This is Thailand

 |  November 26, 2009

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.

1. Who do we turn to or what recourse do we have when a medical, surgical, dental, rehabilitative procedure goes horribly wrong? In the west, a letter to the ‘College of Physicians and Surgeons’ or ‘Ethics Committee’ would suffice for an in-depth investigation, but what about our adopted home? What recourse do we have when things go wrong, terribly wrong – and is the procedure the same for Chiang Mai as for Bangkok?

I contacted the Chiang Mai number at The lawyer there told me that you may have a case to take legal action though he would need to know a lot more about your procedure and what went wrong. This you will have to explain to him. There are laws in Thailand to protect the consumer. You will have to pay for your lawyer. You’ll find many lawyers on the internet that work in Chiang Mai. I could find nothing similar to the ‘College of Physicians and Surgeons’.

2. Every year I apply for a visa extension and submit one photograph after paying for four photos. Is it possible to use the other photos in subsequent years or do you have to supply a new photograph each year?

You can use the same photos, I have given them photos that are two or three years old.

3. Do you know of any websites or other forms of media I can read, or participate in, intelligent debate concerning Thai politics, culture, society etc?

Many web forums won’t allow certain topics discussed, and the more famous sites in Thailand don’t encourage overly-critical debate, for obvious reasons. Though is my personal favourite, a site that covers Thai politics and culture and is not afraid to speak its mind. Recent, and amazing articles: Dictatorship of the ‘pu yai’ and Thailand for Sale., although not interactive and definitely not serious about social/political revision, is a very amusing and smart parody of Thailand’s English language news media. Stories: Samak Vows to Double Per Capita Wealth by Killing Half of Population and Pattaya Woman Beats Supercomputer at Game of Connect 4. And of course,, Thailand’s leading online forum.

4. There’s an issue of Citylife I really want. I know I can read backdated issues on the web, but for personal reasons I would like a hard copy of the magazine. What can I do?

Contact me, James@chiangmai, and tell me which issue you want. If we have a spare – we generally do – you can come to the office and collect it.

5. Back in the US I used to make my own beer – homebrew – and I tried wine, to varying success. Do you know how I might start here, buy the kit, get started. Is it even legal?

You will have to get the kits sent over. You could try this Singaporean site, and there are plenty more brewing sites on the web. You might have to pay tax on the kit. Another thing, importing the grain is supposed to be a bit of a hassle and quite expensive. As Thailand is so hot you’ll have to make your beer in a temperature controlled environment. It is legal to make beer, but not to sell it.

6. Christmas is coming and I have a bunch of excited kids making out three page ‘toy’ lists, but I don’t know where the hell I can do Christmas shopping for kids here, I haven’t even seen that many toys around. What can I do?

There’s a half decent toy shop in Central on the 3rd Floor, small, that should have some of the things you want. You can also go to, or order from, Toys R Us in Bangkok, Pattaya or Hua Hin, IS Baby sells toys for babies and very young children. You can find them in our magazine.