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About jimster

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  1. Plenty of money changers in Vientiane will exchange Kip for Baht hassle-free and without asking for any documentation. Most of these money changers are near the riverside either on Settathilat or Samsenthai road, there are others on the main drag leading up to the Patuxai and near the morning market. Don't approach banks, because since a law was passed a couple of years ago to force all businesses across the country to display prices only in Kip and encourage the use of Kip, banks require all sorts of documentation if you want to exchange your Kip to a foreign currency (as in Vietnam). For example, an airline ticket to the country of destination is required and then they usually only sell you the currency of that country, not just any currency you would like to purchase. Money changers don't follow this regulation.
  2. Poipet is fine if arriving alone by car (they have a separate lane for car arrivals) though I realise very few foreigners are going to be coming to Thailand via Aran/Poipet by car, but just stating that this has been my experience. Arriving on one of the direct cross-border bus services (Siem Reap-Bangkok or Phnom Penh-Bangkok) should also work, as it's less likely immigration would cause trouble for a foreigner on a bus that is waiting for them on the other side of the border. Avoid Aran/Poipet only if you are a foot passenger who is changing transport modes at the border.
  3. You're right in a way, but the way I look at such traditions is not that they are better or worse than traditions from our cultures, but simply different, that's all. A sinsot is part of the tradition here, whether you are rich or poor although the amounts that should be asked for vary greatly depending on the status of the bride's family. Watching the series, the original 500,000 Baht wanted by the bride's family is of course a joke. Only a foolish westerner would give that much money to such a poor family - the maximum should be 100,000 or maybe if pushing it 200,000. 500,000 is the average for a middle class family (the family of the bride, coming from a very rural part of Beung Kan province, which is one of the remotest parts of Isarn straddled up on the border next to the Lao province of Bolikamsai is clearly not middle class), 1 million or more is usually requested by upper middle class families living in Bangkok. Fortunately this guy is not a sucker (or perhaps he is, but because all his money is tied up in his ex-wife he can't afford to be) so he could only offer 50,000, which was accepted, but he also needed to come up with a couple of buffalos too. Living in America initially with his friend, who has a family of his own was the strangest part.
  4. When I first read this article I was shocked. 200,000 black Africans are on overstay in Thailand? Somehow that just can't be right...I know where one can find quite a few Africans (Nana area of Sukhumwit), but according to Wikipedia there are perhaps 6000 Nigerians living in Bangkok (legally and illegally) so more than 33 times that number being illegal alone seems insane, there are probably not even that many westerners living in the whole of Thailand. Depending on where one goes in Thailand, there are easily 20 times more westerners than Africans. Similarly, there are many times more Arabs than Africans even in Nana. So I had to read the original Thai article for the real facts. It simply says that in each year, up to 200,000 "colored people" (whatever that term means, especially as we're talking about with respect to an Asian country, i.e. Thailand) overstay their visas each year. 120,000 of these are migrant labourers from the three countries, presumably this means Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. So only 80,000 are left, from various countries. It also says that most of the troublemakers that are coming to commit crimes are from Nigeria and Somalia, NOT that there are 80,000 illegals from these 2 countries alone. As i said, if that were the case, I would have seen them by now and as it stands, one is only guaranteed to even see any Africans in Nana and sometimes around the Ramkhamhaeng/Pattanakarn/Lad Krabang areas of eastern Bangkok, though they are far more dispersed in these areas. If there were 80,000 illegals from Somalia and Nigeria in Thailand (according to the TAT only around 11,000 people from Africa travel to Thailand every year, and many of these may be white South Africans, so probably only a couple of thousand black Africans come here yearly) one would expect Tesco Lotuses in some areas to be half full of African people, but alas this is not the case because the last time I saw a black person inside a Tesco Lotus was a little while ago (months ago). It just so happened to be somewhere in eastern Bangkok. So while I am concerned about the large numbers of illegals mentioned here, the English translation is simply way, way off. It's completely misleading and I'm sorry for those of you who can't read Thai because what the article tries to imply is not only factually wrong, it borders on scaremongering. Sure, there's a problem with illegals in Thailand including those from Africa, but there are likely no more than a few thousand (perhaps 3000-4000) illegal Africans in Thailand out of let's say 5000-8000 that are present here in total at any one time, the vast majority of whom seem to have a liking for either Nana or the eastern suburbs of Bangkok (for some reason).
  5. Because Thailand doesn't want to become a sh**hole like much of the west has become. Why should Thailand replace it's own people, cause housing to be so expensive as to be out of reach to all except for rich migrants, have a hostile government and media in power that despises it's own people, a local populace that is taught to hate itself everyday, more and more jobs leaving for cheaper countries all to achieve some kind of bizarre, unrealistic utopia? No thanks, I think I would rather live in the current Thailand, with it's rough edges and all. "Protectionist" laws? Actually they are very good - car manufacturers are happy because over 90% of the population buys a Thai made car, preserving the industry from unnecessary competition. This is good for these companies, for Thai workers in the industry (who have a job) and the economy overall.
  6. Logically Myanmar and Cambodian workers are going to be preferred over Africans. First is proximity (they can just come across a shared land border), second is religion (most are Buddhist, just like Thais), third is culture and ethnicity. The world is becoming a stranger place by the year, but no way in hell Thailand is going to start employing black Africans to pump gas or at restaurants as waiters. Automation will arrive to replace the jobs of the Burmese and Cambodians before they'll give these menial jobs away to people from the dark continent. Besides, why would they even consider Africans, when there are also millions of poor Vietnamese, Filipino, Bengali and Indian workers who would be recruited first?
  7. What are you talking about? obviously a lot of goodelygook. There are no visa "loopholes" apart from South Africans and a small number of others, it's quite difficult for Africans to visit Thailand for any purpose. If anything it's easier for them to get a student visa than a tourist visa. Again the "racist" word being thrown around by another self-righteous virtue signaller, who almost certainly isn't African himself. Let me ask you a theoretical question: would you still visit Thailand if 95% of the population were African? Africa and Thailand are more linked than western countries? Since when? I've never heard of any Africa-Thailand Free Trade Agreement. Ever heard of the Australia-Thailand Free Trade Agreement also known as TAFTA? It's a major agreement between the two countries under which Thailand now sends some 200,000 cars to Australia every year duty free. 900,000 Aussies visit Thailand yearly, more than the numbers of tourists from every African country combined. I've never heard of a Thai interested in travelling to Africa, or going there at all, other than South Africa (for safaris) and Egypt (to see the pyramids). Prostitution is illegal in Thailand and doubly illegal for foreigners. I don't understand why they can't just blacklist all the illegal foreign prostitutes.
  8. Hi, Just wondering what documents are needed for an address verification done at the Swiss embassy for the purposes of renewing a document at the Land Transport Department. It's easy for Aussies and Americans - just show up, write your address on a form provided there, get a stamp and pay a fee. I have heard different things for Swiss, but doing a search here didn't come up with anything. There is nothing specific mentioned on their website either other than the fee they charge, which is 1400 Baht. Is that amount still accurate? Do you need to make an appointment? Is just having your passport with you enough, then filling out a form, getting a stamp and paying the fee? Or do they need something else?
  9. Yes it's not a problem. That's what the visa's purpose is for - either work OR business. Best apply for the multi-entry non-B in your home country. It can be applied for year on year. In neighboring countries you can't even get a single entry without either a work permit or application for work permit. Coming in on endless tourist visas raises more suspicions.
  10. She made a private report using the stats provided. Your links were fine, just that the statistics from the WHO report are very old and there is no information as to where their sources came from (or even what year; we only know that the report itself was written in 2001). Spoke to one of the very few experts (a professor and OB/GYN) in natural childbirth at Thailand's only natural birth centre and she was embarrassed to admit it when I asked the question but the statistics for natural birth, especially at private hospitals are grim. Out of dozens of OB/GYNs at that hospital, there are only 2 physicians with any training in natural childbirth.
  11. Thai ..farang child owenership of land

    Well they should sue for racial discrimination then. Although I presume your example refers to situations where the father is no longer married to the Thai mother. Same thing if a Thai Sikh were denied land ownership for not looking Thai enough. I wonder if this happens too.
  12. Around 50. Mostly in Bangkok and other large cities. Most are indeed private hospitals, but there are a few well known government hospitals (mainly teaching ones) that were surveyed too. I too was initially surprised by the high c-section rate at some of the government hospitals (even though they were, as expected, lower than at the private hospitals). Of course, it's still not routine at most government hospitals, just depends where you go. Most western expats and middle/upper middle class Thais tend towards private hospitals.
  13. Just noticed that the statistics from Thailand are based on 2001 figures (which may have been compiled based on the previous year's figures as is often done; the report was issued in 2001). A lot has happened since that time and I suspect that the statistics refer only to government hospitals (would need to take a look at the original report to see what is mentioned). Even 15-20 years ago, there were far fewer c-sections taking place in Thailand than today. In any case, that UN report has figures from all over the place, late 90s, late 2000s etc., no indication of private vs. public there is no consistency whatsoever.
  14. Yawn. There are HUGE variations between private and public as I tried to make clear in my post. The WHO's statistics could have come from anywhere, how do you know how many hospitals they surveyed? How about consulting other sources, especially local ones, which are probably much more reliable? As I said, a medical professional in Thailand gave me the statistics and I can't disclose which hospitals they refer to - but I can tell you quite a few major private, along with a few government hospitals mainly in Bangkok were mentioned. There are tons of statistics available if you are interested in this topic, why not go to Google (or your choice of search engine) and find out yourself? Similarly, OB/GYN/other medical journals have articles with this information contained that can be downloaded for free from the internet, and there are many books available on the topic.
  15. I have obtained the figures I quoted from Thai hospitals through a friend who is a maternity physician. The 17% figure for Thailand in this report is bogus (unless they only obtained figures from a few government hospitals) - though even at some government hospitals, c-sections are the norm rather than the exception. The major exception are "sanitation centers" or "rural health centers", which are government funded hospitals with minimal facilities located in the most rural of areas. In these places, c-sections are usually not an option but at nearly every kind of hospital in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and every other major city, once the time limit on natural birth has passed (8-12 hours, although it could be more, depends on the hospital's policy) they will push for a c-section. C-sections are not routine at other government hospitals located elsewhere but this depends on the individual hospital, whether it's a teaching hospital and it's reputation etc. From statistics I have seen elsewhere, the overall c-section rate in Thailand is likely to be around 40% or so, 90-100% at many private hospitals (the highest percentage in the world, equal with Brazil, Iran, China and a few other middle income countries), very low at sanitation centers (no reliable statistics available), 20-50% at most government hospitals with 70-90% rates at some of the more "reputable" government facilities. As for other big users of c-sections such as Brazil I have seen many % floating around, depending on the source.