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Phuket and its future, the children: Halal on the Beach at Saphan Hin

Phuket Halal on the Beach: Photo Special

Friday, May 1, 2009
THERE was a moment that captured the essence of Phuket's four-day Halal on the Beach festival.

A man on a single crutch introduced a small child to a rooster in a cane cage, outside the ''village huts'' that have been built at Saphan Hin public park.

Phuket's future was meeting its past, a cultural intersection of no small significance on an island poised for possible greatness in the 21st century.

The Halal on the Beach festival, which began last night and continues until May 3 in Phuket City, offers plenty of insights, and a whole lot more.

Looking to a future that preserves traditions rather than abandoning them, the fair attracted thousands on its opening night.

Perhaps they were drawn by the excellent shopping, hand-crafted footwear and clothing, beautiful brocades, wall hangings, souvenirs of southern Thailand.

Perhaps some were drawn by the technology, improving the process of halal, a healthy style that practitioners say preserves life.

There were also beauty treatments, cleansing creams, tasty morsels, all kinds of traditional foods to try, as well as music aplenty.

Groups sat and picnicked on traditional mats outside the village huts on the square.

It was probably the most popular spot of all, close to the technology stands, fixed firmly in the present, somewhere between the past and the future.

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