Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The announcement of plans to conduct a full-scale tsunami evacuation drill in Phuket on Christmas Day was a surprise (story here), given that the next day marks the 10th anniversary of the most horrific loss of life and devastation in the island’s recorded history.

Thankfully, the inevitable complaints about the timing have been lodged, and hopefully it is not too late to reschedule the exercises for a more appropriate time (story here).

It is unlikely that officials set the date completely unaware of the sensitivities surrounding the day, as thousands affected by the tsunami are expected to join the island in remembering those who died in the waves a decade ago.

It is more likely that officials hoped to wiggle into the spotlight and give media reports a positive spin as journalists from countries around the world prepare to cover the 10th anniversary.

Already, the Gazette has been contacted by several journalists searching for either leads for survivors’ stories or contacts to explain the details of the tsunami warning system – which took years to become fully functional.

In addition to remembering the tragedy and attempting to understand how the region has changed since, the question the world will be asking is a fair one: will we be ready next time?

It is important for Phuket – the international media’s sweetheart Thai isle – to show the world how prepared Thailand is. There have been plenty of publicized setbacks, from warning buoys going missing in the Indian Ocean to thieves stealing copper wiring from the warning towers. Nonetheless, officials have persisted, and though there have been no flawless evacuation drills – there has been an upward trend of improvement.

But to force survivors, who might be returning to the island for the first time, to witness any actions that could invoke such vivid images of that devastating day is going too far, and sadly does not promote the island, but makes its governance seem overwhelmingly insensitive. Governor Nisit Jansomwong should be praised for showing some respect by reconsidering the date of the drills.

There is no reason to subject survivors, who may never again return to Phuket, to the sounds of practice sirens – which sound alarmingly similar to the real thing – or the realistic “victims” in Halloween-style makeup being attended to by medics.

Statistically speaking, these drills are more important for those of us who spend our lives day in and day out on the island. We need to know not only how to react, but how to help tourists also make it to safety.

Having this drill so close to the 10th anniversary does nothing to improve the safety of those here and might very likely backfire as a media stunt. With this in mind, we hope that the government chooses to be more sensitive toward those who have lost so much, and perhaps answer the world’s question about whether or not we are ready a week or two later.

This article first appeared in the November 29 – December 5 issue of the hard-copy Phuket Gazette newspaper. Digital subscribers may download the full newspaper, this week and every week, by clicking here.

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— Phuket Gazette

1

I totally agree. If you can make the Thais think they got the idea, the date might be changed. They don't like western opinon to influence their decisions as that would be a "loose face" thing.

Posted by angry bird November 30, 2014 07:44:46AM

Reply

10    7

2

I totally agree. If you can make the Thais think they got the idea, the date might be changed. They don't like western opinon to influence their decisions as that would be a "loose face" thing.

Posted by angry bird

Errr, a "loose face" is what happens to people when they get older. But it can be fixed, or at least made a bit better, by a good surgeon.

Posted by Old Phard November 30, 2014 08:14:15AM

Reply

6    2

4

I totally agree. If you can make the Thais think they got the idea, the date might be changed. They don't like western opinon to influence their decisions as that would be a "loose face" thing.

Posted by angry bird

Errr, a "loose face" is what happens to people when they get older. But it can be fixed, or at least made a bit better, by a good surgeon.

Posted by Old Phard

Ha ha, good one, Phard! I wonder if that left him scratching his head wondering what the heck you were going on about? It's astonishing that in this day and age, as I see it endlessly on the 'net, people still haven't got a grasp of the VERY obvious difference between loose and lose.

Posted by David November 30, 2014 11:00:53AM

Reply

4    5

5

I was a survivor of the tsunami and would not want a drill on that day, better to hold a remembrance day on the beach with speakers from all faiths giving prayers and blessings to the ones that lost their lives. I will not forget the millions of people that donated money from all over the world, and was sad to read that most of it went missing in Thailand.

Posted by leo November 30, 2014 12:21:39PM

Reply

6    5

6

I was a survivor of the tsunami and would not want a drill on that day, better to hold a remembrance day on the beach with speakers from all faiths giving prayers and blessings to the ones that lost their lives. I will not forget the millions of people that donated money from all over the world, and was sad to read that most of it went missing in Thailand.

Posted by leo

"Most" of it? I rather doubt that anyone would believe that, so why even float it?

Posted by P. Collishaw November 30, 2014 12:52:14PM

Reply

1    6

7

I was a survivor of the tsunami and would not want a drill on that day, better to hold a remembrance day on the beach with speakers from all faiths giving prayers and blessings to the ones that lost their lives. I will not forget the millions of people that donated money from all over the world, and was sad to read that most of it went missing in Thailand.

Posted by leo

"Most" of it? I rather doubt that anyone would believe that, so why even float it?

Posted by P. Collishaw

It was reported in the PG a theft at the government office where the tsunami donated relief money was kept in steel safes. The locks were found on the floor and no sign of a break-in. I have lived here 10 years and read the news headlines about about top brass corruption. If they are going to hold a tsunami drill, pick another day or they will be asking for donations again (so thats ok then). I cannot forget what I saw.

Posted by leo November 30, 2014 05:02:14PM

Reply

3    2

8

Errr, a "loose face" is what happens to people when they get older. But it can be fixed, or at least made a bit better, by a good surgeon.

Posted by Old Phard

Ha ha, good one, Phard! I wonder if that left him scratching his head wondering what the heck you were going on about? It's astonishing that in this day and age, as I see it endlessly on the 'net, people still haven't got a grasp of the VERY obvious difference between loose and lose.

Posted by David

Maybe, just maybe, "angry bird" is not a native English speaker, like so many of us here. Or is that nowadays a requirement for the PG-forum, David? How many languages do you speak fluently?

Posted by sh November 30, 2014 10:46:34PM

Reply

5    0

9

I was a survivor of the tsunami and would not want a drill on that day, better to hold a remembrance day on the beach with speakers from all faiths giving prayers and blessings to the ones that lost their lives. I will not forget the millions of people that donated money from all over the world, and was sad to read that most of it went missing in Thailand.

Posted by leo

"Most" of it? I rather doubt that anyone would believe that, so why even float it?

Posted by P. Collishaw

Dunno about "most" of it. But a very large portion of the cash did get stuck to sticky fingers. Having lived in Thailand for only one year when I survived the tsunami, I determined not to give any money to Thai relief organizations. I solicited donations from friends and placed the money directly in the hands of the people who needed it. As for the date of the 'drill', I still suffer PTSD when reminded of my narrow escape.

Posted by William December 1, 2014 07:39:30AM

Reply

0    0

10

Errr, a "loose face" is what happens to people when they get older. But it can be fixed, or at least made a bit better, by a good surgeon.

Posted by Old Phard

Ha ha, good one, Phard! I wonder if that left him scratching his head wondering what the heck you were going on about? It's astonishing that in this day and age, as I see it endlessly on the 'net, people still haven't got a grasp of the VERY obvious difference between loose and lose.

Posted by David

Maybe, just maybe, "angry bird" is not a native English speaker, like so many of us here. Or is that nowadays a requirement for the PG-forum, David? How many languages do you speak fluently?

Posted by sh

3.

Posted by David December 1, 2014 08:56:14AM

Reply

0    2

11

I was a survivor of the tsunami and would not want a drill on that day, better to hold a remembrance day on the beach with speakers from all faiths giving prayers and blessings to the ones that lost their lives. I will not forget the millions of people that donated money from all over the world, and was sad to read that most of it went missing in Thailand.

Posted by leo

"Most" of it? I rather doubt that anyone would believe that, so why even float it?

Posted by P. Collishaw

Dunno about "most" of it. But a very large portion of the cash did get stuck to sticky fingers. Having lived in Thailand for only one year when I survived the tsunami, I determined not to give any money to Thai relief organizations. I solicited donations from friends and placed the money directly in the hands of the people who needed it. As for the date of the 'drill', I still suffer PTSD when reminded of my narrow escape.

Posted by William

Same. I gave not a satang to ANY Thai government-run relief appeal. All of what I was able to contribute went to either the Phuket Rotary Club, who were working almost 24/7 in Khao Lak, or directly to the families of victims. What does PTSD mean?

Posted by Paul Fischerlehner December 1, 2014 09:05:20AM

Reply

0    0

12

Maybe, just maybe, "angry bird" is not a native English speaker, like so many of us here. Or is that nowadays a requirement for the PG-forum, David? How many languages do you speak fluently?

Posted by sh

3.

Posted by David

3? Then shame on you, as especially you should know how hard it is to learn another language. Your arrogance is disgraceful.

Posted by sh December 1, 2014 09:22:23AM

Reply

3    1

13

Maybe, just maybe, "angry bird" is not a native English speaker, like so many of us here. Or is that nowadays a requirement for the PG-forum, David? How many languages do you speak fluently?

Posted by sh

3.

Posted by David

Really David? And which languages will that be? English, Australian and American?

Posted by Jo Dela Hetie December 1, 2014 01:28:30PM

Reply

1    0

13

Maybe, just maybe, "angry bird" is not a native English speaker, like so many of us here. Or is that nowadays a requirement for the PG-forum, David? How many languages do you speak fluently?

Posted by sh

3.

Posted by David

Really David? And which languages will that be? English, Australian and American?

Posted by Jo Dela Hetie December 1, 2014 01:28:30PM

Reply

1    0

12

Maybe, just maybe, "angry bird" is not a native English speaker, like so many of us here. Or is that nowadays a requirement for the PG-forum, David? How many languages do you speak fluently?

Posted by sh

3.

Posted by David

3? Then shame on you, as especially you should know how hard it is to learn another language. Your arrogance is disgraceful.

Posted by sh December 1, 2014 09:22:23AM

Reply

3    1

11

I was a survivor of the tsunami and would not want a drill on that day, better to hold a remembrance day on the beach with speakers from all faiths giving prayers and blessings to the ones that lost their lives. I will not forget the millions of people that donated money from all over the world, and was sad to read that most of it went missing in Thailand.

Posted by leo

"Most" of it? I rather doubt that anyone would believe that, so why even float it?

Posted by P. Collishaw

Dunno about "most" of it. But a very large portion of the cash did get stuck to sticky fingers. Having lived in Thailand for only one year when I survived the tsunami, I determined not to give any money to Thai relief organizations. I solicited donations from friends and placed the money directly in the hands of the people who needed it. As for the date of the 'drill', I still suffer PTSD when reminded of my narrow escape.

Posted by William

Same. I gave not a satang to ANY Thai government-run relief appeal. All of what I was able to contribute went to either the Phuket Rotary Club, who were working almost 24/7 in Khao Lak, or directly to the families of victims. What does PTSD mean?

Posted by Paul Fischerlehner December 1, 2014 09:05:20AM

Reply

0    0

10

Errr, a "loose face" is what happens to people when they get older. But it can be fixed, or at least made a bit better, by a good surgeon.

Posted by Old Phard

Ha ha, good one, Phard! I wonder if that left him scratching his head wondering what the heck you were going on about? It's astonishing that in this day and age, as I see it endlessly on the 'net, people still haven't got a grasp of the VERY obvious difference between loose and lose.

Posted by David

Maybe, just maybe, "angry bird" is not a native English speaker, like so many of us here. Or is that nowadays a requirement for the PG-forum, David? How many languages do you speak fluently?

Posted by sh

3.

Posted by David December 1, 2014 08:56:14AM

Reply

0    2

9

I was a survivor of the tsunami and would not want a drill on that day, better to hold a remembrance day on the beach with speakers from all faiths giving prayers and blessings to the ones that lost their lives. I will not forget the millions of people that donated money from all over the world, and was sad to read that most of it went missing in Thailand.

Posted by leo

"Most" of it? I rather doubt that anyone would believe that, so why even float it?

Posted by P. Collishaw

Dunno about "most" of it. But a very large portion of the cash did get stuck to sticky fingers. Having lived in Thailand for only one year when I survived the tsunami, I determined not to give any money to Thai relief organizations. I solicited donations from friends and placed the money directly in the hands of the people who needed it. As for the date of the 'drill', I still suffer PTSD when reminded of my narrow escape.

Posted by William December 1, 2014 07:39:30AM

Reply

0    0

8

Errr, a "loose face" is what happens to people when they get older. But it can be fixed, or at least made a bit better, by a good surgeon.

Posted by Old Phard

Ha ha, good one, Phard! I wonder if that left him scratching his head wondering what the heck you were going on about? It's astonishing that in this day and age, as I see it endlessly on the 'net, people still haven't got a grasp of the VERY obvious difference between loose and lose.

Posted by David

Maybe, just maybe, "angry bird" is not a native English speaker, like so many of us here. Or is that nowadays a requirement for the PG-forum, David? How many languages do you speak fluently?

Posted by sh November 30, 2014 10:46:34PM

Reply

5    0

7

I was a survivor of the tsunami and would not want a drill on that day, better to hold a remembrance day on the beach with speakers from all faiths giving prayers and blessings to the ones that lost their lives. I will not forget the millions of people that donated money from all over the world, and was sad to read that most of it went missing in Thailand.

Posted by leo

"Most" of it? I rather doubt that anyone would believe that, so why even float it?

Posted by P. Collishaw

It was reported in the PG a theft at the government office where the tsunami donated relief money was kept in steel safes. The locks were found on the floor and no sign of a break-in. I have lived here 10 years and read the news headlines about about top brass corruption. If they are going to hold a tsunami drill, pick another day or they will be asking for donations again (so thats ok then). I cannot forget what I saw.

Posted by leo November 30, 2014 05:02:14PM

Reply

3    2

6

I was a survivor of the tsunami and would not want a drill on that day, better to hold a remembrance day on the beach with speakers from all faiths giving prayers and blessings to the ones that lost their lives. I will not forget the millions of people that donated money from all over the world, and was sad to read that most of it went missing in Thailand.

Posted by leo

"Most" of it? I rather doubt that anyone would believe that, so why even float it?

Posted by P. Collishaw November 30, 2014 12:52:14PM

Reply

1    6

5

I was a survivor of the tsunami and would not want a drill on that day, better to hold a remembrance day on the beach with speakers from all faiths giving prayers and blessings to the ones that lost their lives. I will not forget the millions of people that donated money from all over the world, and was sad to read that most of it went missing in Thailand.

Posted by leo November 30, 2014 12:21:39PM

Reply

6    5

4

I totally agree. If you can make the Thais think they got the idea, the date might be changed. They don't like western opinon to influence their decisions as that would be a "loose face" thing.

Posted by angry bird

Errr, a "loose face" is what happens to people when they get older. But it can be fixed, or at least made a bit better, by a good surgeon.

Posted by Old Phard

Ha ha, good one, Phard! I wonder if that left him scratching his head wondering what the heck you were going on about? It's astonishing that in this day and age, as I see it endlessly on the 'net, people still haven't got a grasp of the VERY obvious difference between loose and lose.

Posted by David November 30, 2014 11:00:53AM

Reply

4    5

2

I totally agree. If you can make the Thais think they got the idea, the date might be changed. They don't like western opinon to influence their decisions as that would be a "loose face" thing.

Posted by angry bird

Errr, a "loose face" is what happens to people when they get older. But it can be fixed, or at least made a bit better, by a good surgeon.

Posted by Old Phard November 30, 2014 08:14:15AM

Reply

6    2

1

I totally agree. If you can make the Thais think they got the idea, the date might be changed. They don't like western opinon to influence their decisions as that would be a "loose face" thing.

Posted by angry bird November 30, 2014 07:44:46AM

Reply

10    7

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