This edition of The Phuket News – Number 36 Volume 6 – represents my 130th issue, culminating two-and-half years at Class Act Media, and formally wrapping up a five-and-half-year chapter in Phuket as a writer, reporter, editor, manager, photographer, broadcast assistant, radio personality, and I dare say, opinion leader.
To say I valued my time here would be an understatement: the memories stored, stories covered, norms challenged, rules bent, mistakes made, controversies stirred, lessons learned, and above all, the people I’ve had the privilege to know and work with – all these intangible facets will continue to serve me throughout life.
It goes without saying that the past five years have passed by in a flash and endowed in me a rich perspective that has taught me a great deal, not only about myself, but society, the world, life, death and time.
I look forward to formally penning my own Phuket memoirs, and encourage anyone and everyone who has passed through this speck of rock in the Andaman in any meaningful manner, to reflect on and share their own stories. As Chris Husted – our chief “thinker” and uncontested guru on everything Phuket, sailing, cars and baking – says of a good story: “It will get read”.
In the meantime, the path before me is a challenging yet promising one. As communications officer for the Asia and Pacific Seed Association, I will be abreast of all the latest developments in agriculture, food security, plant breeding, biotechnology, intellectual property and transnational trade – matters that affect everyone on this planet.
This new role will be anything but a breeze, but I’ve been trained well. After all, if you can survive Phuket traffic, unscrupulous threats aimed at silencing the media and multiple tours of the rancid Saphan Hin landfill, there really is nothing you cannot accomplish.
A wise mentor once advised: “find a need and fill it” and “always leave a place better than you found it”. Moving on, I say with confidence that my need here has been filled, and that I leave behind an effective, progressive and potent media machine.
Though I do not take credit for such confidence, which is due to all those who gave and continue to put their heart and soul into “keeping the ship afloat” through these increasingly volatile times.
Phuket, you truly are privileged to have a talented media team – Chris Husted, Matt Pond, Anton Makhrov, Zhong Wenhui, Tanyaluk Sakoot, Supatra Sutham, Mark Knowles, JP Mestanza, Panumas Suparaninityothin, Sirapat Kanphonngam, Chris Howson, Donna Toon and Jason Wilder – to keep you up-to-date about everything going on here, whether through The Phuket News, Novosti Phuketa, Pujidao Xinwen, Live 89.5 or The Phuket News TV.
To put it bluntly, these folks really do “know their sh*t”, and I feel sorry for the competition who will no doubt continue to have trouble sleeping at night.
Finally, in no particular order, I express gratitude to all the others I’ve worked with at this fine company: Tim Newton, Simon Ostheimer, Jason Beavan, Simon Samaan, Alasdair Forbes, Nick Walker, Nick Davies, Claire Connell, Dalia Hilmi, Nitad Manee, Pichsinee Pomnoi, Andrew Joyce, Thanapong Khao-Amphaiphan, Wai Netiya, Siriporn Seangmas, Jittiya Rakdej, Apichai Pitakchotiwong, Chinawut Phongphasook, Natchaya Sittiprasert, Anchalee Inchorun, Sarapee Tharawanon, Hathaichanok Yokchuer, Orajit Ongjirakul, Jureeporn Sawekwang, Peerapon Juhong, Monthep Poolkasam, Phatsara Raktammakit, Nisakorn Kittiprapanant, Nipaporn Sangkrit, Athikom Keyyuranom, Kanyapoj Chaiprapan, Prapawarin Yangchan, Angkana Nuram, Chanida Summast, Nattha Thepbamrung, Anthika Muangrod, Saroj Kueprasertkij, Tammy Na Thalang, Daria Manina, Dasha Suleiman, Dave O’Connor, Kirsty Meyer, Gary Holden, Tim Shaw, Bill Barnett, Marque Rome and Phil Tease.
There may be others who I have forgotten or have purposely left out, but don’t take it personally. It’s been my privilege and pleasure, Phuket. I won’t end this by saying goodbye, but rather, see you when I see you.
Steven W. Layne