Thai PBS World

  • Thai massage recognized by UNESCO

    Thai massage or “nuad Thai”, which has already gained global recognition, has now been added to UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list at their meeting, currently being held in Bogota, the capital of Columbia.

    A Thai delegate at the UNESCO meeting said that the addition of Thai traditional massage to the list practices is historic.

    It is the second Thai intangible cultural heritage practice to be recognized by UNESCO after khon classical masked dance, which was listed last year.

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  • High production costs remain obstacle to degradable non-plastic bags

    Starting January 1st, 43 shopping malls and convenience stores in Thailand will cease the use of single-use plastic bags, in response to the Government’s policy to completely phase them out.

    One major obstacle in the drive to phase them out is the cost of producing dissolvable or degradable non-plastic bags which is, presently, about 2-3 times higher than that of single-use plastic bags.

    The National Science and Technology Development Agency has come up with dissolvable non-plastic bags, produced from tapioca flour, which are elastic, strong and dissolve easily in water or in the ground in just 3-4 months.

    The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovations has been coordinating with the Thai private sector to produce dissolvable non-plastic bags from tapioca flour under the zero-waste concept.

    About 20,000 prototype dissolvable bags were produced by TSTDA, the Metallurgy, Materials Science Research Institute and the Thai Bio-plastic Industrial Association for test use at the Thai Red Cross fair in Bangkok last month.

    Plastic bag producers are, however, concerned that their businesses will be hit hard if the Government goes ahead with banning the use of plastic bags next year, without giving them enough time to make adjustments, deal with their machinery and with leftover plastic stockpiles.

    The Thai Plastic Industry Association recently submitted an open letter to the Government, expressing their support for the use of dissolvable non-plastic bags to protect the environment, but would like the Government to consider alleviating their problems, in case they have to stop producing single-use plastic bags, including by buying their remaining stockpiles and compensation for workers laid off by the closure of their factories.

    Mr. Khem Wanglee, managing director of the first company to produce bio plastic from tapioca flour, admitted that the prohibitive production cost remains the main obstacle to full-scale production.

    He suggested tax breaks for the producers and private enterprises which use the degradable bags.

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  • Mezut Ozil condemns Muslim silence over Uighurs

    Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, a German footballer of Turkish origin, on Friday expressed support for Uighurs in Xinjiang and criticised Muslim countries for their failure to speak up for them. 

    “Korans are being burnt… Mosques are being shut down … Muslim schools are being banned … Religious scholars are being killed one by one … Brothers are forcefully being sent to camps,” Ozil wrote in Turkish on his Twitter account.

    “The Muslims are silent. Their voice is not heard,” he wrote on a background of a blue field with a white crescent moon, the flag of what Uighur separatists call East Turkestan.

    China has faced growing international condemnation for setting up a vast network of camps in Xinjiang aimed at homogenising the Uighur population to reflect China’s majority Han culture.

    Rights groups and experts say more than one million Uighurs and people of other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities have been rounded up in the camps in the tightly-controlled region.

    After initially denying the camps existed, China describes them as vocational schools aimed at dampening the allure of Islamist extremism and violence.

    Turkey, which takes its name from Turkic people who migrated from central Asia, is home to an Uighur community and has regularly raised concerns about the situation in Xinjiang.

    In his tweet, Ozil said Western states and media had kept the Uighur issue on their agenda and added: “what will be remembered years later would not be the torture by the tyrants but the silence of their Muslim brothers.”

    Arsenal moved to distance themselves from Ozil’s comments in a bid to limit fallout in China, where the club has numerous commercial interests.

    “The content published is Ozil’s personal opinion,” the club said in a Chinese language post Saturday on its official account on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.

    “As a football club, Arsenal has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics.”

    But a few angry fans called for a ban on airing Arsenal games featuring Ozil.

    “I hope they ban Ozil’s matches and business activities (in China),” wrote one Weibo user.

    Another Chinese fan said she “cried last night” after reading the post, which the star had also uploaded to Instagram.

    “For over a decade, I’ve worn an Arsenal jersey with Ozil’s number. It will never be worn again,” she wrote on Weibo.

    The 31-year-old footballer sparked controversy last year when he was photographed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, raising questions about his loyalty to Germany on the eve of their 2018 World Cup campaign.

    Ozil later quit the national squad, accusing German football officials of racism. Erdogan was Ozil’s best man when the footballer was married in Istanbul this year.

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  • Samut Sakhon sprays water to control PM2.5 airborne dust

    The Samut Sakhon provincial administration started using four water spraying machines to reduce PM2.5 dust particles in the air along Rama II Road Thursday night, while water trucks wash dust off the roads in the province.

    The provincial governor, Mr. Veerasak Vichitsaengsri, said Thursday night that the Department of Public Disaster Prevention and Mitigation had leant four dust control water spraying machines to the province to be used to clean the air, especially along the Rama II Road, where the amount of PM2.5 dust particles has been exceeding standard safety levels on daily basis.

    The spraying systems are located in front of the provincial administration centre, at the construction site on Rama II road, in Om-noi municipality in Krathumban district and in the Tha Chine Tambon Administration Organization area along the Rama II road.

    The sprays will operate during rush hours, from 6am to 8am and from 5pm to 7pm.

    Governor Veetasak said that the dust control measures will continue until the air quality improves to a satisfactory level.

    The provincial administration has also issued an announcement restricting the burning of trash or other materials in the open and to control emissions from factories and vehicles.

    Governor Veerasak said officials will monitor the dust situation around the clock and make assessments on daily basis.

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  • Forest Department chief to testify to House anti-graft committee on Pareena’s land controversy

    The House Anti-Corruption Committee has summoned Royal Forest Department director-general Atthapol Charoenchansa to testify on December 18th about its handling of the forest reserves encroachment case involving Palang Pracharat MP Pareena Kraikupt.

    The committee’s spokesman, Mr. Thiratchai Panthumat, said today that the committee has also asked for information on Ms. Pareena’s assets declaration, made to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

    He explained that the committee wants to know whether the Royal Forest Department (RFD) has taken action against the Ratchaburi MP over her alleged encroachment onto 7.3 hectares of forest reserves, adding that the public is interested in the case and the House Anti-Corruption Committee wants to make sure that the law on land encroachment is applied to all, without exception.

    Ms. Pareena has already agreed to surrender all the land to the state, including the 7.3 hectares of forest reserves and 109 hectares of Sor Por Kor land, on which she built a chicken farm.

    The RFD has pressed charges against Ms. Pareena over the alleged occupation forest reserves, while the Agricultural Land Reform Office is at loggerheads with the RFD about which of them should take action against the MP over the Sor Por Kor land.

    Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngarm, the Government’s chief legal expert, said that, since Ms. Pareena has returned the land in question to the state, she is now immune from legal action, citing the case of former prime minister Sorayuth Chulanont and his occupation of Sor Por Kor land at Khao Yai Thiang in Nakhon Ratchasima province.

    Royal Forest inspector-general Thawatchai Ladkrood, in his capacity as head of the panel inspecting Ms. Pareena’s land issue, said that each Sor Por Kor land encroachment case is different and cannot be used as an example, while maintain that the RFD has applied a single standard in its treatment of all alleged encroachment cases.

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  • PM’s motto for National Children’s Day

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has announced his motto for Thailand’s National Children’s Day on January 11th.

    His motto is “Thai children must uphold unity, and be responsible Thai citizens”.

    The Prime Minister reportedly said that Thai children should pay attention to technology, know their duties as Thai citizens and be jointly responsible for the country’s future.

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  • 12-year old “Milk” wins world drone racing championship again

    12-year old Wanraya “Milk” Wannapong from Thailand has won the 2019 FAI World Drone Racing Championship Grand Final (women’s division) for the second year in a row. The competition was held in Ningpo town in China on Saturday, and her winning time was 55.739 seconds.

    In second and third place were Siyun Park, 15, from South Korea and 34-year old Teng Ma from the United States respectively.

    Last year, Milk became the youngest person ever to win the FAI World Drone Championship.

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  • PM urges people to visit the Walking Streets on Silom and Yaowaraj

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is urging everyone to visit the pedestrianized Walking Streets created on Silom, Yaowaraj and Khao Sarn roads for fun, delicious food, to take pictures, to enjoy live music or to just boost their energy.

    The Prime Minister presided over the official opening of the Walking Streets on Silom and Yaowaraj roads Sunday evening.  The Walking Street on Khao Sarn Road starts on Monday.

    Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang advised visitors to bring cloth bags with them, because there is plenty of good food and discounted goods are available, adding that there is also a variety of entertainment.

    The Walking Street on Yaowaraj Road is open from Friday until Monday from 7pm to midnight while on Silom Road it is open from noon to midnight on Sunday.  Khao Sarn Road opens from 5pm to midnight on Mondays.

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  • Premchai granted bail, but must wear EM ankle bracelet

    The Supreme Court has granted bail to Italian-Thai Development boss Premchai Karnasuta and two fellow defendants, but ordered them to wear electronic monitoring ankle bracelets and banned them from leaving the country.

    The court set the Premchai’s, Yong Dodkrua’s and Thanee Thummat’s bail at one million baht each.

    The fourth defendant, Mrs. Nathee Riamsaen, received 22 months, suspended for two years.

    The Appeals Court on Thursday found all four defendants guilty of the illegal poaching of protected wildlife, in Thung Yau Naresuan wildlife sanctuary early last year, and increased their prison terms after the Appeals Court ruled that Premchai abetted the other two defendants in the killing of a black leopard, a charge which had been dismissed by the lower court.

    Premchai’s prison term was extended from 16 to 38 months, Yong got 41 months and Thanee, 45 months.

    The three convicts were detained at Thong Pha Phum district prison on Thursday night as they awaited for a ruling from the Supreme Court on their bail applications.

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  • Traditional Thai massage get UNESCO heritage status

    At Bangkok’s Reclining Buddha temple, Krairath Chantrasri says he is a proud custodian of an ancient skill — the body-folding, sharp-elbowed techniques of Thai massage, which was added Thursday to UNESCO’s prestigious heritage list.

    Originating in India and practiced in Thailand for centuries, the massage was popularized when a specialty school opened in the 1960s to train massage therapists from around the world.

    Nuad Thai’s addition to UNESCO’s list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage” practices “is historic,” said the Thai delegate at the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization meeting in Bogota, Colombia.

    “It helps promote the practice of Nuad Thai locally and internationally,” he said.

    From upscale Bangkok spas and Phuket beach fronts to modest street-side shophouses, “nuad Thai” is ubiquitous across the kingdom, where an hour of the back-straightening discipline can cost as little as $5.

    Krairath, who teaches at the Reclining Buddha School inside the famed Wat Pho temple, helps thousands of Thai and foreign students who flock to the centre each year.

    The son of a masseuse, he takes great pride in his role sharing the ancient discipline at a temple whose certification is a proud banner for any massage shop.

    “I’m a continuation of our collective knowledge,” the 40-year-old told AFP.

    At Wat Pho’s complex, trainees run through a catalogue of moves targeting the body’s acupressure points with thumbs, elbows, knees and feet while also incorporating deep stretches and contortions.

    Doctors and monks were said to have brought these methods 2,500 years ago to Thailand, passing its secrets from master to disciple in temples and later within families.

    Under Thailand’s King Rama III in the nineteenth century, scholars engraved their knowledge of the field onto the stones of Wat Pho.

    The nuad Thai school, which has trained more than 200,000 massage therapists who practice in 145 countries, first opened in 1962.

    – Turning the tables –

    Massage employs tens of thousands of Thais.

    The school’s director Preeda Tangtrongchitr says they usually see an uptick in interest from Thais when the economy is bad.

    “For many people who are disabled or in debt, this job is an opportunity because it requires no material — only their hands and knowledge,” he said.

    Today, a therapist at a top-end spa can charge around $100 an hour in Thailand, and two or three times more in London, New York or Hong Kong where the Thai massage brand is booming.

    But the training is “demanding”, says Chilean Sari, a professional masseuse who travelled to Bangkok to learn the discipline.

    “The technique is very precise; there are so many things to be aware of,” the 34-year-old told AFP, as she made rotations with her palm on a fellow student’s skull.

    The teachings focus on directing blood circulation around problem areas to solve muscle aches — sometimes drawing winces from clients unaccustomed to the force applied.

    Studies have shown it can help relieve back pain, headaches, insomnia and even anxiety.

    For Matthieu Rochefolle, a nurse from Lyon, France, adding Thai massage techniques to his repertoire of skills could help his elderly patients aching for relief.

    “It could also allow me to earn a little more,” he said.

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