Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Stacey Dooley Versus General Prayuth Chan-Ocha 

I have been playing ‘catch-up’ recently viewing television programmes about Thailand aired in the UK while I was away. This is eased by the fact that there are so many channels repeating old progammes – so this weekend I was able to watch ‘Tourism and the Truth – Thailand’ under the BBC 3 strand ‘Stacey Dooley Investigates’.

Stacey was plucked and pushed into stardom after being featured in a series called ‘Blood, Sweat and T-shirts’ where she was shocked at the poor wages and conditions of people in Third World countries who were making clothes for people in the west.  This youngster with a heart of gold would also spontaneously burst into tears at seeing these conditions.

Stacey saving 'Alang' a prostitute in Phnom Penh

It was a good idea and a novel approach putting a fresh face to old problems without the cynicism of old hacks who had been pounding this beat it seems since the beginning of time.

If things went wrong – and they did – Stacey could burst into tears or react with anger – and what better place than south-east Asia than to be frustrated.  

An earlier programme she reported on under the ‘Stacey Dooley Investigates’ was about child prostitution in Cambodia, where she saved a young prostitute - setting her up in a career in ‘hair-dressing and beauty’ something which many an elderly foreigner had done before her, when an education was too expensive.

Alang - not saved
After Stacey left the young prostitute called Alang did not attend the beauty course and can now be found plying her trade in the bar concourse of the Sorya shopping mall as this picture, taken today, shows, thus proving the point that despite Stacey's kindly intentions and it being ' good tv' there is no 'journalistic fix'.

Things also went wrong when the promised a raid on a brothel employing under-aged girls totally collapsed and none were to be found – because, of course, the brothel owner had been tipped off. Stacey announced that she intended to close down the brothel forever,  missing the point that all brothels operate in Asia because police allow them to, whatever the appropriate country law is.

Stacey went on to do a programme about the Thailand and the mad drug ‘yaa baa’ and going on two raids, one a farcical raid on a nightspot in Bangkok where no drugs and no infringers were found, least of all Brits,  and another with police in Chiang Mai where she also witnessed nothing being found, but was later taken to see a massive haul which had just been seized, but not allowed access to the accused, leaving the savvy viewer with the impression that this might have been old news.

Stacey ended up almost pulling her hair out outside ‘Bangkwang Prison’ after being promised interviews with Brits inside -  a promise which was not fulfilled. The cameras did not show how she reacted on this occasion but she went on the programme to suggest that she had been threatened with banning from Thailand for not being allowed to tell her story properly. Good TV.

Actually, she was trying to ‘Britify’ a story which was not really British. Most Brits in jail for drugs offences in Thailand are there for the old hardies, cocaine, ecstasy, and heroin – except those who have been set up of course – because yaa baa is the easiest drug to slip into evidence.

Considering some 2,500 people were ‘injudicially killed’ during Thailand’s ‘War on Drugs’ and historically the heroin trade from the Golden Triangle, which is where the ‘yaa baa’ comes from, was traditionally controlled by rival factions in the Thai Police and Army, who banked with the Bangkok Bank bringing the bank to the fore, I was surprised Stacey did not give this part of the story attention.

Never mind, in the programme ‘Tourism and the Truth – Thailand’ broadcast in 2011 Stacey went to work as a chambermaid at a hotel in Phuket and of course could not keep up with the skills of those who had been doing it for years. 

More tears; but she did point out the gap between the rich and the poor – now the third biggest gap of all the world’s countries – although she missed the point that technically about half of the beach side properties have been constructed illegally anyway.  Not that the law has much to do with Phuket.

And then she tackled the question of Thailand’s sea gypsies, specifically those on Rawai Beach, Phuket, who have been forced off their land to make way for hotels built by Thailand’s ‘rich elite’.
This programme was a real ‘humdinger’.  

She dragged a hopeful sea gypsy leader to Bangkok on a promise of an interview with the Prime Minister.  The Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, was unfortunately called away leaving one of his advisers to speak on his behalf – not even a Deputy Prime Minister. Prime Ministerial advisers are of course as common as Brits in a Thai a go-go-bar.

Still Stacey welled up with tears of happiness as the grateful Moken leader waved goodbye thinking a real difference had been made and the programme ended with the announcement.


Stacey promised the Thai government she would continue to monitor the case.

And there you have it. But of course, WE know that is a load of old baloney. Fast forward to 2017 and the sea gypsies are in a worse state than ever. 

Thai government statements should never be taken at face value. Perhaps the producers could have consulted the BBC man on the ground.

Things came to a head last year when the sea gypsies, also called Moken or Chao lay, were attacked by thugs working for Baron World Trade Limited who were building hotel on their land on Rawai Beach.  

Perhaps Stacey’s investigation could have involved the owners of the land, and who originally stole the land from them.  They would have found out that Baron World Trade Ltd, which was formed in 1900 and has been buying up land ever since, has amongst its five directors a certain Chalee Sophonpanich, who is the son of Bangkok Bank Chairman Chatri Sophonpanich. There’s that bank again.

The latest promise from the Thai Government came from Deputy Prime Minister Deputy Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan who last year ordered state agencies to resolve this dispute and announced that there must not be any more violence. “The wrongdoers must be arrested.”

Anybody heard of any resolution or arrests?

No, despite the DSI saying that the gypsies had a legal claim to the land and that there was clear evidence they had been there for over 60 years the company has secured the co-operation of the local governor, district chief, district militia and of course police – and Chalong Police are amongst the island’s most notorious.
So, so much for government statements.

The attitude of the company is best summed up by the it’s representative Chatree Madsatun who told the Phuket Gazette that he was not worried about any law suits and was willing to see the gypsies in court.

company men with chao talay (Phuket Gazette

 “I have no idea why they are doing this. We have the legal rights to the land. Moreover, at least nine of the sea gypsies are wanted by the Phuket Provincial Court for damaging our property. I pity them. Now, 203 of them will be the ones who pay the price. 
“These human rights activists are using them as a human shield. If we win the case, the sea gypsies will pay, and how could they possibly have the money to pay for the lawsuit. 
“This is a civil case. But if they sue us in a criminal case and we win, I will sue them back and they will be the ones who go to jail.” 
“We agreed to pause the construction because we thought we could broker an agreement with them, but that’s fallen through, so we’ll keep on doing our work.  
“The NGOs and human rights activists shouldn’t do this to the sea gypsies. Those people have no idea what they’re facing."

Yes, they do.

So, this is of course the fault of human rights activists, journalists and, I presume Stacey Dooley.

So, Stacey please go back…………………. Stacey?  Stacey?


Stacey Dooley Investigates: Tourism and the Truth - Thailand;_ylt=A9mSs2CItGxYg6EAMb5LBQx.;_ylu=X3oDMTByZmVxM3N0BGNvbG8DaXIyBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw--?p=Youtube+Stacey+Dooley+The+Truth+About+Thailand%27s+Tourist+Trade&fr=mcafee#id=1&vid=b033c588ba47702bd366cb5d4d7edb34&action=view

Attack on Chao Talay:

Sea gypsies sue Baron World Trade

Human Rights Watch and Sea Gypsies


leave Thailand to the Thais said...

I remember this stupid little girl when I lived in Phuket. I hope she has dissed DR Asia out by now. She was taken for a clown by Thailand's elite. And embaresed all to be from the same country.

Marcus James said...

I find most of Dooleys "work" cringeworthy.
Butter wouldn't melt, can't be in the real world.
I think she got started on a documentary which sent British teens to various Asian countries to work and live for a week on the wages paid there. Canning Tuna, building rice paddies etc.
Last episode they had a drink on Nana Plaza and she kicked right off at some tourist who had barfined. They interviewed the bargirl and got the normal crap, I do it to send money home to family, I hate it etc
Well Miss Dooley, millions of farang have been there and listened and tried to save the world. But building a career out of it is just as desperate.

Dick Headley said...

I can just here the producer pitching the idea...'She's pure, deeply concerned and she wants to change the world....let's send her to Thailand.'

The RatShit Kid said...

I'm not sure why you call her a "stupid little girl." She may be somewhat naive, thinking that she can take on (and beat) such powerful factions as those which she has done so in Thailand, but that does not make her a stupid little girl.
A tad patronising, if I may say so.

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

Because I watched her documentary which equated to the actions of a stupid little girl

Tommy Weapon said...

Whatever happened to the American guy in Rawai who had his view blocked? He was trying to get some illegal resort removed and claimed he had strong case. He had built his dream home with view only to have it turn into a Phuket nightmare. Knowing Phuket it's probably still in one of the courts.

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

Knowing Phuket. He is probably part of the foundations

D. Farang said...

At least Stacey stepped up and tried to effect change. At the same time, judgmentally-minded people may judge her for being arguably a little naive about Thailand if they wish, but in her case - "ignorance is bliss" wasn't coined for nothing.

For if we all took the viewpoint that it's utterly hopeless and therefore no use to act, few if any improvements in a given society would ever be achieved. Stacey shows by her actions that a little knowledge isn't always a bad thing.

One version of the moral of the story is that squatters rights go "poof" - on billion baht beachfront. Better to squat in the Phuket hills, far above the Gibbon monkey sanctuary - a place where further development is decades and more away, cool breezes cut the heat, swarms of mosquitos abound and the verdant ocean is a mere spec through thick foliage. I know, I was there many times. It's where my wife's land is..

Now about that (red-yellow) two party system with poor brakes, rocketing down a Thai roadway some where near Pai - there's a hairpin corner straight ahead..

Jenny Milan said...

Can you make Big Trouble In Thailand the subject of your next review? That series was ahead of its time - haven't seen anything like it since.

Dick Headley said...

Perhaps Andrew will permit me to post this....

Andrew Drummond said...

I have allowed you to post it but it is far from the reality and a very naive and slanted approach to the series.

Dick Headley said...

I'm sure there was a lot more to it than that. I remember the jet-ski scam getting very complicated.

It doesn't seem like these shocking exposes have much effect on tourism. If anything they may attract people.

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

They are not exposed. No one I speak to going to Thailand for holidays has an inkling to these shennanagins. The Government do not highlight these and tourist operators certainly won't.

Dick Headley said...

Depends who you speak to I guess. Surely most people know about the sex trade by now. They probably just aren't shocked. The adventurous ones may even give it a try. I think there is a general perception of Thailand being a slightly risky destination but that doesn't put people off.

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

The sex trade is well known but that's not the exposure I'm talking about.British crooks . Mysterious deaths. rapes. Thai gangs. These are the things that should be pointed out because they are rife.

Dick Headley said...

Probably more British crooks in Spain than there are in Thailand.

The Koh Tao murders got a lot of exposure in the UK. Full Moon Party still going strong.

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

of course there is. But if you understand the situations then you would have a better idea Spain = retired or hideaway criminals .Thailand = Criminals working with authorities fleecing anyone with money.. misty pensioners

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

The crooks in Thailand couldn't live in Spain . Anyone who robs pensioners wouldn't be accepted

Dick Headley said...

There's plenty of information out 'Thailand crime'.... 29,000,000 + entries. Rape, murder, drugs, property scams, pickpockets, overcrowded ferries, crazy minibus drivers... it's all there.

I suppose the British Embassy could offer special seminars for lonely old pensioners.

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

Perhaps if they did then the old soldier who commited suicide after being fleeced of his life savings might still be alive today instead of me trying to explain what goes on in Thailand as obviously you are to busy reading your Daily Mail which incidently isn't read by teenagers and on the David and Hannah murders the Thai Government with the help of the Be it cops assured it was an isolated incident NOT the real truth that it wasn't isolated and the Thai Mafia member who carried it out had raped and more than likely murdered BEFORE AND AFTER DAVID AND HANNAH...OH i can almost read your answer without even looking.

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

Furthermore the British Government and Foreign office were blasted on the deaths of 30 British tourists at the inquest for not disclosing information that Tunisia was a likely target for an attack from ISIS.Just the same as white British girls are targets for Thai gangs if they are good looking and wear bikinis...The words of the Dictator himself...IT IS THE FOREIGN OFFICE RESPONSIBILITY FOR WARNINGS..

Dick Headley said...

Well said. The sooner the British Embassy gets the seminars going the better. You shouldn't have to do it. There should also be courses for teenagers who don't read the Daily Mail. They aren't getting the whole story on Twitter.