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Cool season is here, how can I help?
Dear Emma,
I realize that every year there are drives to donate blankets to needy people in the mountainous areas as the temperatures drop. I know that for many of us these temperatures do not seem that cold but when one is not used to temperatures hovering around zero, living in an un-insulated house with inadequate clothing and blankets, it can seem extremely cold. People die from the cold temperatures every year so I would like to do my bit in helping out. However, I am not really sure where to donate money or the blankets for the truly needy people.
I know many foreigners donate clothes but I am not a small man and I really cannot foresee that my large sized clothing would do much for anyone. I think it more practical to donate cash or blankets which can be used by everyone.
However, with so many different organizations asking for help I am not sure which one I should donate to. What should I be looking for Emma?
Ready to help
Dear Help,
Whilst Emma is not sure which particular organizations you are looking at, if you are truly concerned you could consider going to City Hall and asking if they take donations there. Often the municipality takes donations as well. There are many good organizations around the city who will take donations of blankets, best to check them out on the internet to see if they fulfill your requirements however. Our editor has informed me that the Chiang Mai Reporters Association has partnered with the Chiang Mai Zoo and the Northern Hotels Association in collecting and donating blankets for needy people in the most remote areas of Chiang Mai.

Facebook rant
Dear Emma,
It seems everyone in Chiang Mai, nay Thailand, is on Facebook and posting photos of their dinner. I appreciate the usefulness of Facebook in catching up with friends that I do not get to see very often but really I would much rather see photos of you or your children, even your dog before I want to see a photo of your latest bowl of noodles. It is so uninteresting.
Then there are the people who post all their life’s dramas on Facebook. Luckily my Thai reading skills are rudimentary so I can skip over Thai friends’s updates when it seems to be drama filled. Not so with my friends who write in English. Broadcasting everything that goes on in one’s life is really unnecessary.
Keep it interesting people! Travel photos are fine but maybe not 300 of them in one album? I do like to see your ski trips, your trip to Egypt, it is great to travel vicariously through someone else’s photos but perhaps limit it to ten or 20 really great photos rather than everything in your camera?
Finally, don’t share some photo or news on my wall without a comment of any kind. I always wonder if the person who posted it meant it for me or for someone else and what real relevance they thought it had in my life. Usually it is all very cryptic and whilst I like a good mystery, this is not one of them.
Thank you for listening to my Facebook rant!
Ranting away
Dear Rant,
Well said. Can Emma add in a few noteworthy (and cringe worthy) issues that you missed? Sharing a photo is not going to generate income, Facebook is NOT going to donate (or McDonalds or whoever the latest one is) every time you share a photo. If you really want to help, go find out where to donate your cash.
Secondly, Emma joins many others in finding the warnings on various things Facebook has done or will do to be rather annoying. Check it out first to see if it is real before sharing. Emma has been recommended Snopes. com for this but you can also paste in the first sentence into google and results will come up if it is real or not. Please do that before hitting the share button!
So, dear Rant, Emma would like to thank you for allowing her the time to join you in your rant. Let us hope that others will heed our words and cease to annoy us online!

Divorce and child custody
Dear Emma,
My Thai wife and I are in the middle of what has turned out to be quite an ugly divorce. She has taken our three year old daughter out of school here in the city and sent her to live with her mother in a very small village in another province. I have been there when we first married and it is not a good school. I told her I would pay for the school here but she says she has no time to take care and that her mother can do it.
Emma, this is not good for our daughter! I want her to go to a good school and have a good education. My wife tells me that it doesn’t matter what I say as I am farang and the court will side with her since she is Thai. I am afraid that if I take her to court over this they will take my daughter away from me completely. What can I do? I want to see my daughter, I want her to go back to her school with her friends and teachers.
Love my daughter
Dear Love,
Emma’s understanding of the Thai Family Court is that they take into consideration what is best for the child, not what nationality is the parent. You should ask around, you are sure to have friends who have gone through something similar and who can recommend a good, hard hitting lawyer. Then file in Family Courts to get your daughter back in Chiang Mai and back in her school. Many foreigners here suffer under the delusion that no matter what they will always lose because they are not Thai. Emma can vouch that this is not true having had foreign friends win cases against Thai employers in the Labour Courts as well as foreign friends who have hammered out an equitable arrangement in divorce cases.
Best of luck and don’t give up!