Stickman's Weekly Column August 2nd, 2015

The Days Of Easy Money Are Over

The '90s and the start of the new millennium weren't just a golden age for punters, for the owners of bars in Bangkok it was a golden time to be in business as some bar bosses made enough money that they would never have to work again. Millionaires were made, some many times over. It isn't quite so easy these days.

Having experienced the sweet taste of commercial success in his homeland, a Kiwi businessman who had a bit of a thing for Thailand, decided to try his hand at the escort business in Bangkok.

The escort website was as weird as its owner was ambitious. Rather than featuring photos of the ladies, he displayed the photo of a pretty flower. Below each image of a flower was a corresponding escort's nickname. He wanted to try something different, and separate himself from the increasing number of Bangkok escort services, most of which had websites that looked much the same – photos of girls followed by a short bio and outlining what each girl does and doesn't do. Being a little different is never a bad thing, reinventing the wheel is.

When I said to him that the gogo bar equivalent of what he was doing would be like having a lineup of pot plants up on a bar stage, it went straight over his head. And when I said that the Rainbow version would feature a lineup of intricately trimmed bonsais I lost him completely.

The ad went up and the site got traffic, but bookings were light. It's not just that customers want to see what they're getting, photos of hot women get a guy hungry. Daisies, sunflowers and rhododendrons are no substitute.

He needed photos of the ladies but he didn't want to go to the hassle or expense of a pro photo shoot so what did he do? He turned to me. A keen photographer, I was happy to shoot the girls for him.

Bangkok escort

He no doubt didn't fancy the idea of inviting a procession of escorts back to his hotel room and no way were we going to shoot them at my place. The Nana Hotel was chosen. All the girls know it and some rooms have large windows that allow the sun to stream in so we could shoot in natural light. Auxiliary lighting wouldn't be necessary.

I requested that the shoot should be done by daylight but knew that could be a problem. Many ladies of the night often don't rise until well in to the afternoon.

Knowing how fickle and unreliable Thai ladies can be – especially ladies of the night – I impressed upon him that we had a small window to work within. The ladies had to be there by 2 PM as I explained the position of the hotel and light of the afternoon sun. He was unwavering; they would be there and they would be on time.

Bangkok escort

I arrived in the lobby early. Mr. Kiwi Businessman was there, accompanied by his local female assistant. Nearby were several ladies, clearly girls on the game.

That they were on time was a good start. The way they were dressed, however, was not. These ladies looked nothing like other escorts in Bangkok I had met. Clearly they were working ladies, but they didn't look like escorts.

Some were in tight outfits showing lots of flesh. Others had lipstick as bright as a fire engine. A couple clattered awkwardly in high heels. Pleasant they all were, but sophisticated they were not. And escorts? Nah, I think not.

Escorts in Bangkok are not necessarily as elegant and refined as in other parts of the world. In Bangkok the term "escort" is used liberally when call girl would perhaps be more accurate.

Nana Hotel

The view from the room of the Nana Hotel.

What secrets did room 787 of the Nana Hotel hold? Who had stayed there? How many Stickman readers had been in that room? Was room 787 the scene of Dana's infamous ladyboy breakfast?
Photographing a bunch of ladies – fully-clothed, no less – must rank amongst the more non-descript episodes in the history of the Nana Hotel.

In a tired old room of the famous hotel, there wasn't much to work with. It looked like it hadn't changed in decades and while spotlessly clean, the décor was drab, the colours muddy. It was the perfect backdrop for a Vietnam era photo shoot, and hardly felt like 2013 Bangkok.

Help was at hand with the operator's assistant, a sexy young thing I would later learn he had met in a Patpong soi 2 hostess bar. She had brought along an entire suitcase of her own sexy clothes and makeup. The escorts preferred to be shot in their own clothes, but were happy to have their makeup redone.

Bangkok escort

Working in the confined space of a hotel room was a challenge as a dozen girls were jammed in the entranceway, the bathroom and at times spilling out in to the corridor. Eventually we would settle on shooting the girls on the bed, clichéd poses and not particularly exciting. I wasn't happy with the shots, but the escort operator seemed to be, exclaiming how beautiful some of the girls were. I never did work out if that was what he really thought, or if he was just a bit of a salesman.

Wouldn't you bonk her?, he asked me, leering lasciviously at one lass. A polite smile belied my true feelings.

We got in to a routine and rather than trying to make each girl comfortable and find poses that best suited her, the photo shoot turned in to a factory line, each girl shot in the same poses. The girls liked that; I didn't.

As I was doing my thing with the camera, the escort site owner was explaining the rules to the girls. He didn't know them well and was giving them a run-down on how the business worked. There was a schedule of prices, starting at 5,000 baht for 2 hours. He impressed upon the girls how he was running an escort service and how important it was that they stay with the guy for the full period of time he had booked. Anything less and the customer would complain. Any girl who did not fulfill her obligations would be cut off the site – and would miss out on extra income. As soon as the customer had left the girl she had to go to an ATM machine and transfer the money to him, a 50 : 50 split on all fees as is customary in the industry.

Bangkok escort

I would soon understand why these girls were familiar with each other. With the first group of girls shot, I was told that he would walk them back to their usual place of work and another troop would be brought up to the room.

He would walk them back to their place of work, the popular afternoon freelancer bar, the Biergarten in Sukhumvit soi 7!

What the Kiwi businessman was doing was hardly what you could call an escort service, but then neither was it much different from some other Bangkok escort services which operate in exactly the same manner.

The girls had each been approached by the fellow and his assistant at the Biergarten and asked if they would be willing to feature on an escort website. If they did, they could get 2,500 baht for a short-time. That was 1,000 – 1,500 baht over the going short-time rate. Of course they were interested!

In the bar business these days most girls try to make as much as they can with as little effort as possible. They're in demand and they call the shots. Any idea that this escort service was professional went out the window as the Kiwi businessman and his assistant made notes to create the girls' respective bios. They were instructed to say that they were aged under 30, when in fact some were well in to their 40s – and looked every year of it. At one point I wondered if this was something I wanted to be involved with but then this is the bar biz, and that's how things are these days. It's all one big illusion. I rationalised it in my own mind that so long as everyone was legal and there of their own volition then I could live with it.

Bangkok escort

Customers of the website thought they were getting an escort. The girls saw it as extra business and an easy 2,500 baht. The Kiwi businessman was setting up a web-based business that would see him clip the ticket of every liaison booked. Everyone thought they were on to a winner. The reality was anything but.

Soon after the photo shoot had finished I knew this escort business was doomed, but kept those thoughts to myself. I didn't want to dash the hopes of the fellow behind it who had, in fairness to him, invested quite a lot getting it set up. He'd been successful in business but I got the impression that times were tough and much was riding on this.

The problem wasn't that this wasn't a genuine escort service but a girl-to-your-door service. It wasn't that the girls didn't compare with other escort services. I knew the venture was doomed after what some of the girls did at the photo shoots. When the assistant was packing up the makeup and sexy clothes she had dragged along, some items weren't there. Some of her make-up and sexy clothing had been pinched! Clearly, the girls didn't respect her and if they didn't respect her, what hope was there of this venture working?

Bangkok escort, coloured contact lenses

With the photos uploaded and the website updated, the escort service operator returned to New Zealand. From Kiwiland he would monitor the website traffic and handle all email enquiries. In Thailand his assistant would answer the local phone number and manage the girls. When a booking was made she'd call the lady who would then go to the customer's hotel or condo. After the deed had been done, the money would be transferred from the girl to the operator's assistant's bank account. She would then presumably transfer it to the Kiwi. There were no controls in place and everything was based on trust.

Bangkok escort

Despite receiving email enquiries, no-one was making bookings via the phone. A few bookings were made by email and the assistant arranged for the girls to do their bit.

After a few jobs had been done, he waited for his share of the profits to be transferred. The money never came.

And then the Kiwi couldn't contact his assistant. He tried calling her. No answer. He emailed her. There was no response.

Bangkok escort

He had a brainwave. He would utilise technology to divert calls from a Thai phone number to his phone in New Zealand. Anyone calling would not know that the call had been diverted to, and answered by someone on the other side of the world. He could take the call in NZ, field the inquiry and if a booking was made, call the girl in Thailand and tell her the name of the hotel, the room number and the guy's name.

It was convoluted, but it was doable.

Another foreigner-owned Bangkok escort agency operated in exactly this way. For months, an Englishman operating a rival Bangkok escort service fielded all calls and emails from clients while he was in the UK. When a booking was made he would call the lady in Bangkok who would do her bit. He ran up a monstrous phone bill but he was able to make it work because he had a small number of girls. Apart from incurring the extra telephone expenses, it worked well. Unlike the Kiwi, the Brit had taken the time to get to know and build relationships with each of the girls. What's more, they weren't freelancing (as best he knew) and working for him was their primary income.

I think the girls saw this as a chance to do one short-time at 5,000 baht. They would keep the full 5,000 baht and not forward the agency's share. What could he do? They knew he was not that familiar with Thailand, Thai people or doing business in the country. It wasn't long until he gave up.

Bangkok escort

The Kiwi made mistakes from the outset. He registered the domain name in his own name. OK, so nothing came of it – but being a bit of a grey area business it's wise to take some basic steps to separate yourself from it.

The big mistake was thinking it would work without him present. He needed help and the young lady he got involved was a lovely lass, but she had other priorities. The escort service was only ever going to be a sideline for her to make a bit of cash and was never going to be her first priority.

Bangkok escort

The end soon came and the domain name was passed on to the owner of a rival escort business to see if he could make it work. A lot of time and money had been wasted.

I can't say I know exactly what it takes to be successful in a bar / nightlife / escort business in Thailand. Some business savvy, an understanding of local ways, a bit of luck and a ruthless streak would be a good start.

There was a time when the bar business was easy and all you had to do was secure a bar lease, decorate the bar and put up a staff wanted sign. Odds are you would soon be rich. Some who had zero business experience dropped a relatively small amount of money – usually less than $100K – on a lease, set up a bar and went on to make millions.

The days of easy money to be made in the bar business are long over.

Where was this photo taken?

Bangkok temple

Last week's photo was of the Exchange Tower Building on the left, with the Sheraton Grande Hotel in the far background
and the Grand Centre Point Hotel (Terminal 21) building on the right. This week's photo might look like a forest temple in provincial Thailand but is in fact in what could loosely be described as central 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 great booze ban.

Just what is it with the people running Thailand and the latest idiocy with the great booze ban. First, a new law was announced that was to take effect from late August that forbade sales of alcohol within 300 metres of universities. That was bad enough. Then the very next day that was superseded by a new law under Section 44 which doesn't require 30 days before implementation stating that with immediate effect sales are banned in the vicinity of all educational establishments. That definitely, without question, ruled that bars on Soi Cowboy were not allowed to sell alcohol. Except, as Stick wrote last Sunday, the bar owners have been told the rule doesn't apply to them. So there is a law but, as usual in Thailand, the law is being imposed selectively. I'd put that down to common sense, but that doesn't exist in Thailand so there must be another reason. There has been no thought given to cause and effect – again, as usual in Thailand – in that many thousands of Thais could lose their job if bars are forced to shut or just sell orange juice and cola. But the most ridiculous thing of all is that the new laws are totally unnecessary. There is already a law in place that forbids sale of alcohol to young people, and all the store or bar has to do is demand to see the ID card that every Thai must carry and refuse sales to those underage, just as they do in the Real World. But in Thailand that would be too simple. And, of course, underage drinkers will still buy alcohol 301 metres from their place of learning, or where they live, anyway. It truly is mind-boggling.

Changing Bangkok.

It is strange walking out of Cactus Club at 10:30 PM on a Thursday night and seeing only 20 or 25 total customer-type souls visible anywhere on the street. I remember when it would have been 200 or 250 or more. Gogo bars just can't be “printing money” like they used to. At the same time, good “regular” pubs – away from the red light areas – are doing quite good business (as in Robin Hood / Dubliner / Royal Oak, or The Game / Kiwi Pub / Australia Pub).

High-end Bangkok isn't.

Ultimately, no matter how much dirty cash finds its way into this "industry" it will always be wasted. Bangkok just doesn't have the customer base to support any kind of upscale operation for more than a wink and a nod. You can only put so much lipstick on this warty old pig. It's a low-end market. High-end punters can go anywhere and do anything. Pull a sleek tart out of a massage joint for a month. Play in Indo. Tour the Eastern Block. Grab a tart from The world's his (cough) oyster.

Business in Thailand.

Your account of the bar industry is fascinating. It demonstrates one of the ancient principles of capitalism: given equal opportunity (location, resources and customer base), a business – any business – is then subject to the performance of those who run it. That not only explains a lot of what occurs in the entertainment venues but just about everything else in Thailand (airports, airlines, restaurants, education, retail). Over time we all found our favourite bars, eateries, bookshops and stores. We tend to return to these places because we felt comfortable and, to varying degrees, that our business was valued. Over the past dozen or so years, it's been my experience that that list has steadily diminished. Some of it was surely due to indifferent management but there are less avoidable reasons.

West and East so different.

When you wrote "When a Thai ex once blurted out that I worship the truth she meant it as an insult, I took it as a compliment" you encapsulated the biggest culture-clash between Thailand and the West-in-general. You simply cannot embrace, let alone worship the truth here and preserve face, and since face trumps truth, well, there it is.

Ni-hao, welcome to Bangkok.

I needed to check out the statistics on Chinese visitors to Thailand using TAT data and here's what I found:

Total Chinese Tourists, 2013: 4,637,335.

Total Chinese Tourists, 2014: 4,636,298 (a tiny drop – but visitors from almost all countries were down much more, year on year, 2013 vs. 2014).

Chinese Tourists January – May 2015: 3,302,473.

I then went back to do a comparison for January – May 2014: 1,672,580.

Doing year-on-year calculations, it appears that Chinese tourists for 2015 will end up at 9,000,000+ – unless their country's recent (and ongoing) financial meltdown causes a significant drop for the rest of 2015 – which it very well might. The one other fact that I had to apply was: Thailand dropped visa requirements for Chinese tourists effective 9 August 2014. The customer for whom I am doing the work thinks that China will be sending 15 million or more tourists to Thailand each year, within a couple more years. If so, Thailand needs another hundred or so 3.5-star hotels, just to house the additional Chinese tourists.

Ageing Asia.

You came under criticism for featuring photos of some older and not necessarily attractive entertainers in the industry. Demographic and economic factors explain much of this. The median age in Thailand is 36, compared to Cambodia (24), Laos (22), Vietnam (29), Myanmar (28), and the Philippines (24). And the upward trend has been seen throughout South-East Asia since the mid-70's. At the same time, there are fewer farm jobs and more service and industrial jobs, bringing a rise in prosperity that made employment in the entertainment zones much less appealing than it was just 10 – 15 years ago. Something had to give and even the best managers have a tough time countering those challenges. If punters are looking for something to blame, they should try Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand."

A few good men.

No way are you overly negative about Thailand. If anything, you give Thailand the benefit of doubt when reporting on what really goes on. I can think of a Hollywood movie line from “A Few Good Men” that is applicable here: Jack Nicholson to Tom Cruise, “You can't handle the truth!” If some of your critics actually lived in Thailand full-time they would be more inclined to view the place without their rose-coloured glasses.

Owners of bars and restaurants – in fact, any business selling alcohol – remain nervous despite the about-turn by the government regarding the law which was briefly enforced last weekend whereby alcohol could not be sold within 300 metres of a school. One friend who owns a restaurant in the Siam Square couldn't believe it when on Monday officers showed up and told staff to stop selling alcohol as the business is located within 300 metres of an educational institute – Siam Square backs on to Chulalongkorn University. On Wednesday, the government did an about-turn and announced they would review the legislation and look at reintroducing it in 6 months' time; in other words things will revert to how they were and my best guess is that this will be like a bad dream and soon be forgotten about. But – and it's a big but – damage has been done and the confidence of foreign business owners has been dented. If similar legislation is reintroduced their business could be ruined overnight. Those most worried are those who have invested heavily in the industry recently. Consider those behind Chi, which will open on Sukhumvit soi 13 and is based on the old Bed Supper Club, and is less than 100 metres from NIST International School. If this law was to come in to effect it might not be a viable business – not a nice prospect for the investors who are said to have put in around $2 million. Commonsense may have prevailed this time but business owners' confidence has been severely dented.

Candy Land 1 in Nana Plaza – previously G Spot – will become the 5th Rainbow bar in Nana Plaza and named, as you would expect, Rainbow 5. This should be music to the ears of naughty boys; the Rainbow bars being well run and known for great lineups. I think I can say with a good deal of confidence, however, that Rainbow 5 is not going to please most Stickman readers. The rainbow happens to be a symbol of gay pride so I guess it should be no great surprise that Rainbow 5 is going to be a ladyboy bar, making it, what, about the 8th all ladyboy bar in the plaza? Nana Plaza's newest ladyboy bar, Rainbow 5, will open soon.

Work is progressing on the newest bar in Nana Plaza, Bangkok Bunnies, which took advantage of the 2-day bar closure this past week and from midnight Wednesday until Saturday the walls were knocked out as Spellbound and Underground became one. New signage will be erected this week and within 2 weeks Bangkok's newest and largest gogo will be up and running. The grand opening is tentatively set for August 28th; the boss wants to make sure it is running smoothly before the official grand opening.

Lucky Luke's, Nana Plaza's longest running bar, will reopen in the next few days after a rebuild. The crew has been working day and night for the past week.

What used to be The Tunnel – the passage connecting Suhkumvit sois 5 and 7 – is now a treacherous pile of rubble that has been described as a war zone. It's such a mess that you could easily fracture an ankle if you attempted to traverse through it. Be careful.

Across town in Patpong soi 2, Glamour reopened last night.

Bar Bar, Patpong's fetish bar, will host a masked ball this coming Friday and Saturday, August 7th and 8th and feature a sweet and sour slave special where you can lick honey and lime off the sexy slaves. Bar Bar members will get their second drink free and guests get their second drink half price.

It's been a few weeks since Jail Birdz finally opened, Bangkok's imitation of Alcatraz, run by the same people. Jail Birdz is on the top floor of the right-hand side of the plaza, which was a black spot for almost 2 years. That might explain why there are relatively few customers. One friend complained that a girl harassed him for a lady drink even before he'd ordered one for himself so it hardly sounds like a laid back bar. And with lots of young Japanese customers, it's smoky. Word from some punters is that while whitey is tolerated, it's obvious many girls prefer Japanese guys.

Let's give The Arab some credit for a change. In addition to producing beautiful bar frontages, I've never heard anyone accuse his bars of serving fake booze – and in Soi Cowboy there are foreign-owned bars serving the fake stuff. Not Suzy Wong's, nor Dollhouse nor any bars associated with Tilac, nor in what I think is Bangkok's best ladyboy bar, Cockatoo. But there are at least 2 foreigner-owned bars in Cowboy where accusations of fake booze being passed off as the real thing are common.

Word is that Casey How has got rid of the underage. Whether that relates to the recent article in this column about Casey How, I have no idea.

What were 4 Rebels (Thailand) doing in Soi Cowboy last week resplendent in their full-patched colours? I understand these guys don't go out in the heat fully-fledged unless there's a reason. When members of the Outlaws spent night after in Nana Plaza in their gangwear they put regulars off and some of these regulars turned to Cowboy as an alternative. Will similar happen at Cowboy or was that visit a one-off?

An update on Pattaya Bay Resort. Things have improved and the ants disappeared two days after the report appeared about them. The breakfast has improved so perhaps there was a different chef there one day. And even reception and housekeeping now have smiles on their faces. Maybe they were all just having a bad day?

How do you upset a whoremonger? If there's one thing I have come to learn about some whoremongers it is that they rather fancy themself as a man about town. They know Bangkok, Pattaya, Angeles and the like backwards – and they know more about it than you, me and the next guy. The easy way to upset them is to call them a rookie! I recently mentioned to a reader who was complaining about an experience with a working girl that he had made rookie mistakes…and he went wild! I can only guess that he saw himself as some sort of grand master of whoring. He didn't say it, but the inference was that he considered himself as something of an expert around prostitutes, knew the industry inside. Thinking that I might be on to something, I made the same comment to a couple of other people – and their respective responses were exactly the same! What is it about frequent users of prostitutes that they HATE being called a rookie? Is it such a big part of their life that calling them a rookie is bruising to their ego? Being a rookie is not shameful – we all have to start somewhere, but wanting to be known as a regular user of and expert around working girls is something that the vast majority of people would – let's be really frank here – tend not to boast about.

You used to often see Thailand referred to as "LOS" on Thailand-centric websites and forums, it being short for the Land of Smiles. These days you seldom see that term used. Is that symbolic that there are fewer smiles in Thailand these days or is it merely coincidental?

I erupted in laughter to the extent that I found myself gasping for breath when I read a report from a resident expat in Chiang Mai about the city's new Immigration office. With Chiang Mai seeing a massive influx of foreigners in recent years, visits to the Immigration office in Chiang Mai have become the bane of expats in the region as a mass of humanity descended on the small Immigration office each day. It got so bad that an online system was created allowing foreigners to book an appointment with Immigration in Chiang Mai months in advance. Some would turn up before day-break to get a ticket. A couple of weeks ago Immigration moved to a new office across town. While the new office is bigger, and cleaner, it is not quite what expats were hoping for. First of all, it's much less convenient to get to. Second, Chiang Mai can hit 40 degrees but that hasn't stopped Immigration from making the waiting area outside. But the part that sent me in to hysterics was that the waiting area for those visiting Immigration is right next to a pen of goats! Visitors to Immigration have to mill around outside, in the heat, with the smell from a pen of farm animals lingering while they wait to sit in front of Sergeant Somchai in the cool confines of the Immigration office proper. You're important to Thailand, farang, you really are!

The deadline for registering pre-paid mobile phone SIM cards has passed. Under legislation which has just come into effect, all SIM cards need to be registered as of August 1st, and those with
pre-paid SIM cards that were not registered will not be able to make calls, send texts or use any Internet functionality. You'd think that registration would simply be a case of trundling along to the local phone shop (DTAC, AIS and True
have branches everywhere), show your passport and you'd be done, right? It's never that easy… Some readers report that staff in some phone company stores don't know what needs to be done and some are turned away without completing
the registration process. One mobile phone company insists that registration means they have to take a photo of the main page of your passport. Yeah, I know, it's not that different from recording the name and birth date details,
but I find that a little unnerving in this age of identity theft. Apparently more than 10 million people have yet to register their SIM.

The story of a friend's wife sending cash through the postal system from New Zealand to Thailand shows, amongst other things, how Westerners and Thais may look at a situation differently. When a revered monk passed away recently, this little lady wanted to make a contribution so she went to the bank and exchanged NZD for 2,000 Thai baht. Rather than send it by Western Union which would have cost a little more – but is safe and fast – she chose to send cash through the post. Believing that most Thai people are honest and respect the idea of making merit, she wrote on the outside of the envelope that it contained cash for merit making. When I heard that I was surprised the envelope even reached its destination. It did, but it had been opened and the cash was gone. She wrote that message on the outside because she thought Thais would respect it and that no-one would dare put their grubby mitts on money intended for making merit. I can't imagine a Westerner would do that and few would likely even risk sending cash through the post. Some Thais are incredibly trusting of other Thais, sadly sometimes to their detriment.

Is there a hole in the justice system in Thailand? Is it possible that fugitives could come and go from Thailand as they please without those in the authorities being aware? I continue to hear stories of foreigners who have an arrest warrant in their name in Thailand coming and going from the country, exiting and entering at border checkpoints, passing freely without question. The Immigration officer's computer screen does not light up like a Christmas tree and the person, who may not even be aware that they are wanted, passes without hindrance. In investigating this phenomenon, at least one fellow in the know suggests that arrest warrants are not automatically loaded in to the Immigration computer. Said source suggests that in the case of foreigners, he would not be surprised if many arrest warrants never went beyond the local jurisdiction, perhaps high-profile cases aside. True or not, I have no idea, but let me say that I do trust the source on this.

Masked Ball

Captain Hornbag

Sexy Night, The Strip

Quote of the week comes from YimSiam, "I'd rather be standing in Thailand in 1987 with 25 baht in my hand than in 2015 with 100 baht in my hand."

Reader story of the week from SL, "Internet Dating in Thailand: In Thai Language".

The law surrounding plagiarism and copyright online in Thailand has been beefed up.

A researcher says what we already know – that there's an increase in young, middle-class Thai women marrying white men.

Could Kuala Lumpur become the prostitution hub of South-East Asia?

Confusion reigns over the Thai junta's latest booze ban.

Down in Pattaya, a farang is banged up for 2 weeks after he refuses to hand back 2 ID cards to Thai

A Japanese journalist in Bangkok is removed from his job after posting a
photo of his penis on a mobile phone forum set up by Thailand's Foreign Ministry for foreign journalists working in Thailand.

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.

: I am staying in Thailand and have a work permit, as does my wife. We are Indian. We want to hire a Burmese who has a temporary passport. She has a visa extension up to 2016 and a work permit. I want to transfer this work permit
to my family so that she can work legally in my house. Can you kindly guide me as to how can I get this legal document?

Sunbelt Legal responds: There are two steps involved in obtaining legal documents for hiring a Burmese national for domestic work:

1) Registering under the quota – This first step would involve obtaining a quota for you to hire a Burmese national to work in your household. This must be done at the Department of Foreign Employment in the province you live.

2) Obtaining a work permit for your Burmese maid – The second step would involve obtaining the work permit for the Burmese maid once you have obtained the quota to allow you to legally hire a Burmese national. She needs one to work for you specifically.

If you are located in Bangkok, Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can assist you in obtaining the quota and work permit for your new maid.

Hot Lips, Nana Plaza

It might not always be obvious where I am talking about…so look for the clue!

I often include bar industry news in the column without naming the parties involved. Some bar bosses are rather sensitive to even the most mild criticism. While I may not name the bar or people in question, often there is a clue in what I write. Let's take this excerpt from a column a few weeks ago as an example which included a clue the size of a mountain. "Things are so bad that one large, long-running, big-name beer bar way down Soi Nana which stays open long after most bars have closed could face a revolt from some staff. A bunch of girls called a meeting amongst themselves about the difficulty they have meeting lady drink and barfine quotas and how they are struggling to make a reasonable salary. Meeting quotas is like climbing Everest for the first time and there is talk of what could be a mass exodus. Bar owners looking for new staff, there's more than a dozen who want out." You do know which bar I meant, don't you? The clue makes it really easy! I have long included clues like this and find myself wondering when email comes in asking which bar I am talking about when a huge clue was included!

Your Bangkok commentator,