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. Why is there a wall around the moat in Chiang Mai? Is that the original wall? If not, how did it look in the past?

Hugh:
The ancient Kingdom of Lanna had many enemies, including Burma, some of the surrounding kingdoms like Chiang Rai and Lamphun, and of course Siam. And lots of wars were fought here. When I first came to Chiang Mai the original wall at the Tha Pae Gate was still standing, although mostly in ruins like some of the other sections of the wall are today. A while ago, a Chiang Mai governor decided to rebuild the Tha Pae Gate with new bricks. This new wall angered many people as they liked the look and feel of the original wall and lots of bad will was directed at the governor. Sadly, he, and a large entourage from Thailand were killed in a plane crash on a visit to Nepal. On Kamphaengdin Road (Road of the Earthen Wall) there was an outer wall and it can still be seen in places very close to the Night Bazaar. It used to be the famous ‘red light district’ of Chiang Mai with some of the brothels built right into the wall (please don’t ask me how I know this piece of information).

2. My wife keeps talking about opening up a 7 Eleven on some land we own. Do you know if this is hard to do and what kind of money we can expect to make?

James:
From doing a little bit of research I can tell you that first you will have to lay down a fair bit of cash to get your license for the franchise from 7 Eleven. And before they sell you a franchise they will also do background checks on you and your wife, and also ascertain whether your location is suitable. You can lease or own the property. It seems the general consensus in the cyber world is that if you put down 1.5 million (Plan B) your monthly income will be around 25,000 – 40,000 baht. And that means you are the manager working every day. If you put down 3 million (Plan C) you get much higher returns. I don’t know what happened to Plan A. There are plenty of cases on the net where foreigners have looked into the possibility of opening a 7 Eleven but decided against it once they’ve figured out how much they’ll likely earn and how much they’ll have to work for it. www.7eleven.co.uk (Thai language).

Hugh:
It may interest you to know that Thailand has the 4th largest number of 7 Elevens in the world.

3. Are there any rules in Thailand about how old you have to be to work?

Simone:
(Citylife’s latest intern): The minimum working age in Thailand is fifteen. But it is necessary for the employer to inform the labour inspector within fifteen days of the child’s first day of work if the child is under the age of eighteen.

The child is not allowed to work between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and should not be asked to work overtime or on holidays by the employer. A child under the age of eighteen is not allowed to do any kind of dangerous work that has anything to do with unsafe chemicals or stamping metals and they are prohibited from certain establishments such as dance clubs, gambling places, and anywhere that alcohol is sold.

4. When did women start to get equal rights in Thailand? How equal are women’s rights compared to men’s today?

Simone:
In 1932 Thai women gained the right to vote and to stand for election. Women can own land under the same conditions as men, but the law routinely allows the head of a household to obtain land, which is men according to the Ministry of Interior, this affects women’s rights to obtain land in their own names. Women also have equal rights to a higher education, and more than half of the university graduates are women, but women, on average, end up in low paying jobs.