Grapevine – August 2, 2019 – August 8, 2019


Mortified by 90 Days

A naughty lady in tears walked into the family bank in Thailand clutching her husband’s will which specified she would inherit a great deal of cash on his expiry. She explained her beloved had died in a terrible car accident two weeks ago and thus she needed access to his cash to dispose humanly of the remains. But the authorities, on checking local immigration police records, discovered he had completed his 90 days report in person only the day before.

Cry for Mama and Papa

Hundreds more 24-hour convenience stores will be opening in Thailand over the next couple of years. When they were first mooted 20-odd years ago, critics said they should be banned as they would bankrupt the many corner shops and stores run by local families. You never hear those arguments put forward these days. Time waits for no man, not even a Papa or Mama.

Record Overstay

News that a Syrian guy was arrested with a five years’ overstay last month prompted a lot of discussion to find the longest-known example of this particular crime. Apparently, that honour belongs to an American guy who was finally discovered with an overstay of 14 years in the 1990s. The surprise is that when he was deported, he did not have to pay any fine or suffer any jail time. Mind you, he was in a pine box.

Flood Defences

Pattaya needs government help to solve the city’s annual struggle to prevent flash flooding. A comprehensive project would involve dredging, new pipes, many more pumps and a large reservoir downtown to store 11 cubic meters of water. The cost would be a miserly 665 million baht. Cynics rule out such a grant, but others argue that the government’s flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) is being seriously compromised by Pattaya’s inability to keep the water bursts at bay during the rainy season. Money talks, as they say.

Fish and Chips

They are gonna be off the menu real soon if a group of scientists are to be believed. They say that rising sea temperatures and global warming are reducing the amount of oxygen in the water, thus threatening the bigger fish such as cod and haddock. Incidentally a reader asks what was the first fish and chip shop in Pattaya. It was called Toby’s and opened in Soi Yamoto, next to Soi Post Office, in 1995. Lasted about a year.

Points and Prizes

It was announced last year that driving offences – including drunken driving, illegal parking and speeding – would carry specified penalty points which would potentially mean the loss of your licence or refusal by insurers to carry your risk any more. But, to date, the nitty-gritty detail of such a scheme has not been sorted out. One of the problems is that foreign drivers in Thailand often spend only short periods of time here before leaving. This can make it difficult to contact them.

Inadequate Cover

One year visas issued by Thai embassies abroad now require health insurance. But one reader points out that the floor limit of 400,000 baht for in-patient treatment won’t cover any serious operations or invasive surgery. So, if the total, bill is 2 million baht, who pays the outstanding 1,600,000 baht? One assumes the answer is the hospital patient. There is a host of unresolved issues about medical cover which need addressing if Thai authorities ever contemplate compulsory insurance for the bulk of the expat population.

Scrabble Scramble

A leading Scrabble player in Thailand has been discovered cheating. Apparently he hid a “P” up his sleeve and had a high-scoring letter concealed under his foot on the floor. But the good news is that the word “farang” is now officially acceptable when you are scratching your head for a six letter word. 15 years ago, Scrabble was popular in the English-speaking bars in South Pattaya but you would be hard-pressed these days to find a game. Sign of the times.

Trusting Stranger

Here’s the latest scam, or one of them. A guy sits down for a drink and another guy joins him, claiming to be the manager or the owner of the club or whatever establishment. They engage in chat with several more drinks and the first guy prepares to leave. So the second guy says he will take the first guy’s credit card and process it “to save you the trouble” as a customer service. Of course, the victim may never see his card again or, if he does, it will have been cloned.

Thoughts for the Week

The theme today is War. “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography,” (Mrs Barbara Bush). “Our bombs are smarter than the average high school student. At least, they can find Baghdad,” (Pentagon official). “War is delightful to those who have no experience of it,” (Erasmus).