Vol. XII No. 5
Friday January 30 -February 5 , 2004

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by Saichon paewsoongnern



HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

If nightlife stops at midnight

Tourists going elsewhere

When is a rabbit a cat?

Are only millionaires wanted here?

Traffic laws book available in Bangkok

Looking for lost sister

If nightlife stops at midnight

Dear Editor,
I am an expat and have lived very happily in Thailand for seven years.

Like many expats, I work in the oil and gas industry abroad. Naturally we find that the earning capacity of a job like that combined with the cost of living in Thailand enables us to afford a lifestyle that would be impossible in the UK and Europe or the States.

Originally I came for a diving holiday in Phuket, and to see Bangkok, and I liked it so much I stayed. Or more accurately, I have come back every time my leave came up, and so now I consider Thailand my home.

Whilst living in Bangkok I travelled to all the different regions of Thailand and I found the Thai people and Thai culture very attractive. It is obvious their earning power is relatively low and poverty is just around the corner for many Thais.

But they smile so easily and are so industrious in working and keeping everything clean that I cannot help but feel privileged to be here.

In travelling around Thailand I saw that there exists an abundant and lively tourist industry, everywhere I went. This is naturally bringing a great deal of prosperity to Thailand and to the people who most need it, all over the country.

Much of this tourist industry is attracted by the freewheeling way of life of the Thai people, for whom appreciation of ‘sanuk’ is as ingrained as the admirable Buddhist faith.

Tourists like to come to Thailand to have a good time.

A couple of years after I first arrived in Bangkok, I went to Jomtien to see a friend (who worked in the next camp to me in the Sahara).

The bus journey from Ekamai was interesting, but I found Jomtien a real eye opener, a really beautiful place to live, and so I stayed there.

Now my plan is to settle here and retire in ‘paradise’ with a Thai wife, and a terrific group of friends, Thai and expat, who are all having the time of their lives, however old they are.

So we come to the nub, as they say, of my letter.

The bluebottle in my Balti is the proposed early closing time of nightlife. Why? I don’t spend very much of my time ‘out on the town’ after midnight.

But a huge number of tourists and visitors do just that. And they are not all bad, not all here just for the seamy side of life, not all threatening the decency of the collective Thai youth.

They come to Thailand to have a good time, and I am afraid that the increasing number of laws surrounding the entertainment industry will quickly reduce the famous and awesome reputation that Thailand has, for having a good time.

My friends in the UK called me to tell me about the changes that the proposed ‘early closing’ may bring in its path. They knew about it before I did; word spreads very quickly in these modern times, and the burgeoning Thai tourist economy can be thrown away just as quickly.

They will not be in such a hurry to buy Thai Air tickets (which I always recommend) to come here and spend all their leisure time and money, if they are going to be thrown out of nightclubs at midnight and told to stop drinking.

These people, my friends, are all responsible businessmen who do not cause trouble but bring a great deal of money into Thailand.

To get back to my problem, I want to retire soon in Jomtien, and start a small business, just for my own pleasure. I will also undoubtedly employ a number of Thai assistants. But my plans rely on the tourist trade continuing on a gentle growth curve, not taking a big dive.

Obviously I plan on making a reasonably large investment of my assets in Jomtien. Sadly I am now having to reconsider this very carefully as I do not want to lose my money.

So, my message to those in power, who wish to bring about laws that appear to close down on tourists having a good time, is that the slow down of tourism has already started.

I can understand the motivation behind the proposed laws, but the ‘problems’ you are facing after midnight are small compared with the benefit given to the Thai people by 99% of the tourist trade.

At this time, you have it in your power to treat this problem with the sensitivity and care that the Thai people require of you, in order to preserve the vast majority of tourist trade that you are currently enjoying.

Please don’t take the tourist trade for granted. Once it has gone, it will take 20 to 30 years to come back or more likely, never will come back.

I look forward, along with many of my friends, to enjoying the rest of my life living in Thailand, and in the company of the wonderful Thai people and their culture.

I thank you for that.
Peter Marsh

Tourists going elsewhere

My wife and I have been visiting the Kingdom each year for the past six years. Considering the race-biased banking laws, doubled-tiered pricing, (again based on race); the raise in crimes-against-foreigners; the baht-bus driver monopoly/fiasco; the ineptness of the public officials to react to crime and tourist complaints; the heavy-handed regulation of the beaches, and our perception that that foreigners are looked at as nothing more than “easy money”, we have decided to take our tourist dollars/pounds/euros to another SE Asia country nearby.

Too bad for the hard-working Thais. They end up suffering for the actions of their shortsighted government officials. As for other tourists, “Ignore them and they will leave”.
Ben and Ruth Martinez
“Well heeled and on the heel to another venue”

When is a rabbit a cat?

Dear Editor,
I read your article on Vol. XII no. 3, about Chinese New Year and it appears to me that you are making a serious mistake in your article. Being a Chinese race, I am very certain that “cat” isn’t and never was an animal among the 12 creatures as appointed by the Buddha.

Just write in to inform you of the mistake. (no offense)

Happy 4702th Chinese New Year to you.

With best regards,


Khai Khem responds: Sorry, the Chinese most often refer to this sign as the rabbit - often in European and English it is referred to as a cat. Khai Khem offers apologies. The Chinese reader is right. The animal is really a Rabbit.

Are only millionaires wanted here?

I have been a regular user of the Thai limousine car service from Pattaya to the airport and back for many years, and always found it an excellent service which I recommended to my friends. The 1500 baht fare, while not cheap, was good value.

On Sunday I arrived back from one of my trips, went to their office at the airport and asked for a car to Pattaya. 4,800 baht please was the reply, by the man in a very smart suit. What? But he confirmed that 1500 baht will now only get you to downtown Bangkok!

Is this part of the Thaksin scheme that only millionaire tourists are welcome in Thailand?

PS, anyone know a good taxi service?

Traffic laws book available in Bangkok

In response to ‘Concerned Ex-Pat’ in your January 16th issue I write to inform that there is a publication on ‘Traffic Laws’ within Thailand, namely: Land Traffic Act B.E. 2522 and can be purchased from the government bookshop in the grounds of the Royal Thai Police Headquarters/Hospital at Pratuwan, Bangkok [opposite the World Trade Centre on Sukhumvit]. This publication costs approximately 120 baht. The relevant sections are in Thai with the opposite page having the official English translation. A good read and I recommend all to purchase this book - a real eye-opener.

Yours Mick John


Looking for lost sister

I’m not sure where or how to start this letter. I am a 32-year-old woman who lives in the United States. I am full Thai and was raised in the US because my step dad was in the US Air Force. He married my mother who is Thai. I have a younger sister who is 27 years old, who also lives in the US.

A few weeks ago, our mother informed us that we have an older sister who probably still lives in Thailand. She was born 2 years before me. At first we had little information because my mother blocked a lot of the memories due to the traumatic circumstances of how my older sister came to be born. My mother was very young when she had my sister. Since revealing my sister’s existence, many of the names and places of my mother’s past have resurfaced.

We know that she was born in a hospital near the Democracy Monument in Bangkok. My mother remembers there was a channel 7 TV station near by. Also near by was the neighborhood that she lived and worked in as a house girl for a family whose husband was in the Royal Thai Air Force by the name of Juli Pon Sudabut. He was a helicopter mechanic. The family had 2 children, a boy named Nan nooey and a girl named Ning nong.

When it was discovered that my mother was pregnant, she was no longer welcomed in that family’s home and my mother was sent to live with another lady who was a banker by trade. When my sister was born, my mother left the bankers home and tried to take care of my sister on her own but found she could not give her the life she deserved. So she gave my sister to a nurse who worked at the hospital that my sister was born in, who in turned gave my sister to her mother who was known as Kun Ya, who then gave my sister to her other daughter named Outt.

Outt had seizures, she might of had epilepsy. My mother does not recall the exact date that my sister was born but she said she was born in the springtime probably around 1968-69.

I know this will be a long shot but I have to start somewhere. I gathered as much information from my mom as I could. Now that it’s out, more and more memories, names and places are coming back to her. But this is what I have so far.

I’d would really be grateful and thankful if you could direct me to the appropriate resources on how to find my sister. Like, does that hospital still exist and if so, do they keep records of births back in 1968-69, and if they do, are they open to look at? We don’t have my sister’s name, she was given a different name. She has an elongated mole on one of her arms.

Please any info you could pass along to me will be helpful in searching for my older sister. I can be contacted at [email protected]

Thank you for your time.

PS - I forgot to put what was my mother’s name at the time: it was Lek (Dow) Wisanya.

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