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Phuket Opinion: Disabled fighting for equal opportunities

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Opinion: Disabled fighting for equal opportunities | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Nalinee Boonthawadchai, 42, has lived in Phuket since 1990. She has an accounting degree from Phuket Rajabhat University and a second degree in broadcasting.

A serious road accident in 1985 robbed her of her left arm. Five years later she lost both legs in another road incident.

She now works at the Phuket Provincial Employment Office and in her spare time runs the Phuket Road Accident Victim (PRAV) Club, which she founded in October 2011.

“For the past six months I have been working for the Phuket Provincial Employment Office’s Support Department (PPEO), providing employment advice to everyone, including disabled people.

Employers must open their minds to accept disabled people and not just lock us out. The PPEO is a very good place to see how an employer should treat disabled employees.

After work, I dedicate my time to the PRAV Club. As club president, I find and document road accident victims and other people in need. I make sure that information gets to the right government departments so those victims can get assistance.

Having a disabled family member greatly affects the whole household. A father who used to be the breadwinner becomes dependent on other family members. Sometimes children have to stop going to school to look after that person. Sometimes specific problems fall outside a government department’s remit. That is where we step in to try to coordinate assistance.

Many Phuket organizations actively help the club with financial and resource donations, with much support coming from the Provincial Administration Organization and other agencies, such as the Social Development and Human Security Office and the Red Cross.

I fought hard to get parking spaces for disabled people at shopping malls. However, I still see able-bodied drivers using parking spaces reserved for the disabled.

I still have problems, too. Right now I have a court case against a company I worked for a few months ago. By law a company with 100 workers must employ at least one disabled person. However, the company locations had no wheelchair access. Every day I had to be assisted to get into work. They didn’t treat me as they did other employees. I don’t want a single baht from them, but I do want this to serve as an example.

The PRAV is very active during the main holidays. New Year and Songkran are the worst periods for road accidents. Everyone knows that drinking and driving is dangerous, but still it continues. Except for Bangkok, nowhere else is taking this seriously. This is wrong and I want anyone with the authority to apply the law and arrest those driving while under the influence of alcohol. Subject them to the full force of the law instead of letting them off or giving them a small fine as punishment.

I understand Phuket is a tourist destination and the authorities do not want to report crimes that will adversely affect the tourism industry. Tourists come to have fun and for many that involves drinking. However, letting drunk people drive could also ruin Phuket’s reputation.

Drink as much as you like, but please do not drive.

I would also like to ask every disabled person to be proud and show your abilities. Society is opening up much wider for us. So come out and tell the public how good you are. Be clear with your employers about what you can and cannot do. Do not be shy.

I have only one arm, one brain and a heart – but I am happy with my fate and I won’t give up. I am just trying to live as able-bodied people do and I can smile every day for the rest of my life.”

— Chutharat Plerin

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Hot News

Prem Tinsulanonda dies of heart failure at 98

The Thaiger

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Prem Tinsulanonda dies of heart failure at 98 | The Thaiger

The President of the Privy Council, Prem Tinsulanonda (General Prem), is reported to have died of heart failure early this morning at the Phramongkutklao Hospital at the age of 98. He has had important roles in many levels of Thai society and politics for most of modern Thailand’s recent history (since 1932).

Just three weeks ago he was participating in the coronation of HK The King.

He served as president of the Privy Council during late King Bhumibol’s reign and, more recently, served HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn in the same role.

Between 1980 and 1988 he served as Thailand’s 16th prime minister. Among many other achievements he is credited with ending a communist insurgency and presiding over accelerating economic growth in the developing country.

A retired army general, he was a statesman who played a pivotal role in Thai politics with a firm commitment to and belief in sacrifice for the Thai Monarchy.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

Prem Tinsulanonda dies of heart failure at 98 | News by The Thaiger

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Tourism

Travel’s dynamic changes – A personal perspective

The Thaiger

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Travel’s dynamic changes – A personal perspective | The Thaiger

by Andrew J Wood – President SKÅL International Bangkok

With the dramatic announcement of the sale of retail travel giant Thomas Cook following the loss of £1.5 billion brings the blight of the travel agent community into the news once more. Last week Wall Street bank Citigroup advised investors to sell shares in the travel company.

Confidence that travel agents can survive in the age of DIY bookings online is paper thin.

The sheer convenience and ease of being able to book flights and holidays online, with loved ones participating in the process AND at a time and place convenient to yourself, is very attractive to most of us.

Gone are the days when you make a trip to the travel agent on the high street during office hours.

It was the only way to book a holiday in the bad old days. Booking travel online then was a complex, mystical and stressful experience with lots of jargon we didn’t understand. On top of that booking a flight was only possible on airline-backed computer systems using special codes and trained staff. Most of us didn’t know where to start.

Now it’s out with the laptop, sitting in bed in your pajamas at home, or on the settee with a cup of tea and it’s as easy as 1-2-3.

My family own a travel company. Business is nothing what it used to be. My friends work in DMCs – they certainly aren’t what they used to be.

Travel’s dynamic changes - A personal perspective | News by The Thaiger

A high-profile BBC journalist speaking at a travel industry event, recently warned the travel industry that large, well-established brands no longer have the trust they once enjoyed. That is certainly true.

“We are living through a crisis of trust,” the journalist warned.

Today instead of listening to ‘experts’ or ‘institutions’, we now now put more faith in the opinions of our colleagues, or friends on Facebook.

The BBC journalist also said, “We live in an age where feelings resonate more than facts. People now value empathy over expertise. We all need to work out what this means about how we should talk to customers.”

So it’s clear that selling travel has fundamentally changed, as was forecast more than 10 years ago. I fear during this time that this advice has largely been brushed under the carpet and as an industry, we have been largely unsuccessful in making these changes. The example of Thomas Cook demonstrates that even big travel hasn’t worked it out neither. We all need to talk to our customers in a way that appeals to them. There’s a danger for any industry that doesn’t adapt quickly enough to new audiences — remember Kodak?

Thomas Cook looks like the latest failure.

In the last 18 months there have been more retail failures than since the start of the century. Many brands have lost the art of communicating with the marketplace. They don’t know how to engage with customers.

My family are already talking about diversifying and moving into other areas of tourism and travel. I hope it’s not too late.

SOURCE: Travel Daily News – Asia Pacific

 

Andrew J Wood

English born Andrew J Wood, is a freelance travel writer and for most of his career a professional hotelier. Andrew has over 35 years of hospitality and travel experience. He is a Skal member and a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew is also a former member of the Executive Committe of Skal International (SI), National President SI THAILAND, Club President of SI BANGKOK and is currently SI Asia Area a.VP Southeast Asia (SEA), and Director of Public Relations Skal International BANGKOK. He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Thailand including Assumption University’s Hospitality School and the Japan Hotel School in Tokyo.

Travel’s dynamic changes - A personal perspective | News by The Thaiger

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Southeast Asia

Bali flights cancelled as Mount Agung stirs again

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Bali flights cancelled as Mount Agung stirs again | The Thaiger

Mount Agung, Bali’s active volcano, has erupted again, spewing ash and hot lava that ran down 3 km from the crater, causing authorities to cancel flights in and out of Denpasar.

Indonesia’s Center of Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG) says the eruption was recorded at 19:30 Central Indonesian Time (WITA) and lasted for 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

The eruption also threw smoldering lava and pieces of stone into the air, fell in areas around 2.5-3 km from the summit. PVMBG say the current alert level on Mount Agung is set at Level III.

Residents, trekkers and tourists are strictly prohibited to be around the red zone areas set at 4 km away around Mount Agung summit.

Bali airport has cancelled all flights following an eruption of the Mount Agung volcano that spread ash over the south of the Indonesian island.

A Mount Agung eruption in November in 2017 also forced the authorities to close down the airport for several days, hampering tourism in Indonesia’s popular island destination.

The volcanic disaster had forced over 43,000 residents in Bali’s eastern regencies to refuge in shelters. Dozens of elder refugees died in the shelters due to the ensuing eruption.

SOURCE: The Nation

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