They said I couldn't hack it in the real world. They said I'd be rushing back to Thailand in no time with my tail between my legs. One friend even said that from the moment I woke up on the first morning away from Thailand I'd miss it. Why leave Thailand for a small, cold, insignificant, isolated country at the bottom of the planet? Had I gone crazy?! It's more than 2 months since I left Thailand so now seems like a good time to ask the question everyone is asking, Do I miss it?
The simple answer is no, I don't.
I could say I miss being able to buy fresh tropical fruits like mangoes, Marian plums and lychees at giveaway prices, but that is offset by the fact that I can buy fresh NZ-grown fruits like apples, kiwifruit, pears, persimmon, avocadoes etc at similarly ridiculously low prices.
Yeah, I miss the warm temperatures but the other side of that is that I get to breathe the freshest air in the world.
I miss the low cost of living but where in New Zealand the cost of living is so much higher, that comes with higher standards, free healthcare and a life free of hassles and corruption.
Of course there are things I miss, but almost everything that I do miss is effectively cancelled out but by a corresponding advantage.
I thought I would miss the food in Thailand but with fresh salmon and blue cod in the local supermarket, how can I not be happy where I am?
If it can be grown in both Thailand and New Zealand, 95% of the time the NZ version is better. And if it doesn't grow here, it probably grows in northern Australia – and as such is available here (and better than the imported Thai version).
I'd like to say that I miss the fact that you can get a decent meal for next to nothing at any time of day in Bangkok – but that's meaningless to someone who wakes up early and goes to bed early. I haven't eaten a meal at odd hours for, well, years.
There are a few particular establishments I miss. The weekend seafood buffet at the Hilton in Pattaya was always a favourite as was the Mexican buffet at Bourbon Street. The burgers at Margarita Storm stand up amazingly well compared to burgers in NZ. Ditto for the weekend brunch at Indus and the one eatery which I have not found an equivalent in NZ, May Kaidee, the outstanding vegetarian restaurant out by Khao San Road.
Ok, so I do miss the relatively low cost of living. My total spend the past 3 years has averaged 1 to 1.1 million baht per year, not bad when you consider that included 2 trips to New Zealand a year, a couple of trips within the region and plenty of travel within Thailand, all on top of living in a 95-square metre fully-furnished apartment in the heart of the city, eating out every night and buying decent camera and computer gear. I'm dreaming if I think I can replicate that lifestyle in Auckland for anywhere near that amount. My best guess is that I'd be looking at about $100,000 per year to live like that here – which means you'd need to be earning close to $150K before tax per year. That means less eating out and thinking hard about whether I really need that new lens.
I tend to notice the cost of living with the smaller things. $6 an hour to park in town. A ticket to the movie $16 – throw in parking and popcorn and it's several times what it costs in Thailand. At Scala in Siam Square, tickets are still just 100 baht.
It's clichéd to say that you miss friends. It's not just the fact that you miss seeing them, I think it's more than that. It's the bond that is formed from multiple shared experiences, a bond that deep down you wonder whether it will be quite so strong when you see them next….whenever that may be. The friend you had pizza and wine with more times than you can count. Or the friend with a range of businesses who you pop by to see at one of his restaurants and before you know it you've had several Margaritas and bed time is approaching. Or the friend I used to eat Italian with most Monday nights. It's the bond that comes from old friendships, those friends I have known for many years, that I miss. When will I see them again, or even will I see them again? Emails and texts just aren't the same.
Part of it too is that in Bangkok some friendships concern shared experiences you just wouldn't have anywhere else. The Midnite parties, the early days of Nanapong, crazy nights out with the Dirty Doc, there have been nights out in Bangkok that you just couldn't experience anywhere else.
Bangkok is the heart of a fascinating part of the world and with Air Asia and the like you have all sorts of interesting travel options. It's one of the truly great things about being based in Bangkok – it feels like the world is as your doorstep. In less than 2 hours you can be in any of several countries
Stuck down at the bottom of beyond, the choice of countries to visit from New Zealand for a few days break away is limited. Within 3 hours you have Australia (very nice, but for me it's a case of been there, done that a zillion times already and besides it's not that different to home). And then there are the Pacific Islands which I am sure are beautiful, but I personally prefer to visit somewhere with a bit more going on.
From New Zealand, India is a 15-hour flight, Hong Kong 11 hours, ditto Saigon. And the airfare alone will set you back around $1,000. You're not going to go there for just a few days. I don't feel isolated per se, but the truth is that in New Zealand you are.
Ok, so I miss the bars, right? How could I possibly not miss the pretty girls, the neon and the vibe? I don't miss it AT ALL. Really, I don't!
I miss some people, friends like Dave The Rave who I would pop by to see every week. But that is really where it ends.
I thought for a while I would miss shooting in and around the bar areas but I have to remind myself that in the month before I left a number of bar managers asked me to swing by and do one last shoot but I declined because I was burned out on it. It's nice to reminisce about all the bar shoots but at the same time I have to remember that I had bored of it.
It's nice to look at old photos from the bars and reminisce but really, I don't miss the bars and the bar industry at all.
Some said I would miss the eye candy. Sure, it was nice, but there's so much more to life than leering at pretty ladies and just talking about it makes you sound like a letch.
I sure don't miss the skytrain and underground. They may be fast, cheap and convenient but they're hardly comfortable. I used to walk everywhere in Bangkok, even if it was a few clicks in the middle of the day, I'd walk. Car ownership in NZ isn't cheap, but it sure is nice to rediscover the joy of driving.
The lack of a sense of purpose amongst so many (mostly retired) expats is something I don't miss. Those unable to fill their days with interesting things to do and who would get online and moan and groan, or moan and groan in the bars are folks I don't miss at all.
But more than anything, what I don't miss is that feeling which is not quite fear, but is well beyond concern, that feeling which every expat who is genuinely in touch with what is going on in Thailand feels. Escaping Thailand I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom. Some people tell me how free they feel in Thailand but my take on that is that they are mistaking being able to misbehave and fulfill their sexual fantasies with freedom. That has nothing to do with what I would call freedom.
Things might change in time – in fact I am sure they will – but asking myself if I miss Thailand the answer is easy. At this stage, no, I do not. Maybe when Winter starts to bite the warmth of Thailand might become more attractive. Maybe when I acknowledge that in Auckland's booming property market you need the best part of a million dollars to buy a semi-reasonable house otherwise you're living in a shit suburb or a shoebox might make me miss Bangkok's ridiculously inexpensive accommodation options. Or maybe when realisation dawns that the decline of Kiwi sensibility is almost complete and has been replaced by political correctness I might start to miss the Thai ways and a trip to the airport seem like an option.
Despite chilly nights and the major headache that comes from trying to enter a property market totally out of control, I really don't miss much at all about Thailand, a few friends aside.
Where was this photo taken?
Last week's photo was taken of the entrance to Crazy House bar on Sukhumvit soi 23.
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 – Earn it, then I'll pay it.
Pay up front? They have to be kidding! This has only happened to me once in Thailand – on Samui. I was presented with the drinks and barfine bill, and then the agreed bonking bill. This did not feel right at all. The young lady went off to collect her little bag; I paid the drinks bill and simply left. Once the money has left your wallet, it is gone. It is your only guarantee that some level of customer service will be provided. Over the years I have had heard so many excuses for a 5 AM departure (or earlier) after "long time" was agreed. I basically received a one shot short time with a nap. Stay calm, say I completely understand that she feels very hungry and has to go to the temple with her friends as today is a special tam boon day, give her the short time rate with a big hug, smile and say, "See you tonight!" Everything paid up front? Forget it, it's money down the toilet! In general, services and goods are paid for after delivery, and not before, unless dealing with companies where there is some recourse. With female company? Certainly not!
3K baht just to walk out the door.
Who the f**k would pay 3,000 baht just for a barfine? Add 2 drinks plus the cost for "services" and it's 6.5K minimum, and that may not even be long-time. You're better off taking a real (never been P4P) girl out on a date; that's an investment that could provide much more value, emotionally & physically, in the long run. It is mind-boggling!
Former bar owner on bar fees.
There were a few things you didn't mention about bar fees. The yearly 'gift' baskets that are given around Songkran / Christmas and also each time there is a personnel change at the cop shop. They change the cops out every few years to stop corruption which means the poor bastards in the bars have to provide a 'welcome' basket for the new cops. Usually just some bottles of Red Label whiskey and some pink sheets. I did once challenge the policeman (via one of the staff) asking what I could 'get away with' in the bar when it came to dealing with rowdy customers – like giving someone a slap. I was told I should not slap anyone – and that all I need to do is call them (we had a number) and they'd come and 'deal' with the person – with a wink. It's one of the things I don't miss about the place!
Dual-pricing transcends industry.
I have a Thai friend who has operated small bars around Soi Twilight for a few years. 100% Thai-owned, he pays considerably less than a foreign-owned bar, just a few thousand baht a month.
Par for the course.
Great to see you are still at the helm, so to speak and we are all glad of that. It would be dreadful for the site and your input to disappear. One thing troubles me though. You are obviously an honest person that won't let the truth slip by. However, do you think it wise (for your own safety) to reveal all the goings on in the bar industry? I think it's well-known that in South-East Asia (and elsewhere) palm greasing is widespread at all levels. Whether it's unpalatable to honest folks, it's a system that works, and the wheels of progress turn smoothly as a result. I remember when on an escorted tour of Italy a few years ago, our nice female Italian tour director recounted how things are done there. If someone wants a new telephone connection, you can go about it two ways. 1. Submit an official application with Telecom Italia, and wait two years for it to happen. 2. If you know someone who knows someone and you pay an additional "fee", it will be done the following day. In that situation what would you or I do? Of course it's wrong – but that's how it is!
Seeing it for what it is.
The bar scene in Bangkok is prostitution. They may dress it up, but the only purpose of Nana, Cowboy and Patpong is to get customers to spend money. That's it. The sooner readers realize this, the sooner they will either 1) leave the scene or 2) learn how to enjoy it on their own terms. Never fool yourself. The bargirl, bar owner and mamasan are there for one reason and one reason only, to get your money. There is nothing wrong with that, the crime is in not understanding and coping with it.
Big is beautiful?
One thing that hasn't changed is that even when you give bar owners the opportunity to submit the best shots of their girls, there's no hiding the fact that the Thai diet is continuing its relentless expansion of the padding – even the coyotes aren't exempt. I guess we'll just have to accept that big is beautiful.
Darkside tours exist?
I'd like to pose a question if I may. I'll be in Pattaya with 4 or 5 mates in June and I'd really like to tee up a bar crawl on the dark side to show these blokes something different as none of them have experienced east of the train tracks before. Try as I might, I have not found any reliable service that runs tours / taxi pick-ups and drop-offs from Central Pattaya to dark side. I can only find outdated links from 5 years ago and other punters seeking similar info. Do you happen to know of anyone that may be able to help?
There is life after Thailand.
I left Thailand, after 10 years, on November 2014. After two months in the USA, I flew to Guatemala, stayed there for two months then headed south. Now I'm in Peru. I have crossed off two destinations on my travel bucket list –The Panama Canal and Machu Picchu, so now it's time to reflect. I really like the people and food in Central and South America. Yeah, they eat rice here too, but meat and potatoes are also staples and I like that. I have enjoyed hearty meals consisting of a bowl of soup followed by a meat, rice and usually potatoes and a drink for as low as $1.32 USD! The people have been great and eager to help me, especially in Colombia and Peru. In Lima, Peru, I asked how to get to a certain area on their version of the skytrain. The attendant explained the procedures, and when he learned that I did not have a fare card, he stopped another passenger and asked him to help me get to my destination. I gave the man my fare, a modest $0.50 cents, he escorted me through on his card, then walked me out at the final destination. And he seemed actually delighted to be of service. I think tourists are more of a novelty here and the locals have yet to develop foreigner fatigue like many Thais have. I enjoyed my time in Thailand – until I didn't. No sense in banging my head against the wall when it is so easy to hop on an air plane and leave it all behind. Just one guy's perspective…
Girl of the week
Tequila, Club Electric Blue, 22 years old
Photos provided by Club Electric Blue
Nana Plaza could be plunged in to darkness next month as one of the main tenants, The Nana Group, is talking about walking away from as many as four of their bars. I don't know which properties that would be but I would guess you can take your pick from Bubbles, DC10, Monster Ink, Candy Land, Billboard and Suckers.
Soi Cowboy really was plunged in to darkness on Friday night. The soi was doing a roaring trade with Tilac said to be brimming like in its heyday. Around 11:15 PM the power went out on the southern side of the soi with Rawhide the only bar which still had electric. Needless to say, many punters simply crossed to the other side of the soi. I note that when the power goes out on Soi Cowboy – which is not infrequently – it's almost always the southern side which gets knocked out.
Things really are bad in Nana Plaza with word from multiple sources that there is much uncertainty about the future of one of the ground floor gogo bars – and not one of the aforementioned Nana Group properties. You know Nana Plaza is in trouble when the owners of a prime ground floor bar talk about handing back the keys.
If all of these Nana Plaza bars close – and I maintain that's still very much an if – the plaza will be thrown not just in to partial darkness but in to crisis. If 5 bars (or in a worst case scenario, even more) were to close, there would be fewer bars to visit. Word would no doubt get distorted and some would think the entire plaza had closed. In the old days there was a queue of investors keen to get in to the bar business with Nana the prime spot. Those days are gone. It's much more difficult for bar start-ups these days with the initial investment just to get in to the industry sky high and recruiting girls a challenge that even well-established bars struggle with. If some Nana Plaza landlords do choose to walk away, Soi Cowboy would be the major beneficiary. It could all snow ball and if more bars were to fail, the plaza could all go tits up before you could say, "Anyone want a free bar?" Many in the industry agree: Nana Plaza is perilously close to being in crisis.
The whole Nana Plaza situation hasn't been helped with Soi Nana being ordered to close at 1 AM from Thursday night. All bars, including the Hillary bars which are usually still going strong beyond 4 AM, have been closing at 1 AM sharp.
Friday night at the Pong was described as strange with many bars low on girls. As one long-time Stickman reader and regular correspondent described, it was as if a giant UFO flew down and scooped many of the dancers up! What makes it weird is that even the mamasans couldn't explain why it was so quiet. Very strange for a Friday.
There have been hints – nothing more than that, just hints, that August might see a Nanapong dance contest. So if you enjoy that full on spectacle, don't make any appointments in August that can't be cancelled!
The new majority shareholder at Spellbound also happens to be the owner of Underground – the bar next door which was long known as Voodoo – is talking about knocking the wall down between the two bars to make what would be Thailand's largest farang gogo bar. It would not be the biggest gogo bar in the country, however – that honour goes to one of the Thai style gogo bars at Saphan Kwai which is more than 10 shophouses long. Creating such a large venue in these troubled times seems bolder than bold. Given that few bars are full these days, the question that must be asked is why?! My feeling is that a huge bar would be a huge mistake. Just look at the likes of Candy Land and Billboard, large bars which can't even hire enough girls, let alone get customers in the door.
The gogo guru himself, Dave The Rave, can see the ship is sinking and has left Nana Plaza, his second home for the last 16+ years. Dave has enjoyed a glorious career as a bar manager that has seen him at the helm of some of the best bars in the plaza during their heyday including Pretty Lady in the late '90s, Hollywood from the turn of the century before he later moved on to Angelwitch and Spellbound. Is Dave the latest guy with a web presence to have turned his back on Thailand? More about Bangkok's best known bar manager in the next week or two.
Popular sports bar The Game, which is located under the Nana BTS station, will celebrate its 3rd anniversary this Wednesday, June 10th with drinks specials and a free buffet from 7 – 8 PM.
And heading a little further down Sukhumvit, according to one employee, Lollipop1, the blowjob bar in the small alley just off Sukhumvit soi 10 which one bar boss described to me as a rough bar with even rougher girls, will close on July 15th. There are said to be no plans to relocate to another location.
Since being stocked with some good-looking girls, Goldfinger, one of the longest running bars in Patpong soi 1, actually has girls being taken out frequently these days. If you haven't visited recently, do stop by and check it out.
Glamour, the large gogo bar on Patpong soi 2 opposite Foodland that you never hear much about, is a curious venue which seems to be closed almost as often as it is open. It is closed again. It sometimes has a bunch of really pretty ladies but with prices higher than other chrome pole bars it has never really caught on with Patpong regulars.
Bar Fly in Sukhumvit soi 33 has changed hands and format and is now known as the Kangaroo Sports Bar. Located right in the middle of soi 33 near the Family Mart, there's reason for hope on a soi where few bar owners seem to be getting rich. Local beers are 95 baht day and night.
One of the classic old names of soi 33 is to return with news that Renoir 2015 will open in the spot that was previously Lips. Whether there is any relationship to the Renoir of old which closed a few years back, I do not know. Renoir 2015 will be located about 40 metres further up the soi from the location of the original Renoir.
Across town in Patpong soi 2, Pink Panther has a bunch or cuties. Some Friday and Saturday nights there is not a single seat available. Even if there is, the seats are a pain in the ass. The banquette seating is too far from the table meaning customers must lean forward to reach their drink. Another complaint in Pink Panther is that some staff are more concerned about themselves than customers. There are two sets of regular seats just inside the door and that is where a regular reader of this column prefers to sit. Being a Tuesday night it was quiet and wait staff were sitting at the regular seats playing on their phones. He pointed at the seats and said he would like to sit there, naturally thinking that they would move. Amazingly, they said no and told him to go sit at the banquette seats! Needless to say, Pink Panther lost a customer that night.
Thais like to keep it in the family. Ask the average Thai what would make them happy at work and many will tell you it would be for all of their workmates to be their clan. Presently in Goldfinger, in Patpong soi 1, there is a group of 7 girls who are all related and who all live in the same apartment. 3 are sisters, same mother but different fathers. 2 others are real sisters. There are also some cousins and an aunt. Needless to say there aren't a lot of secrets in Goldfinger. Don't go gossiping about one member of staff with another!
Barfine rates which vary according to whether you intend to take the lady short time or long time are now in effect in at least one Bangkok gogo bar. What is interesting is that the rates (700 baht short time / 1,000 baht long time) are in place irrespective of the time of night. So even in the hour before closing a customer has to pay the long-time rate if he plans to take a lady long-time. It seems punitive as she is not likely to return to the bar as realistically there is little chance of being barfined again. Some girls acknowledge some regulars aren't happy about the new rates and are willing to negotiate their own compensation down to ensure that it is not they who lose business.
These barfine rates might sound steep but they are nothing when you consider how much a very small, select number of ladies in Bangkok charge these days. Escort Amy's rates start at 15,000 baht for 2 hours and overnight will set you back a whopping 50,000 baht! Good on her if she can find punters willing to pay it. I do have to say though, that even if she was as Michael Douglas described Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct", the f**k of the century, these rates seem excessive in terms of local Bangkok market pricing. * It should be noted that Amy's rates are not representative of most Bangkok escorts – all night with a lady from the top local escort agency, BangkokEscort, is 9,000 baht.
Notices at Post Offices in downtown Bangkok state that the Prime Minster of Thailand has ordered that customers must present an ID card or their passport, the details of which will be recorded, when sending a package weighing in excess of 2 kg through the postal system. Some say it is to do with drugs while others say it is to monitor those selling product online via EBay and the like. My guess is that it may be a control to prevent explosives being sent through the postal system.
Quote of the week comes from a reader's story this week, "The gogo scene in Bangkok is now awful. It is focused on extracting money from your wallet."
Reader's story of the week comes from The Adviser, "The Real Long".
A judge has signed off on extraditing an American man to Thailand (guy must have had a shitty lawyer as I can think of zillion pretty good reasons a lawyer could successfully argue against that.)
A report in Pattaya One suggests Pattaya police now allow foreign nationals to sell their pussy on Beach Road.
Andrew Drummond looks at an Irishman stripped of 7 properties in Thailand whose daughter pleads for justice.
Sanitsuda Ekachai's editorial in the Post this week about Buddhism and nationalism is more brutal honesty from the Post's standout reporter.
A Westerner opines about driving in Thailand.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that what they have termed the war in southern Thailand is threatening to spread.
Ask Sunbelt Asia Legal
Sunbelt Asia's legal department is here to answer your questions relating to legal issues and the law in Thailand. Send any legal questions you may have to me and I will pass them on to Sunbelt Legal and their response will run in a future column. You can contact Sunbelt's legal department directly for all of your legal needs.
Question 1: I have heard rumours of people getting a hard time from Immigration upon arrival at the airport for apparently coming to Thailand without a visa and hoping to enter on a 30-day visa exemption many times. I am told some have been cautioned that in the future they will need a visa next time and are let in, while others have been turned around, sent home and told to apply for a visa if they wish to return. Are you able to provide some clarification as to whether there is a limit on how many times a person can enter Thailand before needing a visa? To use myself as an example – I visit Thailand 6 times a year, each trip lasting no more than 27 days. I have been doing this every year for about 6 years without a problem. In the future will I be denied entry for coming too many times? If so, how many trips is too many? What would the purpose be of obtaining a visa if your stay is less than 30 days? Why would Immigration turn away any tourist arriving to spend money in Thailand?
Sunbelt Legal responds: While the law does not stipulate a limit on the number of times that a foreigner can enter Thailand on the 30 day permit, Immigration has found that this type of permit has been misused by some visitors and encourages all travellers to apply for the appropriate visa for their stay.
Deciding whether or not to refuse entry or to stamp the passport that the visitor needs a visa for the next trip is up to the officer's discretion and will depend on his or her view of the visitor's real intentions and visa needs.
Question 2: In the future, my wife may be buying a home in Thailand. She is earning the money for this herself so I am not too concerned about signing the forms that make the home wholly hers, which I know is a sticking point for many American husbands. We have not decided if we will retire to Thailand or use the home for vacations. But in the end the home will go to her children. My question is, however, at the time I have to sign the paper saying that the home in Thailand is fully hers, can I also have her sign at the same time saying that the home in the US that I am paying for is fully mine – since I also owned it prior to the marriage, but will have paid it off by the time she buys her home.
Sunbelt Legal responds: While you will be required by the Thai Land Office to sign a document that any land she purchases is not a marital asset, there is no document in Thailand that would apply to property in the United States since it is not in the same jurisdiction. Your best course of action would be to contact a lawyer in the United States to see what your options are there.
Question 3: My wife and I have been separated for over four years now with no contact between the two of us. At the time of separation I was unwilling to sign for an uncontested divorce at the Amphur. I believed that my wife had to wait for a duration of three years until she could then file to the court for a divorce. There has been no contact between us during this time. Is it possible that she could already have filed for divorce and even divorced me without my knowledge? I have received no contact from her or any documents confirming this. If in the future I do agree to sign for an uncontested divorce, can this be done at any Amphur or does it need to be in the area of the original marriage certification?
Sunbelt Legal responds: It is possible for your wife to file a petition to divorce on the basis of abandonment, but she will need to prove to the court that she has been abandoned. If both agree to dissolve their marriage (without involvement from the court), both could simply visit any District Office to register the divorce (as well as returning the original marriage certificates). It does not have to be the same District Office that the marriage was registered in. If both of you are not in Thailand, this could be done at a Thai embassy.
Question 4: In 2012 I was introduced to a charming, educated and pretty Thai lady in Bangkok. We went out on a number of occasions during my holiday and upon my return to the UK we kept in touch. The lady in question advised me she was studying and she needed money to help with her studies and general life expenses. I helped out a little bit by sending her some money. I was aware that she had previously graduated from a Thai university. After 2 months she advised me that she had obtained a visa to visit the UK and that she would like to come and stay with me. I agreed, paid for the airfare and met her at Heathrow. She stayed with me for 4 months which were wonderful happy times. Upon her return to Bangkok I visited her on 2 separate occasions where we spent 2 happy weeks together on each occasion. During the year I knew her and considered her my partner I continued to send her money. On the last occasion I left Bangkok in April 2013 we had arranged and agreed that she would return to stay with me in the UK for a 6-month period from August 2013. I provided her with a further £3,000 to pay for the airfares and expenses. She never came and she informed me in July that she had met someone else. I have recently been shown photos of her and her new partner dated April 2013 when I was still supposed to be with her 2 weeks after I left Bangkok. I doubt her new partner was aware of me and I have also been told by one of her friends that she had a number of men on the go at once besides me. I also know she has changed her name to the surname of her new partner and I have been able to track her down on Facebook. I am advised that as I had given her money to visit me and to pay for a ticket that this could be construed as a civil debt and that I could pursue this through court in Thailand. I am aware that she does not reside in a Thailand but visits often. I believe she deceitfully took my money under false pretences and although I would like to name and shame this girl I would like to retrieve my money first and foremost. I am sure this is a very familiar story that you, Stickman and the readers have heard often and people will say I should not have trusted her. Well, in life who can you trust? I would ask your opinion on this as I feel your answer will be useful to many other people who have been blatantly ripped off by someone who they believed to be their partner in Thailand and whom they were led to believe they were going to have a future together with, instead of being fed a tissue of lies and deceit. I have all of the bank receipts and her telephone text messages on record to produce as evidence, if need be. I regularly visit Bangkok so it would not be a problem for me to attend court. Can someone be summonsed to court or could I obtain a court order against this lady if she has not actually physically been presented with a court summons? Alternatively, if I named and shamed this lady publicly could I find myself in trouble or have problems with the authorities when I visit Thailand?
Sunbelt Legal responds: A Thai entity (individual or a juristic entity) can be summoned to court, as all Thais will have their name registered in a house registration (for population census and national and local election purposes). In order to pursue a legal action against another party you would need grounds, evidence and proof relevant to your claim.
In your case you would first need to identify if there were any written agreements between you and your ex girlfriend (specifically a loan agreement). If you did not execute a written agreement, it is likely that your case would be viewed by the courts as a gift.
It would be best to discuss your case and claim with a local lawyer in detail as well as to review the proof that you have in order to determine whether there is a case. If yes, then you would need to discuss with your lawyer the route he or she would like to take on the claim. Possible paths could include a criminal charge of fraud.
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors would also recommend that you not publicize the issue (to cause any shame on her), as she could then turn around and file a defamation lawsuit against you which could see you arrested on your return to Thailand.
Most weeks there is at least one item in the bar news section with words to the effect of rumour has it… I only mention these rumours if they come from a trusted source and as such I believe that the rumour is likely to be true. That doesn't mean that it is true, but that I believe it may well be. I get a lot of news tip-offs about stuff happening that I don't include, but if I include something with the proviso that it's a rumour, it means that I value the source but I have not been able to verify it OR I have attempted to verify it but have been unable to do so OR I have attempted to verify it, it has been refuted but I don't believe the person who refuted it. With regards to refuted rumours, some bar owners have long been known to deny things because they are embarrassing or happen to just plain make them or their business look bad. I'll save their blushes in such instances and use the word rumour.
Your Bangkok commentator,