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Move abroad? You’re ‘avin a laff! Rooster’s top ten reasons to stay in Thailand
In a thoroughly entertaining week of news on Thaivisa, one of the main stories featured a new Facebook site that was originally called “Let’s Move Abroad”.
As getting on for a million Thais signed up in no time, the bods at the Digital Economy and Society ministry started to panic.
All those Thais moving to the US, South Korea and god forbid the UK! There won’t be anyone left in Siam to prosecute!
There were mutterings that having a healthy interest in the outside world was not a bad thing followed by a patriotic backlash.
In that spirit – and not because I have had a Biggs or Barrow-style visit from immigration (I keep a low residential profile), Rooster has decided to report his top ten reasons to STAY in Thailand.
Some of my readers may think these are more like the top ten reasons to LEAVE. I make no apology. I was criticized last week by someone who was challenged to explain why he thought Rooster was “dripping with insincerity”.
He couldn’t. A quick search revealed a ten year “veteran” of Thailand, what older hands call a newbie. And what Rooster refers to as IKEA (Thailand) – I Know Everything About….
So for that insincere drip in particular and all the nice people on Thaivisa in general, here is my totally sincere list in no particular order of why staying in Thailand makes so much good sense! Enjoy!
1 The Thai people and their sense of humor.
Yes, you do need to have a sense of humor to live in Thailand but the people have it in abundance. The Thais have their faults, I’m British so goodness knows I know about my own nation’s shortcomings, but Thai positivity and stoicism more than make up for the negatives. Interactions in the street, in shops, among the small number of Thais who I call close friends and the thousands who I know, are still a daily pleasure after nearly four decades of residence. They are smart, witty, gracious, kind, considerate and fun to be around. Sanook! Just avoid, as anywhere, lending money….
2 Work and play.
Thailand is a great place to work and an even better place to go out and enjoy the entertainment. Rooster came here penniless but with hope and ambition. I followed my dreams as you should. Now I’m wealthy in experiences and lucre. I’ve been a teacher of English, a teacher of Thai to Thais, a salesman, a condo flipper, a translator and a journalist. Now with some lockdown experience behind me it could be time to train as a chef. Yes, the sky’s the limit when it comes to work with ample opportunities to spend one’s hard-earned on enjoyable pursuits (post-pandemic!).
3 The Thai roads and motorcycle riding.
Yes, I can hear you bang on, what about the carnage. Well, I’ve done half a million kilometers on the Thai roads with no serious accidents, on bikes or in cars. The roads go everywhere, are by and large free of potholes (except near my wife’s house in Loei…) and there are not many traffic lights (avoid proceeding on green when you’re stopped by one). There are brilliant places to drive off at tangents like caves, temples and hot springs and roadside “resorts” cost as little as 300 – 400 baht a night. On a “steed” make sure you ride very defensively. You should be exhausted at the end of a journey due to concentration. In a car keep your wits about you for motorcycles and plod. Anticipate and you’ll stay alive and kicking!
4 Eating out or at home.
Thailand remains one of the truly great dining experiences on all levels. Street food is clean and hygienic. I’ve been sick once from dodgy shellfish. There are top quality restaurants at affordable prices everywhere offering food from all over the world. Even McDonalds is a cut above everywhere else! When cooking at home, box clever by shopping at a variety of supermarkets and markets. This way you’ll get the best ingredients and the best prices. Train your wife or husband how to cook your favorites or DIY.
5 The Thai health care system
Again, you need to be smart here especially if you don’t have insurance. Use freebie pharmacists wisely, don’t buy drugs at private hospitals (connive with doctors), shop around for the best care. Never dismiss the government sector or even local clinics as options. If you can, speak Thai with doctors. If not, pose no leading questions. I’ve had many ailments – some serious – in Thailand but with the odd exception both in and out-patient care has been great. My doctor – a Man City supporter – is one of my closest confidants. Just don’t get me started on the nurses in case Mrs R learns to read English here…
6 Marriage and having children
I pity the boring miseries who say only rent in Thailand when it comes to relationships. Dreadful! Thais are loyal and loving wives and husbands if a little prone to throw what us Brits call wobblies every six weeks. Get a doghouse to hide in if you come a cropper. Thailand is a great place to bring up children. My first set still love it though they prefer to live abroad after an international school education. My second set – yes, I did it all over again with a second wife – are in Thai schools and learning so much from their gran in Loei. Have plenty of kids (certainly more than wives) and you won’t go far wrong in kid-friendly Thailand.
7 The peace and quiet
It’s true that the villages can have the odd loudspeaker and Bangkok can be a tad hectic but again, if you are smart, it’s possible to find peace and quiet in Thailand. I’m only a few kms from the center of the capital but I can hear a pin drop (atnight!). If something breaks the peace complain about it nicely. Contrary to some opinions that everything in the nation is loud, there are many Thais who will back you up when it comes to noise pollution.
8 Thai language
Don’t let Thai language be a hindrance to living in the country and never listen to those who say it is too hard or too late to learn. With a little effort Thai is easy to master and foreigners should learn more than taxi Thai. Learn to speak fluently (concentrate on the sounds of the language) and definitely learn to read and even write (predictive text is great to practice that). Mix in all social strata and among all sexes to find role models for your language and willing teachers. Foreigners who speak Thai well enjoy enormous advantages and gain even more respect. Try it and you’ll see I’m right!
9 Thai officialdom
Go onto a site like Thaivisa and you’ll see one moaner about this aspect of life after another. Ignore them. When dealing with Thai officials smile, be properly dressed and polite. Don’t try and rush things, take a book. If you can, speak Thai and praise them and their country. Even interactions with plod can be positive if you follow the basics and talk about the EPL. Thai offices – the DLT, districts, immigration – are all much improved on what they were years ago. There are less lunch breaks, better systems and more efficient staff. Be positive and friendly – a mantra for living in Thailand.
10 Scrabble and hobbies
Regular readers of this column will know that I am a professional Scrabble grand master who has represented Thailand on many occasions and has made countless friends after being introduced to the game here. Scrabble may not be your thing but I would suggest whatever it is – a British friend of mine represented the kingdom at Taekwondo – find out how you can get involved. Pursuing a lifelong hobby – whether it is model trains, cycling, gardening – you’ll find like minded Thais and foreigners to develop your passion and make your life more fulfilled. Just be careful of “doll collecting”.
Yes, be positive, don’t limit yourself, avoid the moaners (some might be Thai) who say it can’t be done and above all enjoy your life in Thailand. Don’t compare it to where you’ve come from, make the most of it. And above all….
Now here are some of the top stories that caught Rooster’s beady eye this week:
The Bangkok police are trialling a new khaki uniform that they hope will be better suited to the climate and meet with public approval. Hopefully the more portly plod will be able to lever themselves into it.
We were told after a survey that 50% of Thais think eating Pad Krapao can ward off Covid. Nonsense! Everyone knows that only durian and garlic – possibly together – can scare everything away!
Koh Larn was shut for two weeks from last Wednesday. There were fears that Koh Chang might follow suit. Most people are staying put at home so all this is a moot point.
In Khon Kaen a local official made non-mask wearers do squat thrusts instead of paying fines. This was particularly good for the elderly, he said. It’s a shame that PM Prayut was not given the option rather than pay a paltry 6K. I’d like to have seen him even more red faced than usual.
A cluster of infections at Bangkok’s Klong Toei slum caused concern and started a mass vaccination drive. Meanwhile, many in the expat community took to forums to comment after the MoPH said they’d have to wait to get jabbed until Thais had had their turn. Moderna will be available “soon” for 3,000 baht, said a health official.
In government news, heroin smuggler Thammanat Prompao was allowed to keep his job because his 1994 conviction was in Australia. The Constitutional Court decided that it’s a foreign country and this is Thailand…..
The cabinet had a two hour meeting that failed to resolve what to do about THAI airways. The meeting was addressed via video conferencing by Saksayam the transport minister fresh from his bout of Covid caught at a gentlemen’s club and justice minister Somsak who had to quarantine for 14 days after a Songkran party in his honor in Sukhothai resulted in dozens of infections and the death of a woman in Bangkok.
Yes, it’s still as crazy as ever in the “upper echelons” as they behave like rats in the sewers.
In Nan, a beautiful province in the north, a pregnant Thai wife went missing and her foreign husband, clearly a Caucasian, was being sought. Blood was found at the house.
In Pattaya, Sophon Cable TV on Facebook took pictures of and shamed foreigners who were not wearing masks. I’d let them off but fine them for wearing shorts and having their tattooed bellies hanging out. Talk about letting the side down.
Also in QUOTES a Teana went up in flames with the 24 year old owner saying he didn’t have time to retrieve a million baht in cash on the back seat. A likely story!
In nearby Bang Saen mayor Lek called for dog owners to show more responsibility and published pictures of a pit bull roaming the resort. Daily News said it looked like the local mafia on the streets!
A grisly murder in Bang Lamung was jealousy said the police. It was different from the usual genre in that the wife, 24, clearly did it with multiple stab wounds to her 23 year old hubby who was found naked in the bathroom.
Finally, infidelity was also at the source of my favorite story of the week.
A hapless food delivery guy went to the Loei police to say that he had made several transfers to a “sideline” girl he met on Twitter who he had wanted to get in the sack.
After 14,000 baht had gone one way, she blocked him. The cops explained patiently that this was prostitution and he’d have to take this one on the chin.
He rode off on his motorcycle into the Isaan sunset to make his next delivery.
Hopefully just a little wiser about some of the pitfalls Thailand can throw up.
And hopefully not wanting to leave.