My last video "Phuket: Two sides of the islands"

44.25 min.
Two Chapter:
Invasion of the islands
Sea gypsies (Chao Lay): Broken-wing guards of the islands
Music: Rawai Sea Gypsy Village Band
Maker: Hakan Akçura
Stockholm, October 2011.

Sea Gypsies were the first people to settle in Phuket over 1000 years ago and still survive today selling fish, seashells and craft items to locals and tourists.
There were 12,000 sea gypsies in more than 30 groups across Thailand’s Andaman Coast waters.

Fishing is the sea gypsies only livelihood. Since the province began promoting tourism, sea gypsy villagers have been repeatedly threatened by hotel or resort owners who attempt to prohibit them from fishing along beach fronts where resorts are located.

Despite some publicity about their way of life in the wake of the 2004 tsunami disaster, they still live as second-class citizens and don’t have the full rights enjoyed by other Thai citizens.

Land rights issues were the biggest concern. Most sea gypsy communities are located in coastal areas and many do not have land title deeds. Some sea gypsy cemeteries are now located inside marine national parks or other areas designated for tourism purposes.

Sea gypsy Yupa Chaonam of the Phi Phi Island community said, “We are not allowed to do anything [in the surrounding area], which we are told belongs to a developer. We just want to know what is our territory and what is not. It’s as if we are a forgotten people with no public development for us.”
This video documentary is an extraordinary reverse-reading about "tourist paradise" of Phuket. I turned my camera to the invasion of the islands and their broken-wing guards, Sea gypsies.

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