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Thai Life

Top Ten reasons to add some coconut into your life

Donna Toon

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We are so lucky here on the island of Phuket to have access to fresh coconuts. Lots of them. Coconuts not only feature in many local Thai dishes but they also have numerous health benefits according to some health practitioners. Whether you are drinking yours from Makro or on the side of the street you are doing your body a huge favour, here is The Thaiger’s Top Ten benefits of drinking coconut water….

1. They are Delicious

There is nothing more satisfying than cracking open a crisp and cold young coconut and drinking it’s delicious water, especially on one of our super hot, energy sapping tropical days.

2. Can assist with your Weight Loss Program

Coconut water has so many benefits that aid weight loss that I could write a top ten reasons why it promotes weight loss on its own. Full of bioactive enzymes the water helps with your digestions and boosts fat breakdown, it is also very high in potassium, like bananas, which helps balance salt in our bodies. Low in calories it is almost as good as a trip to the gym!

3. Rehydrates Your Body

Many athletes on the island reach for a coconut water as soon as they have finished their work out, as they are full of electrolytes, it helps rehydrate the body after excessive sweating from exercising.

4. Makes you look better on the outside as well

We are raving about the benefits of drinking coconut water but don’t forget the water, oil and flesh can be used on the outside of our bodies to help maintain younger looking skin and healthy and shinny hair as well as reducing inflammation.

5. Might help Reduce that Hangover

We are blessed on our tropical island to have an abundance of fresh coconuts at our fingertips. Not only are they a low calorie and low fat beverage, but they also provide important electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium which helps fights off the fuzzy effects.

6. Blood Sugar Regulation

One of the most important things that we should strive to achieve is to regulate our blood sugar. Peaks and troughs in our diet reflect in our energy levels and weight management. Coconut water has dietary fibre as well as amino acids which may help to regulate these peaks and troughs and improve our balance of insulin. Diabetic people are encouraged to drink coconut water daily to improve circulation, therefore reducing numbness in the body (if you are diabetic you should consult your healthcare professional before altering your diet).

7. May assist with the impact of migraines

Unfortunately I am a sufferer of migraines, they are deliberating and very frustrating to try and overcome, dark rooms are the obvious choice, but add coconut water to your list of possible remedies. Not only will the water help with your dehydration but it is rich in magnesium, which studies show many people who suffer from migraines have low levels of.

8. Full of Electrolytes and Antioxidants 

We have already stressed the importance of the electrolytes in coconut water for your body, but coconut water also contains high levels of antioxidants. These may help the body fight off nasty free radicals, and lowers and even prevents you from diseases.

9. Low Calorie and Low Fat Drink

Next to water, coconut water is one of the most beneficial beverages you may consume. Not only as it is low calorie and low fat, but also for its antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals all of which help boost your bodies well being.

10. Lowers Blood Pressure

In our hectic lives, balancing families, work and social lives, many of us suffer from high blood pressure. With its high levels of magnesium and potassium, coconut water is rated as one of the best natural remedies to reduce blood pressure.

PLEASE NOTE: The health benefits of coconuts, whilst widely circulated and supported by many health professionals, are not a supplement for proper medical advice and guidance when it comes to diet and assistance for problems like high or low blood pressure, migraines or the regulation of blood pressure.

- Donna Toon

Originally from New Zealand, Donna Toon has been living in Thailand for the last 9 years with her husband Scot and their two boys Jackson and Oliver. After graduating with a Degree in Hospitality Management, Donna has travelled the world with a desire to develop her craft. A recent move from hospitality has seen Donna immerse herself into the media and radio industry, consulting for a number of media companies.

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Property

Three new luxury show suites open at flagship Twin Palms Residences

The Thaiger

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MONTAZURE ON STUNNING KAMALA BEACH

MontAzure, the upscale mixed-use residential resort community set on 454 rai (178 acres or 72 hectares) of mountainside to beachfront land in Kamala, has launched 3 new on-site beachfront show suites at the award-winning beach condominium development, Twinpalms Residences MontAzure.

Considered by real estate experts to be one of the most compelling lifestyle investment opportunities on Phuket, the development will be managed and operated by Twinpalms Group. Investors and visitors will be able to tour and experience all three of the units to really get a feel for the unique luxury island lifestyle on offer.

“Recent luxury investment trends on Phuket have seen a move away from private villas toward upscale condos, especially penthouse units with outdoor facilities. Buyers appreciate the opportunity to own these luxury properties on a freehold basis,” says MontAzure Executive Director Setthaphol Boottho.

“Properties managed by reputable brands also attract savvy investors, as the condos can be rented out to international visitors and therefore generate income when owners are not using them,” he added.

Andreas Savvides of Haveli Design, whose pedigree includes several landmark residential developments in Bangkok including 185 Rajadamri and The River, designed the interiors for two of the new show units at Twinpalms Residences MontAzure, one of which is a stunning penthouse with a rooftop pool and ocean view sun deck.

As the first phase of the expansive MontAzure master-planned mixed-use development, the luxury beachfront condominiums have already attracted lifestyle-driven investors looking for a combination of hotel-based yields and usage time, along with strong capital appreciation due to the rare beachfront location. Owners enjoy privacy and world-class facilities without having to employ their own staff as they would at a private villa.

The development is sensitively designed as a series of low-rise clusters orchestrated around generous communal swimming pools with intimate views of the beautifully landscaped grounds. One-bedroom units are sized from 70 to 250sqm while the two-bedroom units range from 154 to 400sqm. The developers also recently added super penthouses measuring an impressive 799sqm and offering stunning views of Phuket’s idyllic sunset coast. Prices for entry-level investment units start from 15.5 Million baht.

Part of the development’s beachfront zone, Twinpalms Residences MontAzure is just a short stroll along the beach from HQ Beach Lounge, which has become an island favourite for its chic, contemporary oceanfront dining and entertainment. The sea view restaurant at HQ serves delicious light fare, signature cocktails, fine wines and an eclectic music selection to match the casual surroundings. 

Right next door to HQ Beach Lounge, lifestyle aficionados can enjoy causal fine dining, world class drinks and entertainment at Café Del Mar, Phuket’s hippest waterfront venue with 40 metres of beach frontage and chic tropical design. A rolling schedule of events includes weekly pool parties, international guest DJs, and tempting food and drinks promotions to attract a stylish global clientele.

Enhancing the unique choice of word-class beachfront facilities, MontAzure’s anchor hotel, InterContinental Phuket Resort, will open this year to offer visitors and residents of Kamala even more options for dining and entertainment, complementing the breathtaking sea views and tropical surroundings.

“Twinpalms Residences MontAzure offers buyers a rare opportunity to own a property within an integrated beachfront resort and residential community just steps from the pristine sands at Kamala beach and within walking distance of the island’s most popular beachfront venues,” says Henri Young, Director of Marketing at MontAzure.

To mark the launch of the new show suites and MontAzure is offering buyers a guaranteed return on investment for 3 years on selected units, as well as free furniture packages valued up to 2 Million baht. 

For more information or to make an appointment to view the show units call +66 93 624 8800 or email [email protected]

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Opinion

Wai Khru – setting a bad example for the future. Thailand’s demand for respect from its young

The Thaiger

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Hazing (US English), initiation ceremonies (British English), bastardisation (Australian English), ragging (South Asia), or deposition, refers to the practice of rituals, challenges, and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group including a new fraternity, sorority, team or club.

In Thailand, hazing is not only rife, it’s seen as a rite of passage for young Thais as part of their cultural inculcation into the subservience they’re expected to display elders or people with more money or higher positions than them. What’s mistaken for ‘respect’ is actually a cultural party trick where children and young adults are ‘trained’ to be deferential from an early age.

In recent years there have a been a few high-profile deaths of army trainees, in the care of their Academy leaders, but allegedly subjected to initiations and bastardisation that is just ‘par for the course’ for the education of young Thais.

In a response to the recent death of Phakhapong Tanyakan at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School on October 17 last year, the Thai Deputy PM and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan claimed that he “was not beaten to death, but just too weak to withstand tough training.”

He went further saying “I was once beaten more than I could take and I fainted too. I didn’t die. For this, before the school accepts kids for entry, they must give them a proper physical check-up.”

When you get you get such official, public, responses from the top you can see how this hazing culture continues to thrive in the, otherwise, Land of Smiles.

We spoke to three foreign teachers in Thailand, all speaking on condition of anonymity, about the culture of hazing in their schools and the benign version of that in primary schools, ‘wai khru’.

“Hazing is seen in many different types of social groups, including gangs, sports teams, schools, military units, fraternities and sororities. The initiation rites can range from relatively benign pranks and was khru, to protracted patterns of behavior that rise to the level of abuse or criminal misconduct.”

For the families of hazing victims these ceremonies can be catastrophic, as in the tragic case of Phakhapong Tanyakan.

A 19-year-old armed forces cadet, previously subjected to harsh physical discipline, suddenly died a day after returning to school from a break. His parents were told he suffered from a sudden cardiac arrest but became suspicious of possible foul play after a detailed autopsy report never came. – Khaosod English

But he’s not the only one. Hazing and cruel or unusual initiations are conducted every day around the Kingdom but with a growing concern about the practices, both from the young students themselves and concerned older Thais, who realise the dangers of ‘persuading’ youngsters to respect elders needs examination in a modern 21st century Thailand.

We spoke to a respected senior Thai businessperson, again on the condition of anonymity, who said he had seen too much hazing going on during his time at school and then whilst training in the military.

“I was a victim of this type of bullying. I was told to ‘be a man’ and that all Thai men have to go through this. I think it is degrading and breaks human spirits. It teaches fear of those we are meant to respect. It has to change.”

It all starts when young Thais are subjected to the Wai Khru or ‘Teacher Wai’ where students are expected to prostrate themselves in front of their teachers in a show of respect. But a broad spectrum of foreign teachers not only feel uncomfortable with this faux-deference, some of them go out of their way to be away for that day or, sometimes, even speak out about their concern with this tradition.

“I made the mistake of speaking out about the Wai Khru in our school. I just found it demeaning for the poor students who had to rehearse all week for this totally meaningless show of respect. I didn’t feel respected, I felt sick. I ended up being ostracised and had to leave that school.”

Whilst many Thais continue to wonder why westerners might find all this kowtowing and prostrating could cause concern, you just need to examine the deaths in the Army preparatory schools as the end result of ‘demanding’ obedience and deference to elders. In western culture, I have learned, respect is something that is earned, not demanded.

“Hazing is undignified, humiliating and cruel… not my words, but the words of students who are made go through this horrible experience. It’s meant to be a sign of showing respect to your seniors but it’s nothing more than a shameful indulgence at the expense of the students,” said a long-term foreign teacher.

“Making students crawl around on the ground acting like animals in front of their peers, does nothing for either senior or freshie students. I have stopped attending Wai Khru day as I find it terribly uncomfortable for myself and for the students. You can see the look in their eyes as they approach you and are ordered to bow before the teacher. Teachers, like everyone else, should learn how to earn the respect of their students.”

A young female foreign teacher first thought that the Wai Khru was ‘cute’ but has changed her tune over the years.

“Wai khru was the highlight of my first year teaching in Thailand. I was, and still am, extremely humbled and deeply touched by this beautiful tradition intended to recognise a teachers’ role in children’s life and to give said children the opportunity to express their gratitude to their teachers.

“But throughout the years I have started to look at this event with a more critical eye and I wish it weren’t as rehearsed and staged as it unfortunately is. At our school, rehearsals for Wai Kru start a week prior to the event. During this week, children are drilled incessantly until they have mastered the walk, the bow and the wai leading up to the offering of the flowers that they are eager to free their sweaty little palms of.”

Wai Khru continues to be practiced in all Thai schools as a long standing tradition and show of respect for teachers.

“Although I understand and commend the wonderful intentions behind such practices, I feel that much like other sorts of drilling that these students endure, this sadly takes away from the true purpose of it all. For want of a picture perfect event, meaning is lost and a demonstration of gratitude is transformed into a dreaded labour,” she said.

An investigation into the death of Army cadet Phakhapong Tanyakan, by military investigators, found no wrongdoing by the Preparatory School. The parents have consistently called for a probe into their son’s death and are still pursuing legal action.

PHOTO: Army cadet Phakhapong Tanyakan, who died at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School on October 17 last year.

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Thai Life

Law and Order: Tangled Thai defamation laws

Robert Virasin

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PHOTO: Rights defender Andy Hall goes on trial for criminal defamation & computer crimes

Living in the Land of Smiles you need to mind your Ps & Qs, as an expat, tourist, company or just about anyone actually. Thai defamation laws can be used to silence people, even in the most innocuous situations. It’s different from the West and, living here, you need to have a basic understanding of the differences in the way deflation and slander works in Thai law. As a media publication it can be especially onerous preventing us from publishing any number of stories that we would like to, button’t dare . Editor

Court cases over the past three years – the most notable the case against British national Andy Hall, Academic Dr Wyn Ellis, and local blogger Alan Morrison with his PhuketWan, reflect a peculiar aspect of the Thai criminal system. Unlike criminal court systems in most Western countries, a private person in Thailand can initiate criminal prosecution if they believe they are a victim of a crime.

In Thailand, people are able to access the criminal justice system through two channels. The most common way is for a private citizen to file a complaint with the police. The police gather evidence and submit the case to the public prosecutor. The public prosecutor determines whether to file formal charges after reviewing the evidence.

The second method is a private criminal prosecution. Under this method, crime victims have the right to file a case against the accused perpetrator. In cases where the victim is seriously injured or dead, the spouse or heirs can file the lawsuit. Generally, a private prosecution is faster, more focused and more efficient than a public prosecution because an attorney will assist in the investigation of the case to strengthen the victim’s charge.

Phuket Wan journalist Alan Morison and his Thai colleague Chutima Sidasathian outside Phuket Court

(Read about their case, in their own words, HERE.)

Private prosecution of criminal cases helps to overcome several problems with the current criminal justice system. Firstly, there are limits to the number of cases that a public prosecutor can handle. Private prosecutions alleviate the shortage of prosecutors within the public system.

Secondly, there are problems with undue influence which may make public prosecution of certain crimes or charges against certain individuals unlikely. Private prosecution of crimes allows those types of cases to move forward even if they become an embarrassment to high ranking officials or other powerful individuals.

And thirdly, some crimes are just not a priority for public prosecutors. Once a public prosecutor has charged someone with a crime, he cannot allow a perpetrator to plea bargain to lesser charges to settle the case. So the prosecutor may be reluctant to file certain charges because he/she is not willing to see the case through to the end. In these situations, an injured party can still move forward to seek punishment against their perpetrator.

However, the system of private prosecution also brings a host of problems. Allowing private criminal prosecution can alleviate the manpower shortage in the public prosecutor’s office, but it increases the burden on the court system. The processing of cases in Thai criminal courts can already take over a year.

There is also the problem with duplicate charges against the accused.

Andy Hall was acquitted of criminal defamation in a case filed by the attorney general’s office last year. However, he is now being tried on the same charges through the computer crimes act by a private company. The fact that a public prosecution has been initiated or completed does not prejudice a victim’s right to bring a criminal action on the basis of the same offence.

In addition, initiating a private prosecutorial action is generally limited to those who have the ability to fund private attorneys to file and prosecute their cases. Criminal legal prosecution can be very costly. There have been complaints that corporations and the wealthy have used private prosecution to silence critics. Criticising the wealthy and powerful can open up individuals to a costly legal action and possible imprisonment.

The private prosecution system is a tool. It can be used to bring about justice when government officials refuse to prosecute. However, it can also be used to intimidate to prevent disclosure of information or critical opinions. It is generally up to the courts to distinguish between justice and intimidation.

Additional reporting by Yutthachai Sangsirisap.

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