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Update January - February , 2020

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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern

Grapevine - February 21 - Mach 5, 2020

Here are some categories of Pattaya farang you want to avoid.

The immigration know all

Here’s a tedious guy who is usually at his anonymous keyboard criticizing the powers-that-be for the lunacy of the TM30 bureaucracy or the ridiculous cash sums needed in the bank if you want a retirement extension. But he is also lurking in bars waiting to enlighten unwary people who are arguing whether you need one photo or two or three with your visa paperwork. He also knows exactly how immigration rules will change several months before the Bangkok bosses have even thought them up.

The weak bladder

Here is the guy, usually in his 70s, who has lived here for ages and has likely given up horizontal leisure pursuits owing to significant arthritis and a weak bladder. But he can remember the good old days when a fulfilling night out in the bars cost you peanuts and you could enjoy watching young ladies cavorting with live goldfish and ping pong balls in raunchy scenes of yesteryear. He is also likely to tell you in confidence that he has never paid for sex, a situation which he explains by reason of his excellent Thai phrase book and his deep knowledge of Thai culture.

The digital nomad

These are members of a talkative and wandering tribe who use their computers to make a profit with online customers outside of the kingdom. However, they spend most of their time quaking in their shoes because they can’t find out if they need a legal work permit or not. Some of them have spent a fortune on Thai lawyers in the forlorn and never-ending search for an answer. But none of them has ever asked an immigration officer the same question for fear that their ambiguity will be cleared up harshly in five seconds flat, followed by a court appearance.

Unlucky for some

You can’t help feeling sorry for this farang who has bought a piggery near the Cambodian border for his wife only to discover that half the porkies have sadly died in an unexpected epidemic: his half to be precise. He may have added to his cash-flow problems by buying a new car for the wife’s chronically-handicapped younger brother, only to find out that the same relative has won the local marathon three years in succession. On meeting such a farang, you are strongly advised not to give him your phone number, email contact or address details to avoid the embarrassment of his asking you to provide venture capital for a unique prawn farm which could earn you a fortune in no time whatsoever.

Disaster bloke

He is the guy who has personally experienced the worst of all police misfortunes in Pattaya. Thus he was the only farang arrested when the police raided a sex show last year even though he was not a customer and was simply and innocently using the outside loo at the wrong moment. He was also arrested with 32 elderly bridge players in 2016 and spent the night in the police cells. He said this was ridiculous as he had never played cards in his life and was simply standing outside smoking a cigarette. This kind of expat is likely to claim that democracy is absolutely on the wane in Thailand and that another military coup in the near future is inevitable. He has offered several times to be a guest lecturer at the expat clubs, but without success thus far. Apparently, they are not as desperate for outside speakers as sometimes assumed.

Hospital monitor

These are the foreigners who love to tell you how they have managed to avoid paying the huge bills arising from expensive hospital treatment in the resort. Typical is the UK expat who owed over four million baht to the bursar but managed to leave the hospital by the front door without paying a cent after he stole a white coat and borrowed a stethoscope. Another tale teller will inform you that he personally knows somebody who received a cash fortune in compensation after surgeons cut off the wrong leg in a tragic mistake over x-rays. These lucky farang are not worried by the prospect of compulsory medical insurance for all as they can see many ways to avoid paying the premium.

The caring lawyer

Aliens can’t practice law in Thailand but that doesn’t prevent some from becoming barrack room experts. This type of expat claims that he earned the gratitude of sixteen go-go dancers after he advised them to plead not guilty in court to appearing in the nude on the stage. He told them to point out to the judge that none of them was actually naked as half were sporting a top hat and the others were wearing a hairnet. In return for this tremendous advice which resulted in an instant acquittal, the farang was offered free drinks for life at the club which, most sadly, did not reopen.


Grapevine - February 7 - February 20, 2020

Water ahoy

The area’s Sak Nak Hong and Mabprachan reservoirs are at their lowest levels for about 12 years. But the annual Songkran water throwing jamboree is to be held as usual. City authorities are gambling the rains will be early this year. Let’s hope they are right.

Bags versus trolleys

Desperate customers, denied one-time-use plastic bags at supermarket checkouts, are apparently not returning all those wire baskets and trolleys as they struggle home with armloads of foodstuffs and other goods. Surely, the idea of banning plastic bags was to save the environment rather than to create chaos.


Cheeky customers

Four Russians caused a violent stir in a South Pattaya club when they asked the bartender for glasses to drink their bottled beers. Only problem was that they had bought their booze in the local 7/11 and had decided to enjoy them in air-conditioned comfort nearby. The inevitable fight ensued. Buy one and get one free?


Rare mail ordering

Lazada, the closest thing Thailand has to Amazon, is proving immensely popular here. We hear that some really obscure items can be ordered online, especially from China. These include artificial dog whistles for those who can’t summon their pets and bald wigs for men who are ashamed of their curly locks. Now we know why Kerry’s same-day transport fleet is so busy.


Carry on digging

It’s no surprise that parts of the city are once again being dug up. For the past 20 years, there has never been a public reprieve longer than six months. Amongst the many reasons for traffic chaos given over the decades have been road improvements, underground cables, drainage systems, electricity issues and delivering sand.


Currency concerns

Everyone knows about the strength of the baht and the weakness of foreign currencies, especially the UK pound and the Aussie dollar. But we hear that some clearing banks are taking an extra cut on international money transfers. One resident told us that the street exchange booths are lately giving a better rate for cash than the clearing banks receiving transfers from abroad.


Looking before shaking

It may have caught your eye that many Pattaya restaurants provide table salt in a small pot with several holes whilst pepper is found in the one with a single puncture. The public concern is that it’s the other way round in Europe. Keyboard warriors on the internet are worried the situation is leading to excessively spiced food in eateries and a potential shortage of the stuff in the shops. This is Thailand (TIT).


Death penalty

A reader asks if the death penalty has been abolished in Thailand. No, but it has been used only in seven cases since lethal injection replaced machine-gunning as the execution mode in 2003. However, there are over 500 people on death row in Bangkok. The rumour is that most legislators are abolitionists, but the majority of the general public is not.


Paying for rubbish

Over a year ago, thousands of Pattaya homes received a circular from City Hall asking that payment for black bag removal be made in future by banker’s order or by a personal visit. Apparently, the former system of sending people round to your home with a receipt book and a collecting tin has been abandoned. But nobody we know has been asked yet to contribute cash for this service in 2020. Odd indeed.


Big improvement

On the subject of refuse collection, most residents would agree that the present company Eastern Green has done a much better job than its predecessor in keeping the streets somewhat cleaner than they used to be. A new competitive tendering contract, worth nearly one billion baht, is set for April this year. Eastern Green with its new vehicles and smart uniforms for personnel has set a good standard. Let’s hope it wins the race..

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Grapevine - February 21 - Mach 5, 2020

Grapevine - February 7 - February 20, 2020