Sunday, May 29, 2011

Plastic bags - next time think!

the insides of a dwarf sperm whale
Think a little about what happens to all those little plastic bags which are casually discarded.
more of the insides
Do you want to see all of the photographs?

See you on the water, Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') 
 AKA John Caveman Gray

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Phuket vs. Puerto

I've been here 22 years, hold a clean-up with my students every year, and use only glass bottles on my trip - and my competitors just laugh at me for even caring.  I'm also DE for Puerto Princesa forum and it is the cleanest, greenest, crime free spot I know in Asia.  The mayor is a good guy, but tough and well organized.  

An example:Throw a cigarette butt out of a Puerto Princesa Tuk Tuk and the driver issues a P200 ticket, #2 is P500, #3 is P1,000, #4 is 30 days in jail.  The drivers don’t get a kick-back; they just follow the Mayor’s example and take pride in their city

Same goes for plastic rubbish - and there is ZERO in the town and the sea. The harbor is so clean you see the bottom from a boat.  Dump your engine oil and you might as well leave town.  

The mayor gained respect his first day in office when he discovered his predecessor stole all the City's money - so he took his own broom and started sweeping the streets.  By day's end, everybody in town was sweeping the streets.

Rank has no privilege.  When he caught a National Senator's boat dynamite fishing, he seized the boat.  When the senator came to collect his boat, the mayor didn’t take corruption – he threatened to throw the Senator in jail for dynamite fishing and attempted murder because his crew tried to shoot the police.  The Senator decided it wasn't his boat and left town.

Every Valentine's Day there's a mangrove planting festival.  The Mayor, his Senator's friends and visiting Ambassadors all get down on their knees in the mud and plant mangroves.

 There is no corruption.  Try to buy off the police and you go to jail.  
(Ed. - not quite how it works in Phuket)

Is there any corruption in Phuket?  
Are there any politicians willing to sweep the streets with their own brooms?  
Get muddy planting mangroves?  
Are the local hoteliers - many selling sharkfin soup - willing to go pick up rubbish with their own hands?
If not, we will lose Phuket.

We have just finished cleaning up an iconic tourist attraction.  My students were shocked with the rubbish.  The locals just watched, thinking we were crazy.  Where were the politicians helping with the clean-up?  

My point is it starts at the top.  Leaders must be tough, and set an example.  If that doesn't happen, Phuket tourism is doomed.  Already the high end tourists are leaving - chased off by chop suey development, rubbish everywhere, rich Russians and low-end Asian group tours.  We can turn it around, but to do so, we need leaders who aren't afraid to spend the day on a beach cleaning up rubbish, to properly manage our National Parks, and get down in the mud and plant more mangroves.

Maybe the Mayor, Governor, and their cabinet officials should pay a visit to Puerto Princesa.  I'm sure their Mayor can find a nice mud bank that needs more mangroves. Well, it can happen, but it requires true leadership at the top.  We just don't have politicians who care enough to get their hands dirty and set an example.  They also need to be tough.

See you on the water, 
 Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') AKA John Caveman Gray

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Laos suspends Dam project

"This is a great day for the entire Indo-China region! 
This highly destructed project was driven by corruption and did not take newly emerging energy technologies into account!"

a report by France24

See you on the water, Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') AKA John Caveman Gray
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Friday, May 6, 2011

Dave and Deb and the Internet

My thanks goes out to Dave and Deb who took a trip with me and produced some of the most beautiful photographs.

I am also happy to read that there have been so many wonderful comments regarding taking a trip with me - the Internet is the way that the message is shared.

Here are their links (all courtesy of
34 tweets / 328 stumble upon / 22 facebook
76 tweets / 120 stumble upon / 8 facebook
30 tweets / 99 stumble upon / 4 facebook

The Internet is our future.

See you on the water, Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') AKA John Caveman Gray
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