Grapevine – June 19 – July 2, 2020

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Makes you wonder

The director-general of the Thai probation service has informed us that over 2,000 curfew breakers and illegal party goers were not fined and sent to prison, but instead were diverted to temples or community service. This is in line with the policy of samneuk di or conscientiousness. Thai prisons are overcrowded as it is. One wonders if any foreigners were included in the group?


A novel Covid-19 approach

A Brit signing in manually at a Pattaya department store clearly printed his name and telephone number but added “no calls between 2 pm and 3pm”. The security assistant did her best to explain that he would be telephoned only if there was a coronavirus outbreak. “Yes I know,” he said, “but not in the mid afternoon because I always take a nap then.”

App ups and downs

The Thai Chana registration device may be useful – we don’t really know what would happen if 10,000 people all received SMS messages to go and get tested – but it’s not fool-proof. Some people are forgetting to record their departure and, more seriously, some people are just pointing their phones at the QR code even though they are not connected to the internet.




Locating the wife

Of all the odd excuses offered by motorists when stopped by police during curfew hours, the weirdest may be the guy who said he was searching the area for his wife who was mentally ill and needed constant medical attention. An officer shone his torch onto the back seat and found the wife fast asleep.

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Covid-19 insurance

Just worth noting that several Thai companies are offering insurance policies specifically against the disease with ages permitted from just born to 99 years. Farang must have resided in Thailand for at least six months or have a work permit. Of course, there are loads of restrictions and get-out clauses, but it may be worth the resident oldies checking out on the internet.

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Airport delays ahead

Nobody knows when normal service will be resumed on the mass tourism front. But current government thinking seems to be leaning towards very substantial documentation. To get into the country, you may need your passport, a health certificate and insurance paperwork as well as subjecting yourself to quickie temperature and virus tests. Then there’s the growing likelihood of needing to download an app which can trace your movements whilst in the kingdom. Is this the new normal and how many people will opt out of overseas vacations?



New expressions abound

Every day witnesses one or two phrases which we had never heard of before. New normal is a case in point. One of the latest is “travel bubble” which seems to mean you are in a pilot tourist group from a favoured country (such as China) but will be whisked away to one of the Thai islands without stopping anywhere en route. Since Pattaya is not usually considered an island, local businesses won’t benefit from these particular bubbles.

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Immigration amnesty choice

Just because you don’t need to report your 90 days in the period March 26 to July 31, that doesn’t mean you cannot. The local immigration is bureau is not busy at present, so many resident farang are keeping their paperwork up to date. That’s not compulsory but could save you queuing up after the amnesty comes to an end.



Queuing for food

Some cynics believe that the long queues for free eats contain many free-riders who simply want something for nothing. Seems unlikely. Standing in line for an hour or two with the hot sun shining down or risking breaking the curfew by queuing in the middle of the night for a 7 a.m. rice handout sound like genuine cases.