Grapevine: Foreigners last – August 13, 2021


Gay rights delayed
Two same sex bills are currently awaiting debate in the Thai parliament. One would permit gay marriage, the other a more diluted form of civil partnership. Opinion is divided, with some legislators wanting neither and proposing constitutional amendments such as formally outlawing anti-gay discrimination at work. The military-backed government may be in no hurry to pass pro-gay legislation, especially as the momentum comes from opposition parties. With an election looming in 2023, why give the credit to them? No progress is the most likely outcome for now.

Koh Larn seems to be unique
As Pattaya struggles with the Delta version of the dreaded virus, Koh Larn has been nominated by the government as a “blue paradise” or the one area where Covid-19 has not struck. That, at any rate, is the view of medical authorities who say that there has been extensive testing of the 700 or so families housed there. In other words, if Pattaya is to have its own Sandbox, Koh Larn is the obvious host as its island nature would make it hard for tourists to escape as the bay is too far to swim. But is there enough on the island to keep visitors occupied for a week or two?

End of a pie era
The news that Yorkies Pork Platter, a Pattaya institution, is up for sale caused few surprises on social media. It joins a long list of farang-orientated and food-related establishments that have been forced to shutter in the resort. First opened by Norman and Eileen Denning in 1999, Yorkies had a shaky start – they had great difficulty in importing a bacon slicing machine amongst many hurdles – but quickly transformed itself into a British bulwark in Sin City. But all is not lost. Five or six expat food stores will continue to stock Hayward’s Piccalilli and all things frozen.

Curfew tales
Most people have accepted gracefully the nightly curfew as there was virtually nothing to do after 9 pm anyway. A handful of rascals have been arrested after claiming they did not know about the clampdown on movement. This is surprising as they had driven two motorbikes the whole length of Jomtien Beach Road without encountering another vehicle. Except the police pickup that is. In another case, a man was stopped driving his car on Sukhumvit in the middle of the night. He told police he was looking for his wife who had gone missing. Police pointed out she was asleep on the back seat.

Vaccines for Pattaya farang
Unlike some provinces, Chonburi has had no program of registering foreigners needing a virus jab. Pattaya city hall has been telling callers that the reason is a shortage of vaccines. The main loopholes so far have been the Ban Sue station in Bangkok which, for last month only, allowed walk-in vaccines for the elderly of any nationality, plus registration initiatives by individual hospitals which were oversubscribed within a minute or two of opening. Now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has set up a new site for vaccine registration nationwide for foreigners. Hope springs eternal.

Traffic lights not flashing
A month ago, Thailand’s Disease Control Department issued a list of countries – green, amber or red – which were considered safe (or not safe) to enlist in the Sandbox initiative. One country graded dangerous red was the UK but, in reality, Britain provided throughout July most of the European customers who joined the welcoming committee in Phuket. Flights from UK continued unabated. It’s unsurprising that no traffic light lists have been updated recently as nobody in authority takes any notice of them.