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Thai Gallery – Patima Khunpromkessara

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Thai Gallery – Patima Khunpromkessara | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Troubles in the southern provinces of Thailand are real and constant. Political unrest results in a spate of bombings, taking the lives of many and the problems look set to continue.

Born and raised in Yala, Patima Khunpromkessara remembers just the opposite. “It was a neat little town. Do you know that we have a town plan similar to Singapore, with spaces sectioned into zones for living, leisure and working? Yala won all kinds of environment awards for being clean and organized and I couldn’t have imagined a more peaceful place.”

She continues, a little downcast this time: “I don’t quite understand how different beliefs can propel such horrible acts as killing. When I was young, my school friends were all from different backgrounds. Buddhists, Muslims and Chinese lived together in harmony.

Patima, 36, Assistant Managing Director of Blue D Zine, a software management company, came to Phuket in 1994 to study at the Prince of Songkhla University. She says she couldn’t help immediately noticing the different atmosphere generated by the strong commerce and thriving tourist industry here. For a ‘country girl’ like herself, it was exciting.

With this spirit, she went into life head on. After completing a degree in hotel and tourism management, during which time she developed a liking for computer science, she worked briefly for the University’s IT department before joining phuket.com, one of Phuket’s first major online companies, as a senior web designer. The company and her colleagues there, she says, were inspirational for her future work.

Four years on, she left the company after spotting an opportunity to ‘go it alone,’ and, together with a Japanese web programmer, Patima set up an online hotel booking business, Blue Sky, in 2002.

“Looking back, I was very bullish to want my own business at 25. It must be the kind of craziness that comes with such a young age. I simply thought: ‘Oh, if it doesn’t work out I will just go back to working for phuket.com.'”

With only a few competitors around, the business grew from strength to strength. Now called Blue D Zine, the company offers online marketing consultancy, website design and management.

With Patima’s knowledge of the tourism business, the company rightly focuses on the needs of travel agents and even came up with their own software brands – toursys and travelsys.

The packages, believed to be among the first of their kind, went on to win the National Innovation Agency award. But the highest accolade for Patima is the fact that they are now being used by many schools and universities as part of the teaching materials used in tourism courses.

“I am proud that my products are part of our education system,” says Patima, who now teaches tourism IT at her alma mater, Prince of Songkhla University.

Patima, who was inspired by the Government’s as-yet unfulfilled initiatives back in the 1990s for Phuket to become an ‘IT paradise’, says she is still committed to working toward that very idea and believes that Phuket can and should become an IT hub producing its home-grown software.

Part of that commitment means that she is constantly working and her latest project includes developing mobile applications for the tourism industry.

Readers will be glad to learn that Patima does shut her computer off from time to time and indulges in her new-found passion – salsa dancing. Striving to achieve work-life balance, she also travels regularly to relax and unwind. Her favorite spot is Chiang Mai.

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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