A religious view of Thai drivers
Although I generally concur with the views of Pattaya “Beach” Bum on
Thai drivers, one must bear in mind that their actions are tempered by their
The majority of Thais in south Thailand are Muslims who
can draw great comfort from their religion, secure in the knowledge, that
whomsoever may be at fault in the event of a fatal traffic accident, if they
are that fatality, then they are guaranteed a place in Paradise.
On the other hand, the majority of Thais are Buddhists
who believe in reincarnation and thus are rather blas้ about such
things, for after all a fatality to them is only one step forward or
backward, depending of course on where the fault lies, on the long Path to
Then there is a minority of Christians, among whom number
most ‘expats’, whose journey through life leads to either Heaven or
Hell: cautious drivers on the whole, as who wants to test providence when a
few more years of ‘good’ life may turn one’s destiny from the fires of
Hades to the gates of Heaven.
Then of course there are the Jews, paradoxically similar
to the Muslims, but who have nothing to fear as they are already the Chosen
MOI begins enforcing “closing Pattaya”
A few years back I had lived in the Pattaya area for over 3 years. While the
lure of the perpetual nightlife was my initial reason for being there, it
became less and less important to me. I was glad the “nightlife
lifestyle” had not been outlawed as it was basically harmless
entertainment for all parties. Pattaya was a free town where you could live
as you wished and it symbolized freedom and fun. It was also rather peaceful
given the liberal social boundaries.
I guess all good things must come to an end (more likely
get squeezed out of existence) and the Thai MOI is going to see to that!
Reminds me of the children’s tale of “The Emperor Has No Clothes” and
his subjects are scared to actually say he’s walking around naked and
perpetuate the charade - must have been a face thing.
Nightlife and entertainment for the tourist market is the
engine that drives Pattaya and the government is slowly strangling it. If I
were an investor or business owner (of any kind) in the Pattaya/Jomtien
area, I’d be cashing in and looking for a lifeboat. Remember all the
closed shops and empty lots in the very late 1990s after the currency mess?
Hopefully in the next general election the Thai people
will send the MOI packing before they kill off tourism, recreation, and
Glenn (now in the US)
My heart bleeds
Oh how my heart bleeds for the unfortunate Kel Gallagher (Mail 29 October)!
Someone actually asked him to pay B150 for a baht bus to take his month’s
(B5000 and presumably large amount) of shopping home.
Poor Kel must realise that many Thais only have B5000 a
month or less for ALL their living expenses, including accommodation,
utilities, etc., and not just their shopping.
I am afraid that this gentleman (or is it a lady) is yet
another of the many Farangs who come to live in Thailand wanting to live as
cheaply as the local population but to the same standard as they did in
their home country. If these people cannot afford a little extra they should
go home and pay what they would consider a fair price in their own country.
And please don’t let us get onto the old and totally irrelevant and false
argument about Farangs being discriminated against by having to pay more
Ordinary Thais do not prosper from corruption
Concerning the letter from Kel Gallagher - “More tales of baht bus woes”
(Mailbag 24 Oct), I and probably many more have noticed the “peculiar”
baht bus – transport services outside Lotus, Big C and Carrefour
hypermarkets charging 2-3 times the prevailing rate of ordinary metered
taxis in Thailand?
My first question is: which company is privileged to run
this traffic? Who licenses them and on what grounds? And where are the
normal metered taxis in Pattaya? Or why aren’t the local taxis equipped
with meters? That must almost only be a technical question?
There are many questions but we see few answers as to
what is really going on in tourist areas as to the public transport. And
every time strange circumstances regarding public transport are aired in the
local media it risks to be commented by highly ignorant and gullible
tourists and “frequent farangs” like this - “oh why can’t we let the
locals make some money” and the drivels alike.
But remember that when the market mechanism is sabotaged
by corruption, etc., this also affects the local people negatively, with
higher unnatural price levels, etc. “The locals” - ordinary Thais in
this case - definitely do not prosper or benefit from corruption in the
public transport business or anywhere else.
“Order & Justice”
It is ironic that someone who was up on an embezzlement charge could be
apprehended and sent home to face justice. (Belgian man arrested in Pattaya
after escaping foreign courts five years earlier - Oct. 29) Yet someone like
Sam van Treeck, wanted for the far more serious charge of murder (of
Chompoonut “Jeab” Kobram) can continue to live freely in Belgium. Van
Treeck is confident he will never be extradited because Thailand has the
Countries often make deals in the name of justice.
Recently, the U.S. agreed to take the death penalty off the table in a
particular case so that Canada could extradite two people up on murder
charges. Both men were subsequently convicted and will spend the rest of
their lives in an American jail. Such a fate can be worse than death.
That Van Treeck can remain totally free is a grotesque
miscarriage of justice. I trust Thailand and Belgium maintain a civilized
relationship and will do everything within their powers to rectify this
Vancouver, British Columbia
Is it worth taking a chance?
Remember the Philippine model on closing times, Ermita, Manila? As the bars
moved out the Muslim population moved in, and now Islam is on the rapid rise
in this once predominantly Christian capital.
As an agnostic, and furthermore as having no financial
interests in Thailand whatsoever, the consequences of the short sighted
tourist policies will not affect me, but will, I believe effect quite
drastically, the incomes of the Thai populace. Is it worth taking a chance
with your people’s livelihoods?
Complaint from a tourist about a bear
This email is coming from the Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand -
We have received a complaint from some tourists about a
bear being mistreated and kept in deplorable conditions in a snake farm in
Pattaya. The tourists have returned to Germany and can’t remember the name
of the snake farm.
Would it be possible for you to publish this email in
your newspaper and ask if any reader would be able to identify the snake
farm and the bear? We would like to help the bear find a better home.
Thank you for your kind consideration of this request.
Easy answer to baht
Memo to Kel Gallagher: You could have saved all that hassle with the baht
buses by asking Carrefour to deliver your groceries for free. We have had
less than 5000 baht worth of items delivered. They might have even allowed
you a ride home free.
No time like the present
The recent increase in fuel prices will affect the cost of air travel.
Pattaya and Rio will see fewer American visitors. Waikiki and Mexico will
see about the same for the short term. There is no time like the present to
have the beach cleaned on a daily basis by the vendors of beach chairs. That
is how it is in Italy. You clean your beach or the visitors will park their
bottoms on someone else’s sand.
Pattaya Night Life – 1 a.m. closing
Once again I note that the authorities are changing the closing time for
most entertainment venues, this time to 1 a.m. As many visitors to Pattaya
come here to experience the wide variety of nightlife as the major part of
their holiday, I would suggest that a lot of tourists will now go to other
countries where they can stay out much later, or even all night. I hope that
local business people can perhaps lobby the authorities to revise this early
closing time back to 2 a.m. or later, before they have to close due to lack
The pleasures of this life on earth
Are really only two
According to the way we think
And what we strive to do
We hurry to the happiness
Of laughter and of fun
Frivolity and revelry
Where nothing else is done
Or else we seek the peaceful joy
Of doing what is right
With friendship to our neighbor and
With mercy in the night
We live our lives for other souls
In sunshine or in rain
Or we pursue the path to greed
And every selfish gain
There is no pleasure to be had
Beyond this choice of two
To please ourselves to honor God
In everything we do.
B. Philip Webb Jr.