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Morison and Khun Chutima with lawyers at Phuket Provincial Court

Smiles and Warts as Phuketwan Team Counts Down to Closure

Thursday, December 24, 2015
PHUKET: Alan Morison wrote recently that his greatest mistake as Phuketwan editor had been to allow readers to comment on stories, and his second biggest mistake was to respond to them.

He was, of course, wrong. Those comments and more particularly his retorts, acerbic as many of them were, many deservedly so, contributed to making Phuketwan by far Phuket's most lively of the island's news sources.

But readers' comments were just a part of what shaped Phuketwan.

Morison and editor-in-chief Chutima Sidasathian reported with a refreshing candor and vigor in an age where public relations, advertising and profits generally prevail over either informed or thorough analysis of the news.

Phuketwan had plenty to say about the actions of central government and their impact on Phuket, particularly during the imposition of martial law, and about corruption.

The rackets and rorts of taxi monopolies and jet-ski operators were all fair game. Not to mention the on-again-off-again management or mismanagement of the beaches.

Its pointed and intelligent scrutiny is what distinguished Phuketwan from other news media.

Theirs was brave and courageous stuff in a country whose authorities are not known for their appreciation of criticism, particularly in Alan Morison's case from an opinionated farang.

''We just aim to provide an accurate account in words and photographs of Phuket and its people, including both smiles and warts,'' he said back in 2008, and that is exactly what they did.

No reader will be in any doubt that the most repugnant of the warts Phuketwan exposed was the plight of the Rohingya people, and no greater a challenge they faced than the criminal defamation charges Morison and Khun Chutima faced as a consequence.

Let us hope that their campaign made a lasting difference and let us too applaud them for their stand.

Both stood firm in support of a free and independent media, saying they were prepared to face imprisonment rather than acquiesce and apologise for their reporting.

There was more to it than that, of course. I cannot recall how I first chanced upon Phuketwan but most likely it was early in 2009 when preparing for my first trip to the island to attend a wedding.

Against expectations after an earlier trip to Bangkok, I found Phuket beguiling. It wasn't just the climate or the holiday environment, the leave-your-inhibitions-at-home, the food, beaches or just the people; it was a combination of things including the inherent contradictions of Thailand, an innocence and gentleness on one hand, an edginess and a mostly benign lawlessness on the other.

The smiles and warts.

Phuketwan was a part of that mix. My wife and I returned to Phuket many times after that initial visit, generally twice a year, and Phuketwan was a constant throughout that time whether visiting the island or at home thousands of kilometres away.

A familiar friend keeping us in touch with the island's comings and goings, the politics and eccentricities, and of course Morison's retorts and chidings to those game or silly enough to argue with him.

It was daily read, an informative one, enjoyable and satisfying.

So farewell and thanks, Alan and Khun Chutima. Your guts, tenacity and contribution to good journalism will be sorely missed.

Phuket was all the better for Phuketwan, so whatever your future holds, good luck and safe travels.

Phuketwan updates for the last time on December 31 after eight years covering Phuket and the region.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Very well put Marty. I agree about your opinions about PW and I have been a reader as long I can remember but now it is goodbye and that is bad. I think you are right about the comments field but I think Alan have done well (I like straight forward journalists)but I think it takes it's toll to get in there as Alan has done. I understand the attitude from you Alan and I think you done the right thing.
Bye and I sincerely will miss you and Chutima.

All the best and merry Christmas.

Posted by A Joe on December 24, 2015 09:40


Entirely agree both Alan's own comment and yours, Marty. For me starting the day with Phuketwan has become a habit I will certainly miss. None of the other papers here on Phuket live up to my expectations of a newspaper. Will have to rely on Bangkok Post and even the Nation.

Posted by Bo on December 24, 2015 09:58


glowing and accurate report he certainly was original and pace setting revitalizing the older letters to the editor concept

Posted by slickmelb on December 24, 2015 10:44


Alan reminds me of the Peter Finch character in the movie Network. I can picture him yelling "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore"

Posted by Arun Muruga on December 24, 2015 11:17


You know what they say about self praise.

Posted by Stuart on December 24, 2015 14:02

Editor Comment:

Marty is a real person with a real life, Stuart. You're the made-up creature with the thinking problem.


Allan, thanks for the best covering local news site and your always entertaining responds to comments, you will be missed by many.

Two questions:

1) Will the articles from Phuket Wan be available for links in the future?

2) Why not finance the site in future by charging a yearly fee?

I would be happy to pay a reasonable amount for reading Phuket Wan and I don't think i am alone on that point (guesswork admitted)

All good luck to you and Ms. Chutima, best regards Sherlock.

Posted by Sherlock on December 24, 2015 15:39

Editor Comment:

Thank you, Sherlock.
1. We hope so.
2. As long as there's the memory of PW, there's hope that someone will take up your idea or another idea. It won't be us.


One week before this site closes.


Posted by Many tourists on December 24, 2015 17:57

Editor Comment:

Sure - you and the corrupt, the self-interested, the greedy, the jet-ski operators and the tuk-tuk drivers. Enjoy yourselves.


Good luck with whatever the future brings and thanks for all the reports and the cool comments some have really made me laugh


Michael Dawson

Posted by Michael on December 24, 2015 18:03

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Michael. Don't stop laughing.


And thanks for all the fish

Posted by Michael on December 24, 2015 18:04


I want to firstly wish you both a Merry Christmas and all the very best for 2016. Secondly i can only wish you would / could STAY... the Island needs you guys!!!

Sincerely DG.

Posted by DG on December 24, 2015 18:22

Editor Comment:

Thanks, DG


I for one enjoyed the site, I will miss it. Good luck to you both.

Posted by David on December 24, 2015 18:46

Editor Comment:

Thanks, David.




Posted by Ian Yarwood on December 24, 2015 19:19

Editor Comment:

Have a great new year, Ian.


@ Many tourists.
I usually do not crack down on comments such as yours. This is an exception on your behalf. I was ones down on Bangla on songkhran when a guy similar as you put a water pistol up in the face on a 1 procent HA member that I just bought a drink. He had his west on which is quite unusual. He said do not pull the trigger but the party timer did. Do you get the point???? If you not keep on talking s*** you will fall down major in Thailand. Believe me.

Posted by A Joe on December 24, 2015 19:50


The PhuketWan forged a path exposing the real, news worthy events in Phuket. A critical step in the development of a responsible civil authority.

PhuketWan's impact is impossible to measure. On that note--a heartfelt thanks for spending their valuable resources and forging a new understanding of the real political and economic situation in Phuket. All the best in your future endeavors.

Posted by Eric on December 24, 2015 20:19

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Eric.


Thank you Alan and Chutima, for being My go to site when i wanted fast and accurate news now, i will have to wait 2-3 days for the other news outlets on Phuket to realise something has happened.I will also miss the comments section as it can be entertaining reading. Good luck in any future projects. Merry christmas and happy New year.

Posted by PP Farang on December 24, 2015 20:23

Editor Comment:

Thanks, PP Farang. You too.


Alan & Chutima,

For Years You have been my Most reliable News source while living on Phuket.
I hope you will get Your Well Deserved Pullitzer Prize! What you did for the Royingha's is In deniable GREAT. You 2 made from Amazing Thailand; Thailand Ashame Yourself.

Posted by EscapedFromPhuket on December 24, 2015 20:48


We keep far away from Patong and Bangla. The places you like to visit Joe. We just prefer a relaxing day on a sunbed under an umbrella on beaches like Karon and Kata.

On Songkran going to Bangla is asking for trouble Joe. We know that and avoid Patong on Songkran even more.

Why we talked about Partytime Joe? The disappearance of this site is worth a big party. Do you get the point????

Posted by Many tourists on December 24, 2015 21:18


you will be sadly missed xxx

Posted by reg on December 24, 2015 22:27


I havent always agreed in the format of the site but it was a candle in the dark. Shining its light upon those who would rather hide in the shadows.Goodbye and thanks. RIP Phuketwan.

Posted by Vegas on December 24, 2015 23:44


So Ian is your boot licker. Any one of us comentators write in capitals on your site, we would be castrated, masectimied and hung, drawn and quartered.
Ian, you must be a good dude in the Alans eyes.
Damn the coments, the newsworthy items were well worth the effort Khun Oi and Khun Ed.
Thank you for years of great info, keeping us all together.

Posted by Duncan Bee on December 25, 2015 01:07

Editor Comment:

Capital punishment? Don't believe in it, Duncan. Ian is far from being a boot licker. As a real person rather than an anonymous online commenter, he understands the differences between his world and your world. He chooses to behave in a civilised manner.


Phuketwan has been a staple for me as I plan my next holiday in LOS. I have enjoyed to candour and vigour of the Ed's responses and the outstanding journalism from the Ed and his reporting staff.
I view with sadness the imminent closure of Phuket's best media outlet.

Posted by Arthur on December 25, 2015 07:26


@ Many tourists. Your reply is what I like. Strong guy...hmmm but Alan is a really strong man and he can take it as we have seen. I was NOT putting him down and, by the way I actually left Phuket after 12 years for a house up in Isarn with my wife for 16 years. 18 years in Thailand mate. I was just making a point and I respect Alan (ok I am in Pattaya now with friends and play golf for 6 month and a little GO GO, you disgrace me??) and he is a decent guy. Hard life give you experience does it not?? Tourist guy. Merry Christmas to you.

Posted by A Joe on December 25, 2015 09:06



Posted by Mister Ree on December 25, 2015 09:22

Editor Comment:

We prefer to deal with rational readers, Mister Ree. You've had more than 1200 attempts, and continue to fail to add value each time. Ever considered yoga?


Thailand is a better place for having had Phuketwan.

It's always better to quit when you are still on top of the game. And you and Chutima are. Timing is everything.

I'm the only commentator who took Alan's constructive critisism as a springboard to improve my own attitude. Attitude equals altitude.

It's a fact that many of you that dissed Alan did so for all the wrong reasons. Lose your ego and start living. That's my contribution to you Sid, et al..
Best wishes to all of you. Be brave and consider changing your spots. It's fun.

Posted by Farang888 on December 25, 2015 15:19



Posted by James on December 25, 2015 19:29

Editor Comment:

Never forget for a moment, James, that you are the one with the tiny, twisted brain. Everybody else is perfectly normal.


The thought of going back to the funny papers after enjoying eight years of great journalism fills me with dread. Phuketwan will be sorely missed.

Many thanks for your interesting news-worthy articles, and the courage it took to expose the injustice that still haunts Thailand today. It takes a lot of guts to stand by your principles, despite the evident dangers.

Naturally, freedom of speech must always prevail, no matter what the consequences might hold. Phuketwan symbolizes the essence of professional journalism, and readers should note that it will take very big feet to replace those shoes once this website has closed.

All the best Alan, Khun Chutima , and all the crew at Phuketwan !

Best Regards Tony (reader)

Posted by reader on December 26, 2015 08:20

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Tony.


We will miss you Alan and Oi and your courage and spirit!!! Rare to find these days, especially among journalists!!!

Posted by Marnn on December 26, 2015 12:01

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Marnn.


One good thing when PW closes, no more dribble, from farang888, grow a backbone and stand up for what you believe not bend to the will of an editor dictator, who believes his views are the only ones acceptable... wait, is he still the "editor."

Posted by Laurie Howells on December 26, 2015 15:44

Editor Comment:

Dribble is what oozes from your mouth when you look in the mirror, Laurie. The word you don't know how to use - one among many - is ''drivel.'' I think I just answered your question.


Sorry to see you go. But one can sort-of understand some of the circumstances.

Appreciated, if impossible to fully comprehend, what you all have been through for the past 2+ years.

I have been to about 55 of Thailand's provinces so far - living, working, or on vacation. But not to Phuket; for reasons which certain journalists touch on from time to time. If you get the chance, please pass on to Phuket's Governor, that Phuket is currently among four provinces on my no-go list. You might be able to guess the other three (hint - they're southeast of Songkhla). The governance-karma is just not right, IMHO. It's OK to not care about my view. But I'm not alone in such view - and that might be worth caring about.

Phuket, and Thailand, need more good investigative journalism, not less - if policymakers, other residents, and potential visitors, are to see real progress. (Yes, I know.. no real news in such a message..)

All the best in your future endeavours, to all at PhuketWan.

Posted by Roi on December 28, 2015 04:44

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Roi.


I'd rather be dead than be you Howells. I work out at Rawai gym, 6 days a week, around 9am

I'm sure it would be a very short meeting..

Show up.

Posted by Farang888 on December 28, 2015 08:18


I'ts Drivel Laurie. A loser in your own country, a loser in Thailand and a loser at Phuketwan.

It looks good on ya, ya wasted piece of farang skin.

You're not worthy of flotsam little boy..
Now get your ass out of the bottle for starters. Pathetic is too high of praise for insects of your bovine ilk..

Posted by farang888 on December 28, 2015 08:34


ED, I deliberately use "dribble" because that is all it is worth.

Posted by Laurie Howells on December 28, 2015 09:10


Farang888, threatening violence, nice, and Ed let you get away with it, so brave the threaten sitting behind your keyboard, perhaps you need to find something better to do than to hang out with more male friends, at a gym, get a life you childish oaf. Oh, I am not a "loser" in any country, but hey, if it makes you feel better, you can call me what ever you want. Now, head off and play with you gym friends, threatening some one, whose abilities you do not know is rather stupid, childish and cowardly, but if it makes you feel more "manly" then good, you obviously need it.

Posted by Laurie Howells on December 28, 2015 09:16

Editor Comment:

Trot out a collection of lies, try to provoke a reaction, then be very surprised when you get one . . . there are no trolls quite like Laurie and his good friend, Bruce Orbell.


Laurie, I'm going to let you have the last word, gentleman that I am at times.

You are jealous of the editor, but you should instead work on your shattered self-esteem. You made your problems, and you vainly lash out at others in a vain attempt to sublimate your personality disorders.

Try a new paradigm little boy.

Then you'll earn respect. It's never too late Howells. But do as you please. How's it workin' for ya so far? Thought so..
Carry on.

Posted by Farang888 on December 28, 2015 15:53


farang888, it seems, to me, you have an ability to know people you have never met, how on earth do you come to the conclusion I am jealous of the editor, jealous of what. If you wish to be someones lapdog then so be it, we, the readers will form our own opinion, interestingly no one else seems to be backing your opinion, except possibly Ed. Going to the gym, 6 days a week, does NOT make one a man.
Now, as for you being a "gentleman", which by the way you cannot be casually.

Now, reading your previous comment, you certainly do not fit into the "gentleman" category, but once again, believe what you wish, after all, it is your ting mind that keeps you happy, oh, and your "friends" at the gym.

Posted by Laurie Howells on December 28, 2015 16:51

Editor Comment:

You've just trolled your last trolllollollol, Laurie. I'm thoroughly bored with your baiting and back-biting. Readers deserve better.


@ Farang888

Though I agree with you in principle, I must say your choice of wording certainly shows your pedigree, or rather lack thereof.

When running out of intelligent arguments to make, certain type of people always resort to threats of violence.

What a lovely caveman reaction.

Posted by Herbert on December 28, 2015 16:56


To ED & Staff, thanks for the ride!!
such an honest down to earth account of the latest news & issues confronting Phuket & Thailand to a degree. Will be sadly missed. Best to you all. & long live Phuketwan..

Posted by Wayne on December 28, 2015 18:14

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Wayne.


I still have personal improvements to make Herbert, perhaps you're perfect already.

I'm a hockey player from Canada. Need I elaborate? Thanks..

This will be my last comment on the issue. You subsume I had violence on my mind.

I wanted to shut Laurie up, but it looks like nature will take care of that. Subsume away.

Posted by Farang888 on December 28, 2015 19:45


@ Farang888

I used to be a hockey player myself (regional level).

What does being a hockey player have to do with anything discussed here ?

To answer your question - yes, you do need to elaborate.

I can't wait to hear this one.

Posted by Herbert on December 28, 2015 23:47


Seems like many of us have either been overdosing on testosterone or are all hockey players, suffering from being pucked in the head.

Posted by MoW on December 29, 2015 00:02


Hockey players are team players Herbert.
But where you come from it's all football. Hockey players don't generally fall down on purpose to get a foul.

Team players protect teammates when they are bullied.

The editor is also a journalist. Succinct enough?
Let's see if the other side can resist pot shots on the editor these last 3 days.

I won't hold my breath, as bullies usually don't stop unless forced to.

I'm quite sure you still don't get it.


Posted by Farang888 on December 29, 2015 07:35


Puck heads we are MoW.

It's one of the last gladiator sports, where fighting is allowed, and intimidation is part of the game,.

Sounds a bit like the world at large eh?

I will take this opportunity to assure you the last word. Fire away.I was also a goalie, my been rai Khrap.

I wish the best to all Phuketwan readers, even, Laurie, Sid et all.

Best wishes from a grinder. Over to you. Flame away, or not. It's all about choices.

May you all make good ones.

And remember, life is about lending a hand, like Alan did, spending his hard earned money to get pilloried by some of you malcontents.

That's your choice.

Posted by Farang888 on December 29, 2015 07:44

Editor Comment:

There is truth everywhere but it is not always the same truth, Farang888. ''Hockey'' in Canada is ice hockey in the parts of the world where hockey is actually played on grass.


What are some of you malcontents gonna do in this last three days?

The ones that constantly find fault with the editor, I mean.

I would suggest picking wings off flies, but that would be a bovine digression of the lowest order..

How about turning the page and taking the high road? I'll take my own medicine.

Life is about self-improvement and helping others. May you all lend a hand, and find peace of mind and happiness.

I'll never meet most of you., but I wish you no ill will.. my words from the heart, no sh***t..


Posted by Farang888 on December 29, 2015 08:11


Ed, In my foolish youth I played hockey on "grass" sometimes, then went out on the ice for the actual game.

But "grass" isn't demonized so much in Canada as in Thailand; in fact the new Prime Minister is going to legalize it. Can't be all bad then eh?

Enjoy this time, and please "re-surface."

Posted by Farang888 on December 29, 2015 08:19


Phuketwan will be missed, as toothache.

Posted by Lennart on December 29, 2015 11:22

Editor Comment:

Your first comment, Lennart. How nice.


@ Farang888

"But where you come from it's all football."

Really ? Why don't you tell me where it is I come from ?

Your response did not explain the reference of being a hockey player and this discussion one bit. You asked if you need to elaborate and I replied you do.

So why don't you ?

Posted by Herbert on December 29, 2015 11:55


Thank you PW for your campaigns and efforts over the years. Mostly thanks for the current and on the spot news, and often courageous reporting.
Always first with what was happening on our Island.
I will miss my morning "first-read" and I wish you both the best for the future in whatever course you decide to undertake, wherever that may be.

Posted by Hugh Jarse on December 29, 2015 11:56

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Hugh Jarse


@Lennart, now who will I "spar" with when PW closes. For all its warts it's still the best news outlet on Phuket.

Posted by Laurie Howells on December 29, 2015 14:14


Germany, Austria or Eastern Europe. Close enough Herbert?

Enjoy your cheese..

I too buy special brown bread on the big island - good heavy stuff..

We have a lot in common. Burp.

Posted by Farang888 on December 29, 2015 15:11


@ Farang888

You are way off the mark. Ice hockey is the undisputed #1 sports in my country.

You should refrain from making foolish assumptions but I can see you just can't help yourself.

Thanks for proving my point about running out of intelligent arguments. What a splendid explanation for your hockey reference that was.

Sometimes it's better to remain silent and have people think you are a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.

Happy holidays.

Posted by Herbert on December 29, 2015 17:47


You know I would read Phuketwan from half way across the world and it never failed to enlighten and entertain. Often as not those article comments accompanied by Alan's samurai wit left a smile on my face with a knowledgeable insight of ground side reality as opposed to the Thai side 'fantasy'. For this I express my heartfelt thanks. Another plucked feather in Phuket's ever so worn cap, the newspaper will be sorely missed. All the best in future endeavors and if I'm lucky I'll trip across that samurai voice gracing the distant shores of yet another fascinating land!

Posted by dmac on December 30, 2015 08:34

Editor Comment:

Thanks, dmac.


You got me. Good work Herbert! You won and I lost. Assuming you are honest, I got schooled.
Over to you for the last word.

I relinquish my ego to your expertise.


10 to zip.

Ah well, you know hockey..a one goal loss is the same as a ten goal loss.


Posted by Farang888 on December 30, 2015 08:43


Stay safe guys happy new year xxx

Posted by reg on December 30, 2015 10:53


You know what they say about the land of blind Laurie?

Posted by Lennart on December 30, 2015 17:46


Be A Passive Observer.
I learned many years ago that the passive observer of life learns more from watching and viewing than from needing to be heard.
Refrain from compulsively intruding into other people's lives out of a need to voice your opinion.
We rarely understand all the circumstances in other peoples' it's best not to interfere.

Happy new year.

Posted by Robin on December 31, 2015 00:08


It is obvious from the huge response here that you will be sadly missed. Even the knockers will miss you and the ability to comment. I for one will miss you greatly as Phuketwan is my first stop to keep up to date while I await another visit. Enjoy the rest of the journey wherever it takes you and all the best in the future.

Posted by DaveMc60 on December 31, 2015 04:42

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Dave.


Thanks for everything, it has been a pleasure using this site. All the best to you all for the future.

Posted by FrankieV on December 31, 2015 10:34

Editor Comment:

Thanks, FrankieV.


The continuing deterioration of quality of living on the island will be accelerated with the closure of Phuketwan tonight. You have provided exceptional reporting to not only Phuket, but the world at large and will be sorely missed by many. My warmest wishes to you both for continued success in all of your future endeavours.

Posted by Treelover on December 31, 2015 10:42

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Treelover.


The very, very best to all of you at Phuketwan in your future lives and endeavours. It is clear that many of us did greatly appreciate your commitment and works. I will miss Phuketwan every day.

Posted by juswunderin on December 31, 2015 12:02

Editor Comment:

Thanks juswunderin.


Thanks for all these years, Phuketwan!
All the best for all of you!

Posted by herbert on December 31, 2015 13:19

Editor Comment:

Thanks, herbert.


Thanks for the years of effort to provide up to date news on Phuket, the entertainment value and a few years of daily chance to have a laugh.
PW will be missed by many and so will the mixture of contributors.
I hope the next stage or challenge in your life is rewarding.

Posted by MoW on December 31, 2015 13:48

Editor Comment:

Thanks, MoW, for your sense of humor especially.


Well PW it will be a sad farewell as the countdown to 2016 begins and the end of an era with PW ends.
All the best in the future to your intrepid reporters and thanks for all the good work you guys have done

Posted by Tom on December 31, 2015 20:00

Editor Comment:

Many thanks, Tom.


Thanks to Alan and Chutima at Phuketwan for all the updates on Phuket over the last few years. It often didn't make pleasant reading, but I welcomed the news good or bad. Phuketwan was often the first link I clicked on each morning. I may not be back in Phuket in February, I not in love with the island anymore after more than 30 trips over the last 20 years. Get rid of the jet skis and parasailers. Bring back the beach chairs!

Sad to see you go. Good luck to you both, I will miss you!

Posted by Firecat on December 31, 2015 20:54

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Firecat.

Monday June 17, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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