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Phuket History: A journey from Aceh to Lipe

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket History: A journey from Aceh to Lipe | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The Adang-Rawi archipelago is situated in the Andaman Sea, just 50 kilometers from mainland Satun province.

The archipelago consists of more than sixty islands, of which Adang, Rawi, Lipe and Tarutao are the largest.

The group of islands was designated as a marine national park in 1974. Today the pristine islands offer some of the finest beaches and dive sites in Thailand for those who are willing to travel the distance.

Of the sixty or so islands within the Adang-Rawi archipelago, only Koh Lipe is inhabited all year round by native Urak Lawoi people who settled there over a hundred years ago. Today Koh Lipe has a population of almost 900 Urak Lawoi, a sea-nomadic group, who still maintain their own distinct culture and language.

The Urak Lawoi of Adang-Rawi credit their arrival in the archipelago to an adventurer from Aceh named Kiri.

According to local stories, in the early 1900s Kiri began his search for a new home. He was looking for a place rich in natural resources where he could settle down and live out his days.

Kiri along with his two brothers travelled across the sea in a rowboat until they reached the northern part of Kedah on the Malay Peninsula.

In Kedah, Kiri got married to a Chinese-Malay woman. While his two brothers decided that the land they had stumbled upon was good enough to settle down, Kiri wanted to push northwards further into the Andaman Sea. So, this time with his wife and four friends, Kiri started on another sea voyage. Sure enough they sailed into Bulon Island near Langkawi. Here Kiri and his friends decided to stop off for a while.

Shortly after their arrival in Bulon, Kiri’s wife died. His three other friends, not wanting to sail any further decided that Bulon Island was good enough for them to settle down.

Kiri however was not satisfied. He wanted to venture further north. He set sail once again, this time with only his daughter Teh and his friend Jaebeenae.

Their third expedition took them to Lanta Island near Krabi. Here Kiri got remarried, this time to an Urak Lawoi native. He finally settled down in Lanta, with his new wife. They had a son and a daughter together.

Although Kiri lived in Lanta for a while, he could not forget the richness and abundance of the Adang-Rawi archipelago that he had passed during his voyage.

At that time Kiri had become well acquainted with Phraya Phuminart Phakdee. The Phraya served as governor of Satun province from the year 1900 until 1914.

During that time the British were aggressively asserting their claims on the Malay Peninsula. This culminated in the signing of the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909, in which Siam agreed to secede four Malay states under Siamese rule to British control.

The states, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu and Perlis became part of British Malaya. Satun, at the time part of Kedah, was given to Siam due to its majority Thai population.

Just before the treaty was drawn up, Phraya Phuminart Phakdee was worried that the British might declare the Adang-Rawi islands as part of their dominion due to their close proximity to Kedah. He therefore asked Kiri to lead some of the Urak Lawoi people from Lanta Island and resettle them in the Adang-Rawi archipelago.

The governor thought that if the Urak Lawoi of Lanta settled in the archipelago, Siam could prove to Britain that the islands rightfully belonged to them.

Kiri readily agreed. He led a group of Urak Lawoi people from Lanta to the Adang-Rawi archipelago where they settled down.

The plan worked. In the treaty of 1909, Britain withheld claims to Adang-Rawi and Satun, but took all the islands further south, including Langkawi, under British protection.

Over the next few years, Kiri drew a number of Urak Lawoi people from Lanta Island and Sireh Island in Phuket to Lipe Island. In the years that followed, he was appointed the first village head of Lipe Island. He died on the island, sometime around the year 1949. Although he was not an Urak Lawoi, Kiri is still deeply revered by the Urak Lawoi people of Adang-Rawi.

During World War II the population of the Adang-Rawi archipelago increased as more Urak Lawoi migrated there from the mainland to avoid being drafted into the military. Still they were the only people that inhabited the islands.

The only other people who frequented the Adang-Rawi archipelago during that time were crews of merchant ships that travelled frequently through the Strait of Malacca, and pirates who used the islands as their bases to rob these merchant ships.

Interestingly, Tarutao Island, loosely part of the Adang-Rawi archipelago, had been used as a Thai penal colony for some time up until the Second World War.

Thai political prisoners and convicts had been incarcerated there since the early 1930s. During the Second World War, supplies from the mainland were cut off due to naval
blockades. The prisoners and even the wardens on Tarutao Island were soon left to starve.

Knowing that supplies were not going to arrive any time soon, the prisoners and wardens banded together and took to piracy, attacking merchant ships that ventured near Adang-Rawi and Tarutao. The pirates continued their raids on the high seas until the end of the Second World War, when the British finally stamped them out for good.

Anand Singh is an avid Phuket historian. He can be contacted at as.pkt@hotmail.com.

— Anand Singh

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Technology

Paris Airshow overshadowed by Boeing’s woes

The Thaiger

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Paris Airshow overshadowed by Boeing’s woes | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The new, single-aisle Airbus A321NeoXLR, extra-long-range version

Boeing suffered more setbacks whilst Airbus launched an update to their single-aisle line up. Day one at the Paris Airshow.

Boeing’s latest creation the 777X will have to wait for General Electric’s specially-constructed new jets to arrive following another delay in testing.

The long delay is a blow to Boeing, already struggling to cope with the crisis in its single-aisle 737 MAX jet program. It will likely postpone the new 777’s entry into service, planned for the middle of next year, and will hit both Boeing’s airline customers and the downstream supply chain.

GE Aviation say they’ve found unexpected wear in a component for the new GE9X engine it is making for Boeing’s latest version of the 777, the world’s largest twin-engined jet, forcing a delay of several months while it redesigns and tests the part.

Boeing commercial airplanes boss Kevin McAllister told Reuters it was premature to predict any delays to the 777X program. The planemaker says they’re still targeting a maiden flight this year and entry into service the next.

This year’s Paris Airshow, usually a slug-fest between the US and European plane manufacturers, is being over-shadowed this year by the problems the US Seattle-based company is facing, on many fronts.

Meanwhile, Airbus has used the show to launch a long-range version of its A321neo jet, which will allow airlines to carve out new routes with smaller planes.

The Airbus chief salesman Christian Scherer says the new single-aisle A321 variant will be able to economically fly “from north-eastern Asia into south Asia, from the Middle East to Bali or from Japan deep into Australia, and so on”.

The new A321 variant is a direct competitor to the troubled Boeing 737 make-over, the MAX 8 & 9 series, which has become embroiled in controversy since the crash of two of the new planes, in October last year and March this year. The model remains grounded around the world as airlines moot cancellations of orders and court cases are being mounted by families of the dead passengers from the two disasters.

Sources at the Paris Airshow says Airbus was trying to assemble close to 200 orders or conversions to the new A321 model as it chases deals with carriers including American Airlines, JetBlue, Cebu Air and Frontier Airlines owner Indigo Partners.

Paris Airshow overshadowed by Boeing's woes | News by The Thaiger

The new Boeing 777X model is facing further delays with an announcement that GE have to do further testing of the jet’s new engines.

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Bangkok

Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market

The Thaiger

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Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market | The Thaiger

Chinese condo buyers are veering their purchase power away from the Bangkok property market citing the strong Thai currency, overpricing and a supply glut.

  • 2015 – 5.8 Yuan to the Thai Baht
  • 2019 – 4.4 Yuan to the Thai Baht

Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market | News by The Thaiger

The rise of the baht and the weakening of the Chinese Yuan over the past four years, have culminated in a 25% softening in Chinese investment power in the Thai property market (chart from xe.com)

Property consultants say that Chinese buyers are now containing their investment risk by buying into the lower-end 2-6 million baht condo market instead of the 5-10 million baht condos they were previously purchasing.

At the same time the annual returns for Bangkok condominiums is reported to have dropped from 6-7% five years ago to only 3-4% in some locations in the current market.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, Simon Lee, President of property brokerage Angel Real Estate Consultancy, says overall sales volume of Bangkok condos bought by Chinese buyers will shrink by half in 2019.

He also notes that the current Thai government crackdown on investors renting out condos on daily or weekly leases, has scared a lot of new investment into the sector away  as the ‘law’ appears to be applied in a haphazard manner.

The Chinese investors are also expressing disappointment when they buy into a development at one cost, only to find that locals pick up the balance of the stock at a lower price as the developers clears the stock.

Bangkok’s soaring land prices, which should see the value of condos rise, is being balanced out with the sheer glut of stock available, pushing down values. Rental returns are also being pushed down by the volume of stock available to the rental market.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Here’s another report about signs of weakness emerging in the Bangkok condo market from The Thaiger.

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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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