The ATMm Society
I started to write this as a tongue-in-cheek submission, but it took on its own life and all sorts of ideas begin to pop up. I’m sure if you think about it you’ll have ideas too.
We all know that as things are now we don’t have a chance in hell at being influential in Thailand. We’re just looked at as Farang tourists or in many cases as just another mindless ATM in a land where all that matters is money.
Many of us like to travel in Thailand, some of us have moved to Thailand or are planning to move to Thailand as soon as we can, but are we really content to let the system that is now in charge control our lives and options for a better future in Thailand?
If you have a good Teeruk you may seem to be content, but I’m sure that because you have had the balls to move to Thailand you would do more if you could. You would do more if you felt safe in investing (often your life savings) in property or a business knowing full well it could be taken from you without your consent because you are not Thai and you really don’t have any real rights.
I have been reading this column long enough to see that there are a lot of you guys out there that think of Thailand as the Land Of Smiles Behind Your Back just because we need some more rights as human beings.
Don’t you think it’s time we banded together and started working on things to try to make our lives better and more secure in the future? This site is a really good beginning, but there are a lot of us in Thailand, it’s time to put our money where our mouth (or keyboard) is and get some recognition as a nation within a nation. I don’t know of any survey of how many Farang are living in Thailand that call Thailand home, but I would guess there are tens of thousands of us, Maybe even fifty to seventy thousand. That may not seem like many people in a country of 60 to 70+ million, but I would think we just may have as much money as 10% of the population of Thailand put together (not counting the Thaksin family). Just remember that All That Matters is Money. Most of us try to do well with ourselves and be honorable; we can’t be corrupt because we don’t have any power. The corruption and bribery we see really pisses us off, but all we can do is keep our head down and smile with the rest, even though we know we are being screwed.
Doesn’t it seem like it’s time we band together as a union of free spirits and try to effect some changes and maybe get a few rights. .
We are not going to change things by complaining on Stickmanbangkok. It isn’t just the women in this country that screw people for money. We have to go a little further. We need to change the attitudes of some of the elected officials to get the rights we should have. It ain’t gonna’ be easy to change the official position on us, We will definitely not be able to get the same rights as Thais, but maybe we can ease a few key areas that we all know are tough on us. What I want to propose is that we all form an organization to try and effect some change. First of all we need a name. Since we seem to be considered ATM machines in a land where all that matters is money I think we should call ourselves just that, we can be the ATMm Society. (All That Matters is money)
Just like anywhere else it’s going to come down to putting your money where your mouth is and giving a little for a membership in the ATMm. You don’t even have to live in Thailand. Those of you that want to join can contribute and get the satisfaction of knowing you tried. I’m not talking about much. Can you imagine what we could accomplish if each of us gave 50 baht. ($1.28). If there are only a 50 thousand of us out there that would be 2.5 million baht. If there are not that many of us, so what, just a million baht is plenty to influence most politicians in Thailand. Just imagine what we could accomplish if we gave just the cost of one beer or one bar fine to the ATMm.
It may seem foreign to us to pay politicians to do what we want them to do, but that’s the way it works everywhere. If we as a group could “donate” a million baht a month to our causes the word would get out that we have a reputation for generosity and the powers that be would be asking us what we want.
I don’t think that they would be afraid to take “donations” from us. If someone asked them where they got their money they could truthfully say they got it from the ATM m. The ATMm can effect change if we put our change into the right (and left) pockets of those that matter.
I’ll bet you’re thinking how are “We” going to choose who we’re going to help with their “election funds”. That is where we are going to have a group of leaders of our own to get the money into the left pockets of the right officials. Since we are going to be a virtual country within a country, don’t you think we can build our country through this virtual medium we are all using right now? We could be the first virtual country in the world. We could be empowered by electrons.
Just think of the possibilities if our regional branches could donate to re-election funds for our “friends”. We could “ask” the mayor to re-assigned that corrupt cop that always stop farangs because they know can get better bribes. We could get them to actually enforce traffic laws. Maybe more English road signs. On the national level, I think it’s good that Thailand doesn’t allow more than 49% of property. Can you imagine what it would be like if foreigners could buy land? If they could, by now Pattaya would probably be called New Tokyo, or Little Kuwait. I think they made a good decision there, but don’t you think that if you are married to a Thai woman you should be able to claim at least 50% of what you bought while you were together.
We have to be united as a group to so we can be pro-active and put our donations to work. The ATMm Society can effect change if we put our change into the right pockets.
On the other hand, locals are beginning to see foreigners can be good for their communities. The longer we are here in numbers the more we will be respected as a group that gets good things done. We need that to be recognized as a group.
It’s not all bribes I’m talking about, we have to be legal. Donations to election funds go a long way. Donations to community improvements go even further. There will have to be charitable contributions too. Orphanages are dear to my heart. Schools usually need help. I would never advocate supporting the evangelical Christian missionary or Islamic groups, but some of the local charities run by the monks could be good. We just may be able to help some kids stay in Thai schools instead of going to the missionary schools or Madrassa Islamic schools because they are the only thing around. There are so many community improvement projects that need to be done here, but there just isn’t any money to do them. We all know what happens when money is given to government branches to get things done in civilian projects. We need to do things ourselves. We have to show that we’re not all just sex tourists. We have every trade available out there to help us. Just think of how many of you ex construction workers would be happy to work for free to help build an addition on a rural school or improve an orphanage if someone would help him get a place to stay in Thailand.
You guys need to quit crying in your beer about not being able to meet good women in Thailand. They are not going to be hanging out in the bars. If you are looking for a good woman try working for a good cause.
As a group we will get more respect from a lot of places. We could be something like the AARP (American Association or Retired Persons) in the US. They have the power to effect change by getting politicians to listen to them with the large group of voters that are members and with all the money they donate and the things they do to improve life for their members. We won’t have any votes, but I’d bet the money would fill in nicely.
It doesn’t all go from us to them. Think of all the possibilities, If we join and donate for our ATMm Society membership we can have a membership card that would eventually get us all sorts of privileges, like buying power to get group rates for health insurance, lowered air fares, maybe special cost chartered flights. I’d bet it wouldn’t be long before some bars began giving discounts on drinks and maybe even bar-fines to gold cardholders. We could have or own ATMm conventions. We could have a web site with a place to post notices of our groups events all over Thailand and SE Asia. It could give you a chance to meet more foreigners like yourselves in your area. We could post a list of patrons that own guest houses, restaurants, or businesses so we could give more business to our fellow ATMm society members. The ideas go on and on…..
It’ll take a while to get the structure of our organization in place. Of coarse we need good people to be in charge. I think all of us would be in favor of having Stickman as commander and chief, but he’d have to want to do it. Because it’s my idea, I know I’m honest, and I need a job, I’ll volunteer be the first acting treasurer ( I’m just joking). I’m sure there are a lot of retired accountants that could organize finances better than I can. There are a lot of other positions available. From reading this column, I’m sure you’ll all have ideas of good things we can do, positions that need to be filled and people to fill them. I’ll bet even Dana would fill in nicely…somewhere… He’s a pretty smart dude. I know he can be more valuable somewhere other than just the Emperor of Pattaya.
Think about this for a while and send in your suggestions as submissions. Let us know your abilities and your dreams. I’ll admit I’m not worth a shit organizing things; it probably wouldn’t do any good sending ideas to me, but I’d like to know who you are. If one of you guys wants to organize things write about it and let us know. We need someone that knows how to organize an organization that can be transparent and squeaky clean so we can all trust sending our money there. We can have hopes things will get better for us and for Thailand because of us. If enough of us step up to the plate things will happen.
I keep thinking of that John Lennon song Imagine…