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Found 88 results

  1. 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
  2. Festive Family Feasts and Seasonal Specials at Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa is gearing up for a bumper Christmas and New Year with a series of exciting festive dining experiences. Guests and diners will have plenty of opportunities to celebrate this jolly season in style, with an extensive calendar of family feasts and bountiful buffets. Events will take place at Amber Kitchen, the resort’s stylish all-day dining restaurant; Big Fish, the stunning seafront grill; and directly on the soft sands of Hua Hin Beach, overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. The fun starts on 24th December 2017, as Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa celebrates Christmas Eve in spectacular fashion with a choice of fantastic festive feasts. At Amber Kitchen, the Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner includes traditional turkey with all the trimmings, Boston lobster, black tiger prawns, foie gras and much more! Every guest will also receive free-flow soft drinks and a welcome glass of glühwein. Alternatively, Big Fish is serving an exquisite five-course dinner on Christmas Eve, including salmon cannelloni with caviar, poached lobster with truffle celeriac cream, a choice of Iberico pork loin, veal tenderloin or Atlantic loup de mer, and a delectable dessert. This delightful dining experience also includes free-flow soft drinks and a glass of glühwein. Then on Christmas Day, gather your family and friends for a choice of culinary festivities. On 25th December, Amber Kitchen is hosting a Family Christmas Lunch, complete with classic Christmas roasts such as turkey, pork, beef and lamb, plus freshly-prepared Wiener schnitzel and indulgent truffle pasta. This amazing occasion also features free flow soft drinks, music and children’s entertainment. Later that evening, join us on Hua Hin Beach for Christmas Live! Our spectacular, luxury beachfront barbecue. This glamorous white-themed party will include a whole pork roast, cooked to perfection on an open fire, plus plenty of live cooking stations, fresh seafood and prime meats barbecued under the stars, with live entertainment! This spectacular Christmas banquet includes a “White Christmas” welcome drink for every guest and free flow soft drinks. From 25th to 30th December, guests can also enjoy a sumptuous daily International dinner buffet at Amber Kitchen, with a full selection of various dishes from around the world. “Life’s a Circus” beachfront party And as 2017 draws to a close, Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa will ramp up the festivities with a choice of fun-filled culinary experiences on New Year’s Eve! The last day of the year is always best enjoyed in the company of your loved ones, and our “Life’s a Circus” beachfront party allows families and friends to come together for an extravagant evening of food, drink and entertainment on the soft sands of Hua Hin Beach. Highlights include a range of Western, Thai and Indian delicacies, live music, Thai dancing and more! And of course, we’ll usher in the New Year with a countdown fireworks. “Life’s a Circus” beachfront party Couples seeking a more intimate year-end experience can opt for our “Wine & Dine” experience at Big Fish - a delectable five-course dinner perfectly paired with wine. Having enjoyed a romantic evening in each other’s company, couples can then head to the beach to join the fun at the New Year’s Eve countdown party. Finally, what better way to spend the first day of 2018 than with a sumptuous buffet dinner on 1st January? Put your resolutions on hold and indulge in a full feast for the whole family at Amber Kitchen, including a sushi and salmon bar, noodle soup and fresh, charcoal-grilled meat and seafood. For full details of the festive dining calendar at Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa, please see below: Christmas Eve Dinner When: 24th December 2017, from 18.30 to 22.30 hrs Where: Amber Kitchen Price: THB 2,700++ per person, including free-flow soft drinks and a welcome glass of glühwein Five-Course Christmas Dinner When: 24th December 2017, from 18.30 to 22.30 hrs Where: Big Fish Price: THB 1,900++ per person, including free-flow soft drinks and a welcome glass of glühwein Family Christmas Lunch When: 25th December 2017, from 12.30 to 15.00 hrs Where: Amber Kitchen Price: THB 1,500++ per person, including free-flow soft drinks, music and kids’ entertainment Christmas Live! Luxury Beachfront Barbecue When: 25th December 2017, from 18.30 to 22.30 hrs Where: Beach Price: THB 3,500++ per person, including free-flow soft drinks and welcome drink International Buffet When: 25th – 30th December 2017, from 18.30 to 22.30 hrs Where: Amber Kitchen Price: THB 1,300++ per person New Year’s Eve Wine & Dine When: 31st December 2017, from 18.30 to 22.30 hrs Where: Big Fish Price: THB 2,900++ per person, including a welcome glass of glühwein (Includes entry-fee to the Countdown party) THB 5,900++ per person, including four paired wines and a welcome glass of glühwein (Includes entry-fee to the Countdown party) Life’s a Circus! New Year’s Eve Beachfront Barbecue & Countdown Party When: 31st December 2017, from 19.00 to 02.00 hrs (1st January 2018) Where: Beach Price: THB 6,500++ per person, including a welcome drink and free-flow soft drinks THB 8,900++ per person, including free-flow soft drinks, beer, plus red, white & sparkling wine all night long! New Year’s Day Dinner When: 1st January 2018, from 18.30 to 22.30 hrs Where: Amber Kitchen Price: THB 1,300++ per person Marriott Rewards, SPG and Club Marriott discounts apply, and early birds who book any of these festive feasts before 15th December 2017 will get 20% off! For more information or reservations, please call 032 904 666 or email [email protected]
  3. Midweek Rant: Overfeeding kids is child abuse. Period File photo Today Thailand is faced with an almost out of control obesity epidemic. Thai women were named the second fattest in Asia yesterday and evidence of a population eating themselves to death is everywhere. On any given day hospitals are overflowing with people suffering from the inevitable result of bad eating habits – diabetes. In the last 20 years in particular many have abandoned good diets of rice and vegetable for fast food and 7/11 ready meals laced with fat and gunk. More disposable income means increasingly people are piling on the calories. Calories that don’t get burnt up because people are on Facebook all day long and not in the gym. If they do go to exercise, then they do a few steps then claim they are tired and hot going home for more food, TV and social media. But as bad as this is, it pales into insignificance by the threat to the most vulnerable group – the nation’s school children. About a dozen years ago there was a boy at my international school who was clearly obese. At the time he stood out because most of the children exercised and were relatively well proportioned. Ironically named “Big” I would see him over eating in the canteen. After school he would be across the road with his parents plying him with sweets and ice cream. When alone he always had money for a large bag of potato chips. Concerned, I went to the school authorities. I demanded action – I said this was nothing short of child abuse. The British teachers sympathized but clearly indicated there was mot much they could do. Actually they didn’t want to upset the parents who paid their wages. Thais of my acquaintance smiled but you could see they thought I had a screw loose. Wasn’t child abuse hitting them in class or at home?, you could see them thinking. You see they were still mired in the absurd notion that fat equals rich. Chubby and overweight equals cute. A popular and affectionate Thai nickname is "Uan" (fat). Buying food and stuffing it into your kid’s mouth equals nurturing and taking care. Rubbish – overfeeding your child, feeding them fast food, sweets, sugary drinks is not being a good parent. It is killing your child and you are responsible. In my house, with my kids, we had a battle. But I stuck to my guns against a wife who thought I was cruel and not being the best father I could be. Why? Because I threw out the Coke – tossed away the chocolate and crisps – tipped the Sprite down the drain. No more – we had water with meals. Freshly cooked meals made from good fresh ingredients. Sweets and sugary drinks were kept for the occasional meal out or special occasions. Years later my son thanked me for that stand in clearing the house of rubbish food. But is that kind of thing happening in the average Thai household? Dream on. Adults are killing themselves with what they eat. And parents are killing their children in the name of being kind – or just keeping them quiet with food that is basically poisoning them. Why haven’t countries like Thailand – and others across Asia – learnt any lessons from the West? Because the culture that says rich equals fat and poor equals thin is even more deeply ingrained than it was in, say, Victorian Britain. Obesity in adults and especially children is spiraling out of control in Thailand as today's news attests. Yes, the government and health authorities need to do their bit in regulatory measures and advice respectively. But it is time the people woke up and realized that they need to take responsibility for themselves and their young people. And stop killing themselves and their kids by overfeeding with bad food and drink. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-11-16
  4. Comedy Festival is Coming to PATTAYA NOV 17th STAR FROM FATHER TED AND BRITAIN’S BEST COMEDIAN @ HAVANNA BAR. Mark your calendar for November 17, 2017, as Bangkok’s only English-speaking comedy festival comes to Pattaya for one night only with award-winning comedians and TV stars such as Joe Rooney, Phil Kay, and Aidan Killian. The Havana bar @ The Holiday Inn are proud to host a world class comedy show with Joe Rooney from ‘Father Ted’ and the multi-award winning comedy superstar Phil Kay (Winner of ‘Britain’s Best Standup’) alongside other great acts such as 5-Star comedian, Aidan Killian, as featured on RTE and BBC. For tickets and information on the venues and festival, check out https://www.bangkokfringe.org/. ABOUT Bangkok Comedy Fringe Festival The Bangkok Comedy Fringe is a non-profit event creating positive nights out for tourists and expats in Bangkok and Pattaya. Visit our website at bangkokfringe.org. Contact Aidan at [email protected] Purchase Tickets here: https://pattayacomedy.eventbrite.com
  5. Midweek Rant: Pack mentality – why keyboard warriors are no better than the Thais they criticize Every time a story hits the news about a mob attack in Thailand the keyboard warriors are quickly on the scene. Thaivisa forum is no different to any other site where Thai stories are viewed. Though not always without justification, they attack the mentality that sees cowardly locals ganging up ten on one on security guards or defenseless members of the public. An unpleasant attack on a handicapped guard in Bang Saen this week is a case in point. Ok, fair enough it is despicable behavior and the guilty parties need to be jailed. But the matter never ends there. The very same people who scream to anyone who will listen that this is standard Thai behavior are themselves just the same kind of gutless bullies. They will pick on virtually anyone – always weaker than them, always outnumbering them. If it was just the angst shown against some Thais who hunt in packs it might be tolerable – but it never stops there. Firstly they cast all Thai men with the same brush calling them weak and scared. Every one of the keyboard warriors would see them off in a fair, bare knuckle fistfight, one on one. But then they take it to the next level – a level that shows who they really are – just bullies. The keyboard warriors themselves, be it on internet forums, social media or in the comments section on news sites then gang up on sub groups in Thai society. They often don’t even realize what they are doing. They feel right is on their side as they agree with each other in attacking all manner of people in Thailand. They have now become the pack themselves. So who do they target? I shall pick just three groups. The first are lady boys. Despite this group of people representing a significant minority in Thailand they are all tarred with the same brush according to the internet pack. They are thieving good-for-nothings who should all be jailed without so much as a trial. Get them off our righteous streets, they yell indignantly. Mmm. Might this be that many of the warriors are Pattaya based and have yet been unable to broaden their horizons in any significant capacity. I don’t know – what I do know is that it is totally unfair to pick on lady boys and associate them with those in their group who might break the law. Even in Pattaya. Law abiding lady boys are not responsible for the actions of a small minority. But the warriors condemn them all and the vitriol is nothing short of what the Nazi’s did in referring to untermensch or “the masses from the East”. Then there are gays. A recent very happy story about a gay wedding in Thailand between a Brit and his male spouse also featured a swathe of homophobic comments – once again here were the self-proclaimed “full blooded males”, as they probably see themselves, ganging up ten on one at least. Sure, some used the story to bang on about dowries but many used it for veiled if not direct homophobia. And before they deny it saying it was just a “bit of banter”, that is not the way some gays who commented on Thaivisa saw that reaction. One was moved to thank a Sunday columnist for standing up to the bigoted bashers. Is it right that people in our community should feel threatened for a lifestyle that is a little different to the “norm”. Of course it is not, everyone deserves respect and the right to lead their lives as they see fit within the law. My third “disadvantaged” group is the innocent. The pack online is never more vociferous than when a suspect has been arrested for a crime. These weedy warriors are convinced of their guilt just because the story is in the papers or online and like a pack of baying hounds they turn on the suspect with their gnashers drooling spit as they spout their interminable nonsense about “hanging them high” and “rightful retribution” awaiting in the shower rooms of Thai prisons. Not for them the courts, the pack have decided…and they of course are always right because they are so goddamn smart. So much smarter than everyone else in Thailand. Amid all the attacks it is noticeable that it is invariably Thai men who seem to be the root cause of society’s ills as the warriors complain of their “childishness” and “laziness”. With so few Thais on a forum like Thaivisa or commenting on the popular expat social media groups there are hardly any to speak up for them as the pack descends. And of course is people defend them, they are condemned as “apologists”. Absurd. But interestingly, these abject bullies hardly ever seem to turn on Thai women. Maybe they are scared that their strong Thai wives might be looking over their shoulders as they type. Bullies always fear strength, don’t they. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-04-26
  6. This Saturday Nov 11th - Stand-Up Comedy in Pattaya w/ TOM RHODES! "Tom Rhodes is one of the best stand-ups..." JIMMY CARR “A mostly natural intellect with a knack for reporting the harsh realities of life with a dark and absurdly optimistic cynicism.” THE NEW YORK TIMES This Saturday Nov 11th, the legendary TOM RHODES, a truly international comedian with over 30 years in the game as a stand-up comes to tour in Thailand with his Pattaya stop, where else but The Robin Hood Tavern with The Comedy Club Bangkok and ThaiVisa/ Inspire Media! With countless TV appearances on Comedy Central (being the first signed comic with the channel!) NBC, The Daily Show, Netflix and much more with regular podcasts with BILL BURR and JOE ROGAN. Tom has a career that not only includes stand-up specials , a sitcom, a travel show, a late-night talk show, his critically acclaimed podcast Tom Rhodes Radio, as well as being a travel writer for the Huffington Post. Come see a true legend joined by special guests! ฿600 in advance online BUY TICKETS HERE! / ComedyClubBangkok.com and The Robin Hood Tavern Pub (Tel 087-440-6060)! ฿800 on the door.
  7. Midweek rant: People and fireworks don’t mix – enforce the ban at Loy Krathong File photo I was going to rant that Thais and fireworks don’t mix. But let’s face it, it’s not just Thailand – fireworks are horrible things in the hands of the public anywhere. When I was a kid growing up in England in the 1960s and 70s it was like the dark ages. So long as you were 14 you could buy fireworks before the festival of Guy Fawkes or Bonfire night every November 5th. I bought them when I was ten. Many people got hurt in accidents every year. For a big display on the playing fields, my primary school asked every parent to give their child a rocket, or a Roman Candle or a Catherine Wheel. And bring it to school in their satchel! People would be horrified by that idea these days. Most displays are now big and organized as the British public have been thankfully weaned off having fireworks individually. But in Thailand many adults still behave badly and recklessly and some don’t set any kind of example to children when it comes to safety. Messing around with fireworks and powerful crackers is no exception. When I first came to Thailand in the 1980s I heard about the Loy Krathong festival. Some of my first Thai friends invited me out for what promised to be a lovely, calm evening of Thai culture at the lake of a university. As we walked along some grass people were firing rockets at each other. I was hit in the abdomen by a stray rocket and the gunpowder burnt a small hole. I was not badly hurt but very shocked. I kept the shirt as a reminder – and it was more than a decade until I went out at Loy Krathong again. This week the police and other authorities have been talking as usual about safety at Loy Krathong. One of the things is fireworks that they have said are banned. I hope they mean what they say and fine anyone setting them off. Thai people – all people – are a menace with fireworks. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-11-02
  8. Midweek rant: Dear Chief – thanks so far, now get tough with car drivers File photo In a week of national mourning it would be unseemly to rant so I’d rather start by praising the new police commissioner in Bangkok for doing away with the scourge of traffic checkpoints. The chief has rightly pointed out that these “dan”, as they are called in Thai, served no purpose but to line the pockets of unscrupulous cops and their station hierarchy. The checkpoints never solved any traffic problems – quite the opposite, they caused them by snarling up the flow at key points even if it was the middle of the day. And it was invariably poor motorcyclists who suffered most. They were easy pickings: no tinted windows to hide behind - unlikely to be people of “influence”. So well done Chief Charnthep for this initiative. On all my various journeys in Bangkok there has been no experience of being stopped on my motorcycle for no reason. That is a welcome change. So far so good. The trouble is the officers under your control seem to have taken it all a bit too far. They have almost completely disappeared from the roads. Thai media have spotted this and I know you have instructed your traffic chief Jiraphat to encourage the metropolitan police to get out of their booths and get to grips with lawbreakers on the roads. Many cops think that because they are not doing roadside fleecing anymore they can just stay in and chat, eat and look at their phones to pass the time. But we need them out doing their jobs – we really do. We need them on the streets especially dealing with two of the most serious problems – people in cars parking illegally and causing the traffic flow to grind to a halt and the thousands of drivers who commit what can only be described as attempted murder at red lights on a daily basis. The latter is especially dangerous for motorcyclists going about their daily life and business in Bangkok. I accept that many bike riders are not angels in this and other regards but…. A case in point is at the Ratchayothin intersection. On average at least five cars per light change go through the red light and with large barriers in the area it is impossible for bikers to see what is coming. I do sympathize, chief, with the cops in the congested area in the heat trying to keep the traffic flowing; but they really need to start stopping the car drivers and fining them for this dangerous activity. I know that no biker in their right mind would go through a green light immediately after the change but still – it will only be a matter of time before more of our number die for no reason than that a car driver is unwilling to wait another minute. Secondly, would you please get Jiraphat to give the traffic cops a bit of a talking to stop all the illegal parking of cars especially on the main roads but also in the sois. Forget clamping – just tow them away even if they are BMWs or Benz. You and Jiraphat need to empower your men and back them up so that those with influence don’t force your hand. This anti-social parking behavior is creating problems for other motorists in particular but also for bikers in obscuring entrances and sub-sois causing yet more danger and potential for loss of life and limb. In both red light running and illegal parking, cars get scratched and occasionally a driver gets injured. But bikers get mangled and often die as a result. So thanks chief for a good start to your tenure in reigning in those individuals under your command who let the side down. But please, please, use the chain of command to encourage your men to get busy and deal with the lawbreakers for the sake of all concerned. Cheers. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-10-25
  9. Midweek rant: Why pander to smokers? Just “cough up” 2,000 baht and don’t come back File photo After last week’s farce of idiotic jail terms for smokers comes the complete opposite – appeasement that would have made even Neville Chamberlain wince. While the British PM attempted to whitewash an evil regime along comes the ever so nice Thais showing absurd consideration for a modern day scourge in our towns, cities and countryside – smokers. The sight of the authorities putting up ten – yes ten – expensive glass surrounded smoking areas equipped with extractor fans on Bang Saen beach beggar’s belief. Why are you being so nice to them? Talk about a red carpet to smoke. How lovely and comfy – they’ll even be protected when it rains. So who is paying for this groveling to smokers – the tax payer that’s who. You and me. Why give these people anywhere to smoke at all – after all their noxious fumes are still going to come out of these soon to be filthy little dens of addiction and pollute the air my children and the rest of us breathe. They should be told to go home – abroad if they are foreigners – if they want to smoke. And if Thai they should be made to build sealed rooms in their houses – or underneath in dungeons – so their children are protected. If they give up – for at least six months – give them a certificate to go on the wall. The district chiefs can present them in televised ceremonies. Thais love a ceremony. If they are seen smoking on the beach – or anywhere else for that matter - don’t give them a considerate warning and a smile. Just have a table set up to take their 2,000 baht each. If they don’t have money take their phones or jewelry. They’ll soon find the money. If they admit the offence and don’t make a fuss it can be halved. That’s all the consideration that’s necessary for these addicts that imperil the rest of us and think they have the god given right to endanger us. Use the money to sift out all the millions of butts that they have already tossed onto the beach and elsewhere. Put some signage out with rotting lungs and malformed fetuses. Make the message as clear as day. And before you start complaining that this is directed solely against visitors or tourists, it’s not. There should be no distinction between Thai or foreigner, man or woman, young or old. Smokers need to be treated like outcasts. Not pandered to….not appeased….not shown consideration. Not paid for by the rest of us. They are addicts…hooked on a dangerous drug…and they must be stopped…..not enabled. So come on Thai government. Be strong. Shut down your tobacco monopoly. Declare Thailand – not just the beaches and inside public buildings or in schools – as completely smoke free. Take a lead. Ban the sale and importation of all cigarettes. Have bins at the airports. Force them to go cold turkey – they’ll thank you in the long run. Their health will improve and the burden they place on the health care system will be lifted. And the country will gain international recognition for all the right reasons. Sure the tobacco mafia will kick up a stink – just smile and say no more, not here. Be strong. Then watch how the tourists – even the Chinese – give up just so they can come to Thailand. It might even inspire MORE tourists to come. To a smoke free paradise where addicts don’t rule the roost. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-10-20
  10. Midweek rant: Banning smoking on the beaches descends into farce File photo The foreign community moan and moan that the Thais won’t do anything to sort out the problem of trash in Thailand. They blame the Thais for clogging the drains, leaving behind their polystyrene boxes, treating nature and the beaches like a rubbish bin. It’s like nothing so much as a sweet paper has even been dropped in the West. There is of course more than a little truth in all of that. Then along comes a Thai environmentalist – Jatuporn Burutphat – who wants to clear up the beaches. He has done a survey that suggests a major environmental hazard are cigarette butts. He wants to rid Thailand of the scourge. He wants to clean up the place. He doesn’t want all those foreigners complaining that the Thais are doing nothing about being named the sixth worst polluters on the planet. Sure he knows that plastic bottles and stuff thrown out of boats and in coastal drains is important too but he has to start somewhere. He’s being proactive and his efforts, announced yesterday, mean a ban on smoking on 20 beaches is coming into force. All well and good. The trouble is that rather than suggesting that those that break the law will be fined for littering, they will be prosecuted under damage to the environment legislation. This means they could theoretically be jailed or fined 100,000 baht – even both. The Thais know this is never going to happen but the foreigners are not so sure. Cue: a massive Thai bashing festival ensues where some suggest that the move is designed to go after foreigners. Over the top? - perhaps. They suggest that unscrupulous people, like some local authorities, might use the ordnance to extort money from foreign beachgoers. That’s not unreasonable especially if you have seen “tetsakit” officers fining foreigners in Bangkok 2,000 baht for dropping a cigarette butt when they would never have approached a Thai. And in reality what tourist faced with a huge fine would not part with a few thousand just to get back to their hotel. In next to no time the whole issue of filth on the beach has been almost forgotten. Jatuporn and his pals didn’t think it through because they don’t think from a foreigner’s perspective. The foreigners didn’t really get that using the environment law was just a short cut, misguided perhaps, but the Thais meant no harm. Generally, people would be advised not to smoke at first. There would be signs, places to congregate if you fancied a quick drag. Lots of smiles and pointing. Khorp khun khraps and jai yen yens. Like all things in Thailand there would be compromise and leeway before the message got across that smokers really are not wanted on the beaches. But once again we get a mess. Why? Planning. Not enough Thai people – especially those in power - think their actions through. Those actions are often well intended but fall short of effectiveness because of poor planning in their implementation and lack of foresight for the resulting, often negative, consequences. And this is especially true when changes to laws and regulations impact foreigners – both residents and tourists who are visiting Thailand. If you have lived in the kingdom for a while you kind of get what the Thais are aiming at. But I can’t help thinking that some in positions of responsibility need a bit of cultural training when it comes to matters that impact visitors. Thaivisa could have buried the fact of jail time and 100,000 baht fines in the stories just as the Thai press did. But why should they? It’s a fact that those draconian punishments are on the books. Look what happened to the person feeding the fish. It’s sad really. What started off as the good intentions of a man determined to improve things, ends in this. Farce. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-10-11
  11. Hello guys, Introducing you the 'Food Review by Dining Guru'. I am dining lover especially the fine dining and love to share my experience to make you guys starving : ) Anything you want to know about fine dining, just ask! I will seek the best answer for you.. and welcome to my first review here. Last Sunday, I got a chance to try out the Sunday brunch at The Sukhothai Bangkok hotel and found that it’s one of the best brunches in town. I just couldn’t wait to share it with you guys. Prices are B3,000++ for food only and B4,500++ for food and free flow wine and champagne. Without a second thought, I chose to the first package because I felt more like eating not drinking during the day. The brunch itself is located at the restaurant called Colonnade. I would skip the decoration and welcome part. It’s in the hotel, so you know, it’s great! First, I started with my favorite section, seafood on ice. There is huge selection of seafood items to choose from, including Maine lobster, Alaskan king crab, snow crab leg, black mussel, river prawns, and many more. But what I liked most about this corner was that they also served Fine De Clair Oyster No.2, together with other excellent European oysters. Then, I moved on to the salad bar just to check if there’s anything that I wanted (I personally don’t fancy much because I’m more of a carnivore). It was just like any other typical salad bar with fresh vegetables, cold appetizers, and deli meats. But then I decided to try the grilled raclette cheese with boiled potato and pickle and it was quite delicious though. At the tempting pasta station, where they allowed you to customize your own version of pasta, there were so many options on offer. I stood there for a while to carefully choose what I really wanted because it was impossible for me to try everything out. And finally, I ended up with the squid ink vermicelli with garlic sauce, because why not? As I was at the live cooking station, I had a little chitchat with a chef and he suggested me to try the lobster bisque. Without hesitation, I ordered this French style smooth, creamy broth, together with the roasted wagyu prime rib, grilled seafood platter, and the pan-fried foie gras (why order just one when you can do as many as you wish). Like OMG the lobster bisque is so succulent, and so does the foie gras. But the wagyu was a little bit overcooked for me. Afterwards, I continued with the Japanese section. A huge selection of sushi and sashimi really amazed me (you wouldn’t find these many elsewhere). But the highlight of the show was the Thai food section. Here, I fell for the lobster coconut dip with crispy rice crackers and the banana blossom salad with crispy duck and lychee, which I kept coming back for more. With a little room left in my stomach, I bypassed a few cheeses, cakes, tarts, and macarons, before moving on to the sticky toffee pudding with fudge sauce and ice cream. Only thing I did not like was that the dessert area was in the Zuk Bar, another restaurant next to Colonnade. You just have to walk a little bit. There are still so many things I did not try. I thought I could try more, but I really couldn’t. Maybe on my next visit. It costed me B3,531 in total—more expensive than many Sunday brunch restaurants in town but it’s worth satisfying your hunger. Trust me! Reservations are strongly advised. Call 02 344 8888 or email to [email protected] Simply follow their Facebook page for the latest promotions at www.facebook.com/thesukhothai. You can also check out thegreatgastro.com to find out more about fine dining restaurants in Bangkok.
  12. Midweek rant: While Pattaya moans, Bangkok carries the nation File photo If I see another story about the state of Pattaya’s beaches I think I shall be forced to smash my computer. If I see another story about the state of the stinking sea, the decrepit sidewalks, falling masonry….I shall stamp on my iPad. If I see more Pattaya stories about thieving lady boys, taxi mafia, bent coppers – you name it – I shall hurl my iPhone out the window. Without any electronic devices I may just then be able to avoid the news from Pattaya. And to make sure I shall apply to be one of those Buddhist hermits who goes and lives in a hut in some forest in Nan where there is no electricity or wi-fi signal. Nirvana. I know the folks at Thaivisa need Pattaya and the news and clicks it generates for their revenues. It’s the news place that keeps on giving. It is just that I have had enough. Enough of the moaning Thai media. Enough of the complaining Pattaya expats. Enough of the “spoiling the image of Pattaya” – if I hear that one again I may have to end it all by becoming the latest balcony falling statistic. I can see the headline now: “Ratchayothin (Bangkok) resident ends it all with 12th floor leap because of Pattaya. - Thai wife says he was driven to it after overdosing on Pattaya news”. Even in death there will be a reference to Pattaya in every line! Alright, I could just ignore it. It’s just that it creeps up on me everywhere, even when I am not looking. What really gets my goat is the idea – subliminal almost – that it is only Pattaya that has problems. They moan about the traffic in Pattaya – has anyone seen what is happening in Bangkok with all the train lines being built. Do we complain – hardly ever – we put up with it – it’s called progress. For our children’s future. They moan about things that could fall on people from building sites – know how many people have been killed – yes killed – in my immediate Bangkok neighborhood from engineering gantries falling from train line construction? Four. Think your sidewalks are bad – try the suburbs of Krung Thep – many places don’t even have any. Think we don’t have theft? Think all the police in the capital smile and wave you on your way with a hearty “khraphom” never dreaming of taking a baht over their salaries? Dream on. Bangkokians just get on with their daily lives – contributing to GDP and keeping the rest of the country afloat. Our filthy sea is the floodwaters that appear everywhere almost daily in the monsoon season. Do we complain? No, we haven’t got time for that – we must get to work for the good of the nation. While Pattaya bleats, Bangkok, the heart of Thailand, beats. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-10-04
  13. Midweek rant: Thai culture is one thing – politeness quite another File photo If I walked up to one of those dolly bird university girls in the street and snapped her picture or started making a video there would be trouble. I wouldn’t doubt for one minute that my own image and name would be plastered over social media and the police would probably get involved. I’d be Thai public enemy number one – another foreign pest to complain about. I don’t of course – I don’t even ogle…well not much. I’ll keep my eyes and my thoughts to myself. Let’s face it anyone doing so would be harassing others – it seems obvious. So why do people thing they have the god given right right to snap pictures and make videos of my children – and expect me to suck it up as they are grinning and leering, even handling my kids like fruit in the market? I know my offspring are adorably cute “luuk khreung”. I know their skin is white and that is prized, their hair is a bit different and I’m sure we agree they will be models and movie stars one day. But can’t you ask me first before stealing their images and sharing for likes with millions of friends on the internet. I honestly don’t mind that much – but it would be polite to ask. I have always believed that the Thais are a polite people – I read it in a guidebook - and comparing them to people I’ve seen around Asia in particular and the world in general I have no reason to change my mind. So why is it so many think they can do selfies with my kids as if they were their own? Would they do that if the parents of the cute offspring were Thai? I don’t think so. Are they not asking me because they don’t know how to in broken English? Perhaps – but wouldn’t you think that a man with a Thai wife is likely to understand “khor thay ruup noi kha” or words to that effect? Maybe they think that simple sentences in Thai are impossible for any foreigner. Sunday at Dream World was not spoiled as a result. That would be absurd. It was a great day out but got me thinking. It started with those guys who snap your picture as you arrive so they can flog you a crappy plate later. It has happened so often that I don’t really expect them to ask and I don’t buy their wares. In fact, it amuses me that they won’t get a baht and might waste money as a result. He he… But shouldn’t they ask. Later it was the many people all over the park who spent their entire day taking pictures of themselves. Tiring of that and seeing a selfie opportunity they turned to my kids. At least four or five times. I said nothing. I didn’t forbid it. The wife would find it strange – almost rude if I did. I certainly didn’t want to spoil anyone’s day by making a song and dance of it. But weren’t the people rude not to ask? What makes my kids somehow your property to do as you like with? Too often you see Thais hiding behind their culture in situations like this. The culture says we all love children. The culture says we should all be one happy family. The culture says we shouldn’t make trouble, especially in public, for no reason. But doesn’t the culture also talk about “grengjai” or imposing on another person’s feelings? Doesn’t the culture also stress the need to consider the needs of older people to a greater extent? It seems a lot of that goes out the window when a foreigner is involved. It’s fair game! Fair sport! Is it an almighty leap of the imagination to think that I might object to my kids being all over the internet, being shared by all and sundry? I think not. My kids are only one and four but my point is you should ask. If they were older – heaven forbid in bathing costumes at a water park perhaps – then I’d certainly ask you not to. As a teacher responsible for hundreds of children in public on school trips we had a policy. We had to. We’d ask people angling to take snaps not to do so. If anyone did we’d ask them to stop – even delete the image and explain why. If people were suspicious – men at a swimming pool perhaps - we’d have to call the police. Fortunately in my experience it never came to that. Yes, this wasn’t a school trip. I was just having a day out. I kept smiling. But I couldn’t help feeling that at the very least people should have asked. And I was left with a sense that some people had left their famous good manners at home. And thought their behavior was just fine. Is the internet and smart phone era responsible? Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-09-27
  14. 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
  15. Fintech glossary: Crypto edition An administrator demonstrates how to pay with Bitcoin at the Stadthaus town hall in Zug, Switzerland, August 30, 2016. Picture taken on August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann As financial technology increasingly enters the daily lives of millions, much of its terminology remains hard to understand. Here is a look into buzz words in cryptocurrencies and blockchain, a sub-sector of the fintech world. CRYPTOCURRENCY: A digital currency that relies on cryptography to validate and secure transactions. There are different types of cryptocurrencies - bitcoin and ethereum are among the best known. BITCOIN: A digital - or crypto - currency that enables payment in a decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) network not governed by any central authority or middleman. BLOCKCHAIN: Software that first emerged as the system underpinning bitcoin. Also known as distributed ledger technology (DLT), it is a shared record of information that is maintained and updated by a network of computers rather than a central authority. It is protected and secured by advanced cryptography. DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY: A term often used interchangeably with “blockchain,” even though technically blockchain describes the public ledger powering bitcoin. MINING: The process through which transactions are verified and added to the blockchain and new bitcoins are created. MINERS: Term used to describe the devices or the people that own the devices that validate bitcoin transactions. They get rewarded for the computing power consumed during mining with the bitcoins created in the process. PUBLIC LEDGER: A distributed ledger that is open to everyone on the internet. Bitcoin’s blockchain is a public ledger. PERMISSIONED LEDGER: A distributed ledger that requires permission in order to be accessed. The ledger is maintained only by a limited number of parties. This is the kind of blockchain technology that large corporations, such as banks, are more likely to use because of data privacy needs. DOUBLE SPEND: A successful bitcoin transaction that is sent to two different recipients simultaneously. Essentially as if the same dollar bill could be spent twice. Bitcoin’s blockchain is the system that should prevent this from happening. ALTCOIN: A cryptocurrency different, or alternative, to Bitcoin. ETHEREUM: A type of blockchain network. The bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains differ primarily in purpose and capability. While the bitcoin blockchain is used to track ownership of the digital currency bitcoin, the Ethereum blockchain can be used to build decentralized applications. The virtual currency associated with Ethereum is called Ether. HARD FORK: When a blockchain splits into two ledgers creating a new digital currency. BITCOIN CASH: An alt-coin clone of bitcoin that was created in August 2017 when a group of Chinese miners initiated a fork of bitcoin’s blockchain. BLOCK: A part of the blockchain where a number of transactions are recorded. It’s like a page in a ledger book. Unlike a page on a ledger book, however, once completed a block cannot be modified. GENESIS BLOCK: The first block in a new blockchain. HASH RATE: The speed of a bitcoin transaction. SMART CONTRACTS: Software that runs on blockchain technology and can automatically enforce the terms of an agreement. A “smart bond”, for example would automatically make interest payments to investors. ICO: Initial Coin Offering, or a token sale. The process or event in which funds are raised for a new cryptocurrency venture and contributors receive tokens in return. DISTRIBUTED APPLICATION: Software that runs on multiple computers on a given network at the same time. ORACLES: A data feed, usually a third party service, that provides information for use in smart contracts. NODES: Connection points for the transmission of data. DIGITAL WALLET: software that allows users to make electronic payments, purchases and store their cryptocurrencies online. PRIVATE KEYS: A form of cryptography that allows users to access their cryptocurrency and is essential part of its security. HARDWARE SECURITY MODULES: Or HSM. It is a device that secures data such as digital private keys in a very secure fashion. Sources: Investopedia, Blockgeeks, Blockchaintechonologies.com -- © Copyright Reuters 2017-09-25
  16. Koh Chang Guide Issue 4 2017 View File Koh Chang Guide Issue 4 2017 - download the PDF version using the green download button. All the latest information about Koh Chang PLUS: Check out the bonus Koh Chang Treasue Map and Koh Kood and Koh Mak Map Submitter Jonathan Fairfield Submitted 09/22/2017 Category Thaivisa Members Files  
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    Koh Chang Guide Issue 4 2017 - download the PDF version using the green download button. All the latest information about Koh Chang PLUS: Check out the bonus Koh Chang Treasue Map and Koh Kood and Koh Mak Map
  18. Midweek rant: Tax hikes on booze and fags – the mother of all cock-ups makes Thailand a laughing stock File photo The raising of the tax rates on cigarettes and alcohol was the mother of all cock-ups from start to finish. Since the first story broke months ago that the rates were to rise confusion has reigned. How on earth could the public be expected to know what was going to happen if the news media had no idea what it all meant? And how was the news media supposed to know when the very people who were issuing the edicts didn’t seem to have a clue either. Right up until the end the government spokesman was remaining tight lipped. Not because of some protocol – because he had no idea himself. Firstly, there was nothing short of widespread panic among smokers and drinkers who feared their sinful habits would become completely unaffordable. Thai media was forced to put out wide ranging figures because no one would in authority would give them a straight answer. Even up until a day before Saturday’s Royal Gazette announcement came into force some were thinking that beer could go up forty baht a bottle. Wine could have a tariff increase obliterating the industry. Cigarettes could be as much as five baht more – EACH! Only damage could be done with all that speculation. So it came to pass that everyone had to wait until the weekend when the first trickle of half decent explanations started to come in. And people were obliged to see what the effect actually was in bars and shops. It is just not good enough. I am not a smoker or much of a drinker myself – in fact I would like to see fags outlawed – but it was appalling to see this public relations disaster. The stories in Thai were not scaremongering – there was legitimate concern amid the confusion. But tourists would have read the news in English and maybe thought twice about visiting in the future. Who wouldn’t if you thought a bottle of wine you could get for a few euros in the Med would set you back forty or fifty in Thailand. Aren’t tourists the modern “god” who have to be looked after at all costs? People who live in Thailand – Thais and foreigners alike - were treated like completely unimportant consumers. Just as the tourists were. Some even started hoarding amid the growing concern. It was a situation that in many countries would have had the press calling for the collective heads of politicians and the excise department. Why couldn’t they tell us exactly what such and such a popular cigarette brand would cost after mid- September? Why couldn’t they say how much a certain beer, spirit or type of wine would go up? Why couldn’t they allay some concerns? Because they are incompetent and treated the public shoddily, that’s why. The public who they should be serving. Then in the aftermath confusion still remains. Unless you rely on what is happening on the ground, you’d need a PhD in Maths, and casuistry, to figure out what it all means. Not surprisingly perhaps, the rates have gone up a mere fraction of what many feared. But the damage is done. The authorities even had the gall to say some rates would come down – what a scandalous smokescreen for their ineptitude and inefficiency that is. The authorities claim that the tax hikes are designed to raise more money for treating people for diseases related to consuming the products. All fair and dandy – but has anyone with a functioning brain cell done some research to figure out if the rises will actually raise any money for state coffers? Has anyone looked into whether more people will give up as a result? Given the way the whole situation has been handled, one somehow doubts it. For we are still faced with the utter absurdity that E-cigarettes – the use of which is very likely indeed to see health benefits for individual and state – are virtually criminalized. Users face harassment and sellers and producers lengthy jail time – even up to ten years. Why not tax the industry – one that can be seen selling openly on many street corners in Europe? Or is it just another example of two faced officialdom engaging in protectionism? The whole situation makes Thailand a laughing stock. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-09-20
  19. Midweek rant: Thailand - what is there to rant about? I had just got back from my summer holiday in the UK. Mindful that I hadn’t ranted about anything in Thailand for a couple of weeks and feeling, albeit at a distance, that my news editor was breathing down my neck for a story moaning about something in Thailand……. I wondered what to do. Lacking inspiration at my keyboard, I decided to go out for a walk with my one year old daughter. It was hot and I was in a bit of a gruff mood. Surely it would be easy to find something to rant about on the way. I’d probably have a dozen things to get off my farang chest before I even got to Villa. Pavements, traffic, danger, noise, violence, mayhem, knife crime, road rage – surely it was not a question of if but how many gripes I would come back with. And if all else failed I could whinge about the prices in the supermarket – that’ll stir up the readership. So off we set. The local school was turning out. There was no sidewalk and the soi was jammed with cars. But all the passing vehicles stopped to let me through with the buggy – many waiting for as long as a minute. The drivers even smiled as I took my time. Damn – why is everyone so bloody polite? Don’t you people know how to hoot or drive me headlong into the gutter? Nobody seemed to have the slightest inclination to do so. So the main road was reached. Surely I’d be nearly mown down by a motorcyclist on the sidewalk and I could justifiably rant about that. Aha one was on the pavement – but damn and double damn – he let us pass and smiled amicably before he proceeded slowly on his way to a delivery. Not just that, the way was free of vendors – completely unimpeded. I was beginning to fear the worst – at least for the outward leg – as close on a dozen young ladies, old ladies, young men and old men – all smiled appreciatively at me and my daughter. OK they probably thought I was her granddad but it would be churlish to rant about that. Further disappointment awaited at the shopping center of Major Ratchayothin. Two teens in school uniform held the main door open for me to pass, one even uttering “Good Morning” to me. It was afternoon, but ranting about English standards was clutching at straws. At the back door the guard held open the door then had the temerity to stop the traffic in the side soi so we could pass without danger. He saluted and said “khrapom” to my almost grudging “khop khun” – after all I had been cruelly robbed of ranting material again. In Villa they had completely reorganized the orientation of the shelves while I’d been away and I didn’t know where anything was anymore. Once again my thunder and indignation was stolen by the charming sales girl who understood my Thai, showed me around and offered to carry my shopping basket as “granddad” was clearly struggling with both that and the buggy. Damn these people’s consideration. Tragically Weetbix was still on offer and though Branston was exorbitantly priced it had also been before I left for the UK. If I ranted about that I’d be a laughing stock and told to go home back to my country and not bother wiping my feet on the way out. I trudged out dejected…..even the electric doors worked perfectly. Desperate I went into the bank – surely there I could muster up some cock-up. No….if anything they were about ten times as efficient and 100 times as pretty as those people I’d dealt with at Barclays. On the way back it was just more smiling faces, more cheery greetings from total strangers – even a look of love and respect from the motorcycle taxi boys as well as another salute from the old cop sweltering in his tight uniform on his paak soi traffic duties. A bag lady out feeding the soi cats, smiled and stroked my little one’s hair and said “naa rak”. No, I’d be more two faced than the worst Thai politician if I was to pretend I was concerned by that. I got home, the security guard waved at my daughter, the lift worked as usual, I entered my quiet and peaceful condo, kissed my beautiful and still young looking and smiling Thai wife and put my gorgeously cute Thai/British daughter to bed for her afternoon nap. I made myself a cup of PG Tips and relaxed in front of the keyboard ready to write. Why the hell was there a need to rant? I was back in Thailand and all was well. No wonder I love it so much. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-09-06
  20. Midweek rant: The Right to Rant – it’s not bashing Thailand to criticize File photo One thing I really hate. Those people who think you should keep your mouth shut about things if you are in a foreign country. “You are a guest in their country”, they spout. “You have no right to criticize”. What a load of nonsense. Who gave them the right to tell other people what to do? Eh? And why do they think you even need rights to speak up about things that are wrong, about injustice. I couldn’t care less if someone wants to bash the country of my birth – Britain. Why should it be any different in the place where you live, Thailand? Even if you are just a visitor. I am not even saying that you have to have lived in a place five, ten or fifty years before you somehow gain these “rights”. I see no reason why the tourist off the plane should not have their say immediately if that is what they want. Countries can learn a lot from their visitors – it’s called perspective. Sure people look a bit silly if they bash based on no knowledge of the reasons, whys and wherefores for the problems. But who says you have to be informed before you rant? The Rant Police? I may have spent most of my compos mentis life in Thailand but I think that everyone has the right to their opinion. Sure we must all keep within the law, even if we disagree with it. But why should foreigners be silent when they see things they disagree with? Obviously being fair is important, being informed a distinct advantage. Having a valid point helps. Who doesn’t hate those Thai bashers who abound on forums like Thaivisa who are neither fair, informed or have a point except to troll or incite. But there are many of us who care passionately about Thailand. We want to see it improve – just like the Thais do. We care enough about it to criticize. We care enough to comment. We want things to be better. So don’t tell me I can’t rant. To paraphrase the song: It’s my party and I’ll rant if I want to. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-08-17
  21. Midweek rant: Hey “Miss” – do us all a favor and resign now File photo I have a few words of advice for the so called teacher who put shoes on a student’s head and made him kowtow on the ground and crawl because he wore his own shoes into class against school rules. First of all let me make it clear. You are not a teacher and you are utterly repulsive. Furthermore you are a disgrace to the profession you claim to represent and you should pack your bags immediately. Just leave the kids alone – and go and be a brick in a wall somewhere. Maybe you are surprised to hear this from someone who is not Thai. Yes we are all shocked by violence from teachers but your filthy actions mean a lot to me personally. I am English but I have lived in Thailand a long time. Not that you need to have been in the kingdom more than five minutes to know what you did was horrible. Tourists reading in a guidebook would know more than you. Just to let you know I was the head of a Thai department at a big, respectable international school. Unusual as it may seem my job was to teach Thai, as well as foreign children about Thai culture. I taught them about your manners and your language. I thought they were important things for kids to learn, even those at international school. I had a rule about not wearing shoes into the Thai Studies classroom areas where I taught for twenty years. It set the scene for all the nice items the children would see, all the hopefully good things they would learn from me and my Thai colleagues. Sometimes kids came in with their shoes on. Kids forget. Kids are oblivious at times. Sometimes even obnoxious. But do you know what I did? I looked at them in the face, then looked at their shoes. My expression told them how I felt. It was not necessary to say or do anything – and you know what. They never did it again and the lesson was learnt. They might have even respected me, though those days are over for you I am afraid. You know what would have happened to me, or any of the dozen Thai female staff in my department, if I or they had put shoes on a student’s head. Let me tell you. My English headmaster would have called me in and told me to leave the premises immediately. Yes, no committee. No excuses. Sacked. And would I get a reference or a job in education anywhere else in the world ever again if people knew about that. No, I wouldn’t expect that. Of course no one in their right mind would do what you did. You are not fit to teach and clearly not in your right mind. Such an action as you did is not spur of the moment. Let’s face it you were caught by a student filming. You forgot this is the era of social media and you wouldn’t get away with it. Maybe you had in the past…..but not now. Don’t think it will be forgotten if the education department takes pity on you and lets you back in the class. It won’t – and even if the children are made to wai you and smile they will always remember, as will their parents, what an utter disgrace you are. So please resign – go and pack fish in cans or do something useful like tend the fields. But don’t try and teach because you can’t. And to the education authorities. Don’t let this woman off with a warning. Remove her and think about the children for a change. Children break rules, children are annoying, children challenge authority – that is what makes them children. But their teachers must know better than to punish like this. There can be no excuses. And while you are at it why not start working with the police and school directors to not just stop this humiliation that reflects so badly on your system, but do something about the illegal violence handed out to students in your schools as well. It’s assault. Show some balls and stand up for what is right. And be what the students expect of their teachers. Role models. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-08-09
  22. Midweek rant: Back where we started – Pattaya district chief still crusading File photo The midweek rant is today celebrating a quarter century of consecutive posts. Has anything changed? Has anything got better as a result? No. Not that I expected it to. This is Thailand, after all, as the mother-in-law is wont to remark. Hi-So and so’s are more out of control than ever beating up pregnant girls now. Dogs are increasingly more important than people, even attacking kids at playgrounds. Teachers are still using their kids as punching bag practice. Defamation remains a bigger crime than corruption. Money settles everything no matter how serious. Road rage participants carry knives and guns just for the fun of it. Bangkok is still not finished. And what’s worse – the sales staff still follow me about at Home Pro! People have said the column should be translated into Thai – maybe that would help…but I doubt it. So today I return to the man who inspired the column back on February 15th. That was twenty four hours after Valentine’s Day when Bang Lamung District Chief Naris Niramaiwong was pictured in a short time room with a British tourist with his pants down. The tourist’s pants that is – Naris always wear the trousers in Pattaya. On that famous occasion Naris was trying to stamp out sex. He thought he was doing everyone a favor, which in Thai means impressing his superiors with random illogical actions. He and his minions had made a complete hash of that and of course nothing has changed there. Pattaya’s golden goose continues to lay its eggs, no one will be surprised by that. But – rhetorical question alert - what has Naris done since? He has moved into mini-crusades to rid the resort of gambling and drugs. How very noble of him. But at least he can be relied on to continue in classic style. In his first after hours and drugs raids everyone had already gone home. Someone had been tipped off and no arrests were made. The lights were off. Public money was completely wasted on those fantasy forays into the night. So he turned to gambling. This time he targeted a group of grannies playing the Thai card game Dummy and four, aging wives of foreigners were arrested. How safe we now feel in our beds at night. Though I think some might be asking, who was actually the Dummy in all this? Then finally Naris got a result. Or so it seemed. Dozens of teens testing positive for drugs at a nightclub and more than a hundred sachets of “ice” in a locker. But none of the teens had anything incriminating on them. That was on the floor. The packages contained hardly anything. And the owner was nowhere to be seen – so he hauled in the manager on eight charges. Whoopeedoo! Basically Naris’s 2017 crusade has netted a UK pensioner, a manager doing his job and a few grannies having a beer and a game of cards. Meanwhile…… The resort he claims to be working for is suffering one of its worst environmental crises in decades. The sea is filthy, the fish are dead, the operators are going home and the news is spreading to potential tourists far and wide. The snatch thieves and lady boys continue to rob everyone blind. The cops arrest electronic cigarette vendors instead of the taxi mafia who act as though they own the place. Maybe they do, though some would argue that is the police’s job. People both foreign and local fall down the holes that the administration can’t fill in. And innocent visitors get electrocuted in the street because of hanging wires. Thank goodness the tunnel is finally open – oh, it isn’t. It’s being repaired before it even opened. I would just like to know one thing. What do you actually do Khun District Chief? -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-08-02
  23. Midweek rant: Death penalty Thailand – make your bloody mind up File photo It is a given that the criminal justice system is in a mess in Thailand. The most absurd irregularities in sentencing make that case plain and simple. Five years potentially for vaping yet suspended sentences for assault. Jail time for defaming the guilty but get off Scot free for ripping off the poor. Run into and kill innocent people and just do a few weeks pretending to be a monk. Drag a cop along the road and give a garland and a wai and hope all will be forgiven. Or even kill an officer and just gallivant around the world waiting for the statute of limitations to run out. A police force that thinks it is the law and not the people who should enforce it. Yes, we have seen it all. But as bad as this is, it is not the essential heart of my rant. My rant is about the death penalty – or the complete lack of it. This is not an argument about whether Thailand should have the ultimate sanction. In fact I think they should not; that is another matter entirely. It’s just that I wish they would make their mind up whether they are going to use it or not. Time and again officials come out to say that such and such a heinous criminal will face death. It is almost expected of police and prosecutors in trying to satisfy a public baying for blood and retribution in the wake of the latest crime played out on social media. Yes, we’ll execute the men who killed for an iPhone in Lat Prao. Of course we will. Sure, the Krabi massacre people will all be dispatched to the next life. Twaddle. The authorities have no intention of carrying out their threats even if the courts impose the death penalty. Why? I don’t know. Maybe they fear a backlash especially from the liberals of Europe. Why do I always feel that the possible effect on tourism is some kind of common denominator, some kind of bottom line? The iPhone thieves were convicted and sentenced to death. It was a horrendous crime against an innocent member of the public. There was no doubt in the case. But they will remain in jail. Sure they are unlikely ever to see the light of day but they won’t die for their crime. The judge who said they would, knows it – just like most members of the public know it. Just like everyone else who has been sentenced to die in the last eight years. Remember the man on the railway who raped and killed the girl in the toilet. Uproar – put the scum to death! Isn’t he enjoying rice porridge every day – despite the public outcry. Yes, no one has been executed since 2009. It is only two more years before an organization as prestigious as Amnesty International will add Thailand to a list where – for all intents and purposes – the penalty, through not being used, in reality is not considered to exist. But still they bang on that people will be executed. It is nothing short of macabre PR. And a complete lie to keep the public from complaining too much. Just another tool to control and spoon feed the masses. And if you believe that the death penalty is actually a deterrent – then it is a toothless tool at that. When it comes to the death penalty the Thais need to scrap it or use it. And stop this play acting. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-07-19
  24. Midweek rant: Come on Thailand: Get your priorities straight All too often Thais are the victims of compromise. The victims of efforts to save face. The victims of their own hankering to somehow appease their own culture, be Thai amidst the difficulties. If they are not victims of total inactivity in the face of crises, then they are the victims of a press and countless authorities who have their priorities all ass-about-face. They all have a big problem, for whatever reason, in simply getting their priorities straight. There are examples in all aspects of problems facing Thai society. We’d be here all day if we were to try and list them all. All countries have problems. This is not a Thai bash. But a good country is defined by what they do about those problems. So here are just a topical handful for a bit of food for thought. The savage attack by a dog on a five year old out with his mates at the playground. They want to talk to the owner, come to an agreement. Smooth things over, see everyonn’e point of view. No. Put the owner in jail. Put the dog down. Sell the man’s house to pay for the hospital bills. When he comes out and he still wants a pet – give him a goldfish to look after. Something that can’t maim my daughter if she happens to be on the swings. Police in their dozens arresting traders for selling E-cigarettes and shisha pipes. God knows why you are doing that one. Protecting the government’s revenue stream in much more dangerous cancer sticks perhaps. Putting traders in jail for providing a service. No. Put those police out patrolling on the street. Arresting bag snatchers, con artists, kiddy fiddlers – you know people breaking the law. People hurting others – rather than people doing no harm at all. Teens fighting each other on public buses with knives or guns on the streets. Or racing on the public roads killing each other and innocent people. Letting the courts give them a pathetic slap on the wrist if they are ever caught. Taking their bikes away for a day or two as a so called punishment. Wagging your finger at their folks and accepting wais and garlands. No. How about coming out of your police booths – we know it’s hot outside and you may lose valuable computer game playing time but you are called public servants. You are paid to do a job. Round up some kids. Go to some schools and colleges. Arrest some parents. Confiscate their property. Fine them. Name and shame. Assaults by teachers, parents, those in authority on the nation’s children. Compromise. Talk. Investigations. Payments. Face saving……heaven forbid, even apologies from the kids themselves for being naughty and deserving assault. NO! Prosecution. Jail time. Double jail time for those who protect the guilty. Triple jail for police who don’t investigate or let matters rest for any reason. Ever heard of accountability? Think about your greatest asset – your children – and what must be done in their interests, not your own or those in power. The drunk as a skunk policeman fleecing the public by stopping in the middle of the road. Setting up his Chivas Regal roadblock. Transfer him to an inactive post. Set up a committee and have an investigation. Hope it’ll all blow over when the next Facebook clip come round. NOOO! Sack him immediately. Take away his pension. Publish his name. Get some stocks set up on the road into Udon and ask some farmers to provide some rotten tomatoes. Film that and put it on Facebook. If you want an investigation try his superiors who allow this to happen. Transfer them if there are clerical duties that need doing. Hi-So’s driving their cars into people and paying their way out so they can do it again the next week or month. So called people who then think they are so far above the law they can attack their pregnant girlfriends and get away with it. Issue a summons to see if they would be awfully kind to pop in for a chat, while they escape over the border. Or simple laugh in your face because they have money or daddy has a few stripes. NOOOOO! Go round to his house with a warrant, break the door down, push his sad face to the floor, cuff him and throw him in jail. Yes, it might annoy the hi-so’s but think of the benefits. People might even think you are men. You might even be able to hold your head up as you walk down the street rather than have every member of the public smile at you and say you are a complete tosser behind your back. They do you know. You might get something called respect. Even job satisfaction. Try it. The appalling death toll on what can only be described as the racetracks of Thailand – we can hardly say roads. What do you do? Run some cutesy campaigns at New Year and Songkran. Pretend you are doing something when you couldn’t care less. Rejig the figures so that they might not appear as bad as they are. Maybe admit how bad it is…..then do your own version of the inactive post. NOOOOOOO! Stop your smoke and mirrors. Put the issue at the top of the political agenda. Accept that the blood of a million more Thais will be on your hands before 2050 if you don’t. Tell the people that. You have the laws – enforce them. Stop conniving with the public. Stop hoping the problem will go away or no one will notice. Politicians, accept that it is a national disgrace and the world is looking at you and your scandalous inactivity. Every single one of the above have happened in one way or another in the last few days. And they will continue to happy and plague society. Everyone who has the slightest interest in the news has followed the stories not just on Thaivisa, but the Thai print media, online, Facebook. There is no hiding these days. Millions of Thais – the majority of your countrymen and women – can see exactly what is happening. Further countless millions around the world have access to the news about your country. They are interested in it because they have been here or are thinking of coming. Both the Thais and the foreigners who see what is happening are not stupid. They are waiting. Waiting for you to get your priorities straight. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-07-26
  25. Midweek Rant: Thai adults are letting down their children File photo I am quite sick of hearing stories about child abuse. There is nothing new there. I long since realized that the party line, holier-than-thou approach that said Thais were beyond reproach when it came to the care of children was just pie in the sky. Those early images of older people standing up for kids on the bus have faded as the reality has kicked in. Thais are probably no better or worse than any other nationality when it comes to children. Though there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that shows children being treated like chattel I prefer not to dwell on that. What is sickening in the extreme is not necessarily when the abuse itself occurs. That is bad enough. No, what really sickens me is the response of those adults who should be investigating the allegations. The case in point this week is the ghastly case of the little five year old boy who had a hot water bottle thrust down his trousers while his hands were tied behind his back. The little boy had to have part of his genitals amputated. It hardly needs to be stated that this is inhuman in the extreme. But what did the police do? If the mother is to be believed….precisely nothing. Why the hell should it make a difference that the alleged torturer is a soldier? The couple who were paid to look after the child because the mother had to work have not just shown themselves to be unworthy of trust. They have tried to squirm out of responsibility and escape punishment. Both should be jailed with the soldier doing twenty years if found guilty. Instead they are free and it is clearly the connivance of the police that has enabled this to be so. And to what degree are the medical staff responsible in not following up on the case? This is just as sickening as the original sub-human event perpetrated against such an innocent child. Why should a mother have to go to a prominent human rights lawyer to get justice? Why do the supposed upholders of the law think they can do nothing? Is it just a question of corruption or don’t people care about children enough to do anything? This case needs instant and decisive action. With the highest levels of government getting involved. Firstly, against the couple whose behavior is sickening. Then against the people who have let the case go cold. The pictures of the little boy are gut wrenching in their sadness. If his treatment and torment goes unpunished then society should hold its head in shame. People who abuse children are the scum of the earth. Those who protect abusers are equally culpable. It is time for responsible adults to act on behalf of the Thai children. Or it won’t just be Thai –ness that you have let down. You won’t even be considered human yourselves. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-07-12
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