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Dear Emma,
I eat out often and notice that when Thais eat they always leave food on their plates and half drank(?) drinks. Is this a cultural thing? Many cultures think it is bad to waste food and of course there are ‘doggie bags’, but not here. I also wonder why McDs gives you a knife and fork for a hamburger/fries meal.

Dear Jerry,
You are the little gourmet, aren’t you, my Petal, but where is that you go to eat? No doggie bags? You even get doggy bags from the “restaurant” on wheels at the side of the road. You are correct when you suggest that leaving food on the plate is a cultural thing. If you clean the plate, this is thought of as there was not enough food given or ordered, or not nice tasting (mai aroy). So just leave a little, that’s all that is necessary and your hosts will always be happy. Now, your McD’s problem - you are farang, so you eat with knife and fork. We Thai eat with spoon and fork. If you want a spoon, get your girlfriend to order it!

Dear Emma,
About once a month there is a fair in the vacant ground opposite my village. They have great big speaker boxes at the entrance booming across the road, but by midnight when you would think it would be winding down, it is the opposite, they turn the volume up so high it rattles my windows. I tried going across and asking them to turn it down, but “no understand”. I have asked my neighbors and they just laugh and say “it good fun”, so I’m not going to get anything there. Who do I see to complain about this noise? City Hall?

Dear Jeremy,
I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you can go to the highest courts in the land, and you won’t change anything. Fairs like this are very popular with the Thai people (you know, the people who were born and live in Thailand), so whilst you may get some sympathetic souls who agree with you, they are in the minority. I suggest you go and take a room in one of our nice hotels next time and have your own party. Throw on a couple of bottles of the best French bubbles and I’ll be there! (And don’t forget the chocolates!)

Dear Emma,
Have you noticed all the work that has been done in our cities recently? I move around a lot with my job and the traffic is just hopeless everywhere these days, not just in Bangkok. In Chiang Mai there appears to be endless work going on tearing up the footpaths and putting them back down again. In Pattaya they tear up the whole road, lay concrete, produce instant traffic jams and then move on to the next road. In Jomtien they tore up the footpath, laid bricks, then built another footpath and then erected ornamental lights every five meters. Not satisfied with that, they then put in more lights, making more traffic snarls. The rebate for first time car buyers will have increased the traffic as well. Is this a national plot, or national madness?
Rote Dit Robby

Dear Rote Dit Robby,
I doubt if it is part of a national traffic scam, but it certainly is one way to cut down the road toll. Over New Year we became the hub of road tolls if you noticed, as well as everything else. Stationary cars don’t run over pedestrians. It also keeps the concrete industry very healthy, and the road construction business is having a boom time. You might have to find an alternative transport system. Have you considered investing in a helicopter?

Dear Emma,
I am 17 years old and have just arrived from Australia on a school tour. Your country is great. I was wondering if you think there would be any jobs in the bar and entertainment industry for someone like me? I have experience in bars and worked for a while in McDonalds after school. I have met a young lady here and I would like to stay here to go with her. Is this going to be easy, or should I look at something else?

Dear Oz,
You certainly did come down in the last shower, didn’t you Bar work is not for foreigners in this country, despite your experience in asking someone if they’d like some ‘fries to go with that’. I also think the romance will be a “to go” item too. Better luck next year, when the Wizard of Oz might be able to help you.