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Found 36 results

  1. Midweek rant: In Defense of Thai Men BANGKOK: -- To read the content of some online forums about Thailand you would be led to believe that Thai men are the devil incarnate. They have no redeeming features, or so the comments expound. In short, Thai men are beer swilling, Ya Ba taking, wife beating misogynist layabouts who beat their own children then abandon them at the drop of a hat to go off with the mia noi. They gamble and cheat and live off the earnings of Thai women, without whom, the whole country would fall apart. They enjoy a superior position in society which is not merited, we are constantly reminded. When one of their own attacks a woman in the street they turn the other way ignoring her plight. They only spring into action, the detractors continue, when the odds are about ten to one in their favor attacking with fists flailing and boots connecting with heads as their defenseless victims writhe on the floor pleading for mercy. Give it a rest. The comments seen continually from many in the foreign community smack of nothing more than ignorant and belligerent racism. For some reason the females of Thailand have been endowed with all the blessings while the men are castigated for everything that is wrong with the country. Occasionally you will see someone who speaks up for Thai men, but it is a rarity. The reality is that a great number of foreign men are engaging in the very same pack mentality bullying that they accuse the Thai men of. In this it is the classic behavior of the bully – they hide behind their keyboards spouting some kind of western superiority. We are constantly reminded of how they are braver, stronger, more moral, smarter…superior in every way. And of course if it came to a fight, a fair one, one on one with fists, the Thai would go screaming home to mummy while the westerner would cover himself in glory for saving the day and preserving everything that is right and good in the human race. Many have repeated this nonsense so much that they take it as some kind of home truth and they drag more relative newcomers to Thailand down to the same level with their banal rhetoric. The root cause is probably inadequacy. Deprived of the rights of their homeland and struggling with not just the language but the intricacies of the culture they feel the need to attack and like the bully they pick on Thai men. They also choose to believe stories they hear from bar girls without questioning the latter’s propensity to have an axe to grind. They point to the sensationalism of the news as a justification for their views for is there not always a Thai man behaving badly towards a woman, a step-father beating his children to a pulp or a lying, cheating husband pumping his wife full of lead for having a go at him, causing him to lose face. Of course these stories exist, but do the detractors not stop to think that these occur anywhere. Do they not ponder for a second of all the good that the great majority of Thai men do for their families? Has it not crossed their mind that there might be better if they only looked? Because, just like the vast majority of people the world over, there are good and bad but the largest number of Thai men are like those anywhere…good, honest people. People worth getting to know. Where does the bias come from? Many western men gravitate to the bar scene in Thailand – it is not only the women of the bars that blight their view of the Thai population. It is the men too. They see bouncers. They see men delivering their girlfriends to work at night. They see a part of society that is hardly representative of the whole. They have almost no contact with the Thai middle class, let alone the hi-so elements who they tar with the same brush even though they have no contact with them either. And as referred to earlier – they trust the views of Thai prostitutes as somehow representative of the opinions that Thai women have of their men. Really, littlehas changed from the days of the 1960s when the Americans thought they could go to Vietnam for an easy win. Tooled up with overwhelming military superiority they went in to kick some Gook Butt only to get their own derriere’s thoroughly whooped by the little fellas. The excuses came out of course and with it resentment seethed. Now Americans and everybody else are back at it, expounding their supposed superiority on a new target. Accuse them of racism and they deny it, saying that it is the Thai men who are racist. In much of the first decade I was here I was influenced by the bar scene and that caused a lack of knowledge of Thai men. I must admit though I kept it to myself, I thought Thai women superior to the men. I learnt Thai but always from women – I had to be careful I did not sound like one when I spoke. But that was before I really met any Thai men. In the last twenty five years I have met hundreds more Thai men than women, men mostly from the middle class; and I have learnt to respect them greatly. Of all the people I have ever met in my life in the west and in Thailand I would put more Thai men in my ‘top ten’ than any other nationality. Why? Because I have met smart Thai men. I have met family oriented Thai men who care about their wives and children. I have met Thai men who care about others, care about their country and society; Thai men who are moral, well-adjusted and basically, just plain likeable. To the point now where I wouldn’t make any major distinction between the men and women of the country. Of course there are bad as well as good but in my view the good far outweigh the bad. Of course, this writer is not a Thai man but neither am I what some call a Thai apologist. I am as much a critic of the society as the next man, perhaps more so. But in nearly four decades in Thailand I have tried to understand the people and their perspectives. All people. I have tried to gain a broader idea of the society. And I am still trying. So I would just like to say to those who are constantly having a go at Thai men. Do you really know any? Have you tried to talk to any? Have you made any effort to get to know your fellow man or are you just happy to display your ignorant superiority complex because that is the easiest way to look good beside your western mates? Try and meet some Thai men. Make some friends. Get some balance away from the hype of your little bubble. And you may just start to see another side to Thai men. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-03-22
  2. The myth of melting ice and rising seas By Sam Khoury Special to The Nation BANGKOK: -- This month The Nation along with every other news source in the world reported on a massive winter blizzard that struck the US northeast one week before the start of spring. On that same day Agence France-Presse reported that global warming, caused by human activity, was causing arctic sea ice to melt. It seems not a week goes by without some article appearing in the mainstream media about some catastrophic ice melt or sea level rise, usually backed by some scientific research that may not be as definitive as suggested. Is there really a massive loss of global ice and surging rise in sea level? History and the most reliable scientific research say no. Sea levels have been falling since the days of the Roman Empire – the world is dotted with former port cities that now lie kilometres inland. Visit the ancient Roman city of Ephesus in modern day Turkey and you can still see the road that led to the nearby harbour, only now there is no harbour. Ephesus used to overlook a bay, making it an ideal shipping port, but it has since become land. Along the Kent coast of England are more examples. Romney was a port in the 700s. When the sea retreated and it could no longer be used for shipping, it died and was replaced by New Romney, which now lies 2 kilometres away from the sea. The Vikings prospered a thousand years ago at a time climatologists refer to as the Medieval Warm Period. At that time the Belgian city of Bruges was a major port. A few hundred years later the sea had receded and Bruges lay near- abandoned for 400 years. About that time, in an increasingly swampy area up the coast, people started stacking mud in rows on which they built houses, giving them access to the sea in a Venice-like labyrinth. That settlement would become one of the gems of Western civilisation – Amsterdam. To defend their theory, believers in global warming claim that these ports simply “silted up”, resulting in their downfall. But the historical evidence is overwhelming. In his book “The Mysterious Receding Seas”, structural engineer Richard Guy produces maps of Upper Egypt dating from the 1500s (some of the oldest maps on record). They show there used to be an elaborate system of canals linking the Nile with the Red Sea that have since disappeared. In the intervening centuries attempts were made to dredge out these canals, but they failed as sea levels were just too low. This brings us to the modern era. Has the global warming that has occurred since the post-medieval cool period ended or reversed this trend? The science is saying no. The articles read in the mainstream media are usually about arctic sea ice. This ice fluctuates between winter and summer and does not affect sea levels (use a glass of water, an ice cube and a marker to do the experiment). The articles also report melting glaciers, but there are many glaciers all over the world that are expanding, including some big ones. And there are more than 150,000 glaciers on Earth. The two landmasses that really control sea levels are Greenland and Antarctica. A Nasa study of Antarctica using satellites concluded that the continent has been gaining approximately 100 billion tonnes of ice a year since the early 1990s while a group of 15 international scientists recently concluded that the Greenland ice sheet is now almost at its greatest extent for 7,500 years. This suggests that the relationship between climate change and icing is complex: global warming doesn’t necessarily equate to melting ice and global cooling doesn’t automatically mean more ice, since the climate temperature has fluctuated since the Roman period whereas sea levels seem to have only gone down. The answer to this riddle lies in the Earth’s recurring cycles of glacial periods – which last 90,000 years and see a steady accumulation of ice – and 10,000 year inter-glacial periods, which see rapid ice melt in the first part of those respective periods. The last inter-glacial period started around 11,500 years ago. So current concern about modern-day cities going underwater are indeed realistic. But only about 90,000 years from now. Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/opinion/30309683 -- © Copyright The Nation 2017-03-21
  3. Midweek rant: Name and Shame – stop this defamation drivel! We have heard it time and time again! The school where the teachers tied up the kindergarten kids was not named. The hotel where the lift fell down was not named. The department store where the car drove off the fourth floor of the car park…..yes, of course, you guessed it..... was not named. Ok, I can appreciate not naming businesses and organizations that are in no way connected or culpable in news that might present them in a bad light. We don’t necessarily need to know the name of the condo where someone jumped or the hotel where the dead tourist was found. You weren’t to blame so it seems fair to keep your name out of the news. But we sure as hell need to know the school where teachers and even the director think it is quite alright to blindfold children to make them concentrate. Or hotels where lifts plummet several storeys injuring guests. Or department stores where building regulations might have been flouted making them a danger to the public. To me and my family. Sure. News stories are often inaccurate and there may not be anyone to blame. But we need to know even when an investigation is under way. The public are not fools; if there really was no wrong doing we can move on. But by not naming the parties involved all you are doing is creating uncertainty which may lead to completely unconnected businesses and establishments being implicated. Ever heard of guilt by association and innuendo? And when there is a case to answer. Where guilt has been admitted. Then surely we have a right to know. A right to know that will help us inform the decision where not to send our children. A right to know where it might be dangerous for us to enter a lift to go to our room. A right to know where we might avoid parking our car due to inadequate safety provision. A right to know where hospitals put profit ahead of the care of their patients, and other such cases. Of course the Thais hide behind their Draconian Criminal Defamation Laws and Computer Crime Act. News organizations are terrified of being sued even if they are proved to be in the right. Damages can be large, people can be jailed and serve more time than even the ones in the wrong! Everyone understands the need to protect people from libel, from slander, from malicious reporting or malicious statements. But where do you draw the line? Does the public not have any rights to know what danger they might be putting themselves or their loved ones in? Do we not have a right to know the truth so that we can make informed decisions? The law and weakness of news media in being cowed by it is thoroughly detrimental to the well-being of the public. Who in addition have to face the absurd situation whereby they are threatened with action from officialdom – such as police for example - even when a case is proven. Even when it is as plain as the nose on your face. Is this fear of criticizing not counter-productive to the claims that the police make of wanting to be more friendly, more in tune with the wishes and needs of the public? That is a rhetorical question. Of course it is. Schools, hotels, restaurants, shops, department stores, hospitals – you name it –they all need to be named in the public interest. If they behave disreputably then their reputation deserves to be tarnished – not protected so they can just carry on regardless. When nothing is proven we can understand the words and phrases: “it is claimed”, “alleged”, “as yet unfounded allegations”. But we need to know when an investigation is in progress and who exactly it involves. We need to know when it is resolved and how. The media need to inform us and we need officialdom to show us some respect. We have a right to transparency. We have a right to know. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-03-15
  4. Midweek rant: It’s a dog’s life – time for humans to fight back! BANGKOK: -- In Thailand you could be forgiven for thinking that dogs have all the rights. The mangy mutts seem to rule the sois annoying anyone walking or on a bicycle. They lounge outside 7/11s for the air-con taking a chunk out of customers on a regular basis. They present a significant health hazard for rabies and other infections. Children are mauled and disfigured. Our cities and towns are filthy and dangerous. They enjoy the protection of the law and the protection of misguided animal lovers and religious do-gooders. So much so that if any human fights back they are named and shamed on social media and threatened with jail by the police. Beat someone up, drive like a lunatic or steal – but you won’t face the kind of penalties likely for being unkind to a rabid mongrel. Just ask the man who took a knife to a vicious dog that attacked his son in Bangkok last year – two years jail. It’s incredible. Then this week comes the ultimate – and a sure sign of an even worse future for Thailand and it’s dog problem. Not just decrepit flea ridden dogs – but killer breeds designed by dog engineers to kill and maim. A poor man out doing nothing but trapping a few rats to eat is mauled to death by three Rottweiler dogs. His clothes are ripped from him and he is left almost unrecognizable. The completely irresponsible dog owner buys his way out of trouble for a paltry sum and the dogs remain in their cages. While the family of the dead man have to pick up the pieces. Dog apologists crawl out from every available woodwork – they are both Thai and western. They all seem to have a Rottweiler or a pit bull who is gentle and licks babies affectionately. It’s sickening. The dogs are in charge in society and the humans have to suck it up. How has it come to this disgraceful state of affairs? Dog lovers are in denial and at the root cause of the danger for the rest of us. They mistreat their animals then then claim they know best. Why do you need to keep a dog – isn’t it just a form of slavery. Does it make you feel all masterful? Buddhist attitudes need adjustment. Dogs should not be above the law, allowed to hurt our children and kill our friends and family. People should not hide behind the religion – many just go along with it because they are worried about looking bad. Try looking at your kid with twenty stitches across their face or on their deathbed from rabies. Do you think that looks bad? So what needs to be done to claim back our towns and villages from canine catastrophe? Step One: Round up dogs that do not have an owner. Put them to death and incinerate the remains. Step Two: Round up the people who claim to own a dog. Make them pay a serious license fee. Warn them that any infractions will result in their dog being taken away. And possibly euthanized. And make it known that sanctions exist not just for permitting their dogs to bit or maul people. Serious sanctions should exists for animals that bark and annoy neighbors. No dog should be out on public streets without a lead. If they are report the owners and have the animal taken away. Dogs should only be exercised where there is no possibility of them being in contact with people. Don’t assume other people like dogs – many hate them with a vengeance and feel threatened. We don’t even want your uncontrolled beasts nuzzling our genitals. It’s repulsive. Dog owners like the Rottweiler owner in Bung Karn must be jailed. They were his dogs – just doing what comes naturally if they are chained in cages all day. Some caring dog lover. Jail on manslaughter charges – five to ten years will start to make people think. The public should be allowed to clear up their neighborhoods and be encouraged to do so. Do away with the namby-pamby laws that protect dogs. Dogs in the street – fair game. Encourage people to round up soi dogs. Put some incentives in place – bounty hunters for dogs. That’ll soon end the problem. I’ll donate money and volunteer my services in a heartbeat. It shouldn’t take long if we work together to combat the menace. If people want to be responsible with dogs – and that includes picking up their revolting waste that sullies every city in the country – then regulate them. Control them with an iron fist and keep them away from the rest of us who want to live in peace, and cleanliness and safety from attack. Start thinking about the rights of people again. And put dogs and their owners squarely in their place. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-03-08
  5. Thaivisa Launch Comparison Car Insurance Site for Expats (Bangkok, March 3rd 2017) Thaivisa is delighted to announce the launch of their new car insurance comparison site for expats in Thailand. For many years now Thaivisa has been considered the go to site for all things to do with Thailand for foreigners; and so this service is considered very much aligned with this service and support. "It's not always easy living in Thailand especially with the language barrier that exists for most of us" states Dan Cheeseman, MD for Thaivisa, "Thaivisa is perfectly placed to provide this support and a comparison Car Insurance service can help save us all money on our annual premiums" Many of you may remember earlier last year when Thaivisa first launched this service. It was so successful that the team had to suspend activity after 7days in order to put a larger team in place to service these inquiries. Why not see how much you can save on Car Insurance with Thaivisa Compare Car Insurance Service? carinsurance.thaivisa.com
  6. HOTEL DEALS: Book by March 6th to receive an extra 10% discount on our already great prices! Continuing with 3 more Hotel Deals of the Week! Book by March 6th to receive an extra 10% discount on our already great prices! For up to 10% extra discount on Classic Kameo Hotel, in Ayutthaya: Click here For 10% extra discount on Oriental Residence, in Bangkok: Click here For 10% extra discount on Deevana Krabi Resort, in Krabi: Click here How to claim your 10 percent discount 1. Click on one of the hotel links above 2. Enter “thaivisa” in the green promo code box to unlock the special discounts 3. The discounted hotel rates will then be displayed 4. Select Book Now to make your booking with the discounted rate Thaivisa Exclusive Hotel Bookings work with a select group of hotels in Thailand on the premise of negotiating the lowest prices and also only hotels which consistently score well among its guests.
  7. Midweek Rant Save our children – it’s about time cruel teachers were jailed Picture: Sanook BANGKOK: -- There are certain stock phrases in Thailand that even relative newbies following the Thai news will be aware of. Such phrases as ‘the driver fled the scene’, ‘managed to escape in the confusion’ and ‘transferred to an inactive post’ are all such basic examples. To these and many others of the genre can now be added “the teacher had gone home because she wasn’t feeling well” and “the director of the school was in a meeting and unavailable for comment”. They both follow cases of cruelty and abuse to children at schools and are becoming almost a daily staple in the news pages about Thailand. Especially now that video evidence is becoming to widespread. I am ranting this week about the situation in schools, not in homes. Domestic abuse can wait for another day because I don’t want to confuse the two even though some claim there is a connection. Last week there was the case of the two so-called teachers at a kindergarten who were caught binding the hands and blindfolding two five year olds supposedly under their care. They claimed pathetically that their actions were to teach concentration. Shockingly the director – when he could finally be found – backed them up before he realized what hot water he was in. The parents settled on compensation of 20,000 baht per child. Almost as ghastly. This week video has emerged of a teacher assaulting a young boy and stomping on him in class. The poor chap didn’t know what was happening to him and didn’t know where to turn. Indeed there was no one to help him. The abuse was repeated again and again. That happened last year and nothing has been done. In 2016 a PE teacher hurled a coffee mug at a student and disfigured her. He was allowed to keep his job while the student herself was obliged to go elsewhere. To feel like she was in the wrong. She didn’t listen to an instruction – kids do that, funnily enough. I saw it once or twice in thirty years as a teacher. Thirty years, I might add, when a raised voice or a steely stare was all I ever needed. There have also been reports of sexual abuse against girls and boys – many of which are shoved under the carpet when the press furor dies down. Many other cases at all age levels have been reported. It is alarming but there is something much more concerning, more insidious than the crimes in some ways. Virtually all the teachers concerned are still in their jobs. Many have not even been transferred to other schools meaning that children who can’t move away have to face them again and again. The worst they can expect is paying a few thousand baht compensation, if they have to pay anything at all. Many just get the most cursory of telling off by the local education authority after the inevitable committee is set up to pretend to investigate. Directors just protect their staff knowing that their own face is at risk from fingers pointed at their schools. They are scared to death of their profits taking a plunge. Many parents accept money rather than insist on prosecution. Police wait until doctors tell them the bleeding obvious that a child has been wounded, then dally and try to fob the case off onto others such as child protection services. This when a criminal assault has often taken place. Everybody is at fault in this national scandal – everybody that is except the children. Though you wouldn’t know it at times. As is always the case when abusers meet victims, it is the children and most vulnerable that seem to frequently get the blame. Some are forced to apologize as children invariably will to help ease matters even when they know they are in the right. What sort of educational example is that? It just makes for a sickening and repeating cycle of abuse where the young people are let down time and again by those very people who should be tasked with protecting them. Of course the government can point to the now long outlawed change in the law supposedly banning corporal punishment in schools. Big deal. It is one thing to promulgate a law but, as we see in Thailand time and time again in other areas, quite another to actually enforce it. There exists a lingering vestige of acceptance that teachers have the right to threaten children with violence and even to use it. Within all corners of society there are those who accept it. And the children even do – they are so used to the propaganda of the rights of adults over children that they feel they have little say in the matter. They need adults to help them – which is so absolutely lacking in so many cases. Sure, there are of course good teachers everywhere who are appalled by the violence and feel sickened themselves that their calling is so besmirched. They are in the majority, only a fool would deny it. But these good apples need to be helped too, by a proper reaction to those that are sullying the name of the teaching profession in Thailand. So what needs to happen? Firstly any teacher under investigation needs to be suspended immediately. Directors of schools need to be compelled to act quickly and decisively. Education authorities of all levels need to ensure that directors are forced to act. Then there need to be guidelines that are followed. Physical abuse needs to be assessed quickly. And police should not wait for complaints before acting in the interest of the young victims. They need to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of violence on children with no leniency shown to teachers – in fact the opposite should be the case. Because of their position of authority the cases should be considered more serious more heinous. No teacher should have any right to hit, browbeat or bully a child in any way. Teachers who assault children physically should be jailed. Courts should be prepared to hand down custodial sentences to teachers, suspend the sentences if they are sufficiently minor – but make it jail. Most fines in Thailand are hopelessly inadequate. And anyone convicted of assault against children should not be allowed to enter a classroom again – ever. If you assault a child one strike and you’re out. No second chances. Directors who have connived to protect teachers under their command should also be jailed. They are as much part of the problem. Civil servants in education authorities who fail to act in the interests of children should be sacked. They can be given jobs sweeping the roads or something if they still need to work for the authority. And please, please, please…no more of this offering and accepting of money as if that is the answer to the problem of abuse and will make it go away. It won’t – it will just help to engrain the idea in all other areas of society as the children grow up that problems can be sorted with money. It is time to start challenging that notion with the young because there is very little hope for the older members of society in that regard. All adults need to stop paying lip service to the notion that the Thai nation is somehow a paragon of virtue when it comes to the care of their children. They need to stop the denial and start to act. They need to demand action from their leaders. All right minded people must demand it. Because the children – in their innocent hearts - rightfully, demand it. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-03-01
  8. The Midweek Rant: Stop Knocking Pattaya! Pattaya has taken a helluva knocking lately. From those claiming that the crime rate has gone through the roof with attacks in bars and necklace snatchings, that the resort is nothing but a haven for villains both local and international, to those who say that it is dirty, corrupt and the dregs of Thailand. It seems that in the eyes of many Pattaya is the pits – always has been and always will be. It has no future and should be avoided. Its seedy image is well engrained and it deserves being called a prostitution capital of the world worth visiting only for sex tourists. Even then the people are horrible and you’ll be lucky not to be attacked. Well I beg to differ. Most of the negativity comes from people who don’t live in Pattaya or even idiots who have never even been there. Or it comes from the bias of people who have never really got to know the resort or what it has to offer in so many ways. People are just prejudiced when Pattaya is mentioned. For me I admit I like to poke fun at Pattaya. I have lived almost my entire adult life in Bangkok and this is where I intend to stay and like the most. But that doesn’t mean to say I haven’t had some great times in Pattaya. I must have visited there at least 100 times. As a journalist I have written many hundreds of crime stories about the resort – I am under no illusions about what could happen but I still like it and think it is a great place to visit. Why? Because it has so much to offer. And so much more than walking Street or bar stools. When my children were growing up it was always a favorite of ours to go to Pattaya. We used to leave mum at home for a rest and drive off there. Hotels were of good quality and very reasonably priced. Great food was to be had everywhere and again nearly always good value. The people seemed perfectly OK – a bit more surprised at a Westerner speaking good Thai than Bangkok – but never any problems. And my young kids growing up loved the place for Pattaya Park, Ripley’s, mini golf, the beach – whatever, we always had a great time, great weekends. For me it was not a place I would live in – I was hooked on Bangkok and that was where we lived – but it was always worth a few days to visit. If I ever went out with the boys on other trips – and we had a few stag weekends at the resort – a good time was always had by all. No fights, no blood, no trouble. Maybe we never went looking for any – but none found us. Now starting a new family with more young children and a wife who likes to go to Pattaya we shall be going to the resort all over again. And hopefully for many years to come. These days there is even more to do for families in the area of Pattaya, the hotels remain excellent value and the food is better than ever. More variety, more choice, more everything. Sure it’s a bit grubby in places and a bit disorganized but you can hardly say that Bangkok doesn’t suffer from those problems. We shall continue to go to Pattaya and always will and can’t wait for our trip there when the Thai school holidays start next week. So to those people who seem to spend their entire lives moaning about Pattaya – why don’t you give it a rest? And stop knocking Pattaya! -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-02-22
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    Hot Magazine: Check out the February 2017 issue online here or download a PDF version by clicking on the green download button
  10. Editors Pick

    Hot Magazine February 2017 View File Hot Magazine: Check out the February 2017 issue online here or download a PDF version by clicking on the green download button Submitter Jonathan Fairfield Submitted 02/16/2017 Category Thaivisa Members Files  
  11. The midweek rant: Red roses not red faces - tourist shaming a massive own goal for Thai authorities. The absolutely pathetic shaming of an Englishman and his Thai Go-Go companion in a Pattaya short time sex room this week beggared belief. District chief Naris Niramaiwong was banging on the door of the room above the Windmill Bar and was then pictured inside the gaudy room with the 62 year old tourist and his legal age companion. The police were there too. The military were there. And of course the photographers were there – this was nothing but a photo opportunity but if Khun Naris thinks he came out with any kudos for this disgraceful escapade into private business between two consenting adults then he can think again. All he succeeded in doing was looking like a complete idiot. Now people can bang on about prostitution, older men sleeping with younger woman, all that goes on in Pattaya blah, blah, as much as they like. That is just a smokescreen. The fact remains that this was nothing short of embarrassing. And frankly, it looks ten times more embarrassing in the end for the municipal chief and law enforcement than even the hapless couple who had to scurry to find their clothes under the glare of the intrusive lights. And all on Valentine’s Day – you couldn’t make it up! Why not show some love and respect and leave the people alone? We are used to seeing Thai civil servants from the top down appearing on the news pages making it look as though they are doing their job. But to go to a short time room in Pattaya – just one mind you – in this manner on the pretext of working was a massive own goal. What does he think goes on in Pattaya? Or in countless other places in Thailand for that matter. It ranked up there with tourism minister Khun Kobkarn Wattanavarangkul’s pronouncements in July last year that she was going to end the sex trade. But while the minister’s campaign died an immediate death and her sanity was questioned, at least she only embarrassed herself. In her favor, maybe she genuinely believed what she was saying. Not for her walking in on tourists in private then plastering the pictures all over the internet. She also probably learnt something about who the people are who really drive the sex trade. Naris thought he would look good and the public would be assured that the officials were doing their job. Absurd. If he had any remote interest in that how about mobilize a task force and get some concrete results in arresting some snatch thieves? Or better still get your military buddies to follow through on the police extortion cases in the resort that have been so conveniently shelved as if we have all forgotten. Anything would have been better than this charade. Even doing what the Bangkok force did in Khao San Road on Tuesday and hand out some red roses to the tourists of Walking Street would have been better for your image and those of your lackeys than this unseemly spectacle. Please don’t hide behind the veneer that the law was being broken at the Windmill. Fine the owner if you must but even that would rank as pathetic in most people’s eyes given the reputation of the resort. Just leave the tourists and their companions out of your little games. They were not charged – ergo they had broken no laws. Both deserve a public apology from you Mr District Chief. In private, away from the cameras, OK? -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-02-15
  12. Special offer: Get a 5 percent discount on all hotel bookings with Thaivisa To celebrate the launch of our new hotel booking website we are offering Thaivisa readers a 5% discount on all bookings, just type 'thaivisa' in the promo code section This new service is TAT registered and can be visited directly at www.hotels.thaivisa.com
  13. Dollar caught in crossfire as Trump talks currency wars By Wayne Cole REUTERS The dollar sign (R) is seen alongside the signs for other currencies above a currency exchange shop in Mongkok shopping district in Hong Kong, China, October 30, 2014. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo SYDNEY (Reuters) - The dollar was put on the defensive in Asia on Wednesday after the Trump administration accused Germany and Japan of devaluing their currencies to gain a trade advantage, fuelling a risk-off mood that also kept stocks subdued. The U.S. currency suffered its worst January in three decades after President Donald Trump complained that every "other country lives on devaluation." Just hours earlier his top trade adviser said Germany was using a "grossly undervalued" euro to exploit its trading partners. The accusations drew rebuttals from German and Japanese officials, but looked likely to run for some time. "Suspicions that Washington may increasingly focus on the value of the dollar were catapulted into the limelight," ANZ analysts said in a note. "The early policy implication is that dollar competitiveness could have a prominent role to play in Trump's 'America First' agenda." The dollar did recoup a little of its losses as the Asian session wore on, edging up to 112.94 yen from a low of 112.08, though that remained well short of Monday's 115.01 peak. The euro was firm at $1.0793 <EUR=>, having been as high as $1.0812 and a long way from Monday's trough of $1.0617. Against a basket of currencies, the dollar <.DXY> stood at 99.651, having ended January with a loss of 2.6 percent. The jump in the yen kept Tokyo stocks <.N225> flat, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> was 0.06 percent lower. Chinese markets were still on holiday but surveys from the Asian giant showed manufacturing and services activity continued to expand in January. Exports from tech bellwether South Korea also grew at the fastest pace in almost five years, another sign the global economy had been on the mend before all the talk of U.S. protectionism darkened the air. FED ON HOLD Investors' hopes for a fiscal boost to the world's largest economy under Trump have been tempered by controversial and protectionist policies that have seen him suspend travel to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. The policy uncertainty only added to expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will keep interest rates steady when it concludes a two-day meeting later Wednesday. The setback for Wall Street has been limited so far. While the S&P 500 fell on Tuesday for a fourth consecutive session, it still ended higher for the month. The Dow <.DJI> dipped 0.54 percent, while the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 0.09 percent and the Nasdaq <.IXIC> 0.02 percent. Apple <AAPL.O> shares also jumped 3.3 percent after the bell as sales of iPhones beat expectations, helping lift Nasdaq e-mini futures <NQc1> up 0.2 percent. Safe-haven bonds benefited from all the unease over Trump's policies and yields on 10-year Treasury debt <US10YT=RR> eased to 2.46 percent from 2.48 percent early in the week. The retreat in the dollar also boosted a range of commodities, with copper touching a two-month high <CMCU3>. Brent crude oil <LCOc1> for April was quoted 10 cents lower at $55.48, while U.S. crude <CLc1> eased 8 cents to $52.73. (Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Eric Meijer & Shri Navaratnam) -- © Copyright Reuters 2017-02-01
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    Hot Magazine: Check out the January 2017 issue online here or download a PDF version by clicking on the green download button
  15. Hot Magazine January 2017 View File Hot Magazine: Check out the January 2017 issue online here or download a PDF version by clicking on the green download button Submitter Jonathan Fairfield Submitted 01/16/2017 Category Thaivisa Members Files  
  16. Digital Marketing Conference Brings Top Talent To Bangkok Thursday, January 26th (BANGKOK) – Key influencers from across digital platforms will converge in Bangkok for the Digital 16 Conference in January. Digital 16, hosted by Bangkok Entrepreneurs, focuses on the latest digital trends and how they impact and influence digital strategies across platforms. The conference gathers distinguished experts from agencies, brands, and media to learn from and engage with during one day of speakers, workshops, and networking at the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel. With keynote speakers including John Wagner, the Country Manager for Thailand at Facebook, the projected 400+ attendees, from entrepreneurs in digital marketing, ecommerce, advertising, sales, and C-Level executives will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the forefront of digital trends, and learn the most promising strategies that will take their endeavors to the next level. Other speakers and topics range from Ann Suwanjindar from DKSH, a major stakeholder in Thailand’s aCommerce, Stuart Kelly from Weber Shandwick examining the rise of digital public relations, and Isobar’s Adisak Amornchat exploring brand commerce, and more. As the head of business development for Syndacast, Oliver Wilkes, emphasizes: “In 2017, dependence on smartphone usage will continually increase, making mobile the preferred search platform that connects users to the brands and vice versa. Brands are always looking for ways to talk and get to know their customers better. The age of sell, sell, sell is over. Now, it is all about communication and getting closer to their audience with relevant messages.” Flexibility and agility are more important than ever. There is no better way to stay on the forefront of an ever-changing landscape than with exclusive expertise from leading professionals in the field. Digital 16 combines key influencers from all digital aspects and brings them onto one stage with the goal to inform and drive market strategy into the future. More information can be found online at: http://www.bangkok-entrepreneurs.com/digital16/
  17. That Was The Year That Was – The Thai Year in review - part 3 Rooster’s Dozen – top stories in a year of sadness and madness The year 2016 hit the heights of both sadness and madness. Thais of all social strata and backgrounds were united as one in October when the tragic news of the death of revered monarch King Bhumphol Adulyadej saddened the nation. Though only the most optimistic of people could have seen a recovery for his majesty after years of confinement to Sirirat hospital and reduced public appearances, the sense of shock was still intense and profound. Crowds continue to flock to the area of the Grand Palace and Sanam Luang and the majority of the public in the capital remain in black when going about their daily business. Perhaps only the cremation expected late in 2017 will change that. The departed king’s eldest and only son became Rama X officially in December as a new era began for the Thai people. This was clearly the overwhelmingly biggest story of the year but many others that filled the “pages” of Thaivisa news were light hearted and quirky as much as serious or were sometimes a typically Thai mélange of both. So here is my take on some of the biggest and most comment worthy stories of the year in Rooster’s Dozen – the article is featured in two parts so here are my first six. Lady Kai The story of Monta Yokratanakan captivated the Thai public and increasingly entertained the foreign community of Thailand through English translations of the stories. Her fall from grace to prison on lese majeste charges was really the result of the action of a human rights lawyer and a nineteen year old former employee who brought charges against her. These swiftly developed into human trafficking claims and even involvement in land transfer scams and the death of a person in the north east. When her alleged impersonation of a princess came to light the game was up and she has been on remand ever since. She is fighting the charges but whether it is high ranking people hanging her out to dry to protect themselves or something less sinister she is unlikely to see the light of day anytime soon. The Owens from Wales When the Owen family went out for a late night drink in Hua Hin little did they know they would wind up in hospital as well as plastered wall to wall in not just the Thai media but in stories throughout the world. The three family members were assaulted in Soi Bintabaht by some local thugs one of whom was captured kicking Rosemary in the face when she was on the ground. While assault and battery was a constant theme of the year particularly by drunks this story really hit home as it was against tourists. While the authorities initially tried to keep it quiet it proved impossible. Those responsible were jailed for two years while the term “spoiling the image of tourism in Thailand” became as ubiquitous as fleeing the scene. Of course it was not the only attack on tourists by any means – Pattaya and Phuket in particular were full of them – but it was easily the highest profile one of its kind this year and attracted the attention of senior government, tourism officials and police who – faced with the CCTV evidence – could no longer sweep such an event under the carpet. No sex please, we’re Thai. The pronouncements of the Sports and Tourism Minister Khun Kobkarn Wattanavarangul became fodder for the forum posters throughout the year. None of her “initiatives” was more severely lambasted than her pronouncement that she intended to bring an end to the sex tourism industry. She claimed that no tourists really wanted that or came here for it. While most tourists may indeed be uninterested in pay for play, it was clearly an absurd generalization and her campaign to end sex tourism quickly withered as she was probably advised by those with multiple fingers in such pies that it really was a tad OTT. The well-meaning former CEO of Toshiba then embarked on the “zero-dollar” tour issue with zeal but perhaps not the required foresight or forethought. Towards the end of the year other high ranking officials said that mistakes had been made as the Chinese not only stopped paying for such tours but stopped coming altogether. Khun Kobkarn redeemed herself somewhat with a better display during the aftermath of the death of the king helping tourists to understand what this meant for the people and country. The Body in the Freezer The arrest of three Americans in Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok in September for forging passports could have passed into obscurity were it not for the fact that a cut up body was found in their freezer. A policeman was shot during their arrest and no one could seem to decide the real names of the men or what they had actually done. Another high profile murder involving a foreigner occurred later in the year when an Israeli national was arrested in Bang Bua Thong. His identity was clear and so was that of his compatriot found in cement under the stairs but his involvement in the disappearance of his wife has still to be ascertained. Dozens of gruesome murders – mostly Thai on Thai - filled the news stories of Thaivisa over the year though many forum posters would be happier when these are followed through to their conclusions. People want to be sure that justice was done when the headlines died down and that appropriate sentences were handed out. Nang Fa Karaoke The raid of the Nang Fa Karaoke lounge in Pattaya by cops allegedly extorting money was another story that could have been filed under “So What?” Were it not for the hilarious events that followed the bungled attempt to extract money it too may have been quietly forgotten without another word. The owner of the lounge said that she had connections in high places in the police, a claim that the leader of the extortion gang pooh-poohed. Even when she put the head of Chonburi police on the line they laughed it off as a pathetic attempt to avoid paying up. The penny finally dropped when the head of the national force called back and was put on loudspeaker on the mobile phone. For me this is the funniest moment of the year. The cops scarpered and eventually turned themselves in but, not surprisingly, this is another case gone quiet and dealt with “internally” after the inevitable transfers to HQ while it blows over. The raids on the Nataree Massage parlor in Bangkok were not as funny though months have passed with no word about the influential owner wanted in connection with human trafficking at the venue. No one is holding their breath he will check in any time soon. Pattaya Bridge Players A story that made international headlines was the raid on a group of Bridge playing pensioners in Pattaya in February. The hauling off to clink of a bunch of pensioners having a harmless game of cards was ample fodder for news organizations after a fun human interest style story. Those in Thailand saw the funny side too, though many complained that the authorities really should find better things to do – like arrest criminals. Of course the incident centers around the old hot chestnut of illegal gambling in the kingdom and the Euro football tournament in June saw a huge number of arrests and the debate about legalizing certain forms of gambling continues to rage unabated. Indeed, if you took gambling and drugs out of Thailand’s news there would seem to be little left at times. Professor Wanchai’s very public death The hunt for and subsequent cornering of Professor Wanchai led to much soul searching in the Thai media. The professor had been angered by spurious claims that he was unqualified and so he walked into a classroom and shot two colleagues at point blank range in Bang Ken. He fled but was soon found holed up in a short time hotel. His end was filmed on television and it was drawn out and the stuff of soap opera filled with an equal mix of sadness and high drama. As the prof held a gun to his head on National TV all and sundry from relatives to alumni were called to try and talk him out of killing himself. After about six hours of live coverage, he eventually walked round a corner and ended it all with a single shot. The live coverage, clamor for photos of his body and follow up stories painted the press in a poor light and the prime minister, as he did on many stories, voiced his concerns and opinions as a spokesperson for Thai “morality”. Care Bears and police initiatives The Thai police – mindful perhaps to improve an ever worsening public image of corruption - came in for much ridicule for a number of “initiatives” seemingly to make them look better. Top of the list was quickly abandoned Care Bears who made just one appearance in Walking Street to ensure tourists that the force were looking after them. Met chief Sanit Mahathavorn chipped in with many ideas of his own including encouraging officers to use “calming” hand gestures to deal with volatile situations like drugs’ busts and unruly teen gangs. Then this week the force said it had ordered thousands of kilos of rice to give away to motorists who obey the traffic laws. Meanwhile, police enforcement on the roads remains sporadic at best and the road carnage – nothing short of a national disgrace – continues. Upwards of a million people will die on the Thai roads in the next 40 years if nothing is done – a sobering thought. Graap My Rot and other road rage Towards the end of the year the story of presenter Nott who made a motorcyclist kowtow (or graap) his Mini Cooper after scratching it, was a big media event for more than a week in the Thai news. It had all the elements of celebrity and the downtrodden, a staple of nightly soaps. Nott lost his job and of course ordained. Other high profile figures like Jenpop, the heir to a huge fortune who killed two graduate students after driving his Merc into their Ford and the general’s son handed a beating outside the toilets of a now shuttered bar in Chiang Mai captivated the Thai public’s need for real life soap opera – especially as they had to do without for so long during the initial mourning period for the late king as TV programs fell silent. In the same soapy vein was the story of a pump attendant in the north east who a civil servant unkindly abused for being ugly. The lady ended up appearing in a movie role as herself such was her “insta-fame”. Monks behaving badly The issue of both high profile monks and their country cousins behaving badly became a recurring theme on Thaivisa this year. It was not just Phra Dhammachayo, the alleged embezzeler at Wat Dhammakaya, or the sunglass wearing jet setting fugitive from justice still in the US that captured the imagination. Monks everywhere murdered raped and pillaged in seemingly equal measure. Children were assaulted by the clergy, animals abused, one even took a scythe to a member of the public over a small debt while another exposed himself to a woman. Monks impersonated each other, held drugs and booze parties and caused dozens of “irate villagers” to bring in the authorities demanding the inevitable defrocking. It began to look like the activities inside temples were indistinguishable from the various dens of iniquity outside the walls. Many posters on Thaivisa wondered how the public could have any respect left for their guardians of Buddhism. Pokemon Go In September and early October it seemed as though every single story had to have some angle connected with the augmented reality game Pokemon Go or it could not be considered news! The craze swept the nation with teachers joining pupils at schools in the lunch break and police looking after the public who had wandered off into desolate areas to hunt down the prancing Pokemon. Warnings were issued about the safety of players in cars and on the sidewalks of the cities and it seemed like it would never end. Events in October, however, banished Pokemon Go from the news as quickly and as assuredly as it had arrived and it has not been heard from since. Rooster can only say, thank Buddha for that. Harold and Nong Nat Final word for 2016 has to be the saga of the relationship of aging and balding US millionaire businessman Harold Nesland and his young ex porn star wife Nat Ketsarin otherwise known as Nong Nat. Their exploits – usually shamelessly coming from busty Nat herself posting on Facebook and Instagram – were a monthly staple on the forum after their marriage was confirmed in April. Rather in the manner of the Kardashians we were treated with detail after detail of Nat’s apparent devotion to Harold and his boundless kindness to her burgeoning bank balance. Even posters who screamed “This is NOT news!” were clearly still reading it. Obviously having a Thai wife or girlfriend was something the great majority of the forum were able to relate to and as various surveys conducted this year have attested to, if you are male and over 50 you represent the average on the site. Maybe they could put themselves in Harold’s shoes! Rooster
  18. Koh Chang Guide Issue 1 - 2017 - download PDF version or read on Issuu All the latest information about Koh Chang
  19. That Was The Year That Was – the Thai Year in review - part 2 by Rooster Big Brother is watching you but we are watching him too. Few stories in the news this year did not have some reference to video surveillance of one kind or another. Whether it was the ubiquitous CCTV cameras in our Thai cities and towns – some of which actually seemed to work – or the hand held devices and dash cams we all seem to possess, crime and misdoing was recorded for all to see like never before. While this was often a useful tool used by the authorities in bringing to light and often quickly solving a wide variety of crime, the cameras were often turned on corrupt police and officials themselves who were publically shamed and given nowhere to hide. Police tried their best to make defamation counter claims but mostly these were little more than hot air aimed at deflecting the obvious that the public could see “before their very eyes” as magicians used to say. Indeed, there was an increasing feeling that while Big Brother was looking at us, we were in turn looking at Big Brother and making him increasingly accountable. And many cases both for and against the authorities would never have even come to light but for the surveillance so readily at hand. In high profile cases of national importance – such as the attack on the Owen family in Hua Hin at Songkran – CCTV footage was pivotal in not only bringing the attackers to justice but in exposing the crime in the first place. The story soon reached a worldwide audience and the boot to the face suffered by Rosemary Owen made international news for days and Thai news for weeks. How different it would have been if it had just been her word against the thugs. As it was the authorities were unable to keep it quiet despite the inevitable damage to tourism. From the tourism minister down they were obliged to switch to Plan B – accepting what had happened and actually doing something about it. Police attempts to blame the people who had shared the damning footage in the wake of the crime were just saber-rattling. In the literally dozens of cases this year where the police claimed damage to their own image or that of the country through people posting online, there were literally no reported fines or arrests. Indeed unless it can be categorically proven that posting video was malicious or misleading, it is to all intents and purposes becoming a non-crime. In this sense the loss of face of the Thai officials in going after video posters is greater than the original misdemeanor that was captured on camera. Many who comment habitually on forums like Thaivisa were wont to suggest that there had been some kind of crime explosion in Thailand. For anyone who has been here five minutes and has actually followed crime and punishment in the kingdom – and Rooster has kept his eyes “pealed” for the best part of 35 years – will know the country has its fair share of crime and always has. Any image to the contrary is rose tinted twaddle. But its exposure is now instant and everyone can see its consequences through media such as Facebook and the Thai news agencies who increasingly rely on it. All Thaivisa have done is up the ante in reporting this more visible crime via translations from Thai media giving the impression that crime is on the rise. That and an editorial policy to bring more Thai law-breaking into the domain of the English speaking world in general. Do people really believe that criminal acts committed by the monkhood, schoolboys, stepfathers or road-ragers – to name but a few – are a modern phenomena? It would be just as absurd to suggest that police corruption and extortion has only just reared its ugly head because we can now observe it in a few clicks of a device in the comfort of our own homes. Many surveys worldwide confirm the often pooh-poohed view that our societies are safer than ever. Cameras bring the crime to us as never before creating a misconception if not the mother of all urban myths about the perceived danger of the modern world. If you don’t believe me watch out for those who will disagree, almost incredulously from their standpoint, with such an assertion. In terms of the Thai roads this year the footage we see on a daily basis confirms the horrendous driving habits that result in so much carnage making Thailand a ‘per capita’ number two on earth in the death toll stakes. Whether it was buses on the wrong side of the road, school vans going through intersections or motorcyclists doing the daftest of things on two wheels we all shook our heads in daily disbelief. Not to mention the large number of road rage incidents caught on tape. Guns were brandished for the crimes of cutting in and even, it seemed, being beaten in a race away from the lights. Miscreants were rapidly brought to book as were those who got out of their cars to threaten others, such as celebrity Nott in the now infamous “graap my rot” case that received national attention. In many cases of murder and assault the prevalence of CCTV seemed to provide the police with not only a major crime solving tool, but often their only palpable resource! Robbers who held up ATMs, revenge killings in public buildings, street attacks by rival student gangs, even attacks on street dogs and so many more were “solved” in days. There is hardly a story nowadays when CCTV is not up front and personal. It seemed as though when police rolled out plans in Bangkok and the eastern seaboard to fit “cop-cams” on helmets it all was rather unnecessary. Initially skeptical suggestions that the police could decide arbitrarily when to have the cams turned on became rather a moot point – the public were probably already filming themselves anyway! Officers accepting petty roadside bribes – an absolute way of life for anyone who has a key to a motor vehicle – became national name and shame news. While it was true that CCTV was often conveniently “not working”, especially in some schools at the center of assault allegations, and famously in the high profile case of the Phuket land official who died in police custody, there seemed to be more than enough cameras where the evidence gathered was more than enough to secure a conviction…or at least an apology. Some even took the fight to the streets with individuals like the northern Thai man who has campaigned about the illegality of certain road checkpoints that are touted as a tool in the fight against drug crime in particular but are often little more than opportunities to fleece the public for driving on the left, right or middle of the road as the whim suits. Armed with cameras – and using such functions as Facebook’s “live” facility – netizens (a word we have been treated to continually on Thaivisa) have been able to take the law into their own mobile holding hands. With the Thai population featured in various surveys as some of the most connected of societies on earth the speed with which CCTV footage and mobile phone video is disseminated increases. To the point now where George Orwell’s “1984” warning, painting a disturbing image of the face watching us in an imagined future, is now looking like a decidedly two way street. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2016-12-23
  20. That Was The Year That Was – the Thai Year in review - part 1 Picture: Stock image Convicted! For Tourism Treason! Never far from the top of the news in 2016 was the subject of Tourism. While even reading between the lines made it difficult to know if it was really up or down this year one thing was for certain – spoiling its exalted image became nothing short of a national crime. A kind of “Treason of Tourism” charge was leveled against anyone from errant taxi drivers to multi- millionaire tour operators who stepped out of line sufficiently. Anyone who had an impact on arrivals and the money they might spend was castigated equally whether they had conned an individual out of a few hundred baht or ripped off the state for billions. The phrase “spoiling the image of tourism” became as prevalent as the term “fleeing the scene” in Thai news stories as the public and the authorities in equal measure found scapegoats to spare. Most serious of the image spoilers were perhaps a group of drunk Thai men who assaulted members of the Owen family in Hua Hin at Songkran in what became known as the Battle of Bintabaht after the soi where a grandmother was kicked in the face while on the ground. For while the bombing outrages perpetrated in the seaside town and further south in August actually killed someone and seriously injured many others, the news of the Owens’ attack and its aftermath were shared across the world. It was a crime that everyone could relate to and though the miscreants were jailed for two years, an initial cover up and pathetic recriminations about who posted the story, “damaging the kingdom” when the damage was already done, probably caused as much trouble as the well-aimed Thai fists and boots. Every taxi driver who didn’t turn on the meter or who charged thousands of baht from Swampy to downtown Bangkok was hauled before the Court of Tourism’s Image. Some were turned on initially then exonerated – such as the hill tribe children in Chiang Mai who were named as thieves then declared not guilty of any misdoing. Then the blame game shifted to having a go at foreign media for damaging the country – whatever happened, someone had to carry the can for scaring Thailand’s Golden Goose into stop laying her magical tourist eggs. Forever in the news was the Minister for Tourism and Sports Khun Kobkarn Watanavarangul as she became one of the junta’s foremost spokeswomen. While some of her proclamations would have enjoyed a semblance of acceptability in an ideal world most were just plucked from cloud cuckoo land. In July she announced puritanically that no real (or quality) tourists came to the Kingdom to avail themselves of the sex industry. She said she intended to destroy the sex trade. One can only wonder at the raised eyebrows of the influential Thais – politicians and otherwise – who must have thought the elegant lady minister had worked a screw loose in her anti-screwing crusade. Needless to say in subsequent months it wasn’t referred to again; perhaps someone had had a quiet word in her shell-like to tone down the rhetoric and concentrate instead on the cash cows that could fill the coffers of the Kingdom rather than deplete them. In the latter part of the year her focus shifted to doing away with the practice known as zero-dollar tours. Offering cost price tours to mostly Chinese groups, then fleecing them for the add-ons in Thailand, was said to be doing considerable damage – to supposedly the image but really the revenue. Several companies were prosecuted and their unusually wealthy Thai and foreign owners are languishing in jail ahead of being reduced to penury for the sake of the national wedge. But near the end of the year this policy had seemed at least in part to have backfired with tourism officials, even if not the minister herself, admitting the strategy may have affected arrivals from China more than anticipated. It was couched in gentle diplomatic terms but screamed almighty cock-up to those who follow the news between the lines. A rethink seemed to be in order though the junta stopped short at levelling “treason in tourism” against one of its own or its own departments. This prerogative remains their stock-in-trade. Time and again we were told in no uncertain terms that tourism was booming. Reports on the ground seemed to suggest otherwise but still the authorities ploughed on regardless. When operators in Koh Samet, for example, said that a crackdown on the island’s mafia was destroying tourism it was all put to one side as other issues more relevant to the saving of face took center stage. Meanwhile, one subject related to the welfare of the country – the appalling carnage not just on the roads but on the high seas – attracted Khun Kobkarn’s attention. She pronounced an end to speedboat accidents in the south promising more regulation then went quiet when those operating without licenses continued to mangle tourists in their propellers within days. The truth is that huge issues need huge, concerted measures, with serious political will combined with police and local authority enforcement – not half-hearted political rhetoric. Frequently the well-intentioned minister showed that her transition from CEO of Toshiba to the political arena was, at best, a work in progress. On a more local level the charge of damaging tourism fell on largely deaf ears in places like Pattaya. No one in their right mind would really suggest that eliminating bag snatchings and lady boy attacks would make even an iota of difference to tourist arrivals at the resort. Now if they had banned sex…… Perhaps mindful that all was not going according to plan in the last few weeks of the year visa fees were waived for many nationalities and visa on arrival charges were slashed, at least for a few months. But once again a sensible initiative was plunged into absurdity as outlandish claims of what this meant for increased tourism revenue were plucked from the air like mangoes from a tree. The initials of the country’s Tourism Authority -TAT - could never stand for Truth And Transparency. Many visitors – especially the young and carefree - did their level best to behave as badly as possible but they were not roped into the treason charges. Those who clambered over historical walls in Chiang Mai or who raced up Doi Suthep on a bike ignoring the traffic rules and littering, were just told not to be silly and given a slap on the wrist. No surprise there. Foreigners behaving badly in Khao Sarn were brought to book more by their compatriots than by the locals who worried about criticizing anyone for spending their money in Thailand. And the Thais down south just moaned about westerners climbing up the sacred “penis” rock in Samui. Condemning them by grumbling was all that happened – making an example would have felt more like a greasy pole to national poverty, for the want of a better analogy…. Finally the biggest story in Thailand of this or any other year – the death of the beloved King Bhumibol – was always going to have an unpredictable effect on the life of tourism. Generally speaking a sensitive and sensible approach was adopted as Thais – and more than a few tourists – mourned the passing of the great monarch. Good measures were put in place to advise visitors about protocol and the authorities were vocal in encouraging people not to cancel their holiday plans. But it was impossible to hide the inevitable and justifiable toning down of entertainment and the impact this would have on tourism though the passing of the king probably had a more marked effect on the Thai tourism sector at a time of understandable national grief and sadness. As the country recovers from this and other pivotal events it will be interesting to see how the whole issue of tourism progresses into 2017. However, it would certainly help if there was more transparency and that any initiatives were carefully planned and thought through with knee-jerk reactions being rejected in the future. Whether that will happen is quite a question but I, for one, will not be holding my breath. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2016-12-16
  21. Hot Magazine Hua Hin & Bangkok - December 2016 View File Hot Magazine Hua Hin & Bangkok - Check out the December issue online here or download a PDF version by clicking on the green download button Submitter Jonathan Fairfield Submitted 12/15/2016 Category Thaivisa Members Files  
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    Hot Magazine Hua Hin & Bangkok - Check out the December issue online here or download a PDF version by clicking on the green download button
  23. Bangkok set to get tough with motorcyclists on the sidewalks - public urged to call 1555 to complain Image: Daily News BANGKOK:-- The Bangkok Municipal Authority met yesterday and top of the agenda for 50 districts represented was the problem of motorcyclists riding on and parking on the city's sidewalks. The meeting, chaired by the city governor himself Asawin Kwanmeuang, heard that the public were fed up with bikers on the city's walking areas and had received a huge number of complaints. Now the authority in conjunction with the police who were also represented at the meeting intend to get tough and increase fines. They urged the public to report motorcyclists by calling a hotline number - 1555. The BMA said that there were 9,514 fines issued for riding on and parking on the sidewalk so far this year. The average was 500 - 1000 baht per person. Some 7.2 million baht in fines was collected but they want this to increase next year. By-laws state that bikers can be fined up to 5,000 baht for the offences. A police spokesman at the meeting said that the main problem areas were Sukhumvit Road, Lat Prao Road, Rama IV and Jaran Sanitwong Road. Source: Daily News -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2016-12-10
  24. Thaivisa launches new car insurance comparison service Thaivisa Car Insurance Compare – Save up to 4,325 baht Thaivisa is committed to not just delivering timely Thai and international news and important updates for expats living in Thailand; but also wants to ensure it can give the very best overall service for all things ‘Thailand’. To kick start this initiative, Thaivisa is delighted to have teamed up with ‘Rabbit Finance’ to offer Expats a one stop compare site for car insurance policies being offered throughout Thailand – something that was previously next to impossible for an Expat to find out. “We have looked at all areas on how Thaivisa can use its position to improve the overall living experience for expats living in Thailand. This has meant identifying a number of service areas that can be better developed so easier for Expats to use and become more well informed in the process.” Dan Cheeseman, Managing Director for Thaivisa explains. Click to find out how much you could be saving: CLICK HERE FOR FREE QUOTE Save Money on Your Car Insurance in Thailand The first service to be launched in this program is a compare Car Insurance platform with partners ‘Rabbit Insurance’. Take a look for yourself, it's FREE to get a quote from a wide range of car insurers in Thailand – and see for yourself how much you can save. Click to find out how much you could be saving: CLICK HERE FOR FREE QUOTE
  25. Continuing the great work done by Tywais and team in previous years, it's that time of year for starting the design of the 2017/2560 Thaivisa Calendar. Previous calendars, 2010-2016, were a great success due to the excellent photo contributions from Thaivisa members. Requirements: Photo must have been taken within Thailand and must have been taken by the member posting the photo. Landscape mode (wide). Portrait mode (tall) is possible if it can be cropped properly to fit the calendar's format. Also, portrait mode if you think it will make a suitable cover page. No panoramas please. Minimum 1200 pixels wide, preferably 2048 as the calendar will be printable and need the resolutions to be high for good print quality. Link to higher resolution image if possible. Important Note: Due to attached files auto-sized to only 800 wide, please supply a link to the image on a photo-sharing site such as Flickr.com or cloud storage such as Dropbox, not limited to just these two though. Please use your best photos that you feel would fit and be appropriate for a published calendar. By posting your images here you give Thaivisa permission to use them in the Calendar. Credit will be given through watermarks on the photos unless a member specifically wishes it not to be. So please do not use personal watermark on your images Additional: If possible but not a requirement, please post the location and possible information about the photo. Many members were interested in that information and were asking about it. Please, only 1 photo per post as it makes it very difficult to manage during the decision process. Try and limit to no more than 2-3 contributions. This topic will be open until December 19, 2016 and the photos presented to the mod/Admin team for initial cuts in selecting the photos. If there are insufficient photos that are considered suitable for the calendar, either previous contributions will be recycled or free use photos from the Internet will be used. Looking forward to seeing this year's' contributions. Note: - If you see a photo(s) that you really like please use the Like button for the poster. It will help with the decision process. How to post images Last years contribution topic 2016 Calendar