Readers' Submissions

Stay Or Go, Age Defines Attitudes

  • Written by Anonymous
  • September 2nd, 2010
  • 9 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

There have been many submissions of late mostly negative, regarding the diminishing appeal of staying in the Land Of Smiles with some inferring it should be the Land Of Snarls [or scams]. I can not be sure of the age demographic of Stick contributors but having read the column for many years I get an impression that a large proportion are either working here or visitors that have made several journeys. With few exceptions long time retirees seem not to take the time to give their views. I could be way out but most of the negativity seems to come from those that work here and most of them are based or spend their leisure time in Bangkok.

Those that are here representing large companies with equally large salaries, accommodation car and driver with daily per diems that equate to a local monthly wage have little to complain about and probably would accept any of the problems as part of the deal. So we don’t hear from them unless it is to tell us about a wild night out in Nana or Cowboy as money was no problem.

Many of the others, those who have journeyed to Thailand became enarmoured and sought a way to remain by taking work at a local wage; those people were always going to find it hard to survive.

I wonder why most of these men chose to take that path, a love of Thai cuisine the opportunity to visit ancient temples the urge to study a different culture, perhaps the climate. I used to tell my wife it was all the marvelous golf courses but then our resort was located next to a fine course and we had many others in close proximity all with fine facilities and cheap memberships. [She did not believe me.]

My guess is that in most cases the siren song of the Thai ladies had an influence on the decision to hang about. Well it did in my case. The thing is though I was not young when I chose to relocate nor was I looking to find the love of my life, what I was looking for was release. To be free from obligation, to be free from responsibility, to be free from conformity, to be FREE. My previous visits both with my family and alone suggested that Thailand and in particular Pattaya was the place that I could find this freedom. This brings me to the point of this submission.

I first visited Thailand over 30 years ago and while my wife and I enjoyed the visit and made several more with our children over the following years it did not occur to me that I would one day be resident in the country.

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium is
Liable to walk upon the scene
Johnny Mercer / Harold Arlen

What eventually prompted me to make the move was a growing disillusionment with the PC environment and the invasiveness of the authorities into the way one could conduct a family business, but the final motivator was not either of these but disagreement within the family on how our business should be conducted. The result of this was that at age 60 I was on a plane to Thailand to start a new life. Bangkok had little appeal for me as I had seen most of the attractions and have never fancied a City life having spent most of my working life in rural or outer suburban areas where community activities or more common. So it was Pattaya for me. The first year seemed a blur, lots of golf lots of women lots of late nights with the boys a wake up call came with the 97 meltdown. My Aussie dollar was worth so much more but owing to failed investments at home there were not as many of them. Back home to assess the situation, it took all of three weeks for me to decide that Pattaya was where I should be but some changes would have to be made.

Some people slide easy into retirement and can spend the rest of their life vegetating but others need something more some motivation to get out of bed and do something constructive something to show that the day was not completely wasted, I decided to take a more active part in the administration of local golf. More travel within bordering countries and less drinking and mongering, My first positive to enjoying Thailand but it applies to wherever you choose to live, GET INVOLVED.

A physical problem that continued to worsen meant that I was spending less time playing but more time organizing and to my surprise I was enjoying it more. My involvement in golf led into charity work and that has been my interest for the past ten years. I will not go into detail about this involvement except to recommend to anyone that is bored out of his tree with life here to have a look on the other side and tell me he is not blessed with his own situation.

Back to the core subject about age defining attitude. To stay or go that is the question. General consensus would have it that living here is becoming more expensive. I think that is a given I have seen this over the past 13 years and it is escalating rapidly. For the younger expat this presents real problems if he is on local wages. For older expats except for the really marginal this is less of a problem as they have less time for it to impact and it probably means just a little less to leave to their kids. My advice to the young ones, get back home and earn some real money before the door shuts. You can always come for holidays and assess your retirement plans when you can realistically afford to retire. As to attitude it seems to me that the younger the person the more likely his attitude will be negative to staying as they will blame Thailand for their situation rather than their own poor financial planning.

I hear so many complaints about how difficult the Immigration Dept. makes it for expats to enjoy their retirement. Incessant visa runs, reporting to officials every 90 days etc. Actually once more it is about financial planning and knowing the rules. If you want to work here do it legitimately get a work permit [other countries have rules about illegal workers and illegal immigrants Thailand is not alone here]. If you do not need to work get a proper retirement visa if you cannot afford the financial qualifications for this [800k in the bank or a proven income of 60k per month] then you probably would be worse of in your own country and it is not incumbent on Thailand to bail you out. And please do not give me that old crap about Thailand needing your money. Tourism accounts for about 7 percent of GDP and the average tourist spends a lot more than you. Would you sit down to gamble with professional poker players when you don’t know the rules?

I didn’t think so. Conclusion learn the rules and your stay can be hassle free, most older folk know the rules and the ones that didn’t like them have probably gone home.

Another source of discontent that is often mentioned is the abundance of scams directed at the farang. Well I cannot say that they are tolerated more by older expats than the younger variety, however many older farangs have probably been around long enough to have suffered all or some of them at some time and now do not put themselves in situations where they would be vulnerable.

Older expats who have all their ducks in a row can live in Thailand relatively cheaply and enjoy a lifestyle that would not be possible in their home countries. Many have comfortable accommodation purchased cheaply when exchange rates were more favorable and so have less financial pressure to maintain their living standards. As they age they are less likely to need the excitement of regular trips to Go Go’s and Sierra Tango establishments many in fact have stable relationships of long standing. All of this would make it less likely for them to want to return to their home country. As an aside to this I read far to often of the description given to us older folk as old fat bald and disgusting, and the comments passed when one of us is seen in the company of a younger woman are downright insulting. I might remind younger readers that libido is not the exclusive precinct of youth in fact I have good news for them, it is probable that many of them will be blessed with a long life and with luck they will still be able to throw a leg well into their dotage. So do not rebuke the grey brigade for something that you would wish for in your own future.

So for me the Positives far outweigh the negatives.

Positives in no particular order.

Great climate for arthritic seniors.
Reasonable accommodation at affordable prices.
Plenty of affordable travel opportunities in Thailand and neighboring countries.
An abundance of food varieties almost all affordable
Plenty of sporting and social activities [Search for Dana’s list of 50 things to do in Pattaya]
Entertainment to suit all tastes
Cheap beer
The Thai smile [shows how sharp their teeth are]
Women that realize my baht has the same value as anyone’s.
NEGATIVES
There are many but I tolerate them gladly so that I may benefit from the positives with one exception.
People who refer to me as; OLD FAT BALD AND DISGUSTING.

So please remember
You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium is
Liable to walk upon the scene
Johnny Mercer / Harold Arlen

Thai Dating, Singles and Personals

Stickman's thoughts:

For sure, if you have a lot of money (which I would define as am income of 200,000 baht per up) then you can largely insulate yourself from a lot of the problems in Thailand.

In my opinion, when it comes to long-term expats, the happiest people here are those who are here almost exclusively for sex/ And for sure, those with a lot of money seem to be generally happy too, although I know of a few with plenty who have turned their back on Thailand and left.