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Phuket People: Rittidat Kodsan

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket People: Rittidat Kodsan | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Tucked away halfway up Rang Hill, in Phuket Town, is the small office of the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand, Phuket (NBTP), the production house of the town’s only national television station, Channel 11.

The 15-year-old station is tiny and quaint – if somewhat run-down. Its setting is made more rustic surrounded by a virgin forest overrun with creepers and towering rainforest trees.

But as the newly appointed Director of NBTP, Rittidat Kodsan will tell you, looks can be
deceiving. It is here that quality TV programs are made daily by a professional production team within its purpose-built studios. At the head of it all is Rittidat, who took the helm two months ago.

Khon Kaen-born Rittidat is a seasoned government PR man whose work with the Ministry of Information has spanned more than twenty years. He is an ‘all-arounder’ who has been a technician, cameraman, news reporter, producer, and finally the policy maker he is today.

As a fledgling cameraman in Sakon Nakhon, Rittidat would find his raison d’être when assigned to cover the Royal family’s yearly visit to the Northeast. It was the pride and joy he still relishes today.

“As a country boy, it was a great honor to work closely with the royal family. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, King Bhumipol and Queen Sirikit initiated many agricultural and craft projects in Isaan and we recorded their activities for national television using the old-fashioned 8-mm camera. Some of the clips are still kept at the PR Office in Sakon Nakhon,” says a proud Rittidat.

After Sakon Nakhon, he transferred to Phrae. Still working as a civil servant, Rittidat also contributed to the weekly newspaper Matichon and his article on the controversial Kaeng Sua Ten Dam won him a Reporter of the Year Award. The kudos stirred in him an interest in local politics and when he relocated to Chiang Mai, he enrolled in a degree course on community development.

After graduation, his professional life took a slight new turn – his later positions were taken up with public relations and radio work. The move to Phuket is his first foray into television.

But there’s no doubt that he will live up to the challenge. His long experience in media work and his keen eye as a news analyst will help bridge any gaps that exist between different media.

“The move to TV is clearly a challenge,” says Rittidat. “I am relatively new to its three-dimensional quality. But I will have fun, for sure.”

He goes on to explain that there are clear guidelines to follow when producing government TV programs. “We focus on government policies and achievements. Other mainstays include the Royal family and Thai culture. This year we are told to cover issues like compromise between political factions and the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community. We also promote Phuket as a tourist town and cover cultural events.”

However, for a trained community developer like himself, Rittidat would like to see more involvement from the lower rank of the society. “It would be good to know what local communities want from their TV programs. I am also interested in airing more shows on village affairs and happenings.”

Rittidat is married with three children aged 16, 15 and 8. His wife is also a civil servant attached to the Ministry of Labor office in Kalasin. The family has been staying apart because of his constant transfers to different regional postings.

But Rittidat is taking it in his stride and says: “It’s part of a civil servant’s life. But I do make an effort to see my family at least every two months.”

The individuals profiled in “Thai Gallery” are chosen on the basis of their contributions to Phuket as an international community, and, often, for having made those contributions through successful social and/or working relationships with foreigners.

This implies some foreign language skills and an interest in interacting with different cultures. They are people who in our experience, help make the lives of expats far more enjoyable here than might be the case without them.

— Nanthapa Pengkasem

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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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Business

Fish sauce excluded from Thailand’s proposed tax on salty foods

May Taylor

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Fish sauce excluded from Thailand’s proposed tax on salty foods | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Cook’s Illustrated

Thailand’s Excise Department and Public Health Ministry is considering a levy on salty foods in an attempt to tackle the sodium-rich diets of Thai citizens, and the health consequences.

The director general of the Excise Department, Patchara Anuntasilpa says the tax would be calculated based on the amount of salt in a product, with the proposal being sent to Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana by year end.

Fish sauce is a liquid condiment made from fish or krill that have been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years.[1][2]:234 It is used as a staple seasoning in East Asian cuisine and Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly south east Asia and Taiwan. Following widespread recognition of its ability to impart a savoury umami flavor to dishes, it has been embraced globally by chefs and home cooks.

“If the tax is approved, we will allow entrepreneurs one or two years to reduce the salt content and launch a less-salty version of their product.”

The World Health Organisation and the UN both recommend taxing foods with a high salt content, saying increased sodium intake leads to high blood pressure, cancer and kidney and heart disease.

The Nation reports however, that while the proposal is to levy the tax on frozen and canned foods, along with processed items such as instant noodles, seasoning such as fish sauce and snacks like potato chips would be excluded.

The Federation of Thai Industries has pledged to cooperate with the government’s effort to improve the health of Thailand’s citizens, but its head Wisit Limluecha says he is not in favour of taxing popular seasonings, snacks, frozen or instant foods.

“Research has found that these foods represent only 20% of what we eat each day, and everyone has different eating habits, so the better solution would be to advise consumers on how to eat healthily.”

Wisit warns that the tax may damage the country’s competitiveness in the food sector both overseas and in Thailand, where imported products are easily available. He also voices concern that small businesses will suffer if unable to afford ingredient and packaging changes.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Business

500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies

Greeley Pulitzer

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500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies | The Thaiger

Roughly 36% of Thailand’s corporate equity is held by just 500 people, highlighting wealth inequality in the Kingdom, according to a study released by the Bank of Thailand’s research institute.

Each of these 500 amass some 3.1 billion baht (102 million USD) per year in company profits, according to the report from the Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research. In contrast, average yearly household income in Thailand is around 10,000 USD.

A report out this week from the Economic and Business Research Centre for Reform at Thailand’s Rangsit University also pointed to divisive and polarised politics being another root cause of the economic divide.

Thailand’s private sector is dominated by tycoons running sprawling conglomerates. According to the World Bank, the gap between the mega-wealthy and the rest of the Thai population of 69 million is among the many economic challenges for Thailand. According to Bloomberg, the perception of a divide, exacerbated by an economic slowdown, is a major political fault line.

“Magnates arise in Thailand from institutional factors that privilege certain businesses,” said the executive director of PIER, author of the study.

The institute said Thailand needs to promote competitiveness to reduce profits from monopoly power and bolster entrepreneurship to create a more equitable distribution of corporate wealth.

The research is based on analysis of 2017 Commerce Ministry data on the 2.1 million shareholders in Thai firms, and was funded by the University of California San Diego.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thai Life

Thais go bananas over freak plants in pursuit of lottery numbers

The Thaiger

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Thais go bananas over freak plants in pursuit of lottery numbers | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Daily News

The answers are in the banana leaves.

Thai people LOVE playing the lottery (and gambling generally). In fact they’re BANANAS about the twice-monthly lottery (it was drawn again today). Daily News has reported about two unusual banana trees growing in front of a shop in Klong 4 Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok. The trees did not have blossom and on one plant two bananas were pointing skywards. On another there was a whole bunch pointing up into the sky.

There was a steady stream of the faithful lighting incense, praying and rubbing powder on the trees to get lottery numbers. One group thought ‘542’ was the magic numbers and a path to riches (we’re not sure how they came to this conclusion). 53 year old Surachai says the trees had been growing for a few months and that he’d never seen anything like it before.

An unnamed agricultural expert suggested that there was probably something wrong with the banana plants. Trees and malformed animals are a favourite source of inspiration to select numbers for the lottery, as are numbers of houses and vehicles involved in events where people experience “miracle” escapes from danger, or even bizarre accidents.

SOURCE: Daily News

Thais go bananas over freak plants in pursuit of lottery numbers | News by The Thaiger Thais go bananas over freak plants in pursuit of lottery numbers | News by The Thaiger

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