Much Too Much Rubbish
I was pleased to read [Dirty Litter Secrets, March 2014] and the list of 10 tips. Number five is a brilliant suggestion but if bags of rubbish are collected in my spare time and then taken home and placed alongside my household rubbish collected by a large smelly truck every Monday, it means I might just be adding to the numerous roadside tips I see around the quieter country lanes on the outskirts of Chiang Mai.
On the subject of effective disposal, what can a farmer, villager, highway maintainer or anyone do with the naturally encroaching weeds, grasses and other dried flora, other than burn it and therefore add to the seasonal blight? Seriously, what alternative is there? Dig a hole and bury it? I see many signs throughout the country asking people to stop burning but see no signs of assistance to farmers, villagers or highway maintainers to take their dry flora to a useful facility such as some would recognise in other countries.
Visas for the People
I live in Thailand but can’t get a visa. It doesn’t matter which party is in power. Thailand loves to give visas to disgusting, poor Western sexpats who live on a fixed income and penny pinch on everything OR to kids earning 30,000 baht per month. Neither category pours much money into Thailand although individual Isaan villagers are doing fairly well off the sexpats I suppose. But NORMAL people who just want to live here, not work and spend their money in the Thai economy, don’t get residency. I think Thailand only likes dodgy, skint farangs for some reason… Augh!
Not a Resident
Fines for the Force
Well-done interview [Traffic Troubles, April 2014] full of some interesting information. There are still some problems within the force regarding informal fines – and this has very recently been acknowledged by the chief who wants to solve this problem. I, for one, have never received any suggestion to pay a bribe (i.e., an on-the-spot reduced fine) for the genuine minor traffic violations for which I have been justly nabbed. Indeed, in one case, I was cheeky enough to park heading the wrong way on a crowded road to rush in and out of a shop. When I returned, a traffic cop was there peering at my license number and opening his ticket book. I apologised, he smiled and closed his book, and we both went our ways.
Why can’t a driving license from another country be accepted? Why? Why? Why? The so-called international license is absolutely no guarantee that a person can drive well.
[Re: Hazed and Confused, April 2014]: In this era of fractious politics the government just aren’t going to even think of getting heavy on potential voters. They allocate budget to put up posters with politicians faces on, that’s the extent of it, meanwhile even when the smog is burning villagers’ eyes they will still burn their yard rubbish, it’s nuts. Agree with the cycling and good to see some incentives around Three Kings. This city is perfect for cycling, being mostly flat. More identified lanes and spaces will encourage more use.
Industrial composters could be used as economic incentive to farmers. In three years time all the farmers would have improved soil and the skies would be much clearer.
You guys are improving. Made it to paragraph four before the nonsense started. (Though admittedly in the words of the writer/speaker with the extensive environmental career): “Traffic is the source of air pollution here; the burning just makes it worse.” Buzzzz…sorry, try again. (I assume this doesn’t require further explanation.) Strangely though the rest of the article was then (accurately) about agricultural/forest burning again, which IS the source of the problem.
[Rationale: if traffic is the main source of the annual dry season haze pollution then you would expect places with less traffic to be affected less. Yet this isn’t the case. Very rural places like Mae Hong Son, Pai, Mae Sai, Chiang Rai are affected MORE. As are places across the border that don’t have measuring stations but very low traffic. (Luang Prabang, Northern Burma)
Also, city traffic happens year round, so you’d see it also any time it doesn’t rain any other time of the year, say all through November and December, yet you don’t. And, city traffic is actually LESS in March as this is the main school holiday; you clearly and obviously notice traffic is less during rush hours. So… back to the environmental expert.]
Our Selfies, Ourselves
[Re: At Face Value, April 2014:] I have always blamed selfies on narcissism but it is interesting to hear this other perspective. I have noticed a difference between the way people take selfies here in Asia versus in the west. They are not ashamed at all, it is a very social and happy thing. Is this good or bad? I don’t know, but the parallels you draw between selfies and protests are quite fascinating. I do think there is a point here, selfies as a way of individualising in a collectivist culture. Much food for thought.
Pam in BKK
I would imagine that the Thai focus upon self-obsession is easier to put up with by means of viewing a few “selfies” than having to listen to one of many 20 minute monologues at a typical Thai wedding party. Of course posting a “selfie” is akin to hoisting your personal flag online, or is it perhaps more towards, in the Thai vernacular, “flying your kite.”
I think there are far too many selfies. But then, I think there is not enough twerking so I can be hard to please…
On the Scene
Nicely written article Cody and I’m glad “we three” did help you, indirectly, with some of your material. I hear tell that See Man Pub is now re-opened after a horrible fire a few weeks back whilst being re-furbished. Great news and a venue that always attracted the young gay crowd, but we oldies were always welcomed and never felt awkward or patronised in anyway. Same can be said for G-Star Vintage, by the way. I went for the 1st time on my own, far too early in the evening, of course, but the staff were very attentive and concerned that I was feeling comfortable at all times. I even got chatted up by some of the young, cute Thai lads later on!
David Short Shorts
An interesting, well written article, with a different yet accurate perspective of the Chiang Mai gay scene. However, there certainly is a large Thai gay scene but it doesn’t revolve around physical places, it’s more a social network, both online and real. As the author points out, this is hard for foreigners to discover and access.