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Phuket tourist trapped in a gutter

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket tourist trapped in a gutter | The Thaiger

Phuket Island View: The following lament was filed at the Phuket Gazette office last week by Phuket tourist Hans Skarholm:

This is our first visit to Phuket and I would like to report something that has happened to my wife.

On Friday afternoon we came back to Karon Beach on a local bus from a visit to Phuket Town.

When we got off the bus, my wife stepped off onto the gutter next to the sidewalk. She happened to step down in the exact spot of one of the holes in the gutter.

Normally the holes – the spaces between the concrete covers – are narrow, but some are, for some reason, much wider, so her foot went through the hole. In fact, her leg went through all the way up to her knee.

Fortunately, she was able to keep her balance; otherwise she would have surely broken her leg.

After some effort and help from bystanders, she managed to get her leg out of the hole.

In the end, she had some scrapes and bleeding, but we didn’t consider it necessary to visit a doctor. We bought some antiseptic and plasters and think that will be enough.

It is obviously unacceptable to have this hazard in an area where so many people are walking.

Later, when I went back to take a photo I found many holes in the gutter that were big enough for a foot to go through.

— Hans Skarholm

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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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Thai Life

Top 10 English news sources in Thailand (2019)

The Thaiger

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Top 10 English news sources in Thailand (2019) | The Thaiger

…in English, in no particular order.

This post is mainly for newbies, tourists and people-interested-in-Thailand. Locals already have their home favorite news sources. But all these Top 10 do it well, in their own way. All are trying to navigate their way through the labyrinth of modern media, some better than others, whilst punching out daily news. We think they’re all stars because doing media in Thailand, in English, is a tough gig.

These are all news and information sources and the list doesn’t include the myriad of excellent blogs around – a topic for another Top 10.

1. Bangkok Post

Traditional news, still delivered as a daily newspaper, but with an expansive and thorough website. It’s been going since 1946 and reported on a coup or two, or three. As far as making the move into digital media is concerned, Bangkok Post is doing it better than most. Editorially it has has taken a, mostly, neutral political stance with a few exceptions. But, as newspapers go, it walks down the middle fairly reliably. It is currently the leading English language news portal in Thailand and deserves its position on top.

2. The Thaiger

Please indulge us as we put our own website and news in the Top 10. The Thaiger, only running as a national website since April 2018, remains the fastest growing English-speaking online-only news and information site in the Kingdom (according to the ‘stats’).

The Thaiger curates the news and chooses topics it believes will be interesting, important or newsworthy, in English, Thai and now Vietnamese too. The Thaiger bought out the Phuket Gazette’s digital assets in August 2017 but now has a national and regional focus, whilst continuing to pay homage to its home turf in Phuket. Currently has the second highest readership of any English-speaking news website in Thailand.

3. The Nation

The Nation was the other major daily coming out of Bangkok, well for 48 years anyway, was a lot newer than Bangkok Post when it started up in 1971. The Nation took a more partisan line, famously turning its editorial voice against PM Thaksin Shinawatra. In latter years the paper struggled with circulation and was taken over by Sontiyan Chuenruetainaidhama, founder of conservative outlets T News and INN News. Falling circulation and advertising revenues eventual killed off the printed daily version. Final issue June 28, 2019. The Nation changed their domain name (suicidal) and continues as an online-only news source with an excellent coverage of local Thai politics.

4. ThaiVisa

Used to be the biggest and most popular news website in Thailand (in English). If it moves or breathes, you’d find the story on ThaiVisa. It’s full of news copied and pasted from partners who agree to share their news on the site. It’s also famous, or infamous, for its hugely popular forums where keyboard warriors dispense their opinions and wisdom on everything, usually tearing just about everything in Thailand to shreds. Whilst it was once the biggest English-speaking news website in Thailand for a decade it is now being challenged by new sources moving into the same web space. Plenty of info, a lot out of date, about visas and other snippets about living in Thailand.

5. Khaosod English

Fresh, selective, well-written and a rising star in real Thai english-language journalism. An offshoot of it’s much bigger Thai-language sister. To the point, original stories with a modern journalistic spark. They tend to choose their stories and provide excellent insight when they do. Original and deserving of your daily read.

6. Coconuts

Most would agree that when Coconuts started it was the best and cheekiest news blog for its time. Actually covering all of South East Asia, it’s Bangkok blog was a daily log-on for most hip expats. Now they’ve taken the brave ‘paywall’ option (because people want to pay for good journalism they say) which seems to have killed off some of their web traffic but the company says they will persist with the subscription model. In our opinion it’s lost a bit of its verve but it’s still a healthy and reliable daily read for Thailand and the region. Singapore it its most popular location, Thailand is third.

7. Thailand News

A shameless aggregator, they copy and paste headlines and a few paragraphs with a link to the original story. Designed to rank in Google, the site is still in its early days. To avoid any copyright issues, the stories usually include a photo library ‘look-a-like’, instead of the real photo from the story. For all we know the entire site could be run by cleverly-coded robots.

There is no sign of a human touch anywhere. Rather than a contributor to the world of Thai journalism, the site is just a parasite using everyone else’s news. Bottomline, it’s nicely set up and has, well, most of the stories around Thailand, all in one neat package.

8. Chiang Rai Times

Chiang Rai Time is a local website that is regularly updated, nicely laid out, aggregates most of the main international stories and has plenty of local news relevant to the residents of northern cities of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. You may notice a similarity with The Thaiger as they used the same WordPress theme – we’ll take it as a compliment. There’s also Chiang Mai City Life which is a bit less ‘newsie’ and has plenty of northern lifestyle info in addition to the local news.

9. The Pattaya News

Whilst the rest of Thailand does things one way, Pattaya does things differently, in every aspect, including its media. But The Pattaya News does a better job than most with daily content, some original, and translating stories from Thai media. Easy to navigate, clear and readable, unlike a lot of others!

10. Thai PBS World

A government news agency but has demonstrated its independence over the years. As a website it’s had more face-lifts than Joan Rivers but remains solid, reliable and surprisingly (especially as it’s run by a quasi-military government) unbiased. Also tends to cover stories the other news sources don’t.

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News

Top 10 most boring news stories

The Thaiger

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Top 10 most boring news stories | The Thaiger

In the media we have ‘slow news days’. These days are when you scroll through countless feeds and articles to find something, anything, worth writing about.

Then the deadline looms and you have to publish something.

Then there are those glorious moments when something get published that really should never have been. But being the internet. these magic moments will live on forever.

Here are our Top 10 most boringly stupid headlines we could find.

1. The Suspicious Package

Top 10 most boring news stories | News by The Thaiger

2. The Grand Theft

Top 10 most boring news stories | News by The Thaiger

3. The Major Discovery

Top 10 most boring news stories | News by The Thaiger

4. The Surprise Closed Doors

Top 10 most boring news stories | News by The Thaiger

5. The Great Fast Food Paper Ripper

Top 10 most boring news stories | News by The Thaiger

6. The Horror Substitute

Top 10 most boring news stories | News by The Thaiger

7. The Loud Gate

Top 10 most boring news stories | News by The Thaiger

8. The Blob that went “Baaaa”

Top 10 most boring news stories | News by The Thaiger

9. The Method-Acting Manager

Top 10 most boring news stories | News by The Thaiger

10. The Most Hated Kitten

Top 10 most boring news stories | News by The Thaiger

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Thai Life

Sex Reassignment Surgery in Thailand (male to female) – a quick guide

The Thaiger

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Sex Reassignment Surgery in Thailand (male to female) – a quick guide | The Thaiger

MONTAGE: People Magazine

Thailand has a well-deserved reputation for excellence in sex reassignment surgery and the before and after care of patients. The country has a long relationship with Kathoeys, affectionately referred to in Thailand as ‘ladyboys’, and consequently, a well-developed approach to quality surgery in this area. The following article has been prepared by My Medi Travel.

Kathoey or katoey is a male-to-female transgender person or person of a third gender, or could be an effeminate homosexual male. Transgender women in Thailand mostly use terms other than kathoey when referring to themselves, such as phuying (Thai: ผู้หญิง ‘woman’). A significant number of Thais perceive kathoey as belonging to a third sex, including some transgender women themselves.

For people who want to match their born gender with what they feel is their ‘true’ gender, Thailand has an excellent reputation for Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) – also known as Gender Reassignment Surgery, Sex Change Operation, and MtF Surgery, to name a few. In this article we focus on the male to female related surgeries.

So, what makes Thailand such an attractive destination for this type of procedure? In short, it’s because patients can get the most out of such surgeries in Thailand thanks to the number of highly trained surgeons, low-cost and quality health care, and decades of knowledge and experience in perfecting this procedure.

If you’re considering SRS in Thailand, or you have a family member, a partner, or a friend who is wondering what is involved in the procedure, this guide should help to paint a clearer picture.

The Procedures

To undergo SRS is a huge, life-changing decision that should not be made lightly. It is a lengthy process that requires a lot of resilience and patience. Before the actual surgery, you will first need to live as a woman for at least a year and undertake hormone treatment to help reshape your body contour and stimulate the growth of a labia majora.

Here’s a list of the required prerequisites that all surgeons will insist upon before considering your case:

  • You must be at least 20 years old or have consent from parents / legal guardians for those between 18 and 20.
  • At least 12 months of successful and continuous real-life experience living as a woman.
  • At least 12 months of continuous hormonal therapy.
  • Must consult with a psychiatrist in your country and in the country where the procedure will be performed (this can be arranged in your chosen hospital).
  • Physically fit for surgery.

The actual process usually involves a few procedures:

  • Orchiectomy (removal of testes) and Penectomy (removal of the penis)
  • Vaginoplasty (creation of a vagina)
  • Breast Augmentation
  • Facial and Voice Feminisation Surgery (FFS and VFS)

You may also choose other surgical procedures, such as a Tracheal Shave to remove your Adam’s apple, or a Buttock Augmentation to increase the volume of the buttocks. Since every patient is unique, the procedures involved in SRS can be performed based on your needs and budget.

The most important part of male-to-female surgery is the creation of the vagina. There are numerous surgical techniques to do this based on your preference. You can discuss with your surgeon which one is best for you. The other popular techniques are as follows:

1. SRS without vaginal depth

  • This procedure is suitable for who those do not need vaginal penetration of sexual intercourse and unwanted vaginal dilation.
  • Hospitalization: 4 nights
  • Duration time of surgery: 2.5 hours
  • Recovery time in Thailand: 3-4 weeks
  • Approx. cost $8,400 USD

2. SRS with Penile Skin Inversion

  • Suitable for patients who do not want a vagina for sexual intercourse, particularly popular with elderly trans people. Depth is around 2-4 cm (1-2 in) and penile hair removal is required prior to surgery.
  • Surgery: 2.5 hours
  • Hospitalization: 4 nights
  • Recovery time in the local area is 3-4 weeks
  • Approx. cost $9,800 USD

3. SRS with Scrotal Skin Graft

  • Scrotal skin is used to create a vaginal depth of up to 13-15 cm (5-6 in), depending on skin quality and quantity (additional depth is possible by using groin skin). This is the most popular SRS procedure.
  • Surgery: 4 hours
  • Hospitalization: 6 nights
  • Recovery time in the local area is 3-4 weeks
  • Approx. cost $9,800 USD (with the option to increase depth further for $1,400 USD)

4. SRS with Sigmoid Colon by Laparoscopic Technique

  • The Sigmoid colon is used to create the vagina, allowing for greater depth than what is possible with SRS with a scrotal skin graft. More suited to those with less scrotal skin or those who prefer to have a lubricated vagina, like that of a biological woman. By far the most expensive technique.
  • Surgery: 6 hours
  • Hospitalisation: 7 nights
  • Recovery time in the local area is 3-4 weeks
  • The open technique, with a ~8-10 cm incision scar in the bikini line; approx. 13,700 USD
  • Laparoscopic technique; 4 small incisions in the abdomen; approx. 18,850 USD

Sex Reassignment Surgery in Thailand (male to female) - a quick guide | News by The Thaiger

Caitlyn Jenner, possibly the most famous, and well-publicised, transgender person

Recovery

Recovery after surgery will be a long and painful process. It will also require several follow up procedures as well as constant monitoring so you will have to stay a little bit longer at the hospital until you are fully ready to be discharged. Generally, allow for a minimum of 3 weeks stay in Thailand or the country of your choice area after your surgery. Most people are able to return to work in about 4-6 weeks after a sex change operation. Furthermore, you can resume strenuous work and exercise in about 6-8 weeks. It is vital that you strictly follow all medication instructions during your recovery period.

Aftercare

Social support is very important before and after the surgery, especially the support that comes from your family and loved ones. You have to be socially and emotionally stable before you undergo the operation. This is why it is required that you have proper counseling to help you with your emotional wellbeing. You have to prepare yourself mentally, before, during and after transition because it can be quite overwhelming and stressful.

It is also important that you maintain regular check-ups with your local Doctor to monitor the progress of your healing and avoid such complications.

Success Rate

The success rate for a sex change is very high, given our technological advancements. Gender reassignment surgery from male to female has a higher success rate than female to male; this is why more male transgender opts for a sex change.

However, given the nature and complexities of this type of surgery, you also have to be aware of its complications:

  • Possible risk of infection
  • Severe pain
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clotting and scarring

Possible side effects may also include:

  • Decreased sexual sensation and ability to orgasm
  • Fistula (opening between rectum and vagina)
  • Narrowing of vagina and hair growth in the vagina from the grafted tissue
  • Partial death of tissue used to create the new vagina

Costs

SRS can be very expensive, especially since it is difficult to get this type of surgery in many countries. One reason why Thailand is popular with those who want to change their sexual identity is that the country offers more affordable fees. Many patients come from the United States because the US has the most expensive male-to-female SRS prices in the world.

The prices range from $25,000 to $30,000 for just the reconstruction of the genitals alone. If you want to add breast augmentation and voice feminisation surgery, you can expect to pay more than $50,000. Additionally, some clinics in the US don’t include consultation fees in their prices, so you need to pay at least $50-100 for every consultation.

In general, SRS in Thailand costs around a third to half of what it can cost in the United States. For the reconstruction of the genitals in Thailand, you can expect to pay between $8,400 to $13,700 depending on which technique you choose.

Breast augmentation costs approximately $4,100 to $6,170 and Voice Feminisation Surgery costs between $3,590 to $7,180. In total, you will need to pay around $16,090 to $27,050 in Thailand for the complete procedure. These prices can also include packages, such as hospitalization accommodation, post-operative care, consultation fee, post-operative care, medications, and transportation.

Quality

The low-cost healthcare in Thailand does not mean low-quality treatment. In fact, Thailand is extremely popular among medical tourists because the country is known to have high-quality healthcare. Numerous medical centers in Thailand are accredited by prestigious international organizations, such as the Joint Commission International (JCI). The country has come a long way since its first Sex Reassignment Surgery in 1975, with many surgeons specialising in SRS for years, some even have over 20 years of experience. With their skills and experience, the surgeons and clinics can give patients the proper care they need and guarantee the best possible result.

Since there are many medical centres in the country that offer Male to Female SRS, it is understandable that some will better than others. To avoid disappointment, do your research, read reviews, find out about the clinic’s accreditation, and ask for your surgeon’s certifications. Better still, seek out the services of a dedicated Medical Tourism Facilitator like MyMediTravel who will guide you through the whole process and find you the best possible surgeon/clinic/hospital available and within your budget.

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