This is Thailand

 |  January 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.Do you know if those cheap copy sunglasses you can buy everywhere are bad for your eyes?

According to Christopher Wanjek the author of the books ‘Bad Medicine’, UV rays can seriously screw up your eyesight, so I guess in this country we all have a good chance of having fuzzy vision if we don’t wear sunglasses. The author reckons that cheapo non prescription glasses don’t do a damn thing to stop UV and no doubt Chris has never been to the night bazaar. In America the FDA will approve ‘proper’ sun specs, the FDA did state that some 15 dollar glasses were better than the designer 500 dollar glasses. I would hazard a guess that copy Thai glasses don’t do a damn thing except embarrass their owners when they look at photos of themselves in the future.

2.Is it possible if I take some really cool trousers I bought from the UK that they can replicate them here?

Yes, and you can choose any material you want. Just go to Kad Luang day market and choose the material and then go to a tailor with your old pair. It should cost you all in all about 600 – 800 baht. In the first soi on Ratchadamnern Rd. on the corner next to the Motari hotel, there is a tailor’s called Chok Dee. There you can choose the material and he will make your pants in about four days.

3. My wife just had a kid and she is doing all manner of strange things like not leaving the house and wearing a bloody hat inside, I don’t really know what’s going on but I feel her family are planning all kinds of weird things. Can you please explain?

What is ‘weird’ in one culture is normal in another. There is an old Thai custom called yu fai, which means ‘to stay by the fire’.

Although it is not as widely practiced anymore, in the past when a mother gave birth to a child she would sit by the home fire and not leave the house or do any strenuous work for at least one month. At this time she would usually be all wrapped up from head to toe to keep warm. This was thought to help in the healing process after childbirth. Ask your wife if she is practicing ‘yu fai’. If your wife’s family raised her up to be a healthy adult then you can probably trust that they will do the same for your child. And before I forget, congratulations.

4.What are the drink driving laws here?

The police told us that they only do drink driving stops when they get orders from the director to do so. If they tell you to pull over and you ignore their order, they say they will take this very seriously and if you are caught you will end up in jail. The legal limit in Thailand is lower than the UK where it is 80 mg in 100 ml of blood. In Thailand it is only 50 mg of alcohol so just one large bottle of beer will put you bang smack on the limit – depending on body size. It’s conceivable that if the cops decided to do alcohol limit breath tests throughout Chiang Mai on any given night about 80% of Lannians would end up in jail. The cops did say that the alternative to jail could be a fine from 2 – 10,000 baht depending on what the judge says. Personally I’ve hardly ever seen the police doing drink drive stops, after all, they’d all be arresting each other, that wouldn’t do. For now the police are mostly interested in young Thai students not wearing helmets in the day time who most likely are not driving around hammered knocking folk into early graves. TIT! Look both ways.