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Starting A Business In The LOS? Here’s How…

  • Written by Ben Dover
  • August 27th, 2005
  • 9 min read


If I ever lived in Thailand and owned a business, I think that I would probably have to put a bullet into my head working with some of these Thai people. I mean, I have talked to many people in Thailand who own businesses there during my numerous trips and each conversation seems to always go the same way:

Ben Dover: So, Mr. Farang business owner, what kind of business do you own here in Thailand?

Mr. Farang: Well, I manufacture and sell widgets (imaginary, made up product type)

Ben Dover: I see. And are you successful running your business?

Mr. Farang: I do OK, but I could do better.

Ben Dover: Why is that? What do you mean that you ‘could do better’?

Mr. Farang: Well, in Thailand, if a non-Thai owns a business, then they must employ Thai people.

Ben Dover: OK, I understand, so…?

Mr. Farang: Well, a farang business owner must have at least 50% Thai employees.

Ben Dover: Well, how does that affect what you said about you ‘could do better’?

Mr. Farang: Well, 1 Western employee usually does the equivalent workload of about 6 to 10 Thai people because of the mistakes, the time off for sanook, and the lying to save face instead of worrying about getting the job done right. So I basically have to hire a bunch of people who are, for the most part, useless in truly helping me run the most important parts of my business. That’s why I’m here drowning my sorrows.

Ben Dover: Now I understand. Geez, it sounds like you need a stiff drink, even though it looks like you’re half way to la la land already. What’s your poison buddy, this one’s on me!!!

I have had this similar conversation with far too many people for my own comfort. Now some might be lying, some might be exaggerating and some might have been drunk, but the percentages of people who voiced similar feelings were scary high. Definitely enough to make me think that if I ever lived here, that I would have to put some serious thought into a good work around to the mandatory hiring of Thai people.

Here is what I propose as a great solution. If I ever decided to start my own Thai company, here is how I would organize my new venture…

Say I needed 5 employees at my new Thai company in various highly skilled and semi-highly paid positions; here is what I would do.

First, I would put an ad in all of the major English newspapers advertising for the positions for the 5 employees stating clearly that English must be the native language and that some knowledge of Thai would be helpful, but not necessary. This would eliminate all Thai people from calling. Actually, I have been told that just putting the ad in an English newspaper would virtually eliminate all Thai people from calling anyway because they rarely read an English newspaper because the whole culture is so Thai-centric.

Then, when the resumes started pouring in, I would sort through them to find the best ones and call them to come in for an interview. Here is how one of the interviews might go:

Ben Dover: So, you are here for the sales position?

Potential Farang Employee: Yes, I have a lot of experience in this field and I think that I would be a great asset to your company.

Ben Dover: Well, it looks by your resume that your experience in my industry looks like you have many of the skills that we are looking for.

Potential Farang Employee: Yes, I have years of experience in all facets or your market having utilized my skills at numerous Fortune 500 companies in various capacities including vertical and horizontal markets in this sector.

Ben Dover: Great, it sounds like you would be a terrific fit into our organization. I would like to formally extend you an offer of employment, but first I would like to ask you two final questions…

Potential Farang Employee: Well, thank you for the offer! I accept. What final questions did you have for me?

Ben Dover: Are you a breast man, an ass man, or a leg man?

Potential Farang Employee: Huh? Excuse me…did you ask me what I think that you just asked me?

Ben Dover: Yes, it is a simple question and it’s not a trick question. You already have the job, don’t worry. Feel free to be honest and open with me.

Potential Farang Employee: Well, I’m an ass man…I guess…

Ben Dover: OK, sounds good. Now is a girl’s face important to you when you see an attractive girl…or if she has a great ass, does that make up for it? I mean…some guys would prefer a pretty face even if she does not have a great body and some guys would prefer a great body even if the face looks all torn up.

Potential Farang Employee: Well, I think that the body is more important, but I don’t mind looking at a beautiful face as well!!!

Ben Dover: OK, sounds great. When can you start?

Potential Farang Employee: Well, next Monday. But what did the questions about girls have to do with the job?

Ben Dover: You will understand on your first day on the job. See you on Monday.

A similar interview process would flow for all of my 5 employees that I needed until all of the positions were filled. At this point, I would also know about all of the sexual inclinations that my employees seemed to enjoy about the fairer sex.

Now I fully realize that I could never ask questions of a sexual nature in an interview in the U.S. for fear of a lawsuit, but this is Thailand. It’s more like the wild West out here when it comes to law enforcement, ethics, and business law, and hiring practices. There’s certainly no EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) out there in Thailand!!!

Now you might be wondering, ‘Well Mr. Smarty Pants, how are you going get around the Thai law about hiring at least 50% Thai people at your company. You didn’t hire any Thai people’?

Here is how I propose to do it…

Next I would place ONE ad in all of the Thai language newspapers and college newspapers (if they exist. Stick, do they exist?) seeking 5 people for 5 identical positions.

Here is how the ad would read:

Western owned corporation seeks 5 very attractive females to work in a prestigious corporation in entry level positions with the possibility of moving into management. Must be under 25 years old, over 5’5’ tall (165cm), weight under 50 kilos. Professional dress at the office includes skirts no longer than halfway down the thighs and blouses or shirts must be form-fitting. Shirt and blouse material must be thin and/or partially see-thru as the air-conditioning is kept rather cool. Dress code will be enforced. Responsibilities include greeting clients at the front desk, taking notes, making coffee, and accompanying salesman on outside calls as ‘professional visual assistants’. Income commensurate with attractiveness of the applicants’ face and body. Some English helpful, but not necessary. Experience and University degree not required.

Of course, I would get a flood of applications because probably 10,000 girls in Bangkok meet these qualifications and dress like that anyway.

Then, I would have them all come in for interviews. I would take a digital camera snapshot of each girl and attach it to her resume. Then after about 200 girls, I would stop taking applicants, sort through all of the pictures and rank them in attractiveness from 1 to 200. And then I would pick the 5 hottest girls (ranked 1 through 5) that I could find, regardless of her skill set or experience.

Now, I would offer those 5 most attractive girls the job. Basically, they would be eye-candy for the guys in the office (the real employees) and for clients as well. They would only perform mundane and perfunctory office tasks with no real responsibilities other than to keep the guys in the office motivated to come every day without too much absenteeism!!!

At this point I have met my Thai government mandated quota of at least 50% Thai employees in a farang owned company. Of course, I now have twice as many employees as I really need, but the productive ones will be the farangs anyway and the Thai employees are only there to act as window dressing anyway, so they are basically just a necessary evil. Albeit, a rather ‘easy on the eyes’ necessary evil, mind you! Of course the Thai people, not expecting too much and wanting to work in a professional office environment would work for peanuts, so they really wouldn’t cost me too much, anyway.

Now if the guys in the office happen to strike up a romance with one of the Thai beauties, then fine. I could care less. If they break up and she loses face, then it is not my fault. If she has to quit from losing face, that is OK too, because she never really did anything useful or productive anyway other than being a hot piece of meat to stare at all day long. All I need to do is to just open the drawer full of resumes from the female applicants and call up number 6 on the ranking list and give her a call and offer her the job. Next!!!!!

It’s really a win-win-win situation for everyone involved, including the farang employees, uneducated but attractive Thai girls, and the Thai government. Here’s why:

1. Hardworking, smart farangs get good jobs in Thailand working in an environment filled with hot women.

2. Thai girls get higher paying jobs than they could ever get doing anything else and get to pretend that they are professional office workers gaining them face among their Thai friends and family.

3. The Thai government gets another productive company in Thailand that pays taxes and hires more Thai people who might otherwise turn to nefarious activities for their income! Wow, I could even be saving Thai women from becoming bargirls by implementing my plan!!! How magnanimous…

Hmmm, I wonder if I can patent this process and sell it to other farang owned corporations for a large consulting fee whereby these companies can increase their efficiency whilst making their employees walk around all day with a big smile on their face…and a big bulge in their pants as well!!!???

Food for thought…

Stickman's thoughts:

Women of the sort you describe could potentially earn 100,000 baht a month in a gogo bar….could you match that?!