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camerata

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  1. Since nobody has done it before, here's my guide to the Permanent Resident application process in 2004: Disclaimer These are my personal experiences as a single guy living in rented accommodation in Bangkok and working for a Thai company. The details of the process differ from year to year, from province to province, and according to the applicant's situation and reason for applying. This is a guide, not the bible. Do you need a lawyer? It doesn't make any difference to Immigration if you use a lawyer or not. It doesn't make you look better or worse. But it does affect the process a little. A legal firm with experience in PR applications should be able to give you useful advice on how to provide a "portfolio" showing your contribution to society, ensure all your Thai-language company documents are correct and complete, handle translation of documents, and save you some running around. Your own company lawyer - if you have one - can probably help with everything except the portfolio. If you hire a legal firm, it will probably consider the approval of your application to be the end of the process. If you want them to help you with the various steps after approval, you'd better put that in the written agreement so it's understood by all. If you hand over a lot of documents to them, make a list and get them to sign for them in case any go missing. Myths You don't need to be married to obtain PR. There are minimum salary guidelines for each nationality, but these aren't written down and they aren't set in stone. In some circumstances you can apply if you fall short of the minimum salary. Preparation and documents First, go to Immigration (Room 301 at the Suan Phlu Office in Bangkok - now changed to Section D of the new office in Chaeng Wattana Road*), tell them which category you are applying in (Investment, Work/Business, Humanitarian, Expert) and request the appropriate documents. They'll give you a sheet "Detailed Information Needed for Residence Permit Applications," TM.9 Application for Permanent Residence, a Personal Information sheet, a sheet titled "Documents required when applying for a residence permit in the category of [whatever you requested]," a sample medical certificate and a sample form for submitting Thai-language maps of your home and workplace. Many of the 20 documents listed are related to your employer, work and tax record for the previous 3 years and must have been signed (or issued) within 3 months of making your application. Some documents must be translated into Thai and certified by your embassy. Educational certificates must be translated into Thai and certified by the Foreign Ministry. Others documents on the list include: (2) a medical certificate as per their official sample (the one that declares you free from syphilis and elephantiasis) issued by a hospital in the 3 months prior to the application date. (3) certificate of no criminal record from your "domicile" and certified by your embassy. This means the country whose passport you are currently using, and you need to apply direct to your country's police for this. If your country has criminal record checks with and without fingerprints, you'll probably need the one with fingerprint check. Immigration can do the fingerprints for you free of charge (Room 301). If your country has federal and state record checks, you'll need the federal one. Expect this to take 3-8 weeks in Western countries but it could take up to 3 months. (17) maps in Thai language of your place of residence and work (if applicable). (19) "Personal Information sheet and the applicant's portfolio, which includes detailed information about family background, knowledge and ability, working experience, special ability, social work, work place, residence together with photo (using the A4 document folder)." The photos required are of the exterior and interior of your home and workplace. It might be a good idea to have yourself in the photos too. The portfolio depends on what you have available. The purpose of the portfolio is to establish that you are an upstanding citizen who is unlikely to get into financial or other trouble in the future. Anything that portrays you as a somebody, as someone who is a cut above the rest or as financially secure is worth submitting. Some suggestions: * Complete resume going back to school. * Letter to Immigration from yourself detailing your contribution to Thai society. * Documents supporting your contribution to society. * Reference letters from senior Thais supporting your good character and application. Obviously, the more senior or well-known, the better. Give your referees a template letter in Thai to make it easier for them. * Membership of charitable organizations. * Membership of non-profit organizations, such as chambers of commerce. * Newspaper clippings mentioning you or written by you. Any publications written by you. * Certificates or diplomas. * Copies of bank books, certificates of transferring money into Thailand, share certificates, pension records, provident fund records, condo ownership and other assets. Applying Immigration is open for applications from about mid-December until the last working day of the year. Only two weeks. You take your file in and an officer will check the documents. Quite likely there will be something that needs correcting or updating, but from now on you deal with this officer so it's easier to get questions answered. You'll also get your fingerprints taken at this point. The officer will give you an appointment sheet with details of the date and time for your interview and Thai-language test in March or April and tell you to bring along your annual Income Tax return (Por Ngor Dor 90/91) and company tax documents for December. This officer isn't a total expert on documentation, so don't be surprised if you get requests for corrected/updated documents right up until June the following year. The Interview In my case, the officer who interviewed me was the same one who accepted my application and documents 4 months before, so things were pretty relaxed and friendly. I had a young lawyer with me. Since I speak Thai pretty well, the whole discussion was in Thai. Mostly it was about the documents, my background, and the PR process. Every now and again a question came right out of the blue, like "What religion are you?" So I got the impression my Thai language skills and general demeanour were being examined. The officer typed on a PC the whole time. After the discussion, she printed out a long statement (in Thai) from the computer, asked the lawyer to read it to me and explain anything I didn't understand, and then we both had to sign it. The document was a long series of statements such as, "I explained to the applicant that after receiving notice of a successful application, he must come to the Immigration office within 30 days. The applicant said he understood." In fact, some of the statements hadn't been made in the interview. After we'd signed, she asked the lawyer to leave. Then she gave me a sheet of 10 multiple answer questions written in Thai. Since I don't read Thai very well at all, she read the questions and the answers, pointing at the ABCD answers as she read them. Some of the answers had little pictures which made them easier. With some of them, you could tell just from the answers which was the odd one out, even if you didn't understand the question. Some of the questions were pretty easy, some required a basic knowledge of Thailand (How many provinces there are, etc), and one was about the PR process (i.e. the stuff I had signed in the statement). The only problem I had was that the questions were phrased in formal written Thai style rather than the spoken Thai I'm used to. If I didn't understand the question, it was pretty easy to figure out the question from the answers. The test doesn't take long. After that, you go into a partitioned area and introduce yourself in Thai while they record it on camera. It looked like an ordinary Sony still camera to me, so the video mode would probably not be more than a couple of minutes. I kept my intro short, but I was asked a couple of questions after I finished. Approval letter I received my approval letter 16 months after making the application. The letter is in Thai but there are separate instructions in English on what documents you need to get the Certificate of Residence (you must do this within 30 days): 1. Original and copy of passport (certified true copy by you) 2. Original and copy of the House Registration book of your residence (certified true copy by the owner) and details of the local police station whose jurisdiction it is in. You will be put on this House Registration later. 3. 12 4x6cm photos not more than 3 months old. 4. Fee of 191,400 baht (if single) or 95,700 baht if the spouse of Thai national or PR holder paid in cash or by cashier's cheque (in Bangkok only). A copy of any cashier's cheque. Picking up the Certificate of Residence When you go to Immigration they give you a sheet "Procedures in obtaining the Certificate of Residence (TM.16)" that describes most of the following procedures. In Bangkok they will take you to Room 202 and you'll never deal with Room 301 again.* You pay the fee, give them 4 photos, have your thumbprint taken and give some information that will be forwarded to your local police and end up in your Alien Registration book. They will take the embarkation form out of your passport and write the details (i.e. flight number) of your last entry into Thailand on it. Then they'll stamp your passport with details of the Certificate of Residence. At some point in this process they will decide how to spell your name in Thai and may not ask you about it. If you want it spelt correctly, find some diplomatic way of giving it to them early on. You pick up your Certificate of Residence (actually a book) the next day and take it plus the letter they give you to your local police station. You must do this within 7 days of submitting your documents, not 7 days from receiving the Residence Certificate. Obtaining the Alien Registration Book You take the Residence Book and the letter they give you to the police, along with 4 photos, tabien baan (House Registration book), and copies of your passport, Residence Book and tabien baan. Plus the police will need the names of your mother and father in Thai script. Pay 400 baht for the current year and 800 baht for the next 5 years. Pick up the Alien Registration book a couple of weeks later. Then start the process to get put on the tabien baan. Being put on a House Registration book You apply at your district office to be put on a tabien baan. You'll probably deal with someone senior and have to provide copies of passport, tabien baan, Residence Book and Alien Book. There is no charge at all. After submitting the documents, they give you a letter which you take back to Immigration and make an appointment to go back to the district office. Immigration then gives you another letter which you take back to the district office. For the second interview at the district office you need two Thais to act as witnesses. One will normally be the owner of your residence. The officer will ask you all a lot of detailed questions (how you know the witnesses, what's your blood group, etc) and write out an interview form for each of you, to which he'll add your photo and thumbprint and send them to the Interior Ministry "as evidence." Then you are put on the tabien baan and have reached the end of the process. Traveling outside Thailand Before taking a trip outside Thailand you must apply for a 1-year endorsement of your Residence Book (1,900 baht) and a re-entry ("non-quota Immigrant") visa in your passport (1,900 baht single, 3,800 baht multiple) valid for one year. What you get (Certificate of Residence and Alien Registration Book) Benefits of Permanent Residence No need to leave the country within 7 days if employment is terminated. No need to extend or renew any visa, or report your address every 90 days. But you do have to obtain a re-entry visa if you go out of the country. Allowed to buy a condominium without having to remit funds from abroad. Entitled to apply for citizenship after 5 years. Entitled to be appointed a director of a public limited company even if the majority of other directors on the Board are non-Thai. Supposedly easier to obtain a work permit. Allowed to go through the "Thai passports only" channel at airport Immigration. "Disadvantages" of Permanent Residence When applying for a Thai driving licence, they will insist you have a valid re-entry visa in your passport and residence book, even if you are not intending to go out of the country. They will require your house registration certificate and include your unique 13-digit number on the driving licence. Many banks and hotels act like they've never seen an Alien's Registration book before and may insist on seeing your passport, perhaps because the Alien's Book doesn't contain your name in English. Updates from members in this topic Please see the latest (Dec 2009) information and documents from the Immigration Department. Many minor requirements have changed. The Bangkok Immigration Bureau moved to Chaeng Wattana Road on October 1, 2009 The health certificate must be from a government hospital and a blood test for syphilis may be required. Tax receipts may need to be certified by the Revenue Dept. You may need a letter of guarantee from the Labour dept. You must appear in the photos of your workplace and residence. You may need to produce your salary slips for the last 2 years. If you have a child, you will need to take a DNA paternity test. If you are married to a Thai, an Immigration officer will come to your residence to verify that you are in fact married and cohabiting. Since 2007 the Thai-language test is a panel asking the applicant questions, but the questions are simple and the panel friendly. See this member's experience of the interview in 2011. As of April 2012, the 2006 applicants were still waiting for their final approval. The process can get delayed due to political instability.
  2. Why Buddhism is True

    Why Buddhism is True (And Why You Can Blame Natural Selection for Your Suffering) In this adaptation from his new book, Why Buddhism is True, Robert Wright explains how evolutionary psychology supports the Buddhist diagnosis of the human predicament. By Robert Wright The Matrix is sometimes said to be a “dharma movie” because it allegorically captures the human predicament as Buddhism depicts it: Life as ordinarily lived is a kind of illusion, and you can’t be truly free until you pierce the illusion and look into the heart of things. Until you “see it for yourself,” as one character explains to Neo, you will remain in “bondage.” That robot overlords are behind the illusion afflicting Neo is in one sense a blessing. They give him something to rebel against—and rebellions are energizing! An oppressive enemy focuses the mind and steels you for the struggle ahead. That would come in handy with the Buddhist struggle against illusion, because meditation, a big part of that struggle, can be hard to sustain—getting on the cushion every day, even when you don’t feel like it, and then carrying the insights from meditation into everyday life. Too bad that in Buddhism there’s no evil perpetrator of delusion to fight! In traditional Buddhism, actually, there is: the Satan-like supernatural being named Mara, who unsuccessfully tempted the Buddha during the epic meditation session that led to his great awakening. Mara, though, has no place in the more secular Buddhism that has been spreading through the west in recent years. Kind of disappointing. But there’s good news on this front. If you would like to think of meditation practice as being a rebellion against an oppressive overlord, there’s a way to do that: just think of yourself as fighting your creator, natural selection. Full article: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/why-buddhism-is-true/
  3. Some good tips in this article... How to Get Rid of Pests and Bugs the Buddhist Way Kill that impulse! Here are compassionate Buddhist solutions for your favorite pests, without killing them. By Allan Badiner Ants If you have an ant infestation, use your vacuum to quickly get rid of the invaders, and then immediately empty the vacuum bag in the outdoor compost pile or at some distance from your house. Do not use ant bait, or poison sprays like Raid that continue in the toxic waste stream from their point of manufacture to their ultimate destination in landfills or via runoff or sewage into our waterways and oceans. It is important to quickly erase the scent trail that the ants have laid down. First, wash with soapy water and then use a citrus-based repellant, or spray countertops and affected areas with a mixture of juiced lemon, tea tree oil, grapefruit seed extract, and a little mint tea. The key to ant control is cleanliness: wipe up food spills immediately, wipe down food preparation surfaces with soapy water, remove garbage frequently, clean food debris out of sinks, rinse well any dirty dishes left in the sink, and sweep and mop floors regularly. Store the food most attractive to ants (honey, sugar, sweet liqueurs, cough syrup, etc.) in the fridge or in jars with rubber gaskets and lids that close with a metal clamp, or zip-lock bags. Unless the lid of a screw-top jar has a rubber seal, ants will follow the threads right into the jar. A few layers of waxed paper (not plastic wrap) between the jar and the lid, if screwed down tightly, will work well as a barrier. Transfer other foods, such as cookies, cereals, crackers, etc in paper boxes, to containers with tight-fitting lids or zip locks; and keep butter in the fridge. Paper and cardboard boxes are not ant-proof. Full article at Tricycle.
  4. How to Get Rid of Pests and Bugs the Buddhist Way

    I recall that at Ajahn Brahm's temple in Western Australia, the lay council in charge of the temple's affairs encourages people to offer the monks vegetarian food. But it's no simple matter to get enough B12 from a vegetarian diet, so I guess the monks' health benefits from a small amount of meat.
  5. How to Get Rid of Pests and Bugs the Buddhist Way

    I was just talking about logical extrapolation here. If we see creatures that vary in size down to what old eyes can see, and remember there are smaller creatures that only our young eyes can see, it's logical to assume there are creatures too small for anyone to see. Sure, but the Buddha warned against the killing, not the eating, even though that is a result of killing. The bad karmic result land on the killer. Regarding the killing, orthodox Buddhism regards the killing of larger animals as karmically worse, because greater effort is required to do it. I think this comes from the Commentaries rather than the suttas. A modern rationalist would see it differently, perhaps arguing that it is worse to kill a more intelligent animal or an animal with a longer lifespan, or as you say, an animal that seems to suffer more. Fortunately - for Buddhists anyway - we are OK as long as we don't kill the animals. Yeah, I remember that scene in Seven Years in Tibet where the monks don't want to dig the foundation for a building because they might kill insects and worms in the soil. This question of whether bad karmic results attach to what we would call "negligence" has always intrigued me. If I drive while very tired or very stressed, and hit a pedestrian, is that bad karma? Since there was no intent, Buddhism says no. But a modern, rationalist perspective would be, "Yes, you are responsible because of your negligence."
  6. Why Buddhism is True

    The author of the book has written an article, Is Mindfulness Meditation BS? A couple of quotes: " It was a very strange thing to have an unpleasant feeling cease to be unpleasant without it really going away. " " The not-self experience isn’t strictly binary. You don’t have to think of it as a threshold that you either manage to finally cross, to transformative effect, or forever fall short of, getting no edification whatsoever. As strange as it may sound, you can, with even a fairly modest daily meditation practice, experience a little bit of not-self. "
  7. How to Get Rid of Pests and Bugs the Buddhist Way

    The Buddha must have been well aware that there were living beings smaller than the eye can see but I think he would have laughed at the idea of trying to figure out whether they were sentient or breathing, or how to avoid killing these unseen creatures. It's just the kind of distraction that has no practical value in reaching enlightenment, and that he was at pains to avoid discussing. It's the same with the monastic rule about not eating meat that you know has been killed specifically for you. All meat we eat is - indirectly - killed for us, yet we know he rejected mandatory vegetarianism. He had to draw a line somewhere that takes into account intent and control of the situation, and that was it. The lay precept not to kill and the monastic rule about eating meat were in fact practical guidelines for achieving a specific objective. As I am sure know, unwittingly killing worms in the ground is not bad kamma in Buddhism because there is no intent. There are several puzzling monastic rules (i.e. not growing food) that were devised because Buddhists were criticized by their over-zealous rivals, the Jains.
  8. How to Get Rid of Pests and Bugs the Buddhist Way

    You might want to have a look at the Buddhism Forum guidelines: All are welcome "provided what you have to say is relevant to Buddhism." In answer to your question, yes, most of the regular posters in the Buddhism forum over the years have been Buddhists discussing Buddhism.
  9. How to Get Rid of Pests and Bugs the Buddhist Way

    Don't forget that the Buddha was not setting down a collection of absolutes written in stone by God. The precepts were practical training rules to facilitate attaining enlightenment. The actual word used in the Pali Canon is either "living" or "breathing" (as in "Abandoning onslaught on breathing beings..."). Presumably it is easier to know if a creature is living and breathing than if it is "sentient." Perhaps because of this, in his commentary, Buddhaghosa says that to violate the precept one must "perceive the being to be living," which would be impossible in the case of bacteria. IMO, and in line with Ven Buddhadhasa's thinking, what's important is the effect of actions on one's mental states. Would we really care much about killing an invisible microbe compared to, say, a kitten? The Canon says that the reason for not killing is that all creatures fear suffering and death, but that is not the observable behaviour of bacteria. I don't think that's what he really meant. As Ven Thannissaro says about the lay precepts: " The precepts are formulated with no ifs, ands, or buts. This means that they give very clear guidance, with no room for waffling or less-than-honest rationalizations. An action either fits in with the precepts or it doesn't. Again, standards of this sort are very healthy to live by. Anyone who has raised children has found that, although they may complain about hard and fast rules, they actually feel more secure with them than with rules that are vague and always open to negotiation. Clear-cut rules don't allow for unspoken agendas to come sneaking in the back door of the mind. If, for example, the precept against killing allowed you to kill living beings when their presence is inconvenient, that would place your convenience on a higher level than your compassion for life. Convenience would become your unspoken standard — and as we all know, unspoken standards provide huge tracts of fertile ground for hypocrisy and denial to grow. If, however, you stick by the standards of the precepts, then as the Buddha says, you are providing unlimited safety for the lives of all. There are no conditions under which you would take the lives of any living beings, no matter how inconvenient they might be. " IMO, the message is that not killing/harming at all is the most skillful way to live life and attain enlightenment. But the Buddha recognized that this would not be possible some of the time, and that negative kamma would attach to the killing according to various factors (the intention, the relative virtue of a human victim, the size of a creature, etc). At a Dhamma talk I attended, Ajahn Pasanno said that a major function of the precepts is to create mindfulness. i.e. The stopping and thinking when about to swat a mosquito cultivates mindfulness. I personally catch mossies in a plastic box and release them outside, but I don't have any problem spraying the place when the neighbour's cats bring fleas in because I can't see them and I can't catch them.
  10. How to Get Rid of Pests and Bugs the Buddhist Way

    No, they aren't considered animals and aren't included in the precept on killing.
  11. How to Get Rid of Pests and Bugs the Buddhist Way

    Several off-topic posts have been deleted.
  12. Why Buddhism is True

    Metaphors are rarely perfect. In this case the rubber sandals represent mental cultivation, so there is no cost and it is available to all. The Buddha's teachings are available to all. If I lose a leg in an accident there is nothing I can do to regain my former physical wholeness, but there is a lot I can do (using the Dhamma) to deal with the resulting mental anguish.
  13. Why Buddhism is True

    Not really. A practising Buddhist would teach others how to put on the rubber sandals.
  14. Why Buddhism is True

    In Buddhism the "seatbelt" is the cultivation of the mind. It isn't a different plan for every possible contingency, it's a readjustment of the mind to handle all contingencies. As Ajahn Chah once said, if your feet hurt because of rocky ground, you don't attempt to cover the entire world surface with rubber, you put on a pair of rubber sandals.
  15. Why Buddhism is True

    Accepting the fact that unexpected accidents can happen at any time and planning for them does not mean you worry about them all the time. You have home insurance but I'm sure you don't worry about the possibility of a fire all the time.
  16. Why Buddhism is True

    What the Buddha said was that good intentions/actions in the present result in a better future. This doesn't mean that doing good now will enable you to dodge future disasters, but it will prepare you to deal with them and suffer less as a result. What I was getting at - based on my own experience - is that practising the dhamma has a slow, but cumulative effect on one's mental states. If one has been practising for a decade and then gets hit by a bus, the preparation has already been done and the suffering will be less. Taking up the dhamma after the accident would be less effective. This is quite different from, say, being converted to Christianity by some Billy Graham style evangelist, where there is a radical transformation of mental orientation in a very short time. To anyone who says "I don't suffer" I would say, "But you will in the future," if not from an accident, then from health problems in old age. So the dhamma is a form of insurance. You have home insurance, right? But your home isn't on fire right this minute, is it?
  17. Why Buddhism is True

    But what if you are run over by a bus tomorrow and become a paraplegic?
  18. Why Buddhism is True

    Try Bhikkhu Bodhi's In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (The Teachings of the Buddha). He orders the teachings by topic, each followed by an explanation in plain English.
  19. Judgement Day

    Pretty standard stuff in Thailand. The ruler of the underworld is Lord Yama, originally a Hindu god, but also mentioned in the Pali Canon. The people stuck on poles looks more like a European torture to me. At least, I don't recall seeing it in Thailand.
  20. Why Buddhism is True

    I think it is just a literary device. Richard Preston uses it in his books about viruses to make non-sentient globs of protein sound extremely sinister. The book is available on Kindle, so I will definitely be buying it.
  21. Why Buddhism is True

    Interesting idea: that natural selection is our Creator. The book is a New York Times best-seller, which I guess means that non-Buddhists find it interesting. There's an interview with the author on the Secular Buddhism website.
  22. Why Buddhism is True

    Off-topic posts have been deleted.
  23. A son becomes a Thai forest monk

    When my son became a monk There’s a saying I’ve heard among some Western Buddhists: to lose yourself, either meditate or travel. What about doing both at once, while keeping pace with your 28-year-old son, whom you named Nathan Dale at birth but who is now Tan Nisabho, a Thai Forest monk? Long gone is the wavy cap of nut-brown hair and thick eyebrows; his gleaming skull appears and disappears like stages of the moon between his fortnightly shavings. On those just-shaved full moon days, Tan Nisabho (Tan Po for short) looks a lot like the infant whose newborn eyes gazed unflinchingly into mine, prompting me to say aloud something utterly unexpected after he was cleaned and swaddled: “Oh! This one’s not going the normal route! A monastic!” Full article: https://tricycle.org/magazine/son-became-monk/
  24. Why are you drawn to Buddhism?

    You’re just not getting it, Trd. You are the one pushing Vedanta and making claims about what the Buddha really taught, yet declining to support those claims. If non-Buddhists turn up in a Buddhist forum pushing their personal beliefs or dubious claims they can expect to be challenged, and it’s ridiculous to then play the victim and cite censorship, sectism, orthodoxy, or narrow-mindedness. This is a forum for the discussion of Buddhism, so we aren’t obliged to dilute the content by accommodating non-Buddhists who feel the need to have their own personal belief system validated. We do have a responsibility to newcomers to give them factual information and a solid foundation to work with rather than confusing and contradictory arguments. If you - or anyone else - has a problem with this, PM myself or Sabaijai or feel free to request a Spirituality-Religion forum that is broader in scope than this one. Don’t bring it up in forum topics
  25. Why are you drawn to Buddhism?

    It's been said before, as long as a decade ago by my co-mod, but if all we do is offer unsupported opinions on what the Buddha taught, there won't be much meaningful discussion. There has to be a reference point and the obvious (though not perfect) one is the early suttas and vinaya of the Pali Canon. The Mahayana scriptures are not a good reference point because of their diverse teachings and because scholars tell us they were created hundreds of years after the Buddha died. I suggest the non-dualism issue be opened as a new topic instead of letting it hijack this one. Sent on the move with my mobile phone. Please excuse the brevity.
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