Phuket's self-styled quarterback says he has had requests from Phuket residents to ask tourist visitors not to go topless away from the beach, or to wear bikinis in supermarkets.
He not only wants farang to wear shirts when splashing each other during Songkran, he also wants them to dress properly when riding motorcycles, too.
And that includes wearing a helmet, says the man who generally bears the brunt of complaints from Thais and non-Thais when events on Phuket don't go according to plan.
This day Phuket's governor is in an expansive mood, demonstrating his skills in the English language in a wide-ranging conversation with Phuketwan about everything from waste water on Karon beach to the diving industry, to media freedom.
And for the first time, Governor Maitree explains why he has a penchant for booklets extolling social cohesion using anagrams.
Today he talks of the three Ms - maritime, medical and manpower - that he says will be at the heart of the Inter-Island Tourism Policy Forum (ITOP) when representatives from 13 world-class islands gather on Phuket in August.
Then there is SEA, which explains his plan for Phuket society: S for Sharing, E for empowerment, and A for accountability.
We've often wondered why the governor is so keen to be seen as the quarterback, or as the conductor helping everyone to play the same tune. Now we know.
Along the way to our personal enlightenment, he tells us that the problems with wastewater on Karon beach are primarily to do with figures. The numbers don't add up.
There isn't the budget as yet to improve the wastewater facility yet the number of tourists is now far greater than the present system can handle.
He also says: ''Next week I will go to inspect the process of how to learn diving'' and adds that from his perspective, there appears to have been ''an abuse of power'' in the latest wrangle over claims of police extortion.
''We try our best to instruct, to reshape ideas, to make people responsible,'' Governor Maitree says, perhaps capturing in one sentence what he's really about.
To his credit, the governor likes to explore language and concepts with others or on his own. He will, for example, go to the Phuket International Airport and hop on an airport bus as an average Joe Citizen, just to get a different perspective.
He is not yet an advocate of total transparency in the way that Phuketwan would like everything to be, but he's certainly keen to see more progress made in taking ''a global perspective.''
''I realise people are trying to explain something, but I myself like to keep the public in a positive frame of mind, with positive images,'' he says.
His main aim, behind the day-to-day administration of Phuket and settling the island's many wildfire problems, is to create social cohesion.
''We need to socialise the public to the same wavelength to make them understand the full picture,'' he tells us.
This is not easily done because, as he quickly acknowledges, Phuket contains local residents and three other large, significant groups of outsiders:
.. foreigners, in great variety, from Europeans and Australians to Russians to Chinese;
.. Burmese workers, who total at least 100,000 and possibly many more;
.. and Thais from other provinces, from the north and from Bangkok.
Attitude and education are two of his aims, with the governor in the role of the quarterback, or conductor.
''There is a big difference between a person and a citizen,'' he says. ''The citizen knows and understands responsibilities, and we are doing what we can to upgrade people on Phuket to become citizens.''
He says he has plenty of support for citizens' groups, including SEEK, that protect the environment or encourage citizens to become more concerned about the environment or other issues,
''Empowering the grassroots is what it's about,'' he says. We leave him awaiting a vanload of citizens coming to talk to the governor about the next issue in his busy day.
I think most will approve most of his sentiments. There is no need to take nudity (semi or otherwise) away from the beach. Certainly not into restaurants. Ladies can buy wraparounds for approx 200 baht & T-shirts are cheap.
Posted by Logic on April 5, 2014 21:11