the international spotlight over a number of recent high-profile immigration cases including when he reversed a deportation order against Rahaf al-Qunun, a young Saudi woman who arived in Thailand fleeing alledged abuse by her family. And also the case of the Bahraini-born Australian Hakeem al-Araibi who had been detained by Thai police in an international tug of war between Australia and Bahrain.
Surachate is the son of a career policeman and was born in Songkhla in 1970. After joining the force, he quickly rose through the ranks to command a local station and later moved to Bangkok to head the 191 task force. He spent a time with the tourist police co-inciding with his rise to fame, before landing the top job at the Immigration Bureau last year.
He has also been closely linked to Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon.
Wai Khru – setting a bad example for the future. Thailand’s demand for respect from its young
Hazing (US English), initiation ceremonies (British English), bastardisation (Australian English), ragging (South Asia), or deposition, refers to the practice of rituals, challenges, and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group including a new fraternity, sorority, team or club.
In Thailand, hazing is not only rife, it’s seen as a rite of passage for young Thais as part of their cultural inculcation into the subservience they’re expected to display elders or people with more money or higher positions than them. What’s mistaken for ‘respect’ is actually a cultural party trick where children and young adults are ‘trained’ to be deferential from an early age.
In recent years there have a been a few high-profile deaths of army trainees, in the care of their Academy leaders, but allegedly subjected to initiations and bastardisation that is just ‘par for the course’ for the education of young Thais.
In a response to the recent death of Phakhapong Tanyakan at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School on October 17 last year, the Thai Deputy PM and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan claimed that he “was not beaten to death, but just too weak to withstand tough training.”
He went further saying “I was once beaten more than I could take and I fainted too. I didn’t die. For this, before the school accepts kids for entry, they must give them a proper physical check-up.”
When you get you get such official, public, responses from the top you can see how this hazing culture continues to thrive in the, otherwise, Land of Smiles.
We spoke to three foreign teachers in Thailand, all speaking on condition of anonymity, about the culture of hazing in their schools and the benign version of that in primary schools, ‘wai khru’.
“Hazing is seen in many different types of social groups, including gangs, sports teams, schools, military units, fraternities and sororities. The initiation rites can range from relatively benign pranks and was khru, to protracted patterns of behavior that rise to the level of abuse or criminal misconduct.”
For the families of hazing victims these ceremonies can be catastrophic, as in the tragic case of Phakhapong Tanyakan.
A 19 year old armed forces cadet, previously subjected to harsh physical discipline, suddenly died a day after returning to school from a break. His parents were told he suffered from a sudden cardiac arrest but became suspicious of possible foul play after a detailed autopsy report never came. – Khaosod English
But he’s not the only one. Hazing and cruel or unusual initiations are conducted every day around the Kingdom but with a growing concern about the practices, both from the young students themselves and concerned older Thais, who realise the dangers of ‘persuading’ youngsters to respect elders needs examination in a modern 21st century Thailand.
We spoke to a respected senior Thai businessperson, again on the condition of anonymity, who said he had seen too much hazing going on during his time at school and then whilst training in the military.
“I was a victim of this type of bullying. I was told to ‘be a man’ and that all Thai men have to go through this. I think it is degrading and breaks human spirits. It teaches fear of those we are meant to respect. It has to change.”
It all starts when young Thais are subjected to the Wai Khru or ‘Teacher Wai’ where students are expected to prostrate themselves in front of their teachers in a show of respect. But a broad spectrum of foreign teachers not only feel uncomfortable with this faux-deference, some of them go out of their way to be away for that day or, sometimes, even speak out about their concern with this tradition.
“I made the mistake of speaking out about the Wai Khru in our school. I just found it demeaning for the poor students who had to rehearse all week for this totally meaningless show of respect. I didn’t feel respected, I felt sick. I ended up being ostracised and had to leave that school.”
Whilst many Thais continue to wonder why westerners might find all this kowtowing and prostrating could cause concern, you just need to examine the deaths in the Army preparatory schools as the end result of ‘demanding’ obedience and deference to elders. In western culture, I have learned, respect is something that is earned, not demanded.
“Hazing is undignified, humiliating and cruel… not my words, but the words of students who are made go through this horrible experience. It’s meant to be a sign of showing respect to your seniors but it’s nothing more than a shameful indulgence at the expense of the students,” said a long-term foreign teacher.
“Making students crawl around on the ground acting like animals in front of their peers, does nothing for either senior or freshie students. I have stopped attending Wai Khru day as I find it terribly uncomfortable for myself and for the students. You can see the look in their eyes as they approach you and are ordered to bow before the teacher. Teachers, like everyone else, should learn how to earn the respect of their students.”
A young female foreign teacher first thought that the Wai Khru was ‘cute’ but has changed her tune over the years.
“Wai khru was the highlight of my first year teaching in Thailand. I was, and still am, extremely humbled and deeply touched by this beautiful tradition intended to recognise a teachers’ role in children’s life and to give said children the opportunity to express their gratitude to their teachers.
“But throughout the years I have started to look at this event with a more critical eye and I wish it weren’t as rehearsed and staged as it unfortunately is. At our school, rehearsals for Wai Kru start a week prior to the event. During this week, children are drilled incessantly until they have mastered the walk, the bow and the wai leading up to the offering of the flowers that they are eager to free their sweaty little palms of.”
Wai Khru continues to be practiced in all Thai schools as a long standing tradition and show of respect for teachers.
“Although I understand and commend the wonderful intentions behind such practices, I feel that much like other sorts of drilling that these students endure, this sadly takes away from the true purpose of it all. For want of a picture perfect event, meaning is lost and a demonstration of gratitude is transformed into a dreaded labour,” she said.
An investigation into the death of Army cadet Phakhapong Tanyakan, by military investigators, found no wrongdoing by the Preparatory School. The parents have consistently called for a probe into their son’s death and are still pursuing legal action.
PHOTO: Army cadet Phakhapong Tanyakan, who died at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School on October 17 last year.
Songkran Survival Guide – Top 10 Tips (2019)
Patong Police investigate taxi drivers beating up a tourist – VIDEO
Infamous ‘large’ passenger dies in Koh Samui
“Nong Gee” turns heads at Koh Samui military conscription
Phuket ‘Seasteaders’ told to pack up and go home
Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai suffer haze and smoke until at least May
Phuket ranked sixth Best Destination in the World – Trip Advisor
Bitcoin Seastead backer in battle with Thai authorities
Motorbike passenger dies after being crushed by bus in Kathu – VIDEO
Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year
“Easier, faster and more watertight” – Surachate’s vision for Immigration
Patong taxi driver suspects arrested after ganging up and beating a tourist
3 metre python hides in toilet. Bites man’s penis.
British backpacker returns home for Easter after being jailed in Thailand
German tourist beaten over Chiang Mai karaoke bar bill
Driver killed and 10 Burmese workers injured in Tak crash
Chinese tourist caught stealing GoPro from couple – VIDEO
Why the Chinese are infinitely more important than Western tourists to Thailand
UPDATE: Armed Mercedes snake man to be charged
Three million baht Central Pattaya stormwater roadworks – FAIL
Top 10 ways to save water at home
Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists
Mystery luxury house found under construction overlooking Bang Wad Dam in Kathu
World Bank downgrades Thailand’s 2019 GDP growth to 3.8%
Police defend theft charges on British backpacker Chris Dodd
Armed Mercedes owner releases snakes onto road outside Central World
Residents protest the Phuket Governor over water shortages
British national and five Burmese arrested in Krabi over working illegally
Raid on 18 foreign-owned Koh Samui hotels, owners arrested
American arrested at airport after stealing speedboat in Krabi
หนุ่มนิติปี 1 โพสต์เฟซบุ๊กลาโลก ก่อนผู้คอดับในหอพัก ม.ดัง
สาวลำปางกรี๊ด โรคจิตคุกเข่าช่วยตัวเองข้างเก๋งแดง นี่ไม่ใช่ครั้งแรก
คลิปวินาที “บิ๊กป้อม” ปรี๊ดแตก หลังนักข่าวถามเรื่องทรัพย์สินในต่างประเทศ
อัปเดต: สรุปเหตุการณ์ “เค ร้อยล้าน” คลั่งเทงู-สับหัวตัวเองกลางแยกราชประสงค์ [คลิป]
อัปเดตแผ่นดินไหวฟิลิปปินส์ เขย่าตึกถล่ม ตายแล้ว 8 ศพ
เขย่าเกาะฟิลิปปินส์ แผ่นดินไหวขนาด 6.3 ตึกไหวสะเทือน ตายแล้ว 5 ราย
K-POP : BTS พาอัลบั้มใหม่ฉายแสงทั่วโลก พร้อมทุบสถิติใหม่รัว ๆ
ตรวจหวย ตรวจสลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล งวด วันที่ 16 เมษายน 2562
[Live] มิ่งขวัญ แสงสุวรรณ์ แถลงข้อเท็จจริง กรณี ส.ส. พรรคเศรษฐกิจใหม่ยื่นยุบพรรคตัวเอง : เลือกตั้ง 2562
คดีพลิก! คลิปแดดลำปางร้อนทอดไข่ดาวสุก หนุ่มถ่ายคลิปรับใส่น้ำมันตั้งเตาก่อน
ตัวอย่าง Game of Thrones Season 8 ตอนที่ 2
สงกรานต์หรือสงคราม ถือพร้าคว้ามีดจะอาบเลือดแทนน้ำ [คลิป]
ไฟไหม้ “วิหารนอเทรอดาม” อายุ 850 ยอดหักพังถล่ม กรุงปารีส ฝรั่งเศส
ฉายแล้ววันนี้ Game of Thrones ซีซั่น 8 ep.01
Chiang Mai3 days ago
British backpacker returns home for Easter after being jailed in Thailand
Thailand3 days ago
Thailand is ‘least miserable’ country in the world again
Bangkok2 days ago
Mother says customer paying for sex with 5 year old daughter was girl’s father
Chiang Rai3 days ago
History books will have to rewrite the Tham Luang cave story
Bangkok4 days ago
Third runway for BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport
North East3 days ago
Elderly mother of murdered Thai woman is seeking help to bring her daughter’s body home
Bangkok3 days ago
Transport Ministry and State Railways told to pay HK company 11.9 billion baht
Koh Samui2 days ago
Massive fire at Koh Samui incinerator – VIDEO