Family Money: In case you’re not immortal
Managing director of Westminster Portfolio Services (Thailand) Ltd.
I know I’ve written before about life and death and
planning for the latter, but at least once a week someone comes to see me
who has not done so, and has little idea how to do so – especially with
regard to Thai assets and Thai laws and Thai wills.
The problems are often solved not by the one who dies
who was too busy enjoying life to bother to make proper provision for his
passing, but by those left behind holding the bag containing all the
problems. And having to solve them at what inevitably is a very traumatic
time is adding an unnecessary burden to your loved ones at a time they
least need it.
Perhaps your local life-partner speaks good English and
can make some sense of the various papers that come to light at this time.
More often your partner will speak halting English and understand very
little written English legalese. They may be lucky enough to have access
to supportive friends, a qualified family lawyer, or an experienced
financial adviser with a working knowledge of probate matters and
finalising a person’s estate.
Also, there will be many among you who, having spent
the latter decade or so overseas, are now on second families and, having
set up with new Thai partners, have given little if any thought to the
consequences that can befall a mixed-nationality household in the event of
the early mortality of the main breadwinner, who will usually be the expat.
Foreigners spend much of their working lives creating
wealth and hiding it from the taxman, so it is far preferable to spend a
little time and money now to protect local partners and children, than to
let government departments or distant relatives employing expensive law
firms fight over the spoils by challenging agreements not enshrined in
Even more worrying and vastly more expensive, it could
mean your estate could be tied up for years in legal battles –
especially if your partnership exists as cohabitees or a marriage that
does not legally exist as it received, perhaps, only a Buddhist or
Christian blessing, without being registered at the Amphur. Such
arrangements could easily be contested by overseas offspring from a former
legalised marriage; despite the legitimate considerations of the Thai
partner who might not understand complex legal jargon and whose knowledge
of investments and financial affairs may be quite limited.
Putting these scenarios into context, expats everywhere
should set themselves an agenda to tackle these important tasks sooner
rather than later – while they are still able to do so, and protect
their loved ones from trauma as far as is possible when they do eventually
Categorise & centralise your affairs: First, create
a personal record card system of all your holdings: bank accounts, life
insurance policies, mortgages, shares, bonds, pensions and other
Each card should have the institution’s full address,
telephone, FAX and e-mail contacts together with the name of a person to
contact, and policy/account numbers and approximate encashment values.
These should be kept in a centralised file that can
easily be found in an emergency. Short instructions – with Thai
translations – on how to handle each file should be appended.
Deposit a “letter of wishes”: Expats can assist
their foreign partners by leaving a letter with an embassy, trusted
friend, lawyer or adviser. This would outline a series of steps you would
wish to be followed should you die or become mortally incapacitated. It
would also instruct your partner where to find financial files, where the
wills are held, whom to contact for help and what to do next.
Power of attorney: As a double safeguard, expats should
consider drafting a generalised and legally binding power of attorney in
favour of your Thai partner, or, if you feel your Thai partner is fiscally
unsophisticated, you can give a similar document to a trusted bi-lingual
friend (who may be the Personal Representative whom you have to name in a
Thai Will) clearly expressing your wishes as to what to do in the event of
your unexpected demise. This person should be utterly trustworthy, and
familiar with your assets and financial affairs. It should preferably be
in both English and Thai and will enable them to deal with all
Offshore bank account: Without doubt, all expats should
have an Offshore Bank Account accompanied by an ATM card. In the event of
death, all institutional monies can be paid into this account, to which
the partner can have immediate and automatic access via the ATM-debit card
Have policies “written in trust”: Consider
notifying investment houses that you want an in-house “trust” document
drawn up nominating your life-partner and/or children. Alternatively, you
can add them as co-beneficiaries. Signing an instruction as to where the
monies should be paid reduces problems considerably.
Get professional help: Appoint a long established and
trustworthy lawyer or financial adviser to assist your Thai partner in
resolving all the issues involved. Agree in advance by way of a contract
what you wish them to do and what the charges will be on an hourly basis.
A total capped figure should also be agreed.
Last wills and testaments: These should be legally
drafted in Thai and English, sealed, and held in a bank’s safety deposit
box. Certified copies can be placed with lawyers both ‘back home’ and
But bear in mind that only a Will written in Thai is
admissible in a Thai court: the one in English is for your convenience and
information only. (More about this topic next week).
Carry an emergency S.O.S. card: It’s a very simple
idea but makes sound practice. With an S.O.S. card written in both
languages, authorities can easily notify friends, family, partners or
lawyers should you get hit by a truck, baht bus, a piece of falling
masonry, or Jumbo crossing the road to get home. In which event, all of
the precautions taken above will kick in to protect the people you care
about most – your loved ones.
You may be the luckiest guy in the world, but that
doesn’t prevent you sitting next to the unluckiest guy in the world the
next time you ride a baht bus or go flying.
(Next week: How Thai law affects your estate)
Personal Directions: Honesty
By Christina Dodd,
founder and managing director of Asia Training Associates
I have found yet again another gem from the highly
appealing writings of John and Melody Anderson and this week the subject is
“Honesty” – I hope you enjoy it.
“It is commonly but mistakenly imagined that we can
select and control the degree to which we are honest and dishonest in various
areas of our lives. The absolute nature of these things, however, ensures that
if we choose to deny honesty in just one area of life, by doing so, we cannot
help but adversely affect others.
It is commonly acknowledged that honesty is the best policy
but just what is meant by honesty and why is it the best policy? And
what is meant by best? The implications of being honest would seem to
be obvious, but if we look more deeply, there are advantages to adopting
honesty as a way of living that do not at first present themselves clearly.
There are hidden benefits in being honest that are beyond the traditional
perceptions about what being honest affords us.
Honesty is least of all about what we say and most
of all about how we are. It is most important to understand that
honesty cannot even be restricted to the definition of our actions, for there
is a whole network of behavior that is affected by our degree of honesty and
the degree to which we allow honesty to pervade our lives. The absolute nature
of honesty sees to it that we cannot apply it selectively. It is quite
impossible to be truly honest with one person while all the while lying to
ourselves about someone else. It is not realistic to assume that we can
maintain a dishonest relationship with one friend and maintain an honest
relationship with another. Friendship could not exist if we were able to
perform such a feat. It is true then, that honesty applies not only to the
words we say and the things we do, but also in the feelings we feel and
how we allow those feelings to impact on our lives and on our perception of
When honesty is applied to our feelings we are able to
recognize the presence of choice, change and flexibility. The less flexible a
feeling is, the less likely it is to be a feeling and the more likely it is to
be an opinion, supported by intellect. The less honest we are about what we
feel, what we think and how these things are allowed to determine what happens
to us, the more likely we are to become restricted by this absence of honesty.
For in order to maintain aspects of identity, it is usual to have to pervert
the truth in some way.
The most common and successful way to do this is to feel
one way and think we feel another. Our intellect can provide all the
justification required to make us think that what we are experiencing are
genuine feelings. For example, if we feel a compulsion to make a purchase
which does not reflect a genuine desire, or perhaps reflects an identity
requirement, we will have to undergo some sort of process in order to go
through with the purchase. Perhaps part of that process involves talking
ourselves into the notion that we want or need the object of the purchase. We
must engage in dishonesty in order to see to it that the impure purchase is
made. Sometimes this can be quite a struggle, particularly if it is necessary
to hide the truth about the purchase from ourselves.
Where this sort of process falls down is in the absolute
nature of honesty and of lack of honesty. When we seek to deceive ourselves
over one issue, then we cannot avoid deceiving ourselves over others. If we
furiously defend an illusion in one area of our lives, then we will be
compelled to do so in other areas also. If the only way we can have things is
to do so through dishonest means, then we become a slave to the dishonesty and
are bound in other areas of life to give the same credence to dishonesty and
its power to influence what we have. We become caught in a web of deceit that
entangles us in its sticky grip. It ensures that we are only capable of
achieving things in a very limited fashion, as long as it does not interfere
with our carefully constructed illusions - illusions that are more correctly
referred to as expressions of dishonesty.
Illusions, however, can only continue to exist as long as
they are not openly acknowledged or expressed as such. Their true nature must
remain hidden for their power to be strong. The more dishonest
we become about the little things in our lives, the more the dishonesty
pervades the significant issues. Dishonesty has a way of completely
overwhelming the life of an individual to a point where it becomes almost
impossible to be honest, under any circumstances. This alone is responsible
for the fact that as soon as we begin applying honesty to long held illusions,
it can seem as though all hell breaks loose in all sorts of areas in our
The mere presence of genuine honesty in one area almost
forces honesty in others. This is very important in gauging our degree of
honesty should we be interested in identifying any areas of difficulty.
Anomalies must be carefully examined, for honesty is indeed absolute. Should
we become dependent on lying to help us get through life, then we must be
prepared for the consequences. Habitual dishonesty or lying can ensure that
when it comes to something important, something that we want very much, our
pattern of lying has become so strong that we doubt our ability to carry out
our objectives. The lying not only convinces others but impacts upon our own
perceptions of our abilities and ourselves.”
Until next time…have a great week!
Should you need to contact me write to Christina.dodd @asiatrainingassociates.com
The Doctor's Consultation:
The Human Genome Project and our genes
by Dr. Iain Corness
A couple of years ago, I mentioned the Human Genome
Project. It is an international collaboration which kicked off in 1990 to
attempt to write down the various genes that are responsible in making us up
to way we are. A gene, by the way, is a portion of DNA responsible for
encoding messenger RNA for translation into protein. The popular Matrix movies
show what is supposed to happen when you combine DNA with machines.
The Human Genome study is no small project either as we
have approximately 1,000 billion cells of which each has 46 chromosomes
carrying duplicate copies of around 30,000 genes. The exciting thing about the
Human Genome Project is that after 10 years we now have a draft copy of
“us” with the base pairs that make up the genome being described.
What the researchers are now trying to do is assign the
function to each gene. Is this one the gene that gives Asians brown eyes, or
is it the gene that determines whether you are going to get cancer?
At the mention of the Big C (and I don’t mean the
supermarket chain) I can hear all your ears pricking up. Can we now predict a
cancer occurring in ourselves some time in the future? Well, we can - sort of!
Come on, you didn’t expect “absolutes” in experimental medicine, did
We have discovered the “cancer gene” for breast cancer
and some types of colorectal cancers and another condition called familial
adenomatous polyposis, which if left untreated, results in 100% of the cases
developing colon cancer. So what are we doing about it?
What you have to understand is that this is not the be all
and end all of the cancer story. The relative contributions to cancer are as
Hereditary factors 5-10%
Occupational exposure 5%
Infectious agents 5%
Radiation and environmental pollution 4%
(and yes, I do realise that doesn’t add up to 100% - there’s others, but
Just because someone in your family got breast cancer, that
does not mean that you will. Their cancer might have had nothing to do with
genetic mutations of healthy genes. There is a far greater chance that it
developed from “other” causes such as smoking, for example.
However, returning to the hereditary concept, if after
taking a detailed family history it looks as if there “might” be a genetic
element, then it is a case of very extensive testing - that takes much time
(and money) to see if the person has the mutated gene.
The next problem for the predictive testing concept is - if
you find you have got the mutated gene - what do you do about it? And even
more importantly, can we handle the knowledge?
For some women, this might mean deciding to have a
mastectomy now, instead of later. A tough call, especially when having the
mutated gene does not mean you have 100% chance of getting the cancer, having
the mutation just means you have a 40-80% chance of developing breast cancer
by the time you are 70 years old. There is also much evidence that those who
are told their “mutated future” are more likely to suicide than those who
get a clean bill of genetic health.
All very sobering. We are now at the stage of starting to
‘repair’ genes, but it’s early days yet - but that day is coming.
I’ve eaten hawker food since 1971 and only got sick the very first time.
I suspected, however, that it was the Mekong that did me and not the food.
I swore off Mekong and haven’t had any trouble with hawker food since.
As to Spam, I’ve eaten the canned product on occasion, but most enjoy
the company’s sense of humor in not minding our calling junk e-mail by
that name. As to the latter, the better e-mail services allow users to set
up a White List, and blocks all messages from senders not on it. The best
services allow you the option of having them automatically update your
list. They do by sending automatic replies to all unknown senders asking
if they are humans or spammers. The former are invited to click a reply
that updates the White List and allows the message in. As for me, I
haven’t set up such an account yet as I don’t know an easy way to
transfer my address book, and am daunted by the prospect of updating my
e-mail @ with various non-human agencies whose services I use. I’d
appreciate suggestions along those lines.
Paw Yai Lee
What sort of a column do you I am running here? The food column? Spam tod
grathiem prik Thai. Spam? So you think Spam is junk food? I am sure you
will get an army barrage from the UK folks who were raised on it during
the war. Look what it did for them? On second thoughts, let’s not look,
as some of them are looking very frayed around the edges these days. I
believe the term “spam” was coined by the Americans, who never had to
eat Spam. By the way, at last count, hawker food does not include Spam
either. No wonder you got ill. You got what you deserved, washing it down
with Mekong. Sang Thip is much better as a sterilizer I am told. I do
sympathize with you as far as White Lists and all that sort of thing is
concerned. It’s all too hard for Hillary. Just handling emails is a
chore, though my technician did tell me that half the reason I have so
many problems is because of chocolate on the kkkkkeyboard making the
kkkkeys stickkkkkkkkkkkkkkk. Perhaps I should give the kkkeyboard a good
sluice with champagne and see if that unstickkkkkkkkkks it? But I
couldn’t bring myself to waste it like that. Especially the Veuve
Cliquot. Some of the Australian sparklers perhaps.
What with all the ruckus over double pricing, what are your thoughts on
it, or doesn’t it affect you?
My poor Petal, of course the cost involved in going to tourist attractions
does not affect me. Hillary goes with an escort, who would be too gallant
to discuss prices or quibble over a mere 100% mark up. There are
advantages in being a woman, you know. Anyway, Hillary couldn’t even
afford the single pricing, let alone the doubled one!
The other evening my husband of 20 years called me a bitch with no
provocation from me at all. I decided to teach him a lesson, and slept in
the spare room that night and now I am thinking of leaving him. He just
laughs and shrugs it off when I ask him about it. What is your opinion,
Perhaps if you bark at him again you will get the answer.
You have been asked about tipping before, but I cannot find the edition it
was in. I realise that the waiters look to the tip as part of their wages,
but I just need to know how much should I tip them? Is it compulsory? I do
not want to look mean and stingy, but I haven’t got thousands of baht to
fritter away each time I go out. I appreciate your advice each week.
Much depends upon whether the establishment includes the tip, called
Service Charge, in the bill. Many hotels have the signs + + after the
price, and this means plus service charge and plus VAT. Since they have
already factored in (usually 10%) for the tip, then there is no point in
tipping twice in my book. Some people say that the establishment pockets
the service charge and does not give it to the waiters and waitresses, but
that is something between the employers and the staff, nothing to do with
the diners. If the restaurant does not include the service charge, then
around 10% is fair enough, unless you have had lousy service, or no
service. In those cases, Hillary does not tip at all. In fact I have been
known to wait for 5 baht change just to show them that I only tip for good
service. If the service has been exemplary, with lots of fawning and
scraping to make me feel wonderful (flattery gets them everywhere) then I
will tip more than 10%. Certainly the service staff do need the tips, but
my tip to them is that they should work for it.
Camera Class: Weird Edweard Muybridge
by Harry Flashman
can certainly bring out some of the real characters in this world. A couple of
weeks back I brought Weegee to your notice, the man I like to call the father of
photojournalism. He was the chap ready to photograph the body on the pavement,
but I doubt if he would have been involved in holding a blanket to catch the
jumper! Edweard Muybridge was another of these ‘characters’ and while
decidedly eccentric he did further scientific knowledge and made the first
cinema projector, so should be remembered fondly.
Edweard was born plain Edward Muggeridge in the UK in 1830
but emigrated to America in the early 1850’s and changed his name (as did a
lot of other people emigrating in those days). Edward’s reasons were not
In the 1860’s he took up photography and gained some fame
as a topographical photographer and even published a book, “Scenery of the
Yosemite Valley” in 1867, so Ansel Adams was not the only one to see the
possibilities in the majestic landscapes.
However, it was the photography of motion that attracted
Edweard. In 1872 he finally managed to successfully photograph a horse in motion
showing that at certain times all four hooves are off the ground simultaneously.
Unfortunately, immediately after that he was tried for murdering his wife’s
lover but was acquitted. He was then sued for divorce by the distraught lady and
finally widowed. All this kept Edweard away from his photography of motion for
Returning to photography, with the millionaire railroad
builder, Leland Stanford as his sponsor, Edweard developed a unique system in
1878 which was in reality 12 cameras mounted side by side and operated by trip
wires. By the following year he had expanded this to 24 cameras and could thus
take very short time interval photographs of horses, dogs, pigeons and goats in
motion. This in turn led to photographing moving humans, despite enormous
problems in getting people to walk past his battery of 24 cameras in the nude!
However, by 1881 he published these in a book.
His next objective was to show these as motion and he
invented the “Zoopraxiscope” which projected sequences of these photographs
mounted on a glass disc to give the impression of true motion. This was in fact
the world’s first cinema projector and preceded Thomas Edison’s
“Kinetoscope” by some twelve years.
In 1882 Edweard went to Europe, hopeful of raising
sponsorship to continue his photographic study of movement, but returned to
America with empty pockets. He was then lucky enough to get backing from the
University of Pennsylvania. They kept him alive while he photographed 2000
models, male and female, clothed and nude, as well as wild animals. When he ran
out of models, he even used himself, taking his serial shots of himself walking
up and down ramps. 20,000 photographs of almost 800 different subjects were
published in a book called “Animal Locomotion” in 1887.
Once again, he was to run out of money for his grandiose
schemes and tried selling the “Animal Locomotion” book at $100 a book.
Needless to say it was not an overnight best seller.
This led our Edweard to new heights. He built a hall to
demonstrate the Zoopraxiscope, called the Zoopraxographical Hall in the 1893
Chicago World’s Colombian Exhibition. This was the world’s first movie
theatre and predated the Lumiere brothers “Cinematographe” presentations by
Despite his inventiveness, the world did not beat a path to
his studio and Edweard decided he had enough of this photography lark, returning
to the UK, where he bequeathed all his photographic equipment to the local
library. At the turn of the century he reprinted his original books, earning
enough to eke out his last four years of life.
Of course, what Edweard did not realise was that almost 100
years later the scientific community would find that he had left them the most
complete records of animal motion ever produced and in fact in 1979 his books
were republished. It’s a weird world we live in!
Wine Column: Wonders from Down Under
By Ranjith Chandrasiri
Australian wine makers have done wonders with the Syrah
grape, locally known as Shiraz. The grape seems to thrive in the Australian soil
and climate, and it produces one of the most robust and flavourful red wines in
the world. The signature characteristic of wines made from the Shiraz grape is a
kind of black pepper spiciness, which usually is embroidered with layers of
black currants, plum, black cherry, cedar, and vanilla-scented oak.
Fife, the founder of famous Yarra Burn wines in Victoria recently invited
Ranjith to taste the wonders of Australian wines from Yarra Valley.
The hallmark wine that I believe really brought Australian
wines to the world’s attention probably is Rosemount Shiraz, which is
considered by most to be a “reference wine” for Australian Shiraz. It is
consistently well balanced and rich with ripe, intense fruit flavours, but its
power and grace are equally proportioned. And, best of all, you can still buy it
for under Australian $30.
Australia is not a one-grape wonder by any means. It also
does well with most of the other familiar grape varieties, including Cabernet
Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Riesling. Australian wine makers are fond of
blending Shiraz and other well-known grapes varieties in just about every
possible combination to achieve a wide range of styles. For example, you can
find blends of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot, Cabernet
Sauvignon and Merlot, and so on. An Australian peculiarity is to blend two
grapes and name the wine after both, the dominant variety first, for example:
Shiraz / Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Sauvignon / Shiraz.
As for white wines, they produce big, buttery Chardonnays
that have lots of oak. They like to blend it with Semillion to make a leaner,
less rich wine. They have also invented several completely original formulas;
Riesling blended with Traminer grapes to give the wine a nice spicy snap. For
example, Rosemount makes a Traminer-Riesling blend that is one of the best
cocktail wines available, and I highly recommend it.
There are lots of other Australian producers who make great
wines that are widely available in Thailand. Look for wines from Lindemans,
Hardys, Leeuwin Estate, Wolf Blass, Petaluma, Katnook Estate, Tyrrell’s,
Xanadu and Penfolds, to name just a few.
Penfolds has a staggering array of wines available that range
from cheap, basic cask or bag-in-box wines to the legendary “Grange,” which
has an international following among wine collectors and was named Wine of the
Year by the influential Wine Spectator magazine. It is one of the greatest wines
in the world that rivals the great wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy in price and
For most wine drinkers outside Australia, the whole
discussion of Australian wine regions is academic. Even Grange, for example
carries the broad South Australian appellation, which covers wines produced
anywhere in the state of South Australia. Commercial wines such as Jacob’s
Creek have even more all-encompassing appellation in the shape of
“South-Eastern Australia”, which could be used for grapes grown in South
Australia, Victoria or New South Wales - three states that, between them,
produce over 90% of the annual harvest.
Almost all Australian wineries use the “Bin” labelling
system on at least a portion of their wines; for example, Bin 2, Bin 389, Bin
707. I think this is a quaint throwback to older times when the term “bin”
referred to what is called a “lot.” Therefore, Bin 2 would refer to a
specific blend or lot of Shiraz and Mourvedre, and Bin 389 is a blend of
Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
You might also run into another designation called Show
Reserve. In Australia the term usually does mean better quality wine. In wine
shows it is often stipulated that any entrant must come from a batch of so many
thousands of bottles, and this is kept in reserve by the various wineries. They
are usually released following the wine’s show career and winning medals. So
some of the Show Reserves can be very handsome, not to mention expensive.
Generally, however, the Australian labels are easy to
understand and are informative. Wines are labelled with the name of the grape
variety stating the grape or combination of grapes used which must constitute at
least 85% of the wine. It is the taste that you drink, not the place mate.
Australian wines epitomize user-friendliness and are pleasant
to drink from an early age. So, if you get bored with what you are currently
drinking, take a look at what is coming out from down under. You are sure to
find something interesting.
Ranjith Chandrasiri is the resident manager of Royal Cliff
Grand and president of the Royal Cliff Wine Club, Royal Cliff Beach Resort,
Pattaya, Thailand. Email: [email protected] or [email protected]
Website: http://www.royal cliff.com/rcwineclub.htm
Ask your local US Consul
I’m going back to California next month, and I want to take my niece, Noi,
with me. She’s a smart girl who’s been helping out with her mother’s
business, but she’s not getting anywhere by selling ice cream. My wife and
I are having a baby in a few months, so we’d love to have the extra help
around the house. I hear it’s easier to get a student visa than a tourist
visa, so should I enroll my niece in a community college?
Dear Mr. Uncle,
Your desire to help out your extended family is to be commended - and will
almost certainly be encouraged beyond your wildest expectations - but
you’ve asked a complex question here. Will Noi study full-time and learn
skills she’ll use when she returns to Thailand after graduation, or is she
taking one hour per week of underwater basket-weaving (especially when she
already has a graduate degree in underwater basket-weaving from Thammasat)?
WILL she be returning to Thailand after graduation? Does her mother’s
business have a franchise operated by relatives in West Covina?
Intentions are tricky things, of course. Noi might
genuinely want both to help out around the house AND fulfill her lifelong
ambition of receiving a two-year degree from Alhambra Junior Academy.
That’s what makes student visa interviews a little involved and the
application more complex to assess, but it doesn’t make it “easier” to
receive a student visa.
You’ve contrasted “student” with “tourist”
visas in your question. Student visas are a type of tourist visa, even if
the student-tourist is expected to stay somewhat longer than the average
holidaymaker. This means that students have to meet the same standards that
tourists do in the application process – they have to demonstrate
sufficient connections to Thailand, etc. (see all my previous columns in
this paper). Since most college applicants are ... well, college-aged ...
and young people often have a harder time demonstrating ties to their
community, it can actually be quite difficult to qualify for a student visa.
According to immigration law, being a student means that
the person’s primary motivation in coming to the US is to study. That
doesn’t mean that the person can’t study where he or she has friends or
family - we’re mostly reasonable people here, and recognize that a school
that comes with free housing and a support network is often more attractive
than one that doesn’t, just as it would be for any U.S. student. The key
is that the education must not be an afterthought, an excuse to stay in the
Not to go all Ann Landers on you, but it sounds as though
there are questions in this case that need to be answered before the visa
question even arises. What is Noi getting out of this deal, other than
childcare experience and access to a decent mocha chino? Why not go for a
four-year degree? Sure, it’s a bigger commitment, but that’s exactly the
point: it’s much easier to demonstrate that a larger investment of time,
energy, and money is the real deal, not low-cost childcare, and it’s
probably better for Noi to boot.
If school isn’t the main point, Noi might more easily
and honestly go as a tourist, if the visit is going to be relatively short.
No one will insist on a ten-foot-radius zone of non-interference around the
new cousin ... although no one would expect to see an extended arrangement
or a salary, either. It’s a fine line, but, like a good mocha chino, I
think we recognize it when we see it.
You sound like you’re prepared to foot the bill, Mr.
Uncle, but let me take this opportunity to caution other would-be
applicants: The reason we ask all those dreadfully intrusive questions about
finances is because of the unfortunate scenario in which the family
doesn’t have the cash on hand to fund the studies, but figures that their
kid will work it off with double shifts at Pizza Hut, or at that other
restaurant with no windows that seems to only hire women. Not only is this a
really counterproductive thing to do to a budding scholar, but there are
laws against it; often more than one. And if it comes to light, as these
things usually do, the student can be deported, even if she/he only had two
credits of underwater basket-weaving left to complete, and can be barred
from re-entering the country, even if he/she had a lucrative (and legal)
post-graduation job lined up in management in Haagen-Dazs. Students on visas
are allowed to work at some on-campus jobs, but please make sure you ask
your school’s International Office.
Think of it as an ice-cream loan,
Have a question about visas, passports, travel to the United States,
services for American citizens, or related issues? Ask the Consul. Send your
e-mail to acschn @state. gov with “ask the consul” in the subject line.
If your question isn’t selected, you can get an answer by calling the
Consulate at 053-252-629, from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.