What a poor breakfast on a wannabee first class airline.
Your are a little spoiled, aren`t you?truffledog wrote: ↑Tue Aug 23, 2022 3:25 pmWhat a poor breakfast on a wannabee first class airline.
I’m not joking there’s a heaven like this somewhere
The Singapore Airlines Lounge in the Suvarnabhimbi Airport had just opened last week after more than 2 years. Really missed this wonderful lounge.
So here it is my chicken rice with tomyam and gin tonic
Bangkok governor battles floods, red tape to attract investment
Chadchart Sittipunt says ambitions still local despite calls to aim higher
Newly elected Bangkok Gov. Chadchart Sittipunt prays at a shrine inside Bangkok Metropolitan City Hall on June 1. © Reuters
FRANCESCA REGALADO, Nikkei staff writerSeptember 21, 2022 12:16 JST
BANGKOK -- On a rainy Wednesday in August, Bangkok Gov. Chadchart Sittipunt woke up at 4 a.m. for his daily run. Sukhumvit Road was still quiet and devoid of its usual congestion, but a fellow early riser heckled the governor on his plan to remove the city's sidewalk vendors.
Chadchart, a civil engineer by training, sees it as a problem of supply and demand. Bangkok would be unrecognizable without the food stalls that provide cheap eats for workers and tourists. But space is a limited resource, and the governor has proposed designating certain alleys for vendors and creating more hawker centers.
"Some people are happy and some are not happy, and we have to listen to both of them," Chadchart, 56, told Nikkei Asia in an exclusive interview. "I'd rather listen to the unhappy ones so we can make improvements."
Residents of a city as sprawling and populous as Bangkok can grow accustomed to rarely seeing -- let alone interacting with -- their leaders. Chadchart's landslide victory in June was due in part to this unusually personal approach, which fed into a 200-point policy platform and a savvy social media campaign run by a young team of digital natives and political neophytes.
Running as an independent in the first gubernatorial election since Thailand's 2014 coup, his win sent a message to national parties that voters will be hungry for change by the time a general election, due by next year, rolls around.
"Our task is not only to manage the city but also to restore trust, confidence and hope in the democratic system," he told an investors forum hosted by the Stock Exchange of Thailand last month.
Leading a metropolis can serve as a springboard for politicians seeking national office. Rodrigo Duterte was mayor of the Philippines' most populous southern city for two decades. Indonesia's Joko Widodo, who served two years as governor of Jakarta before becoming president, is now building a new capital to relieve Jakarta's congestion.
But Chadchart is digging into the city where he was born and raised, focusing his four-year term on making Bangkok more livable for its 10.9 million residents -- and for the foreign nationals he hopes to attract as Asian capitals vie for international talent and capital.
"We are, in fact, just a labor market. If the city wins, the private sector also wins," he told Nikkei Asia.
That will require disrupting the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA), streamlining processes and eliminating the red tape and corruption that burdens businesses in the capital. His young staff of social activists, digital freelancers and former journalists, including the 32-year-old deputy governor, Sanon Wangsangbun, are primed for this disruption.
Days after taking office, Chadchart introduced a crowdsourcing app to speed up the authority's response to neighborhood problems, such as damaged sidewalks and dangling electrical wires. The curiously named Traffy Fondue received 20,000 complaints on the first day and has since had 130,000. Over 70,000 have been resolved so far, the governor claims.
"You don't need to know the governor to have your problems fixed," he said.
Weeks later, the BMA launched the Open Bangkok data project, allowing the public to see all city budgets, contracts and permits.
"Corruption is caused by the asymmetry of information. The government has all the information about procuring and budgeting, and the people don't," Chadchart said. Thailand's score on Transparency International's corruption index has fallen since 2014 -- from 38 out of 100, to 35 in 2021.
Bangkok's popular Gov. Chadchart Sittipunt often draws crowds of selfie-seeking fans. (Photo by Francesca Regalado)
A political stalemate at the national level has contributed to Chadchart's strong performance at the polls. Chadchart won all of Bangkok's 50 districts, with voters supporting him regardless of their parliament member's party affiliation.
"I'm not a career politician. Right now, I'm the governor of Bangkok, and I have fun doing it," he said. "If you run for national office, you have to join a political party, and I don't have fun doing that."
But Chadchart was once affiliated with the Pheu Thai party, which is now the opposition. The civil engineer and university lecturer got his start in politics as transportation minister under former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. When Yingluck was deposed in a military coup in 2014, Chadchart and other cabinet members were hooded, handcuffed and detained for days.
That experience made Chadchart hesitant to enter the gubernatorial race, he said. But he added that he holds no grudge against the coup's instigators, who remain the ruling party eight years later. He says he has a "respectful" relationship with Prayuth Chan-ocha, who was prime minister until a Constitutional Court suspended him in August while it rules on his term limit.
Chadchart will need the ruling party's cooperation to stimulate private investment, and to address Bangkok's perennial issues of road congestion and flooding. An unusually heavy monsoon season will be the first major test for Chadchart, who has spent his Sundays visiting communities near the city's overwhelmed canals.
On a recent outing to Bang Khen, a district between Don Mueang Airport and a flood-control canal, residents showed their flooded homes to the governor -- and to the cameras that trail after him. Even more people stopped him to take selfies. He once attracted a three-hour selfie queue while picking up his laptop from a repair shop. Even his son and his twin brother, a doctor, have become local celebrities.
Critics have called him out for spending time on photo opportunities instead of fixing the city's problems, but Chadchart sees it as an opportunity for people to air their concerns. "They need someone to empathize with them," he said. "You can't do that if you stay in the office."
His 200-point platform has also been derided by critics, who say the BMA has neither the budget nor the people to enact it. Chadchart said he plans to enlist the private sector to take responsibility for their own communities, reducing budgetary pressure on the BMA. The governor convened a committee of private businesses for this purpose last month, a first for the city.
Chadchart's name has entered national polls on who should be Thailand's next prime minister. Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the 36-year-old daughter of Pheu Thai founder Thaksin, topped a June poll by the National Institute of Development Administration. Third was Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the progressive Move Forward Party. Prayuth placed fourth and Chadchart seventh.
The governor says his policies for Bangkok are realistic, without falling anywhere on Thailand's political spectrum.
"People lose hope in the system, whether they're progressive or conservative," he said. "I think we have to bring faith and trust and hope back to the system. And then, in the long term, things will change."
Sony's Aquaverse set for Thai debut as Paramount eyes Bali theme park
Southeast Asia's growing population and incomes draw overseas players
The Columbia Pictures Aquaverse set to open in Thailand will have attractions featuring content from film franchises such as "Hotel Transylvania." (Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures Aquaverse)
KOYA JIBIKI, KOSUKE INOUE and KEIICHI FURUKAWA, Nikkei staff writersSeptember 21, 2022 03:43 JST
JAKARTA/BANGKOK/TOKYO -- Sony Pictures Entertainment will open a water park in Thailand next month while Paramount Pictures plans to build one of Southeast Asia's largest theme parks in the Indonesian island resort of Bali, as the companies seek to tap the region's growing middle-class demand.
The Columbia Pictures Aquaverse is set to debut Oct. 12 near the popular Thai resort city of Pattaya, parent Sony Pictures announced last Thursday. The theme and water park, spanning 56,000 square meters, had been scheduled to open in October last year, but the pandemic and other factors pushed back the date.
The Aquaverse will be managed by Thai developer Amazon Falls, with the multiple water attractions themed after hit titles such as "Hotel Transylvania" and "Ghostbusters."
The attraction is due expand to 160,000 sq. meters within a few years and there are plans to add indoor attractions harnessing virtual reality and metaverse technology.
Sony Pictures Chairman and CEO Anthony Vinciquerra said at an investor meeting in May that the so-called location business is largely experimental, and the company does not intend to recreate another Disneyworld or Universal Studios. Unlike Walt Disney Co., it has no plans at this time to directly manage theme parks.
Sony Pictures' aim is to license its library of content, which is a high-margin undertaking in itself, Vinciquerra added.
Japanese parent Sony Group has issued a long-term goal of directly connecting with "1 billion people interested in entertainment." With Asia as a particularly promising market due to its population growth, the group will monitor the Aquaverse's progress and determine the feasibility of building similar attractions globally.
In August, Paramount announced it is partnering with Indonesian resort developer Kios Ria Kreasi to build a theme park in Bali. Measuring 570,000 sq. meters, the site would be among the largest theme parks in Southeast Asia. Bali hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 10 for a new highway that will connect the western and central parts of the country, with Paramount executives in attendance.
Paramount plans to open a portion of the site to visitors in 2025.
"We believe that the beauty of Bali, combined with integrated resort hotels and a Paramount theme park, will create a magnificent entertainment project that all of Indonesia can be proud of," said Ty Granaroli, Paramount Global's executive vice president of themed entertainment and experiences.
The group's portfolio of content includes global successes such as the "Top Gun" and "Mission Impossible" franchises, as well as kids' favorites like "Spongebob Squarepants."
Indonesia's past record with entertainment attractions has been mostly defined by small sites run by local operators, with few projects launched by major overseas players. The market was not seen as a profitable target for investment considering the low average income.
But in recent years, incomes have grown along with the economy, and a middle class with spare cash to spend on entertainment has started to emerge.
Indonesia's per-capita gross domestic product was about $3,900 in 2020, climbing by more than 20% over a decade, according to the International Monetary Fund. The figure for Thailand topped $7,000, giving the nation upper-middle income status.
Foreign tourists are also a key target market, which is why Sony and Paramount are locating theme parks near resort spots. With COVID-19 infections heading toward manageable levels, tourists are expected to return in droves to getaways. Capturing part of that demand would be a boon for the theme parks.
Representatives from Paramount and Indonesian developer Kios Ria Kreasi sign a theme park agreement in Los Angeles in late July. (Photo courtesy of Kios Ria Kreasi)
In other Asian countries, the openings of large theme parks have tracked gains in income levels. Tokyo Disneyland, for example, opened in 1983 when Japan's per-capita GDP was about $10,000. Shanghai Disneyland opened its doors in 2016 when China's per capita GDP was in the $8,000 range, with that measure believed to be above $10,000 in urban areas.
In Thailand and Indonesia, the per-capita GDPs in urban areas appears to be around $10,000 as well.
However, it remains to be seen whether the theme parks will turn out the way the two Hollywood studios plan. While large theme parks perform well at drawing tourists from neighboring countries, they also risk losing visitors to a rival site.
A prime example was Hong Kong Disneyland, which opened in 2005 and struggled to turn a profit. After Shanghai Disneyland opened in 2016, the Hong Kong counterpart lost traffic and slumped further.
And if existing theme parks undertake major renovation projects in response to the new attractions, Sony and Paramount may not realize their ambitions.
Infrastructure development presents another thorny issue. In late August, there were reports that the planned highway that would run near Paramount's Bali theme park is facing delays. Considering past cases involving local companies, Paramount cannot rule out lengthy postponements or outright cancellations of construction projects.
Is the water that freezing cold in Thailand?
No they most likely wear uv protection suits
UV Sun Protection Full Body Coverage Swimsuit for Women or Men-SPF Protective One-pieces Suit Swimwear KHR 93,657.04
What a shame. Most Thais have much nicer bodies that the average Westerner.
Hope they don’t adopt Face kinis.
Part of the fun of going to the beach or water park (for me) is people watching. It’s no fun watching Burkhas.
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