It's not easy when you reach the point that the country you moved to and have lived in for more than a decade is a place you're not sure you wish to stay in. That is nothing, however, compared to the feeling of returning to your homeland to find and accept that you don't fit in. And that, dear Stickman readers, is where I am today.
At the end of last year I wrote that I was not sure if I would still be here in Bangkok beyond September, 2011. That time has come.
I constantly think about life, think about what is best for me and I always come back to the same thing. Is staying on in Thailand the right thing to do? It's now the end of September, so what about the future for me and for this column and website?
We all have different goals in life and we all have different things that drive us. Some never know what they want or where they're going and are like a bottle thrown into the ocean, floating at the whims of the currents with no control of its destination.
I know what I want and I know what I want to achieve. I want to be healthy and I want to be happy. It really is that simple.
18 months ago I made one of the best decisions of my life, a conscious effort to get fit. I put exercise and a healthy diet ahead of everything, including my social life and my relationships with those close to me. I dropped a few kg and toned up. I had more energy. I was stronger. And I felt like an 18-year old again. Today, I get irritable if I'm unable to exercise and while not ultra strict, I take note of what I eat. As such I am often reluctant to drink much and seldom will I eat crap food.
The Bangkok lifestyle is not conducive to being healthy. The air is filthy, there aren't many parks and the heat makes exercise a challenge. Bangkok's expat lifestyle revolves around going out and having a good time. This is a social place! A lot of eating out, too much alcohol, too many late nights. You have to make a conscious effort and I find it much more difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle here than I do back home.
When I look at my friends here, one stands out as being the happiest. He retired here a decade ago in his early 40s. He doesn't have a million in the bank, doesn't live in the flashest pad in town and doesn't live the high life, but he is happy. He explained that his definition of having made it is when each day you wake up and all 24 hours are yours to do as you please. When you don't have to be anywhere at any time or be at others' behest is when you have made it. He is genuinely happy, and like me, he doesn't suffer from the affliction of thinking that nothing says more about you than your job. Work and life success need not be related. Happiness always trumps work. I want to be as happy as my friend.
It consistently rates as one of the most desirable places on the planet to live so what puts me off returning to my homeland?
It's not the weather, even if you can't deny that for a few months of the year it's just too chilly. That said, I've always felt that the cold hurts whereas heat is merely uncomfortable.
It isn't the outrageous prices, some of which leave you scratching your head and wondering, for example, how NZ lamb can possibly cost more in Auckland than it does in Bangkok. The cost of living isn't that much different, particularly if you
live a Western lifestyle in Bangkok, which I do.
Is it the left-leaning attitudes, the stifling political correctness and the over regulation that kills any semblance of entrepreneurial spirit? Or is that that seemingly no-one wants to take responsibility for anything and expects assistance from the government for everything? Many individuals refuse to take responsibility for their actions. When something bad happens to them it must be someone else's fault! Blame, blame, blame! When did this madness start to permeate my once sensible country?
When visiting New Zealand I frequently find myself accused of the modern day crime of saying something that someone deemed to be upsetting! Political correctness has gone mad in a country once known for commonsense and sensibility. Simply saying someone looks good because they lost weight might have them furious, the inference being that they were once fat.
Thinking for oneself and being confident enough to proffer an opinion that goes against conventional wisdom would seem to be a thing of the past, such comment unwelcome outside academic circles. The populace is being dumbed down, silenced even, a problem for someone not someone capable of biting his tongue. It's those you don't know and who don't know you who try to tell you how you should live *your life*. It's a nation of busybodies.
I don't want kids, never have, in fact I don't particularly even like them just as I often sense they don't particularly like me. I enjoyed teaching teenagers but I don't care to be around younger kids. If I had kids I would have to go home to see they were properly schooled – and returning home is something I'm not keen on. No way would I send kids of mine to school in Thailand. One of the best quotes I ever heard was "Only send your kids to school in Thailand if you hate them."
While it's easier to live a healthy lifestyle in my native New Zealand, to breathe fresh air, to eat good food and to exercise at will, I know I would struggle to be truly happy there. There's a reason visiting Aussies joke when leaving that the last person shouldn't forget to turn the lights off.
I always knew that the longer I stayed in Thailand, the more difficult it would be to secure gainful employment in my homeland, not that I want to and, fortunately, not that I need to. Despite Thailand long ago becoming a mainstream tourist destination, many look at long-term Asian expats with suspicion. The stigma of staying in Asia so long is one thing, in Bangkok quite another. Choosing to live in Bangkok has a worse stigma than merely marrying an Asian woman. People revel in gossiping about the awful things we Bangkok residents get up to, including the unmentionable things we just must be doing to the women. I've never been concerned about what others think. It is *my* life.
Raising kids, paying off the largest mortgage you can possibly afford and saving every last dollar for a family holiday once a year is not my idea of living. When you shirk the path that Western society expects you to blindly take without considering the alternatives, you're an outcast. You're hushed by jealous white women who fear what their man may think when you regale old friends of your adventures. Your refusal to surrender your freedom and retain control of your own life is seen as a threat.
My corner of the planet is known for its beauty, its friendly people, its fine food and wine but if you're not into the great outdoors, the lifestyle can be dull. A country of just 4.5 million with the closest civilization a 3-hour flight away will always be limiting. So many seem to be on the treadmill, an unappealing routine of going to work, putting in long hours and returning home to an overweight wife, stroppy kids and an evening in front of the TV. Eating out during the week is reserved for special occasions and weeknight drinks are a rarity. It's a lifestyle for the God-fearing and those who know no different.
After more than a decade in Bangkok, I've been gone way too long and experienced way too much to even consider going back.
The smiles might not be as natural nor come as easily as they once did and prices aren't the bargains they once were. Just like the durian which doesn't have the same pungent aroma it once did, while Thailand doesn't feel as spicy or exotic as it once did, one thing remains, sanuk. Life in Thailand is still fun!
I can be healthier and more relaxed in my homeland, but life in Thailand is infinitely more fun. I guess happiness comes ahead of health.
I don't think I'll ever consider Thailand home but at the same time I wonder if I really am a lifer and refuse to admit it.
*When* was this photo taken?
Last week's photo of the Intercontinental Hotel was taken in 1999. With a little deduction one could get pretty close to working out when that photo was taken. The BTS, where the photo was taken from, opened on HM The King's Birthday, 5th December 1999. The intercontinental Hotel was pulled down in 2002. That means there were only 4 years the photo could have been taken. This week's photo was taken of the Biergarten in Sukhumvit soi 7 which looks very different today. When was it taken?! The first person to email me with the year wins a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod, the fish and chips restaurant. The second person correct wins a 500 baht voucher from one of the best farang food venues in Bangkok, and the home of Bangkok's best burger, in my humble opinion, Duke's Express. Duke's is conveniently located in the Emporium shopping centre.
Terms and conditions: The Duke's Express voucher MUST be redeemed by June 2012. The Oh My Cod prize MUST be claimed within 14 days. Prizes are only available to readers in Thailand at the time of entering and are not transferable. Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per calendar month. You only have one guess per week! If you wish to claim a prize, you must state a preference for the prize you prefer, or list the prizes you would like in order of preference – failure to do so results in the prize going to the next person to get the photo right.
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FROM STICK'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick.) Preference may be given to emails which refer to the previous week's column.
EMAIL OF THE WEEK – Trust the man in the white coat?
If you have never taken a close interest in every aspect of your medical treatment and tend to blindly trust doctors and pharmacists in Thailand for advice (regardless of whether they were trained here or overseas), read on. My stepdaughter, now in her first year of university, last week went to the pharmacy on the university for help as she had a headache and a sore throat. Thais love their packets of pills, which leads to massive abuse of antibiotics in particular, but what happened to my daughter was criminal. My daughter frequently gets headaches by the evening when she has been studying: these are quite likely eyestrain headaches as she is too vain to wear her prescription reading glasses. Some simple questioning would have lead to that conclusion by any professional, but okay, a pharmacist is not a doctor…so give her some Paracetamol, right? No, this dope gives my daughter Tramadol – an opiate analgesic intended for severe pain, and not lightly prescribed in the West as it can be addictive. It gets worse. My daughter had an ordinary red sore throat – 90% probability a viral sore throat. Some soothing sweets would have been adequate palliative assistance until the body took care of it – or if it was really bad, the one thing that can help a viral sore throat is a povidone iodine gargle like Betadine. But no, TIT, the pharmacist decides to give her antibiotics and asks if she was allergic to any medicine. "Yes" my daughter says, "I have allergy to penicillin". So what does this prize unconscionably stupid representative of the Thai universities' trained finest give her? Amoxillin – a penicillin family antibiotic! My daughter like most Thais who blindly follow any advice as long as it is from a Thai phuyai and not a farang, went to her room, took the medicine and then 36 hours later called her mother: she had been vomiting, her urine was black and skin had turned yellow (indicating liver damage), her skin itchy, her limbs had tremors, and she was weak and dizzy. If I hadn't overheard the conversation and asked some pointed questions, who knows how serious the outcome might have been.
Sacrifices for a southern gal!
Southern girls do not get involved in the pay for play industry or get involved with foreigners because the majority are Islamic and the general level of wealth is higher in the south than in Isaan so they don't need to. I know a couple of guys who got involved and went the whole way to marriage. Both had to do a conversion to Islam, which involved having the end of their dicks removed by a local doctor at home, a sacrifice I would never make, and then they had to attend the mosque every Friday. Neither of the marriages lasted longer than 3 years, and no, once it's been chopped off it can't be stuck back on again!
The treasures of the south!
Being married to a southern woman I can relate to what you said. My wife has told me that in the south there is no sin sot, most are expected to go to college and all are expected to work as there is plenty of work available in the south. All of her 8 brothers and sisters are good workers and hold good jobs. No 2-month rice season as the work there in the fields is year round. Rubber trees and oil palms generate a lot of income for the folks in that region. Lots of good talent there and some fantastic deserted beaches to visit.
Mid-week promotion in Soi Cowboy!
Regarding inflated prices at Soi Cowboy, a pal of mine "befriended" a girl at Shark who he calls the "Starfish". She quoted him a price of 2,500 baht short-time on Friday. He went back on Tuesday – and the price was 1,500. Moral of the story? Shop during the week!
Bored of Nana speculation.
I understand why people like to discuss the possible sale of Nana Plaza as it would be a huge tourist news item and of great interest to a number of your readers. However, I just can't take it seriously. The location is not great for a hotel, condo or shopping complex. It suffers from the nightlife area reputation which is unlikely to change over night with the demise of the plaza. Also it is still a bit of a walk to the skytrain or at least more than would be considered as 'prime BTS location'. And, look at the similar-sized plots directly under the Nana station on the same side of Sukhumvit which have been empty for years. Maybe tourists & expats need to find another item of gossip which is more likely to happen such as turning the Chao Praya into an ice skating rink which is free for tourists but locals have to pay for!
Pattaya property plunge coming?
The news today showed a luxury beach front home in Malibu, California that was listed for $65 million. Unfortunately due to our bad economy, it is up for auction with a minimum bid of $22 million, 1/3 of the previous price. I frequently look at condo prices in Pattaya, (I am not stupid enough to buy, just looking) and prices seem astronomical for a third world country, especially when you see the state of Pattaya's infrastructure, or lack of it. One older place on Beach Road has a monthly upkeep fee that is higher than rents for a decent single on the other side of Second Road. As the world economy wilts, it seems that it is well past time for the Pattaya condo market to implode, or could it be that the effects of cold Singha and willing maidens keep prices up?
More evidence of the changing demographics of visitors to Thailand.
In your last column a correspondent mentioned that he had seen fewer guys with their girls at the breakfast buffet at the Apex in Pattaya than he had in the past. I've noticed similar. Not that long ago on any flight between Phuket and Bangkok there would be at least several guys traveling with an obvious working girl. In high season there might be as many as ten such couples on a single flight. I make the flight fairly often and I see those types of couples less and less. During this last year I was on a completely full Thai Airways 747 coming south, and there was not a single such couple. It seemed so unusual to me that I made an effort to look through the whole plane. There were none. I can't imagine why things would change so quickly. Increased discretion hardly seems the answer. Could the demographic of the travelers to Thailand have changed enough to account for it? Very strange.
Being an expat in Hong Kong.
I live in Hong Kong, and have done so for the last 7 years. I am fascinated by the difference in expat attitudes between Thailand & Hong Kong. I don't think that Hong Kong inspires the same passionate debate of love nor hate amongst expats here as Thailand does amongst expats there. Hong Kong is my home, I very much prefer it to my former home, the UK. I love Hong Kong as a place to work, a safe place with a fascinating culture. However, Hong Kong doesn't inspire me in the same way as Thailand once did; and Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia still do. After reading the fierce debates raging on your site about life in Thailand I often think we (in Hong Kong) have a much more normalised relationship with our adopted home.
The #95 badge in Tilac Bar was once worn by Miss Tuk, a lass the doctor and I both agreed had the finest ass in all of Soi Cowboy. This week the #95 badge reappeared after a long absence but it was not our favourite but a new girl. It seems any hope of
Miss Tuk, the original holder of the #95 badge, returning to the bar to wiggle her stunning backside on stage is but a dream.
Raw Hide, which has been under the Arab's control for a few months now, has almost achieved zero regular customer status. That is to say there are few regulars visiting the bar and it seems it is mainly first time visitors venturing inside. On the flip side, its now estranged sister Long Gun inherited the former Raw Hide girls and is doing a decent trade with plenty of eye candy on display.
The expected expansion of Long Gun's front porch seems to have been limited to an expanding awning and folding deck floor. It doesn't appear that a grander upgrade is coming any time soon.
Fanny's is making some subtle changes to what the girls wear. It alternates from night to night, but some nights what is seen in Shark Bar is seen in Fanny's as well.
With the Arab preventing vendors from setting up in front of his bars and selling their wares, the bustle of food vendors between Raw Hide and what was once Apache now resembles a DMZ with the first food vendor to be seen set up in front of Long Gun. Does The Arab realise that his crazy policy provides visual clues which warn us not to venture where things don't grow and it becomes an area to scurry past?
Smaller bars in Cowboy have been doing a decent trade with Moonshine, Jungle Jim's and Toy Bar busy some nights. Would be it be fair to speculate that they are preferred to the Arab's bars.
The battle of the bands is in full swing at the Asoke end of Cowboy. With Country Road and The Corner going head to head every night, there's no shortage of ladies to entertain in each venue. 5 Star is doing ok and seems to be holding its own with its regular customers.
They might come from the same part of the country but are Pattaya and Bangkok girls the same, or somehow different? And what about coyote girls and gogo dancers? The following story suggests that time in the industry shapes them in different ways despite hailing from the same part of the country. A bunch of Europeans ran up a 40,000 baht bill in Kiss Bar in Soi Cowboy in record time, said to be around 2 hours. Included in that total were 5 barfines and a heap of lady drinks. They knew what they were doing and there was no complaint about the bill; a fun time was had by all. What is interesting is that Kiss has some new girls who used to dance in Pattaya but due to a lack of customers abandoned Pattaya and now operate out of Cowboy. The party of Europeans barfined a total of 5 girls from Kiss, 3 who were ex-Pattaya girls and 2 so-called coyotes from Kiss and with that the troop retired to private quarters. Once in the room the ex-Pattaya girls wasted no time, and stripped off, dancing around naked and enjoying the party. The 2 coyote girls were shy and nervous and eventually left! They may look the part and ooze sexiness but do you really want to barfine a coyote?!
Did you ever notice that some bars in Cowboy don't have girls outside waving you to come inside while others do, from happy hour right through until close? In fact it's only a few bars that don't have hello girls and they rely on their reputation to bring in customers. Tilac is just one such bar, and it simply says a lot about the bar that they don't have to station girls outside to entice guys to come inside.
We're a few weeks into the English Premier League which I had completely forgotten about with the Rugby World Cup first and foremost in my mind. The Penthouse Hotel in Soi Pattayaland 2 along with adjacent venues Obsessions and also Kitten Club will be giving away a night in a Premier Suite each month with their monthly Premier League predictions competition. All you need to do is predict which teams will hold the top 4 positions in the Premier League at the end of each month in the correct order. For example, September 30th: 1. Liverpool 2. Sunderland 3. Newcastle 4. Tottenham. Email entries to : [email protected] with the subject line "PL Predictions".
Devil's Den in Pattaya's Soi LK Metro describe it as a full-service playroom on wheels and it could be a fun way to get picked up from the airport after a long flight. With blacked out windows and a couple of lovely Thai lasses (like the lady on the right) to accompany you, a trip in Devil's Den's VIP bus might challenge your stamina if you've just arrived on a trans-continental flight! For more details, check out Devil's Den VIP Bus.
Publican Brian at Crossbar is telling everyone who cares to listen about his sausage. For over 5 years he has been of the opinion that his sausage is the tastiest in Bangkok! After sampling every available British sausage in Bangkok, he has he what he considers to be the best 6-inch. Made of pork, all customers who have tried Brian's tasty sausage have raved about it! No, Brian isn't being crass but is genuinely proud of the new sausages on the menu. And for sausage lovers, in the near future he will have a big banger feast of mixed snags, jumbo, English breakfast, Cumberland and Lincolnshire, with mash, peas and Crossbar's fine gravy. If that sounds like more than you can handle, the bangers and mash will be available with the choice of Lincolnshire, Cumberland or English breakfast sausages. Tasty sausages, sausage lovers and lots of bangers, it sounds like a katoey bar, but actually Crossbar is an authentic British pub a few hundred metres up Sukhumvit soi 23, beyond Soi Cowboy.
Michael, the German vagrant pictured here who first appeared in this column when he was living on the streets of Bangkok way back in March, and who I later spotted and photographed in Pattaya, was finally picked up by the authorities in Pattaya this week. He has been living on the streets for at least 6 months and if spottings of him in Bangkok are accurate, it could be more like 8. After being questioned by the authorities, he was released and is now back on the streets of Sin City, wearing exactly the same clothes, or is it threads, as before he was arrested, in fact the very same clothes he has been wearing since at least March! The clothes he is wearing are now so threadbare that he risks being arrested for public indecency! More details here.
Since the Kiwis bought the Norwegian out and decorated it with rugby paraphernalia and photos of All Blacks greats, Soi 8 Pub has been one of the best places in town to watch big rugby matches. The venue is doing a roaring trade when Rugby World Cup matches are broadcast with standing room only. One of the upcoming big matches is England vs. Scotland and apparently the back part of the bar has been reserved by some local Scots for the grudge match on October 1st. They promise to be kitted out in full kilts and have even hired someone to come in and play the bagpipes. I predict the Scots will get mauled so this being Bangkok, after they have played with their bagpipes they can forget the match by finding a lovely to play with their man pipes.
Looking for a relaxing massage but wish to avoid your tackle being grabbed? Where can you get a decent, traditional massage in Bangkok or an oil massage without extras? It's as much about the individual who does the massage as it is the place. In a city with thousands of massage houses, and hundreds in and around the tourist areas, many ladies really are keen to earn more than the 100 baht or so that they get for giving you a rub down. To recgonise professional masseuses administering genuine traditional massage without extras, they almost always wear a uniform and very seldom will they have make-up. If the girls outside a massage outlet are wearing tight jeans and / or are tarted up like sluts, the venue may operate in that grey area between massage house and whorehouse.
How do you know when a friendship in Thailand has run its course? When you're asked for a loan and time is taken repaying it. Long-term expats frequently adopt local ways for the good or otherwise, and one trait some expats have adopted is that of borrowing money from a friend with no intention of ever repaying it. I guess that's one reason why I never lend (or borrow) money for any reason EVER (so don't ask!).
I'm no fan of the mainstream press here in Thailand for the way some issues are shirked and especially for the way that the English language press, at least the major dailies, doesn't cover issues that interest Westerners – but then I have questioned whether these papers even see Westerners as their primary readership. It is great to see that there seems to be a deliberate effort by the English language newspapers in Phuket which are, at long last, reporting all of the hassles tourists are suffering and giving the rogue tuktuk drivers and Jet Ski operators the sort of negative exposure they deserve, and damning the lack of any genuine action from the authorities to solve the problems. Hopefully these reports will help make first time visitors aware of the problems and hopefully prevent them from becoming victims.
In last week's column I asked about the Bangkok Bank branch on Sukhumvit Road close to soi 8 which is designated as the Bangkapi branch, something I found unusual given that Bangkapi is some distance away. Apparently this branch has been in its current location for more than 50 years and way back when it first opened its doors that part of town was in fact part of Bangkapi, hence the branch name.
When you buy a new computer in Thailand, you have the option of purchasing it with a licensed (legal) operating system, or without. There is always the option of buying a copy and installing it yourself or going to a dodgy store which installs dodgy software. One of the factors to consider when buying and installing a copied operating system purchased at Panthip Plaza or the like is that it has been cracked and the live update feature is usually disabled. If any security issues or vulnerabilities are discovered you will not be able to update the software and the issue will remain. When the software connects to the manufacturer's server to download the update, it also checks the serial number of the program installed on your computer and if it registers an illegal copy it disables the program and gives you the option to purchase a serial number to enable it, hence it is disabled. A nuisance if it's an application, bad news if it's the operating system!
Quote of the week comes from a reader in Bangsaen, "Relationships are like a game of cards. You start off with 2 hearts and a diamond and when you finish you wished you had a club and a spade."
Reader's story of the week is the very well-written, "American Dating And The Thai Nightlife – A Hi-So American Perspective".
Wall Street Journal contributors compiled a list of some of their favourite places to eat in South-East Asia.
UK mothers are campaigning against Westerners using intercity buses in Thailand.
Isaan food is gaining popularity in Sydney, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
From the BBC, two people are jailed over the deadly Santika nightclub fire in Bangkok on New Year's Eve, 2008.
From the UK's Daily Mail, a Thai natural health practitioner claims she can boost bra sizes by slapping a woman's breasts.
The father of a young Aussie killed in Thailand feels light sentences will encourage more Thais to target foreigners.
Are terrorists targeting sex tourists in attacks in Thailand's restive south?
Ask Sunbelt Legal
Sunbelt Asia's legal department is here to answer your questions relating to legal issues and the law in Thailand. Send any legal questions you may have to me and I will pass them on to Sunbelt Legal and their response will run in a future column. You can contact Sunbelt's legal department
directly for all of your legal needs.
Question 1 : What types of non-profit organisations can be founded in Thailand? Does Thailand have an equivalent to the 501(c) tax-exempt non-profits in the US? If a 501(c) equivalent
does not exist, what are the most common options (if you can cite examples of each organization in a given category that would be great)?
Secondly what are the requirements, in terms of registered capital, Thai employees and so forth, that go along with establishing a non-profit vis a vis establishing for profit corporations in Thailand? As a US citizen, am I entitled to any special privileges under the Amity Treaty in setting up a non-profit, as it seems Americans setting up for-profit organisations are entitled to? Along with this, what sort of requirements for a non-profit need to be met in order to have the ability to obtain 2 – 3 work permits (not necessarily all at once) for non-Thais?
Sunbelt Legal responds: There are two methods of establishing a not for profit non-governmental organisation; an Association or a Foundation. An association is a group of people from the private sector sharing the same interest in conducting non-profit activities and are not required to hold capital. A Foundation is a not for profit asset set up to benefit the public and both must be established / registered by a Thai national. Public benefits include activities involving, charity, arts, science, religion, literature and other such activities. The Foundation cannot be set up to help exclusively non-Thai nationals. All foundations and associations must register with the Ministry of Interior and obtain a registration certificate and number according to the Act of National Culture BE 2489 and the Civil and Commercial Code. Sunbelt Asia has detailed information on
setting up a Foundation.
: We are group of up to 60 foreigners who get together at a restaurant and play Bridge on a regular basis. Bridge is a social card game and has nothing to do with gambling. We are organised like a club with a chairman, secretary and an auditor.
We also have regular meetings like any club. We collect 100 baht from every participant each game occasion to cover expenses for Bridge equipment and rent for the premises. There are no salaried people or personal profit involved whatsoever.
Question #1: Can we go on doing this without harassment from local authorities?
Question #2: Are we required to register the club or are there any required permits to be applied for?
Question #3: Is it possible for us foreigners to register a Bridge club in Thailand?
Sunbelt Legal responds: You can set up an Association and register at the District Office in the District where the club meets. It may take from 6 months to a year, but once it is established, there can be no legal issues for the club members. Foreigners are allowed to set up an Association such as a Bridge Club but it should meet on rented premises and not on publicly owned land.
Question 3 : My next door neighbour has sold his land to a developer, who is now going to put up a 3-storey apartment block. Thankfully it is at the rear of my property which will give my home some welcome shade during the hot season, and protection from the north-easterly monsoon rains. However, my concern is that he may construct right up to my boundary wall, so my question is how can I effectually gain access to his plans, and in the event that this turns out to be the case, prohibit him from carrying out this construction? As I believe that Thai law convening building constraints is 3 metres from the boundary wall, which official authority should I go to resolve this problem?
Sunbelt Legal responds: The Land Department is the best place to go to see the plans filed and to discuss with the Land Dept officials the proximity to your property. Land Department officials can survey the property to make sure it does not infringe on your space in an illegal manner and they are the ones who will enforce code.
I am always interested in your thoughts on this column and any suggestions on how it can be improved. I am not looking at changing the flavour, rather tweaks to improve it and make it more interesting. The design, while dated, is sacrosanct and won't be changing. That aside, I am always interested in new ideas, perhaps new things I could cover or ways to make it better. If there is anything you particularly like, dislike or would like to see introduced, let me know. It is suggestions from readers which have seen the column morph into what it is today. Readers suggestions brought about the legal question and answer section, the inclusion of more large photos and changing the where is this photo competition to a when was this photo taken competition. Your suggestion might just see the light of day!
Your Bangkok commentator,