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Post-January 3, 2005
accused of touting for tourists - The Times,
December 27, 2005
Tourism operators and local residents on tsunami-ravaged Phi Phi island allege government agencies have a ``hidden agenda'' in restoring the island's tourism business. They question the government's decision to suspend the town zoning plan and rehabilitation scheme, jointly drafted by locals and the Interior Ministry's Civil Works Department, and allow the Designated Area for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Dasta), to take over the task...
The agency is in charge of several controversial projects, including Koh Chang tourism development and the Chiang Mai Night Safari...
He said villagers had heard the government planned to construct five-star resorts on the 279-rai of land between Tonsai and Lodalam beaches, and this had triggered widespread fear the land would be expropriated...
'Thailand Tsunami Anniversary Memorial Set to Flop' - About.com, December 19, 2005
More astonishing photos of the tsunami
- April 19, 2005
...The question the Thai people asked me most often was, "Where are the monies that so many countries promised us to help rebuild our area?" As we all know, lots of those monies will never get to the people who lost everything. History has proved that to be true, again and again...
Wealthy grab disputed land in Thailand - AP, May 2, 2005
..."If the tsunami didn't take you away, I will," the 36-year-old Yuphin recalled hearing from a stranger she thinks was sent by a land development company as he warned her and other villagers to move off the site in Ban Nam Khem, which is still a landscape of rubble, wrecked houses and beached boats.
...The villagers and activists say the developer, Far East Trading and Construction Co., is taking advantage of the tsunami's destruction to oust them and build hotels for sun-worshipping Westerners and Asians.
In a dispute common in Thailand, businessmen counter that villagers illegally encroached on their land.
At Ban Nam Khem, in the worst-hit area of the coast north of Phuket island, company lawyer Niwat Kaewluan said Far East Trading plans to build a resort on land he contends is illegally occupied by villagers.
The company bought the land from a mining firm, Hok Chong Seng Co., a few years after it stopped work in the area, Niwat said. It's unclear when the purchase was made, but Far East Trading began forcing some villagers off the land in 2002...
Intimidation has been incessant. Recently, five men fired gunshots into the air to scare away Thais and foreign volunteers who came to help residents rebuild their houses, the villagers said...
Thai environmentalism squares off against development - AFP, April 12, 2005
...Since the tsunami, the government has mulled a "buffer zone" along Thai coastlines barring any new construction within a certain distance, in some places up to 50 metres (55 yards), from the high-tide line, conservationists said.
...Wichit Na-Ranong, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, said the tourism industry would fight tooth and nail against such a zone, arguing it would hamstring much-needed development along the coast.
... "I will not allow this to happen, no matter how far back you set the limit," Wichit told reporters in Phuket, where he owns a luxury resort...
In Thailand, a 'land grab' - The Christian Science Monitor, April 8, 2005
...In February, the purported owner came and told the villagers to clear out or face the consequences. Instead, after he left, defiant villagers chased away his team of surveyors and went back to rebuilding.
"I know they say this land belongs to someone, but we've lived here a long time already," says Somchai, gesturing at his dirt yard. "Look at those coconut trees. We planted those. This is my land."...
In Baan Naam Khem, a fishing port that was almost wiped out by the tsunami, the battle lines are drawn more sharply. Fifty households on the western beachfront left destitute by the giant waves are locked in a bitter standoff with a developer linked to a prominent Thai politician.
The dispute has turned nasty. The developer reportedly sent armed men to stop former residents from returning to sift through the ashes of their homes and threatened those who resisted. Even before the tsunami, the developer had sought to evict the families, insisting that it had the law on its side.
Residents say it was a trick sprung by a village headman who was in cahoots with the developer. Three years ago, the headman collected the names and addresses of everyone in the community and said he was petitioning the government for land titles. Instead, he gave the list to the developer who then launched legal action against the residents.
...Other communities have managed to see off the developers. Baan Waa, a fishing village of 72 households, was told that their land was needed for a new hospital for Khao Lak that the German government had agreed to build. The villagers dug in their heels and appealed to a visiting group of senators, including Senator Chirmsak, for help. A call to the German Embassy revealed that the scheme was a fiction...
Phi Phi businesses forge ahead with post-tsunami repairs - TNA, April 7, 2005
... According to Mr. Boonma Saelim, the owner of a local tour company, most of the restoration and clearance work is being carried out by foreigners, while the government has done relatively little.
Many local businesses, he says, have simply decided to go ahead with restoration work without waiting for the issuance of official planning regulations...
Sea gypsies lose their instinct - Waves turn their lives upside down - Bangkok Post, April 3, 2005
...Hong Klathalay, the 37-year-old tribe leader at Ban Thung Wa, has claimed that help from the district and provincial authorities for the tribe had been cut off because they had refused to be relocated. Now they only rely on donations to survive.
He said the 281 Moken survivors at this village had no means of earning a living as they were too scared to go fishing.
They had also lost all their valuables including their houses and fishing boats...
The tribe leader alleged that the district had expropriated 10 rai of the tribe's 26 rai land after the Moken survivors refused to adopt the relocation plan.
"District and provincial authorities are upset, so they give no assistance to us,'' he said...
Earlier: A tale of two newspapers: Sea gypsy protest
Phuket bans tsunami spirit ceremonies - TNA, March 30, 2005
Since massive tsunami waves slammed into Thailand's Andaman coastline on 26 December, residents of the southern resort island of Phuket have been conducting ceremonies to pray for the souls of the departed.
But today Phuket Governor Udomsak Assawarangkura indicated that the ceremonies would be banned, saying that they were having a negative impact on the island's tourism image, and that they were a reminder of outmoded ideas related to the belief in ghosts...
Workers tell their tsunami stories - March 19, 2005
Special report by Asiper: This is from a conference on March 10 about the impact of the tsunami on workers.
She said on December 26, 2004 she was in her shop when her husband called her to see the wave coming. She saw the level of water as high as the roof and immediately the wave threw into a drainage sewer and wood scraps pinned her there for two hours. She tried to kill herself by holding her breath, but she did not die and she thought of her daughter. Somebody lifted her body from the drainage sewer. She found that she was only wearing pants. Everything was very quiet until she heard one guy shout and told her to hurry to go to the mountain. There were lots of people but nobody helped her because they wanted to run away from the tidal wave.
Thailand secretly kills search for missing tsunami victims to boost tourism - Cyber Diver News Network, March 20, 2005
Thai authorities are calling off their operation to identify the bodies of tsunami victims because they claim it is hampering attempts to lure tourists...
Tsunami restores Maya Bays beauty - The Nation, March 2, 2005
...To me, to see the beauty of Maya restored by nature is a hopeful message for my life to move on.
In 1999, Nattawuth forcefully helped a group of local and Bangkok environmentalists to oppose the filming of the 20th Century Fox project The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, on the shores of Maya Bay. The group lost its battle and Fox later that year bulldozed the beach, removed native plants and replaced them with some 100 coconut trees.
...But now 80-90 per cent of Mayas beauty has been returned to its previous condition, says a jovial park ranger at Haad Nopparat Tara National Park, whose Phi Phi and Maya Bay are the jewels in the crown of an iconic tropical paradise.
Look at the sand dunes on the beach, they came back after the tsunami, he said...
A tale of two newspapers: Sea gypsy protest - January 25, 2005
More tsunami video - January 21, 2005
What chance Thai tourism's post-tsunami grand plan? - Reuters, January 20, 2005
Talk of "new beginnings" is all the rage in Thai tourism circles at the moment, but for all the good intentions, efforts to smarten up resort areas and rid them of sleaze and grime look likely to fail.
In a country where regulation is frequently invoked but seldom realised, the mish-mash of tacky souvenir shops, neon-lit go-go bars and beach-front shop-houses will rise inexorably from the tsunami rubble, analysts fear...
Five years ago, Khao Lak's unspoilt white sand beaches stretched as far as the eye could see along southern Thailand's Andaman Sea coast.
In that short time, much of the pristine wilderness, which was meant to enjoy national park protection, disappeared in a free-for-all scramble of hotel complexes, beach bars and market stalls vying for every last tourist dollar, pound or baht...
"It's important to realise that when you stay in a Marriott, Sofitel, Hyatt or Hilton here, you are not in a property owned by Marriott, Sofitel, Hyatt or Hilton," Colson said. "These are hotel management companies, not hotel-owning companies."
"The people who really decide whether a new hotel is going to comply with rules and regulations are those who own the land and buildings. They are very wealthy and, in many cases, see it as a duty to buy their way round regulations," he said...
More tsunami urban legends - January 19, 2005
Don Entz points out:
False: Photographs show unusual deep-sea creatures washed up by the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
False: Photograph shows a satellite view of the Indian Ocean tsunami.
Undetermined: Children orphaned by the Indian Ocean tsunami are being offered for sale via SMS messages.
Mogens Engelund has examples on his site of the World Tourist Organization using the bogus tsunami photos on their website.
He also has an article about this (in Danish), False tsunami photos travelled around the world, and into TV as well which includes some examples of the photos being used in newspapers.
Criticism of Thai media accusations - The Irrawaddy, January 12, 2005
The coordinator of a Thai NGO on Wednesday spoke out against sensationalist Thai media reports that Burmese gangs were looting areas of southern Thailand affected by the tsunami...
On January 8 the mass circulation Thai newspaper Khao Sot carried a story headlined Maung Thieves (maung is a Thai pejorative term for Burmese) which claimed that at least a thousand Burmese looters on pickups were stripping Khao Lak bare. Strangely, the paper claimed that the Burmese looters had tricked local people into thinking they were southern Thais by learning to speak fluent Southern Thai dialect (apparently in anticipation of the tsunami).
The Khao Sot report was repeated on at least two television stations and remarked on by at least one high profile TV pundit. NGOs fear that the media reports may lead to more discrimination against Burmese tsunami survivors in Thailand...
Newspapers rush to print fake tsunami photos - January 13, 2005
...PTI put the photos on the net and they were promptly run by several television channels and newspapers, including the Times of India, the Calgary Herald in Canada and Tz, a German paper, who ran the image under the caption, Tsunami in Sri Lanka. Channel Nines Sky News, Australia also grabbed the images...
Tsunami scam letter - January 12, 2005
Tsunami news - January 11, 2005
Wisarut provides another roundup from the Thai-language press and forums: HTMS Naresuan has picked up five floating corpses 90 knots south of Similan Islands with the assistance from French helicopters.
Helicopters from HTMS Chakkri Naruebet have flown to recon around Ban Nam Khem fishermen village and Laem Pakarang.
Navy officers are constructing 73 temporary shelters at Kau Khau Khao (Takua Pa district of Phangnga) to be done on January 21 as well as the 175 new permanent houses, 60 new permanent house at Lanta Island (Lanta district of Krabi) and 20 new houses in Sireh village for those Mokan (Chao Leh) tribe at Ratchada Port of Phuket.
Some people said the land of Satun is very unstable and ready to eroded at any seconds since underground is the sea. There is a dead giant turtle at Phangnga Naval base (60 kg, 84 cm long and 75 cm wide) (from Manager Daily: Jan 9, 2005).
When Phee Pui (Pornthip Nakhirankanok) donated 20 million baht for tsunami victims, almost Thai netters had praise. However, when Khun Paradorn donated only about 10,000 baht, the public anger erupted (from mThai).
When some jealous doctors made very bad comments to warn Dr. Khunying Pornthip and this really frustrated her, Thai netters came to calm Khunying Pornthip down so she can continue her forensic works while flaming and cursing those jealous doctors (from mThai: 1 and 2). Public sympathy toward Dr Khunying Pornthip after the attacks from
the jealous doctors is here.
Many Thai netters have reported about corrupt officers who keep the donated items for themselves while giving rotten food and ragged clothes to tsunami victims.
Burmese dissenters have reported that there are about 400-600 dead from the tsunami in Burma, but the junta has told a big lie to the world that there are very few deaths. Even Thai corespondents from Siam Turakij told the readers that there are at least 200 crematorium piers along the Burmese coast and the junta does not care about the dead because they are minorities (also see NCGUB).
* Manager Online: Satellite Photos of Patong Beach - comparing before and after tsunami.
The Nation always makes a sharp critique of Premier Thaksin-look at this satirical cartoon.
More non-tsunami related links:
* Public paranoia about the Malaysian government
* Thaksin's paranoid toward Democrat who got number 4
* Reference to the 100 years anniversary of China Railway
Comment: Does the Andaman tourist industry deserve a quick revival? - January 8, 2005
Reports that 800 Thais could commit suicide dismissed - TNA, January 8, 2005
A senior government psychiatrist has dismissed foreign news reports that suggest that 800 Thais affected by last month's massive tsunami waves were at risk of killing themselves because of stress and depression, called "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder".
"The report is too pessimistic and comes from a western point of view which cannot be applied to the Thai society," said the Department of Mental Health Spokesman, Dr. Taveesilp Wisanuyothin.
The Thai society has mechanisms that help relieve stress, despair and depression, including warm family relationships and religious beliefs, he said...
Is anyone to blame for lack of warning? - Bangkok Post, January 7, 2005
...The most important factor that would inhibit any kind of warning was the general perception that tsunamis would never affect Thailand; they never had before and there had never been one in the Indian Ocean...
Despite what the Bangkok Post says we know of at least one tsunami that killed 500 people in Nakhon Si Thammarat in 1965. Do readers know of any other?
News about the Andaman coast - January 5, 2005
Last week we asked about the fate of some of the minor islands in the Andaman Sea. Wisarut has found some details from the local Thai-language press:
Khun Nitipoom (a columnist of Foreign Affairs in Thairath) reported that those who live on Panyee Islands [Phanyi] (most are Muslim) were from the tsunami by Allah's mercy so the custodians of Masjid in Panyee Island would pray to bless Allah to protect the island. The Masjid custodians have invited Khun Nitipoom to participate with them since he have written articles that show sympathy toward Muslims [Nitipoom is not exactly popular in some circles for these articles. Nitipoom also stood in the Bangkok Governor elections last year].
James Bond's Rock (Khao Tapoo) in Ao Phang Nga National Park is also sparred Phuket island shielded Ao Phang Nga National Park.
Those who live on Phi Phi told the press that those hotel investors violated many rules of the islands such as bringing pork to the island (most local people are Muslim) and building hotels and restaurants on Gubor (Muslim cemeteries). Those who run hotels in Phi Phi forgot to pray to the spirits of Phi Phi island so they are deserved to be punished.
After Premier Thaksin has come to see Khunying Pornthip on January 4, she was overwhelmed and nearly fainted due to being tired and getting the chance to tell what happened in the forensic lab at Wat Yanyao. Premier Thaksin has pledged with Khunying Pornthip that he will help her and her coworkers to bring the dead back home as soon as possible.
Khunying Pornthip also invited Khun Sorayut to see what happen inside the forensic lab at Wat Yanyao. She told Khun Sorayut that the oozing liquid from the bodies have erased barcodes to identify them. So they have to reidentify the corpses again. [This is slightly different than the international press which reported that the antiseptic spray erased the tags.] Probably she needs metal dog tags from the armed forces to tag the corpses.
Khun Sorayut (a top TV host) also told of the misery of those fishermen at Ban Nam Khem. All the families in Ban Nam Khem have lost at least one member of their families due to the tsunami.
Kidnapper rings are kidnapping European children form the hospitals for ransom. [This again is different than the international press which reported they were looking for German man that might have walked away with a child. Later he was found and the police declared him innocent.]
Ten days after the tsunami, the Bangkok Post creates an informational page - January 6, 2004
It is obvious the Post does not consider their website a priority (it is only updated once a day). However, it is incredible that it took them ten days to create a single informational page for those looking for information about the disaster: Special announcement - Bangkok Post, January 5, 2005
With many people, especially foreigners, still desperately looking for missing friends and relatives in the wake of the tsunami which struck southern Thailand on Dec 26, the Bangkok Post feels obliged to serve as a medium to facilitate search and relief efforts...
Secret mass grave for tourists - Times Online, January 5, 2005
...Local Red Cross officials told The Times that they were ordered to prepare a site for 10,000 bodies, far more than the Thai Government says were killed by the tsunami, raising doubts that a true count of victims will ever be known...
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