This is Thailand

 |  September 30, 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. My family and I are really missing the old great board games, Trivial Pursuits, Monopoly Twister!., etc, do you know where we can get any in Chiang Mai?

I know where you can get Monopoly (English language). Central store, 3rd Floor, for just over 2000 baht. They have other games too but not the ones you mention. Best to find on eBay.

2. I am trying to locate some sort of a commercial ‘mail drop’ establishment in Chiang Mai, which will receive my mail from overseas during the year and keep it for me while I am absent, at a reasonable price. Poste restante in Chiang Mai is also not feasible for my purposes.

We are pretty lucky to receive any mail at all let alone have the post office hold our mail when we aren’t here. I know someone who is away from home for a few months at a time, many times during the year. He has the gardener, who waters his garden when he isn’t home, pick up the mail from his mail box and hold it all for him until he gets back. Seems like that is the most reliable system for now.

3. Are there any laws concerning noise pollution here, more specifically, can a very noisy construction team build a condo right next to me from 6 a.m. _ 11 p.m. 7 days a week? I’m going mad.

As far as I know there are no enforceable laws against noise pollution. If you try and take action you may get into trouble. The English language newspapers have many letters on this subject. Perhaps it is best to help them finish the project as soon as possible.
Hugh: If there are any laws about noise pollution you can bet that they would be very weakly enforced. I can advise you about going mad though. Suan Prung, on the southwest of the moat is a very good psychiatric hospital.
I lived in a very nice quiet house behind the university, only lamyai orchards around me. Then a four story resort was built on one side of me, a six story hotel went up on another side, and a five story dormitory on a third side. The only thing that saved us from being surrounded was the road was on the fourth side. Construction went on in the three construction sites simultaneously. We went for two years with terrible construction noise and dust all the time. This is why I recommend living in a quiet gated community (moo baan) instead of living out in the neighborhoods.

4. Can Citylife advise me please? My husband and I are planning a winter excursion to the kingdom. My husband intends to spend time in Soi Cowboy, Bangkok, whereas I wish to visit the northern regions, Chiang Mai. Are there establishments commensurable in service dictates as those in Soi Cowboy but which cater to females?

Fun fairs of decadence catering to farang do exist in Chiang Mai though are less glitzy and more akin to the ‘run down’ epithet. You may try the road ‘Loi Kroh’ for that kind of thing. As for catering to women? ‘Your honey will do aught for the right money,’ is usually the presiding slogan in these establishments. Have a nice trip.

5. Is it true daughters of Thai families were once sold into marriage and this was normal in society? Does it happen now?

Excerpt from ‘Residence in Siam’ 1850 by F. A. Neale: “So soon as the girl reaches the age of twelve she is married, and then the parents wash their hands of her forever; but should no suitor be forthcoming, she is allowed a year’s time, and opportunities to gain one. At the expiration of this period, if her efforts have been futile, as is, alas! too often the case, she is taken by her father to his own shop, and there is sold to the highest bidder that may appear in a month’s time.” Although I doubt many daughters are sold into marriage these days I have heard that the ‘tdok kiew’ _ literally, picking the rice before it’s ready to harvest _ meaning selling daughters when they are very young but only letting them go in their teens, still happens. My Thai friend told me it had happened in her village. It’s now widely seen as immoral. What is perhaps more worrying are children being sold into the sex trade, which still happens even though the government and other organisations have taken measures to put an end to this.
The bridegroom or his family, whether they are hi-so or low-so, will have to pay nom mae (mother’s milk) to the bride’s mother to compensate her for her trouble in raising the bride. See also The Diary of Bua Geow page 13.