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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Foreigners slammed for lopping trees

Ordinarily words would fail me, but in this situation, three words really do now spring to mind: "kettle", "calling" and "black". How many times have we heard of Thais lopping down not just a few trees, but whole swathes of forest in places like Khao Yai and Pak Chong but to name two areas? And the reason for this mass culling of nature's garden? To build new homes and especially high end resorts to attract high spending customers. Not a thought at all for the pernicious effects of this on the environment.

Now we are told that many Thais are indignant because they saw some foreigners on Koh Phangan island doing something as minor as cutting down one inconveniently placed tree to help with their business. "Hypocrisy" is another word that could be easily added to this list.

Here's the article from The Bangkok Post:

"A group of about five foreigners have been caught on camera lopping a large branch off a tree on Phangan island and have been heavily criticised by Thai netizens, many of whom demanded that the authorities arrest them.
Photographs of the foreigners cutting off the tree branch on the popular tourist island in Surat Thani were posted on Sept 15 on, a popular internet forum, by a person who went by the name of vuddiken. The link is

 Foreign tourists sunbath on Phangan island of Surat Thani province. (Photo by Supaphong Chaolan)
The topic of the discussion thread is "A group of inherently bad foreigners on Phangngan island in pursuit of their self-interested business surreptitiously chopping down a tree to open a paragliding business."
However, the original poster did not specify when the incident happened.
One netizen said the group of foreigners should not have cut off the tree branch and asked if the tree was in a private or public area or if it was in a national park.
Many posters called on authorities, including National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department director-general Damrong Pidech, to track down these people and take legal action against them.
Thirayuth Plaisuwan, chief of tambon Bantai in Phangan, said he had been informed about the incident and will check whether the area was in a national park.
If the tree is public property, police will definitely find those responsible for the damage and take action against them, Mr Thirayuth said."

This is something that reminds me of when I first went to Thailand some fifteen years ago. I regularly used to hear opinions such as that the reason places like Nana Plaza and Patpong exist is only because of the foreigners who frequent them and that there are no bad girls or prostitutes in Thailand. It never occurred to the person opining this that it's Thais who own such business and that the country is replete with prostitution and many other unsavoury professions.

It seemed to me at the time that foreigners were always being blamed even for things that they had nothing to do with and in fact were 200% controlled by Thais. Perhaps it's a face saving mechanism or perhaps Thais realy do believe that foreigners are the source of everything bad in Thailand. Who knows!


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