I have been a reader of the Stickman site for a number of years and I have been to Thailand a number of times. My wife of nine years is a Thai national and we have a five year old daughter. Even though women are officially and unofficially second class
citizens, we have been planning to retire to Thailand for a long time. The distinct disadvantages of raising her in a culture which offered her no future as I could see, having to pay exorbitant fees to educate her and eventually having to send
her to back to the US or some place for her advanced education was inevitable. Our original plan was to move to Pattaya within the next fourteen months.
The recent events there have caused me to have a change of heart. Keeping 350,000 passengers stranded for eight days or longer in an international airport is unconscionable. The idea that a few thousand could disrupt an entire economy blows my mind. The military is in sympathy with the protesters and the police are impotent except when it comes to extorting money from one and all.
Being a monger in my mind for a long time, I have been dreaming of a living in a warm climate with smiling friendly faces (at least outwardly), abundant cheap food and sex. Thinking of all the adventures I could have on my motorcycle as I lived out the rest of my days in peace. Not! I have been repressing my displeasure at having to report to immigration every year facing the possibility of not having it renewed for some reason. The idea of that and having to report to immigration every ninety days is in my opinion an insult and unnecessary inconvenience. I have no words for my feelings of dismay toward the policy of not allowing farang to own property that they pay for. How many farangs have been escorted from their wife’s house by police after he discovers that he has no rights?
I have experienced enough of the culture and done enough research to know that I would never be accepted as an equal member of Thai society and that the farang is almost always wrong. Justice is a joke. It is not unusual for people to run over people and property and flee the scene. The prison system is something out of a horror movie. Lawlessness and corruption rule. The police could care less about actually catching criminals who have wronged farang and are in fact a criminal enterprise themselves. The land of smiles has a censored press. You have freedom of speech as long as you don’t criticize the wrong people. Even though seventeen military coups and a number of constitutional changes have been sanctioned over the past sixty two years, one risks serious prison for saying so publicly.
To be honest with myself I have to admit my retirement plans were centered around the vision of daily massages, therapeutic and other wise, and taking daily strolls down soi 3, 4, 5, 6, 7…etc. I was really looking forward to being a very “handsome man”. Recent events have forced me to deal with the reality of the situation. Thailand is a developing country. As such life is relatively cheap and death, judging by the way Thais drive, seems to be lurking close by at all times. It is not unusual to see nice houses with bars on the windows in nice neighborhoods. What does that say? To lock the potential criminals out, they have to lock themselves in. I wonder what would happen if a farang seriously injured a Thai who was trying to rob him? I’m glad I’ll never find out. I’ve heard something about spilling Thai blood is a crime.
The current political climate is the straw that broke the camel’s back as it were. Thailand is headed for a major recession-depression. The global economic tsunami hasn’t hit them yet. When it does combined with the damage done by the paid would be fascist that occupied the airports for eight days all hell is going to break loose. The number of disparate criminals will rise in direct proportion to the unemployment. Some type of civil war is on the horizon and Thailand’s history would indicate a massacre of some type is distinctly possible. We could be talking about absolute self destruction. I wouldn’t want my family to get caught up in the maelstrom so that I could have some sun and fun. It is with great despair that I now must resort to plan B. There are a number of places in the US where I can ride my motorcycle year round. There are numerous museums, theaters and libraries. My daughter’s future is only restricted by her diligence and talent. She will not be surrounded by whores and people who silently resent her. I will be a full citizen with rights and protections. The system works and I can expect a fair day in court if it come to that. I guess I’ll just have to find a new dream. How many of my fellow Stickmanites have had a similar change of heart?
Amen. If my email inbox is anything to go by, many are on the same wavelength!