This is thailand

 |  October 29, 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. What happened to the internet, can you call TOT, find out what is going on? I speak for myself and many friends who all say their ‘net is barely usable right now?

James: I just called TOT and they said each case is different. But if you look at recent TOT threads on you’ll find that the cases sound pretty much the same: TOT internet is not working for many people in Chiang Mai. Nevertheless the operator at TOT said there was no large scale problem. You can always change to another server though there is a fine of 6,000 baht. Even if your line is down a whole month you will not be compensated. You can make a formal complaint about your internet service at The National Telecommunications Commission or call 1200.

2. Can I get credit at a shopping mall in Thailand?

James: If you have a work permit, earn more than 50,000 baht a month, can show pay slips for 6 months and a bank statement then Central Mall will consider you for a Central Card – a credit card just for the mall. Tesco-Lotus also provides a credit card.

3. How can I get nice juicy apples or juicy pears growing in my garden? Is it possible?

Hugh: The best way to get apples and pears growing in your garden is to move your garden to the top of Doi Angkhang. Some fruits need to have a season of cold weather before they can produce. If you want to plant fruits down here in the valley, you have hundreds of tropical fruits to choose from. The citrus, bananas, papayas, and mangoes are good ones to start with. If you want to eat apples, your best bet is to go to Makro and get the imported ones (Fuji are the best) from New Zealand.

John: I suggest you ask Eric Danell at, he owns a wonderful garden (open to the public for 300 baht each) and has a wealth of information about all things plant.

4. I have been enjoying watching this series of shows on YouTube called ‘Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand’. It is a documentary which shows the more shady side of the land I love, such as crazy, drunken-out-of-their-minds tourists, who pick fights, takes drugs and get arrested by the local police. In several episodes, tourists get scammed by local street hustlers, harassed, and even assaulted. I recently read in a newspaper that the government is displeased with the producers behind the series!!? Why not focus on the really bad guys instead of the messengers of bad news?

James: Because, in my opinion, ‘accountability’ is a taboo word in Thailand, as is, quite often, the word ‘reality’. The words ‘public relations’ ‘marketing strategies’ ‘profit margins’ and ‘smokescreens’ are embraced without shame in the great governmental houses where they cook up their own scams and schemes that share the same pecuniary motive as the jet-ski operators in Phuket.

5. Why are there so many dogs in Thailand, but no doggie poo to be seen anywhere?

Hugh: Do you ever walk anywhere, or are you flashing by on a bicycle, motorcycle, car, buffalo? A more interesting question is why there isn’t more human waste out in very rural places that have no indoor, or outdoor, toilets. I found the answer one evening when I was out squatting in the fields answering nature’s call, when a very large pig walked up beside me and almost literally pushed me out of the way in order to gobble up the goodies I left behind.

James: Don’t know, maybe the street dogs are malnourished. It’s hard to create substantial faecal matter when all you eat are rubber bands and Styrofoam. I know a football pitch with plenty of dog crap if you really want to find some.

6. Is it true, that you can get a guy killed for 5,000 baht here in Thailand . . . and how does one go around ordering a hit, if that is something that would solve a lot of personal problems for that individual such as an ongoing divorce case, or someone who was threatening you?

Hugh: Get yourself a life, and let others live theirs. Here is a scenario: You hire me to do the nasty deed. I go to the object of your attention and tell her what you want me to do to her. So she pays me a bit more and I do the nasty to you. This has happened more than once here. Don’t you think there is a better way to solve your problems?

John: No comment.