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BANGKOK 22 January 2019 04:47


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The week that was in Thailand news: Staying home in case there’s a tsunami.

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The week that was in Thailand news: Staying home in case there’s a tsunami.




Like most Thai residents I could regale you with stories gleaned from time spent in the back of the nation’s cabs. All of these happened to me in Bangkok as I wouldn’t dream of getting in one elsewhere. The stories you hear from the provinces makes it look like the capital’s cabbies put the angels in Krung Thep.


My experiences – unlike some acquaintances and tourists I have met down the years – are invariably positive. There was the time in the early days when I hailed one in Sukhumvit to take me to the horse races at the Royal Turf Club. After taking me to a shoe shop, a handicraft center then a gems store I said, please, please take me to the races – he did and paid for me to hire binoculars and get into the enclosure!


He never told me how much he made in commission on the way.


Then there was one of my best mates whose Thai wife couldn’t wait for the maternity ward in traffic! Little Harry delighted in proudly telling his classmates years later how he came into the world in a “rot teksii”.


While appreciating that it is frustrating to be refused a ride, I was here in the pre-meter days when everything was negotiated. Believe me…it’s much better now and so is the quality of the taxis. And frankly, it really isn’t that much more expensive than it was three decades ago.


Through the 1990s the main topic of conversation on every Bangkokian’s lips was the state of the traffic. Streets became one way, then changed direction seemingly by themselves.


Great debate ensued about time spent at the lights and everyone had their own theory on how to improve things with His Majesty calling city administrators to task for their ineffectiveness.


People virtually lived in their cars leading to a Bangkok radio station handing out the “Comfort 100” – essentially a bottle and an adult diaper – to women who might be caught short. This led to hilarious exchanges after letters from a person of the memsahib ilk claiming to be a ‘Mrs Edith Clampton’ appeared in a rival of The Nation.


Mrs Clampton complained that she was ogled by the “beady eyes” of a taxi driver while using the “Comfort100”. Those were the days prior to mobile video evidence – so much better for the speculation that it might even have been true!


These days we are constantly regaled by videos of taxi miscreants but the past was less regulated and worse – a case in point being the “black plate” driver who picked up Japanese honeymooners at Don Muang airport. The bride just survived to finger the murderer of the groom.


This week I was delighted to see a light-hearted Mrs Clampton-like story surface on the hallowed pages of Thaivisa that also involved a dire need for the loo.


A driver was desperate in Ekamai and asked his female passenger to take over at the wheel while he got on a ‘win’ motorcycle and dashed to the nearest gas station.


“Pick me up there,” he said adding helpfully, “the cab is an automatic!”


The roads and the traffic continue to be a source of as much Thai news today as they were in the last century. It was interesting to see Thai celeb and actor Mario Maurer whose Porsche had its side window shot out by a taxi driver’s slingshot following some Road Rage.


I took exception to people having a go at Mario who is a neighbor of mine and who parks his seven or eight expensive bikes next to my dust encrusted Hondas. We always have a cheery word for each other and, unlike many hi-so’s I can tell you he cleans his own vehicles!


Meanwhile the sight of a red plate car in a boutique in Loei after the female driver got confused with the brake and the accelerator had me reminiscing about the time Mrs Rooster – also from Loei – was doing some car park practice in my silver sports car.


When I arrived home I knew something was wrong as she was smiling.


She had somehow managed to concertina the car front and back colliding with a neighbor’s Benz. Naturally, being virtually Thai when it comes to money, I had no insurance and it was a tough concept for her to grasp that she would have to pay for the damage!


But lessons were learned and since then I have had many more minor scrapes than her so perhaps it wasn’t a bad thing.


A man who is finding it difficult to learn any lessons - about being a politician in his case – is His Generalness. The penny finally dropped that she was in London as he said her “extradition would not be easy”.


Poor old Big Too – he really has a poor grasp on law, international relations and his own position if he thinks that it would be remotely possible to get her back anyway.


But this all begs the question as to whether the junta want her return. For me the case is as patently obvious as the watches on his underling’s fat wrist – they let her escape in the first place and the last thing they would want is her back and eventually free to put the wind up the next reincarnation of the military’s political ambitions.


After all, rhetorical question alert, who needs a martyr when you have the military.


The two top news stories of the week both came from sandy places beginning with a P. Down at QUOTES – the Queen of the Eastern Seaboard was once again seriously misbehaving. Or at least its residents were.


The “Roid Rage” German bashing a Swiss after his tootsies were stepped on at a Walking Street disco took some heat off the British.


But it was the salacious tale of the UK’s ex-soldier having “kinky” sex on a condo balcony that resulted in a bargirl’s death that really hit the headlines.


Reece Vella had overstayed by two months already so he knew that it was best to flee though he showed Darwinian award abilities by sequestering himself in just another Pattaya bar.


Fuzz quickly pounced and the UK press had a field day proving that their headline writers are the masters at getting more sauce in the proverbial bottle than physics allows. The Daily Mirror even followed up saying Pattaya was not just “crystal clear blue waters” but was the new Costa del Sex.


If for nothing else but the spirit of research for this column I clicked on the link and was told there were 40,000 child prostitutes in the kingdom. While the Thais continue, especially under foreign pressure, to put their house in order regarding human trafficking, i would give assertions like that as much credence as “crystal clear blue waters”.


It remains to be seen if Vella threw Joy off the balcony or it was an accident. While suspecting the latter – even though he is supposedly a convicted rapist – I would not be surprised that there is more to the story than even meets the Mirror eye. I have strong suspicions he might be on a fake passport.


The second story came from the beach frontage of the Dusit Thani Laguna Hotel in Phuket. Some tourists had apparently been shooed off the sand.


The forum banged on for pedantic page after page about who actually owns Thai beaches but I think that skirted the issue. For me whenever I see the word Dusit followed by Thani or Zoo I start to wonder where the truth lies.


I am not saying the sale of the iconic hotel in Bangkok, the moving of the zoo or this latest spat are remotely connected but those who are interested may like to research the origins of the Dusit group for more information.


Meanwhile, as Bangkok was bracing for 16C temperatures at the weekend, came news from a “top expert” that we didn’t need to worry about snow - in the mountains, not Krung Thep.


No, of much more concern was the threat to Thailand of a tsunami emanating in India’s Nicobar Islands that could swamp the nation. Those nasty foreigners causing trouble again it seems!


I think I shall stay in this weekend with my bobble hat and some hot Horlicks for company – I’m on the 12th floor so the tsunami, if it comes, should be a temporary inconvenience.


Taking the nippers to the children’s day air show at Don Muang is another possibility though I’m not sure I fancy being consumed in a fireball if one of the pilots gets “disorientated” as was finally admitted this week after last year’s accident.


Apropos the tsunami, whenever I hear that Japanese word it takes me back like so many others to 2004. I was having a Boxing day morning dump on my upstairs Ratchayothin throne when the condo building shook slightly creating disconcerting ripples in the Listerine bottle.


My kids downstairs in the duplex cried: “What was that daddy?. “It was just a passing truck causing vibrations” was my reply, until we turned on CNN later in the day to show how wrong I was.


Feeling the slight effect more than 1,000 kilometers away was a stark reminder of the horror that those in close proximity had to endure. One of my closest friends was one of the lucky survivors that day after being swept inland and grappling up a palm tree with a badly damaged leg.


And so to this week’s Rooster awards. “Best Quote” goes to “BigBadGeordie” commenting on the taxi driver caught short with a mantra about ‘golden rules for those in golden years’: “Never pass a toilet. Never trust a fart. And never waste an erection”.


While I also liked the forum member referring to the possibility of snow in Thailand who posted a picture of a snowman for sale who needed some repairs – it was a carrot floating in a bucket!


Finally, the “Sheer Gall” award goes to the British government for not one but two instances of trying to match the Thais in mirth making.


The first was a job advertisement for someone – not even necessarily British! – who would be willing to be an Honorary Consul on Samui for what they called an “honorarium”.


Some honor - I call it peanuts and everyone knows what you get when you offer peanuts.


While the second goes to those in Whitehall who, it appears, have given Thailand’s formerly democratically elected PM Yingluck an “Entrepreneur Visa”.


Mrs May might be advised to watch carefully lest she starts up some rice business in the UK.




-- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2018-01-13

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Yeah, that was one of your best Rooster, you made my day .

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Great report. I used to love Mrs Edith Clamptons stories,  complaints and letters every  week ! Made my week. 

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