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Changes In Bangkok Part 9

  • Written by Jurgen
  • December 30th, 2004
  • 4 min read


Finally the multinational company I worked for decided to close their Perth office. They gave me three choices. Come to Florida to work for us, get a rather large payout or go into early retirement. As I know myself I took the early retirement option.

As I had an Australian MA in education I worked part time for the Tafe College to teach English for migrants. I was bored stiff and could not stand it after a few months. I then worked as consulting engineer for a few electronic companies but did not like it at all. Finally after about two years of just vegetating I decided to go to Thailand, the only country I really loved.

First I stopped for three months in Bangkok to look into the teaching options. I got an offer from a major university to teach science for 59,000 baht a month. I could not be tempted, the reason being, counting transport, accommodation etc. it was simply not worth it. Finally I remembered Chiang Rai and the good times I had there more then 20 years ago. I duly arrived there and could not even find the location of my old house. The city had expanded a great deal and nothing looked the same anymore. However the people still remained friendly not as money hungry as in Bangkok. I settled down in a guesthouse within walking distance of the city center. I did know the owners from twenty years ago and was made very welcome.

I started to look for some work as I was bored of doing nothing. I found a teaching job in a local business college for very little money, but this was not so important, I had something useful to do.

However after a few weeks disaster struck. I had my Visa and Mastercards which I used to get my pension from the ATM machines. The accounts were automatically settled by my bank each month. The bank sends my statements to my Perth address and of course they came back as I did not live there anymore. They cancelled my account; the pension did not get paid in and Visa and Amex cancelled my cards. The bank knows full well that I was overseas, and that there were transactions all the time. It did not seem to matter at all. The next time I accessed the ATM they kept my cards. After phoning the bank they told me I would have to come to Perth to open a new account. It would be very interesting to do that with about 200 baht in my pocket. This did not seem to bother them at all.
Fortunately I had Thai friends, these reasonable poor Thai people helped for a couple of months until I could arrange through an Australian tourist to open a new account with a different bank in Australia. Actually I had more fun during those lean days than ever before. The funny and really bad thing was that all my so-called farang friends did not want to know me anymore; they would not even share a cigarette or cola. The working girls on the other hand brought me food and I very rarely had to sleep alone.

Just at the end of this miserable/funny period, I met a Thai lady from a very important family in Chiang Rai. We hit it off together very well, after the first week she loaned me one of her cars so that I had mobility. I could not stay with her at all. Remember high class people. She had a master degree; her father was a former mayor of the city and still operated a law office with 6 lawyers working for him.

The family was very strict with Thai customs, nothing improper could happen. I was even warned by my Thai friends to be very careful how I behave with the lady and her family. Finally after all my finances were arranged we decided to get married. We shared the same interests; she had a library of over 300 English books and a video library of a few dozen US movies.

Her mother was ok from the start; her father however was at first completely against our marriage. My lady was even prepared to break with her family and rent an apartment for us. However after about 7 months the father changed his mind and accepted me into the family. We originally had a Thai family wedding, but later we had to go to the Amphur to have it legalized as my wife was a class 8 government officer. It could otherwise make possible problems with her work. Her father even gave us a 4 storey building in the city center as a wedding present. I did not have to pay for my wife.

I later found out by accident that her father had me investigated at my original university to find out if my PHD in communication was genuine.

Another thing, my original bank asked me to pay the outstanding amount on my credit cards, I send them a letter advising that under no circumstances will I pay the 895 dollars, the bank should be happy that I do not sue them leaving me without funds in an overseas country. I actually, even had a letter from a lawyer in Perth. He was prepared to sue the bank for a million dollars damages making fifty/fifty after settlement. I never heard from the bank again.

Will be continued.

Stickman's thoughts:

I wonder if a bank would waive the fees these days?