Stickman's Weekly Column August 31st, 2014

Selling Your Baby


I was laughed at when I first hinted at the possible sale of this website. Comments ranged from it's worthless to the more common you can't sell it because you are an integral part of it, or words to that effect. There has been much interest and I have received a number of offers, two of which were 6 figures USD. The highest offer came in several weeks ago, a cash offer of $150,000. I turned it down, and I have no regrets.



$150,000 is not an insignificant amount of money, but then it's not really that significant either. It doesn't take that long to earn that amount in the West these days although it might take rather longer to actually save that amount. 150K USD would put a Cayman in the driveway, an Oyster Perpetual on my wrist with enough left over for that jaunt I've long wanted to take to Istanbul. But I'm much too conservative to go on a spending spree.

Investing it, 150K USD might just about be enough to purchase two small Bangkok condos which could be rented out at 15,000 baht a month each, returning, after all expenses have been covered, a yield of about 6%. A reasonable return, but not enough to make a real difference to my life – and that's not a patch on what the site can return with almost zero effort.

Affiliate programs, pay per click ads, direct ads and text links ads for SEO purposes far exceed that sort of yield, and all without the inevitable tenancy issues.

There have been 3 clear profiles amongst those showing interest in taking over the site.

The first is the individual who wants to live the life, who has a romantic notion of roaming the bars, chronicling the comings and goings as well as the gossip in the bar industry and in expat society generally. To be frank, anyone wishing to pursue such a lifestyle needn't purchase an existing site. There are zero barriers to entry and in many ways such a person would be better off starting afresh and creating their own brand. Nonetheless this has been far and away the most common profile of person showing interest.

The next is a local business which could benefit from owning and operating a high profile site. It could be a bar or, better, a group of bars. They could use such a site to promote their interests (and if they were daring and unprofessional – it is the bar industry, after all – they could slate the competition). They could fill the site with ads for their own interests, use the site as an SEO tool to optimise the websites of their various business and produce content that favoured their own establishments. It's a workable business model that has been used by some bars for years. Bar groups with hundreds of millions of baht invested in the industry could reap much value. Bar groups have shown interest in this site.

The third profile and the one which I think is the most viable is where a website development company brings the site in to the 21st century, gives it a modern look, integrates a content management system (so, for example, you could search for all stories submitted by Dana from, say, 2006 – 2008), a system which ties this huge embodiment of content together while at the same time integrating a system to comment on articles, a discussion forum, utilise social media, and, of course, take a more analytical approach towards marketing, advertisements and banner ad placement to best monetise the site.

But the truth is that most inquiries have come from opportunists. Recognisable by the amount they talk – they often don't let you get a word in – they try to dazzle you with terms like revenue sharing, 3-digit percentage growth and what not. They have the idea to redesign the site or optimise it for the search engines (or perhaps pay others to do it), in exchange for you signing over half the site to them. They are to a tee unimpressive individuals who barely understand the terminology they throw around and most seem to be on the bones of their ass. Imagine someone dressed like a beggar, talking like a real estate salesman and using lots of jargon, yet has limited tech knowledge and you've got the picture. Their proposals are insulting.

Chatting with a mate who owns and operates a popular dating website which he also put the feelers out about, he has had similar approaches from opportunists hoping to get something for nothing. We couldn't stop laughing when we compared notes and the term revenue sharing kept coming up. Now whenever I hear that term I look at the person who said it with great suspicion!

Thailand's #2 discussion forum, TeakDoor, changed hands not so long ago and is going from strength to strength. It's the same with UdonMap, the #1 forum for expats in Isaan, where the new owner has grown the business. Sometimes new blood is needed to take a site to the next level.

Several years ago it was leaked that a major newspaper was in talks with the country's largest expat forum. 20 million was the number being banded about. A lowball and a fair starting point would be around 3 times that number – although when you're talking a few million USD to secure a Thailand expat-centric business the pool of potential buyers is small.

Over the border in Khmerland, the longest-running expat forum sold recently. $50K? $100K perhaps? Who knows.

I shocked a table of long-term expats when I said I had turned down $150,000. Using a conventional business pricing model, that number is definitely in the ballpark, but the site is worth more to me.

It's not necessarily what the site pulls in that makes it hard to walk away from, it's the history of the site, all the people who have contributed, and the fact that it has been a part of my life for so long. It's what the site means to me. It's my baby. I could happily stop running it, but actually handing over the title deed would not be easy.

Opportunities come with owning and operating a website. Bangkok webmasters get all sorts of approaches, from paid photography gigs to project management to tour guiding to requests to contribute to magazine articles or even books. Some are as interesting as they are handsomely rewarded.

Some Thailand expat website owners have branched off in to other pursuits that came about because of the profile they had from their site. One webmaster has done elegantly well in project management. Another has been rewarded handsomely for developing educational course material used around the world. A couple now offer guided nightlife tours which has been amazingly profitable. These opportunities would not have arisen had it not been for their web presence.

Through this website I have met hundreds of readers and made many, many friends. This site has opened doors. The benefits in operating a popular Thailand expat website are wide-ranging.

Who knows where technology is going, what the next big thing will be. What the future of monetising websites is, and even whether the web continues to be popular remains to be seen. While websites will never be like rare books, nor will they increase in value perpetually like real estate, I can't shake the feeling that there is an uncertainty – a positive uncertainty – about future opportunities that might present themselves that prevents me from letting the site go cheaply.

While I am confident that my departure from these shores in Q1, 2015, is for the best, if worst comes to worst (and I really don't think it will) and I retreat to the Kingdom, I can always crank up the site again and resume where I left off. The site gives me options – and that is worth something.

This website is my baby and I don't want to let it go. By any conventional business valuation formula this website is not worth 10 million baht, but it's worth 10 million baht to me. That's why the price is what it is, and if it doesn't sell, it really is neither here nor there.






Where was this photo taken?

Bangkok


Last week's photo was taken of the Dusit Thani Hotel. Although it may not look like it, this week's photo was taken somewhere in the heart of downtown Bangkok.


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 – Convinced to move to Bangkok.

I wonder how many people have made the decision to move to Bangkok / Thailand thanks to your website? Has anyone ever told you that your site was the reason they moved out there? I ask as I will soon be relocating to Thailand and the excitement and sense of adventure you convey in your weekly articles of daily living in the kingdom has helped me make a decision to move to Bangkok. I've always been interested in living and working abroad as it's a great opportunity to learn a new language and immerse myself in a new culture, plus get away from my mundane western lifestyle. I wonder if any expats moved out to Bangkok due to your weekly reports despite your many warnings of the potential hazards and pitfalls people encounter when falling into the naughty nightlife scene. I recall the author Bret Easton Ellis saying he was shocked when some readers of his book, Less Than Zero, told him that was the reason they moved to LA (if you've read the book you'd understand).

Who's the farang pimp?

I just had a gal who advertised on Craigslist which normally has overpriced and / or crazy hookers. This one turned out to be from the Philippines. I met her at the hotel next to mine. It has a nicer lobby and if I don't like their looks (many post old pix or even pix of someone prettier) I can see them off. I noticed a farang guy in the parking lot but paid no attention. The Flip comes back to my room and is immersed in her cell the whole time. She barely looked up. We did the deed – I managed to get her away from her phone for that at least – and then I paid her the agreed amount and she tried the old taxi fare routine. I gave her a few extra coins and told her I would walk out with her because I could show her the shortcut to soi 33. Oh no, she said, she could find it herself. No, I'll go, I said. So off we went. She had told me a sob story about her passport getting ripped up in Chiang Mai and having to get a new one at the Philippine Embassy. I asked if she knew anyone who could help her. No, she said. As we were walking through the shortcut she said she was meeting her sister and could go alone from there. We parted just before where the shortcut meets soi 33. I turned to go back to my place then thought I needed to buy a few things at the local 7 Eleven and went back to soi 33. So I was following her, about 50 yards behind her. I watched as she approached a farang standing next to a motorcycle, started talking to him and gave him the money. It was the same farang I'd noticed in the parking lot. Have you heard of farangs pimping out Flips here?

Book smart but street dumb!

I met a working girl in Bangkok about a week ago, and now she wants to marry me. I'm not exactly sure how I let things get to this point. Everything just moved so fast. Apparently her family has already made arrangements and is expecting me to pay a huge dowry to them. I told the girl that I am basically broke and have nowhere near enough money to pay the dowry or the cost of the engagement ceremony, so the family is not happy now and the girl says that if I am not able to pay for the ceremony, that the father has already chosen a replacement to marry her. She says she does not want to marry this other man since she does not love him and she has never even met him or seen him before, and that she loves me and wants to spend the rest of her life with me. I'm not sure if I'm being played or if there is something fishy going on, but I am just completely confused. Thai culture is completely foreign to me. I was always book smart and never the type to make impulsive decisions, but lately I feel like my judgment and ability to make rational decisions has eroded for some reason, so any help would be appreciated. All my instincts are telling me to run away from this situation as fast as possible, but at the same time I would feel terrible if what this girl is telling me is true and that she will now be forced into marrying a man she doesn't love and has never even seen or met before. Sorry for the long rambling e-mail, but I am pretty lost at the moment and don't know anyone else to talk to for advice. Any tips would be appreciated.



Unrealistic expectations.

The number of Russian working girls in Pattaya is going through the roof. They even have their very own discos. As for the beer bar girls, they are losing it big time. They hear about the Russian girls getting big money and they expect the same. But in true local fashion they just don't get it. My brother wanted to give a lady 10,000 baht for a trip to Ko Samui with all airfares, expenses etc paid. She replied that she could get more. When he returned from Samui we asked her how much she had made while he was away and the answer was NOTHING! The bottom line is that many of the local players do not make the grade, but expect to be paid super model prices. I'm sorry to say but the local lasses are pricing themselves out of the market.

Different country, different thinking.

I was telling a friend how many of the gals who slept with me here in Bangkok didn't even like me very much, and suddenly I blurted out, "In the USA just because a girl doesn't have sex with you it doesn't mean she doesn't like you, and in Bangkok just because a gal does have sex with you doesn't mean she does like you!"

Where is the white man?

I did my quarterly visa run yesterday to the Cambodian border. I now drive myself after a near disastrous minibus trip at the start of this year and find it costs about the same. I was surprised this time at the lack of Westerners at the border. Usually there are minibus loads arriving all the time. A major percentage of those waiting for visas are usually Westerners. This time there were far fewer people waiting and only one other Western man. All others were Asian and I suspect from neighbouring countries. Is this a sign of things to come?

Change.

Just thinking about all the changes in Thailand now from years ago, one thing I notice is that when you read Pattaya hotel reviews from non-nightlife tourists, you read that this is broken and that was not working. Years ago they were all whoremonger hotels and we never even thought about complaining. There were better things to do! Now they are flooded with tourists who complain a lot. Another thing I notice is how on dating sites many ladies have a paid membership now. I've been a member a long time and years ago it was rare to find a lady with a paid membership. Just another sign that times are changing.

Bali as an alternative.

Thailand is no longer the Land of Smiles but the Land of Uncertainty, which is just what you don't need when going on holiday. No wonder Bali is doing so well – it's half the price without the uncertainty.





The first Nanapong Comeback Dance Contest was a rousing success. Club Electric Blue dancer Miss May walked away with the top prize, 10,000 baht. The good Reverend Tommy MCed the event and was never short of a humorous quip. It may have been held in Dollhouse, but it felt like a home event for the girls of Club Electric Blue as the bar took 25 supporting girls along, many of who enjoyed a few too many, but still managed to have the time of their life. It was described as being in a time warp and a couple of folks said it was like the Bangkok of old. You can't get higher praise than that.

Following on from the success of the first comeback dance contest, the second event will be held 2 weeks from today in Club Electric Blue in Patpong. And it can be confirmed there will be Comeback Contest III, to be held in PlaySkool on the ground floor of Nana Plaza on Sunday October 12th at which each of the 3 major Bangkok bar areas will be represented.

On the ground floor of Nana Plaza, London Calling has got rid of the coyote girls and installed a shower unit. They have revised the shows, which now includes one of my old favourites, the luminous body paint show.

The owners of London Calling may be new to the industry but Voodoo on Nana's ground floor is another of their acquisitions. It is currently being renovated and they hope to open soon under the name Underground.

Last night police paid a visit to Mandarin in Nana Plaza and the bar was subsequently closed. The reason for the closure is unclear but the rumour mill has it that there were age issues.

Dave The Rave has shown why it's a good idea to maintain good relations with your old bosses as he is reunited with a couple of bar bosses he has previously been in the employ of, Peter, the founder and owner of Pretty Lady Bar, and Matt, the founder of Angelwitch. This dynamic duo now own and operate Spellbound. The self-styled gogo guru has parted ways with the Nana Group and will be keeping an eye on things at Spellbound. I thought Spellbound was excellent when I was in there a month or so back and I am sure with Dave in charge it will be one of the most fun bars of its type in Bangkok.

Heavy rains in the capital are doing nothing for bar business and it is Soi Cowboy that suffers most. Cowboy can flood and one night this past week the soi was a small river, killing trade. When Soi Cowboy floods, punters flock to the aptly named Crazy House (just around the corner on soi 23 and unaffected when Soi Cowboy floods).

Are the VW van bars which have been a fixture of some Sukhumvit side sois – and often talked about as being the bane of pedestrians on soi 11 – now a thing of the past? It seems that way as the authorities crack down on those trading on the streets.

It's now a more comfortable stroll between the Nana and Asoke intersections with regulations in force that preventing vendors from trading on that stretch until 7 PM. They have been given a dispensation to operate later and are now allowed to trade until 4 AM – but expect most to pack up well before then.

The late-night sidewalk booze booths that have been a fixture along that same stretch of Sukhumvit for a number of years may also be outlawed with August 29th mooted to be the date from which they can no longer operate. I am not sure what is happening with them as I am usually in bed well before midnight. Any booze booth fans able to report whether they really have been shut down? At the end of 2012 they tried to shut them down but it never happened, so I am not holding my breath this time…

And it is not just Sukhumvit Road where street vendors and operations that infringe on the sidewalks and take up space on the street proper are being looked at. Across town in the backpacker district of Khao San Road, bars and restaurants are prohibited from selling drinks on the street after midnight. And it's not just alcohol sales being cracked down on, but also music volume. Bars and restaurants on Khao San Road playing music after midnight must do so at a very low volume – and live music is banned after midnight.

Freelancers and those who like to party late in to the night are doing it tough with most Bangkok late-night hot-spots being closed at 3 AM sharp. As these venues don't really get going until after 2 AM, it's killing trade.



From Club Electric Blue in Patpong comes a host of new drinks specials for September. They still have the cheapest draft beer in any Bangkok gogo bar at 59 baht a glass. For September there is a special on house drinks – Gin, Rum, Vodka, Whiskey and Tequila – buy 4, get 1 free special is per person – no sharing – and is valid all night, every night, throughout September. There's also a special on bottled beers – buy a bucket of bottled beers – that's 6 bottles, and you get 1 free, Corona excluded.

Down in Pattaya, tomorrow night marks the 8th anniversary of Secrets in Pattaya. Secrets is known for its big parties and there will be live music, shows, free food and the highlight, Penthouse magazine models from Bangkok who are happy to pose for photos with you. Secrets is in soi 14 off Walking Street.

Reports have it that Sin City is doing it tough this low season with fewer tourists, be they Western, Russian or Chinese. The better bars are still doing ok, but pretty much everywhere is down on last year.

Word from one of the biggest Bangkok bar groups is that the 10,000 baht bargirl release fee is still in place, not just in that group's bars but in many other venues too. To recap this issue which touched on in a recent column, I said that I had not heard anything recently of this fee which is charged by some bars to a guy who requests that his girl resigns from the bar and he will support her. When she leaves the bar a member of staff is lost. Paying the fee allows her to go back to the same bar (or any bar in that bar group) if things didn't work out with him. Frankly I have never been able to rationalise this fee and in the next week or so I hope to speak with one bar boss whose group still enforces it and see if he can help me get my head around why such a fee should be paid.

On the subject of lofty fees, I note that in some big name Pattaya bars some ladies now ask 5K baht for an all-nighter. Such numbers have long been considered outrageous in Pattaya where a naughty has traditionally cost less than in the capital and the Pattaya naughty boy forums have no shortage of punters boasting about how little they pay. With Pattaya attracting a more diverse range of visitors (read: more Japanese and Koreans), the girls' expectations have heightened as they hear from their friends that there are punters willing to pay 5K or more.



News reports out of Chiang Mai have it that the government will move to reduce alcohol consumption across the country. Pretties or beer promotion girls or cheer beer girls are just some of the names the lovely Thai ladies decked out in the colours and designs of local beers are called. As part of some new ridiculously tough regulations on the promotion of alcohol, it has been mooted that these beer promotion girls will no longer be allowed. The sweet smile and gentle sales pitch of the cheer beer girls has long been a welcome interruption and if they really are outlawed, they will be missed. But I do wonder whether the authorities really will crack down as has been reported, with other areas to look out including prohibiting the sale of alcohol from bars after midnight, banning of happy hours and all other drink promotions. Is this really going to happen? It seems excessive and frankly, I expect that nothing will happen and it will be business as usual.

While I respect others' wishes to consume, imbibe or smoke whatever and whenever they please, at the same time I am opposed to smoking in bars and restaurants and avoid outlets which allow customers to smoke. So I am pleased that shisha / hookah pipes are no longer available on Khao San Road and the word is that from August 29, any outlets and vendors operating these pipes will face a large fine and maybe even jail time. This is said to be enforced nationwide. On Khao San Road they have cracked down on these pipes for a couple of weeks already. This is going to make Soi Nana North a more pleasant spot to dine.

Why is it that expats in Thailand are so fiercely patriotic to the town / city / region they reside? In Pattaya some expats are ultra sensitive about any generalisations made about their city or those who choose to live there and defend Sin City fiercely. Up in Isaan expats often talk about how much they hate big cities, especially Bangkok. Those in the north often dismiss anywhere further south. It's all rather unusual given how that most of us don't have strong ties to the place we live.

A new app is available on iTunes which gives an audio tour of Bangkok. One of the tours is called "Walk on the Wild Side" and covers the red-light areas, buying a knock off T-shirt and eating a grasshopper!




Not long ago entry to Wat Po, home of the reclining Buddha, used to be a very reasonable 30 baht. The entry fee quickly jumped to 50 baht and then doubled to 100 baht. Now it has been announced that it will increase to 200 baht at the end of the year. OK, so 200 baht is hardly a lot of money in the big picture, but with Thais getting in for free it strikes me as just another case of FTF. (I'll leave you to work out what that acronym stands for…take a guess by email, if you like).

If your Thai partner / wife is acting strange and / or doing or proposing things that don't quite add up, keep in mind that Thais can be very secretive about their future plans and their end game. I often hear expats with many years under their belt telling newbie expats to just trust their partner / wife and not question things she says or does, even if it doesn't seem right. I would strongly dispute this advice! Assuming you and your partner / wife communicate well – you wouldn't be serious with a woman you have communication issues with, right – don't be afraid to raise any concerns with her – and if she just tries to laugh it away, DO push the issue. You absolutely should take an interest in what is going on and, as much as I hate to say it, be aware that local women are not averse to ending a relationship if they think they can find better elsewhere. No different to women the world over, of course, but the propensity can be greater if a local lady is involved with a man who has more money than everyone in her family combined earns in a lifetime.

India issues American passport holders with a 10-year tourist visa and those from most other Western nations can get a 5-year tourist visa to visit incredible India. The Thai girlfriend of an American friend was just issued with a 10-year tourist visa to visit the United States as was the Thai girlfriend of a Kiwi pal in New Zealand. That is a tourist visa with a 10-year validity that allows a stay for up to 6 months at a time, issued to a lady from a country where the average income is relatively low to visit what is still by many measures the wealthiest country in the world. And the Thais wonder why so many Westerners bitch that the best tourist visa foreigners can hope for is a triple entry tourist which allows a maximum of 3 entries, each of which is only 60 days and has a validity of just 6 months.

To clarify a point which seems to be misunderstood about the visa crackdown, officially there is no policy prohibiting the coming and going on Tourist Visas i.e. the visa you apply for at a Thai embassy or consulate outside of the country. The crackdown is officially on the use of back to back visa waiver stamps. Some Immigration officials are taking a closer look at those who have a number of tourist visas in their passport already who may be suspected of working illegally. Anyone with a suspicious visa history may be questioned (as they would in most countries) – but officially that is not what the crackdown is about.








Quote of the week comes from a prominent Thai journalist, "When seeing an old farang holding the hand of a young Thai sex worker, I'm not sure who is taking advantage of whom."

Reader's story of the week comes from HuaHinHarry, the final part of his "Venture Sponsorship" series.

The governor of Rachaburi province is a proponent of dual prices for boat rides where foreigners pay 2.5 x what Thais pay.

Immigration has been told to be flexible with visa runners after realisation that English teachers are leaving the country.

A Swede mentioned in this column as being a long-term beggar on Bangkok's streets is profiled in the Bangkok Post.

Chiang Mai City News reported on extreme measures the government may put in place to reduce alcohol consumption.

The modernisation of Bangkok brings many benefits, but the city feels much less exotic today.

A 21-year old Brit is found dead on Ko Phi Phi with the cause of death as yet undetermined.

The roles are reversed as a Thai man is duped and robbed by a white hooker in New York City.


The Strip Gogo Bar Bangkok


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: Is it possible that my wife could open an English tutoring service (not a school) and hire me as a teacher / instructor (American)? We already tutor 5 kids for no profit but have been inundated with requests from people willing to pay. I would teach them all for free if I could, but it would be nice to cover the bills and have a little bit extra for the effort.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: It is possible to open an English tutoring service, but according to the Ministry of Education, it would still be treated as a school or an institute. As such it would come under the jurisdiction of the Private Education Sector recognised as "Non-Formal Education". A Thai individual could apply for the institute license and must supply their business plan (location, facilities, course detail, age of the prospective students, tuition fees and calculations on how you came up with this fee, teaching materials and equipment, teaching personnel).

The owner would also require the additional license of Manger of the Institute / Head Master's license. The instructor would be required to have a teaching license.

Additionally, the same 4 : 1 ratio of Thai employees to foreign would be required in order for a foreign national to obtain a work permit in addition to a teaching license and Bachelor's Degree. Sunbelt Asia has experienced legal advisors who can assist your wife in setting up the company and obtaining the necessary licensing for the new school.



Question 2: I am a foreigner living in Thailand. I have a non-immigrant B visa and a work permit and live with my Thai wife in the north, near Chiang Mai. I have some questions relating to firearms.

1. Is it possible for a foreigner to obtain a firearms license for handguns and shotguns? I have held a handgun license in Australia for many years so I should be able to meet the suitability criteria in Thailand.
2. If it is possible for a foreigner to obtain a firearms license, and is it possible to obtain several? As I enjoy competitive pistol shooting, I would eventually need a number of different types of handguns to shoot in different types of competitions.
3. My wife would also like to be able to shoot these guns. Does she need to obtain her own licenses to use them, or is she able to use them while I supervise her?
4. I have read that the firearms license application requires you to specify a reason. Is it possible to nominate several categories such as sport and protection of property? As we live in a rural area, it is not uncommon to have stray dogs enter our property and there is always the concern that these dogs will attack our animals.
5. I have joined a shooting club in Bangkok and will also join a club in my home town. Does the firearms license allow the guns to be discretely transported from location to location so that I am able to shoot at different clubs? If so, what precautions do I need to take in case I am searched at a police checkpoint to ensure that there are no misunderstandings?
6. My 18-year old son may come to study at a Thai university. Is there a concept of a “junior license” that will allow him to shoot competitively until he is able to get his own adult license?
7. My final question relates to the use of force for personal protection. What rights does a person have to protect themselves, their family members and property from attack?

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: There are many licenses and permits related to firearms, such as those to acquire, to own, to have in your possession and to carry the firearms with you and according to The Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, Fireworks and the Equivalent of Firearms Act, it does not mention that the license holder and / or the Applicant of the licenses must be a Thai national, while the consideration criteria mentioned that it is possible to grant the licenses to foreigners. Apart from their standard requirement for Thai nationals, they would investigate non-Thai applicants on the following issues:

1. How long has this foreigner resided in Thailand?

2. Is he / she able to speak Thai?

3. Is the foreigner's family (spouse) a Thai or foreigner and are they also resident in Thailand?

4. What is the applicant's religion and / or belief (whether this would be any threat to the national security)?

The applicant could apply for more than 1 license (1 license per firearm), but usually it would not be granted for more than 2 licenses per individual (depending on the necessity). Each license applies only to each individual. You could specify more than 1 reason for having a firearm, but it would be at the official's decision whether to approve your petition.

As mentioned, there are many levels, many type of license for which you would need to apply in order to be able to carry your gun to training clubs. Once you have your licenses, usually your firearm and ammunition must be kept apart so that it would not be convenient for you to have easy access.

Licenses will only be granted to an applicant with the age of majority, which in Thailand is the age of 20.

The use of force for personal protection would also depend on the situation, and would be evaluated by officials. The most important consideration would be that you did not use immoderate force. Sunbelt Asia has been involved in a case with a client who did obtain a permit to carry a gun in Thailand.




navel piercing


Thailand has long been known as The Land of Smiles, a warm and fuzzy nickname often abbreviated to "LOS". It dates back to the days when the smiles were as ubiquitous as today's Bangkok taxi drivers who refuse to turn on the meter. How accurate is the Land of Smiles moniker today? The smiles are not nearly as free and easy as they used to be and on the skytrain, for example, sometimes I feel you see more scowls than smiles. Very pretty and immaculately made up scowling passengers perhaps, but scowling nonetheless! You get far more smiles in Cambodia where the term Land of Smiles would seem rather more fitting. One reader said that Thailand is now the Land of Apprehension because you don't know if you will even be allowed in to the country with the visa crackdown and reports of foreigner being turned away. Another reader called it the Land of Uncertainty with no-one knowing whether these draconian anti-drinking laws will actually be enforced. What would I call Thailand today? The Land of Pretty Women? The Land of Pierced Navels? Actually, the name that comes to mind at this point in time is The Land of Crackdowns, as the authorities launch crackdowns on, well, seemingly just about everything! What about you? Is Thailand still the Land of Smiles to you, or is there another name you think more appropriate in 2014? Do let me know!



Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick


Firehouse

Never miss a column again

Every Sunday, right in your inbox.


Alternatively follow us and stay up-to-date