This issue of
Citylife

This is Thailand

For those of you with any questions regarding Thailand, Thai culture, history, tourism, laws, rules, food, nightlife, sub-cultures, dating; generally anything as long as it is relevant,
we have a panel of three experts who will respond to your enquiries.
Email: [email protected]

1. Hi. Just wondering, as the second hand book shops here don’t often sell books that have just come out, is there a place I can get my hands on new books?

James:
You can try B2S on the 4th Floor of Airport Plaza. They have all the newest pulp best sellers and – for Chiang Mai – some decent literary fiction. They also have a handful of books on history, philosophy, psychology, etc, that you won’t find in the second hand book shops. If there is a new title that you want you can ask them to order it. Tel: 053 272 860 ext 784.

Hugh:
New books in Thailand can be quite expensive. I have found that reading eBooks that are downloaded from the Internet is much cheaper, and once you get accustomed to reading on a computer, or electronic book reader, they are quite convenient.

2. I’m new here, can you tell me where I can buy Christmas stuff, turkeys, Christmas tree, pudding etc.

James:
Many places. Christmas foods, including turkey, are sold at Rimping Supermarkets: Nawarat Branch,129 Lamphun Road, Tel: 053 246 333-4, Mee Chok Branch, Highway 1011 which is the second ring road and near the Doi Saket Road, Tel: 053 266 635, Nim City Daily Branch, Tel: 053 904 885. You can buy trees, baubles, toys and a whole lot of other stuff at Airport Plaza shopping mall, Tesco or Central Kad Suan Kaew. There are also many places that do home catering for Christmas. Check out our Christmas specials pages.

3. Who can I report corruption to? I don’t really want to tell you what it is, but I will say it’s in a government office and it’s pretty foul?

James:
The police number is 191, though a corruption charge, unless there is overt criminality involved, might not get the police’s attention. You might try the mayor’s office, Tel: 053 259 117. Thailand has a DSI (Department of Special Investigations), www.dsi.go.th. And there is The National Anti-Corruption Commission (ONACC) www.nacc.go.th/main.php

John:
Don’t.

4. Is there a DIY centre in Chiang Mai?

Hugh:
DIY (Do It Yourself) centres, aka ‘Home Improvement’ centres are becoming quite popular in Thailand. There are a number of different ones in Chiang Mai and more popping up all the time. A very popular one is Home Pro where you can get everything from plungers to plasma TVs. My favourite is Global House, out on the second ring road. Global House is a very large warehouse type store where you can get just about everything for your home. It started out as a mom and pop, shop-house hardware store in the northeast and has now spread to branches throughout the country. A few years ago the one in Chiang Mai burnt down when some workers were patching up the roof. Although the place burned to the ground, the owner did not lay off a single worker. He kept them all on full salary and found them other work to do while they rebuilt. Within about six months Global House was up and running again. That is one way to make loyal employees. BTW, at most home improvement centres in Thailand the service is outstanding. The clerks there all seem to have college degrees in their specialties and know what they are doing (it helps to speak Thai though). So an electrical engineer will help you with your wiring and an architect will give you advice on flooring. Puts the ones back home to shame.

5. Do you know any good expat websites? Not ThaiVisa, I know that, and not Citylife of course. Sites I may not have heard of that are packed with info, discussions, anything of interest really for an expat living in Thailand?

Hugh:
Do a Google search on Thailand Blogs. You’ll find hundreds. You might also come across my own website (www.retire2thailand.com) and a blog that I have been writing for almost a year. You’ll come across many sites that basically just want to sell you stuff, hotel rooms, travel packages, etc. Although very commercial, they do sometimes contain good info. But there are a lot of us who just want to share our experiences and knowledge of Thailand with people living here or thinking about it. My site has links to lots of them. There is also a great site for people working on learning Thai (www.womenlearnthai.com), aside from what the name says it is for both men and women.

James:
I’ve said this before but you asked: www.khikwai.com for political cultural perspective. www.notthenation.com for much needed satire.