After an afternoon roaming around Pattaya, I headed back to the hotel to chill before the transformation, when the sun drops below the horizon and Pattaya becomes Sin City.
I'd barely had a chance to catch up on email when my pals were banging on the door. It was time. Was this to be another crazy night in Sin City?
We had an appointment at Soi Diamond. A friend is the official photographer for Spanky's and I was tagging along. He'd be shooting posed shots and I was free to capture candids.
Each perching on the back of motorbike taxis, we cut through the Pattaya night. In black shirts and dark jeans, we zoomed along the streets of Pattaya. Two of us had our cameras out ready to shoot anyone who looked our way. Dressed in black, we were men on a mission like assassins in the night.
Spanky's location is not what you'd call prime and when a friend recently asked for advice about a bar for sale in Soi Diamond, I said forget it. Soi Diamond doesn't get that foot traffic – at least not when compared with Walking Street – and perhaps that's the reason Spanky's in Pattaya was slow to catch on. Owner Marc has taken it upon himself to spend more time in the Pattaya branch to get it pumping.
In Bangkok Marc's a legend. Nana Plaza bar owners talk in awe at the way he has built Spanky's up and now he is feverishly going about replicating the same atmosphere in the Pattaya Spanky's.
Inside the changing room there's no urgency and not a single girl seems even a little concerned at the stranger's presence. The girls have come in early specifically for the shoot, but they'll be expecting the photographer downstairs, a guy they know. They don't know me. With some girls in a state of undress, I tell the manager perhaps I should wait and shoot downstairs. He laughs and tells me to shoot whatever I want. Titties dangle, knickers go up and down and no-one so much as blinks as I fire away.
No spring chicken and with various brandings, she has the calm assuredness of an old hand. I do hope she resists the temptation to make that slogan on the back of her knickers a more permanent marking.
The upstairs balcony has a view of the narrow soi. A dancer steps outside and is all over one of the security staff. Clearly they are an item. She makes no effort to conceal her public show of affection while he looks sheepish at her advances, almost as if he doesn't want another lady to see. Is she trying to reinforce to him that despite what she will be doing with other men that she will eventually return to him….and with a pocketful of cash.
Downstairs in the bar proper final adjustments are made.
The mamasan rallies the troops and calls for girls to get up on stage.
This beauty loves the camera. She has appeared on the cover of AfterDark and has been captured by me before on Walking Street. When she sees the camera she's like a moth to a flame. Wherever I go in the bar she follows, insisting that I shoot her. She poses like a pro and has a million baht smile.
She is a mute and cannot speak but that is no barrier to communication. She can motion with her hands in ways that those of us who don't understand sign language can understand. She also has good written English and delights in showing off her Facebook profile where she has a million friends and a gazillion photos. She might have been robbed of her hearing and the ability to speak, but she has an incredible aura and her eyes sparkle like diamonds!
From the costume cupboard, the first outfit of the night sees Thai girls in Chinese gowns matched with Vietnamese hats. It sounds like a crap 2-star hotel breakfast buffet but it actually works.
Why is it that so few bars make any effort when it comes to costume and dress? A little more imagination and mixing things up would help make some bars feel less stale.
Few bars make a genuine effort to stand out from the crowd. The business is not only about cold drinks and pretty women, which is just as well because these days some bars struggle to provide even that.
Who would have thought that police hats and skimpy school girl uniforms could look so good together?!
Feeling neglected and not getting any attention, one of those girls who had not been selected to be photographed leaps in front of the camera and starts putting on a show. The bar has yet to open its doors, but she is already smashed, rotten drunk.
Many bars have a local loony. They're often older and been in the industry too long. Never the best looker in the bar, they often drink to excess and pounce on anyone who looks like a newbie. They usually end up spilling their heart and telling the guy of their problems. When he repels them, as is inevitable, they end up bawling in the corner. Some are prone to flashing and extreme behaviour. The younger ones put up with it as the local culture dictates they must defer to their older sisters. Others ignore them, scared that the crazy one cause them to lose a customer. Probably the sex would be dynamite, like a lesson from a Kama Sutra master, but generally they're best avoided.
Crazy before she arrived in the bar, or did the bar industry do it to her?
Thai girls love to get dressed up, dolly themselves up, pose and be photographed.
With big, bright eyes, full lips and magnificent white teeth, hiding much of her face behind a mask seems like such a waste.
As the official photographer goes about his work, I move aside.
The girls watch with fascination as their friends pose for the photographer. Words of encouragement are yelled out with more than a few naughty suggestions thrown in. "Show your jim", one girl screams to the girl on stage. "Don't be shy, everyone in Pattaya has seen it already", and all the girls erupt with laughter!
Coming to the attention of the local constabulary can send shivers down many a farang's spine, but there are some attractive policewomen out there. These two are harmless enough and they won't fine you – but they would be delighted if you were to barfine them!
I've always thought it such a shame when Thai girls dye their hair. It seems so unnecessary. My second complaint about Thai girls altering their appearance is the way many use coloured contact lenses. To me, they make a girl's eyes look like a snake!
We've been shooting for almost 2 hours. "Why you no photo me?", one girl asks. Ah, I'll try, I say, as she is standing right in front of me, topless. If only her sponsor could see her. The girls are brilliant at posting and I have a list of emails to send photos to.
The doors are about to open and some girls want shots taken with friends. The manager looks harried, telling us to hurry up as punters are keen to get inside. We hurriedly fire off some group shots for the girls' private collections as the lights go down and the doors open.
The girls are fun, seem happy are and easy to photograph but with the bar open it's time to move on and check out Walking Street.
The Walking Street zoo, it has overtaken Patpong Road as one of Thailand's most famous streets. With tourist numbers increasing year on year by double digit percentage terms, if ever there was a road that needed widening it is Walking Street.
We visit various gogo bars including The Sea, Sugar Babies, Sensations but nowhere compares to where we'd just been. When you build up a rapport in a gogo bar it doesn't matter what the girls look like, or what music is being played, it's like the good old days.
Walking Street isn't working for me. It's too much, too full on. Spanky's was great but these other bars aren't. I know there are heaps of good bars in Pattaya but I feel like I have unfinished business. I convince my friends that we should go back to Spanky's.
Back in Spanky's it feels like we're in our home bar and the girls seem happy that we have returned.
We have the cameras out and we start snapping away. Photography in the bars gets some customers concerned and I'm approached by a guy who asks if I am the bar's photographer. I say no. He looks confused and looks at me like I am lying. Another guy approaches and asks me how I got a permit to take photos in a bar. City Hall, I say, apply there! Alcohol is making me mischievous.
It's late but I am in no hurry to leave. I'm riding the wave, enjoying the atmosphere of the bar and the company of friends. But we can't stay all night and when the bar closes its doors it's time to move on. My pals continue the party. I head back to the hotel.
I wake up early the next morning, after just a few hours sleep. I look around the strange hotel room, a place I've never stayed before. I can't face another day in Pattaya. My friends will still be asleep at midday. It's 8 AM. I don't want to be here. I want to be back in Bangkok, in my condo, away from the madness of Pattaya.
On the bus back I reflect how tens of thousands of Western men dream about their 2 weeks a year in Pattaya, yet I'm rushing away from the madness. One night was enough. Is it Pattaya, the crazy nightlife, or a combination of both? I don't know. What I do know is that 2 nights would be too much.
Where was this photo taken?
Last week's photo was taken of Wat Po from the soi leading to the Tien Pier. There are two prizes this week, a 300-baht voucher for Sunrise Tacos and a 500-baht voucher for Firehouse in Sukhumvit soi 11, known for its excellent hamburgers.
Terms and conditions: The 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! You MUST specify which prize you would like and failure to do so will result in the prize going to the next person to get the photo correct.
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 – At least you don't have to drop your trousers!
I got searched in soi 49, stopped at what was pretty much a roadblock. It was about midnight and I was going home from Soi Cowboy. I spoke only in English and said I was here on holiday. I emptied out my own pockets and wallet this time so that they didn't have to root around in my pockets. They didn't ask for ID or passport. Clearly they are looking for drugs. They were still prodding my pockets so I undid my trousers and started to pull them down (yes, I'd been drinking!). That did the trick, 'No, no, no' they shouted and waved for me to go. Dunno why the fuss, I was wearing underwear….
Lost in space!
I have come to the stark reality that us foreigners have it all wrong. Thailand considers itself the LOS. That is agreed. The problem is that LOS does not stand for Land Of Smiles. It refers to being 'Lost In Space.' The way things have been deteriorating here over the last 4 or 5 years makes my point clear.
Bar name change suggestion.
With the space-age theme in the upholstery, it occurred to me that Tilac has a natural name change that would more accurately reflect the current offerings within – UFO. Just don't tell them that it stands for ugly, fat and old.
Start with good intentions, but…
It is an unfortunate fact that is ingrained in most cultures in the region that unmarried females are the means by which a family tries to get ahead. If the girl is first born she gets to take care of her younger brother. I have seen it countless times where a young girl of 10 or 12 will have a baby brother half her size resting on one hip. How many girls in their late teens and early 20s have been forced to go overseas to work in crap conditions in factories in Japan or Taiwan for next to nothing so their family could have a TV or motorbike? The list goes on and on, and poor Sophia is just one more victim who basically is getting mental abuse from both ends, family and customers. I am really afraid to say it, but her only escape from this tragedy might be her death. I remember a server, a bartender, and a long time ago, a poll dancer in a Cowboy bar. She was Khmer and had been in the bar forever. It was her whole life and it turned her into an alcoholic who died at 50 from her drinking. As tragic as that is, in reality it was the only way for her to go because she no longer had a place in conventional society and probably would have committed suicide if she had been fired. I really don't know what some of the girls are thinking, because so few have an exit plan and will wind up HIV positive, mentally wasted, turning tricks on the street. It is sad because so many start with the good intention of helping their family and have no idea what they are getting themselves into. After all, how can an outsider explain what being a bargirl will do to them mentally and physically?
I recently spent some weeks in Bangkok as well as in lesser travelled provinces including Samut Prakan, Lopburi, Suphanburi and Nakhon Si Thammarat. While upcountry I met some terribly embarrassing western expats. However, almost all the Thai people I met were friendly, funny, sweet, helpful and honest. In one word: delightful. That includes Bangkok and that includes hotel and restaurant staff in Bangkok and upcountry. In Samut Prakan, I overpaid in a restaurant unknowingly and half an hour later the waitress brought me the overpaid amount. In Nakhon Si Thammarat, a hotel boy organised a spare part for my slightly damaged rental car – and strictly refused any payment. Instead he gifted me with 3 Thai music CDs.
Thailand pricey for the Brits.
Regarding your comments about the pound / baht, the worst I ever got was 33 baht but a beer in a gogo at the time was about 30 baht so I could get by. Now of course if it goes down to say 40 baht / pound and Cowboy wants 180 plus a beer you are talking around 5 pounds a throw. My local boozer in London only charges 2 quid a pint so the writing must be on the wall, certainly for future UK punters / pensioned retirees. With regard to Bangkok pubs, how many will survive?
I was sitting in a bar with a friend when I spotted a waitress who looked sexy. I told my friend that I was interested in her but he said don't try, she has a farang boyfriend. I can be very stubborn, so I called her over and gave her a drink. I told her I liked her and asked her if she wanted to come with me. Her answer was not tonight. I asked when she would go with me and she said in a year. When I asked why, she said I have a boyfriend, he drinks a bottle of Vodka a day and the doctor says that he will die in a year. I said to her shall I give you my number so you can call me if he dies before that. OK!
I have been reading Pattaya websites and two facts keep reoccurring: higher prices as in 3,000 baht for short time and higher budgets for naughty boys. Many guys are posting that if they had to, they could "get by" on 5,000 baht per day but 10,000 baht ensures a fun night. WTF? $300 USD per day in a second world country? Where is the value in that? Hey, it's their money so party on, but it was inevitable that girls would catch on demand higher prices – and who could blame them. What is the classic definition of inflation; too much money chasing too few goods and services.
Nana Plaza today.
As I walked around the Nana area late last night, something hit me. When I first moved to this soi 11 years ago it was mostly naughty nightlife guys and regular tourists felt a bit uneasy walking around the area. Now I think the situation has reversed. It's mostly normal tourists and I think it's the sex tourists who feel out of place!
This past week there was talk that Queen's Park Plaza, the dozen or so beer bars a couple of hundred metres up Sukhumvit soi 22 on the right-hand side, could be the next bar area to be axed. The rumour mill had it that the bars would be closed and replaced by a new condominium development. Given that the landlord is known for avarice, and given that Queen's Park Plaza recently saw some facilities upgraded, I don't think this would happen if the area was soon to close. The master lease for the area was signed in early 2001 for a 10-year period and with a year remaining a new 5-year lease was signed, meaning Queen's Park Plaza should remain as a bar area until early 2015. Many of the rumours about the impending demise of soi 22 originate in what remains of Washington Square where idle minds and alcohol cause imaginations to go in to overdrive. Queen's Park Plaza probably has at least a couple more years to go, but with new developments going up all over Bangkok and soi 22 a prime location, it would be an optimist who predicted further lease extensions.
The Nana area in general, and specifically the strip of pavement from soi 3 past 3/1 to soi 5, is much busier late at night than it used to be. Out about in the area late recently it has been thronging with people – and not a typical Nana crowd. Shops selling trinkets and souvenirs open past midnight and the branch of McDonalds on the corner of soi 5 is open 24 hours. And then of course there are all the booze booths. The whole Nana area is booming!
But one of the consequences of so much foot traffic in Nana late at night is that it becomes a magnet for some of Bangkok's less savoury characters. It should be no surprise that they are back. Yep, the ladyboy problem at the mouth of Nana has returned – and is as bad as ever. Street-walking ladyboys congregate in small packs, beside the Nana Burger cart, near the mouth of soi 4, just beyond Hillary 4 bar and beside the main Nana Hotel sign. Exiting Nana Plaza, it doesn't matter which way you go you, you cannot avoid them! In fairness, they aren't as aggressive as the previous breed.
And still on the topic of what goes on late at night, I note Indians are developing a reputation in Nana for trying to get gogo dancers to join them for a little late night exercise sans barfine. They nurse a drink in the bar and wait until it closes and when the house lights come on they make offers to the girls. The idea is to avoid paying the barfine. Apparently this is becoming a pattern and at least one Nana Plaza bar has warned girls to avoid the cheap Indians. Rather than prohibit girls from going with them without paying a barfine, the mamasan in one venue simply announces over the mic at the end of the night (in Thai) that if a customer is not willing to pay the barfine, they won't pay the girl much. That puts all the girls off.
Billboard on the top floor of Nana Plaza will host its 2nd anniversary party this coming Tuesday, March 5th. As a special thank you for all of your support, Billboard is offering 'buy one, get one free' on all local beers, all night long! There will be special shows planned so it promises to be a good night!
I'm going to stick my neck out and say that in my opinion, the best gogo bar in Nana Plaza is not one of the Rainbow bars, and neither is it run by the Nana Group. It doesn't have any ladyboys and is NOT an advertiser or any way affiliated with this site. Which bar is it? All going well that question will be answered next week along with a profile of the venue. You might just be surprised – it's a bar you don't hear much about! I was there this week with a mate, and this is what he emailed me the next morning, "That gogo we went to is the best I've been to in Bangkok ever. It reminded me of the first year I visited Thailand, where it seemed the ladies actually paid attention to me and were out for fun over money-grubbing." This guy lives in Thailand and he and I are in agreement that it is the best bar in Bangkok.
The farang bum highlighted in the column a couple of weeks ago who was living under the steps leading of the Nana BTS station near Pacific City Place disappeared for a week, but is back again. I have no idea where he'd been, but he's had a shower and looks almost clean.
I've often said that the pool from which foreigners hunt women in Thailand is small and a story I heard this week proves it. The owner of a visa consultancy firm in Sin City which assists Thais going to the UK and Australia was chatting to the owner of another firm which assists Thais visiting or moving to Australia. The two foreign visa agents were talking shop and eventually worked out that they were each doing a visa for the same girl. The problem is that each customer i.e. the guy paying the bills was a different guy. One guy thought he was taking his darling to Australia while the other believed his beloved – the very same girl – would be joining him in England. The visa agents have put the two guys in touch with each other and I imagine the girl won't be going anywhere any time soon!
A friend has a theory about what I am now calling the decline of Soi Cowboy. He believes that part of the reason is that presently Soi Cowboy has just two bars that most agree are really good – Bacarra and Shark. He maintains that while most bars might have some attractive girls, these are the only two bars that have the whole package. But, he explains, many ladies in these two venues make no secret that they are only interested in Japanese guys and are blind to the advances of Westerners. In fact the very last thing some of them want is for a Caucasian to show interest in them – so they don't so much as even look at white guys! Westerners visiting these bars can be forgiven for thinking that they are not getting any attention from the girls which negatively affects their impression of Soi Cowboy as a whole. In Nana on the other hand, while the Rainbow bars have the most attractive girls and are also very popular with Japanese, there are still plenty more venues with pretty girls where Westerners are both welcome and get plenty of attention.
I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record but some Soi Cowboy bars that used to be good are more like a rest home than a strip bar.
It's auto-matic. It's system-matic. It's hyyyyydro-matic. Why, it's greased lightning! Checkinn99 will host a Saturday Night Fever party on Saturday, March 9th from 8:30 PM until late featuring house band Music of the Heart. This will be a full theme night with dress ups most welcome. With the now permanently priced Stickman Heineken draft jug at 199 baht it needn't be an expensive night out. Checkinn99 will also continue its popular fundraiser with ALL net proceeds from the sale of the first 200 bottles of Crystal Head Vodka to be donated to 3 Thai orphanages. Crystal Head Vodka, with its fascinating sculpted skull bottle newly introduced to Bangkok bars, is Dan Aykroyd's own creation hence the link with Checkinn99's bi-annual Blues Brothers nights as the motivation for this most worthy cause.
Some Caucasians in Thailand get upset when referred to as a "farang". Yes, some Thais do use this term in a derogatory manner but it is a small minority – really small. Some foreigners also get upset when a Thai addresses them as "you", often repeated a few times (perhaps because the foreigner pretended not to hear as they don't like being referred to that way). While you might find this offensive, the Thais do NOT mean to offend you at all, but use "you" as it is a translation of the Thai honorific, "khun". There are plenty of misunderstandings in Thailand and I really think some foreigners are way too sensitive and get unnecessarily upset.
Arsenal Alex is a new expat resident of Bangkok I mentioned once before in this column, an investor keen to purchase an existing business in Bangers. He recently transferred 50 million baht in to the country that he is willing to invest and is looking for genuine businesses at realistic prices. Anyone with a business to sell can send an email to me which he has asked me to review before forwarding…so no dreamers please!
I'm on record recently as saying Nana Plaza has it all over Soi Cowboy and I stand by that. One of the downsides of Nana Plaza however is the number of ladyboy bars. How many bars in Nana Plaza have ladyboys? 4? You're not even close! 5? Getting closer! 6? Keep going! 7?! Yep, Nana Plaza has 7 bars with ladyboys! Cascade, Obsession, Voodoo, Casanova and Temptations are all 100% ladyboy venues. In Lollipop perhaps 1/3 of the dancers are ladyboys, and Hollywood Rock also has a smattering of the third sex. And if the rumour mill is to be believed, even more venues in Nana Plaza could soon become ladyboy bars! Why are there so many ladyboy bars? Because they are popular and ladyboy bars make money. Cascade and Obsession are two of the busiest bars in the plaza and two of the most popular ladyboy bars in all of Thailand!
With the police stops on Sukhumvit Road around and east of the Asoke intersection still something of a concern, I have been asked how one should deal with the cops if you are stopped. First of all, if at all possible, try and smile. This might sound daft, and may not be easy, but it will help. Further, I think it's best that even if you are a competent Thai speaker, stick to English. This gives you an advantage. Next, put on your best Glaswegian accent. Most coppers will not have a clue what you're on about. Better still, if you're a non-native English speaker, speak only in your native tongue (French, Mandarin, whatever) and not a word of English. Do that and importantly, keep smiling, and as long as you haven't done anything wrong you should be fine. Thais in tourist areas use smiles as a means to throw foreigners off their guard and Thais don't expect us to smile when they're screwing us so if you can maintain a smile in such circumstances it confuses them. Beat them at their own game!
This week there was an old Thai beggar at the mouth of soi 23 with a sign in Thai saying that he was HIV+. Initially I found it kind of a surprise that he would say that because there's still something of a stigma surrounding HIV in Thailand. But then I thought about it a little more and realised it was kind of clever. Looking at the guy, he looked healthy enough – and maybe he really is healthy and isn't HIV+ at all – in which case the sign is part of a clever ruse because it was effective and passersby were giving. Is he really HIV+? Who knows? But for sure, he looked like he could work.
If you're looking for good coffee in cool, quiet and spacious surroundings on Sukhumvit then Starbucks may not fit the bill. As comfortable as some Bangkok Starbucks branches are, since the closure of the soi 5 branch, few branches are quiet / have comfy seats. The branch between sois 3/1 and 5 has horrible seating as does the branch at Ploenchit Centre where armchairs were replaced with seats that you don't want to linger in for long at all. Does Starbucks prescribe to the bargirl philosophy of getting the customer in and out as fast as possible? There's always the lovely branch in an old house on Soi Langsuan but it gets so busy that it can be a lottery finding somewhere to sit. As an alternative, consider grabbing a coffee at Bitter Brown. You can find it in Asoke Court, just south of the Grand Millennium Hotel, a 5-minute walk from the Asoke BTS and the Sukhumvit MRT stations. It's a great spot with VERY comfortable seats, good coffee, fast wi-fi and they even have reasonably priced meals. It's a nice little respite from the madness outside.
Do your homework when appliance shopping in Thailand and you might avoid paying more than need be. A friend decided it was time to replace his aging washing machine so he went to HomePro where he decided on a 9kg load Samsung. He was informed that the 9kg model was not in stock but they could give him the 8kg which was exactly the same but cost 1,000 baht less. He didn't believe the salesman until he borrowed a tape and measured the drum – and sure enough, they were identical. What's more, it was exactly the same with the 11kg and 12kg models – identical in size but badged and priced differently. The salesman said that this was true of all major brands. Weird!
Quote of the week comes from a reader, "The people I left the west to get away from have followed me here!"
Reader's story of the week highlights a Bangkok taxi experience, "Somchai The Taxi Driver".
A smartphone app saves 2 Russian bar owners from Russian gangsters on Ko Samui.
WWF is calling for the domestic ivory trade in Thailand to be stopped.
Manchester United will start their 2013 pre-season campaign with a match in Thailand.
Malaysia gets involved in peace talks in the southern Thailand separatist issue.
Brit Lee Aldhouse is described as the worst prisoner ever in Phuket Prison.
An expat activist who helped in Myanmar faces the threat of jail in Thailand.
Three Danes are accused of the rape of a Dutch lady in Chiang Mai, and two have been arrested and granted bail.
An Aussie involved in a boat smash warns other Aussies of the dangers of Thailand.
Ask Sunbelt Asia 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: I recently signed a new lease in the condo I have been living through until January 31st, 2014. However, I have just found out that the landlord has this condo on the market for sale. What happens if it is sold? Can I stay here until the end of the lease which is January or will I have to move out? I have made various decisions predicated on living here and I will take a moderate financial loss if I have to move from here, hence the question.
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers says: Normally the new owner must honour the lease agreement between the old owner and the tenant. However, it is best to review the lease agreement to identify the rights of each party in regards to the termination clause. Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can assist you with this review and determine if there are any loopholes that would allow the new owner to evict you.
Question 2: A woman claims that she is going to have my baby, but I really do not know if I am the father or not and a DNA test will be needed to determine if I really am the Dad. I have been told by the mother to be that she can put any name she wants on the birth certificate. Is this true and can she put my name on this piece of paper without my approval and irrespective of whether she knows that I really am the father? I don't think she is even certain I am that father. Can the registration as father be done later? If so, how late? Is there a time limit?
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers says: The mother can put your name as father on the birth certificate. However, since you are not married, you are not considered the legal father and you cannot be forced into taking on the legal and financial requirements of a father without the mother going to court and obtaining a DNA test. This is regardless of the name she puts on the birth certificate. To register as a father, you would both have to go to the local District Office to register you as the legal father and this can be done at any time. However, you would have to go with the woman and she could not register you as the father without your permission.
If you have discovered that this woman is listing your name as the father of her child, you can request a DNA test. Should the result confirm that you are not the father of her child, you can inform her in writing, demanding her to remove your name from the child's birth certificate. Were she to refuse, you could proceed with further legal action.
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can assist you in determining if she has put your name on the birth certificate once the child is born and guide you through the legal proceedings to establish legal paternity.
Question 3: My lease states that I am, "Not to sublease, nor assign any right hereunder, nor allow to be taken to occupancy or possession of the premises to any other person or juristic person without prior consent of the Lessor." I am concerned about the term "taken to occupancy" and what that means. Basically, my landlord is upset that I am bringing a girl over quite often (the same one and she is not a hooker, not that that should matter). She also could be upset that my friend comes over very often to play computer games together until late at night. When I signed the lease I was under the impression that this is different from a guest. Nowhere in my lease does it have any restrictions on how many guests I can have over, nor about how often, just that I am liable for any damage they might cause. Also note that she is not complaining about any sort of bad noise or that it is actually bothering her in any specific way: we are always very respectful. In the USA she would clearly not be within her bounds to take an issue with this and occupancy legally means to be living in a unit *as a tenant or owner*, which these people are clearly not. She has not outright said that I am not to have people over but I anticipate that she might say it soon. I want to be prepared. What do I need to be aware of and where do I stand?
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers says: Use of the premises for illegal or immoral purposes is usually covered in the lease agreement and would normally cover such activities as gambling, drugs or prostitution. Additionally if the activities were disturbing neighbouring units (i.e. they filed a complaint) then the landlord could terminate the lease.
If you were engaging in such illegal activities then your landlord would have right to terminate your lease. However, as you are not taking part in any illegal activities this cannot be used as an excuse to terminate the lease and the landlord would need to provide evidence of such illegal activities.
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can assist you in determining if your landlady is breaching the terms of the lease and if there are any clauses or loopholes that she may be able to use.
Having run this site since the '90s, I've seen plenty of changes over the years, in both Bangkok and in expats. Expats used to figure things out for themselves and when I received questions by email they would often be detailed questions I would not be able to answer. In the past it would be something like "Do you know of any cooking schools in Bangkok which specialise in Thai curries?" whereas today I am more likely to receive, "How can I learn to cook Thai food?" Sometimes I receive questions so stupid that I respond that the person ought not to come to Thailand and I question the wisdom of them even holding a passport. So many foreigners in Thailand today – visitors and expats – seem incapable of such basic things as looking at a map and working out the best way to get from one place to another! Has there been a dumbing down of people that is perhaps related to the internet, an unwillingness or perhaps lack of confidence on some people's part to actually solve a problem?! I'm happy to answer questions about Bangkok when I feel I may be able to help, but honestly, some of the questions I get these days border on moronic. By all means feel free to ask for help or my opinion but please, no moronic questions.
Your Bangkok commentator,