Grapevine – February 21 – March 5, 2020


Here are some categories of Pattaya farang you want to avoid.

The immigration know all

Here’s a tedious guy who is usually at his anonymous keyboard criticizing the powers-that-be for the lunacy of the TM30 bureaucracy or the ridiculous cash sums needed in the bank if you want a retirement extension. But he is also lurking in bars waiting to enlighten unwary people who are arguing whether you need one photo or two or three with your visa paperwork. He also knows exactly how immigration rules will change several months before the Bangkok bosses have even thought them up.

The weak bladder

Here is the guy, usually in his 70s, who has lived here for ages and has likely given up horizontal leisure pursuits owing to significant arthritis and a weak bladder. But he can remember the good old days when a fulfilling night out in the bars cost you peanuts and you could enjoy watching young ladies cavorting with live goldfish and ping pong balls in raunchy scenes of yesteryear. He is also likely to tell you in confidence that he has never paid for sex, a situation which he explains by reason of his excellent Thai phrase book and his deep knowledge of Thai culture.

The digital nomad

These are members of a talkative and wandering tribe who use their computers to make a profit with online customers outside of the kingdom. However, they spend most of their time quaking in their shoes because they can’t find out if they need a legal work permit or not. Some of them have spent a fortune on Thai lawyers in the forlorn and never-ending search for an answer. But none of them has ever asked an immigration officer the same question for fear that their ambiguity will be cleared up harshly in five seconds flat, followed by a court appearance.

Unlucky for some

You can’t help feeling sorry for this farang who has bought a piggery near the Cambodian border for his wife only to discover that half the porkies have sadly died in an unexpected epidemic: his half to be precise. He may have added to his cash-flow problems by buying a new car for the wife’s chronically-handicapped younger brother, only to find out that the same relative has won the local marathon three years in succession. On meeting such a farang, you are strongly advised not to give him your phone number, email contact or address details to avoid the embarrassment of his asking you to provide venture capital for a unique prawn farm which could earn you a fortune in no time whatsoever.

Disaster bloke

He is the guy who has personally experienced the worst of all police misfortunes in Pattaya. Thus he was the only farang arrested when the police raided a sex show last year even though he was not a customer and was simply and innocently using the outside loo at the wrong moment. He was also arrested with 32 elderly bridge players in 2016 and spent the night in the police cells. He said this was ridiculous as he had never played cards in his life and was simply standing outside smoking a cigarette. This kind of expat is likely to claim that democracy is absolutely on the wane in Thailand and that another military coup in the near future is inevitable. He has offered several times to be a guest lecturer at the expat clubs, but without success thus far. Apparently, they are not as desperate for outside speakers as sometimes assumed.


Hospital monitor

These are the foreigners who love to tell you how they have managed to avoid paying the huge bills arising from expensive hospital treatment in the resort. Typical is the UK expat who owed over four million baht to the bursar but managed to leave the hospital by the front door without paying a cent after he stole a white coat and borrowed a stethoscope. Another tale teller will inform you that he personally knows somebody who received a cash fortune in compensation after surgeons cut off the wrong leg in a tragic mistake over x-rays. These lucky farang are not worried by the prospect of compulsory medical insurance for all as they can see many ways to avoid paying the premium.

The caring lawyer

Aliens can’t practice law in Thailand but that doesn’t prevent some from becoming barrack room experts. This type of expat claims that he earned the gratitude of sixteen go-go dancers after he advised them to plead not guilty in court to appearing in the nude on the stage. He told them to point out to the judge that none of them was actually naked as half were sporting a top hat and the others were wearing a hairnet. In return for this tremendous advice which resulted in an instant acquittal, the farang was offered free drinks for life at the club which, most sadly, did not reopen.