PHUKET: Rich Cramp is the Phuket organizer of Trash Hero, an organization dedicated to solving the global garbage problem. He has a degree in English Literature and currently teaches at HeadStart International School in Phuket. He spent part of his childhood in Thailand, before moving to Hong Kong, then Taiwan and finally settling in England.
“I moved back to Thailand to travel and teach after 22 years away, and this is part of the reason I decided to start Trash Hero in Phuket – I saw the effect of 20 years of unregulated plastic pollution,” he says.
Rich laments the fact that only hotels and businesses near the beach focus their efforts on garbage collection and disposal, with little or no input from the government, despite the fact that one of Thailand’s main attractions is the beaches.
“One image I’ll never forget is seeing some Thai children taking selfies on a beach that was covered in rubbish. What got me was that they didn’t seem to be aware of the rubbish they were standing in. Or if they were, they thought it was normal and still worth a photo. At once I knew there were two problems: the beaches aren’t looked after and the need for education in Thailand regarding plastic pollution is huge,” says Rich.
Rich believes the most important step toward solving the garbage crisis is educating the youth about pollution and its effects on the planet.
“If any of our Trash Heroes grow up to be in a position of influence, just imagine the difference they can make. The whole concept of sustainability is that we are borrowing the world from future generations and whatever we put in it, they will have to deal with. It shows kids that you need to get off the couch, stop signing petitions on Facebook and get your hands dirty to fix the world’s problems,” he says.
Rich is more than happy with the response to Trash Hero’s cleanup campaigns and says that all kinds of people, ranging from local street sweepers to tourists and expats, show up at the cleanups. However, he believes there is still much more to be done, particularly with regard to changing people’s mindsets.
“Someone once wrote online that initiatives like ours don’t make a difference – don’t believe the naysayers. On average, we pick up 200kg of trash every week, which means that by August next year we will have stopped about ten tonnes of rubbish floating back into the ocean,” he says.
Rich says that laying the blame on tourists may be easy, but it’s not the solution.
“A lot of the stuff we pick up isn’t just litter from tourists, although the current narrative is that tourists are the main problem. They certainly are part of the problem, but if we are to fix this, there needs to be a culture of openness and dialogue,” says Rich.
Rich’s message is simple – prevention is key.
“In future Trash Hero Phuket campaigns, we want to take action on plastic bags before they leave the shops. I’d also like to work with the local fishing industry to see if we can reduce the amount of trash being dumped into the seas by some of the boats,” he says.
Being a full-time teacher and a family man, finding the time to commit to the initiative is one of the biggest challenges for him.
“At the moment, I join clean-ups every two weeks. Sounds simple, but not when you have to arrange printing of t-shirts, post boxes of bottles, find sponsors and attend the clean-ups themselves. It all adds up. The Tourism Authority of Thailand is the official sponsor and has been of great help to us. At the end of the day, once you’ve cleaned a beach and the sun is setting, it’s a great feeling,” he says.
— Sahar Aftab PaliwalaKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
John Legend & Chrissy Teigen check out the tastes at a Korat Market
American music legend, John Legend, and his Thai-American wife Chrissy Teigen headed to a Nakhon Ratchasima food market only to be surrounded by locals trying to get a quick selfie.
The army of fans surround the musician, his wife and daughter to follow them around the market in the 25 minute Facebook post. It was smiles all around but as the video wears on so does the patience of the American singer whose only protection appears to be a plain-shirt body-guard who is at least 40 centimetres taller than everyone around him (he doesn’t stand out at all).
A Thai policemen comes to their rescue and helps escort them somewhere a bit quieter.
Legend’s model wife Chrissy Teigen is seen almost wearing her dress as any number of wardrobe malfunctions appear moments away from happening throughout the video.
The family were reported to have visited a number of famous Korat landmarks during their visit to the area.
Legend performed in Bangkok in March 2018 this year as part of his Darkness and Light tour.
John legend & Chrissy Teigen @ ตลาดเซฟวัน
Posted by ตลาดเซฟวัน SaveoneKorat on Tuesday, 20 August 2019
Phuket’s lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety
PHOTOS: Phuket Lifeguard Service
A commemoration ceremony has been held for Prathaiyuth Chuayuan, a local Phuketian who helped drive Phuket’s first beach lifeguard services. He passed away on Friday morning after a heart attack.
He first experienced chest pains whilst delivering his daughter to school in Phuket Town on Friday morning, drove himself immediately to the Vachira Hospital nearby but succumbed to cardiac arrest around 9am.
He was 57 years old.
He worked with Australian lifesavers to help train local lifeguards and improve the skills of the Phuket’s beach enthusiasts, and finally sought international accreditation for the growing body of competent Phuket lifeguards.
The Phuket Lifeguards Service, founded and run by Prathaiyuth and his wife Witanya, saved innumerable lives each year whilst battling Provincial Hall and local government for increased funding in annual contract negotiations.
Daren Jenner, a FOT (Friend of The Thaiger) and local safety officer for the International Surf Lifesaving Association, sent a message to us expressing his deepest condolences to Prathaiyuth’s wife, family and friends.
“I had many good conversations with him over the years. He was a good-hearted man who did his best in difficult and changing circumstances. A very big loss for Phuket and the lifesaving community here. ISLA sends our deepest respect for his long commitment to ocean safety in SE Asia.”
Happy Birthday to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, the Queen Mother
Today is the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit who was married to King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Following the Coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, her son, and his marriage to the new Queen Suthida, Queen Sirikit has now been bestowed the title of Queen Mother.
Her Majesty Queen Sirikit is the daughter of His Highness Prince Chandaburi Suranath (Mom Chao Nakkhatra Mangkala Kitiyakara) and Mom Luang Bua Kitiyakara (nee Mom Luang Bua Snidwongse).
She was born on August 12, 1932. She attended kindergarten class at Rajini School, but subsequently went to St. Francis Xavier convent school at Samsen District in Bangkok. Her father later on became Thai Minister to France, then to Denmark and, ultimately, Ambassador to the Court of St. James in England. Her Majesty accompanied him and continued her general education in the three countries and lastly in Switzerland.
It was while her father was stationed in Paris that she first met His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was then studying in Switzerland but went now and then to Paris. The chance meeting in Paris ripened into friendship and understanding. When His Majesty met with a very serious motor accident in Geneva, Switzerland, and had to stay in a hospital at Lausanne, Her Majesty was a frequent visitor.
When His Majesty was well again and left the hospital, he was graciously pleased to arrange for Her Majesty to continue her studies at Riante Rive, a boarding school in Lausanne. On July 19, 1949, Their Majesties were quietly engaged in Lausanne. On March 24, 1950, Their Majesties landed in Bangkok by ship after a long absence. On April 28 of the same year, the royal wedding took place at Pathumwan Palace.
The couple had three daughters and one son:
- Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya (born 1951), married and divorced American businessman Peter Jensen, had two daughters and one son, their son was killed in the 2004 tsunami.
- King Maha Vajiralongkorn (born 1952), married Suthida Tidjai just days before his Coronation this year. He has seven children from previous marriages.
- Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (born 1955), unmarried.
- Princess Chulabhorn Walailak (born 1957), married Virayudh Tishyasarin, an Air Vice Marshal in the Royal Thai Air Force, had two daughters, divorced.
In 1956, King Bhumibol became a Buddhist monk for a period of time as is customary for Thai Buddhist males and Queen Sirikit served as Regent. Because of the excellent way she served as Regent, King Bhumibol gave her the style “Somdet Phra Nang Chao Sirikit Phra Borommarachininat” which would translate to Queen Regent.
Queen Sirikit is well known for her charitable work. She has been President of the Thai Red Cross Society since 1956. Through the Thai Red Cross, the Queen has been active in relief work for the many refugees from Cambodia and Burma in Thailand. The Queen took an active role in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster in southern Thailand in December of 2004. Tragically, the tsunami took the life of her grandson Bhumi Jensen, the son of her eldest daughter.
The health of King Bhumibol Adulyadej declined in his later years. The king resided at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok for several years and Queen Sirikit also moved to the hospital to be with him.
On July 21, 2012, Queen Sirikit felt unsteady and staggered while exercising at Siriraj Hospital where King Bhumibol Adulyadej resided. Doctors determined that she has suffered a stroke. The Queen was not seen in public until August of 2013 when the King was discharged from the hospital. Since then, Queen Sirikit has refrained from making public appearances.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej died on October 13, 2016, at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, at the age of 88, following several years of illness.
Mothers Day in Thailand has been traditionally held on Queen Sirikit’s birthday, and now with her new role as Queen Mother, the tradition continues.
Long live Queen Sirikit, the Queen Mother.
HM the King bestows the new role on his mother, Queen Sirikit, the Queen Mother, on the day after his coronationKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
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