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Vol. XIV No. 38
Friday September 22 - September 28, 2006

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Visa changes could be seriously detrimental Pattaya’s economy

Cleaning storm drains

Aggressive “Clean Tire” program continues in Pattaya

New visa regulations damaging for Thailand

Visa changes could be seriously detrimental Pattaya’s economy

Regarding the new tourist visa regulations. It seems in reality that nothing much has changed other than the closing of a very well used loophole. Of course, Pattaya was specifically mentioned in press releases by the Immigration Department - as it seems that this ‘popular tourist resort’ is one of the prime destinations for undesirable farangs who deliberately flout the visa regulations. All those undesirable farangs living in Pattaya! Disgraceful!
What kind of contribution do they make - supporting their boy/girlfriends and their families; renting and buying properties, eating in local restaurants, buying and renting cars and motorcycles, staying in hotels, teaching English language, paying for the services of dentists, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers - OK you get the picture! Of course rules are rules, but as any reasonable thinking person who understands Pattaya will know, this tightening of the visa regulations could be seriously detrimental to the Pattaya economy with a potential knock on affect to the already disturbing crime rate.
I personally don’t know of any individual who sends money - made in Thailand - out of the country to support friends or family living overseas. However, I don’t have the time to count the people I know who send money into Thailand.
The UK government has a similar problem with foreigners attempting to obtain visas - through refugee status - in order to gain residence in the UK. However, the issue is slightly different in that a foreigner arriving in the UK, who may be penniless on arrival, is entitled to (with or without a visa) the same benefits as a UK citizen - even more some would say - until their case is settled. If they are eventually asked to leave we will pay for their flight and give them a few quid for travel expenses - and certainly no overstay fine!
So come on you farangs, stop exploiting the visa regulations; it’s just not cricket!
James Bannister

Cleaning storm drains

Aloha Editor
It’s a beautiful day, knowing that Deputy Mayor Wutisak Rermkitkarn has jumpstarted a past due event, Mahalo. Now I wonder if Sorasak Kriprasertkul plans on doing many of the storm drains in many of the villages, which are also plugged.
While they are there, stencil in lasting paint, in Thai and English, with a picture of a fish, and maybe saying, “Goes To Ocean, No Garbage.” Maybe also a picture of a cigarette with a line through it. Maybe this way children can learn what not to do and educate their piers. We have come this far, let’s do the whole banana, two birds with one stone, a stitch in time saves nine, carpe-diem. I wonder where Sorasak Kriprasetkul will dump the toxic waste that he takes from the storm drains, and trust me its toxic. Mahalo, Pattaya Mail, for putting me to print.
The keeper of the ocean. pollutionsolution [email protected]
Gerry Rasmus

Aggressive “Clean Tire” program continues in Pattaya

(Satire) In an attempt to draw in even more tourists, the city of Pattaya continues in its “Clean Tire” program. This program is usually carried out in periods of rainy weather, and is NOT due to the inadequate drainage system of the Pattaya city roads.
“We have to continue this program” stated one anonymous city official, “or the tourists will decide to spend their tourist dollars in Singapore where the tires are much cleaner.”
Although this is a long standing city policy, it has recently come under fire from the locals, who want to introduce a voluntary system of cleaning tires. “Voluntary tire washing?” quipped the same anonymous city official, “That is like asking the tourists to leave the bars at 2 a.m. on their own. It will never happen.”
The aggressive “Clean Tire” program is expected to continue for long periods in Pattaya.
Gary Coon

New visa regulations damaging for Thailand

Anyone with a bit of a brain can surely see that all these new, limiting regulations will be very damaging to the Thai economy.
First there was the company shareholders crackdown regarding houses, making it less attractive or even impossible for farang couples to own a house with land in Thailand. While most farang men in Thailand have a Thai wife, and can put the house on her name, I am sure there must be many couples here where both are non-Thai. So it is made impossible for them to purchase a home other than a condo.
Then the new rules regarding visas, where the time a person is allowed to stay in Thailand semi-consecutively is limited to 90 days. I understand that part of the reason for this rule is to prevent people from staying here illegally. But surely the immigration department should be able to control this in another way? By enforcing this new rule, many people will have difficulty to stay legally in Thailand while there was no problem in the first place. In our case, for example, my partner has a retirement visa, but I can’t get one because I am not 50 yet. We live on the funds we have, I don’t work. So I can’t have a visa based on a work permit, and we are not that rich that we can afford to make a huge investment to get an investment visa. So what options am I left with now?
Now there is also suddenly a new rule that says that a partner cannot be regarded as a dependent on the spouse’s retirement visa. My partner and I were discussing it only yesterday. I am staying on a tourist visa which is valid till the end of February 2007, and was already getting worried by this new visa rule. I am wondering whether I will be kicked out of the country, or not allowed in anymore, when my current visa expires. We have a home here, this is supposed to be our current home country... So we started thinking about getting married to prevent any problems and make it possible for me to be a dependent on her retirement visa.
Does this new rule mean: 1) sell the house in a short term and leave, or 2) a forced separation from my partner because I am not allowed to stay longer?
Sure, most farang guys here are either single or married to a Thai, so no problem for them. But in my case, and I’m sure there must be more like me here, I get the feeling I’m being hit on the head over and over again... It seems to me that the Thai government is doing all it can to discourage people from coming here, while other countries such as Malaysia have excellent programmes specially set up to attract foreigners. Foreigners coming to live here, invest in Thailand and spend their money here, so Thailand’s economy profits. Surely that’s no rocket science, is it?
It’s time for the government and immigration department to set out the rules in a clear and precise manner to prevent widespread panic among foreigners living here, and maybe a mass exodus of people moving somewhere else that’s friendlier to them.
L.S. Bergman

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