Stickman's Weekly Column January 11th, 2015

Thailand Tragics

Why do some expats do things in Thailand they would never do at home? Why do some accept things in Thailand they wouldn't dream of living with in Farangland? What causes so many Westerners resident in Thailand to turn their back on their homeland and embrace a country that gives them a maximum of 12 months permission to stay, restricts them from buying land, limits their employment options and at times treats them like second-class citizens. Some call them Thailand apologists. I prefer the term Thailand tragics.

Are you a Thailand tragic? Take the test below to find out if you are, by answering each question yes or no.

Phat That Luang, Vientiane, Laos

1. Have you been making visa runs continuously for 18 months or more?

Being forced to exit the country every 30, 60 or 90 days is the norm for many Western residents of Thailand. With so many interesting places nearby and budget airlines linking Bangkok with a variety of exotic destinations, you have the option of visiting the likes of Vientiane, Phnom Penh, Saigon and Yangon – places you may not have even heard of before you came to Thailand. Visiting new places is fun, but leaving the country every 90 days (if not more often) becomes tiring, makes you feel insecure to say nothing of the wasted day(s) and the needless expense.

Continuing to make visa runs over a long period of time is largely the domain of outliers and those who are not eligible for a long-stay visa.

Unless you live in a border town and making a visa run is but an hour out of your day as you cross the border and hop right back again, being forced to endlessly exit and re-enter the country with a chance that you might be denied re-entry at any time is rather tragic, is it not?

teaching in Thailand

2. Have you been teaching full-time (or doing any other job in Thailand, for that matter) for a number of years and earn about the same or less than the unemployment benefit in your homeland?

If you need to work for a living (as opposed to working voluntarily or working to keep yourself busy) and earn around the same or even less than the amount you'd receive in unemployment benefits in a Western country, questions must be asked. Of course in provincial Thailand one can live on a pittance, but given that teachers are educated – and can make a decent amount in the West – why are you slaving in Thailand for what is, by Western standards, slave wages?

Some are so besotted with life in Thailand that they make some questionable decisions. A high salary is not everything, but earning a small amount of money in a foreign country can leave you vulnerable.

There are exceptions and if, for example, you're from Southern Europe then earning 35K baht a month in Thailand might seem awfully attractive at this point in time.

McDonald's Khao San Road

3. Do you
wai staff in bars or restaurants?

Tourists wai-ing staff in restaurants is cute – most don't know what, if anything, they're supposed to do so they try to be as polite as possible. It might look a little awkward, but making an effort to be polite is not something which ought to be criticised.

Expats and residents who routinely wai staff in bars or restaurants show that they don't really have a clue. It's not just unnecessary, you don't do it unless there are extraordinary circumstances – and if you live here you should know that. Foreigners resident in Thailand who don't know the basics of waiing, one of the most common social customs in Thailand, are tragic.

Sky Tower

4. Do you speak ill of your own country in general (as opposed to individual aspects of the country) and declare that so long as you have a choice you would never live there again?

There's something deeply disturbing about Westerners who trash-talk their country of birth. They overlook the benefits of a first world education, growing up in a country where you're encouraged to think for yourself, where freedom of speech
is a right and everything about their homeland which helped them get to where they are today.

It's one thing to say that you prefer to live in Thailand – whatever the reason(s) may be – but trashing your own country is often the domain of those attempting to justify their decision to live in a country where the truth is more likely that they're
not anything like as happy as they make out to be and they're desperately trying to convince themselves that they are!

5. Do you make x,xxx number of posts to Thailand discussion forums each year?

Many foreigners who have relocated to Thailand spend all their time in front of a computer screen reading (and posting) about what it's like in Thailand, when what they are really an expert on is the Thailand discussion forums they spend all their
time on.

Why do some move half around the world to a country with a climate that allows you to be outside 365 days of the year, where many activities are inexpensive and where the locals are very social, only to spend much of their day staring at a computer screen?

There's so much more to life than posting to Thailand discussion forums.

Bangkok red bus

6. Do you use buses to get around Bangkok?

The buses in Bangkok are so cheap they are almost free, which is very much a plus. At the same time they are often crowded, slow, uncomfortable and well, unless there are no other transport options, why would you use the bus? Many Thais refuse to use
city buses and they cannot understand it when they see rich foreigners on board.

There is nothing wrong with routinely taking the bus, but with so many other transport options and taxis as cheap as chips, why would you? I cringe when I see foreigners riding the city's buses. Granted it's no crime,

Soi Cowboy

7. Can you draw an accurate map of any of Bangkok's expat bar areas and mark the bars with the right names in the right places?

Many visiting Bangkok check out the city's bar areas – and why not when they are world famous. Spending time in Bangkok and not visiting one of Patpong, Soi Cowboy or Nana Plaza would be like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower – it's
far from the highlight but you still want to see it with your own eyes.

But seeing / experiencing something once, or even a few times, is very different from living one's life in it, which is exactly what plenty still do in the city's red light areas. For some the expat bar areas are the very
reason for being here. Unless they have invested in the industry or are employed there, that strikes me as a shame when there are so many other entertainment options in the city these days. The days of Bangkok expats gravitating towards the
naughty bars because there were few other options are long passed.

There are so many other places to hang out these days. There's nothing wrong with the naughty bars if that's your thing, but if you don't know where else to go or don't at least take a little time to explore other options, that's

Sukhumvit Road

8. Have you ever taken a date to a red light bar area?

One of the curiosities of some expat residents and something I have never understood – as well as being one of the most cringeworthy things an expat can do, in my opinion – is take their date to a gogo bar.

Of course there are Thai women curious about the expat bar areas and who may even request that you take them there for a look. But if you have ever suggested to your date that you check out the shows at Angelwitch then hold your head in shame!

Many resident foreigners seem to think the whole city revolves around Sukhumvit and Silom. You do know that you don't need to take your passport with you to venture beyond these areas, right?!

sexy bum

9. Do you spout words of hatred about women in your homeland, Western women or white women in general?

There's nothing wrong with saying that you prefer the ladies in Thailand and many of us find we can meet a Thai lady more attractive physically than we would in our homeland.

You might simply prefer Asian ladies – which is fine – but why curse and badmouth Western women? It is the words of misogynists who don't know how silly, uncouth and ignorant they sound.

safe sex in Thailand

10. Do you refuse to use a condom with new or casual sex partners?

Why do so many expats in Thailand refuse to use condoms, even in high-risk liaisons? In a country which tops the international Durex sex survey for infidelity and where an estimated 1% of the population is HIV+, why would you take the risk?

With a large commercial sex industry and fewer hang-ups about sex, some foreigners like Thailand because they feel it's a sexual paradise. Some have more sexual partners in a week in Thailand than they had before visiting.

But why would you risk contracting or passing on an STD, or getting a lady you barely know pregnant when it all could have been prevented by using a condom? Do you really think the lady willing to party without a party hat would only do so with you? Oh, come on, don't be so tragic! Do you really think if she is sleeping with you within hours of meeting you that she would not be so indiscriminate with others?

Using a condom is about respect – for yourself and the one you're with.

11. Have you ever threatened someone with deportation and / or blacklisting?

One of the strangest things some foreigners do is name-drop cops….except they never actually name the cop, only his rank – a sure sign that they don't know the cop at all! "I know the lieutenant colonel at such and such a police station and all I have to do is call him and your condo will be raided by a team of crack commandos who will drag your sorry ass to the airport in handcuffs, bung you on the next flight and you'll never be allowed back."

I don't know why some people make these silly comments. I can only guess that they feel threatened or get upset easily. Perhaps they're trying to make themselves sound like a man about town with connections?

An amazing number of foreigners make the ridiculous claim that they will get someone they don't like deported or blacklisted. Deportation is a big deal that requires a lot of paperwork. Blacklisting requires a court order. Of course, if the fellow making the comments happens to have a wife who is a senior official at Immigration – as one Bangkok bar boss's wife really is – then all bets are off!

Nakhon Phanom clock tower

12. Do you think nothing of turning up for an appointment, a date or a meeting late without letting the person know that you're running late?

The notion of Thai time causes some Westerners to do as some Thais do, brazenly arrive late for an appointment without so much as an apology. The tragics try and laugh it away as saying they're on Thai time, as if that makes it ok.

In some circles the Thai time excuse might work. Try that if you're an underling turning up late for a meeting with your boss or someone senior. Even blaming it on the (genuinely bad) traffic might not cut it.

Those who are constantly late are just plain slack, irrespective of where in the world they are.

Count up the number of times you answered "yes". 5 or more responses of yes and you might just be a Thailand tragic!

Where was this photo taken?


Last week's photo was taken in Sharky Bar in Phnom Penh in Cambodia. 10 clever readers got it right. Well done! This week
it's back in Bangkok.

(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.

– The gradual decline in Thai femininity.

I could go on about the gradual decline in Thai femininity, but it wouldn't be coherent. I'll tell you this though: when I first went to Chao Phya 2 massage parlour in 1989, I could not believe the sheer beauty on display. The now-cliché
megawatt smiles, straight clean black hair, lovely natural bodies. I can only imagine the early '80s. Even by '93 it was starting to change. Now after just a few minutes watching shows at Nana the gals are getting pear-shaped. I'm
not opposed to tattoos, but lately I've been seeing poorly thought-out tattoos on Thai ladies, and I can't think of a poorer purchase than an impulse-buy that's inked into your skin. I've seen some nice ink on Thai ladies,
but the more mainstream this trend gets, the more rubbish is going to manifest.

Old habits die hard.

Having just arrived back in the UK from seeing my Thai girlfriend of 5 years on and off, as sure as night follows day I get a phone call. Can you help me?! I need money for mum go hospital. Yes, that old chestnut. I have told her for years to just ask – there's no need for a story which she does not understand. She is still working as a bargirl so I suppose old habits die hard! It looks like some things will never change in the life of a bargirl. Anyway, I sent some baht over and she told me she is very happy now! With years of mongering behind me I should know better but old habits die hard!

Light pours.

A regular customer of mine here in Phnom Penh didn't like the early closures in Bangkok. He also said the only place he got a decent pour was in Bacarra. He told me he was out the other night bouncing around Cowboy and after 11 drinks in a couple hours he wasn't feeling the effects other than in the wallet. He thinks they are skimming more than ever, just glazing the top of a Coke with Jack Daniels. He is back here for 5 days enjoying the stiffer pours and lower prices.

No thanks to coyote bars.

I don't go to gogo bars anymore as just like you I am bored of them. If I do venture out to a bar and see a bar full of coyote dancers I would not be happy if a lady said no to a barfine! I just do not understand it because that is what gogo bars in Bangkok are all about. I want a lady's company so I go to a bar! I will search on the net and not visit bars with coyote dancers.

Pattaya photo opp.

I'm just back from 3 weeks in Pattaya where the tiniest, most revealing swimwear is worn by elderly, obese, white men. One gent who looked one step from the grave was wearing a string bikini bottom. Whenever he got up from his beach chair and walked to the water laughter would erupt from the Russian and Chinese tourists sitting beneath the umbrellas. There must be dozens of photos snapped daily of this gent who suns on Beach Road near soi 3.

He Clinic Bangkok

What are you running from?

Your comment about always feeling you have to be on your toes I feel is an inevitability of a long(er) stay anywhere. I think it sets in almost automatically when you know you don't really belong, and when you also know you can always leave. You probably didn't feel this way before but it's as likely to be you who has changed as well as your environs. And now you have made the decision it's also natural for you to subconsciously sort of justify that decision, perhaps by being more aware of the present shortcomings. If the endless movements of my own life during the past 70 years is anything to go by, it's all perfectly natural. The odd thing for me is the 11 / 12 years I've now spent in Hua Hin is the longest I've ever spent in one place. I'm sure my time will come but I am always loath to be leaving (i.e. fleeing) one place, instead, as I think you are doing, making a conscious effort to go somewhere else. Too many expats, I think, are running from somewhere, instead of going somewhere.


CBD Bangkok

Interesting point about the two-tier pricing that has been around since Mr. Trink was a lad. It reminded me, though, of a time that myself and 4 friends drove into a national park 3 or 4 years ago. When stopped at the entrance, we were immediately asked for B200 (B100 each for myself and my fellow whitey) and B60 (B20 each) for the three 'Thais' in the car with us. As hypocritical as it may be, my friend and I tried the old showing a Thai driving licence trick. Didn't work; Somsak was having none of it. "You farang, you one hundred, they Thai, they twenty" was the response! To be fair, just like so often in this upside down, inside out, back to front country, it was all done very nicely and with lots of smiling. So, off we drove past the security, except that it wasn't 3 Thais and 2 farangs in the car at all. It was 2 farangs and our girlfriends were certainly Thai nationals. The driver, however, was 100% Japanese with no licence, an expired passport and 6 years overstay to boot! Thais should do away with the dual pricing. There are thousands of expats in Thailand who refuse to go anywhere near this system and the sad thing is that we miss out on seeing some of the most beautiful parts of Thailand. Sadly, although image is everything here, I feel that they really couldn't care a jot what their image is like on a few forums and the odd negative international newspaper article. Thais, generally, only really care about what other Thais think in matters like this. A very different story when one is invited into their homes, where we as a guest are treated rather well, as there is much face to be gained! Certainly, they can be the most fantastic hosts. It's such a shame that nearly every negative aspect here comes down to the same old thing – money. Take cash out of the equation and they are the nicest people in the world.

Maths taught in school?

I really have to wonder if math is considered important to Thai teachers. I have been short-changed more times than I can count. Math mistakes have never been in my favor. I went to a money exchange outlet at On Nut skytrain and was short-changed exactly 100 baht, twice in a row. They instantly gave me my money back, so it was obvious they knew they had been caught and luckily I counted my money in front of them carefully. It's not this type of 3 dollar scam I'm talking about. The owner of my building never seems to know exactly how much my electric bill is. It appears they make it up, based on how they size me up and what they think I am willing to pay. There is never a rent receipt or a clear answer. The totals always add up wrong and in their favor. Women I have dated can't figure out what 10% of 125 is. I'm talking about university-educated women. I'm serious. Whores and card players are the absolute best at math I've found. Most shop owners need a calculator to add 65 and 30 together and often it still adds up to 100. So I'm asking you a serious question as a former educator in this country: Do Thai children learn math at school?

Safari Bar, Bangkok

Most of the bars in Patpong soi 1 are Thai-owned and have a rather different atmosphere to the foreign-owned bars in Patpong soi 2 which tend to be more laid-back and are generally more fun. The jungle drums are beating loud about a deal which would see a new owner – a foreigner no less – at the classic Safari in Patpong soi 1, a venue long known for decent music, played on vinyl no less. More details when the deal is finalised.

wonderland clinic

Dignity has been restored at CheckInn99 with Sukhumvit's oldest nightspot no longer a bar where ladies can be bought out with barfines now abolished. It's still possible to walk out of the venue hand in hand with a waitress – but you will have to work for it!

The newly renovated Dollhouse on Soi Cowboy may be improved but there is a design flaw – the one and only toilet is upstairs. It's no fun going all the way up those steep, narrow steps every time you have to take a pee. If you're there for a few hours and find yourself making multiple trips up and down those steps it becomes such a nuisance that you actually think about going elsewhere.

The action this week on Soi Cowboy was outside on the soi proper where tables with a city view were full while inside some bars were close to empty. About 1 table in every 4 had at least one Western woman as the lane of love continues to attract tourists from the mainstream.

Word on the street is that the Black Swan will relocate from its current location under the Asoke BTS station across the road to soi 19, near where the El Gauchio Argentina Steakhouse is. In turn, it has been rumoured for months that the steakhouse will open a new location up on Sukhumvit to soi 11.

As customers complain about ladies requesting more than they used to for a session of passion, the finger is often pointed at the higher salaries paid by bars, and to sponsors – those men who send money to support their beloved who promises exclusivity but usually continues to work. Some say that with the girls making plenty from their salary and sponsorship they are less interested in going to a guy's hotel room – and who can blame them? But there is another contributing factor. In some bars girls average 15 – 20 lady drinks per night. And given that some bars pay up to 70 baht commission per lady drink – ladies can make in excess of 1,000 baht per night in lady drink commissions alone. Add that to the average salary of say 15,000 baht per month and assuming a lady works, say, 20 nights per month, that's 35,000+ baht she has made already without the need to drop her knickers for a guy who might be older than her father and twice his weight. Why should she to go a guy's hotel room when she already earns decent money? Many bars these days have become lady drink factories which is great for the ladies.

Doing a quick run through Sukhumvit soi 33 this week, the distinct impression I get is that the soi has more Japanese-only venues and is starting to feel more like Soi Thaniya. There are still a good few bars and restaurants for westerners but soi 33 feels more Japanese-themed these days – and like Soi Thaniya, Caucasians and other non-Japanese are not merely just not welcome in the bars for Japanese, but are often refused entry.

Down in Pattaya, mamasan Da of the super popular Babydolls gogo bar will celebrate her birthday this coming Friday, January 16th. Expect the usual free food, fun and frolics.

And in Soi LK Metro, I hear that LK Destiny has been sold.

Club Malibu in Soi LK Metro will have a stockings and suspenders night tonight so if you find yourself in Sin City, swing by to check it out!

The word on Soi LK Metro is that it has not had a great high season to date.

Two friends went to extend their respective visas at the Bangkok office of the Immigration Department on Monday this past week. They were not looking forward to the trip to Immgiration after all government offices nationwide had been closed for 5 days. They expected immigration to be heaving with people but found it surprisingly quiet. Whether this is indicative of a drop in tourist numbers or is unrelated is moot.

From a former manager of popular budget hotel Town Lodge comes The XP Bangkok, a budget accommodation option on Sukhumvit where 4 floors of an apartment building
have been converted in to rooms which are available for short-term accommodation. There are a number of room styles and what sets it apart from other properties is that some room configurations can sleep large numbers. There is fast wi-fi throughout,
all rooms are spacious and have a balcony, breakfast is included and there's a swimming pool and a light gym, all in a quiet local neighbourhood. A free tuktuk operates to Sukhumvit Road and the BTS Ekamai station, which can be reached by
foot in about 12 minutes. It should appeal to those who want to stay a few people to a room and are on a budget. It's not the Hilton, but it is spacious and clean. Until the end of March, XP Bangkok is offering a 20% discount to all Stickman
readers. Just mention stickman20 when you make the booking.

If you see the name Lee Shamrock listed as entertainer in bars around town it's worth hanging around to watch him perform. Lee has been on the local circuit for many years and is quite a character, an entertainer who sings, tells funnies and generally livens things up. Here's a video of Lee performing
his take on a classic song with a Pattaya soi 6 twist. Lee can be found performing at the following times in Bangkok and Pattaya:

Tuesdays at The Australian Pub on Sukhumvit soi 11 from 9:00 PM.

Wednesdays at Flann O'Brien's Silom (formerly O'Reilly's) at 8:00 PM.

Thursdays he hosts Trivia Night at The Beer Vault, at Four Points by Sheraton, Sukhumvit soi 15, from 7:30 to 8:30 PM.

Saturdays at The Beer Vault, 9:00 PM.

Sundays at Dicey Reilly's in Pattaya, 1:00 – 4:00 PM.


Out at Khao San Road this week, I spotted what a familiar figure. Santa Claus hasn't changed his rags since Christmas Day and looks remarkably like this guy
who appeared in the column in almost the same spot in late 2013. Is it the same guy? I think it probably is. Trying to engage him and see if he needed any help didn't go down well so maybe someone else can try.

Foreigners get annoyed with Thai woman who they meet online and arrange a date with only for her to turn up very late or not turn up at all – without so much as the courtesy of calling or sending a message to say she won't be coming. Don't think that she's doing this because you're a Western guy – they do this just as much when meeting friends and when dating Thai guys. And oftentimes no-one says anything about it!

The Tessakit (City Hall officials who dress in a uniform similar to police officers) are getting sneaky in their efforts to catch people littering on the section of Sukhumvit Road between the Nana and Asoke intersections. One officer has taken to standing inside a bank branch which gives him an elevated view of the road, and from the point where he perches he is all but invisible to pedestrians. As soon as someone drops something on the ground he is out of the bank and on to them. Most of us needn't worry though – if you don't drop litter on the street you have nothing to worry about.

Not that it should come as any surprise at all with an unstoppable avalanche coming, I notice a new language has been added to the menus at Swenson's – Chinese.

It's sad to hear of people getting scammed and losing the sums of money that can take years to save. If you're anything like me, when you hear the words "scam" and "Thailand", you assume that the scammer was Thai and the victim a foreigner. That's the way it has traditionally been. One of the stories trending on Thai language social media this week is that of a 39-year old nurse in Buriram contacted by a farang on Facebook who befriended her and wished to send her millions of baht worth of mobile phones and laptop computers. In return she simply had to pay the tax owing on the items of 400,000 baht. The money was not to be sent to West Africa, but deposited in to a local Thai bank account in the name of a Thai female. It still sounds very dodgy but the nurse convinced her mother to pawn land to that value, got the cash and transferred it. Once the transfer was made the man was never heard from again. It's a classic scam which many Thai women have fallen victim to. How did the perpetrator get hold of a bank account in a Thai lady's name? Simple, he found someone willing to open an account in their name and hand over control via an ATM card – for which they would have been compensated. This is a common scam in Thailand and the message still does not seem to have got through to gullible women. Hopefully the coverage this particular incident has got will help make others aware.

A new documentary series is on the way that should appeal to fans of Thailand. Bangkok Airport is scheduled to start on Thursday, January 22nd, on BBC 3. You can watch the trailer here.

It was perhaps 4 years ago when Nick Nostitz, once known as the nightlife photographer and later known as an intrepid political commentator, first said to me that he would be leaving Thailand. Having been here since the early '90s, highly respected by his peers and with a settled and happy domestic life, I thought Nick would stay in Thailand forever. Nick has found it increasingly difficult to make ends meet as a foreign photojournalist covering the political landscape and his departure from Thailand may not be that far away. One of the news article links below is about a goodbye exhibition of Nick's works at the FCC. But Nick is not the only high-profile foreigner planning to depart. Several months ago popular English investigative journalist Andrew Drummond made noises on his website that he would be leaving Thailand before too long and when we bumped in to each other last month he indicated that his departure would be sooner rather than later. It seems like quite a few foreigners with something of a profile will be turning their backs on Thailand this year.

Babydolls Pattaya

The Strip Patpong

Quote of the week comes from Raymond Chandler in The Big Sleep and seems awfully relevant to these parts, "It seemed like a nice neighbourhood to have bad habits in."

Reader's story of the week is exactly what it says it is, "My Phnom Penh Trip Report or Phnom Penh for Newbies".

A young Frenchman is found hanged in Koh Tao with his hands tied behind his back.

An exhibition is being held at the FCC before respected German photojournalist Nick Nostitz departs Thailand.

After a traditional Thai massage, a Korean slips and falls to his death from his condominium unit.

A group of Thais find out first-hand how there are some unfriendly people and rip-offs in the Thai tourism industry.

The Cambodian government is getting serious about those working without a work permit
and those on one-year visas.

A watch seller in Pattaya stabs a tourist after they refused to buy a watch from them!

An Australian news site takes a look at Ko Tao, and terms it Mafia Island.

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
: What is the allowable alcohol limit if you are driving and are stopped by police and breath-tested? Can the police rely only on the breath test for a conviction or do they have to follow up with a blood test, as is the case
in many countries?

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: According to Section 160 of the Land Traffic Act B.E. 2522 (1979 A.D.) – 7th amended in B.E.2550 (2007 A.D.) the maximum level of alcohol in the driver's blood should not exceed 50mg%. This 50mg% or .05% depends on one's weight and size but it is approximately:

2 cans or 2 small bottles of beer, or

Light beer no more than 4 cans or 4 small bottles, or

2 glasses of wine (size 80cc), or

6 glasses of whiskey diluted in soda (the proportion of whiskey to be diluted in the soda per one glass is 1 bottle-lid of the whisky bottle).

There are 3 ways to test for alcohol level – by breath test, blood test and urine test.

The punishment for driving drunk is imprisonment up to 1 year and / or a fine from 5,000 to 20,000 baht. The driving license would be suspended for not less than 6 month or permanently revoked. It is important to note that a new law is in place that makes it illegal to have open alcohol containers in a vehicle, either moving or parked whether by the driver or passengers.

The government is cracking down on drunk driving and has set in motion a new nationwide policy for zero tolerance towards all drunk drivers.

If the result shows that you have failed the breath test, and you are certain the result is inaccurate, you would have the right to be retested with a different method (blood and / or urine), but you must inform the officer who carried out the test.

The Bangkok Noir night held at CheckInn99 this past week was a big success with a dozen Bangkok expat fiction writers descending on Bangkok's oldest nightspot to read excerpts from their published works to a packed venue. John Daysh flew in all the way from New Zealand, others came from Hong Kong and far flung Thailand provinces. The night was enjoyed by all and the distinct impression I got was that many expats are starved of this type of entertainment. For many, listening to authors reading excerpts from their published works with the chance to meet and chat with them afterwards was more fun than sitting amongst neon lights watching scantily-clad dancers. The changing mix of expats comes with changing expectations. Bangkok expat society is moving on from its infamous nightlife roots.

Your Bangkok commentator,



nana plaza