Grapevine: April 23, 2021


Expect to pay

Thai hospitals have the go-ahead to buy Covid-19 vaccines abroad. But don’t expect them to be cheap. Not only will the hospitals want their cash markup, but the shortage of international supplies means that wholesale prices will be hiked. Nobody knows what the cost of going private will be. Estimates range from 3,000 to 20,000 baht.

Blood clots again

Everybody’s favourite vaccine is (or was) Johnson and Johnson because you needed only one jab. Now Europe’s drug regulator is reviewing rare blood clots in a handful of people in the United States who received the J&J jab. There is also said to be research going on about whether two J&J jabs might be better than one. Confusing it certainly is.

What’s in a name

There seems to be a sudden Pattaya surge in the number of kebab joints of one sort and another. Some say they are replacing Indian eateries – now mostly shuttered of course – as the latest fast food grab. There are several new stalls on Pattaya Beach Road. Our favourite is the snackery which is graphically called Bosphorus Don.

Cleanest province named

The Department of Pollution Control has named Bangkok as the cleanest province in Thailand. Sorry, could you repeat that? Did anyone actually visit first? Other categories were provinces with the best fresh water resources and the best air quality. No prizes for guessing that our own province did not figure anywhere in the top five for any category.

Breakfast photos

A downside of having Facebook is that you’ll be faced every morning by pictures of wonderful greasy-spoon breakfasts posted by your best friends or by restaurants competing for customers who are not on a diet. We liked the Facebook poster who rightly pointed out that, whenever Facebook goes down, you have to knock on your neighbor’s door to show them your plateful.

Pound speculation

Bloomberg, Wallet Investments and the like are predicting the pound will continue making small gains against the baht to finish up at around 44.5 by this time next month. The UK currency continues to be seen as a vaccine currency, whilst Thailand is lagging far behind in immunizing the masses. On the other hand, currency speculators are wrong most of the time.

Cannabis freedom

You may have noticed that some restaurants and bake shops have started to use cannabis leaves in their food and drink which enables them to justify price increases. Mind you, the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t yet clarified the maximum legal quantities of cannabis and hemp in food and beverages. The Narcotics Act (No.7) became effective earlier this year.

Quick justice

The prison sentences handed out to the managers of nightclubs found guilty of violating the emergency decrees have occurred within days of the initiating police raids. Such premises also face the prospect of a five year closure ban if unthinkable practices such as prostitution are found to have occurred. Who said the Thai court system was very slow?

Prostitution history

Talking of the forbidden subject, selling and buying sex has been illegal in Thailand for over 60 years. The Entertainments Venue Act of 1960 outlawed the entire subject although it was assumed at that time that pickups would occur only in licensed premises. Innovations such as mobile phones and the internet have put paid to that. Time for a legislative update?

Probing transgenders

The army has confirmed that transgenders claiming exemption from the military draft will no longer be physically examined to check what’s missing or altered, etc. Instead they will have to fill in a form and answer a load of questions from doctors and other qualified personnel. Apparently there are “pretend” candidates who dress up specifically to fool the selectors.