Stickman's Weekly Column September 20th, 2015

The Nameless Patpong Bar Group




The Silom Road end of Patpong soi 2 used to be dark and dingy, the little reason to visit unless you were in the market for knock-off brand name handbags. The area has slowly transformed and what was the quietest patch of Patpong is now amongst the busiest. 5 of the best bars in Patpong are found on Patpong soi 2 and three of those bars – Bar Bar, The Strip and Black Pagoda – are now under a single farang management team, a bar group without a name.










Patpong


From Silom Road, the first bar you get to on Patpong 2 is hardly representative of the area, its exterior featuring skulls, cages, mannequins scantily clad in leather and a jolly, if rather sleazy dude wielding a cane. It is the character-filled exterior of Patpong's one and only fetish house, Bar Bar.






Patpong


A fixture outside Bar Bar for many years, Lucky waves his cane and fires out quips and one-liners. He delights in shocking first-timers and "Fetish bar, come inside, you never try, you never know!" is amongst the more mild quips in his repertoire. Show him you're game and the words get much more colourful!






Patpong

Jigsaw, the current manager at Bar Bar.


If you dare venture up the stairs, the entertainment level ratchets up to a whole new level. First-time visitors are usually taken care of by the unusually nicknamed manager, Jigsaw. She will take you under her wing, explain what it's all about, establish what you're looking for and make recommendations accordingly.






Patpong

Brace yourself, this at the very mild end of the spectrum!


Bar Bar is nothing like any other bar in Bangkok (Demonia aside). There's no dance floor, no flashing lights and no dancing, although if you really wanted the girls to dance, they'd probably be happy to…it'd be amongst the more mild things they've been asked to do. Bar Bar is not for the mild, but for the wild! It's where you go to spice things up.

There's no other way to put it – some weird shit goes on in Bar Bar. You can indulge, or you can simply observe a show as the girls play for you…and you pay for their drinks.






Patpong

They tell me that fetish is more about the experience than the girls themselves.


I'm not going to try and sell Bar Bar to you, because truth be told I can't get my head around it. When I see the girls playing I feel like laughing. I get the feeling that deep down they do too. But some people get off on it and if you really want to say you've tasted all the Bangkok nightlife options, you've got to go once.






Patpong

Cat has long been a fixture in The Strip.


Right next door to Bar Bar – technically, Bar Bar is directly upstairs – is the second bar in the Nameless Patpong Bar Group – and one of my favourite bars of the chrome pole variety, The Strip. Outside the bar I see Cat, a fixture at The Strip for as long as I can remember – which I guess means she has been there, on an off, since around 2008.

With a friendly crew, it's one of those bars I really feel at home in, and as such I have featured it in this column numerous times. It's close to 6 months since I have stepped inside but most of the service staff remain, including the cute cashier who looks as lovely as ever. As for dancers, most of the gogo girls remain but the coyotes are all new.






Patpong


The Strip is an odd bar that works when it shouldn't. It's pokey, run down and much of the space is wasted by the booths which are, to be frank, an ergonomic disaster – you cannot possibly do inside those what couples do after a barfine has been paid, yet many try. Only Billboard has a worse ventilation system than The Strip which feels smoky even when there's only one punter smoking in the bar. I guess that means it has a great vibe because despite the drawbacks I always enjoy visiting.






Patpong


With a look that would usually turn me right off, there was something that drew me to her. Conspicuous tats, piercings, short hair – all the things I don't go for, yet there was something about her. My experience has long been that birds with so many tramp stamps overdo it and feign confidence which often comes out more as a bitchy aggressiveness. Not this lady.

The Strip runs 2 theme parties alternated with 2 beer promotion parties, every month.






Patpong


The next property in the group is Black Pagoda. Easy to miss if you're not familiar with the area, the entrance is right next to the open again, closed again Glamour, and opposite Foodland. You can either climb two flights of rickety stairs up a dimly lit stairwell full of graffiti and right out of an '80s New York gang movie, or take the lift which, frankly, isn't a whole lot better. And by the time you get up to and see the used panties dispensing machine adjacent to the entrance of Black Pagoda proper, you're starting to wonder what sort of bar this is.






Patpong


Inside, Black Pagoda features a mish mash of furniture. Did the owners buy it at a second hand furniture store sight unseen? OK, so it's a hooker bar, the lighting is low, the music is loud and the girls are hot so it's not like the mix of all of this zany furniture – some of it plush, some of it plastic and some of it broken – really matters.






Patpong


Step inside Black Pagoda and you discover the coolest laid out gogo bar in Bangkok, situated inside a bridge connecting two buildings either side of Patpong soi 2. Floor to ceiling windows on either side making a great vantage point to watch what's going on down at street level.






Patpong


Black Pagoda features gogo dancers and coyotes, with one group on one side of the bar, the other on the other side.

Many punters lament the coyote concept and there's a decent argument that they have not done the industry much good – at least from the perspective of the guy who actually wants to pay a barfine.

The coyote girls of Black Pagoda love to be photographed; the gogo dancers hate it. The Black Pagoda coyotes are friendly, fun-loving and engaging; the gogo dancers struck me as anything but. Chalk and cheese doesn't seem strong enough to describe how different each of the respective groups are. The coyote girls of Black Pagoda eschew the reputation of coyote dancers in an industry in which many punters decry their presence. They are happy, approachable, engaging and available. The night I was there the gogo dancers in Black Pagoda were surly, stroppy and for the most part just milled around and either couldn't or wouldn't dance.






Patpong

Those Mr. Magoo-esque glasses actually suit her.


Smiling girls in Black Pagoda made a change from what I saw in other bars. There's an odd dynamic in Black Pagoda, with the coyote girls and the gogo dancers largely doing their own thing, reminding me of my 2001 trip to Cambodia where in the likes of Sharky and Martini you had the Cambodian girls on one side and the Vietnamese girls on the other, with no mixing.






Patpong


If I was still doing a girl of the week section (I tried but it didn't work – supplied photos weren't up to scratch and I really need to be there to explain to the girl what it's all about), this lady would have been a shoe in. Tall (she towered above a certain Mr. Rave), friendly and with a ready smile, she was as sweet as she was pretty. It was such a whirlwind tour of Bangkok that I remember almost nothing about her from her name to her age to where she comes from.






Patpong

Outside the entrance to Black Pagoda.


The Nameless Patpong Bar Group is owned and run by foreigners and the management team features a Creative Director, a marketing guy and the gogo guru himself, Dave The Rave, oversees all three of the highlighted bars as operations manager.






Patpong


The one complaint I have about The Strip and Black Pagoda – it does not apply at Bar Bar – it is that the music was way too loud, louder than it ever used to be and much louder than any other bar I stuck my head in. It was so loud that at The Strip we had to go outside to converse. The girls were indifferent to it.






Patpong


Patpong has a handful of short-time hotels, as well as hotels with rooms by the hour. Just off to the side of Black Pagoda are rooms that can be used. Featuring crazy lighting inside, they are cozy with space for a double bed and little else.






Patpong


The barfine for the coyote girls in Black Pagoda is 1,500 baht, for gogo it's less. Anyone with any taste would grab a coyote. A package will set you back 3,000 baht which covers the barfine and a short period of time in an adjacent room and the rest.






Patpong

The coyotes in Black Pagoda are much friendlier than the gogo dancers.


It would be easy to say that Black Pagoda was the best bar I've visited in the last 6 months – I only visited half a dozen different bars when I was in town recently – but I have to say that Black Pagoda was a little bit special. In its unique position two storeys above Patpong 2 it has always promised so much, but in truth it never really delivered on that promise. There was always some problem or another – more often than not it was not enough girls. That problem has been solved. Add the best gogo bar manager in Bangkok keeping an eye on things, some structure to what goes on inside and you end up with a unique bar with a special vibe which you don't want to leave. Black Pagoda has always had an awesome setting but never hit the high notes, until now. It is, in my eyes, the flagship property of the Nameless Patpong Bar Group.






Patpong


Individually, Bar Bar, The Strip and Black Pagoda have always been decent enough bars. Collectively, they offer a varied and compelling product that makes a trip to Patpong worthwhile.

The group is working on an area-wide website about Patpong as an evening / late night destination, promoting not just the bars but also shopping and dining. They plan to host periodic street events / parties which should benefit the area in general and neighbouring venues like Club Electric Blue and Bada Bing. The inaugural event will be Halloween when Patpong Soi 2 will be decorated, there will be a costume parade around Patpong and participating venues will have a party. This is planned for the last two days of October and the next event likely to be held at Christmas.

There is no reason why the Nameless Patpong Bar Group (my name, not theirs) can't become a major player in the industry. If they improve their marketing and lower the volume of the music they have the product to entice punters away from the popular hotspots of Sukhumvit.






Pure Bangkok Escorts



Where was this photo taken?




Last week's photo was taken of the golden lion statue outside the entrance to Times Square building, opposite Sukhumvit soi 15.


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 Bangkok better today.

I'm a younger guy who has been living on and off in Bangkok for the past 6 years. While I can see your viewpoint if I look for it, every time I take a break and come back I also see what has positively changed. Thais are more educated, better travelled and more fashionable. More girls want to date foreigners and this includes the kind who wouldn't dare before, including light-skinned and Chinese-Thai girls. Foreigners seem to be getting more sophisticated, from working class barely surviving to well off computer whizzes. There are ever more upscale bars and restaurants with great food and atmosphere. Internet speeds are up, more reliable and continue to be cheap. The ongoing transformation is not without its casualties of course, but there are two sides to every story.

No regrets leaving.

I could completely relate to this week's column, "Back to Bangkok". I remember very clearly when the spell was broken for me. It was my first real time away from Bangkok in 7 years. Upon my return, everything that I had seen before as quaint suddenly became bothersome. I could no longer overlook the rudeness of cutting in line, dirtiness, smells, bad attitudes, incompetence, and just about everything irked me in some way. I was quite surprised by my reaction. My Thai wife had been asking me for years to return to the USA. I resisted and at one point I would have done anything to stay but now was looking for an exit strategy. I think you really do come full circle. I was there from 2000 to 2007 with a few small breaks in between. I knew I had hit the wall my when health was failing and my daughter was turning school age. I realized I could never compete with Thais in business on an even playing field. I came to my senses and realized I was never going to be anything more than a second-class citizen. I have returned several times since then including as recently as a month over last Christmas and New Year. I remember speaking to someone and they said oh, you must be so excited about your trip. I replied No, I lived there for 7 years. I too noticed Thai people were less friendly and we were almost run over while trying to cross the street. I never even stepped foot in a bar, and spent most nights sitting at Rosa Biengs on Soi 11 with what few friends who are still alive or who hadn't left Thailand. I guess the fact that I was 39 years old when I first came to Thailand as opposed to 54 now has something to do with it. And, yes, the broken pavement really takes a toll on my arthritic back and body. After 8 years in the USA even my Thai wife has become disillusioned with Thailand to some extent.

Bargains to be had.

I'm planning a visit and poked around last weekend looking at prices for the mid- to late-November time period, and was very surprised by the value. LAX to BKK starts at $580 on Air China. Tons of flights in the $600 range with Asiana and Korean at ~$710. Lots of hotels on Agoda in the core Sukhumvit area with ratings above 8 and 4- to 5-star (Agoda ratings) in the $65 to $80 range, with others rated high 7/low 8 and 4- to 5-star in the $40 to $60 range. Seems like some awfully good deals, especially the flights. I wonder why? Couldn't be to encourage tourism in the wake of the bombing and other negative press like Koh Tao, could it?

Chinese welcoming Chinese.

As many have noted, there is a vast upswing in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand. Amusingly, when I recently passed through Bangkok, two of the Immigration agents working in the Visa On Arrival area were chatting to each other in Mandarin Chinese. I find it amusing that the Thai government may be doing better on the customer service front and responding to changes than the hospitality industry of hotels, restaurants, etc. which react to the Chinese influx in a much less positive way.

Weak baht beneficiaries.

I must say that the devaluation of the baht has been good news for me and other Americans collecting Social Security. I'm getting several thousand baht more than I was just a few months ago. Given the truly dismal state of the Thai economy, I expect that the baht will be falling significantly more. I read a New York Times article recently that called for the Thai central bank to devalue the baht by 40%. I certainly wouldn't cry about that!





Thailand's best gogo bar.

What's Up is still far and away the best gogo in Thailand with stylish, professional shows, a great sound system, some very talented dancers and a stunning line-up – at least 80% of girls are in the 'would-bang' list. I've pleaded with the owner to open somewhere in Bangkok, but she won't move from Pattaya. Those guys who just bought the upstairs bars at Nana could do a lot worse than taking a look at her business model. I usually stay in a gogo bar for one drink and then move on but at What's Up I'll sit with my buddies for 2 or 3 hours and ring up a huge bill and still feel like it was worth the money.

Goodbye to the Golden.

It's just a bit sad about the Golden Bar. It's not for everyone, I know, but it's a no-hassles bar with the ultimate people-watching position for the freak show and the prices are good. The Hillary chain just sucks money out of pockets manned with all sorts of desperate drink-begging vultures of all sizes (bordering on the geriatric and obese). I'm told some birds don't even get a salary in Hillary and are only drink quota based. It'll be a sad loss to Soi Nana when the Golden goes.

Bar crappers, not crappy bars.

After having had the misfortune to use the filthy toilet in Shark, I had the idea that, when things are slow, you could do a column on bars with the cleanest and dirtiest toilets. For me, Shark has the filthiest while most other bars are ok. Also quite dirty is the one in Suzy Wong, while the one in Long Gun is clean but smells bad. Crazy House has the most annoying toilet attendant, bluntly asking for 20 baht tips just for opening the water faucet. I still like the toilet in Tilac <Me tooStick>. In Rainbow 4, the toilet could do with a makeover or at least providing clean tissues to dry your hands instead of the hot towels that get reused without washing them.

Mummy, what does that mean?!

Connoisseurs of tramp stamps will appreciate the philosophy and intricate workmanship involved in the creation of this splendid example of bargirl body art * see photo below. At the age of just 19, she has clearly made an important lifestyle decision. One can only hope that her future loving husband is either illiterate or a very understanding person. But I cannot think of a decent explanation for her future kids. Maybe better not to have any.


Thai tattoo





Some amazing photos and video came out of Pattaya after Tropical Storm Vamco hit Sin City hard this week. Sois were turned into rivers, vehicles floated away, chronic water damage caused some smaller buildings to topple, footpaths and roads caved in, trees were uprooted and much more. Every year the Pattaya authorities come out and say that the infrastructure has been repaired / upgraded and everything will be ok the next year. No-one believes them although in all fairness, there's only so much you can do to protect against that bitch, Mother Nature.

Speaking of the Pattaya waterfront, it seems that they're always working on something there. I mean, can you ever remember a year pass by when there was not one or other major or semi-major project on the waterfront / beach road area?

The staff at Sugar Baby will throw a party this coming Thursday, September 24th, to welcome new manager, Mister Egg. Since taking over the popular chrome pole bar, the egg-headed one has made a few changes. One of the first orders of business was figuring out why the beer used to be so warm. No, it wasn't because many of the customers were English, but rather in what appears to be an only in Thailand situation, it was discovered that the bartender used to turn off the fridge when he arrived for work because his hands got cold! That no longer happens although whether the bar has provided said bartender with gloves isn't known. A new air-conditioning unit has been added so you have cold beer being served in a cool bar with hot women. Party night will feature free food and Mister Egg promises lots of fun.

On the subject of bar bosses in Pattaya, I hear that Mister Egg's replacement at Secrets, a white bird, has already been retired. Poor old Secrets seems to be struggling these days.

It didn't reach Pattaya levels, but there was a mini flood in downtown Bangkok this week as work continues on what was The Tunnel, between Sukhumvit sois 5 and 7. The ongoing work is presenting challenges to businesses in the immediate vicinity which are still operating. The main storm water drain is broken and the rubble is higher than the floors of the Sukhumvit facing shops and hotels between sois 5 and 7. ChckInn99 has a bilge pump continuously pumping grey ground water out through several umm, errr, non-water board approved places. Customers have been amazingly tolerant.

The renovated PlaySkool's 2nd birthday party will take place this Thursday, starting at 8 PM on the ground floor of Nana Plaza. There will 100 baht Leo, Chang and Singha all night and you can join the sexy PlaySkool girls for some adult education!

You can spice up your life at the Night Of The Mistress party at Demonia in Sukhumvit soi 33 this coming Friday and Saturday. Please note that there can be confusion between Demonia and Bar Bar in Patpong soi 2. They are both BDSM / fetish bars and operate in a similar format but they are two different bars, each with a different owner.

Crossbar (about 200 metres up soi 23 beyond Soi Cowboy) is extending its happy hours from opening time, 11 AM, through until 7 PM, from Monday to Friday. Local bottled beer will be 80 baht a bottle, Tiger draught pints 100 baht, Heineken / Asahi draft pints 120 baht and local spirits 100 baht a shot. Premium spirits are a very reasonable 120 baht a shot – it's worth noting that many bars which do happy hours only discount the crap spirits, not the good stuff so it's good to see Crossbar coming to the party. The happy hours will also apply at the weekend from 7 PM – 9 PM so you can enjoy the early kick off Premier League matches with happy hour drinks and be seated and ready to watch the 3 PM UK kick-off matches.

To those complaining about the high prices at Hooter's which opened in Bangkok 2 days ago, just what did you expect? The Hard Rock Café has Western prices and there was no reason to expect Hooters would be any different. And even then, the prices aren't that high. Geez, some people complain about anything. As my good friend Mark Prado who runs the excellent ThailandGuru.com used to say to me, never complain about the price of something as you have no control over that; instead you should strive to work harder or smarter and make more money because that is something you can control.





I've commented on naughty bar websites over the years in a less than favourable light. I feel so many do such a poor job of showcasing the bar they're supposed to be convincing people to visit. Some feature dreadful photography while others are years out of date. The best Bangkok gogo bar website today is the revamped Club Electric Blue website. What I like is that not only is it regularly updated with photo galleries featuring the current crew on stage as opposed to silly passport style photos that some gogo bar websites feature, it also has a history of photo galleries from the bar which go back to when the bar in that location was known as Rififi. The photo galleries go back all the way to 1984, making it a great slice of bar history.

Farmers are keen to plant a second rice crop despite the government strongly advising against it due to the extreme lack of water. So if your favourite working girl comes from a farming background and she has disappeared, it might not be that she has gone to Switzerland with Franz or America with Chuck, but that she is upcountry helping out on the family farm.

Foreign retirees desperate to stay in Thailand who may not have the requisite 800K Thai baht in a local bank account may involve themselves in questionable dealings to remain in the country legally. Some dodgy visa companies collude with the odd errant Immigration officer and offer a service for those who don't have 800K baht in the bank to get a 1-year extension of stay (what is known by some as a retirement visa). What happens is that the dodgy visa run company sets up a new bank account in the foreign retiree's name, transfers 800K Thai baht in to it and lodges an application to Immigration to extend the person's stay for one year with a printout of the just opened bank account showing an 800K balance. The visa is issued and the company, which has control of the account in the foreign person's name, withdraws the 800K baht which they then use for the next person's visa application. This service has traditionally been offered in various locales around the country for a fee of around 15K baht. In the wake of the crackdown following the Bangkok bombing on the Immigration Department, apparently a stop is being put on this. How many people this will affect, I have no idea.

Another Immigration policy change took place this week at the Chaeng Wattana (Bangkok) Immigration office where visa extensions on work permits must be accompanied by a photo of the director of company with the employee in the workplace. Changes to Immigration policy like this happen frequently. Sometimes they last and become fixed policy, oftentimes they are forgotten about within a few weeks.



Calvino World



Vincent Calvino's World, a non-fiction work by Chad A. Evans, was released this week. This is the first study of the cultural, social and political aspects of Christopher G Moore's 15 wonderful Calvino novels published over the last 25 years. Vincent Calvino's World will be in Bangkok bookstores soon and can be ordered from the publisher or as an ebook. The publisher's press release and page for the book is here.

Steve Bain has published a short e-book on property investment in Thailand which is available as a free download here.

One thing I noticed when I was in Thailand last week was how many foreigners resident in Thailand were sick or who frequently suffer from one or other health affliction. When comparing life in Thailand with life here in New Zealand, it does rather seem to me that foreigners resident in Thailand are sick rather frequently – everything from coughs and colds to not infrequent bouts of the trots and various other afflictions. I guess it's a combination of the environment to the unhealthy lifestyle some lead (heavy drinking, poor diet, little or no exercise etc.). Even those who lead a relatively healthy lifestyle seem to get sick more often than those in the West.

I've had a long association with Bangkok Counseling which offers a range of services from general counseling to relationship issues to substance abuse, stress & anxiety. High season is not far off and men from all corners of the world will descend on Bangkok and Pattaya. Many will purchase Viagra or other sexual performance enhancers to get the most out of their visit. There is also a group of men who fire a bullet before they have had a chance to aim their gun. The owner of Bangkok Counseling happens to be a world-famous clinical hypnotherapist whose specialty is….sexual issues. He can help you if you struggle to stand to attention, if you fire your gun before you've taken aim or if you just want things working better than they are. He has a steady stream of men who visit him in Bangkok and can even help out via Skype. You can contact him through his Bangkok Counseling website or his hypnotherapy website, hypno-therapy.us.



Demonia Bangkok

Sugar Baby A Gogo



Quote of the week was lifted from an article in the Bangkok Post, "Thai police are good at making a white goat to be a black goat."

Reader story of the week comes from Ronan, "I Fell For A Massage Girl".

The penalties for child porn in Thailand are about to get a whole lot tougher.

Two years after eating a meal in Phuket and leaving without paying, 2 Kiwis are arrested on arrival in Thailand.

The Washington Post is damning of the Thai authorities' handling of the Ko Tao murder case.

Heavy rain causes the Bangkok to Pattaya highway to be underwater and some vehicles to float away.

Thai navy cadets who disobeyed orders to refrain from using their mobile phone on base are forced to smash them!

The Post's top reporter, Sanitsuda, publishes a damning editorial of the Thai junta and they way they treat their own.

Pattaya One looked at what happened when Tropical Storm Vamco hit Pattaya.

The BBC highlights just another story of a foreigner in Thailand defrauded by his wife and criminals.





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: A friend has a Thai girlfriend who has asked him for 4,000 baht so she can replace her ID card (this is the third time in 9 months that she has lost said card – careless girl). I've just heard the 'story'. On the previous two occasions he's paid up. I've advised him that she is playing him. So, to the legal team, I understand that all adult Thai subjects are required to have a valid national ID card:
1. At what age does a Thai legally need to hold that card?
2. In what 'everyday' circumstances would a Thai need / be required to show / use this card?
3. Should an unfortunate Thai lose their ID card, how would they go about replacing it and IMPORTANTLY what would be the financial cost of obtaining a replacement card?

Sunbelt Legal responds: When the identity card is lost the person needs to go to any Amphur (District Office) and show their house registration book (Tabien Baan) and driver's license or social security card to get a replacement. If the person does not have those documents then the head of the house that they are registered in or a person of good credentials will need to go to the District Office to verify in person. The replacement fee is 100 baht.

Question 2: I have a son with my Thai wife. He was born in the USA so he is obviously an American citizen, but we did obtain Thai citizenship documents for him via the Thai embassy, as well as a passport (which has since expired). My question concerns the compulsory military draft lottery. As an American citizen, under no circumstances could he ever join the Thai military (nor would I want him to). But I am sure that in the future, after he turns 18, he will want to travel to the country of his mother's ancestry as an adult, and he may even want to live there. I'd like to think that, as a Thai citizen, he could do so without having to obtain a visa. However, will he run afoul of Thai laws requiring him to register for the military lottery? Would it be better for him to simply renounce his Thai citizenship?

Sunbelt Legal responds: Since he already has a Thai passport and has had his birth registered with the Thai national government he is already in the system. There are several options; in Thailand often the boy chooses to enroll in military training in public schools, like the US ROTC. Alternatively, exemptions are made at the age of 21 for university students, those out of the country and those not physically fit. Upon returning to Thailand he would need to present himself but generally speaking once a man reaches an older age or if he has no Thai language skills then he would not be enrolled in the lottery draft.

Question 3: My wife and I have purchased a condo which is two years behind schedule but is likely to be completed in the next month or two. We have paid 500,000 baht so far and the remaining 3.1 million baht is due when the building is complete and the unit is transferred in to our names. My question involves compensation for the two-year construction delay. The contract says that if the building is delayed, "the seller agrees the purchaser may charge a fine per day at the rate of 0.01 percent (not less than 0.01 of the purchase price as agreed in this agreement but the total sum will not exceed ten (10) percent.” In practice, is this enforceable, and if so, how? Is it 0.01% of the total 3.6 million baht, or of the 500,000 baht we have paid so far? Our sales agent says it is the latter but we wonder if that is correct. Many thanks for your kind help.

Sunbelt Legal responds: There may be other clauses in the contract beyond this one paragraph. Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors would recommend that you come in with the entire contract for review by one of our legal team to make sure there aren't any other stipulations. The agreement should state the methods and options each party has; whether the purchase can be terminated and a request for refund plus interest. Or whether the owner wishes to purchase the designated unit and then receive the daily interest. The fine generally can be used to offset the purchase price, but this is something that would need to be checked in the contract.



Nanapong

The world is changing and people are more sensitive than ever about what appears online.



Blogger Cuba Dave who comments on the naughty nightlife in another part of the world was arrested a week ago. The American citizen now finds himself in San Sebastian Prison in Costa Rica, apparently due to writing about his adventures in that part of the world. I know nothing of Cuba Dave's writings and only became aware of his existence this week so I cannot comment on what he wrote or the relevant laws in that part of the world. The world is changing and people are more sensitive about what is written not just about them, but about their country – and Thailand is a great example of this, a place where people, organisations and (especially) the government are more sensitive than ever about people voicing their (sometimes negative) opinion about all things Thai online. I have long wondered whether the Thais will ever do anything about the many blogs, forums and websites that highlight aspects of the country that its rulers allow, and profit from – things they are not necessarily proud of and would prefer were not talked about publicly. These are interesting times we live in.



Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick