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Phuket Gardening: Dangers in the Garden of Eden

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Gardening: Dangers in the Garden of Eden | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Everyone knows that some plants are poisonous, and we gardeners in Phuket know that Thailand has more than its fair share. In truth, the Kingdom also has more than its fair share of edible species – as this column has frequently documented.

Although you are hardly likely to attempt to eat any part of the following toxic plants, do wash your hands after handling any of them.

The list includes some of the most beautiful shrubs around: most of the apocynaceae family such as oleander and thevetia, allamandas and euphorbias (including the crown of thorns), the shade plants diffenbachia (dumbcane) and caladium (elephant ear), the adenium or desert rose, the angel’s trumpet (brugmansia) and, deadliest of all, the castor-oil plant (ricinus).

Most of these plants have toxic sap which is whitish, sticky and latex-like, but in the case of the castor-oil plant, it is the seeds that are deadly. At least only the castor-oil plant has tempting-looking berries to attract the attention of curious children.

Other dangers in your personal Garden of Eden have more to do with its fast moving inhabitants. We all know about mosquitoes. What makes them so irritating (in more senses than one) is the fact that the female anopheles tends to be most active in the early morning, or before the sun starts to go down. And these, of course, are the coolest times for watering your garden, or for undertaking more strenuous tasks, such as an evening stroll.

Moreover, since mosquitoes tend to hide behind vegetation, any disturbance tends to arouse their blood-sucking desires. And they are, so recent research reveals, especially attracted by the odors emanating from feet!

Any water plant pots should also provide a home for fish such as swordtails: they will ensure that none of the mosquito eggs dropped into the water develop into larvae. Stagnant water without fish will rapidly become a breeding ground.

At the expense of a few fish, you might even encourage dragonflies. Their larva are vicious aquatic predators with a retractable claw, but if you have a few brilliant-hued adults quartering your swimming pool, you can be sure that they will mop up most mosquitoes in the vicinity.

Ants are maybe worse than mosquitoes. They seem to patrol any number of plants, often protecting the aphids, which suck sap from plant stems and produce a sweet substance called honeydew, much beloved of their guardians.

If you happen to disturb other species, (some red ants nest in trees and large shrubs), they are liable to attack without warning. I once attempted to knock one of their football-sized nests from a tree. The result? I was dive-bombed by hundreds of angry ants and got at least twenty stings for my pains. And some people, myself included, are allergic to the formic acid in ant stings. Bring on the anti-histamine tablets.

Finally a warning about leaf litter. If you need to collect the dead leaves which are now steadily accumulating in the current dry season, make sure you either use a rake, or wear gloves if you intend to pick them up by hand. Why? There may be all sorts of nasties lurking underneath the foliage.

Centipedes can deliver a very unpleasant bite – millipedes will not, but they are full of cyanide, and should not be handled. Nor should you pick off hairy caterpillars, which can bring you out in an unpleasant rash.

One furry larval creature, bright green in color, blends with the underside of a leaf so as to be almost invisible. What it turns into, I have yet to discover, but one touch and the resulting rash will last a long time.

And remember, there are scorpions and serpents in Eden.

Phuket Gardening is Phuket Gazette columnist Patrick Campbell’s feature of all things flora.

If you have a question or a garden that you would like featured, you can email Patrick Campbell here.

Keep checking our online Phuket Lifestyle pages for regular gardening features and tips.

— Patrick Campbell

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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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Technology

Cyber minister wants Netflix-like Thai streaming platform

Jack Burton

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Cyber minister wants Netflix-like Thai streaming platform | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TheSmartLocal

Thailand’s minister of digital economy and society, aka. “cyber minister” says that Thailand should have its own streaming platform to bring in revenue and promote Thai movies and television overseas. Puttipong Punnakan remarked at a forum that creating a Netflix-like platform to stream and sell Thai films and series to foreign audiences would reel some sweet, sweet subscription revenue into the kingdom. He also says that the government would help support the promotion of the entertainment sector, following South Korea’s highly successful lead.

“Why doesn’t Thailand have a Thai social media or online services platform of our own? We’re always using foreign ones, sending advertising revenue and online shopping revenue overseas.”

“If Thailand can assemble some good content, then we can export it in the same way South Korea does. Team Thailand will consist of the private sector as well as the support of the government.”

California-based streaming giant Netflix, hugely popular among middle-class Thais and expats alike, has a wide range of Thai movies and series, as well as Thai-language series which it produces. But whether a Thai version could actually succeed remains in doubt, as the Thai government isn’t known for creating popular media, especially the current government.

During his junta years, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s weekly program reached record lows in viewership. A government-sponsored film promoting “12 Values” expounded by Prayut was also ridiculed on social media. And do you remember his song “Bringing the Happiness Back to Thailand’? (below… but only you REALLY have to).

One Thai political party has even publicly denounced Netflix’s billboard ads of its “Sex Education” show, much to the mockery of youths across the country.

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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Entertainment

Bangkok’s legendary Scala cinema is closing

Jack Burton

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Bangkok’s legendary Scala cinema is closing | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Times of India

Bangkok’s venerable Scala cinema announced yesterday that it will stop its movie showing operations and let other businesses rent the venue for their activities or special screenings until the end of 2020, when its land contract expires. Scala, located in Pathumwan district, is the last standalone movie theatre in Bangkok.

The 1,000 seat cinema was built in 1969 and named after Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. It’s owned by Apex Group, which used to operate 3 other standalone cinemas in Bangkok: Sala Chalermthai Theatre, which was demolished in 1989; Siam Theatre, which shut down in 2010 after being damaged in a fire, and Lido Multiplex, which closed down in 2018 when its contract expired.

Scala had earlier announced that it would close temporarily, from March 18 until May 31, in line with the Emergency Decree to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Among the businesses that were ordered shut were movie theatres, restaurants, massage parlours, fitness centres and others. The restriction was lifted for several businesses, including movie theatres, on June 1, but sadly the Scala is bringing down the curtain on half a century Bangkok’s cinema history.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Crime

Internet scam offers dodgy amulets for lottery wins

Jack Burton

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Internet scam offers dodgy amulets for lottery wins | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

Police are warning of new internet scam offering lucky amulets to guarantee lottery success, claiming, falsely, that they’ve had helped celebrities win the lottery multiple times. The announcement from the deputy spokesman for the Royal Thai police yesterday.

“Investigation officers have looked into this matter and found a group of people who offered to buy lottery tickets after they had won the prizes in the latest drawing, so that they could take a picture and post on social media claiming it was won by celebrities. Such an act is a violation of the Computer-related Crime Act of 2007.”

The Act says that those who key into a computer system distorted or forged information or data, in a manner likely to cause damage to another person or the public will be subject to imprisonment of up to 5 years and/or a fine of up to 100,000.

“Lottery is a game of chance with no way to guarantee success, therefore people should consider carefully before buying anything that claims to bring luck to the owner. If you were damaged by, or have information regarding this kind of internet scam, please contact Police Cyber Taskforce hotline at 1599, 1155 or 191.”

Amulet scams have been a popular inhabitant of the top ten local scams for Thais. THIS is from a temple in Phuket that was ripping off Chinese tourists selling off cheap plastic amulets for exorbitant prices with promises of ‘lucky’ or ‘magic’ powers.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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