Grapevine – September 06, 2019 – September 19, 2019

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Puffs Banned

The new law evidently banning smoking in your own home came in last month. But it is not exactly crystal clear. It doesn’t actually bite until November and does not prescribe any penalties, except for a vague warning to put offenders on a training course. Most likely, the legislation is at best a plea for smokers not to inflict smoke misery on those who co-habit with them. More like a travel advisory than a no-smoking charter.

Fishy Problem

Hundreds of millions of Asians depend on the fish in the South China Sea for their protein. But climate change and over-fishing mean that stocks are being consumed at a much faster rate than they can be replenished naturally. Meanwhile, China claims 90 percent of the important waterway as its own and is busily arming the artificial islands she has built there. Let’s hope a code of conduct is soon agreed if only because 30 percent of the world’s trade passes that way.

Premature Burial

A reluctant farang was persuaded by his wife to give to her the PIN number to his international bank account. “You never know when you will be called and there’s a long legal battle ahead for me when you do eventually shuffle off this mortal coil,” she affirmed. That was six months ago and a bankrupt and perfectly healthy farang is now staring a most frugal lifestyle in the face. No trace of the wife by the way. Nuff said.

Worse in Vietnam

The most unpopular immigration bureaucracy for tourists is without doubt the TM-30 reporting requirement of your address 24 hours after entering the Kingdom. But is it better or worse elsewhere? The local paradise is Cambodia where nobody seems interested in your location after you fill in the initial visa form at the airport. However, we hear that Vietnam is very keen to know any changes in address of foreigners and even restricts your right to stay in a friend’s house. But is it enforced?

Marine Vehicles

If you ever wondered what happens to those old cars which can’t be sold and end up parked permanently on side roads, apparently they are sometimes towed away and then dumped in the sea to serve as fish-friendly coral reefs. At any rate, that is what a government spokesperson said recently. Let’s hope somebody remembers to wind down the windows before the submerging takes place.

UK Visa Query

A reader asks if there are any exceptions to the rule requiring the UK sponsor to have a minimum income of 18,600 pounds per annum if the Thai partner is hoping to emigrate on a settlement visa. Actually, there are a couple. The Thai partner’s income or bank balance (if any) can count and can supplement the UK sponsor – although the detailed rules are complex. Another exception is when the sponsor is in receipt of extra state income, for example for disablement, which permit some flexibility of interpretation.

Prostitution Again

Everyone keeps harping on about how outdated the country’s prostitution laws are. A whole host of overlapping laws are to blame, starting with the entertainments venue act of 1960 which outlawed commercial sex. Amongst suggestions now being floated are civil rights to protect those on the game and even an idea to prosecute the customers and not the service providers. The debate goes on. What will happen? Answers on a postcard please.

Now Bedridden

The latest news on the illness front is that many Thai hospitals are increasing massively the number of ICU beds for those with a very serious medical problem. The surprise is that the figures for Bangkok show that people from Cambodia and Myanmar account for 30 percent of all ICU foreign patients, to be followed by Middle East nationals. Apparently 52 percent of all ICU beds are taken by Thais whilst 48 percent of patients are foreign.

Thoughts for the Week

Let’s muse what US presidents have said. “When the president does it, then it’s not illegal,” (Richard Nixon). “I guess I just proved that anybody in America can be president,” (Gerald Ford). “The day after I became president, I had my high school grades classified top secret,” (Ronald Reagan). “I have a lot of strong opinions but that doesn’t mean I always agree with them,” (George Bush Snr).