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Found 71 results

  1. Offer from Inspire Pattaya 7,995 BAHT Special price 6,995 BAHT, exclusive 7% VAT per month Promotion until 28 February 2018 for 6 months this agreement: 1. Save 1,000 Baht per Month 2. Inspire platforms also Bigger than Ever! 3. AND Get 1 x 9 second Microvideo for use on Social Networks – inc. your own sites – FREE every Month. 4. One free 45 second video production for your business, great for Social media and also websites, youtube. (1) Regional Weekly e-Newsletter Your business featured every fortnight sent to all subscribing Inspire Thailand e-Magazine members for Pattaya 12,000 subscribers. Sent to relevant newsletters for your business and another region about 40,000 subscribers (2) Video Marketing Inspire will make one video interview review on your business to be used in all online marketing from website, social networks, You Tube, Inspire App. (3) Events, Offers & Updates Published Online Your events are posted on Inspire website (c.20,000 visitors per month). Inspire social networks that include Facebook Pages (50,000+ member), LinkedIn (over 10,000 connections via groups such as Bangkok Expats etc), Twitter and Google Plus. We will make it at least two new searchable online posts for you each month that will improve your onlne search engine visibility. (4) Includes posting on Inspire Pattaya Facebook page, Inspire Bangkok Facebook page, Pattaya channel Facebook page, Thaivisa Pattaya Facebook page, Inspire Line and Instragram Inspire Thailand too. Facebook https://www.facebook.com/inspirepattaya/ Liked 22,596 https://www.facebook.com/inspirebangkok/ Liked 25,226 https://www.facebook.com/PattayaChannel/ Liked 10,530 https://www.facebook.com/groups/pattayachannel/ Members 5,062 https://www.facebook.com/thaivisapattaya/ Liked 351 https://www.instagram.com/inspire_thailand/ Following 1,168 Inspire Line official 650 members (5) Inspire App 2,000 users Your business and all subsequent offers and events are listed on the app (6) Business on Inspire Pattaya website or Inspire Bnagkok 20,000 visits per month Sample of video Holiday Inn Hotel Baraquda Hotel Absolute clinic Laksasopha Huahin Mariott Huahin Andreas Restaurant True Arena EMAIL [email protected] OR CALL 082 753 9286
  2. Acclaimed US stand-up comedian Doug Stanhope to tour Asia in March 2018 17th March Bangkok at Westin Grande Sukhumvit Magners International Comedy Festival in back in Bangkok for its 5th year. In 2018, the largest comedy festival in Asia is bigger and better than ever before. Many international comedians from all over the world will bring laughter to Bangkok this March, alongside US stand-up comedian Doug Stanhope, the most highly anticipated headliner at this year’s comedy line-up. Doug Stanhope will begin his Asia tour in Hong Kong, followed by Singapore, Vietnam and his final showdown in Bangkok. Known for his acerbic wit, fierce intellect and caustic social commentary; fans of comedy and Doug Stanhope can expect an evening of raw, agitated and unflinching comedy from undoubtedly one of the industry’s most original acts. Doug Stanhope’s career in stand-up started 1990. He went on to perform at comedy festivals in Montreal, Aspen, Chicago and Edinburgh, receiving rave reviews and ‘Best Live Performance’ accolades whenever he took to the stage. Today, he is one of the most sought-after comedians and is often compared to comic revolutionaries such as Lenny Bruce, Richard Prior, Sam Kinison and Bill Hicks. "I've never tried to drive my career in any particular direction," says Stanhope. "I've always been an in-the-moment, live-for-today guy. I've never had a goal, and nearly everything I've done has been an accident." It is no accident that Stanhope’s comedic stardom has captured the hearts of audiences and comedians all over the world. He is also no stranger to the likes of Johnny Depp who wrote the forward in Stanhope’s book entitled Digging up Mother, A Love Story. A comedian’s comedian. An impressed Chris Rock said, ”Doug Stanhope is the most dangerous comedian in the world. If we both were fighters I would avoid him at all costs. He's a bad, bad man." And Ricky Gervais tweeted, "Doug Stanhope might be the most important standup working today." News of Stanhope’s Asia Tour has spread even before promotional details were finalised, so much so that when news of his tour went viral, the VIP ticket section in Bangkok has already sold out and its only a matter of time the full show sells out. Tickets are available at selected online ticketing agents. Early bookings are encouraged to avoid disappointment. Organised by Magic Rock Pte Ltd, the Magners International Comedy Festival is one of the largest international comedy events in Asia. SHOW INFORMATION Website: www.comedyfest.asia Facebook: Magners International Comedy Festival Bangkok Date: 17 March 2018, Saturday Time: 8pm Venue: The Westin Grande Sukhumvit Hotel Address: 259 Sukhumvit Rd, Khwaeng Khlong Toei Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand Ticket Prices: ฿800 - ฿2500 Tickets: https://ticketbox.co.th/event/what-doug- stanhope-69621/44902
  3. Midweek Rant….. a conversation with Somchai in authority File photo Rooster is speaking to “Khun Somchai In Authority” “Hey Somchai”. “Rooster old chap, sabai dee ler? Watdee pee mai”. “Khraphom. Just phoning about a few things. The 375 people dead on the Thai roads in the first of six of the “seven deadly days” for example. Just over 61 a day. Average. Proud of yourself?” “Rather, Rooster. It’s all smiling faces here at the ministry, I can tell you. Down 0.5% on 2014. Transfers put off! Quite a result”. “Yes I am sure you’re right”. “Figures from TAT show there were a billion more cars and pesky motorcyclists on the roads at New Year, too. Ergo we should have expected more accidents. We know they love a drink – who’s to deny them that freedom? Besides, as you well know, it’s the devil’s own job keeping the people in their place”. “The morgue you mean” “Now, now Rooster….remember the defamation laws”. “Noted. But didn’t you have 100,000 officials and police mobilized to prevent this. What did they get up to?” “Busy, busy, all of them, tireless in the heat, an example to all, all that Chicken Essence to hand out. Convenience and safety. Would have been much worse without them old chap”. “The Chicken Essence or the officials? “You are a Western wag Wooster!! Both. Anyway was there something you wanted, I am a bit tied up patting myself on the back with the Daily News reporters at the mo”. “Any other ideas what causes all this carnage?” “Nasty word, Rooster. Remember what Big Too has been saying about the media and fake news. Let’s be positive for a change. Let’s call it…er…. Another C word….I know Carma!! Get it! “Ah…..but…” “You see the public are lawless. Always have been. Better to blame them than us – they’ll suck it up”. “True….but….” “Who cares anyway – the stiffs are 80% bikers aren’t they. Expendable in the great Thai cosmic scheme of things. Besides they’re poor – they never learn. Be positive, elections are due in November old boy! And if not November, as soon as possible after that.” “Mmmm…but….” “Frankly, there are so many more important things to worry about rather than life and death. It comes to us all. Get over it. Mai pe rai naaa! Have some spicy som tam. Yummy. Click on a few Facebook likes. It’ll go away if we ignore it. I am sure you understand, you’ve been in Thailand yonks, haven’t you?” “True, true, all true. Actually the reason I was calling was that I was at the hospital earlier and your six year old daughter was there”. “Jing?….how is the little scamp. Still asking after Khun Phor I expect. Na rak!” “Er, not exactly. She’d just been thrown out of the back of a pick-up. The driver was drunk. It was your wife! Who would credit it! Just thought you’d like to know. “I saw the little one in the morgue. They had just sewn her head back on, little poppet looked at peace. Missing a bit of brains. Not to worry, Por Teck Tung swept that mess up and shoved it in a roadside bin. All neat and tidy now. You’d never have known it happened. “And great news – you might get some compensation! Also another bonus - your missus didn’t die. She was wearing that luang phor amulet you gave her on her birthday. She can’t speak – win,win – ha,ha…..phut len na khrap. “Lost a leg and a couple of arms though, but hey, that’s par for the course. Must have stepped on a cockroach in a previous life. “Even better news – the garage say they can repair the damage (to the truck at least, just another little joke!). You can pick it up in a couple of days on your way to the funeral. “They said they’d wipe the blood off too. Now that’s service! Pen gan eng! Don’t forget to buy a lottery ticket with the license plate number – the wife not dying must be a sign! Unbelievable luck! “Fancy a few drinks later? Somchai? Somchai? Are you still there?” “Yes. Oh Rooster, now I have seen the light. You have taught me a life lesson with this tale of karmic woe. I admit it, we can learn from other people, other countries can teach us the error of our ways and show us a better path. Being number one in road death is not all it’s cracked up to be”. “Really? Great. So what are you going to do about it Somchai my friend?” “That’s a tough one. I know! I know! Let’s set up a committee! “See you at Songkran!” Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2018-01-04
  4. Thaivisa Calendar 2018

    Version 1.0.0

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    Click the green download button to get your copy of the Thaivisa Calendar 2018 A big thank you to everyone who submitted photos and a special thanks to Ron for his help.
  5. Thaivisa Calendar 2018

    Thaivisa Calendar 2018 View File Click the green download button to get your copy of the Thaivisa Calendar 2018 A big thank you to everyone who submitted photos and a special thanks to Ron for his help. Submitter Jonathan Fairfield Submitted 12/27/2017 Category Thaivisa Members Files  
  6. Midweek Rant: Hellooooo – is anybody listening? The Midweek Rant began back in February. The idea was to raise some issues and perhaps inspire some people in authority to do something constructive to address them. I would now like to report on the effectiveness of the rant. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Not a dickie bird. If anything most of the major issues are just getting worse with each passing day. Let’s look at some of the highlighted posts made through the year. “Time cruel teacher was jailed” referred to one of the assaults on the nation’s children. Has anything happened to dissuade teachers about using violence in schools? Er…no. Almost every week we hear of more assaults. More cover ups by directors. More committees and slaps on the wrist. More temporary transfers. More bruised and humiliated children let down by the system. “Teacher jailed”? When did you ever see that headline…never. “It’s a dog’s life – time for humans to fight back” referred to dogs getting a better deal than people. Thousands were crying over the dead dog in the tragic Pattaya accident last week when a long line of schoolchildren were mown down with two people dead. Dogs still continue to enjoy all the privileges as they bite the neighbors and their owners get off Scot Free. Most every soi and housing estate is plagued by the mutts protected by the law. “Seven Deadly Days – Songkran smokescreen” referred to the authorities puerile penchant for concentrating on the main festivals of the year with useless sound bite campaigns that achieve nothing to stop the carnage. What was the news last week? – “777”…..How the authorities and the three stooges planned to save lives by splitting the New Year into sets of 7. It beggared belief. Needless to say nothing has been done to stop the death on the roads. Twenty to 25,000 more are now dead since February as the government twiddles its fingers expecting praise for building more roads providing yet more opportunity for colossal carnage. “When will the punishment fit the crime?” referred to a long list of ridiculous punishments – both severe and lenient that served to make a mockery of what passes for the justice system. What did we have this week? A woman dragged to the cells now facing 5 years for having an e-cigarette in her car. Very soon the potential for incarceration for lighting up on the beach. Not to mention the countless cases throughout the year of pathetically low fines, certainly not jail time, for serious cases of assault and violence. “The power of money – what about the public interest?” referred to the habit of the police to let the public sort out serious cases with the handing over of money as compensation. Cases that should be prosecuted. This continues apace often without a passing reference to any chance of criminal prosecution especially for those who can silence the claims of the poor with a few thousand baht blood money. The police continue to see themselves as the law itself, judge and jury, rather than the upholders of it. The court system is woefully flawed but would it not be better for them to decide rather than rely on what passes for justice at the nation’s police stations? “Road Rage – face the truth” was a rant early in the year that remarked on the growing prevalence of violence on the nation’s roads. Ok so mobile cameras catch more of it as do dash cams, but the level of violence is increasingly shocking, committed by young or old, Thai or foreigner – remember George in Pattaya and his Thai “mate”. Whatever happened to “jai yen yen”? Every car on the road seems to have a gun in the dash, a machete or a sword in the boot, just in case someone hoots a horn, cuts in front or just looks out the window. “Thai News – all we get is tumbleweed” referred to stories that go quiet when the public would like to know what was resolved, who got time in prison or did they get off? So what happened about the police kids who murdered the handicapped bread seller? Any developments on the murder of Tony Kenway in Pattaya? OK, so the Israeli who put his mate in cement under the stairs got a death sentence but why no mention of his missing wife? We still get 90% tumbleweed as the Thai press move onto the next internet drama forgetting the seriousness of cases past as if they never happened. I could go on and on….but surely it would just be more wasting of breath. The rant started with the embarrassment of the Bang Lamung district chief walking in on a hapless tourist and a bar girl in a walking Street short time room at Valentines. Have the authorities stopped doing absurd and worthless things like this in a vain effort to justify their salaries? I think we all know the answer to that. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-12-13
  7. Midweek rant: Thai Road Safety campaign 7 – 7 – 7…..more like 555 File photo Campaigns to do something about the appalling carnage on Thai roads are no laughing matter. But when I saw the latest idea to stop the terrible death toll it is hard not to. The idiocy of some of those tasked with saving lives is nothing short of scandalous. Because they are taking the public for mugs. This week we saw the inane smiling faces of the “Three Stooges” from the Communications Ministry headed by their boss Arkhom. They were all grinning for the cameras as they explained how their “7-7-7” campaign would help. Apparently, we were asked to believe, by splitting up the “deadly” New Year period into seven day lots this was going to somehow help save lives. No one said how. In fact they were more interested in explaining how PTT gas stations would give over space so that those ridiculous tents “serving the public convenience” could be set up to do their vital work. More unexplained ways to save lives by sitting about doing squat all, I expect. Every New Year or Songkran it is the same. Another absurd sound bite in the name of doing something. This time they said they would stop road repairs for a few days. Other times they have arranged trips to the morgues. Crackdowns are mounted – and like travelling in pick-ups they just get media attention for a week or two before they are ignored and another nonsensical scheme is mooted. There is never any coordination between relevant authorities. They just try to outdo each other in coming up with the most eye-catching and pointless suggestions. But as 60 people a day succumb on the roads – maybe more – seeing Arkhom and his cronies having a laugh and a joke with the media in front of their “7-7-7” banner backdrop was anything but amusing. It was downright offensive. To the millions who have died, lost loved ones or have a handicapped family member to look after. The government that came in – well burst in - on a wave of returning happiness to the people has done nothing about one of the biggest killers and something that is a massive national disgrace. A disgrace that is increasingly being shared worldwide in the days of social media. They let their ministry minions come up with scatterbrain ideas without sanction. No one cares. Do we have to wait until someone says it is affecting tourism before action is taken? Probably. It is a situation that will never get better unless there is a determined and prolonged political will to instigate positive change. In the meantime it will just continue to get worse until the next million are dead. Corruption needs to be stamped on. Driver training needs to improve. Getting a license needs to be an achievement, not a payment. The people need to be held responsible. The police need to uphold the laws that themselves need to be amended.…the list goes on and on. But none of this has a prayer of success if the powers that be just show lip service to the problem. 7-7-7 is just 555. But I’m not laughing. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-12-07
  8. Inspire & Thaivisa Gala Dinner with Frank Bruno at Four Points by Sheraton When - Wednesday, 17 January 2018 at 19:30–22:30 Where - Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15 More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1299211190182797/
  9. Stop the stigma and accept people with HIV/AIDS – it will save lives The planet will mark World Aids Day this Friday December 1st. The event is a chance for the world to unite in the global struggle against HIV/AIDS. Here in Thailand much excellent work has already been done especially in raising awareness and in providing drugs to those with HIV. But more needs to be done especially to rid the country of the stigma facing people living with HIV. For it is the stigma that exists that is stopping people being tested and therefore getting the life- saving medication that can help HIV+ people live virtually normal, long and productive lives. Stigma is still literally killing people in Thailand. The issue of stigma is recognized by all government agencies and NGOs working in the field but still it persists. It is not just a Thai problem, it exists worldwide, but causes especial problems in the kingdom. Worse even than the ignorance of HIV infection displayed by the uneducated is the official reaction of some Thai employers or even educational institutions. Some people have lost their jobs after their HIV status was revealed, it was said this week. Some people have been denied the right to an education. This is illegal – statutes exist to prevent results of HIV blood tests being either shared or acted upon. No one needs to take a ‘compulsory blood test’ demanded by an employer and certainly no one should have to reveal private information to their boss. The stigma caused by lack of education means many prefer not to know their status. This exists in villages in particular where HIV positive people are shunned. This is a terrible and damaging situation for everyone. But also people who are untested and unknowingly have HIV put not just themselves in danger of health complications but their sexual partners, too, by engaging in unprotected sex that can pass on the virus. These days Thailand has all manner of inexpensive or free drugs that suppress the virus. While doctors know the virus is still present patients on successful treatment are declared to have an undetectable viral load. Such people have been confirmed in international studies as being non-infectious. They cannot infect anyone. How much better it is to know and take action by getting treatment than to risk passing on the disease. If the stigma stopped – if the fear of exposure to family, friends and work colleagues ended – then so can the epidemic. Thailand treats at least 400,000 people with HIV cocktail therapy. A fair proportion of these are children. Much is available to Thais for free through the universal health care system. Even non-Thais can buy inexpensive life-saving drugs on prescription over the counter that are produced by the Government Pharmaceutical Organization. Some others know they have the virus but are not yet being treated though international guidelines indicate that treatment should now start as soon as possible. But the alarming stats that many in the field acknowledge is that there may be 100,000s of others who have the virus but are not aware and not being tested principally because of stigma and ignorance. It is time the authorities come down hard on anyone who shares confidential information and sacks people or denies them their right to education. It is time that the public at large realize that HIV positive people on successful treatment are not a threat. It is time that they realize that people who have not been tested, especially those in high risk groups, could represent a far greater problem especially when engaging in unprotected sex or needle sharing. The threat comes when people don’t know or don’t want to know for fear of what others will say. The NGOs and the government have done great things since Thailand teetered on a crisis of monumental proportions two decades ago. But still people are dying needlessly. Some battles have been won but the fight is not over. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-11-28
  10. Festive Family Feasts and Seasonal Specials at Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa is gearing up for a bumper Christmas and New Year with a series of exciting festive dining experiences. Guests and diners will have plenty of opportunities to celebrate this jolly season in style, with an extensive calendar of family feasts and bountiful buffets. Events will take place at Amber Kitchen, the resort’s stylish all-day dining restaurant; Big Fish, the stunning seafront grill; and directly on the soft sands of Hua Hin Beach, overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. The fun starts on 24th December 2017, as Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa celebrates Christmas Eve in spectacular fashion with a choice of fantastic festive feasts. At Amber Kitchen, the Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner includes traditional turkey with all the trimmings, Boston lobster, black tiger prawns, foie gras and much more! Every guest will also receive free-flow soft drinks and a welcome glass of glühwein. Alternatively, Big Fish is serving an exquisite five-course dinner on Christmas Eve, including salmon cannelloni with caviar, poached lobster with truffle celeriac cream, a choice of Iberico pork loin, veal tenderloin or Atlantic loup de mer, and a delectable dessert. This delightful dining experience also includes free-flow soft drinks and a glass of glühwein. Then on Christmas Day, gather your family and friends for a choice of culinary festivities. On 25th December, Amber Kitchen is hosting a Family Christmas Lunch, complete with classic Christmas roasts such as turkey, pork, beef and lamb, plus freshly-prepared Wiener schnitzel and indulgent truffle pasta. This amazing occasion also features free flow soft drinks, music and children’s entertainment. Later that evening, join us on Hua Hin Beach for Christmas Live! Our spectacular, luxury beachfront barbecue. This glamorous white-themed party will include a whole pork roast, cooked to perfection on an open fire, plus plenty of live cooking stations, fresh seafood and prime meats barbecued under the stars, with live entertainment! This spectacular Christmas banquet includes a “White Christmas” welcome drink for every guest and free flow soft drinks. From 25th to 30th December, guests can also enjoy a sumptuous daily International dinner buffet at Amber Kitchen, with a full selection of various dishes from around the world. “Life’s a Circus” beachfront party And as 2017 draws to a close, Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa will ramp up the festivities with a choice of fun-filled culinary experiences on New Year’s Eve! The last day of the year is always best enjoyed in the company of your loved ones, and our “Life’s a Circus” beachfront party allows families and friends to come together for an extravagant evening of food, drink and entertainment on the soft sands of Hua Hin Beach. Highlights include a range of Western, Thai and Indian delicacies, live music, Thai dancing and more! And of course, we’ll usher in the New Year with a countdown fireworks. “Life’s a Circus” beachfront party Couples seeking a more intimate year-end experience can opt for our “Wine & Dine” experience at Big Fish - a delectable five-course dinner perfectly paired with wine. Having enjoyed a romantic evening in each other’s company, couples can then head to the beach to join the fun at the New Year’s Eve countdown party. Finally, what better way to spend the first day of 2018 than with a sumptuous buffet dinner on 1st January? Put your resolutions on hold and indulge in a full feast for the whole family at Amber Kitchen, including a sushi and salmon bar, noodle soup and fresh, charcoal-grilled meat and seafood. For full details of the festive dining calendar at Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa, please see below: Christmas Eve Dinner When: 24th December 2017, from 18.30 to 22.30 hrs Where: Amber Kitchen Price: THB 2,700++ per person, including free-flow soft drinks and a welcome glass of glühwein Five-Course Christmas Dinner When: 24th December 2017, from 18.30 to 22.30 hrs Where: Big Fish Price: THB 1,900++ per person, including free-flow soft drinks and a welcome glass of glühwein Family Christmas Lunch When: 25th December 2017, from 12.30 to 15.00 hrs Where: Amber Kitchen Price: THB 1,500++ per person, including free-flow soft drinks, music and kids’ entertainment Christmas Live! Luxury Beachfront Barbecue When: 25th December 2017, from 18.30 to 22.30 hrs Where: Beach Price: THB 3,500++ per person, including free-flow soft drinks and welcome drink International Buffet When: 25th – 30th December 2017, from 18.30 to 22.30 hrs Where: Amber Kitchen Price: THB 1,300++ per person New Year’s Eve Wine & Dine When: 31st December 2017, from 18.30 to 22.30 hrs Where: Big Fish Price: THB 2,900++ per person, including a welcome glass of glühwein (Includes entry-fee to the Countdown party) THB 5,900++ per person, including four paired wines and a welcome glass of glühwein (Includes entry-fee to the Countdown party) Life’s a Circus! New Year’s Eve Beachfront Barbecue & Countdown Party When: 31st December 2017, from 19.00 to 02.00 hrs (1st January 2018) Where: Beach Price: THB 6,500++ per person, including a welcome drink and free-flow soft drinks THB 8,900++ per person, including free-flow soft drinks, beer, plus red, white & sparkling wine all night long! New Year’s Day Dinner When: 1st January 2018, from 18.30 to 22.30 hrs Where: Amber Kitchen Price: THB 1,300++ per person Marriott Rewards, SPG and Club Marriott discounts apply, and early birds who book any of these festive feasts before 15th December 2017 will get 20% off! For more information or reservations, please call 032 904 666 or email [email protected]
  11. Midweek Rant: Overfeeding kids is child abuse. Period File photo Today Thailand is faced with an almost out of control obesity epidemic. Thai women were named the second fattest in Asia yesterday and evidence of a population eating themselves to death is everywhere. On any given day hospitals are overflowing with people suffering from the inevitable result of bad eating habits – diabetes. In the last 20 years in particular many have abandoned good diets of rice and vegetable for fast food and 7/11 ready meals laced with fat and gunk. More disposable income means increasingly people are piling on the calories. Calories that don’t get burnt up because people are on Facebook all day long and not in the gym. If they do go to exercise, then they do a few steps then claim they are tired and hot going home for more food, TV and social media. But as bad as this is, it pales into insignificance by the threat to the most vulnerable group – the nation’s school children. About a dozen years ago there was a boy at my international school who was clearly obese. At the time he stood out because most of the children exercised and were relatively well proportioned. Ironically named “Big” I would see him over eating in the canteen. After school he would be across the road with his parents plying him with sweets and ice cream. When alone he always had money for a large bag of potato chips. Concerned, I went to the school authorities. I demanded action – I said this was nothing short of child abuse. The British teachers sympathized but clearly indicated there was mot much they could do. Actually they didn’t want to upset the parents who paid their wages. Thais of my acquaintance smiled but you could see they thought I had a screw loose. Wasn’t child abuse hitting them in class or at home?, you could see them thinking. You see they were still mired in the absurd notion that fat equals rich. Chubby and overweight equals cute. A popular and affectionate Thai nickname is "Uan" (fat). Buying food and stuffing it into your kid’s mouth equals nurturing and taking care. Rubbish – overfeeding your child, feeding them fast food, sweets, sugary drinks is not being a good parent. It is killing your child and you are responsible. In my house, with my kids, we had a battle. But I stuck to my guns against a wife who thought I was cruel and not being the best father I could be. Why? Because I threw out the Coke – tossed away the chocolate and crisps – tipped the Sprite down the drain. No more – we had water with meals. Freshly cooked meals made from good fresh ingredients. Sweets and sugary drinks were kept for the occasional meal out or special occasions. Years later my son thanked me for that stand in clearing the house of rubbish food. But is that kind of thing happening in the average Thai household? Dream on. Adults are killing themselves with what they eat. And parents are killing their children in the name of being kind – or just keeping them quiet with food that is basically poisoning them. Why haven’t countries like Thailand – and others across Asia – learnt any lessons from the West? Because the culture that says rich equals fat and poor equals thin is even more deeply ingrained than it was in, say, Victorian Britain. Obesity in adults and especially children is spiraling out of control in Thailand as today's news attests. Yes, the government and health authorities need to do their bit in regulatory measures and advice respectively. But it is time the people woke up and realized that they need to take responsibility for themselves and their young people. And stop killing themselves and their kids by overfeeding with bad food and drink. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-11-16
  12. This Saturday Nov 11th - Stand-Up Comedy in Pattaya w/ TOM RHODES! "Tom Rhodes is one of the best stand-ups..." JIMMY CARR “A mostly natural intellect with a knack for reporting the harsh realities of life with a dark and absurdly optimistic cynicism.” THE NEW YORK TIMES This Saturday Nov 11th, the legendary TOM RHODES, a truly international comedian with over 30 years in the game as a stand-up comes to tour in Thailand with his Pattaya stop, where else but The Robin Hood Tavern with The Comedy Club Bangkok and ThaiVisa/ Inspire Media! With countless TV appearances on Comedy Central (being the first signed comic with the channel!) NBC, The Daily Show, Netflix and much more with regular podcasts with BILL BURR and JOE ROGAN. Tom has a career that not only includes stand-up specials , a sitcom, a travel show, a late-night talk show, his critically acclaimed podcast Tom Rhodes Radio, as well as being a travel writer for the Huffington Post. Come see a true legend joined by special guests! ฿600 in advance online BUY TICKETS HERE! / ComedyClubBangkok.com and The Robin Hood Tavern Pub (Tel 087-440-6060)! ฿800 on the door.
  13. Midweek rant: People and fireworks don’t mix – enforce the ban at Loy Krathong File photo I was going to rant that Thais and fireworks don’t mix. But let’s face it, it’s not just Thailand – fireworks are horrible things in the hands of the public anywhere. When I was a kid growing up in England in the 1960s and 70s it was like the dark ages. So long as you were 14 you could buy fireworks before the festival of Guy Fawkes or Bonfire night every November 5th. I bought them when I was ten. Many people got hurt in accidents every year. For a big display on the playing fields, my primary school asked every parent to give their child a rocket, or a Roman Candle or a Catherine Wheel. And bring it to school in their satchel! People would be horrified by that idea these days. Most displays are now big and organized as the British public have been thankfully weaned off having fireworks individually. But in Thailand many adults still behave badly and recklessly and some don’t set any kind of example to children when it comes to safety. Messing around with fireworks and powerful crackers is no exception. When I first came to Thailand in the 1980s I heard about the Loy Krathong festival. Some of my first Thai friends invited me out for what promised to be a lovely, calm evening of Thai culture at the lake of a university. As we walked along some grass people were firing rockets at each other. I was hit in the abdomen by a stray rocket and the gunpowder burnt a small hole. I was not badly hurt but very shocked. I kept the shirt as a reminder – and it was more than a decade until I went out at Loy Krathong again. This week the police and other authorities have been talking as usual about safety at Loy Krathong. One of the things is fireworks that they have said are banned. I hope they mean what they say and fine anyone setting them off. Thai people – all people – are a menace with fireworks. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-11-02
  14. Comedy Festival is Coming to PATTAYA NOV 17th STAR FROM FATHER TED AND BRITAIN’S BEST COMEDIAN @ HAVANNA BAR. Mark your calendar for November 17, 2017, as Bangkok’s only English-speaking comedy festival comes to Pattaya for one night only with award-winning comedians and TV stars such as Joe Rooney, Phil Kay, and Aidan Killian. The Havana bar @ The Holiday Inn are proud to host a world class comedy show with Joe Rooney from ‘Father Ted’ and the multi-award winning comedy superstar Phil Kay (Winner of ‘Britain’s Best Standup’) alongside other great acts such as 5-Star comedian, Aidan Killian, as featured on RTE and BBC. For tickets and information on the venues and festival, check out https://www.bangkokfringe.org/. ABOUT Bangkok Comedy Fringe Festival The Bangkok Comedy Fringe is a non-profit event creating positive nights out for tourists and expats in Bangkok and Pattaya. Visit our website at bangkokfringe.org. Contact Aidan at [email protected] Purchase Tickets here: https://pattayacomedy.eventbrite.com
  15. Midweek rant: Dear Chief – thanks so far, now get tough with car drivers File photo In a week of national mourning it would be unseemly to rant so I’d rather start by praising the new police commissioner in Bangkok for doing away with the scourge of traffic checkpoints. The chief has rightly pointed out that these “dan”, as they are called in Thai, served no purpose but to line the pockets of unscrupulous cops and their station hierarchy. The checkpoints never solved any traffic problems – quite the opposite, they caused them by snarling up the flow at key points even if it was the middle of the day. And it was invariably poor motorcyclists who suffered most. They were easy pickings: no tinted windows to hide behind - unlikely to be people of “influence”. So well done Chief Charnthep for this initiative. On all my various journeys in Bangkok there has been no experience of being stopped on my motorcycle for no reason. That is a welcome change. So far so good. The trouble is the officers under your control seem to have taken it all a bit too far. They have almost completely disappeared from the roads. Thai media have spotted this and I know you have instructed your traffic chief Jiraphat to encourage the metropolitan police to get out of their booths and get to grips with lawbreakers on the roads. Many cops think that because they are not doing roadside fleecing anymore they can just stay in and chat, eat and look at their phones to pass the time. But we need them out doing their jobs – we really do. We need them on the streets especially dealing with two of the most serious problems – people in cars parking illegally and causing the traffic flow to grind to a halt and the thousands of drivers who commit what can only be described as attempted murder at red lights on a daily basis. The latter is especially dangerous for motorcyclists going about their daily life and business in Bangkok. I accept that many bike riders are not angels in this and other regards but…. A case in point is at the Ratchayothin intersection. On average at least five cars per light change go through the red light and with large barriers in the area it is impossible for bikers to see what is coming. I do sympathize, chief, with the cops in the congested area in the heat trying to keep the traffic flowing; but they really need to start stopping the car drivers and fining them for this dangerous activity. I know that no biker in their right mind would go through a green light immediately after the change but still – it will only be a matter of time before more of our number die for no reason than that a car driver is unwilling to wait another minute. Secondly, would you please get Jiraphat to give the traffic cops a bit of a talking to stop all the illegal parking of cars especially on the main roads but also in the sois. Forget clamping – just tow them away even if they are BMWs or Benz. You and Jiraphat need to empower your men and back them up so that those with influence don’t force your hand. This anti-social parking behavior is creating problems for other motorists in particular but also for bikers in obscuring entrances and sub-sois causing yet more danger and potential for loss of life and limb. In both red light running and illegal parking, cars get scratched and occasionally a driver gets injured. But bikers get mangled and often die as a result. So thanks chief for a good start to your tenure in reigning in those individuals under your command who let the side down. But please, please, use the chain of command to encourage your men to get busy and deal with the lawbreakers for the sake of all concerned. Cheers. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-10-25
  16. Midweek rant: Why pander to smokers? Just “cough up” 2,000 baht and don’t come back File photo After last week’s farce of idiotic jail terms for smokers comes the complete opposite – appeasement that would have made even Neville Chamberlain wince. While the British PM attempted to whitewash an evil regime along comes the ever so nice Thais showing absurd consideration for a modern day scourge in our towns, cities and countryside – smokers. The sight of the authorities putting up ten – yes ten – expensive glass surrounded smoking areas equipped with extractor fans on Bang Saen beach beggar’s belief. Why are you being so nice to them? Talk about a red carpet to smoke. How lovely and comfy – they’ll even be protected when it rains. So who is paying for this groveling to smokers – the tax payer that’s who. You and me. Why give these people anywhere to smoke at all – after all their noxious fumes are still going to come out of these soon to be filthy little dens of addiction and pollute the air my children and the rest of us breathe. They should be told to go home – abroad if they are foreigners – if they want to smoke. And if Thai they should be made to build sealed rooms in their houses – or underneath in dungeons – so their children are protected. If they give up – for at least six months – give them a certificate to go on the wall. The district chiefs can present them in televised ceremonies. Thais love a ceremony. If they are seen smoking on the beach – or anywhere else for that matter - don’t give them a considerate warning and a smile. Just have a table set up to take their 2,000 baht each. If they don’t have money take their phones or jewelry. They’ll soon find the money. If they admit the offence and don’t make a fuss it can be halved. That’s all the consideration that’s necessary for these addicts that imperil the rest of us and think they have the god given right to endanger us. Use the money to sift out all the millions of butts that they have already tossed onto the beach and elsewhere. Put some signage out with rotting lungs and malformed fetuses. Make the message as clear as day. And before you start complaining that this is directed solely against visitors or tourists, it’s not. There should be no distinction between Thai or foreigner, man or woman, young or old. Smokers need to be treated like outcasts. Not pandered to….not appeased….not shown consideration. Not paid for by the rest of us. They are addicts…hooked on a dangerous drug…and they must be stopped…..not enabled. So come on Thai government. Be strong. Shut down your tobacco monopoly. Declare Thailand – not just the beaches and inside public buildings or in schools – as completely smoke free. Take a lead. Ban the sale and importation of all cigarettes. Have bins at the airports. Force them to go cold turkey – they’ll thank you in the long run. Their health will improve and the burden they place on the health care system will be lifted. And the country will gain international recognition for all the right reasons. Sure the tobacco mafia will kick up a stink – just smile and say no more, not here. Be strong. Then watch how the tourists – even the Chinese – give up just so they can come to Thailand. It might even inspire MORE tourists to come. To a smoke free paradise where addicts don’t rule the roost. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-10-20
  17. Midweek rant: Banning smoking on the beaches descends into farce File photo The foreign community moan and moan that the Thais won’t do anything to sort out the problem of trash in Thailand. They blame the Thais for clogging the drains, leaving behind their polystyrene boxes, treating nature and the beaches like a rubbish bin. It’s like nothing so much as a sweet paper has even been dropped in the West. There is of course more than a little truth in all of that. Then along comes a Thai environmentalist – Jatuporn Burutphat – who wants to clear up the beaches. He has done a survey that suggests a major environmental hazard are cigarette butts. He wants to rid Thailand of the scourge. He wants to clean up the place. He doesn’t want all those foreigners complaining that the Thais are doing nothing about being named the sixth worst polluters on the planet. Sure he knows that plastic bottles and stuff thrown out of boats and in coastal drains is important too but he has to start somewhere. He’s being proactive and his efforts, announced yesterday, mean a ban on smoking on 20 beaches is coming into force. All well and good. The trouble is that rather than suggesting that those that break the law will be fined for littering, they will be prosecuted under damage to the environment legislation. This means they could theoretically be jailed or fined 100,000 baht – even both. The Thais know this is never going to happen but the foreigners are not so sure. Cue: a massive Thai bashing festival ensues where some suggest that the move is designed to go after foreigners. Over the top? - perhaps. They suggest that unscrupulous people, like some local authorities, might use the ordnance to extort money from foreign beachgoers. That’s not unreasonable especially if you have seen “tetsakit” officers fining foreigners in Bangkok 2,000 baht for dropping a cigarette butt when they would never have approached a Thai. And in reality what tourist faced with a huge fine would not part with a few thousand just to get back to their hotel. In next to no time the whole issue of filth on the beach has been almost forgotten. Jatuporn and his pals didn’t think it through because they don’t think from a foreigner’s perspective. The foreigners didn’t really get that using the environment law was just a short cut, misguided perhaps, but the Thais meant no harm. Generally, people would be advised not to smoke at first. There would be signs, places to congregate if you fancied a quick drag. Lots of smiles and pointing. Khorp khun khraps and jai yen yens. Like all things in Thailand there would be compromise and leeway before the message got across that smokers really are not wanted on the beaches. But once again we get a mess. Why? Planning. Not enough Thai people – especially those in power - think their actions through. Those actions are often well intended but fall short of effectiveness because of poor planning in their implementation and lack of foresight for the resulting, often negative, consequences. And this is especially true when changes to laws and regulations impact foreigners – both residents and tourists who are visiting Thailand. If you have lived in the kingdom for a while you kind of get what the Thais are aiming at. But I can’t help thinking that some in positions of responsibility need a bit of cultural training when it comes to matters that impact visitors. Thaivisa could have buried the fact of jail time and 100,000 baht fines in the stories just as the Thai press did. But why should they? It’s a fact that those draconian punishments are on the books. Look what happened to the person feeding the fish. It’s sad really. What started off as the good intentions of a man determined to improve things, ends in this. Farce. Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-10-11
  18. Midweek rant: While Pattaya moans, Bangkok carries the nation File photo If I see another story about the state of Pattaya’s beaches I think I shall be forced to smash my computer. If I see another story about the state of the stinking sea, the decrepit sidewalks, falling masonry….I shall stamp on my iPad. If I see more Pattaya stories about thieving lady boys, taxi mafia, bent coppers – you name it – I shall hurl my iPhone out the window. Without any electronic devices I may just then be able to avoid the news from Pattaya. And to make sure I shall apply to be one of those Buddhist hermits who goes and lives in a hut in some forest in Nan where there is no electricity or wi-fi signal. Nirvana. I know the folks at Thaivisa need Pattaya and the news and clicks it generates for their revenues. It’s the news place that keeps on giving. It is just that I have had enough. Enough of the moaning Thai media. Enough of the complaining Pattaya expats. Enough of the “spoiling the image of Pattaya” – if I hear that one again I may have to end it all by becoming the latest balcony falling statistic. I can see the headline now: “Ratchayothin (Bangkok) resident ends it all with 12th floor leap because of Pattaya. - Thai wife says he was driven to it after overdosing on Pattaya news”. Even in death there will be a reference to Pattaya in every line! Alright, I could just ignore it. It’s just that it creeps up on me everywhere, even when I am not looking. What really gets my goat is the idea – subliminal almost – that it is only Pattaya that has problems. They moan about the traffic in Pattaya – has anyone seen what is happening in Bangkok with all the train lines being built. Do we complain – hardly ever – we put up with it – it’s called progress. For our children’s future. They moan about things that could fall on people from building sites – know how many people have been killed – yes killed – in my immediate Bangkok neighborhood from engineering gantries falling from train line construction? Four. Think your sidewalks are bad – try the suburbs of Krung Thep – many places don’t even have any. Think we don’t have theft? Think all the police in the capital smile and wave you on your way with a hearty “khraphom” never dreaming of taking a baht over their salaries? Dream on. Bangkokians just get on with their daily lives – contributing to GDP and keeping the rest of the country afloat. Our filthy sea is the floodwaters that appear everywhere almost daily in the monsoon season. Do we complain? No, we haven’t got time for that – we must get to work for the good of the nation. While Pattaya bleats, Bangkok, the heart of Thailand, beats. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-10-04
  19. Midweek rant: Thai culture is one thing – politeness quite another File photo If I walked up to one of those dolly bird university girls in the street and snapped her picture or started making a video there would be trouble. I wouldn’t doubt for one minute that my own image and name would be plastered over social media and the police would probably get involved. I’d be Thai public enemy number one – another foreign pest to complain about. I don’t of course – I don’t even ogle…well not much. I’ll keep my eyes and my thoughts to myself. Let’s face it anyone doing so would be harassing others – it seems obvious. So why do people thing they have the god given right right to snap pictures and make videos of my children – and expect me to suck it up as they are grinning and leering, even handling my kids like fruit in the market? I know my offspring are adorably cute “luuk khreung”. I know their skin is white and that is prized, their hair is a bit different and I’m sure we agree they will be models and movie stars one day. But can’t you ask me first before stealing their images and sharing for likes with millions of friends on the internet. I honestly don’t mind that much – but it would be polite to ask. I have always believed that the Thais are a polite people – I read it in a guidebook - and comparing them to people I’ve seen around Asia in particular and the world in general I have no reason to change my mind. So why is it so many think they can do selfies with my kids as if they were their own? Would they do that if the parents of the cute offspring were Thai? I don’t think so. Are they not asking me because they don’t know how to in broken English? Perhaps – but wouldn’t you think that a man with a Thai wife is likely to understand “khor thay ruup noi kha” or words to that effect? Maybe they think that simple sentences in Thai are impossible for any foreigner. Sunday at Dream World was not spoiled as a result. That would be absurd. It was a great day out but got me thinking. It started with those guys who snap your picture as you arrive so they can flog you a crappy plate later. It has happened so often that I don’t really expect them to ask and I don’t buy their wares. In fact, it amuses me that they won’t get a baht and might waste money as a result. He he… But shouldn’t they ask. Later it was the many people all over the park who spent their entire day taking pictures of themselves. Tiring of that and seeing a selfie opportunity they turned to my kids. At least four or five times. I said nothing. I didn’t forbid it. The wife would find it strange – almost rude if I did. I certainly didn’t want to spoil anyone’s day by making a song and dance of it. But weren’t the people rude not to ask? What makes my kids somehow your property to do as you like with? Too often you see Thais hiding behind their culture in situations like this. The culture says we all love children. The culture says we should all be one happy family. The culture says we shouldn’t make trouble, especially in public, for no reason. But doesn’t the culture also talk about “grengjai” or imposing on another person’s feelings? Doesn’t the culture also stress the need to consider the needs of older people to a greater extent? It seems a lot of that goes out the window when a foreigner is involved. It’s fair game! Fair sport! Is it an almighty leap of the imagination to think that I might object to my kids being all over the internet, being shared by all and sundry? I think not. My kids are only one and four but my point is you should ask. If they were older – heaven forbid in bathing costumes at a water park perhaps – then I’d certainly ask you not to. As a teacher responsible for hundreds of children in public on school trips we had a policy. We had to. We’d ask people angling to take snaps not to do so. If anyone did we’d ask them to stop – even delete the image and explain why. If people were suspicious – men at a swimming pool perhaps - we’d have to call the police. Fortunately in my experience it never came to that. Yes, this wasn’t a school trip. I was just having a day out. I kept smiling. But I couldn’t help feeling that at the very least people should have asked. And I was left with a sense that some people had left their famous good manners at home. And thought their behavior was just fine. Is the internet and smart phone era responsible? Rooster -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-09-27
  20. Fintech glossary: Crypto edition An administrator demonstrates how to pay with Bitcoin at the Stadthaus town hall in Zug, Switzerland, August 30, 2016. Picture taken on August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann As financial technology increasingly enters the daily lives of millions, much of its terminology remains hard to understand. Here is a look into buzz words in cryptocurrencies and blockchain, a sub-sector of the fintech world. CRYPTOCURRENCY: A digital currency that relies on cryptography to validate and secure transactions. There are different types of cryptocurrencies - bitcoin and ethereum are among the best known. BITCOIN: A digital - or crypto - currency that enables payment in a decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) network not governed by any central authority or middleman. BLOCKCHAIN: Software that first emerged as the system underpinning bitcoin. Also known as distributed ledger technology (DLT), it is a shared record of information that is maintained and updated by a network of computers rather than a central authority. It is protected and secured by advanced cryptography. DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY: A term often used interchangeably with “blockchain,” even though technically blockchain describes the public ledger powering bitcoin. MINING: The process through which transactions are verified and added to the blockchain and new bitcoins are created. MINERS: Term used to describe the devices or the people that own the devices that validate bitcoin transactions. They get rewarded for the computing power consumed during mining with the bitcoins created in the process. PUBLIC LEDGER: A distributed ledger that is open to everyone on the internet. Bitcoin’s blockchain is a public ledger. PERMISSIONED LEDGER: A distributed ledger that requires permission in order to be accessed. The ledger is maintained only by a limited number of parties. This is the kind of blockchain technology that large corporations, such as banks, are more likely to use because of data privacy needs. DOUBLE SPEND: A successful bitcoin transaction that is sent to two different recipients simultaneously. Essentially as if the same dollar bill could be spent twice. Bitcoin’s blockchain is the system that should prevent this from happening. ALTCOIN: A cryptocurrency different, or alternative, to Bitcoin. ETHEREUM: A type of blockchain network. The bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains differ primarily in purpose and capability. While the bitcoin blockchain is used to track ownership of the digital currency bitcoin, the Ethereum blockchain can be used to build decentralized applications. The virtual currency associated with Ethereum is called Ether. HARD FORK: When a blockchain splits into two ledgers creating a new digital currency. BITCOIN CASH: An alt-coin clone of bitcoin that was created in August 2017 when a group of Chinese miners initiated a fork of bitcoin’s blockchain. BLOCK: A part of the blockchain where a number of transactions are recorded. It’s like a page in a ledger book. Unlike a page on a ledger book, however, once completed a block cannot be modified. GENESIS BLOCK: The first block in a new blockchain. HASH RATE: The speed of a bitcoin transaction. SMART CONTRACTS: Software that runs on blockchain technology and can automatically enforce the terms of an agreement. A “smart bond”, for example would automatically make interest payments to investors. ICO: Initial Coin Offering, or a token sale. The process or event in which funds are raised for a new cryptocurrency venture and contributors receive tokens in return. DISTRIBUTED APPLICATION: Software that runs on multiple computers on a given network at the same time. ORACLES: A data feed, usually a third party service, that provides information for use in smart contracts. NODES: Connection points for the transmission of data. DIGITAL WALLET: software that allows users to make electronic payments, purchases and store their cryptocurrencies online. PRIVATE KEYS: A form of cryptography that allows users to access their cryptocurrency and is essential part of its security. HARDWARE SECURITY MODULES: Or HSM. It is a device that secures data such as digital private keys in a very secure fashion. Sources: Investopedia, Blockgeeks, Blockchaintechonologies.com -- © Copyright Reuters 2017-09-25
  21. Koh Chang Guide Issue 4 2017 View File Koh Chang Guide Issue 4 2017 - download the PDF version using the green download button. All the latest information about Koh Chang PLUS: Check out the bonus Koh Chang Treasue Map and Koh Kood and Koh Mak Map Submitter Jonathan Fairfield Submitted 09/22/2017 Category Thaivisa Members Files  
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    Koh Chang Guide Issue 4 2017 - download the PDF version using the green download button. All the latest information about Koh Chang PLUS: Check out the bonus Koh Chang Treasue Map and Koh Kood and Koh Mak Map
  23. 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
  24. 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
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