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Thailand Shocks World: A Dry Goodbye to Top Officials as Alcohol Gets Axed from Retirement Parties!

Two esteemed Thai ministries – the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Education – are garnering considerable attention and praise for their unwavering commitment to eliminate alcohol from retirement parties for their retiring employees after this month. This prominent initiative, now in its seventh year, was put in place as a direct response to continuous advocacy from notable institutions such as the StopDrink Network Office, the Office of the Basic Education Commission, the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, as well as an active group of educators dedicated to championing a society devoid of alcohol consumption.

This disciplinary policy has been steadfastly upheld by Suttipong Juljarern, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior. On August 28, he issued an authoritative mandate reaffirming the policy to the provincial leaders and various departments under the Ministry’s jurisdiction. Echoing this stance, Suthin Kaewpana, the deputy permanent secretary of the Education Ministry promptly issued a similar order the following day, as reported by Bangkok Post.

Theera Watcharapranee, the leading figure at the StopDrink Network Office, has been a strong proponent for these alcohol bans, urging the public to support the endeavor. He brought to light the retirement of several officials at the end of this month and the consequent surge in retirement parties, stating, “These prolific campaigns should be looked upon as an exemplar for other organizations to copy. We also champion and invite those hosting alcohol-free parties to share their magical moments including images with quirky captions on our Facebook page for promotional use.”

According to the data provided by Theera, an estimated 16 million Thai citizens are alcohol consumers, of which 46.4% are males. Interestingly, male alcohol consumption is on a downward trend, while the number of female drinkers is continuously rising. Furthermore, while alcohol consumption is observing a decline among the Thai youth aged 15-19, a considerable portion of those who begin at a young age transition into regular drinkers.

This increasing trend despite the stringent prohibition on alcohol beverage advertising points to an unanswered question – are alcohol producers exploiting online marketing platforms to target women and youngsters? This phenomenon presents a crucial issue that must be systematically addressed for the betterment of society.

The plea for an alcohol ban echoes back to the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic when such prohibitions were commonplace nationwide. However, the government did permit alcohol at select countdown events for New Year’s Eve 2021. But for those who chose to usher in the New Year 2022 in a safe, sober, and family-friendly environment, there were alternatives. The government organized an alcohol-free event labeled “Amazing Thailand Countdown 2022” hosted across five different locations in Thailand. For more of such captivating stories, feel free to follow The Thaiger’s on our newly minted Facebook page HERE.

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