Vol. X No. 48
Friday 29 November - 5 December 2002

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by Parisa Santithi


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Smoking ban will be profitable

The stink of stale tobacco

Still a lot to be done

Doesn’t like complainers

Thanks Mr. Bream for a good letter, but...

Smoking ban will be profitable


It was hard to hold back the laughter reading the letter in the November 13 issue predicting dire financial crises and the pending bankruptcy of Thailand that is bound to result from the new law banning smoking in restaurants. He believes that smokers won’t stay at restaurants as long as they used to because it’s not as enjoyable an experience. But the experience just became a whole bunch more enjoyable for us non-smokers.

The writer used a calculation to project that the 30% of smokers (his numbers) that will spend less time in the restaurant will cost poor Bruno 27,000 baht per night. What he forgot to consider was that while the smokers will now have an incentive to leave earlier and spend less money, the non-smokers will now have an incentive to stay longer and spend more money. Using his calculations that means Bruno will have an additional income from the non-smokers of 63,000 baht per night. Net gain to Bruno is 36,000 baht per night. Plus the reduced cost of maintenance as draperies and other fabrics won’t need to be cleaned as often, table linens last longer when not burned by careless cigarette smokers, fewer burns on counters and other facilities, healthier workers, and more.

The biggest problem Bruno and other restaurateurs will have is holding their breath while they pay the higher tax bill that will result from additional profits.

Please sign me “Frequent Farang”

The stink of stale tobacco


The new anti-smoking ordinance has been long needed in Thailand, where lung cancer is prevalent and an increasing number of young teens are introduced to the habit every year. This long awaited ordinance has finally passed much to the relief of health specialists everywhere.

Now comes the matter of local enforcement. Non-smokers have a right to a smoke free environment when dining or entering a public facility. If the law enforcement agencies enforce this new law, the public will quickly become adjusted to it and the number of smokers will decrease rapidly. In Pattaya, the job falls on the local police department.

A few years ago in California, a much more stringent law was passed; smoking was outlawed in all drinking and eating places indoor or outdoor, on public transportation and in all private and public buildings. When first introduced, the resentment was high and smokers threatened to boycott establishments who observed the new law. In reality, the law was quickly accepted and over 80% of the smokers have now kicked the habit and the lung cancer rates and health problems of patrons and employees working in the smoke free environment has dropped noticeably.

In Thailand, indoor restaurants with air conditioning are required to post signs outlawing smoking or face a 20,000 baht fine for not doing so. On Soi 7 in Pattaya, there are at least four indoor restaurants that fall under the ordinance. Three of these restaurants have not yet posted signs and the manager of one, specializing in English food, has spoken of flaunting the law and allowing the patrons to smoke at their will. On Pattaya 2 Road, most of the popular eating places have non smoking cards on the tables and on the front of their menus. Almost all of the larger hotels in the area are observing and honoring the new law.

The Pattaya police department has the responsibility for enforcing this law and punishing those who refuse to obey. There have been numerous complaints already about the stink of thick smoke in certain restaurants and those seeking a smoke free environment are waiting to see if the police department will force compliance.

It is simply a matter of adjusting one’s habits to the new rules and curtailing that cigarette until out in the open air. Proprietors will not suffer any loss of business if everyone observes the new law.

Gary Hacker


Still a lot to be done


May I politely urge the political leaders of Chonburi Province to please focus on some of the ‘real issues’ facing Pattaya City? If there is to be any genuine improvement before the upcoming world scout jamboree in December and for the security of guests to this country in the future, these homeless drug users living on the beach are a hazard to every pedestrian who walks down the sidewalk. They are ‘not’ the peaceful, kind, fun-loving Thai people I find so endearing.

Lady-men, lurking in the shadows of every street-corner, physically grabbing and harassing guests to this country. Can they not be zoned to some particular area? They are extremely aggressive, threatening and rudely disgusting.

The street salespeople, blocking the walkway with their wares and their bodies. Shoving clipboards in your face, forcing you to try and make your way around them. Attempts at politely declining the goods and or services results in Thai insults being hurled.

The T.A.T. says tourism revenue for this year has already exceeded 300 billion baht. I know some foreigners come here, often drink too much and behave badly. They are on a holiday. This is after all, an international tourist destination.

I honestly don’t care to pay 10 baht for the local bus, or be charged special prices for Thai food and each and every item I may purchase during my holiday as long as people are ‘polite’. This irresponsible, negative media campaign, falsely portraying all foreigners as the cause of problems in Thailand makes tourists feel ‘unwelcome’.

Happy Tourist

Doesn’t like complainers


During my two years stay in Pattaya, I guess I have seen 500 complaints in your Mail Bag about things that do not work here. What I think about it can be illustrated by following story, not from real life though: “Outside it was raining cats and dogs, with thunder and lightning in an endless stream. Suddenly the doorbell rang. The husband opened the door and saw his mother-in-law, Margot, standing outside, soaking wet. And he said as follows: ‘Dear Margot, do not stay out here in this awful weather. Go home!’”

I say the same to all the “complainers”: “Do not bother coming here and be miserable, stay where you are, life is much better there.”

One person complained about paying too much for the baht bus. Is 10 bath too much or his he just outright stupid? Observe what other people are doing, look at the Thais, they give the driver one coin, it can only be either a 5 baht or a 10 baht. Do not be totally helpless, ask around and be smarter.

Many complain about traffic. Are you aware that all traffic rules exist for only one reason and that is to limit our behaviour? One thing though, no one will follow these rules if they are not enforced by the police, and they have a lot of other things to do, I guess. I am driving a car here, and I look upon the traffic as pure entertainment. Where else can you see 5 beautiful girls on one motorbike? Where else can you see the car in front of you turning his wheels left while waiting in a U-turn to the right at Sukhumvit Road? (He was actually driving 250 yards in the wrong lanes before he reached the shop he wanted to go to). Where else can you see mother/father and 3 kids on the same motorbike coming down the wrong side of a main street (Pattaya Klang) passing a parked policeman who did not even blink an eye? You can even see farangs on motorbikes with small babies strapped up in front of the chest. (I think you have to stay a long time here before doing that).

We have holes in the sidewalk, if any, sidewalk that is. We have holes in the roads, big ones, I know most of them now I guess. Bars that close 2 a.m., I am sorry, even when I was young I could finish all I wanted before that time. As far as I can see from Beach Road, most of the “complainers” are in their third youth between “desperate and dead” and with Body Mass Index up in the thirties, so my advice is just to speed up the party. It is good for your health.

Instead of complaining, write about things that really work. But a fair warning, a 3 weeks vacation may be a little bit too short for that task. To be honest, very few things, in our opinion, do work here. But then again, I am a guest here, you are a guest here, so maybe should we not judge this city based on our experiences only. Many of the farangs living here, and coming here, have an economically good lifestyle only because so many people are poor in this country. And maybe their behaviour is a little bit influenced by that fact.

So to all you Margots: “Don’t stand there in the rain, go home”.


Thanks Mr. Bream for a good letter, but...


I’d like to respond to the letter from B&A Bream regarding the new no smoking regulations.

First I’d like to thank him for a reasonable letter. All too often this topic simply evokes anger and insults. Mr. Bream refrained from that. Having said that, I’m forced to disagree with him on several points.

The countries of the West do not handle the smoking problem on a voluntary basis. Most have very strict smoking restrictions.

Contrary to his fear, a smoking ban will not hurt businesses or tourism. Just the opposite. The experience in other countries is that business goes up when smoking is banned. Yes, there will be a few people who won’t go to a restaurant because they can’t smoke. But there are even more who will go now because they can enjoy their meal without breathing someone else’s second hand smoke.

Mr. Bream says he tries to be courteous and we non-smokers thank him for that. But the reality is that most smokers feel that they have a God given right to smoke anywhere they want to. Even when it’s clearly posted they’re in a no smoking area. I don’t know how many times I’ve eaten at the Sizzler in Royal Garden and watched smokers at the salad bar dripping ashes and blowing smoke on the food. If you ask them to stop you get insulted and called names.

It’s unfortunate that laws must be created to deal with the problem. People should have the same attitude as Mr. Bream and simply be courteous. Without that voluntary courtesy by smokers there will always be laws passed.

Smokers - keep your smoke to yourselves and we non-smokers won’t bother you. You have every right to smoke if you want to. But you have no right to force me to participate.

Lastly, Mr. Bream commented, and I’ve read in several editorials, that it’s difficult to determine where you can smoke and where you can’t. It’s actually very easy. Simply look around. If you smoke, are others going to be forced to breathe it with you? If yes then consider it a no smoking area. Otherwise enjoy your habit.

Thank you,

Amber Surdeno

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