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Everything posted by Gadfly

  1. I don't post much anymore, but I recall thousands of posts about corruption in Thailand here - often just annoying but sometimes far worse. I stumbled a across a site and app you can now download to instantly report corruption. Its here :http://th.bribespot.com. First thing I noticed is that the corruption reported on that site is the same old nonsense that we have been complaining about for years. Good news its that its not on adult site and its available in the Thai language. In others, a venue to vent to a much larger audience. And so interesting to see how the petty scam we were complaining about 10 years ago are now appearing and what appears to be a professional anti-corruption website.
  2. The story is hard to believe as reported for many reasons. But, since Ms Kakanang is a diplomat, we may never hear her version of what happened. Another Thai mystery.
  3. "There are many other ways to welcome foreigners and tourists after the launch of the AEC," he said. He suggested improving Thailand's tourist attractions and promoting Thai culture would be a more responsible approach. This old pipe dream will never die.
  4. I checked the thermometer outside my condo about an hour ago and we hit 43 Celsius today.
  5. It's been uncomfortably hot for the last week. This afternoon when I checked (around 1 p.m.) it was 39.5 C. Everyone, including the Thais, seems irritable, but maybe that is just me.
  6. I am not out much these days (hence, less posting), but I was out in Soi Cowboy late last week, and Dave the Rave is right about what the Man from Iran (like that phrase) is charging for beers at his places. The other thing I noticed was that most of his bars had few, if any, customers while the bars on Soi Cowboy that do charge reasonable prices were pretty full. I don't understand the Man from Iran's business plan: buy bars, jack up prices, drive away customers and (almost certainly) reduce revenue? I don't get it? In any event, when I do go out these days, I almost always end up in NEP.
  7. I don't think I have ever had a drink in a NEP bar before 7 p.m. Are the bars typically open this early, or just on election days?
  8. Munchester - Take out the "s" and "i" in your second word and consider the family for a gourd, go on a bit or take out a bite, and you'll have it right.
  9. This is the first time I have seen this in either a Japanese or foreign place. I am not keen on trudging back to this place and making scene, but I will give it a a thought. If its happened to me, but presumably happens to others. The local management were not threatening, but took the attitude that since she was caught and not able to take anything nothing happened. That sort of attitude not only rubs against the grain, but creates a perverse incentive for girls to do this. If they caught, nothing happens. If they don't get caught, the come out a thousand or so Baht richer.
  10. Fortunately, this wasn't quite so bad. I don't know if the management was in out it (I suspect not), but they way the responded - totally defensive - says something about Thailand generally and this place specifically. Since the management is more concerned about face than having thieves as employees, its best avoided. The clientele is mostly Japanese and maybe they put up with this stuff. No idea. Perhaps this is the Apple of some Japanese venture in Thailand. But irrespective, this should be shared. We're all in this together, and candid information is our best - our only real - defense.
  11. But for the Minister of Culture opening his mouth, this would have faded away. But now, having fueled the fire, its news in a real newspaper, the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/31/world/asia/31iht-thai.1.7330826.html?_r=0
  12. Wisdom of the staircase: Wasn't the father of the Minister of Culture - the guy leading this "charge" - against SNL and the YouTube video recently imprisoned to serve out a 25 year murder charge? Didn't the Bangkok Post call him the "Godfather of the East" recently? Or am I thinking of a different Minister of Culture? We can be sure this isn't a case of misdirection where a Thai official is trying distract domestic attention from a tremendously embarrassing local incident by banging on about an alleged slight by Farangs. As we all know quite well, that sort of thing never happens in Thailand.
  13. Gone from Thailand, or totally off the air? Someone outside of Thailand will need to let us know if they can access it. If it was actually pulled, I can see SNL doing a bit about that. What is the Thai government going to do to them?
  14. I think most here are familiar with the massage parlors on that small soi between Soi 24 and 26 (closer to Soi 26). I suspect that naming the place would be frowned upon (think green and what a doctor recommends you eat once a day), but today, while exiting the shower, I caught one the staff with my wallet open and a 1,000 Baht note in her hand. She screamed, dropped the wallet and the bill, and I scooped up both. Let's just say that ruined the moment. Although wet, I was able to dress and get out of the room and downstairs faster than her (Thai women don't dress quickly). I complained to the management, but their response was: "no harm, no foul." In other words, since she hadn't actually been successful in her larceny, I had nothing to complain about. No refund of course, and I didn't press the issue, since there was guy Thai there within about two minutes with his hand in his jacket. No idea what, if anything, he had in his jacked, but figured it wasn't worth finding out. The most annoying part of this is the absolute impunity of the perpetrators. Never had this sort of thing happen there before, but lesson learned.
  15. This will, of course, lead to another video spoofing the Thai government's (or anyone else's) efforts to ban the spoof. That, in turn, will make the SNL spoof more popular. My hunch: the authorities (at least now) are smart enough to realize this won't work, are making this demand to play to a domestic audience. They need to be seen to be doing something, even if what they are doing is futile and likely to backfire.
  16. I heard several complaints about this in the office today from the local staff. I thought it was funny, but didn't say so. One guy was talking about organizing some sort of web campaign against this YouTube Video; said it should be banned. (Hello: that won't stop the rest of the world from accessing it, but I kept quiet and didn't mention this obvious flaw in his plans.) Funny, of all of the things posted and said about Thailand, this one seems to have created the most contention in my office. What is that expression from Shakespeare (which I am about to butcher): "He thinks the lady does't protest too much"?
  17. NEP went through a period of decline while Soi Cowboy improved, but I think, for now, that trend has changed. NEP probably is a bit edgier and will probably remain so, but right now it has more bars and more girls. They also, finally, seem to putting money into fixing the place up a bit. Soi Cowboy is where the both BTS and MRT and Asoke and Sukhumvit meet and I suspect we'll seem more neon and possibly even more upscale venues, but with that more Coyote dancers, higher prices, etc. I notice more Farang women venturing into Soi Cowboy as well (not complaining, just saying), and I suspect that because its more accessible and less intimidating than Soi Cowboy. Different horses for different courses, but for a late night out of carousing I will almost always end at NEP (its also closer to Soi 11). For a tamer experience where I plan to get home reasonably earlier, Soi Cowboy seems to be the better bet.
  18. Yes, this is weird. Incidentally, and I am not disputing this, but how can you tell the head wounds are 24 - 48 hours old? Curious.
  19. This fascination with "upscale" girls fascinates me. An "upscale" Thai girl isn't going to have any interest in an older Farang tourist. There are Thai women who are willing to be mia nois, but this means they want to be pampered and looked after. And if they are "upscale", they aren't looking for this from a Farang. There are plenty of very wealthy Thai men. Ultimately, I don't see how you can have a "girlfriend experience" with a Thai woman and somehow avoid the difficulties in any girlfriend relationship, and those difficulties are even more problematic in relationships between Thai women and Farang boyfriends. Here is how I address the issue: I "train" the BGs I know to know and like the things I do. I introduce them to a wine bar and good food. Some go for it and some don't. Some are fun and some are are a real drag. The former become regulars that I take out to do the things I enjoy. It's not a girlfriend relationship (I am not expected to pay for anyone's sick buffalo, etc.), but its regular in that the girls know what the expect from me and I know what to expect from them. This only works if you live here and, to be quite blunt, you do need to refresh the stock every few months since the girls move on and, let's be real blunt, they age and become less attractive (and that is when they start pressing for something more serious).
  20. Agree. I am not sure how anyone can say he doesn't look as though he suffered an injury. My hunch is that was a failed robbery attempt. Remember the Australian women who was stabbed and killed recently in Phuket when they grabbed her handbag.
  21. No way I would be living in Las Vegas (and, say, not Sweden) and, yes, Thailand is more complicated than the clever sound bit above. It would be foolish to think otherwise. I suspect you have me confused with someone else. Nice try, though.
  22. Touche Actually, I think its more complicated than that, but I am not going to go too far down that path other than to admit that I take (what some might call a perverse) delight in seeing Thai officials hoisted on their own petard when their ridiculous one-sided regulations and disregard of international obligations blow up in their face. But that's probably just me.
  23. There are still all sorts of problems at Klong Toey. When they built Laem Chabang, the hope was that these problems would remain at Klong Toey. They didn't. For example, some shipping companies avoid Thailand altogether for rather routine certifications and go to Malaysia or even Cambodia instead. A de-ratting certificate is required (rat free) for many ships. In Thailand, you had (and presumably still have to) pay money under the table to get it. They don't even visit the ship for the "inspection". Officials just pocket the fee and issue the certificate. It's not a break the bank sum, but if your company has ties to the US, Germany, the UK (the first world), and word gets back about this under the table payment, the compliance department will go ape shit. People's reputations will be damaged and they could very lose their jobs. A criminal prosecution for violating the FCPA or the similar laws of Germany of any other European country is small (and by-the-way, Germany now has over 150 foreign corruption cases pending), but why risk your job on something like this? Compliance will have to demonstrate that they imposed real disciplinary measures. And so most figure: why risk it? Go to a port that does't have such a bad reputation. These are little items, and just one of them by itself is probably no big deal, but in Thailand, the corruption is pervasive and ingrained, there is a hand out no matter where you turn. And so, many businesses just avoid the country altogether for certain activities. This costs good paying jobs. It also tarnishes Thailand's reputation. This also costs good paying jobs. This is one of the reasons, and there are others, why Thailand is caught in a middle income trap and cannot move up the ladder to a higher income country.
  24. They clearly planned to kill this guy. And it appears they did so to get money - namely his child support and possibly other local assets. But did they think about the bigger picture? The assets overseas, the fact that they would need to account for a missing child? No. In that sense, they did not have a plan. But then look at all the half built infrastructure and money wasted in plainly ridiculous projects in Thailand, such as the GT-200 bomb detector (which some still claim works), the Director of Road Department where they found millions at his house he could not possibly have earned, the brazen corruption and kick-backs in any government deal here. Or murders of foreigners to cover up such scams, some of which we are not even allowed to discuss. Do any of the participants in those scams have plans? They just they think they will not get caught and, if they do get caught, they will not and should not be punished because they are 'big' people or the victim is an outsider, such as a Farang. For sentiment is shared by many here, If they are poorer Thai, they see how the more important leaders in their community act. The lawlessness and callous disregard for victims who can do little to protect themselves. And they to have a sense of entitlement when the victim is a foreigner. The times are changing, but there is still this ingrained sense that this sort of stuff is OK, particularly with Farangs. They can invoke xenophobic nationalism and hare-brained claims to justify their reprehensible acts just like the elite here do. But the internet is changing that. And this is why Thailand has such an ambiguous attitude about the transparency that comes with the internet.
  25. That was a tragedy. It does seem like it took awhile for the Thai court system to sort this out. I have lived here for quite awhile, and I cannot just understand the selfish greed that drives Thai families to such reprehensible behavior. For every case that makes it into the press, how many are there where the Farang decided, out of the blue without warning, to take swan dive from his condo or poison himself? And let's face it: for many Thais the problem is not the crime. It's the fact that the foreign community knows about the crime.
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