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ASK EMMA

 

Married?

Dear Emma,

I appreciate that you are not a lawyer but perhaps you know the answer to my question. I held a wedding party in my girlfriend’s village but we did not have a legal wedding with the wedding license. Are we still married? Can I get a visa based on this? My girlfriend thinks we are married but I am not so sure. I read somewhere that Thailand does not recognize defacto relationships.

Signed
Married or not?

Dear Married,

You are right, I am not a lawyer! But I have lawyer friends and I asked them and the answer is yes and no. Immigration does not recognize de facto relationships and will not issue you a visa if you do not register your marriage at the District Office. To do this, first you must go to your Embassy and fill out a form that states you are not married, then get this translated, take it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (I don’t know but I don’t think this part can be done in Chiang Mai but any dear reader who knows the answer please do email me!). You get this paper certified and then you can get married at the District Office.

However, apparently this does not necessarily apply when breaking up and dividing assets and they may or may not decide that you had a relationship like a husband and wife. So, if you want the visa and you love your fianc้e, then you had better get married but if you have a lot of assets you may want to see about a prenuptial agreement first. And while Emma realizes that it pays to be practical about marriage your fianc้e might not agree!

Yours,
Emma

Car seats for kids?

Dear Emma,

We are expecting our first child and being the safety conscious Western half of our partnership, I want our baby to ride in a car seat. The thing is, I am not sure where to buy them. Do you have any suggestions?
Signed,

Safety first

Dear Safety,

First of all congratulations on the soon to be new addition to your family! And don’t feel that you are being overly cautious, even the strongest person could not hold on to a baby in the event of an accident. So, if you want to give your child the best possible opportunities, a safe ride in the car is one of those things.

Now, I must confess I don’t know where to get car seats. However, I believe that Central may be able to order them in for you, or perhaps Robinson at Central Airport. They may even carry them, it is worth looking as those are sure to be of a good quality. Alternatively, contact one of the big auto dealers such as Siam Nissan and ask them if they can order one for you.

And finally, if all else fails Mothercare carries them, you can find them at mothercarethailand.com. They have branches in Bangkok only, unfortunately; at Siam Paragon, Central Chidlom and a few other of the Centrals in Bangkok as well as the Emporium. Emma had a look at their website and sadly it does not seem as though they deliver.

Best of luck with the new baby!

Yours,
Emma

Touristy stuff to do in Chiang Mai

Dear Emma,

I have some animal loving friends coming to Chiang Mai. Now, I know that they probably won’t go for the elephant shows or the Tiger Kingdom and probably not the Zoo either as they say they prefer their animals not in cages. Where would be good for them to go?

Signed
What do to

Dear To Do,

Three words answers your dilemma; Elephant Nature Park. It is elephants not in the wild since these are domesticated animals, but elephants that have been retired and give to live out their natural lives in a safe, enclosed area where they can wander at will. K. Lek, the wonderful woman who is behind it all, is a force of nature and one you can see the elephants love very much. Their offices are on Moon Muang Road, you can also contact them at elephantnaturepark.org. You don’t get to ride on an elephant but you can get up close and personal with these wonderful, intelligent creatures and bathe with them in the river that runs through the property. Lek has also been instrumental in rescuing dogs during the floods in Bangkok last year and, I believe, she has also taken in some dogs that were rescued from the meat trade earlier this year. So, in addition to elephants, there are a lot of dogs!

If your friends do want to ride an elephant then they should also visit one of the elephant camps nearby. Elephant Life Experience in Mae Taman is known for treating their elephants well and allows you to not only ride but to bathe and brush the elephant you get to take care of that day.

Alternatively, they can help out and/or donate at one of the local animal rescues such as Lanna Dog Welfare or Care for Dogs.

Yours,
Emma

Am I a cougar?

Dear Emma,

I met this lovely man, he treats me well, he is kind and caring but he is nearly ten years younger than me and I worry that people will think there is something wrong with me for dating someone so much younger than me. The truth is, I find men my own age rather dull, usually out of shape and of course, interested in women much younger than myself. This man and I are quite compatible and share many similar interests. He has a good job and is well respected at work so I don’t want to make any waves for him if the fact that I am older is a problem

Yours,

Hopefully not going to cougar town

Dear Hopefully,

It should come as no surprise that an older woman with a younger man earns her the rather derogatory term of “cougar” while nobody bats an eye at an older man with a younger woman. However, I don’t think a mere ten year age difference would raise any eyebrows and certainly does not qualify you as a cougar. Emma looked the term up to see what was the general age range that determined a cougar and this is what she learned from that font of all things pop, the urban dictionary and found over 2,000 submitted definitions. However most of those said that a cougar is interested in sex only and with men under the age of 25while she is usually in her forties or older.

Emma must say, she rather liked this one and feels that you should just look at yourself this way rather than as something negative; “A woman 40 years or older, in her sexual prime, emotionally more mature, healthy and energetic. She dates, plays with or marries a younger man that can keep up with her.”

Yours,
Emma