AN ENTIRE block in Phuket City today was filled with about 1000 monks and several thousand Buddhists who gathered to give aid to the troubled South.
It was an impressive display of the willingness of Phuket's people to help others in a time of need.
The early morning ceremony was organised by the Orbortor and Tessaban as a way of assisting the needy in the provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, where deaths and injuries from bombs and assassinations have become a daily occurence.
Thousands of families, mostly dressed in white, massed in a road near the Provincial Hall.
They filled the roadway for an entire block, facing the 1000 monks who had come from all over the island as well as all over the region.
Almost every family carried a tak baht aharn hang, a gift basket for the monks to take to relive the needs of people less fortunate than those on Phuket.
The monks and their audience represented more than 260 wats.
Alms were much more beneficial than arms, everyone agreed.
PHUKETWAN has been told by Rear Admiral Supot Pruksa, Commanding Officer of the Third Naval Area Command, that Rohingya are no longer coming by boat from Burma to seek refuge in Phang Nga and Phuket for now.
He attributes this to the monsoon season. The Andaman Sea is unpredictable at this time of the year and a sudden squall has the power to overturn even quite large vessels.
The Rohingya, traditional Muslims who have been denied Burmese citizenship by the ruling military junta, have been forced to move in large numbers to Bangladesh.
From there, increasing numbers have been trying to escape to Thailand or Malaysia.
In Thailand, because some of the boatloads have consisted entirely of young men, the arrival of the Rohingya has raised alarm about national security.
One method of deterrence, being advocated by some, is to set up a long-term detention camp on a remote island off Ranong or Phang Nga.
However, Bangkok human rights activists have objected to the idea that Rohingya should be singled out for discriminatory treatment.
The Rohingya will become the admiral's problem again in late September.
THE NEW Reservations Manager at Sheraton Grande Laguna is Rodjalin Pongsuwan. Khun Rodjalin has managed Reservation and Front Office departments in Phuket for more than 15 years with leading hotels and resorts including Evason Phuket and Six Senses Spa and Laguna Beach Resort.
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