Morning, Bangkok. Sunday again…
The main source of consternation for Thailand expats this week has been the approval of a new 10-year visa for the over 50s. Requiring some slightly-higher-than-normal financial requirements, the keyboard warriors have been out in force, decrying its very existence.
If, for some reason, you have a lot of time to spare and enjoy the thrill of people losing their proverbial shit in a public forum, check out Thaivisa’s thread on the subject — standing at a lofty 68 pages at the last count.
Here’s what else has been entertaining and enraging Bangkok this week…
It was announced this week that a plan to offer 10-year visas to foreigners over 50 has been approved by the cabinet and — like everything Thai visa related — the news was met with vociferous mixed reactions.
While many older expats welcomed the stability offered by the lengthier visa (instead of having to renew every year), others voiced concerns about the financial requirements: over 50s will only be eligible if they can prove a 100,000 baht a month income, or have 3 million baht in the bank (of which only 50% can be withdrawn in the first year). They also require annual heath insurance coverage of at least $10,000.
In a case of “well, that escalated quickly”, this week two teenagers were arrested in Chaityabhumi on a count of murder after they took violent action when the victim groped the suspect’s girlfriend’s bottom. It descended into a brawl until suspect Wanchalerm Pomchaiphum retrieved his gun from his motorbike and shot two men, killing one of them.
Thailand’s reputation for street food is legendary, but recent events suggest that our bustling city is stamping its name on the map as a fine dining destination as well.
Gaggan, named the best restaurant in Asia, was one of the sites of this year’s Gelinaz Shuffle: an event where 40 top chefs around the world take over each other’s kitchens for the night. Gaggan played host to Sven Elverfeld of Aqua at the Ritz-Carlton Wolfsburg, while Gaggan Anand did his thing at Momofuko Ko in New York.
Well — not all bad.
We love these ‘first impressions’ posts that many travel bloggers do when they tick Bangkok off on their Asia travels. Usually they go something along the lines of: ‘we thought we would hate the city, but we ended up loving it, something about street food, very hot, much sweat, pollution.’
This blog thankfully doesn’t follow the same well worn formula but does throw in a new criticism: being harassed by taxi and tuk tuk drivers to the extent that they would pull at the visitor’s clothes. Is this a thing now?! We know they can tout their wares quite loudly in the Khao San area, but we’d disagree that this is a problem outside of the backpacker hotspots.
If anything might persuade you to swap Khao San Road for the North of Thailand — it’s probably this Vogue diary at the Four Seasons Tented Camp in the Golden Triangle. Absolutely dripping with luxury — if this is camping, it’s putting our childhood trips to the Forest of Dean into rather harsh perspective.
This Belgian blogger has a series where she interviews Belgian expats around the world, and this week it’s the turn of Reinold — a 64 year old now living in Phisanulok with his Thai wife. He gives his perspective on a life in Thailand, illustrated by photos of him with his wife and various pups. Lovely stuff (save for few racial generalisations on ‘the Thai’…).
Speaking of racial generalisations, this Reddit thread explores why some Thai people are often late or occasionally totally absent when you try to make plans, from the perspective of what appears to be a man feeling out the online dating realm over here.
Replies include the inevitable
to a discussion about the merits of online dating with women intent on only dating Westerners, to how Tinder dates are just as flaky wherever you are in the world.
The Thaivisa forum finally ask themselves the long-awaited question of whether all these local women telling ready ears that they don’t like Thai men is actually a little strange. Some replies proclaim that it’s a truth universally acknowledged that Thai men are seen as bad boys as so many are known to cheat and ‘not treat their woman right’, while others point out that the ladies are probably just saying what they think their Western paramour wants to hear.
We wonder if Thai women sit around all day wondering if their Western boyfriends hating Western women is a red flag…
Yesterday the traffic was so bad I took a motorbike, but due to idiot pedestrians on the sidewalk we never got over 35kph. #bkklife
— the grugq (@thegrugq) November 24, 2016
Everyone gets off/ changes trains at the Siam BTS stop except the guy with 2 large suitcases in front of the door. #Thailand
— Justin Dunne (@justindunne) November 25, 2016
— Thos Major (@ThosMajor) November 24, 2016
And that’s been The Week On Sukhumvit — see you next time!