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Found 46 results

  1. 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
  2. Survey results: Expats say no to Songkran! Picture: File photo The results are out for the Thaivisa survey about what people do at Songkran. And the figures are clear at least for the middle aged group of respondents - we hide at home or get the hell out of Dodge! Asked what people do at Songkran almost ten percent said they decided to leave the country altogether. While 71 percent of respondents indicated they would stay home or not venture out. Less than 20 percent of respondents said they played Songkran. However, it should be noted that 75% of the people who replied to the survey were aged 51 and over compared to just 4% under 30 years of age. The nationalities that responded the most were British, 30%, US, 25%, Australian 15% and German 3%. All the remaining were of other nationalities. Asked where they live 20% said Bangkok, 20% Pattaya, 8% Hua Hin, and 7% Phuket. The rest lived elsewhere in the kingdom. Forum comments on the subject mostly backed up the survey's findings. Darksidedog said: "I leave the country for ten days. And before anyone asks, yes, I am a miserable old git!" While Phuket Man was a stay-at-home-boy commenting: "I stay indoors for a week wearing noise reduction headphones". Some 162 people have filled in the survey so far. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-04-18
  3. Midweek rant: Hey Mister Salesman - stop stalking me! File Photo Growing up in England in the seventies the main problem was finding a sales assistant at all. The girl in Woolworth’s was usually far too busy chatting with her friend or looking in a compact case mirror to pay the customer any attention whatsoever. Customer service seemed but a distant dream – if it ever arrived there at all. I know not – I left Blighty’s shores in search of warmer climes and came to Thailand. And wow – what a transformation! There always seemed someone around to serve you! At last the customer seemed if not right, at least reasonably right. That was until the reality sank in. Until they started stalking me. Go into most large stores and there they are – arraigned and aligned almost like a cordon of cops but they let you pass then the cat and mouse game begins. It’s always the same. I want to look at some televisions or compare a line of fridges. I move through the cordon and notice from the corner of my watchful eye that the stalking has begun. Close on my heels, there he is – for it is normally a man. And he is waiting to pounce. I quicken my pace determined to shrug them off. I turn into the next aisle, but no! A colleague has headed me off at the pass and now there is no turning back – I am cornered next to the Toshiba promotion. So apparently I should buy this one. “Why it that I ask?” (In the vernacular as Thai language is not the issue here). “Because it is better – because it is more popular”. This is in fact Thai for “because I get more commission on this model”. I smile the smile of determination and move on at pace but once again an advance guard has tracked my intentions. They have found out I can speak Thai – now there is really going to be trouble as they gang up by the microwaves. So I find something I am genuinely interested in. Remembering Woolworth’s at least there is someone to ask. Just one problem – they haven’t got a clue about what they are selling. They only know about the one on promotion – the better one – the more popular one – the one over there. I’ll show you. I have tried everything. When realizing I am being stalked I turn around abruptly colliding with them like a ten wheeler and a moto-sai on the Mitraphap Highway. It’s no good – the collision is expected. They bring back-up and I am cornered again. The only way out is to leave the store having bought nothing – and do a face-saving lie about coming back tomorrow. Now I know that the sales staff are probably under orders from their floor managers to provide service. I get it – it is not usually the underling’s fault. So my message is simple. To all the managers out there can you tell your staff to be there but to let me browse in peace? And not follow me – I get scared. Keep a respectable distance. But when I do have a question can you train them so that they can give me some answers. Some information about the product that isn’t “it’s the most popular one – it’s on promotion”. Or this one is cheaper – even a fool like me has worked that one out. Homepro and Power Buy – you’re the biggest offenders, but not the only ones. You all know who you are and I know where you live. So I end up in Lotus. And there’s not a salesperson in sight. They are hiding somewhere doing a “Woolies” clicking “like” on their mobiles in some corner. There’s no one to ask. What goes around comes around. I’m back in the UK in the seventies. I just can’t win. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-04-19
  4. Tradition vs Modernisation: What to do about the lovely old Siamese railways? Picture: Daily News / State Railway of Thailand BANGKOK: -- As the modernization of the railways in Thailand picks up pace many people are asking what will become of the traditional architecture on the lines. Should it be kept or simply scrapped. Many of the stations - not least of all the one at Hua Hin that was opened in 1911 - showcase some of the loveliest buildings that can be seen in Thailand. Daily News asked in a feature article what is to become of them once the rolling stock is changed, once the tracks are upgraded, once the high speed Chinese or Japanese trains become a reality. Is tradition to be cast aside and scrapped and assigned to the rubbish bin of history in the name of progress. Or are they to be cherished as an important part of the history of Old Siam? The present government seems hell-bent on dragging the railways into the 21st century and few would argue that the system is in serious need of a complete overhaul. But many lament the passing of an era and have a great affection for the old lines, their stations and their rolling stock. Look at our pictures today and come to your own conclusions. Source: Daily News -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-04-13
  5. Midweek Rant: Seven deadly days – it’s just a Songkran smokescreen Every year it is just more of the same BANGKOK: -- With two or three weeks to go before the Songkran festival every Tom, Dick and Somchai from every authority up and down Thailand comes crawling out of the woodwork to announce the latest gimmick for ending the carnage on the roads. Whether it is impounding cars of drink drivers, threatening the convicted with horror trips to the morgue, the checkpoints, the bans on water throwing, blocking up the U-turns, the threats to actually enforce the law….. Whatever. I have had it up to here. Why? Shouldn’t we be glad that the authorities are getting their collective fingers out and doing something to save lives at last? Nonsense – it is just one almighty face-saving smokescreen. Songkran – and to a slightly lesser extent New Year in December/January – are just the biggest of all Thai scapegoats when it comes to the disgraceful inactivity when it comes to improving road safety. The police, the politicians, and the press that really connives with them with their daft statistics every – are all guilty of making it look as though the appalling carnage and mayhem on the roads is a problem specific to April and the turn of the year. Figures might show it is slightly less horrendous than last year. So what does that prove? Nothing. It almost hoodwinks the public into believing that something is improving. Something is being done. Rubbish – it is just lip-service to the problem. There is also this idea that if something is done at twice a year then the problem will somehow go away. Well, it won’t. It will just get shuffled under a Thai carpet of shame. Everybody should all be reminded, constantly, that this is not something peculiar to drink and drug fuelled holidays – this is a national disgrace that is killing perhaps seventy to a hundred people every single day. Not just the seven deadly days of Songkran. Not just the week at New Year. But every bloody, worthless day. Children are dying. Adults are dying. Old people are dying. Rich and poor. Car drivers and motorcyclist. Thais and visitors alike are being mown down, killed and maimed virtually every few seconds. I’m not here to offer any answers. You are paid to come up with the answers. I’m just here to say stop treating the problem as a biannual phenomenon – and come up with some coherent strategy to deal with the situation. A strategy that looks at 365 days a year. A strategy that puts a plan in place for the next five, then ten, then twenty years. You owe it to the people who are dying at your hands. Sure, as the PM howled last week in his own rant the people are often to blame. But the people need your help. They need to be saved from themselves. And the people sure as hell know that this is a nightmare they face every single day. On every single journey on the roads of the big cities or the lanes of the countryside. Whether it’s 16,000 or 26,000 dead each year I know not. Whatever it is, it’s appalling. What I do know is that this is a matter of the utmost national importance. It is your own flesh and blood. Your own “phee nong” you profess to care about. Your children’s own future. So start taking it seriously each and every day of each and every month. And stop patting yourself on the back for doing something about it once or twice a year. Stop hiding behind the Smokescreen of Songkran or the New Year Scapegoat. And get your fingers out. Or you’ll all have the blood of a million deaths on your hands over the next half century. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-04-05
  6. Midweek rant: Dear Songkran revelers – any chance of leaving me alone? I accept that it is virtually impossible to completely get away from Songkran. There seems to be a mindset that it is some kind of joyous celebration for everybody and you must be some kind of misery if you dislike it. Well you can count me out – I hate it. Now I am not trying to dictate what you do. Splash away – all day and all night for all I care. I shall be doing my level best to avoid you, but if I do have to go out, you know do a bit of shopping or take the dog for a walk could I just ask for a bit of bloody consideration. If I am on a motorbike could I ask that you don’t throw a bucket of water in my face or hit me with a high powered water gun. You see, it could cause me to die and render my children fatherless. I know it is inconvenient for you, especially when an easy prey foreigner comes along the street but please give it a try. I don’t mind a bit of powder and a few sprinkles. How about let me stop first rather than dash out on the skiddy wet road causing me to slide to an early death? If you at least do that, I promise to smile, even if through gritted teeth. If I am dressed up, perhaps have a phone in my hand and obviously going somewhere important would it be possible to let me pass. I know this might be culturally odd but again, sometimes people have things to do even at Songkran. It shouldn’t spoil your day too much – you might even make mine with your consideration. And might even help restore some faith and belief that the festival still is a traditional celebration of everything that is good in Thai culture. Like good manners and thought for others. You see, I don’t dislike Thai culture. In fact I love many aspects of it, just like you do. But wouldn’t we all agree that Songkran has gone a bit far on occasion? Would you not accept that the timeless tenets of “grengjai” and consideration for others are just as important a part of Songkran as at other times of the year? To drivers would it be asking too much when transporting people around in your pick-ups to stay sober for the good of your passengers? You see it is not just about you. It’s also about the children in the back who have no say in the matter. We know Thais love kids so that shouldn’t be too tough an assignment, would it? Some more of you might even get to celebrate and do it all again next year. To police can I ask that you don’t let obviously drunk drivers back in their vehicles. You see, they are not just a danger to themselves – incredible as it may sound, innocent people can get caught up in the accidents they cause. You may be spoiling their fun by making them and their passengers find another way home but isn’t that better than a trip to the morgue. And do make guilty drivers visit the morgue like you did last year – just keep them there for a week rather than a few minutes to make sure they have got the message. To parents please teach your children how to behave well at Songkran. If you are not sure about that, ask an older person, they might remember what it was once like in Thailand in April. Amazingly parents, children tend to copy their folks so if you behave well who knows they might even follow suit in the future and you can be proud of what you did. To especially young foreign visitors – try to learn a little about the traditions of Songkran. I understand that at times it looks like war and you want to pretend to be Rambo with a water gun but you really would cover yourself in more glory if you didn’t add fuel to the fire. Some locals are bad enough as it is without you making it worse because you think you can do exactly as you like holiday. And to everybody, if people who clearly don’t want to play ball are sitting inside somewhere please don’t bring Songkran off the street. Just stay out there in your own mayhem and leave us to our depressing little lives. And when the fat lady has sung in Bangkok can you pack up on time and put the water guns away for another year. If you still haven’t had enough you could just go to Pattaya. They will welcome you and you can continue being a total idiot down there for another week. Khop khun khrap (Thank you) -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-04-12
  7. Version 1.0.0

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    Hot Magazine: Check out the February 2017 issue online here or download a PDF version by clicking on the green download button
  8. Thinning Arctic sea ice lets in light, prompts algae bloom - study By Alister Doyle REUTERS A polar bear sow and two cubs are seen on the Beaufort Sea coast within the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Image Library on December 21, 2005. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Handout via REUTERS/Files OSLO (Reuters) - Climate change is stirring life in the Arctic Ocean as thinning sea ice lets in more sunlight, allowing microscopic algae to bloom in the inhospitable region around the North Pole, scientists said on Wednesday. The micro-algae may now be able to grow under the ice across almost 30 percent of the Arctic Ocean at the peak of the brief summer in July, up from about five percent 30 years ago, they wrote. Blooms may become even more widespread. "Recent climate change may have markedly altered the ecology of the Arctic Ocean," wrote scientists in the United States and Britain led by Christopher Horvat of Harvard University. The first massive under-ice bloom of algae was seen in 2011 in the Chukchi Sea north of the Bering Strait separating Alaska and Russia, a region until then thought too dark for photosynthesis. The scientists, writing in the open-access journal Science Advances, based their estimates on mathematical models of the thinning ice and ponds of melt water on the ice surface that help ever more sunlight penetrate into the frigid waters below. The average thickness of Arctic sea ice fell to 1.89 metres (6.2 ft) in 2008 from 3.64 meters in 1980, according to another study. Sub-ice algae seem to become dormant in winter, when the sun disappears for months, and are revived in spring. Horvat told Reuters it was unclear how the growth might have knock-on effects on the Arctic food chain, perhaps drawing more fish northwards. "Very few of these blooms have been observed," he wrote in an e-mail. The new light adds to uncertainties about the economic future of the region that is warming at about double the average rate for the Earth as a whole. Almost all governments blame this trend mainly on a build-up of man-made greenhouse gases. U.S. President Donald Trump, however, has sometimes called man-made warming a hoax and signed an order on Tuesday to undo climate change regulations issued by former President Barack Obama. Governments of nations around the Arctic Ocean, including the United States, have been working on rules for managing potential future fish stocks in the central Arctic Ocean as the ice shrinks and thins. They last met in mid-March in Iceland. (Reporting by Alister Doyle; Editing by Tom Heneghan) -- © Copyright Reuters 2017-03-30
  9. HOTEL DEALS: Book by April 3rd to receive an extra 10% discount on our already great prices! Book by April 3rd!! A fine set of hotels await you in this week's Hotel Deals of the Week: Ascott Sathorn Bangkok, Lanta Chada Beach Resort & Spa, and Classic Kameo Hotel & Serviced Apartments, Rayong http://hotels.thaivisa.com/ (Don't forget to input the Promo Code 'thaivisa') Follow these links: For 10% extra discount on Ascott Sathorn Bangkok - click here For 10% extra discount on Lanta Chada Beach Resort & Spa - click here For 10% extra discount on Classic Kameo Hotel & Serviced Apartments, Rayong - click here Don't forget! - In order to access these deals, you will first need to input the Promo Code 'thaivisa'
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    Koh Chang Guide Issue 2 - 2017 - download the PDF version using the green download button or read the issue online here. All the latest information about Koh Chang
  11. Koh Chang Guide Issue 2 - 2017 View File Koh Chang Guide Issue 2 - 2017 - download the PDF version using the green download button or read the issue online here. All the latest information about Koh Chang Submitter Jonathan Fairfield Submitted 03/30/2017 Category Thaivisa Members Files  
  12. 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
  13. Midweek rant: It’s a dog’s life – time for humans to fight back! BANGKOK: -- In Thailand you could be forgiven for thinking that dogs have all the rights. The mangy mutts seem to rule the sois annoying anyone walking or on a bicycle. They lounge outside 7/11s for the air-con taking a chunk out of customers on a regular basis. They present a significant health hazard for rabies and other infections. Children are mauled and disfigured. Our cities and towns are filthy and dangerous. They enjoy the protection of the law and the protection of misguided animal lovers and religious do-gooders. So much so that if any human fights back they are named and shamed on social media and threatened with jail by the police. Beat someone up, drive like a lunatic or steal – but you won’t face the kind of penalties likely for being unkind to a rabid mongrel. Just ask the man who took a knife to a vicious dog that attacked his son in Bangkok last year – two years jail. It’s incredible. Then this week comes the ultimate – and a sure sign of an even worse future for Thailand and it’s dog problem. Not just decrepit flea ridden dogs – but killer breeds designed by dog engineers to kill and maim. A poor man out doing nothing but trapping a few rats to eat is mauled to death by three Rottweiler dogs. His clothes are ripped from him and he is left almost unrecognizable. The completely irresponsible dog owner buys his way out of trouble for a paltry sum and the dogs remain in their cages. While the family of the dead man have to pick up the pieces. Dog apologists crawl out from every available woodwork – they are both Thai and western. They all seem to have a Rottweiler or a pit bull who is gentle and licks babies affectionately. It’s sickening. The dogs are in charge in society and the humans have to suck it up. How has it come to this disgraceful state of affairs? Dog lovers are in denial and at the root cause of the danger for the rest of us. They mistreat their animals then then claim they know best. Why do you need to keep a dog – isn’t it just a form of slavery. Does it make you feel all masterful? Buddhist attitudes need adjustment. Dogs should not be above the law, allowed to hurt our children and kill our friends and family. People should not hide behind the religion – many just go along with it because they are worried about looking bad. Try looking at your kid with twenty stitches across their face or on their deathbed from rabies. Do you think that looks bad? So what needs to be done to claim back our towns and villages from canine catastrophe? Step One: Round up dogs that do not have an owner. Put them to death and incinerate the remains. Step Two: Round up the people who claim to own a dog. Make them pay a serious license fee. Warn them that any infractions will result in their dog being taken away. And possibly euthanized. And make it known that sanctions exist not just for permitting their dogs to bit or maul people. Serious sanctions should exists for animals that bark and annoy neighbors. No dog should be out on public streets without a lead. If they are report the owners and have the animal taken away. Dogs should only be exercised where there is no possibility of them being in contact with people. Don’t assume other people like dogs – many hate them with a vengeance and feel threatened. We don’t even want your uncontrolled beasts nuzzling our genitals. It’s repulsive. Dog owners like the Rottweiler owner in Bung Karn must be jailed. They were his dogs – just doing what comes naturally if they are chained in cages all day. Some caring dog lover. Jail on manslaughter charges – five to ten years will start to make people think. The public should be allowed to clear up their neighborhoods and be encouraged to do so. Do away with the namby-pamby laws that protect dogs. Dogs in the street – fair game. Encourage people to round up soi dogs. Put some incentives in place – bounty hunters for dogs. That’ll soon end the problem. I’ll donate money and volunteer my services in a heartbeat. It shouldn’t take long if we work together to combat the menace. If people want to be responsible with dogs – and that includes picking up their revolting waste that sullies every city in the country – then regulate them. Control them with an iron fist and keep them away from the rest of us who want to live in peace, and cleanliness and safety from attack. Start thinking about the rights of people again. And put dogs and their owners squarely in their place. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-03-08
  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. Midweek rant: Name and Shame – stop this defamation drivel! We have heard it time and time again! The school where the teachers tied up the kindergarten kids was not named. The hotel where the lift fell down was not named. The department store where the car drove off the fourth floor of the car park…..yes, of course, you guessed it..... was not named. Ok, I can appreciate not naming businesses and organizations that are in no way connected or culpable in news that might present them in a bad light. We don’t necessarily need to know the name of the condo where someone jumped or the hotel where the dead tourist was found. You weren’t to blame so it seems fair to keep your name out of the news. But we sure as hell need to know the school where teachers and even the director think it is quite alright to blindfold children to make them concentrate. Or hotels where lifts plummet several storeys injuring guests. Or department stores where building regulations might have been flouted making them a danger to the public. To me and my family. Sure. News stories are often inaccurate and there may not be anyone to blame. But we need to know even when an investigation is under way. The public are not fools; if there really was no wrong doing we can move on. But by not naming the parties involved all you are doing is creating uncertainty which may lead to completely unconnected businesses and establishments being implicated. Ever heard of guilt by association and innuendo? And when there is a case to answer. Where guilt has been admitted. Then surely we have a right to know. A right to know that will help us inform the decision where not to send our children. A right to know where it might be dangerous for us to enter a lift to go to our room. A right to know where we might avoid parking our car due to inadequate safety provision. A right to know where hospitals put profit ahead of the care of their patients, and other such cases. Of course the Thais hide behind their Draconian Criminal Defamation Laws and Computer Crime Act. News organizations are terrified of being sued even if they are proved to be in the right. Damages can be large, people can be jailed and serve more time than even the ones in the wrong! Everyone understands the need to protect people from libel, from slander, from malicious reporting or malicious statements. But where do you draw the line? Does the public not have any rights to know what danger they might be putting themselves or their loved ones in? Do we not have a right to know the truth so that we can make informed decisions? The law and weakness of news media in being cowed by it is thoroughly detrimental to the well-being of the public. Who in addition have to face the absurd situation whereby they are threatened with action from officialdom – such as police for example - even when a case is proven. Even when it is as plain as the nose on your face. Is this fear of criticizing not counter-productive to the claims that the police make of wanting to be more friendly, more in tune with the wishes and needs of the public? That is a rhetorical question. Of course it is. Schools, hotels, restaurants, shops, department stores, hospitals – you name it –they all need to be named in the public interest. If they behave disreputably then their reputation deserves to be tarnished – not protected so they can just carry on regardless. When nothing is proven we can understand the words and phrases: “it is claimed”, “alleged”, “as yet unfounded allegations”. But we need to know when an investigation is in progress and who exactly it involves. We need to know when it is resolved and how. The media need to inform us and we need officialdom to show us some respect. We have a right to transparency. We have a right to know. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-03-15
  16. Midweek Rant Save our children – it’s about time cruel teachers were jailed Picture: Sanook BANGKOK: -- There are certain stock phrases in Thailand that even relative newbies following the Thai news will be aware of. Such phrases as ‘the driver fled the scene’, ‘managed to escape in the confusion’ and ‘transferred to an inactive post’ are all such basic examples. To these and many others of the genre can now be added “the teacher had gone home because she wasn’t feeling well” and “the director of the school was in a meeting and unavailable for comment”. They both follow cases of cruelty and abuse to children at schools and are becoming almost a daily staple in the news pages about Thailand. Especially now that video evidence is becoming to widespread. I am ranting this week about the situation in schools, not in homes. Domestic abuse can wait for another day because I don’t want to confuse the two even though some claim there is a connection. Last week there was the case of the two so-called teachers at a kindergarten who were caught binding the hands and blindfolding two five year olds supposedly under their care. They claimed pathetically that their actions were to teach concentration. Shockingly the director – when he could finally be found – backed them up before he realized what hot water he was in. The parents settled on compensation of 20,000 baht per child. Almost as ghastly. This week video has emerged of a teacher assaulting a young boy and stomping on him in class. The poor chap didn’t know what was happening to him and didn’t know where to turn. Indeed there was no one to help him. The abuse was repeated again and again. That happened last year and nothing has been done. In 2016 a PE teacher hurled a coffee mug at a student and disfigured her. He was allowed to keep his job while the student herself was obliged to go elsewhere. To feel like she was in the wrong. She didn’t listen to an instruction – kids do that, funnily enough. I saw it once or twice in thirty years as a teacher. Thirty years, I might add, when a raised voice or a steely stare was all I ever needed. There have also been reports of sexual abuse against girls and boys – many of which are shoved under the carpet when the press furor dies down. Many other cases at all age levels have been reported. It is alarming but there is something much more concerning, more insidious than the crimes in some ways. Virtually all the teachers concerned are still in their jobs. Many have not even been transferred to other schools meaning that children who can’t move away have to face them again and again. The worst they can expect is paying a few thousand baht compensation, if they have to pay anything at all. Many just get the most cursory of telling off by the local education authority after the inevitable committee is set up to pretend to investigate. Directors just protect their staff knowing that their own face is at risk from fingers pointed at their schools. They are scared to death of their profits taking a plunge. Many parents accept money rather than insist on prosecution. Police wait until doctors tell them the bleeding obvious that a child has been wounded, then dally and try to fob the case off onto others such as child protection services. This when a criminal assault has often taken place. Everybody is at fault in this national scandal – everybody that is except the children. Though you wouldn’t know it at times. As is always the case when abusers meet victims, it is the children and most vulnerable that seem to frequently get the blame. Some are forced to apologize as children invariably will to help ease matters even when they know they are in the right. What sort of educational example is that? It just makes for a sickening and repeating cycle of abuse where the young people are let down time and again by those very people who should be tasked with protecting them. Of course the government can point to the now long outlawed change in the law supposedly banning corporal punishment in schools. Big deal. It is one thing to promulgate a law but, as we see in Thailand time and time again in other areas, quite another to actually enforce it. There exists a lingering vestige of acceptance that teachers have the right to threaten children with violence and even to use it. Within all corners of society there are those who accept it. And the children even do – they are so used to the propaganda of the rights of adults over children that they feel they have little say in the matter. They need adults to help them – which is so absolutely lacking in so many cases. Sure, there are of course good teachers everywhere who are appalled by the violence and feel sickened themselves that their calling is so besmirched. They are in the majority, only a fool would deny it. But these good apples need to be helped too, by a proper reaction to those that are sullying the name of the teaching profession in Thailand. So what needs to happen? Firstly any teacher under investigation needs to be suspended immediately. Directors of schools need to be compelled to act quickly and decisively. Education authorities of all levels need to ensure that directors are forced to act. Then there need to be guidelines that are followed. Physical abuse needs to be assessed quickly. And police should not wait for complaints before acting in the interest of the young victims. They need to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of violence on children with no leniency shown to teachers – in fact the opposite should be the case. Because of their position of authority the cases should be considered more serious more heinous. No teacher should have any right to hit, browbeat or bully a child in any way. Teachers who assault children physically should be jailed. Courts should be prepared to hand down custodial sentences to teachers, suspend the sentences if they are sufficiently minor – but make it jail. Most fines in Thailand are hopelessly inadequate. And anyone convicted of assault against children should not be allowed to enter a classroom again – ever. If you assault a child one strike and you’re out. No second chances. Directors who have connived to protect teachers under their command should also be jailed. They are as much part of the problem. Civil servants in education authorities who fail to act in the interests of children should be sacked. They can be given jobs sweeping the roads or something if they still need to work for the authority. And please, please, please…no more of this offering and accepting of money as if that is the answer to the problem of abuse and will make it go away. It won’t – it will just help to engrain the idea in all other areas of society as the children grow up that problems can be sorted with money. It is time to start challenging that notion with the young because there is very little hope for the older members of society in that regard. All adults need to stop paying lip service to the notion that the Thai nation is somehow a paragon of virtue when it comes to the care of their children. They need to stop the denial and start to act. They need to demand action from their leaders. All right minded people must demand it. Because the children – in their innocent hearts - rightfully, demand it. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-03-01
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  19. The Midweek Rant: Stop Knocking Pattaya! Pattaya has taken a helluva knocking lately. From those claiming that the crime rate has gone through the roof with attacks in bars and necklace snatchings, that the resort is nothing but a haven for villains both local and international, to those who say that it is dirty, corrupt and the dregs of Thailand. It seems that in the eyes of many Pattaya is the pits – always has been and always will be. It has no future and should be avoided. Its seedy image is well engrained and it deserves being called a prostitution capital of the world worth visiting only for sex tourists. Even then the people are horrible and you’ll be lucky not to be attacked. Well I beg to differ. Most of the negativity comes from people who don’t live in Pattaya or even idiots who have never even been there. Or it comes from the bias of people who have never really got to know the resort or what it has to offer in so many ways. People are just prejudiced when Pattaya is mentioned. For me I admit I like to poke fun at Pattaya. I have lived almost my entire adult life in Bangkok and this is where I intend to stay and like the most. But that doesn’t mean to say I haven’t had some great times in Pattaya. I must have visited there at least 100 times. As a journalist I have written many hundreds of crime stories about the resort – I am under no illusions about what could happen but I still like it and think it is a great place to visit. Why? Because it has so much to offer. And so much more than walking Street or bar stools. When my children were growing up it was always a favorite of ours to go to Pattaya. We used to leave mum at home for a rest and drive off there. Hotels were of good quality and very reasonably priced. Great food was to be had everywhere and again nearly always good value. The people seemed perfectly OK – a bit more surprised at a Westerner speaking good Thai than Bangkok – but never any problems. And my young kids growing up loved the place for Pattaya Park, Ripley’s, mini golf, the beach – whatever, we always had a great time, great weekends. For me it was not a place I would live in – I was hooked on Bangkok and that was where we lived – but it was always worth a few days to visit. If I ever went out with the boys on other trips – and we had a few stag weekends at the resort – a good time was always had by all. No fights, no blood, no trouble. Maybe we never went looking for any – but none found us. Now starting a new family with more young children and a wife who likes to go to Pattaya we shall be going to the resort all over again. And hopefully for many years to come. These days there is even more to do for families in the area of Pattaya, the hotels remain excellent value and the food is better than ever. More variety, more choice, more everything. Sure it’s a bit grubby in places and a bit disorganized but you can hardly say that Bangkok doesn’t suffer from those problems. We shall continue to go to Pattaya and always will and can’t wait for our trip there when the Thai school holidays start next week. So to those people who seem to spend their entire lives moaning about Pattaya – why don’t you give it a rest? And stop knocking Pattaya! -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-02-22
  20. The midweek rant: Red roses not red faces - tourist shaming a massive own goal for Thai authorities. The absolutely pathetic shaming of an Englishman and his Thai Go-Go companion in a Pattaya short time sex room this week beggared belief. District chief Naris Niramaiwong was banging on the door of the room above the Windmill Bar and was then pictured inside the gaudy room with the 62 year old tourist and his legal age companion. The police were there too. The military were there. And of course the photographers were there – this was nothing but a photo opportunity but if Khun Naris thinks he came out with any kudos for this disgraceful escapade into private business between two consenting adults then he can think again. All he succeeded in doing was looking like a complete idiot. Now people can bang on about prostitution, older men sleeping with younger woman, all that goes on in Pattaya blah, blah, as much as they like. That is just a smokescreen. The fact remains that this was nothing short of embarrassing. And frankly, it looks ten times more embarrassing in the end for the municipal chief and law enforcement than even the hapless couple who had to scurry to find their clothes under the glare of the intrusive lights. And all on Valentine’s Day – you couldn’t make it up! Why not show some love and respect and leave the people alone? We are used to seeing Thai civil servants from the top down appearing on the news pages making it look as though they are doing their job. But to go to a short time room in Pattaya – just one mind you – in this manner on the pretext of working was a massive own goal. What does he think goes on in Pattaya? Or in countless other places in Thailand for that matter. It ranked up there with tourism minister Khun Kobkarn Wattanavarangkul’s pronouncements in July last year that she was going to end the sex trade. But while the minister’s campaign died an immediate death and her sanity was questioned, at least she only embarrassed herself. In her favor, maybe she genuinely believed what she was saying. Not for her walking in on tourists in private then plastering the pictures all over the internet. She also probably learnt something about who the people are who really drive the sex trade. Naris thought he would look good and the public would be assured that the officials were doing their job. Absurd. If he had any remote interest in that how about mobilize a task force and get some concrete results in arresting some snatch thieves? Or better still get your military buddies to follow through on the police extortion cases in the resort that have been so conveniently shelved as if we have all forgotten. Anything would have been better than this charade. Even doing what the Bangkok force did in Khao San Road on Tuesday and hand out some red roses to the tourists of Walking Street would have been better for your image and those of your lackeys than this unseemly spectacle. Please don’t hide behind the veneer that the law was being broken at the Windmill. Fine the owner if you must but even that would rank as pathetic in most people’s eyes given the reputation of the resort. Just leave the tourists and their companions out of your little games. They were not charged – ergo they had broken no laws. Both deserve a public apology from you Mr District Chief. In private, away from the cameras, OK? -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-02-15
  21. Editors Pick

    Hot Magazine February 2017 View File Hot Magazine: Check out the February 2017 issue online here or download a PDF version by clicking on the green download button Submitter Jonathan Fairfield Submitted 02/16/2017 Category Thaivisa Members Files  
  22. Dollar caught in crossfire as Trump talks currency wars By Wayne Cole REUTERS The dollar sign (R) is seen alongside the signs for other currencies above a currency exchange shop in Mongkok shopping district in Hong Kong, China, October 30, 2014. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo SYDNEY (Reuters) - The dollar was put on the defensive in Asia on Wednesday after the Trump administration accused Germany and Japan of devaluing their currencies to gain a trade advantage, fuelling a risk-off mood that also kept stocks subdued. The U.S. currency suffered its worst January in three decades after President Donald Trump complained that every "other country lives on devaluation." Just hours earlier his top trade adviser said Germany was using a "grossly undervalued" euro to exploit its trading partners. The accusations drew rebuttals from German and Japanese officials, but looked likely to run for some time. "Suspicions that Washington may increasingly focus on the value of the dollar were catapulted into the limelight," ANZ analysts said in a note. "The early policy implication is that dollar competitiveness could have a prominent role to play in Trump's 'America First' agenda." The dollar did recoup a little of its losses as the Asian session wore on, edging up to 112.94 yen from a low of 112.08, though that remained well short of Monday's 115.01 peak. The euro was firm at $1.0793 <EUR=>, having been as high as $1.0812 and a long way from Monday's trough of $1.0617. Against a basket of currencies, the dollar <.DXY> stood at 99.651, having ended January with a loss of 2.6 percent. The jump in the yen kept Tokyo stocks <.N225> flat, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> was 0.06 percent lower. Chinese markets were still on holiday but surveys from the Asian giant showed manufacturing and services activity continued to expand in January. Exports from tech bellwether South Korea also grew at the fastest pace in almost five years, another sign the global economy had been on the mend before all the talk of U.S. protectionism darkened the air. FED ON HOLD Investors' hopes for a fiscal boost to the world's largest economy under Trump have been tempered by controversial and protectionist policies that have seen him suspend travel to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. The policy uncertainty only added to expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will keep interest rates steady when it concludes a two-day meeting later Wednesday. The setback for Wall Street has been limited so far. While the S&P 500 fell on Tuesday for a fourth consecutive session, it still ended higher for the month. The Dow <.DJI> dipped 0.54 percent, while the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 0.09 percent and the Nasdaq <.IXIC> 0.02 percent. Apple <AAPL.O> shares also jumped 3.3 percent after the bell as sales of iPhones beat expectations, helping lift Nasdaq e-mini futures <NQc1> up 0.2 percent. Safe-haven bonds benefited from all the unease over Trump's policies and yields on 10-year Treasury debt <US10YT=RR> eased to 2.46 percent from 2.48 percent early in the week. The retreat in the dollar also boosted a range of commodities, with copper touching a two-month high <CMCU3>. Brent crude oil <LCOc1> for April was quoted 10 cents lower at $55.48, while U.S. crude <CLc1> eased 8 cents to $52.73. (Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Eric Meijer & Shri Navaratnam) -- © Copyright Reuters 2017-02-01
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  24. Thailand's New 10-Year Visas Meet Mixed Reactions By Asaree Thaitrakulpanich, Staff Reporter - BANGKOK — Expats have expressed enthusiasm about the approval of a plan to issue 10-year visas but worry they may be of benefit to few as more details about how they would work have came to light Thursday. Since the cabinet approved Tuesday a plan to offer 10-year visas to foreign nationals over 50, a number of have expats welcomed the news but said they were concerned about their accessibility, health insurance requirements and unaddressed shortcomings of other visa offerings. Full story: http://www.khaosodenglish.com/news/business/2016/11/24/details-10-year-visas-meet-mixed-reactions/ -- © Copyright Khaosod English 2016-11-24
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