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Thousands of Mon flock to Phuket's Big Buddha for a ceremony

No Concert, Phuket's Burmese Told

Friday, April 27, 2012
PHUKET: The Burmese community on Phuket has again been denied permission to hold a concert on Phuket. It's their sixth straight annual rejection.

Phuket's Burmese community numbers by some estimates as many as 200,000 workers and their families. Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha said that he had been on Phuket for six years as governor and vice governor.

Every year during his tenure on the island the Burmese had applied to hold a concert, and every year permission had been denied, he said. This year a concert had been requested in each of Phuket's three districts, Phuket City, Kathu and Thalang.

''We just can't take the risk,'' Governor Tri told a meeting at Provincial Hall in Phuket City. ''A Burmese concert has never been held anywhere in Thailand. If something went wrong, it would seriously damage Phuket's image.''

Tungthong Police Station Superintendent Kaitong Jantongbai said between 6000 and 10,000 tickets at 200 baht each had already been sold for an event at Tungthong market that was planned for April 28, 29 and 30.

But the money would have to be refunded, he said. Many of the people working on Phuket construction sites are Mon and they are respected as peaceable people, Superintendent Kaitong said.

But there was less certainty about the character and behavior of other Burmese people, he said, and concerns about potential conflicts between different groups.

A Phuket curfew that restricted Burmese to workers' camps after 8pm has not been applied for several years and legal Burmese workers are able to apply for motorcycle licences.

In large factories in several parts of Thailand, Burmese laborers have in recent weeks begun seeking justice for poor treatment.

The lifting of the minimum daily wage on Phuket and in six other provinces, mostly centred around Bangkok, also applies to Burmese workers. The first pay packets containing the increase are due to be handed out on Monday.

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I wonder just exactly what kind of risk it is the local authorities are afraid of.

Is it that being in a large group and seeing their substantial numbers, some Burmese might feel empowered to seek better treatment and rights ?

The number of Burmese is so great that if they had the chance to unite, they would weild a lot of power.

I guess many Thais just rather see them powerless to stop being exploited.

Posted by Steve C. on April 28, 2012 01:23

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Protecting the Image of Phuket?
Just carry on exploiting these poor people for a 100 bht a day.
Heaven forbid giving them a day off to celebrate and enjoy themselves.

Posted by rich on April 28, 2012 13:11

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But of course it's fine to for the continuation of Thais ripping off tourists with JetSkis and Tuk Tuks and destroying the image is at least your own doing.

The Thai authorities really don't need to fear the Burmese but just their own blinkered view of their own superiority which results in sheer stupidity.

I wouldn't worry too much about the image of Thailand most of use have a clear understanding of what it has become.

Posted by Graham on April 28, 2012 15:04

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Protecting Phuket's image! This is a sick joke. I worked in Myanmar for 9 years & the Burmese are much more polite & better behaved than most other ASEAN countries. These people built most of Phuket & deserve some reward & recognition.

Posted by Logic on April 28, 2012 21:03

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Just the pronouncement is seriously damaging the image of Phuket.

Posted by OJ on April 28, 2012 22:09

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There was quite a successful concert in Mahachai Samut Sakhon a few years back with well know Burmese singers like Rzarni, Jenny, Htun Htun, Naw Naw, Rebacca and Han Htun.

Posted by gjbkk on April 29, 2012 08:54

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There have been many Burmese concerts held in Thailand.The last one being held in Ranong on 30-01-2010. I think a concert would have helped Phuket's sliding image.

Posted by rich on April 29, 2012 12:46

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If anything is going to damage Phuket's image it is announcements like this.

Posted by arthur on April 29, 2012 12:51


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