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Found 75 results

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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 promotions@sukhothai.com. 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.
  9. 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
  10. Destination Thailand

    Destination Thailand By PARINYAPORN PAJEE THE NATION The duel scene between Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) and the 007 James Bond (Roger Moore) was shot at Koh Tapu, Phang Nga in the movie “James Bond: The Man With The Golden Gun.” The Kingdom's value as a film location is given a boost with the screening of golden oldies and two tourism-related competitions BANGKOK: -- The Thailand International Film Destination Festival returns this month for its fifth edition and unlike in previous years is focusing on major movies filmed here in Thailand, two of them showing a very different country from the one we know today. Running from July 21 to 25 at Paragon Cineplex, the movie menu includes the 1974 spy thriller, “James Bond: The Man With The Golden Gun” and the multi-award winning “The Deer Hunter” released in 1978. The other three films are “Air America” (1990), “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” and Oliver Stone’s epic “Alexander”, both released in 2004. “Movies and TV series are far more powerful in encouraging visitors than promo clips,” says Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul. “We can see that from the Chinese tourists who flocked to Thailand after the success of the Chinese film ‘Lost in Thailand’. “We have tourism strategies which aim to generate income for the country, bring income to communities, improve the quality of life for Thai people, and add value to Thailand’s tourism. Actual number of tourists is not our priority,” she adds. While the older films have been carefully restored to ensure clarity of vision and sound, Thai films from the same era, among them a series of blockbusters featuring 1970’s superstars Mit Chaibancha and Petchara Chaowaraj, have fallen prey to the lack of proper conservation. A stuntman and actor who regularly appears in foreign films, Saichia Wongwirot is hopeful that the festival will help him and his colleagues find more work. “The pay for a foreign production is better than on a Thai one but there’s no stability, particularly for stunt work. Most actors, myself included, have to do other jobs to survive. “The festival will help attract more productions to Thailand that means we will get more jobs,” says Saichia, 49, who has been in the business for 30 years and is recognisable from Werner Herzog’s “Rescue Dawn” and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” for which he also followed the crew to the UK and Kenya. The festival’s organiser had originally planned to show another James Bond film – “Tomorrow Never Dies” – shot here in 1997 and starred Pierce Brosnan as 007 – but later changed the programme. The film was shot mainly in Phuket and Phang Nga, particularly around Koh Tapu, which subsequently became known as James Bond Island. Directed by Michael Cimino, “The Deer Hunter” stars Robert DeNiro and Christopher Walken and tells the story of three Russian-American steelworkers whose lives are changed forever after serving in the Vietnam War. Thailand portrays war-torn Vietnam and Sai Yok in Kanchanaburi the Viet Cong prison camp. The Russian roulette scene was also filmed here. The film went on to win five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Cimino, and Best Supporting Actor for Christopher Walken. “Air America” also dealt with the Vietnam War and starred Mel Gibson, an A-list actor from the action comedy franchise “Lethal Weapon” franchise, and a very young Robert Downey Jr, as two American pilots. This time Thailand doubled for Laos and Thai actress Sinjai Plengpanich played Gibson’s wife. The 2004 epic “Alexander” directed by Oliver Stone was based on the life of Alexander the Great with Colin Farrell in the title role. The film was shot in Saraburi and Ubon Ratchathani and also featured Thai actors Bin Bunluerit as King Porus and Jaran Ngramdee as an Indian prince “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason”, the sequel to the hugely popular “Bridget Jones’s Diary”, saw Bridget (Renee Zellweger) on holiday in Thailand where she gets arrested and spends time in jail. Our very own Rong Khaomoolkhadee also starred. Another highlight of the festival is the Thailand Short Film Competition. Organised by the Department of Tourism, and designed to push Thailand as the “World’s Best Film Location”, this year’s theme is “Fascinating Destination” and is focusing on promoting eight tourism clusters in Thailand to international filmmakers. Running from July 21 to 25, the competition will see 24 teams, three for each cluster, selected by the judges to make a short film at each of the eight tourism clusters. Each team consists of three members, namely two foreign film students in charge of producing the film, and one Thai film student as a production assistant who is also in charge of coordinating with film locations. This grouping method aims to promote international collaboration and encourage knowledge exchange. Eight prizes will be given out to the winning team of each cluster with the overall winner taking home Bt300,000. Another special activity for this year is a short film competition for Thai students on the topic “Tourism Linked to Royal Projects” to pay homage to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Participants can choose any of the 29 Royal Projects selected for this competition. In the first round, a total of 30 teams will be chosen to present their ideas to Thailand’s top directors including Nonzee Nimibutr, Prachya Pinkaew and Soros Sukhum, and Assoc Prof Patamavadee Charuworn of the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University. Nine teams will then be chosen to make short films at actual locations with the best team winning Bt100,000 and the chance to join film festivals in other countries, such as the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea. “The competition is designed to raise awareness among young Thai filmmakers of the value of the royal project. The contest will let them visit the project and witness how the King’s initiatives help generate income for communities,” says Kobkarn. The panel of judges for this competition includes Chantima Choey- sanguan, director of the Film and Video Rating Committee 1, which gives permission to foreign filmmakers to shoot here, the Thailand Film Office’s director Worateera Suvarnsorn, Assoc Prof Chamroenlak Thanawangnoi, a film lecturer from Thammasat University’s Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication and Bangkok Critics Assembly president Nakorn Veeraprawat. They’ll be joined by foreign judges Glenn S Gainor, president of Sony Pictures Screen Gems, South Korean director Park Kwang Soo, and American actress from “’Til Death” and “Desperate Housewives” Joely Fisher. The awards ceremony will take place on July 27 at Siam Pawalai, Siam Paragon. In 2016, more than 700 foreign films were shot in Thailand, generating Bt2.3 billion. In the first five months of this year (January-May), 369 films and videos were shot in Thailand, generating Bt1.4 billion, higher than in the same period last year, which saw 323 films and videos and Bt846 million in revenue. Check out the latest updates at www.ThailandFilmDestination.com Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/life/box_office/30320384 -- © Copyright The Nation 2017-07-11
  11. In search of a better life

    In search of a better life By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM, PARINHA SEYHAK THE SUNDAY NATION BANGKOK: -- IN THE EYES of some Thai people, migrant workers seem to be alien to Thai society, but a closer look shows they are the same as other people who work hard for a better life. Walking down a small but crowded alley of Pratunam district in downtown Bangkok, you can see many people working hard among the crowd of tourists shopping in this famous shopping district. Many of these workers come from Thailand’s neighbouring countries, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia, to work for higher-paying jobs in Thailand. Pratunam would not be on the top of any list of places to look for migrant workers, and yet many migrants are working here, contributing as an integral part of Thailand’s economy. Employees in wholesale clothing stores, cooks in street-side restaurants, fruit juice vendors, and labourers in the market, these hardworking migrant workers are driving the economic wheel in the heart of Bangkok. Sarath Ros, a 30-year-old bus-ticket seller, was one among many migrants working at Pratunam market. He shared his story about moving to work in Bangkok with his wife in the hope of a better life. “I was a farmer in Cambodia, which did not get me a constant income,” Sarath shared. “Here, I earn up to Bt30,000 per month, which can sufficiently cover the expenditure of our family.” Even though he earns a much larger income compared to what he could earn in his home country, life in Thailand is tough for him and also for many of his fellow migrant workers. “It was hard when I first came here. Just because I was a newcomer, people often called the police to arrest me. It was very easy for the police to extort money from migrant workers, even though we had all the legal documents,” Sarath revealed. A female Mon migrant worker, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that she and her husband had illegally crossed the border into Thailand to work in an effort to have a secure life. As an illegal worker, she did not have many choices and had to work for a very low salary, she said. “I am working as an employee in a restaurant for three years, but still cannot achieve my goal. I don’t know what the future holds, I just want me and my family to have a happier life.” Sarath added that he would prefer going back to Cambodia when he has enough money to open his own business. “It is certainly harder to make money, but it’s much safer when we live in our homeland,” he said. Despite the government’s tough measures on migrant workers, they remain an integral part of Thai society and the economy. Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30320294 -- © Copyright The Nation 2017-07-10
  12. 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
  13. Midweek Rant: Police and the press – time for more professionalism File photo: Manager Professionalism and the police. Hardly two words that fit like a glove. The same could be said of the press. But throw the two together and any semblance of professionalism just seems to go out the window – what we are left with is rather pathetic. Many police officers – some of them very senior – see meeting the press as a possibility for self- promotion rather than any service to the public who are after all their paymasters. Recent extravaganzas like the arrest of suspects in the karaoke girl’s murder produced a government backlash – but like countless police crackdowns are we to believe that anything will ever last more than five minutes in Thailand. Appearing this week at the press conference for the woman charged with assaulting a man she met on Facebook was none other than metropolitan chief Sanit Mahathavorn. Was it really necessary for the chief of police to get embroiled in this unseemly soap opera? Yes, it is in the public eye but does the chief believe that he comes out smelling of roses for being at the station to lead the investigation? Should he not be doing more important things – and seen to be doing more important things? And what does it say of the confidence he has, or does not have, in the ability of his underlings to do their jobs? Surely a good boss delegates tasks to employees and handles the vital roles. Adopting more of a seemly attitude at press conferences would go some way to improving the image of the police. If they care about that, that is. Khun Sanit needs to set the tone and take the lead. Over the last year he has popped up everywhere getting involved in some puerile stunts, even by Thai standards. And other senior officers have seemed to take their lead from this. Perhaps he could work on a code of conduct for those under his control for press conferences. That would be the kind of leadership that might stop critics calling them the Keystone Kops. But there is much more than the top brass showing a lack of professional leadership. Last year the prime minister ordered for suspects to stop being paraded. Some stations heeded this for a week or two. Others just ignored it until it was all conveniently forgotten. Once again police promotion took precedence over the rights of the accused. Even when admissions are made have the police never heard of people retracting confessions? Edicts were also made about the reenactments that are so popular in Thailand. These were to stop forthwith. These continue unabated it seems – how many times do we see that 100 army and police personnel were needed to protect the suspect from angry villagers as he brandished his toy gun or pretended to rape a stuffed toy. Is it really necessary to have the accused act this out as part of the confession process? Is the force so scared of adverse comment that they can’t take statements and follow procedures aware from the public’s lurid glare? Again, it is unseemly and gives so much ammunition to those who scream banana republic and third world when it comes to the antics of police and what passes for the justice system. Deploying all those men to protect suspects is such a waste. Would they not be better employed doing something useful…..like catching a few more criminals? Then we have the antics of the media at these press conferences. The force seems to connive with them to give the baying public what they want. Who cares about truth – that might get in the way of a good story, it seems. The press prints ream after ream of details about which officer was on the scene, the names of every sergeant and captain, constable and lieutenant involved. Sure, it probably eases the working relationship with the force to drop their names every five minutes. But would it not be better if they came up with some questions that the public are asking. And if they did and got fobbed off then ask them again. To get some answers. Like reporters are supposed to do in the public interest. Above all stop treating police stations, investigations and arrests as a soap opera. As something you might see from a teenager on Facebook. Show some professionalism in your jobs and you might garner a bit more respect. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-07-05
  14. Road Rage – time for Thailand to face the truth File photo It really is time Thailand stopped hiding behind the “jai yen” myth. Increasing exposure to dash cams and video phones are showing that “Road Rage” is out of control. Sure, violence in Thai society is hardly a new phenomenon – but it looks like half the population is resorting to violence to handle small scrapes and disagreements on the highways. It is increasingly looking like a nation of “jai rorn” people or hotheads. There is a pertinent question too – how long will it be before one of the daily assaults ends in the death of an innocent person or their entire family? As if the death and carnage from road accidents is not enough – now there is an ever greater tendency for violence. Just sounding a horn seems to be an excuse for a beating or waving a gun. Thais have been bleating that society is going to the dogs – but it is now time for action, not just empty words. It seems like every Tom, Dick and Somchai who goes out to visit their gran is tooled up for a fight should the slightest thing go wrong. In the last few days we saw a man taking a baseball bat to a family car for a small accident. He then chased them down causing a serious accident. Never mind the occasions when guns have been brandished from windows. Swords and large knives seem to be essential items to be kept under the dash. A woman was brandishing a golf club the other week. And it is not just private drivers – drivers of public vehicles seem to have even more weapons at the ready. A check of minivans last year found a veritable arsenal of machetes, guns and other weapons. A few fines were handed out but it was woefully inadequate punishment. But even when weapons are not used Thai drivers are making good use of their fists and feet to supposedly teach other drivers who have upset them a life lesson. Even rude and aggressive celebrities – like Nott Graap My Rot – are setting the worse of examples to their fans. This week was no exception – a driver was mercilessly bashing a motorcyclist after a minor scrape. The greater tragedy was that bystanders just looked on as if it was a humdrum daily occurrence. The nation needs to wake up to this widespread and appalling violence. So what needs to be done – or is it just a case of sweeping everything under the carpet and pretending that Thais are the sweetest people on the planet and wouldn’t hurt a fly. Firstly the lawmakers and politicians need to take a long hard look at the legislation about the carrying of weapons. If it is weak it needs to be upgraded. It certainly seems to be. Surely carrying a weapon in a car or on a bus is not just transporting it from one place to another. Is it any different from having it on your person? Penalties must be severe for people with weapons in their vehicles. Heravy fines ten times what they are at present. Jail time for anyone using them in any way. Then the police must be told to enforce the regulations and not connive with the public to treat it as something that is acceptable. For the lawless public are culpable too – it is all our problem, not just “them”. But keeping weapons out of cars is one thing – the root cause of road rage runs deeper. Politicians, police, and particularly parents need to educate the young. They are seeing many images on social media and are beginning to accept dealing with problems in a confrontational way as the norm. The prime minister has mentioned it many times – the problem is many just ignore him. Why don’t some celebrities step up to the plate? The young need to be shown another way that avoids confrontation without resorting to violence. But above all everyone needs to accept that there is a problem. Stop the denial. Stop hiding behind the acceptance of cute national traits. And face the truth that something is seriously wrong. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-06-28
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    Koh Chang Guide Issue 3 - July 2017 - download the PDF version using the green download button or read the issue online here. All the latest information about Koh Chang
  16. Koh Chang Guide Issue 3 - July 2017 View File Koh Chang Guide Issue 3 - July 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 06/23/2017 Category Thaivisa Members Files  
  17. Midweek rant: Bikers deserve some respect too, you know Yes, I accept I am a second class citizen. I can see why you might think I am near the bottom of the vehicular food chain. I admit I don’t have film tint on my windows. I don’t even have windows. I am just a downtrodden motorcyclist. Just a bloody biker…. But you know there are quite a lot of us and despite what some car owners say we are human. We have feelings…..all we are after is a little respect and consideration. And some fair treatment from the cops – if you can do fair. In return I promise to stay off the sidewalks. Promise to obey the rules of the road. I’ll even stop if I inadvertently scratch your car… Bikers in Bangkok – or any other major Thai city – are treated as the lowest of the low. It is rather unfair. Some of us have cars but we just want to get from A to B as quickly as possible. We have jobs to do and families to feed – in fact there are an awful lot of us about. And we take up much less space on the roads and rarely block other people. Firstly can I say to the police…… Would you mind not ripping us off and preying on us just because we are unlikely to be people of influence and are relatively easy pickings. How about show some parity with the car drivers who break all the laws – and often kill us because they don’t bother to look where they are going. How about stopping these ridiculous checkpoints that are used to fleece us for using various bridges and tunnels? It is absurd to stop us using such roads and thoroughfares. We accept that we have no right on the expressway or motorways – fine. But we all know why we are stopped in the middle of most days. And how you like us to bring out our wallets for disobeying the ridiculous. Wouldn’t your time be better spent making sure that cars are not making illegal U-turns, are not pushing in and holding everyone up are not running red lights? You can get your fines that way, and be doing everyone a favor into the bargain. Secondly to car drivers….. Would it be possible for you to stick to the markings on the road, stick to your lanes? That way we can get through easily and there will be less danger of damage to your precious paintwork or your expensive wing mirrors. It’s called consideration, even good driving – you may have heard of it. Also please try to look when coming out onto a main road. This involves using the eyes that are positioned just above your nose. It may be necessary to look for a few seconds to make sure you have not missed us. That way you can avoid damage to your car and it will have the added benefit of helping us return to our families at the end of the day. Win-win! To building owners…… Could you remember that we are also your customers? Would it be possible not to pen us in in these underground dungeons that pass for what you call parking lots. Apart from being very bad for the health of your own staff it is almost impossible at times to get our bikes out after they are crammed in. We are admittedly poor and low class but we have spent what little resources we have on our transport as well as car owners. Also to the places that charge for bike parking. It can easily build up to 100 baht in some places. That is a lot for a biker. Would a car that costs twenty times as much be prepared to pay 2,000 baht just to park…..I think you’d have a riot on your hands. For some who have what you call “big bikes” the situation is a bit better as you cordoned off another area. But I note that many of you have changed this to 400cc up. What about the thousands if not millions of us who have 250cc bikes – there is barely room to swing a cat in some of your parking lots. Some better signage about where we should go would also be appreciated – a bike with a big arrow would fit the bill. And not just one – keep the directions going until the parking is in view. To pedestrians….. Would you mind staying on the sidewalks and using pedestrian overpasses. If you have to cross the road try looking…..using those eyes I spoke about earlier. Jaywalking and appearing suddenly in a biker’s path is likely to result in your serious injury – and our death as likely as not. To the people responsible for the road surface…… Could you get out there and fill in some of the potholes. You see for cars it might be a little jolt or mean a spot of wheel aligning is in order. For us bikers we tend to come off and get our brains splattered on the tarmac. It’s messy and very unsightly. If we don’t die instantly just because of a small hole or ridge left unattended we are often flattened by oncoming cars. This can result in damage to expensive cars…… Finally to our dear friends the security guards who are most likely bikers just like us… Would you mind awfully pointing to where we can park first rather than let us park, take off all our protective gear, start walking to our destination……before you tell us that we can’t park there. Then we won’t get so cross. In return for all this we promise to behave ourselves and act as responsibly as you in your cars and trucks. Who knows – some of us may even live long enough to enjoy our grandchildren. We may even feel respected. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-06-21
  18. Midweek rant: Save Our Pattaya – time for less back slapping and more action The sight and sound of Pattaya’s top cop Apichai Krobpetch slapping the backs of his men and praising them to the skies last week was worse than laughable. Apparently his upstanding men were doing a great job and fully merited the millions of baht of new motorcycle presents they had just been given by HQ. Everything was just hunky dory down by the sea! Even by the double standards of Pattaya this was patently absurd. The force in Chonburi – read Pattaya – is rumored to be one of the hardest to get into. Not because of the difficulty of the exams or the quality of officers it attracts – because of how much that has to change hands just to get a job there. Such are the rich pickings. Many of the officers in the province make the rest of the country look like angels in comparison! How many times have we read about cops at the resort trying to fleece and extort money from the public? There was Nang Fa karaoke, women picked off the streets on trumped up charges, people harassed even raped….the list goes on. When the force investigates its own it descends into farce. How many times have we seen their total inactivity when they were needed most? And how many times have we seen their shambolic efforts to clean up the mean streets? Surely it is time to look at the performance of the force under the current leadership and at least have a few serious words. Make some threats – they might understand that language after all. Pattaya is now meant to be priding itself as a hub of all that is good in tourism. But as officialdom tried to play down reports of the dangers in Thailand as a whole the microcosm that is Pattaya could hardly escape the spotlight. Yes, foreign residents always bang on about it being like that since the year dot. Well, that isn’t good enough if the resort is going to drag itself up to a semblance of respectability…if that is ever or even possible. Two cases in the last couple of days seem to show motiveless attacks against foreigners. One was an Australian and one was an Indian out for a walk with his Thai girlfriend. Sure, people who have had a drink sometimes conveniently forget they might have upset someone but these two cases are nonetheless worrying and should be thoroughly investigated. The last thing Pattaya needs is roaming gangs of bandits in pick-ups out for a bit of Clockwork Orange style bashing. Then there is the continual cases of snatch theft happening almost daily. The victims seem to be blamed for wearing jewelry or conducting insurance scams more than the police for not being on the beat or trying to prevent and heaven forbid….actually solve crime. When the cases are reported the force go through the motions – they phone ahead to stop the miscreants, villains who always flee into the night on their bikes and escape; they check CCTV that is either not working or unhelpful; they promise a follow up. Yawn! Absolutely nothing happens and the next day there is another incident. And so the cycle of inactivity continues. It is a far cry from the chief’s utopian claims. Whatever happened to the “Happy Zones” where the eyes and ears of CCTV and an empowered public were supposed to be working with the police in eradicating crime? That is a rhetorical question because all we see is absolute total farce and pathetic lip service. The military obviously have their work cut out when it comes to reigning in the Chonburi force. Changes have been made to the top brass but it still seems to result in more tarnish. Apichai further claimed that his men represented value for money for public taxes. But for many people who love the resort, who call it their home and would like to see it cleaner, safer, friendlier and above all less corrupt, his words fell on decidedly flat ears. And the tragedy is that no one was particularly surprised at what he said. That is the level to which Pattaya has sunk. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-06-14
  19. Midweek rant: A plea from a lowly pedestrian It’s not that I’m not grateful for the wonderful train being built outside my front door. It's not that I can’t wait for three or four years until it’s finished. It’s not that I can’t put up with the traffic and the mayhem that all the building is causing. It’s not even that I am so unhappy with the state of the bumpy footpath full of holes – at least clearing it of vendors has made it a bit easier to walk. I can even put up with the flooding. It’s just that when I am out with my daughter and her buggy I can’t really go anywhere any more. Are we expected to be some kind of prisoners in our soi and immediate area for the next several years…until things get better? You see, I might not have many years left and I want to make use of the time I have to try and enjoy life a bit with my kids. If I perch them on my motorbike I worry. If I get in the car we can’t move anyway. I don’t ask much – I just want to go out for a walk. My daughter feels the same. She'd tell you herself it's just that she is only one. I refer specifically to the building of the Green Line extension to Saphan Mai in the Ratchayothin area – but my plea is applicable to other construction projects throughout the country. Around here all the pedestrian overpasses have been taken out. I get that. But what did you replace them with – a few holes in the construction fences where pedestrians could dash across if they saw a chink of light in the onrushing cars. Yes, I know you call them Zebra Crossings – it’s just that nobody stops. They never have. Unless perhaps you’re killed on the road and even then they might not stop. There’s a sign on one disused bridge that says I can cross 15 meters ahead – I’d do that if I had a death wish and wanted to see the back of my one year old daughter. I don’t. Anyway, I remember seeing a video of some tourists in Chiang Mai doing that. It kinda scared me. I’d rather cross, if possible, with a modicum of safety. You see there are some lovely places to get to nearby where we used to go before you started improving things. The gardens at SCB with the fountains and the museum. The pond with all its animals and the well maintained aquarium at Kaset University. The playground on the other side of Pahonyothin Road. But I can’t get there anymore. I am afraid my kids will be teenagers before I can cross the road again. I am not asking for much. Just a bit of consideration. I know all Thais are world famous for that. I see it every day with the ordinary people in the streets trying to cope with the mess. They open doors for me and say lovely things about my daughter as they try to help on small flights of stairs. So how about a sequence in the lights to give pedestrians a chance to cross the road while the cars and bikes wait for a minute. Even thirty seconds would be OK. Then we could hurry to the other side – I can still step on it a bit despite the dodgy farang back I hurt falling in one of your potholes recently. And it’s not just me and my buggy. I imagine that anyone in a wheelchair would just have to live somewhere else. Even the most able-bodied people along with the rest of us are finding it difficult enough. Oh and another thing – it’s nothing really. Could you make sure those orange crane like things on top of the pylons are tied on with a few nuts and bolts. You see a couple of them, actually three, have fallen on pedestrians and workers in the area in the last few months. Four people won’t be walking anywhere in the future after that. Maybe someone forgot – please have a word. Throughout the city and in the rest of the country we are glad that one day we shall have some extensive public transport to be proud of. But for now could you just spare a thought for our lives as lowly pedestrians. And at least help us to walk safely in our towns and cities. And get from A to B. And maybe even back home again….. Alive, if possible. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-05-31
  20. Stand-Up Comedy – Chris Henry at Robin Hood Tavern – 10 June 2017 The Comedy Club Bangkok proudly presents stand-up comedy with CHRIS HENRY – live in Pattaya at The Robin Hood Tavern. As part of his his festival tour, packing out venues performing at The Edinburgh Fringe, down under at the Australian festivals and now touring Asia, CHRIS HENRY performs his latest exclusive show “IGNORANCE IS CHRIS” Also seen on British TV and the biggest clubs in the UK, Chris has packed all his observations of our planet into his sixth side-splitting show where you can expect tales of his strange experiences and silly exploits, using his uniquely Scottish perspective on the world. Chris will be joined by special guests. ฿600 in advance online at bit.ly/Comedy-RobinHoodPattaya and The Robin Hood Tavern Pub! ฿800 on the door. FB event page: Stand-Up Comedy – Chris Henry in Pattaya! Hosted by Robin Hood Tavern and Comedy Club Bangkok Saturday, June 10 at 8 PM – 10:30 PM
  21. Midweek rant: Thai news – all we get is tumbleweed File photo Following the Thai news is like going to the movies and suffering a power cut before the final scene. So often we are left in the dark. With no idea how it ended. Time and time again we follow the news faithfully only to be left high and dry at the crucial moment. The Thai news media fall over themselves in the early stage of an investigation. And the police come up with all sorts of theories as an arrest is imminent and the case is all but solved. Later today, Friday at the latest, Tuesday for sure… Then days become weeks and weeks become months before a year has passed. Has the case gone cold? Has the matter been shuffled under the carpet? Or have the perps been arrested tried and forgiven?! Or has the key been thrown away? Thai media seems great when a case is in the public eye. They love a soap opera. But it is like their attention span is five minutes. They move on before it’s over. And following up is a bit like Thai maintenance – virtually non-existent! Unless someone forces the issue that is. And who is around to do that – what pressure groups exist apart from the lowly victims of the crimes. Sure, there are many cases where arrests are made early and confessions extracted. Fine – but what happened next? Did the matter go to court – and if so what were the sentences? At the very least I want those tedious posters who talk about “brown envelopes” and “500 baht slaps on the wrist” as though they have some kind of advanced cultural knowledge of Thailand to be stopped in their tracks. But no…..all we get is tumbleweed. Everyone can think of many cases in the last year or so – cases of such public interest that it should be the duty of the press to follow up and let us know. There are the six police children and accomplices who murdered the handicapped bread seller in Lat Prao. They were initially held but where are they now? What became of Shimon the Israeli and his son who put a friend under the stairs? What of the US citizens who cut up their mate and put him in a Sukhumvit freezer? How about the Suan Kularb teacher in the case of sex with students? It started as scandal and ended in silence. Are the murderers of Tony Kenway in Pattaya just teaching English in Cambodia without a care in the world? The list goes on and on. It is not just crime but cases of all kinds. And the silence is deafening. Come on Thai press. Don’t let your police get away with inaction. Don’t let the authorities whitewash you. Roust them up, demand some answers – think about the public and their needs. Think about the victims. And do your bloody job and report! I’ll read it. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-06-07
  22. Top Hua Hin Hotels Spread Motorbike Safety Message Hua Hin, Thailand, 22nd May 2017 - A group of leading hotels and resorts in Hua Hin, including Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa, recently held an important joint event to raise awareness about motorcycle safety among Thai schoolchildren. Shocking figures show that less than 7% of Thai children wear helmets when riding on motorbikes with their parents. This means that every day, all across the country, more than 93% of Thai children are risking their lives just by traveling to and from school. In order to address this alarming statistic, 10 of Hua Hin’s top hotels joined forces on May 22nd, 2017, to organize the "Helmet Extravaganza" 2nd year - a CSR event aimed at saving the lives of young people in Hua Hin and Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. Hotels taking part in the initiative included Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa, Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa, Hyatt Regency Hua Hin, Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa, Intercontinental Hua Hin Resort, Anantara Hua Hin Resort, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villa Hua Hin, Putahracsa Hua Hin, So Sofitel Hua Hin and Amari Hua Hin organized a CSR event to generate awareness among the Hua Hin locals to start wearing helmets and provide safety for their children by donating more than 400 helmets to the Hua Hin’s student and schools within Hua Hin, Prachuab Khiri Khan Province, and provide fun activities at the same time by painting the donated helmets in each hotel. “It is a worrying fact of life in Thailand – and across many Asian countries – that many children do not wear helmets when traveling on motorcycles with their parents,” Goetz Bauer, General Manager of the Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa. “There are many reasons for this, but often it is simply that the children do not have helmets to wear.” “By donating more than 400 helmets to local students we could be potentially saving the lives of 400 local children. This is a truly incredible thought, and can I think of no more worthwhile activity to be part of.” The Helmet Extravaganza was attended by an estimated 500 people, including the schoolchildren, representatives of the 10 hotels and members of the media.
  23. Target the 21 million tourists per year in Bangkok Bangkok is the number 1 tourist destination in the world, bigger than London, Paris and New York; so getting your business in front of this tourist group represents a staggering opportunity - and until now it has been very difficult to do. On June 1st, Choice Group Asia Media Group launch the only 24 hour television channel in Bangkok that targets tourists. It will play in over 10,000 hotels (or 1 million hotel rooms) in Bangkok. Being the only local channel for foreigners it means it will be the go to channel for tourists wanting to find out more about where to go and what to do in Bangkok. Target Tourists on Huge Scale and for Less To celebrate this significant launch, Choice Group Asia offer low introductory prices. A 20 second advert played 12 times a day on this digital channel will cost only 15,000 baht, whilst a 40 second advert played 24 times a day will cost only 40,000 baht. A minimum contract of 6 months and a production fee of only 10,000 baht will be charged (reduced from 25,000 baht). This offer closes on June 15th 2017. Email dan@choicegroupasia.com or ring 086 155 2500 for more details. Example of Channel Content
  24. Foreigner jumps into Chiang Mai canal to save Thai teen from sinking car By Coconuts Bangkok Photo: Guru Chiang Mai/ Facebook CHIANG MAI: -- An elderly foreigner was praised online for saving the life of a Chiang Mai teen whose car had strayed off the road and into a khlong last night. The heroic act of James Charles Grand, 61, was shared by Chiang Mai Facebook community “Guru Chiang Mai,” after the foreigner dove in to retrieve the injured teen from the sinking car. Grant, whose nationality was not disclosed, was reportedly riding a motorbike when he passed by the scene of the accident in central Chiang Mai. The Thai teen was sent to the hospital by rescue volunteers. Full story: https://coconuts.co/bangkok/news/foreigner-jumps-chiang-mai-canal-save-thai-teen-sinking-car/ -- © Copyright Coconuts Bangkok 2017-05-23
  25. Midweek rant: The power of money – but what about the public interest? File Photo Too often in Thailand the soothing power of money replaces justice. What should be something in addition to criminal prosecution is frequently used as a convenient and easy way out. Especially for the rich and famous. But also for any Tom, Dick or Harry who has a reasonably full wallet. It begs the question – as more and more cases are settled by the passing over of cash is the public interest being served? Is it my foot! This week we were reminded of the case two years back when Thai/British actress Anna Reese simply bought her way out of trouble. It was all done in full view of the public. But it wasn’t a fine. It was just something agreed on under the auspices of the police. The family accepted money in the death of 44 year old Suphanburi policeman Napadol killed in his patrol car. Was it just celebrity and wealth that got the actress off? Not really – anyone with money can buy their way out it seems. What kind of message does this send out, especially to young people reading the news? I’ll tell you. It says if you can pay you don’t need to take responsibility for your actions, that’s what. And as we see the actress once again behaving atrociously and drink driving this week we can see that she has absolutely learnt nothing from killing another person. Do it again, just pay some more. The tragedy is, while the latest case is going to court, it may still have been settled in cash if she had hurt someone else. Time and again we see crimes settled with the handing over of everything from a few thousand baht to a few million. It happens in everything from assault, to criminal damage, to negligence – even in cases involving children who are maltreated. It happens everywhere, all the time. Sometimes the figures are not even revealed leading to more lurid speculation and lack of transparency. The time has come for the police to prosecute all cases especially those in the public interest. And stop interpreting the law when they have a duty on behalf of the public. If money is to play a part then it should be IN ADDITION to criminal prosecution and jail time, not instead of it. When OJ Simpson managed to escape justice in the celebrated double homicide case there was still the civil matter than gave something back to the families of his victims. He was hit for millions but only after he was tried. While many foreign legal systems try to grapple with the issues of compensation and justice few are like Thailand where financial compensation seems to rule the roost. Of course, settling things with money also suits the police. It is much easier and involves less work and loose ends can be tied up in one sweet little bundle. Everyone looks good and everyone seems on the surface to go home happy. But the law and the people are made to look like fools for the sake of cute expediency. The public should demand of their lawmakers that crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Not just when the police decide – and not just when poor people accept money. Criminals must end up in court and be given appropriate sentences. Not just allowed to open their wallets and move on to the next crime, the next victim. Victims must not be pressurized by either the police or the system into accepting money. Sure, many are impoverishedand we know why they accept. They need money even if it is a pittance to the guilty. And their cultural background screams too much to them to live and let live. Move on, a sense of fatalism prevailing. Your lot is what it is! These people – as much as the public – are not served justice. They should know that those that harm them are first and foremost being prosecuted for their illegal actions. THEN, and only then, will they have the opportunity to be financially compensated for their loss, for the damage done to them. The system needs to be a double edged sword directly squarely at the criminals with clear guideline to show that justice is done and seen to be done for the sake of all in society. Stop treating money as the universal healer. And start thinking about justice and appropriate punishment for crimes. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-05-24
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