HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Protect our environment

Best in the East moves North

Over the years nothing much has changed in respect to Thai drivers

Caveat Emptor when dealing with franchises

Protect our environment

Dear Editor,

It has finally caught up with us. The disregard, disrespect and total ignorance of environmental issues in Asia have now caused a brown cloud over a big part of Asia. I have wondered many times when something like this was going to happen. The brown cloud which hangs over Asia was caused by pollution and will affect the monsoon rains in Asia. Crops will be lost, flooding will occur in parts of Asia, and in other areas no rain will fall, according to a recent article I read about the brown cloud.

The detrimental rains in Europe, which caused frightening flooding all over the continent, may, or may not, have been caused by the ignorance of other continents. One thing is for sure: most of Europe, a continent which took early actions to prevent environmental deterioration, is going through a horrendous catastrophe. It will take years to rebuild and get over.

The precautions taken in the western world concerning environmental protection for many years now have helped ease the load required of our planet to digest the environmental impact we cause.

During an earlier visit to Thailand by my sister and her husband, we were discussing the pro and cons of Thailand. They were totally shocked by the environmental ignorance here. Mountains of garbage behind apartment buildings, where things get thrown out the window if they cannot be used anymore and have no value.

I think it is now time for the government to alert the citizens of Thailand about the environment, as it is, and will, affect all levels of society - rich and poor. People need to know the urgency of this issue; every single person is able to and should do his or her part.

Simple things like plastic bags in supermarkets - why not bring your own? Is it necessary to wrap it twice? Stricter rules on exhaust emissions from cars and motorcycles are also needed - urgently.

Collected garbage should be separated - white from coloured glass for re-use, cardboard from ordinary garbage, etc.

These are just a few suggestions I have. I’m sure environmental experts will come up with much better and effective ideas, which can be implemented in governmental tasks such as garbage collection.

We have long past the point of no return; however, we could slow down and try to preserve our way of life as we know it for as long it is possible - with just a few alterations. Maybe long enough to be hit by an asteroid to end our world.


Frank Lee D’Gusted

Best in the East moves North

Dear Editor;

On the launch of Chiangmai Mail may I on behalf of everyone at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort wish you every success in this new venture. Your sister publications Pattaya Mail and Pattaya Blatt have been successfully covering news in the Eastern Seaboard since 1993 and it is clearly the best publication of it’s kind in the region. We are sure you will achieve the same success and status in Chiang Mai.

Good Luck!

Kind Regards,

Andrew J. Wood

General Manager

Royal Cliff Beach Resort

Over the years nothing much has changed in respect to Thai drivers

Dear Editor,

Before I visited Thailand for the first time, some twenty years ago, I read an article in an insurance magazine, which compared the driving skills of the inhabitants of various countries of the world. I still remember some parts of that article, almost word for word, because what was true twenty years ago is still true in Thailand today. Nothing much, if anything, seems to have changed in that respect. The six statements I remember best were as follows:

1. “The art of driving in Thailand is to change lanes as often as possible, for no particular reason, preferably without signalling.”

2. “Thai people may be amongst the most friendly, easy-going and courteous people in the world, should you have the pleasure of meeting them in the normal way, away from any motorized vehicle that is. However, they seem to have a sudden and extreme personality change as soon as they get behind the wheel of a car, when they become aggressive to the point of being completely mindless about anything other than preventing any other vehicle getting in front of them.”

3. “The traffic laws in Thailand seem to prohibit the use of brakes whenever another vehicle tries to make a manoeuvre, instead the headlights are employed, in a manner which, anywhere-else in the world would indicate that the driver of the approaching vehicle is allowing the proposed manoeuvre, but in Thailand this indicates that you proceed at your own peril, because the accelerator is being applied at the same time as these headlights.”

4. “Whilst normal driving skills and road sense seem to be non-existent in Thailand, the main cause of small accidents seem to occur when parking. Most Thai drivers seem to have no idea whatsoever when it comes to reversing. They may go in and out of an adequate size parking space six or seven times before giving up and looking for a larger space, or moving on because they have damaged another car during their efforts to park in the previous space.”

5. “There are really some quite spectacular accidents on the roads in Thailand from time to time, the most spectacular involve coaches, lorries and juggernauts, who the police seem to allow to travel at any speed they like despite their inability to stop. The drivers of these vehicles often appear to be drunk and swerve erratically across two or three lanes sometimes ending up on their sides as a result.”

6. “A major hazard on the roads are the many motorcyclists, who seem to feel uncomfortable with only two people on a bike, and prefer to travel with up to four other friends on the same bike. Very often these heavily weighed down bikes are unable to travel quickly enough across roads, so they simply drive against the traffic, but the police will only stop these bikes if the driver is not wearing a helmet; however, the many pillions seem to be exempt from this law. All too often these bikes have no working lights and given that their riders seem to prefer to wear black and that most cars have heavily tinted windows in Thailand to keep out the sunlight during the day, at night these motorcyclists are invisible especially when they are travelling in the wrong direction. The ex-pat community refers to these as suicidalists”.

The article ended by saying that despite the appalling number of accidents on the roads in Thailand, the results of the insurers are not too bad, mainly because Thai insurance companies do not pay claims.

Yours truly,


Caveat Emptor when dealing with franchises

Dear Editor,

I’m glad to see that the government is finally taking steps to protect investors who are considering becoming franchisees in Thailand. For foreign investors, this could be an advantage, as it might help them with business practices and local business customs and know-how.

Due to the lack of qualified franchise organizations and franchise laws in Thailand, franchisers are able to take full advantage and often rip-off investors. This usually does not happen with international franchises, which are established around the world and have years of business experience. It is more often the case of locally established wannabe franchises with their interest in the quick bucks and short-term profit. These franchises often pretend to have a few established branches, but in many cases they do not exist. Their support and franchise structure is poor or non-existent at all.

One should be aware of these practices and, when in doubt, should seek professional advice.

Best Regards,

James Hawthorne