Video Games at Work? Photo of Philippine Airport Staff Causes Anger

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Video Games at Work? Photo of Philippine Airport Staff Causes Anger

Also: Vietnamese sea turtle poachers arrested, expat rent to rise in Bangkok. Tuesday ASEAN links.

Some Tuesday ASEAN links:

A photo of two Ninoy Aquino International Airport employees playing video games on their workstation computers has been shared more than 3000 times on social media, drawing angry comments from Philippine netizens.

In the photo, two women can be seen sitting at a desk with what appears to be a puzzle game open on their desktops. In the background, a long line of passengers wait to reach an adjacent window. It is unclear whether the women were taking a break or if they were supposed to be assisting travelers.

One person commented that the women should be investigated while another criticized government employees,” reported The Inquirer. “Others said that it was probably one of the reasons NAIA was voted worst airport in the world.” NAIA was ranked the worst airport in the world for both 2011 and 2013.

Philippine officials off the coast of Palawan Island weren’t playing any games with a group of 13 Vietnamese fishermen who were attempting to smuggle a large catch of protected sea turtles. Authorities claimed that illegal poaching of endangered species near the South China Sea is on the rise.

“Upon initial inspection, it was found out that the said foreign fishing vessel is loaded with undetermined (number of) pieces of dead sea turtles,” said a Palawan Island police officer, according to Channel NewsAsia.

All 13 poachers are being detained at Palawan Island’s police headquarters. Violation of Philippine legislation that protects endangered sea turtles is punishable by a minimum sentence of 12 years in prison. However, environmentalists are pushing for more severe punishment, claiming that pressure from foreign governments often leads to dropped charges and deportation – rather than jail time – for many poachers.

On the flip side, a Vietnamese charity has teamed up with the South African Rhinose Foundation in an attempt to slow the country’s demand for rhinoceros horns. With more than 700 African rhinos killed so far in 2013, it may be the deadliest year on record for the vulnerable mammals.

“It's a problem largely driven by demand in Asia, particularly in Vietnam, where rhino horns are used as a currency in networking, and are a way of showcasing power and wealth,” said Education for Nature-Vietnam spokesperson Ninh Thi Phuong Thao. Rhino horns are also used as an ingredient in certain kinds of Chinese and African medicine.

Finally, in Bangkok, a crowded expatriate housing market may drive up rent for the first time in more than 20 years.

“The number of expatriates sent to work in Thailand is growing, but the number of two- and three-bedroom high-end condominium and apartment units has not increased significantly, risking a possible shortage,” said international property consultant CBRE Thailand.

CBRE also stated that apartments in areas popular with wealthy foreigners are currently at 90 percent occupancy. More than 70 percent of all condos in the most sought-after neighborhoods are also occupied.