Part of putting this column together involves getting along the colourful characters who own bars. There are plenty of great bar bosses who I have a good relationship with and a good few I am friends with outside the industry. Being friendly with the movers and shakers of the industry might sound like fun, but there's more to it than drinking on their tab and doing photo shoots behind closed doors.
Bar owners tend to fall in to one of two camps – those who treat the bar like a real business and those who opened a bar as their own personal playground. Some of the latter think they are businessmen but they tend to behave more like a long-stay tourist. There is some overlap but ultimately those who run a bar as their personal playground don't tend to stay in business that long.
Around the turn of the century Clinton Plaza looked like it would become Bangkok's 4th major expat bar area. On the main Sukhumvit Road just a stone's throw from the Thermae, it featured a mix of beer bars out front and gogo bars in the back. The most popular chrome pole bars were the original Dollhouse and the Bangkok branch of Rock Hard A Gogo which was owned by LA Larry and managed by popular bar manager, Ricky. Rock Hard A Gogo featured something I don't recall seeing prior, nor have I seen since – signs on the bar wall stating that all staff and dancers are tested for STDs and HIV. A friend was going through a foolhardy period and got to know a lady in the bar rather well. A few days later he had the dreaded drippy dick. The dancers weren't necessarily STD-free at all. When he mentioned this to me I couldn't resist including something in the column. What the sign said may have been true – the girls may have been tested and in fairness to the bar, they didn't say the girls were STD-free, only that they were tested. I wrote about it, naming the bar but not the girl. Just a few days later I was in the bar and when Ricky spotted me he hauled me through to see Larry. I knew Ricky but that was my introduction to Larry. Larry initially put on his most serious and grave face, explaining how disappointed he was about what I had written. It was funny, Ricky standing there, trying to look serious – he is too much of a nice guy for that – and Larry trying to do the same, but again, he's a nice guy too! It was a comical affair, not a case of good cop, bad cop but two good cops. Within a minute I was sitting down and we were joking about it. We continued chatting away about the industry and Larry's plans to expand in to Bangkok and when I walked out of the back office I felt like Larry was my new best friend! That wouldn't seem like the best way to start a friendship but that's how Larry and I got started. I think just about everyone is on good terms with Larry, and he is absolutely one of the nicest and most popular bar bosses the industry has ever seen and I don't think it's any coincidence that Rock Hard was the best gogo bar in Phuket for almost 20 years. If only all bar bosses were like Larry…
Not all bar bosses take what is written in the column so lightly. Some say they don't care what is written online about their bar, while at the same time they hit the roof if their bar is not painted in a positive light.
The worst experience I almost had was after I mentioned the cover charge going up in Nana Disco, 10 or more years ago. For a long time Nana Disco was the freelancer venue in Bangkok. It was a goldmine and in its heyday it could do in excess of 500,000 baht a night. To put that in perspective, I know of only one gogo bar that does that sort of number these days and the majority don't even average 100K baht a night. In a column many years ago I mentioned that Nana Disco has increased its cover charge and I joked that a bar popular for hookers and offering little else was changing more than discos in 5-star hotels which had international acts. What was written was 100% true. There was nothing along the lines of "You shouldn't go to Nana Disco", just a price comparison. I'd write the same thing today. But the owner was not impressed. He called me and said he was going to do me in. I didn't know the guy well so just dismissed it. Writing a column like this you do get the odd nasty comment but 99% are hot air. In this instance, they were not and he set about looking for me. Said fellow was given a photo of someone he was told was me. He was told where the person in the photo lived and where he worked. Before he set about getting his revenge, he took this photo to a Nana Plaza bar manager and accompanied by two of his heavies, he asked the boss who was a friend of mine if the person in the photo was me. Said bar owner said yes, that's him! In fact it wasn't and the bar manager has no idea who that person was. What happened after that I don't know and I don't want to know.
One time a bar owner got seriously ticked off with me and I never knew why. For a long time the most powerful character in the industry in Bangkok was the head of the Crown Group. Back around 2001 and 2002 we would bump in to each other regularly and we had dinner with mutual friends a couple of times. About half of the bars in Nana Plaza were his and he was in charge through Nana's golden period. Probably something I wrote pissed him off – I was raw back then – because my inability to join him for a dinner invitation set him off one night and he barred me from all of his bars – about half the bars in the plaza, hardly ideal when you're trying to chronicle the industry. He would go in to the plaza in the morning but he was seldom about at night so the ban was ineffective. That was the only time I have been banned from a bar, which in retrospect is a little surprising.
I have long strongly believed that the age at which ladies can work in the industry is much too low. At 18 most Thai females are just not prepared for it and I think 20 would be better. Underage was a bigger issue in the past and I wrote some strong words back before the column started about Midnite in Soi Cowboy. That bar changed hands a number of times around the end of the Millennium and at one time one owner had a bunch of dreadfully underage girls. A very good bar became a place to avoid. When I wrote that it should be avoided and why, the owner contacted me and said that he should be congratulated for taking in girls who would otherwise be on the street. He took what was written in his stride, most likely because that was way before words online were taken seriously. Write that today and it would not go unnoticed.
Some bar bosses are ultra sensitive about what is written about their bar, and even if it is not written about. One of the bosses of Club Boesche, Pattaya's most popular gogo bar some 10 or so years ago, was painful to deal with. In the end I realised that if I mentioned Boesche and said anything other than it was the best bar in Pattaya, I'd have him on the phone giving me an earful. I then stopped mentioning Boesche completely and he calls me asking why I don't mention it. I couldn't win!
I've been accused of cosying up to bar owners I like, and writing positive reviews about bars which advertise. For a few years I raved about Tilac Bar and from around 2008 through to perhaps 2011 I often mentioned Tilac, culminating in the glowing review in the column of April 19th, 2009, Tilac, Simply The Best. I seldom said anything to the bar boss and he seldom said anything to me and frankly, that's how I like it. There were nonsensical posts online that I was given an envelope with 10,000 baht every month from the bar. Total nonsense.
Perhaps the biggest criticism those of us who have chronicled the industry get from bar owners is that we get things wrong. We strive to get things right but, sure, sometimes mistakes are made. It's most annoying when what you write you know to be true but the owner screams and yells and tells you that you have it all wrong. This happens way too often. The owner of the excellent BangkokEyes tells me how he occasionally gets called out by bar owners questioning what he has written. Unlike me, the notes he makes on his rounds are kept. Even when his notes provide evidence of what he wrote or he has a photo (for example, to show that a bar was closed on a particular day), some bar bosses vehemently deny it!
I was really disappointed recently when a death occurred in an expat bar area and there were accusations leveled at a particular bar where the dead guy had been just prior to his death. Many bar owners want to tell you their version of things so I contacted the boss. He didn't want to comment. I pieced together various eyewitness accounts, didn't mention the name of the bar nor so much as hint at which bar it was, but he flipped! Sometimes you just can't win.
The writer behind the long defunct Baronbonk bar site gave me one piece of advice, "Young Stick", he said, in that booming baritone voice of his, "It's a minefield out there! Don't trust anyone, they're all in it for themselves." A minefield it is!
The bar industry isn't the cleanest of industries and there is some stuff you're best not to go near. A couple of the major players are self-declared gangsters and one has told people he could have them killed. You have to be careful what you say and there is no upside to disclosing secrets. At the same time you have to be honest with that which you do write about. It's amazing how sensitive some bar owners are and that has made chronicling the industry more difficult in recent years. There are some bars it's best to refrain from mentioning at all.
It used to be so easy to make money in a bar and all an owner had to do was secure a lease, decorate the bar, buy in booze, hire girls and the punters would come. It was easy money, often very good money. Those days have changed and with commercial rents going crazy, girls hard to come by and punters with higher expectations and less willing to part with their hard-earned, it's not as easy as it once was. That has made some bar owners a difficult bunch to work with. Fortunately there are still some good guys out there.
Where was this photo taken?
Last week's photo was taken from just below the Ploenchit BTS station with The Address Chidlom, the plush high-end condo in the background.
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 – What will be, will be.
The reason Thais have such a high rate of infidelity is, in my opinion, the same reason why so many Thais ride motorbikes without crash helmets whilst drunk, or pull out into highways without looking: to them, if something is going to happen it is going to happen. So there is no personal liability or consequence to one's actions. So, if your marriage is going to fail or your husband is going to beat you up, well, he would have done so whether or not you had shagged the bloke at the office. So why not?
Infidelity, a symptom of a changing world.
Strange that you should write on the subject of infidelity, a subject that I tend to reflect on more from the aspect of "relationships" begun with no clear goal of what the end result will be. Here I am referring mainly to the situations involving Farang / Thai liaisons – and the morality of embarking on a journey that should be seen as something sacred – but, sadly, is all too often treated by the Farang male as perhaps inconsequential. The whole subject of relationships / marriage is treated very loosely in our modern society – and nowhere is this more evident than in TV content that is flippantly passed off as entertainment, when the message contained in the script of the TV show is adultery, cheating in any way possible – and even accepting murder as an everyday occurrence of no great event. Where have our morals gone? Seems we have lost the plot.
The Thais are more honest.
I think the Thais simply admit their infidelities more honestly than other countries / cultures. There's a stigma in many places that has people denying their indiscretions publicly.
Infidelity is a complex issue with many possible causes as you mentioned. The one point that I thought was spot on was your comment that people may cheat if they think the likelihood of being caught is low. During a period of my career I was involved with fraud investigations / forensic accounting in the investment industry. In addition to figuring out what happened, a big part of our job was to help firms develop procedures and controls to prevent future events, with the understanding that you can never prevent fraud, but making it difficult and increasing likelihood of detection would discourage many. We called it situational ethics, meaning that most people are basically honest, but if they are pretty sure they will not be caught, many would go ahead and commit the crime. Thailand has many gentlemen clubs, massage parlours, karaoke bars etc and it's all pretty discreet.
Bye bye, Brisbane.
I was sad to see that The Royal Thai Consulate will close its doors. I almost regarded Mr. Bill Dunn as a friend and found all of the staff there like a happy family. We would socialise with Mr. Dunn at Thai Wat Buddharam. So many happy memories seem to have started at that little office on Annerley Road. When I looked at their website tonight, I saw the closure date listed as a temporary period. I wonder if it really will be a temporary closure.
No different in Korea.
I really enjoy reading your columns and am sad to see you go, though I'm glad the site will continue. Just to add to your thing about being a foreigner in Thailand and never being accepted, I'm a Korean American who has lived most of his adult life in Korea, and though I look and act the part, I'll never be accepted 100% here either. That said, I'm glad I'm not because Korea has so many bad points, as in a high suicide rate, a lot of elderly in poverty and the like. I ended up marrying a non-Korean woman from Southeast Asia and we have a beautiful baby girl. I still get jobs and work in Korea, and well, I've realized that I'm not 100% accepted in the U.S. either, though the rights situation there is better than in Korea. I've long given up on fitting in and being in the mainstream, and well, being an outsider isn't always bad.
When your pipe is grabbed.
After coming to LOS for 17 years I have become a crime victim. I had just made an ATM withdrawal at Central Mall in Chiang Mai when I felt someone bump in to me. I thought that was an amateurish pickpocket move but I wasn't concerned as I keep my cash in a pouch attached to my belt and tucked away. Later I realised the thief had added my pipe tobacco pouch to his day's haul. I carry that leather pouch in my back pocket as a decoy. Guess it worked. I had to settle for a donut, but then someone started screaming that they are allergic to second hand powdered sugar.
Bar owners need to go back to basics?
I cannot believe bar owners are crying poor. The facts are simple. Prices for drinks are through the roof. The girlfriend experience is non-existent and short time and long time charges for minimal services are way over the top. Punters will only be ripped off for so long before they give them the flick. Mum, dad and kids walking through Nana and Cowboy do not buy drinks or barfine. They take selfies and piss off punters. Where I would regularly spend 4,000 – 6,000 baht for a good night out, I either do not bother going or I just call one of the dancers after she has finished work. No barfine, no drinks and the girl knows her job. Back to basics, bar owners!
Changing for the better.
A lot of readers seem to be moaning that Bangkok has changed for the worst cos they can't get cheap good sex anymore. In my opinion this is just a consequence of development. Some key aspects of development are improvements in opportunities for women in terms of health, education and equality. Bangkok is developing quickly and its rise mirrors the fall of the place where I originate. The population of Bangkok is young, dynamic, ambitious and outward looking. So don't be surprised that young Thai ladies are no longer interested in fat auld white fellas dressed head-to-toe in jarg clobber.
Girl of the week
Megus, escort exclusive with NewBangkokEscort.com
An educated lady, Megus is a university graduate,
who realises she can make more money away from her field of study.
I am told that Megus is ravenous and always wants to eat more…
The coyotes who welcome customers outside Soi Cowboy's Spice Girls have covered up. Instead of wearing just their coyotewear, this week they were sporting long-sleeved white shirts placed over the top of their skimpy outfit. To my eyes, it actually makes them look even sexier (and concealing tats helps too!).
A friend in Pattaya this week reports that in 3 Walking Street bars he barfined ladies out of he had to pay the entire fee to the bar up front – including the girl's fee. This might not be something new but I haven't been to Pattaya in some time and this is not something I have heard of before. In at least one of these bars he was produced with a computerised bill for the fee which suggests the fee is set and the practice is standard. In each of the three bars this practice was in place the fee was 2,500 baht – and that is on top of the barfine. That was the fee for short-time. I have never heard of this before and am surprised by the practice because any establishment accepting a fee for services is skating on thin ice with regards to the law. Accepting a fee to release an employee from her employment obligation for the night is one thing, but for services is altogether something else. No names mentioned here but we're talking big-name bars, one of which has a sister bar in Soi Cowboy popular with Japanese. Over the years some punters have been asked to pay a fee in advance and can be nervous about the practice as they are not sure what would follow. In each case everything went well and there were no requests for more money later.
I am aware that some folks are taking bets on not if, but when I'll be back in Thailand. Once I'm on the big bird, don't bet on seeing me back any time soon. Those who like to place a wager might like to bet on whether the bar on the top floor of Nana in which construction stopped months ago, Jail Birdz, will ever open. A few months back a Japanese fellow was recruited as manager for Jail Birdz but was based in Bubbles. He was handing out Jail Birdz Bar business cards with his name on them where he was listed as manager. There has been no progress at Jail Birdz and count me amongst those with doubts about whether it will ever be completed. If it doesn't open that would be a great shame – the concept is good and the plaza desperately needs some good news.
Strikers, the large open air beer bar / sports bar in the Raja Hotel car park, still gets good raps and the girls are fun. There happen to be 3 sisters working there from a family in the lower Isaan region, the first 3 of 5 sisters. The parents tried for a boy but God never answered their prayers.
Temperatures are rising and we're about to hit the hottest month of the year. The temps might drop a little at night but it's still awfully warm. As such, more than a few dress light and venture out in to the night in shorts. The wearing of shorts in the naughty bars is one of those innocuous topics that gets some busybodies unnecessarily heated. For many of us – and count me amongst them – it's simply more comfortable to wear shorts at night in the tropics where the temperature can hover around 28 degrees and humidity levels can be almost off the chart. But there are more than a few who feel that shorts are strictly beachwear and should not be seen in red-light areas. Shorts aren't a good look in an upmarket bar, but Bangkok's expat bar areas are hardly upmarket. I don't see any issue with wearing shorts at all, especially if you're on holiday. Don't worry about what you wear in the red-light bars. With that said, keep the singlet for the beach or the poolside.
The cost of entering the bar industry is a whole lot greater that it used to be. Some of the big name gogo bars operating today were acquired / set up for under 3 million baht 15 odd years ago. It would cost 5 – 10 times that to acquire or set up a similar bar today. If you are interested in acquiring a bar in downtown Bangkok but don't have silly money to throw around, there is an opportunity to enter the industry with a bar for sale in Sukhumvit soi 7/1 / Soi Eden. It's a 2-storey beer bar available for a very reasonable 1.5 million baht. There are 17 months left on the current lease with automatic renewals in place for 2 more periods of 3 years, what is locally referred to as "3 + 3". And the great thing about this lease is that there is no key money. Admittedly the bar is quiet but with the monthly rent just 65,000 baht, it always covers its costs. It's not that bust so there is clearly upside potential. If you're interested, drop me an email and I will forward it to the owner.
A column opener I have long wanted to write but never got around to – as much for reasons that I don't want to upset some of the very people the article would be about as anything else – is about the role of foreign bar managers in expat bar areas. They may refer to themselves as a general manager but usually it's more a customer-focused role. Their primary duties are to keep an eye on what's going on in the absence of the bar's owner and to meet and greet customers who feel comfortable with a fellow Caucasian in charge. What is often misunderstood about the foreign bar manager's role is the managing of Thai staff – which is often not part of their responsibility at all. Many Thais working in the bar industry have little respect for foreigners and they may ignore the farang manager completely. Some may even mock the manager, referring to him or speaking to him using crude words which can be particularly painful to watch when the farang boss does not know they're taking the piss out of him. There is one bar manager who stands out though when it comes to dealing with Thai staff and who, in this regard, is, in my opinion, in a class of his own. Captain Hornbag. He has an excellent rapport with the Thais and most staff respond well to him. I don't know if it's the fact that he is a good looking dude or perhaps that he has a greater presence than other bar managers, or simply that he is more assertive. But for sure, when it comes to dealing with the Thais, Captain Hornbag, in my opinion, does a fantastic job and in this respect is in a class of his own.
An interesting new service has just been launched to help foreigners in Thailand with any problems they have – everything from where the language barrier makes things difficult or just when doing something yourself could be a headache or waste a lot of time. The services offered include an errand-running service for shopping, paying bills and getting things posted. They offer an immediate photo-translation service from as little as 10 THB where you send them a photo of a sign, menu or notice and they will call you right back and translate it for you. Tasks this last week include helping a client recover his lost cellphone, phoning stores to locate hard-to-find products, arranging for handymen, fighting a pharmacy on the client's behalf when he was overcharged and arranging for the delivery of a daily serving of fruit from a street vendor to a client too ill to leave her condo. For the next 2 weeks, Stickman readers can get 300 THB free credit to test their service out. Visit their website here to get started.
One of the odd slang phrases used by Thai people to describe Thais who go to developed countries, overstay their visa and stay a long time actually comes from English, "Robin Hood". They will say something like Somchai by Australia Robin Hood which would translate as Somchai went to Australia and just disappeared. No, it has nothing to do with Somchai taking from the rich to give to the poor as in the legend of Robin Hood but a rather different meaning. And what is particularly odd is that you cannot say in Thai that a foreigner who comes to Thailand and overstays their visa (as so many do) has done a Robin Hood. That "Robin Hood" comes from English surprises many Thais and that it's the name of a heroic outlaw is totally lost on them. It's a phrase you pretty much only hear amongst Thais abroad or Thais who have spent time abroad.
Who is the Sukhumvit art thief? Margarita Storm, at the mouth of Sukhumvit soi 13, is not just known for great hamburgers, it's also known for the many fine photographs on display in the restaurant. The venue has received a number of offers for a fine art print which was posted in the men's room. Perhaps they should have accepted one of those offers because this past week the cleaner was the first to discover that someone decided they liked it so much that they had taken it for themselves. The only thing that is known about the thief is that he is male.
There is no more popular character in Bangkok fiction than Vincent Calvino, Bangkok's favourite private investigator. Post-coup Thailand is the setting in Christopher G. Moore's latest Calvino novel, Crackdown. Calvino enters a world of ancient maps, political graffiti, student protestors and murder – and the finger points at Calvino as the killer. He searches for allies who will help him prove his innocence. Crackdown is available now on the Kindle from Amazon and should be in Bangkok book stores in the next couple of weeks. If you like Crackdown, there's a large back catalogue to work through with Crackdown the 15th novel of the gripping Vincent Calvino series.
Many of us long-term residents along with frequent visitors complain that Bangkok is not what it was. But in many respect the city offers much more today than the place I arrived to in the '90s. One area where Bangkok has really grown up is dining options. Bangkok has always been a great place to dine out, but in terms of Western food it is so much better today. After strong recommendations from 2 friends, I finally checked out the Smokin' Pug (150 metres down Suriwong Road from Patpong, just past the Tawana Hotel). We shared the wings which are easily the best I have had in Bangkok – really, nowhere comes close. I had the beef brisket sandwich and the other half had the pulled pork chilly. Everything was great! If you crave really good American food (yeah, I know, what's a Kiwi know about American food?), pop by and try it out for yourself.
A reminder that the original branch of Sunrise Tacos closes at 6:20 AM on Wednesday morning so you only have a couple of days to enjoy the outdoor setting (all the other branches will remain and new branches will open in the coming months). The small but immensely popular Thai food eatery at the front of the New York Gardens will also close on Tuesday. I note that V8 Diner which sits slap between Sunrise and the Thai food place has no plans to close. Rumour has it that the people behind it and Insanity are in a legal battle with the landlord over when they will close.
If taxi drivers refusing to take you to where you want to go frustrates you or taxi drivers who drive like maniacs cause you undue angst, or any of the many complaints leveled at Bangkok cabbies cause you to feel you have been treated in a way you shouldn't be, download the DLT Check In app to your mobile phone and you can rate the driver. It would be nice to think this app might cause Bangkok taxi standards to improve, but I'm not holding my breath!
The ED visa has long provided an easy means for foreigners to remain in Thailand. All one had to do was pay the school fees, never attend class, show up at the Thai language school every 3 months to get one's paperwork and go to Immigration for your 90-day extension. Those days are over! The crackdown came about because some un-named schools were hawking ED visas like a gift from God to people wanting to stay here long-term but who had zero intention of learning the language. There are so many foreigners who have a passport full of visa extensions based on being a student of Thai yet they speak hardly any Thai, some openly bragging that they have never attended class. Previously, the Ministry of Education imposed a minimum of 4 hours per week – which is not nearly enough to make any sort of real progress and they have since bumped it up to 8 hours a week for a 6-month course or 10 hours a week for a year-long course. Some schools have got tricky and circumvent this by teaching the same lesson twice and / or offering what they term online resources. It should be noted that this crackdown does not affect those schools which you could never call a visa mill, the schools where you go if you want to actually learn the language such as Union, UTL, Rak Thai, Piammitr, Nisa Sumaa, AAA and maybe one or two others. The system at these schools is for genuine students with 3 or 4 hours a day study in class from Monday to Friday the norm. The Immigration Department now really does check attendance, although some visa mill schools are said to routinely fudge this for students. There are some schools which have put the hard word on students and attendance is way up. It used to be that you could walk past certain Thai language school branches and not see a single student anywhere but now you see as many as a dozen in the classroom. Another interesting fact is the restrictions in place by the Ministry of Education which mandate that for every student enrolled at a specific location, a school needs xx square metres of classroom space – so some schools have entire floors filled with unused classrooms which they rent to meet the square metre per enrolled student rule! Some schools list on the visa extension paperwork that a student is enrolled at a different branch. If every enrolled student showed up to study at some of these visa mill schools there wouldn't be enough teachers. To recap, it used to be that when you studied Thai you got an ED visa and upon entering the country you got 90 days permission to stay. After 90 days you would go to Immigration and apply for an extension of stay which would be another 90 days. You could do this for a year and then you had to exit the country, apply for a new visa outside the country, re-enter Thailand and the cycle restarted. Now, you still get 90 days when you enter the country but the extension is not a standard 90 days and could be anything from 90 days (increasingly rare), more likely 60 days but possibly 30, 15 or even just 7 days! And once that extensions is up you have to exit the country and start the whole process again. This has all come about because of widespread abuse of the ED visa system.
Quote of the week comes from a reader, "I know I have had too much drink in Thailand when I don't remove the ladyboy's hand from my thigh."
Reader's story of the week comes from Steve Rosse, "The Breakfast Club".
The Guardian reports that in Thailand, big brother is watching you!
The Thai Prime Minister says he will probably execute journalists who do not report truth.
The mayor of Pattaya wants to change the image of Sin City from a seedy nightlife hotspot to a family destination.
A light-fingered Aussie steals 2 tiger prawns in Phuket and is chased by the vendor.
Some Thai airlines face ban on new flights amid international safety concerns.
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: My Thai wife and I wish to formally adopt my wife's sister's son. My 44-year-old wife is childless. Young 'Mac' is 5, his mother currently resides in Malaysia with her Malaysian partner and their child. Said lady is in total agreement with the proposed adoption and the child, although young, is smart and understands about living with us. Extended family are in agreement. Personally, I am a fit 67 year old Aussie on a retirement visa. I have a comfortable and steady income and savings. Our marriage is formalised and recognised in Oz. Adoption would be of considerable assistance to the boy in the future as my wife is entitled to a widow's pension upon my demise. She would also receive child support up to the age of 25 should he be undertaking education. Degree of difficulty known please?
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors responds: The Thailand Child Adoption Act requires that the adoptive parents must be over 25 years old. The foreign resident needs to provide proof of residency and house registration. There is a probationary period unless the applicant is a blood brother or sister, half-blood brother or sister, great grandfather or great grandmother, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, or lawful guardian of the child to be adopted. Written consent must be given by the parents. Officials will investigate your home and your suitability as well as that of the person giving consent for the adoption (the mother). During the probationary period, the parent can remove consent for the adoption. Once the probationary period has passed and the adoptive parent has been deemed suitable, the applicant has six months to register the adoption or it will be determined that he or she has waived the adoption and the child will be returned to the person who consented to the adoption.
Question 2: I have a Thai company with 4 directors and my condo is owned and registered in the company name as per the 51% Thai / 49% farang ownership ratio. My Thai girlfriend has been living in my condo for approximately 2 years and it now looks like the relationship is coming to an end. Does she have any legal rights regarding the condo? I have been supporting her for the same amount of time, and pay the bills associated with the condo. Is it a simple situation of once we have parted company then she is obliged to move out?
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors responds: Your girlfriend could lay claim to a portion of assets that you obtained during the relationship on the basis of being considered a life partner. However, she would not have any direct claim on the condominium as it is owned by a company (a juristic entity). Even though you own shares in the company, you and the company are treated as different entities. It would be a matter that she would be obliged to move out and it is probably best to discuss and negotiate this issue with her. However, if she refuses to cooperate you could consider the option of involving legal recourse and contacting the police.
I previously announced that the final column would be at the end of March so this should actually be the last Stickman column, but it is not. I later amended that saying I'd wrap things up on April 5th – next week. With just a couple of weeks left in the country things have become hectic and it looks like the final column will now be April 12th. Next week's column probably won't be the final column. It might even be that there is no column next week which would push the final column out to April 19th, but I think it most likely there will be a column next week and the final column will be April 12th. Do these delays mean I am having second thoughts? Nah, basically I want to make the most of what little time I have left, while at the same time I want to make sure I get the message right in the goodbye column hence it looks likely the final column will be April 12th.
Your Bangkok commentator,