Thai Family Moves to the UK
I am writing this to offer my congratulations to SAM1 on the way he has maintained and secured his family in Thailand as set out in his submission entitled “Having a Thai Family – Can you Afford It?” dated 16th May, 2014. Carrying on the theme of a Thai family I thought some people might like a few insights into taking a Thai family out of Thailand and back to Farangland.
I have been browsing this site since 1999 (approx). For the record, I am a professional expat, now retired, who has worked in the International Construction Industry overseas for 30+ years and who also has a Thai family with my younger and attractive ex-bargirl wife (one should definitely not believe the rubbish and utter nonsense often written on this and other sites about ex-bargirls – but that’s another story), who I married some 13+ years ago when I also took on board and subsequently officially adopted her then 4-year old son. We also have our own lovely young daughter who was born in Thailand.
About four or five years ago, we were living in the Middle East, whilst I was working for a large German corporation but as a result of the then international recession and my illness we had to make the decision as to where to relocate to and live. Basically the choice was either the UK or Thailand.
To me it was a no-brainer, but before expressing my thoughts, I asked my wife what she thought we should do. Without any hesitation she immediately opted for the UK. With relief, I totally agreed with her. In our minds the UK won hands down because of the high quality of education, safety, security, health care and the family life available in the UK. The lack of endemic corruption, sensible and effective gun laws and our legal status in a country were also important to us. In this respect the wife and kids are now all bona fide UK citizens with UK passports. In fact the wife voted, for the first time, in the recent European Union elections. Realistically I could never see myself, even if I wanted to, ever being allowed to become a Thai citizen or voting in any Thai elections.
With regard to SAM1’s costs and budgets, I think that he was very much on the light side with his 32,800 baht/month. What happened to the costs of running a car, health costs, monthly satellite TV costs, clothes costs, family insurances, entertainment, holidays, Christmases, birthdays, the wife’s incidental Thai family expenses, etc.? It all mounts up.
I did a similar exercise about 11 years ago after we bought some land outside Pattaya, again for investment and maybe a place to build a house on, as we were keeping all our options open by planning a possible future retirement option in Thailand. As far as I can remember it worked out at about 120,000 baht/month, but that included about 50,000 + baht/month for kid’s education at an international school.
By sheer coincidence our current basic costs in the UK are actually similar and equate to about 110,000 baht/month, or 2,100 pounds sterling. (We pay no rent or mortgage, as we own our house outright. I had bought it many years ago, way before I married, as both an investment and part of my usual on going Plan “B” to keep a base in the UK available that I could quickly return too in the event of any unexpected overseas problems.)
As our move to the UK was, in some way, forced upon us, I had half expected it to be a disappointment especially when compared to Thailand and some of the countries we had had the good fortune to live and work in. It therefore came as a great surprise to find that I had forgotten how pleasant the UK really is. After a few months of learning and readjusting we have all managed to settle in quite well.
Fortunately we do not live in a city but on the outskirts of a medium sized rural town in the south west of England. It’s big enough to have quite a few other Thai ladies living here enabling my wife to make some nice Thai friends who have helped her to adjust and stop her feeling too homesick. Another major item, necessary to keep a Thai lady abroad happy, is readily available here i.e. Thai shops that sell Thai ingredients for Thai cooking. It's fair to say that when she first arrived she was not too impressed as the place seemed to her very old-fashioned, she had difficulty getting her head round the fact that most Brits in this part of the country preferred old houses with modern interiors, over new ones.
It was, however, fascinating watching her gradual adjustment from frustration to realization that things actually work very well here with people driving carefully and abiding by speed limits, traffic stopping to let people cross roads, getting reliable money back guarantees or easy returns for items bought in shops, policemen without guns who were not trying to rip you off, clean and clear pavements, cycle lanes, good free schools, good free health care, a good safe and secure environment, etc. etc. etc. etc. My only regret was that when she passed her driving test, first time; and has became rather adept at pointing out all my own numerous driving deficiencies.
The kids have also settled down in their new free local government schools, both of which are classified as “outstanding schools”, by OFSTED (the official UK government school inspection system). Again, it came as quite a pleasant surprise for me to see that the standards of these schools were easily on a par with or better than the International Schools that they had previously attended, both in Thailand and other countries. Educationally speaking I am very proud to say they that they are both doing very well. They appear to be well adjusted and very happy. It goes without saying that I am over the moon that they are out of the clutches of the awful Thai education system with its horrendous rote methods and face-saving fantasy lies. Anyone doubting my assessment of Thai schools would do well to browse some of Sawadee2000’s great submissions, which make both very informative and entertaining reading.
With regard to Thai culture, the kids have the best of both worlds here insofar as it is relatively easy for them to return to their Thai roots when they have completed their western education, if they so choose. It is completely up to them. It also goes without saying that the opposite option of trying to return to their UK or western roots after a Thai education would be extremely difficult given the obvious low standards of most private or government run Thai schools. Also any qualifications gained in Thailand, particularly Thai degrees, are often not recognized outside of Thailand.
All things considered our move to the UK has been, despite early worries, quite successful for us. I was interested to read Mr. Codefreeze’s recent overly glowing submissions (starting 16/5/2014) on the current state of the UK. Before we moved here, I would have treated such reports with extreme skepticism, but now I have to admit, that whilst they may be somewhat over the top, I think there is a hint of truth there. I can certainly sense a bit of buzz in the air regarding the UK economy and there seems to be far less complaining and a lot more of the can do and get on with it attitude towards work and life. All in all it’s a very good place for our family to be.