Before you moved to Thailand did you ever think you would regularly get on the back of motorbike taxis? Can you believe that not only would you drive home when you'd spent more in a bar in one night than a backpacker spends in a week, but you tried to pay off the plod when stopped at a checkpoint? And in your wildest dreams did you ever imagine that you'd become a systematic user of prostitutes, frequently ending up in short-time hotels with pay-for-play girls who you willingly did without a rubber before going home to your wife? The longer we stay in Thailand, the crazier the things some expats get up to. Thailand has always had a wild side and some behaviour is infectious. Over time many expats go native.
Going native, the notion that we adopt mannerisms, traits and characteristics of our hosts should be a neutral, but the term comes with a negative stigma.
While some of the traits foreigners pick up in Thailand certainly aren't positive, there are plenty of behavioural traits we pick up and adopt that are as positive as they are admirable.
Thais tend to have a more relaxed attitude towards daily, living in the now often without a lot of thought of the future. The average Thai is less ambitious than the average Westerner – understandable given the lack of social mobility in Thailand. Through the eyes of an outsider it might seem like Thais lack drive or ambition. From the Thais' perspective, it's pragmatic. Some amble through life, doing what's required and not really a whole lot more – arguing why should they when the benefits are minimal? Foreigners working in Thailand can become more laid back. Deadlines aren't taken seriously. Being seen to be doing something is the same as actually doing it.
Such behaviour is not without consequences. Promotions don't happen, pay rises are minimal and expats may wake up one day and realise they are in a much worse situation than when they arrived, perhaps broke, no significant savings and not a hint of a retirement plan. For Thais it's not so bad as family looks after its own, but to the outsider who goes years without putting anything away for a rainy day, there may be no fallback position.
In Thailand there is zero pressure to justify what you have done each day, and what you have achieved. Be seen to be having fun and enjoying life is far more desirable in the eyes of many.
Foreigners in Thailand down on their luck (translation: foreigners unable to manage their money) have always been vulnerable. When the money runs out they ask friends for help. A loan is not a loan in Thailand unless it is comes with a monthly interest rate of around 10%. Anything else should be looked at as a gift. Foreigners borrowing money insist they will repay it even when they have no idea of how. They have gone native.
Thais are dreamers and many Thai females, especially those interested in Western men, live in a fantasy land, dreaming of riches, a big house, a European car and the face that comes with being flashy. Many aren't shy to ask for a loan to set up a business. A business plan will be minimal, something like "Buy clothes in Bangkok, sell in village." They ask the foreigner for a chunk of change to get it going. But it's far from a Thai thing. Thailand has no shortage of foreigners with delusions of grandeur, often those down on their luck but still full of confidence. They have crazy plans, often of Internet-based business that in a year will be bigger than EBay and Amazon combined. They ask for outrageous sums of money from people they barely know, something they would never do at home. They're not con men per se, they really do believe they're going to make it big.
For me, the most annoying local trait adopted by foreigners in Thailand who go native is poor timekeeping. The concept of Thai time is not universally Thai at all – many Thais are aghast at the concept. When one Westerner meeting another Westerner says "Thai time" when they are late, run. They've gone totally native!
Another pet hate is the way so many long-term expats (figure those with, say, 5 years or more) pick up aspects of the recklessness that is something of a local trait. There's nothing wrong with heavy drinking – you're only messing up yourself – but many expats get behind the wheel after a long night on the drink. Many expats used to try and settle on the spot when caught, another local characteristic. Many expats drive drunk in Thailand – and I get the feeling most would not at home.
Recklessness doesn't stop with drink driving and at the risk of sounding like a spoil sport, unprotected sex with sex workers is hardly unusual amongst Thailand expats. The percentage of expats who refuse to wrap up with hookers is so high that folks in the West probably wouldn't believe it. This level of risk-taking is madness.
On the subject of sex and screwing around, many local men impregnate their young girlfriend and flee with impunity, leaving her to raise the child alone. Sex education, or the lack of it, was not to blame. She was sucked in by the false promises he made of a life together. It's far from a Thailand-only problem and you hear similar across the region. Fewer foreigners impregnate their Thai girlfriend and run – although it is a problem – but many make false promises – often totally outlandish promises – in a bid to get laid. When the dirty deed is done they run. But lying to get laid is not something the Thais have a mortgage on, right? Some expats make ridiculous false promises and lies to impressionable, starry-eyed young girls they would never make at home. Some expats cannot get laid unless they make outlandish promises or open their wallet.
But sometimes one has to go native to survive, for Western ways don't work or worse, can exacerbate things.
The idea of coming clean on a lie or a wrong, apologising, promising not to do it again and asking for forgiveness in the hope that one can forgive and forget is a foreign concept that seldom works in these parts. Many foreigners have learned that coming clean is the worst thing to do when trying to resolve a problem. It has the opposite effect and can escalates things to a whole new level. Many expats have adapted in the only way possible – lying to save (someone else's) face. Face is saved and the situation is diffused. Sometimes it is the best way to handle a situation in Thailand, at the same time forcing one to compromise their principles. All expats have been there. The danger, of course, is that you start doing it with foreigners.
The Thais place great importance on family. Some foreigners do as their Thai partner would like to do but perhaps does not have the finances to do so and takes on the responsibility of looking after the family of their Thai partner and / or improving their lot in life. Kids may get a better education, older family members get to live in greater comfort..
There are aspects of the local culture I wish more long-term foreign residents would pick up, much of it little stuff, like the volume at which one speaks. In Thai culture it is considered polite to speak softly. Middle-class Thai females are the best example, often speaking so softly their voice is barely audible. Who wants to hear what someone on the other side of a restaurant did that day?
And speaking of dining out, the way urban Thais eat is so much more polite than Westerners. Many Westerners eat like barbarians, shovelling food in to their mouth, spilling it down their front and making awful noises. Such behaviour puts Thais off their meal and it is considered dreadfully coarse and uncouth. Most urban Thais have impeccable table manners.
How many foreigners consider others' feelings, one of the basic foundations of the culture. Expats often aren't shy to complain in public, and it might be done in such a way that everyone in the vicinity can hear. In a shop or restaurant, the vendor / server loses face and the chance of the issue being resolved evaporated. This approach may be effective in the West but often backfires here. Being loud is something the Thais consider unnecessary and it's considered bad form to cause someone to lose face. Effort made to present the issue in a positive and flowery way and appeal to their good nature is usually more effective. If, of course, you're dealing with a schmuck who has no intention of fixing a wrong, then all bets are off. Complain with gusto!
You might eat only Western food, your circle of friends might have no Thais in it and you mightn't even speak a word of the local lingo, but the longer you stay in Thailand, the more you will adopt local ways, irrespective of how hard you try not to and how determined you are to cling to your own culture and Western principles. For long term expats in Thailand, it's not a case of whether you go native, it is a question of to what extent.
Where was this photo taken?
Last week's photo was taken of the skytrain track and walkway outside the recently opened Central Embassy Shopping Mall, which is at the corner of Wireless and Ploenchit Roads. Very few readers got it right. This week's photo is a trick photo. It was not taken in Bangkok, in fact that is not even close to where it was taken…you'll have to be clever and well-travelled to get this week's 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 – A load of bollocks!
Naughty Nigel, oh I mean Notorious Nigel…what a load of bollocks. That's what was printed all over his shirt the one time I saw him in person – the design-pattern of his shirt had the cross of St George with "bollocks" written on it as a recurrent motif. It was hideous, yet oddly fitting. Knifed, eh? Shocker that such an upstanding individual could be brutally attacked. Yet he survived…then succumbed to, well who knows. Anything could be a cover-story with this guy. Adios, you will not be missed. You live on, jug-eared plug-ugly bollocks-guy, in dozens of videos where you're abusing, humiliating, and otherwise degrading poor women for money, often causing them pain and writing insults on their bodies.
No redeeming social value.
I remember when I bought my first computer. Whenever I did a search on Thailand, Nasty Nigel's website always had a way of popping up on my screen. I do not like to speak ill of the dead, but as the US Supreme Court once said about pornography, he appeared to have "no redeeming social value."
Where the girlfriend experience is still the norm.
In the low season here in Angeles City, it is like 2002 in Thailand. Ladies wonder if you have a wife and ask about that possibility. They stay all night, and they clean up the kitchen and the bedroom in the morning. In the shower, they wash you first. Anyone arriving in Thailand in the past 5 years or so cannot imagine a Thai girl doing what the Philippine ladies do now. And lately it has been difficult to get them to leave, as it once was in Thailand. I don't know what happened to the Thai girls. Now, after 6 months living in the Philippines, I see it is not me who changed.
No condom = criminal.
I liked your comments about knowingly passing along diseases to bargirls. I'd go one step beyond you, however. Instead of describing such behaviour as “sick, even borderline criminal” I would describe it as criminal. And I'd charge anyone who could be identified with attempted murder. There's no excuse for such behaviour. There's probably a fair amount of psychology behind people doing that; I'm certain that it's not nearly as simple as guys preferring sex without a condom because it feels better / different.
Thai visa hassles in the UK.
I have been trying to renew my non-immigrant O marriage visa in the UK and have had issues getting it. Only the embassy in London will issue it and none of the consulates in Hull, Birmingham etc issue this type of visa any more. They also want bank statements but as the banks I use are based in Thailand and Singapore, they won't accept them even when the accounts have 8 million+ baht in them! And they want proof of contract payments from oil companies for my services, as I work freelance for 4 – 5 months of the year and earn in excess of 4 million baht a year but they want to see regular monthly payments. It's a real pain. I will come back on a tourist visa as I will travel again soon for work but the whole visa thing is now messed up.
Drop your drawers for the brown-shirted boys.
The cops who approach foreigners got me at the corner of Sukhumvit Road and soi 33. I was on a motorbike taxi at 9 PM and as I made the corner I heard the fat cop say to the skinny cop, "Farang ma lao" <Translation – here comes a farang!>. As I hopped off the bike to go to Pan Pan, I turned and there they were, all smiles. The skinny one pulled my ciggies out of my pocket in a flash and said with a big smile, "Checking checking". Looking for wacky backy or bags of white powder, no doubt. I started laughing and made motions to pull down my pants for "checking checking" everywhere. "No, no, no!" No problem, they were on their bike and gone in a second. So if you want to scare the cops off, drop your drawers. For sure they are acutely aware of the unwanted attention that would garner!
Cleft chin curiosity.
Have you ever encountered the phenomenon of Thai girls fascinated by men with cleft chins? About 20 years ago I was accompanying a friend who was shopping in a large department store for gifts for his wife in Oz and while at the cosmetics section he caused a small sensation when all the female shop assistants left their stations and gathered in front of him, giggling and trying to flirt with him. He sported a cleft chin like Kirk Douglas and John Travolta and I wondered if the girls had mistaken him for a movie star. But over the years while showing visitors and friends the nightlife at bars in Bangkok and Koh Samui, sure enough, the ones who had cleft chins soon had all the girls vying for their attention. I asked them why and they all answered “because his chin looks like my pussy!” Aha, so that's it, the chin becomes a fertility symbol! So any male contemplating plastic surgery should seriously consider what women find attractive in a man in Thailand. Try yourself by taking a guy with a cleft chin in to a bar and see the reaction.
Girl of the week
Lexi, AKA Miss England
Escort exclusive to PureBangkokEscorts.com
For Englishmen inconsolable at your team's World Cup showing
Lexi / Miss England is available to help you get over it.
Bacarra's owners took the opportunity to renovate and expand after fire ravaged the upstairs level of the Soi Cowboy bar a couple of months back. Long the busiest and most successful bar of the gogo genre, a new level has been added making Bacarra the first 3-storey gogo bar in the land. Both the middle and top floors feature glass dance floors offering views of dancers on other levels. The full reopening of Bacarra has been described as was worth the wait and what is widely regarded as the best gogo bar in Bangkok just got even better.
3 levels of some of the most attractive girls in the industry is one thing, but Bacarra looks beyond the mechanics and the aesthetics. The bar has implemented a mobile phone policy which other bars should adopt. Staff in Bacarra are prohibited from using mobile phones and any devices that can be used to access social media in the bar. Phones must be left in the changing rooms and may not be used at all while staff are on duty. Girls must refrain from using their phone / iPad / tablet etc until either they are barfined or the bar has closed at the end of the night. If Bacarra can do it, there's no reason other bars cannot. A common complaint in the industry is being neglected because girls are engrossed in their phone. Will other bar bosses have the balls to put a similar policy in place?
The Nana Group offloaded another property this week with Angelwitch 2 sold to a Brit new to the bar industry. The name of the bar is set to change and a long-termer suggested reverting back to the previous name, Hollywood Rock. It's likely the new name will feature the word London, although no decision has been made yet. Andy, a gregarious Londoner with a background running wine bars and a mouth like a radio station, has been appointed as manager.
Due to licensing issues, 3 bars in Nana Plaza have had to have their names hurriedly changed with large printed canvas signs with the new name hastily draped over the existing neon signs. Lollipop has been renamed to the rather auspicious Suckers, a venue name which seems better suited to the second sub soi off Sukhumvit soi 8. Popular ladyboy bar Cascade on the top floor now has the rather apt name of Charades. And the most popular ladyboy bar in the country (and according to many ladyboy aficionados, the best bar of the ladyboy genre in Bangkok), Obsession is now called True Obsession.
On the ground floor of Nana, Playskool currently has a great line-up and not a porker amongst them. It's well-managed by Captain Hornbag who enjoys meeting customers and is always happy to take newbies under his wing and point them in the right direction.
I note a certain top floor Nana Plaza gogo bar needs its air-conditioning units serviced. Either that or perhaps it is going to be renamed to Heatstroke. Don't bar bosses understand that cool air-con is every bit as much of the mix as cold beer and hot girls? When the air-conditioning is on the blink and it's no cooler inside than out, customers go elsewhere. It ain't rocket science…
If you're looking to hit Nana Plaza early, it's worth noting that some Nana chrome pole bars which used to open at 7:00 or 7:30 PM have slipped to opening around 8:00 – and a few don't turn the music on until 8:30. The girls are drifting in to work later because there are fewer customers and that means there just aren't enough girls for most bars to start until 8ish.
And if you were hoping to see a girl in her birthday suit, or even a quick glimpse of her girly bits, Nana Plaza may not be the place for it. There have been strict orders from the authorities that no naughty bots should be seen in the plaza. The best you can hope for is girls with star-shaped stickers over their nipples. Of course if you hunt around the plaza you might find a venue or two disobeying the rules, although those bar managers risk getting a spanking.
Down in Pattaya, word is that knickers aren't the only thing many gogo girls are dropping. With times as tough in Sin City as they are in the capital, some girls have dropped their rates, with good negotiators able to get long-time for 2,000 or maybe even 1,500 from girls who usually expect and get a whole lot more.
The boss of one big name Pattaya bar admitted to me that May was the worst month for his bar ever, incurring a 6-figure loss for the month. He believes many other bars were in the same boat.
After a lengthy closure, popular Walking Street bar Living Dolls Showcase is set to reopen on Thursday, July 3rd.
The Green Parrot in Sukhumvit soi 16 is the base for supporters of the Holland football team and whenever Holland plays it is packed, with orange-shirted revellers filling the small bar and falling outside. For the Dutch looking for a place to support your team in the company of fellow countrymen, the Green Parrot is the place to go. Oddly, it is the only bar in downtown Bangkok I've seen with signs up where those of one nationality get together to support their side.
A bit after 2 AM on Saturday before last, a foreigner resident in Sukhumvit soi 23 left Mojos on Sukhumvit soi 33 at closing. After a night of drinks, he chose to take a cab the short distance home rather than walking it. The driver took him down a quiet side soi, pulled a gun and robbed him, taking his mobile phone and wallet! Expats resident in Bangkok know that locals, particularly middle class females, are genuinely scared of getting in to a taxi after dark and this incident shows that their worries are not totally misplaced. Let me point out, however, that in all my time in Bangkok this is the first time I ever heard about this sort of thing happening to a foreigner downtown.
Things have picked up a little around town with bar owners reporting a slight increase in trade. Frustrated gogo bar owners have commented that when World Cup matches are being played, customers leave the bar and go elsewhere to watch them. Football before females!
One of the big stories in the local news this week has been the 7-month relationship of a 21-year old Dutch guy romantically involved with a lady from Korat who is 46. It's amusing to see this "reverse age gap" as some are calling it. Photos of the happy couple are all over local social media and they've even been featured on TV and in the newspaper. Amazing Thailand!
Ever since the political situation started really heating up late last year, I've commented on how quiet it is out and about. It continued the trend of the past 2 or 3 years with low seasons worse than usual and high seasons failing to reach expectations. But just how bad is business? Are things really that slow, or is my memory playing tricks on me – and being aided by bar bosses exaggerating about how bad it is? I don't have access to the books of bars and restaurants but I do have a huge archive of photos taken around the bar areas – and while they don't provide conclusive proof, looking at the crowds in photos is one measure of where business is at. So I went in to the archive looking for photos of Cowboy and Nana from 5 years ago for comparison. I matched up the time of year – weeknights in late June. The photo of Soi Cowboy below was taken early evening on Monday, June 29th, 2009, that is 5 years ago to the day. You can clearly see more customers than Cowboy gets at present with perhaps Friday the exception, as expats hit town for end of week drinks. The photo of Nana Plaza was taken 3 days later on Thursday, July 2nd, 2009, at 10:09 PM. It too shows more people about than you typically see in Soi Nana these days. With that said, back then working girls and ladyboys could linger at the entrance of the plaza whereas today they cannot. These photos appear to verify that bars were busier back then than they are at this time.
I witnessed first-hand a nasty incident involving police and a white guy this past Wednesday, at approximately 6:10 PM, less than 100 metres from Foodland on Sukhumvit soi 16 where I had just eaten. I was walking back up towards the main Sukhumvit Road and noticed traffic on the soi had stopped for no apparent reason. I could hear someone screaming, but could not see them. It was then that I noticed a crowd had gathered and as I got closer I saw a chunky Caucasian male, perhaps 30ish, in a battle with two uniformed police officers and 3 motorbike taxi riders. The policemen were struggling to subdue the foreigner who at one point broke free and fell to the ground. They leapt on top of him, each grabbing a limb as he thrashed around like a wild animal, all the while screaming, "Help, help!" A 4th motorbike taxi rider joined in with the crowd yelling out advice to the coppers. The whole scene was disturbing, from the distress the foreigner was in, to the violent struggle to the comments being made by some watching to the fact that the foreigner was not yelling obscenities but screaming, "Help!"
I received more reports this week about police stops in and around Asoke than I have to date, suggesting they have escalated further. There are two very different types of police checks taking place in the area. From time to time you might walk by, or more likely, be a passenger in a vehicle stopped at an intersection where a police checkpoint has been set up. These checkpoints may take place deep in some sois (between soi 23 and 33, on soi 16 and on soi 39 seem to be the main spots) but are usually carried out at the Asoke intersection itself, where traffic coming up from Rama 4 Road turning left on to Sukhumvit is stopped. It's a favourite late-night checkpoint spot. Officers target motorbikes, pickup trucks, taxis, any vehicle with foreign passengers and private vehicles with passengers in their teens and early 20s. The officers shine torches in to the vehicle and in some cases may ask occupants to get out. The cops at these organised checkpoints are professional and polite. The other checks carried out in the area are made by two coppers riding around on a motorbike who ride right up to and stop foreign males. They usually ask where you're going, where you've been and then make a decision whether they are going to search you or not. My experience has been that responding in polite Thai ends it with no mention of a search at all.
Foreigners resident in Bangkok who need to make a visa run may head to the border at Poi Pet, the easiest land border to get to from the capital. Where once those who had overstayed their visa by anything up to 1 year could simply pay the fine, and cross the border and re-enter Thailand, things have changed. At the Poi Pet border point anyone who has overstayed can only pass if the overstay does not exceed 10 days. Any more and you have to return to Bangkok to get it sorted out. And if you do exit with an overstay of less than 10 days and wish to re-enter Thailand, you cannot do so the same day and must wait until the next day at the earliest. For the time being Immigration at Poi Pet is not allowing some nationalities to exit the country at that border point at all. Koreans and Brazilians are amongst those told that they must exit the country at an airport. There is unconfirmed speculation that these nationalities might find that they are unable to exit the country at some other land borders also, so if you hold a passport from either of these countries it might pay to check before you get to the border. It should also be noted that at Poi Pet, Filipinos have reported exiting Thailand and re-entering the country immediately in the hope of getting another 30 days permission to stay but are only being granted 7 days.
This week I tried out London Pie on Ekamai which can be found about 100 metres beyond Durty Nelly's (which remains in darkness and where nothing seems to have happened since the doors were closed months ago). You can either dine in – it's plain but bright and cheery, or take away. Pies run 120 baht. They do meals on the premises where a pie, very good mashed potato and a generous portion of peas and a tub of gravy is 220 baht. There's none of the ++ nonsense. Pies are baked fresh daily and better than what you find in most British pubs.
Keep an eye out for the cherry cheesecake available at some branches of Sunrise Tacos. It's imported from the States and if you have a sweet tooth, it's sinfully good.
Quote of the week comes from Steve Rosse, "The expatriates who live on Phuket have way too much free time, and nothing to talk about except each other."
22 partygoers are arrested at a sex and drugs party in Pattaya.
A mentally retarded Scotsman is found penniless, severely underweight and without a valid visa in Pattaya.
Pestering tourists at the airport has earned a Bangkok cabbie a suspended jail sentence.
Visa runners from Phuket are asked to show they have the finances to fund their stay when re-entering the country.
A Russian Mafia boss is arrested not far from Pattaya, his visa revoked and he will be sent home.
A 20-year old Russian hoon crashes a sports bike at high-speed on Pattaya's Soi Yamato, causing untold damage.
Phuket's beaches could soon look rather different if plans to raze illegal businesses on their fringe go ahead.
An Irish couple spends 3 weeks in Samut Prakan Prison after being the victims of visa fraud.
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 have a question on US citizens opening Thai bank accounts post-FATCA. As US expats know, FATCA (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) will be implemented July 1. Briefly, here's what it means for non-US banks: Under FATCA, to avoid being withheld upon, foreign financial institutions (FFIs) may register with the IRS and agree to report to the IRS certain information about their U.S. [citizen's] accounts. FFIs that enter into an agreement with the IRS to report on their account holders may be required to withhold 30% on certain payments to foreign payees if such payees do not comply with FATCA. How will this affect US citizens who wish to open Thai bank accounts, for example, for the purpose of retirement visas?
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: The Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors team met with Bangkok Bank on this very issue just this week. Since Thailand's big financial institutions have done and will continue to do businesses and monetary transactions with US business entities, it is likely that these banks will be entering into the FATCA regime and meetings are being held at the major Thailand bank head offices between their management team and IRS representatives this week on implementation. Implementation will first affect their individual customers and account holders and then the corporate account holders in regards to procedures and documentation. Likely more application forms screening foreign applicants and their attachment to the United States will be added to the application package when opening a bank account, while existing account holders will receive a notice asking for the same additional personal details. The bank's level of attention to this will be high, and they will also be screening if the applicant's contact details (phone number or post mail address) are US-based as failure to comply will also result in the financial institution being liable for a direct fine. Customers or Account Holders will need to cooperate and fulfil all banking requirements. Failure to cooperate, the bank (at their discretion) may refuse you in either opening a new bank account, transfers and exchanges.
Question 2: This week, a reader whose lease term had expired but he remained on an informal renewal with the landlord. The legal advice was to get a new lease otherwise you are at the mercy of the landlord. I have a related question. Since retiring and living part-time in Thailand, I have signed a few 6-month formal leases with all the relevant terms and conditions. On occasion I have asked to extend it for an extra 3 – 4 months, and the landlord said not to bother with a formal lease. To protect myself, I always made sure to send an email to the landlord confirming the extension, and that the terms and conditions from the prior lease are still in place. The landlord has replied with an email stating the lease extended at same terms as original. It's not as good as a new lease, but I wonder whether in the event of a dispute these emails would hold up?
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: In Thailand the email would not be considered the same as a formal lease contract. It could only serve as evidence in a dispute. The same outcome would apply in this case, and in your best interests it would be advisable to renew the agreement or if your landlord is unwilling, Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can help you in drafting a new agreement for the landlord. This kind of protection is necessary to ensure that you cannot be given notice of 7 days, 15 days or 30 days.
This week the bars were quiet (as usual). Restaurants were quiet and when I went out hunting for some new computer gear earlier today at Fortune and Panthip Plaza, they too were quiet. What makes it strange is that most people were paid on Friday meaning they have a wallet full of cash. Even the roads were quiet today! Where is everyone?
Your Bangkok commentator,