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Dear Emma,
I was quite scared during the earthquake; I have never felt one before. I grabbed my things and ran down the stairs of my condo but of course by the time I got outside it was no longer shaking. I am unsure what I should do if we ever have another one.
Also, my building was really swaying and I am seriously considering moving as I am not convinced my building was either built to withstand earthquakes or has been retrofitted to withstand earthquakes.
So, Emma, who do I talk to about my building? How do I find out if there is an earthquake safe building in Chiang Mai and what should I do if we have another one?
Now nervous

Dear Nervous,
Well, first of all, there is no point in grabbing your things and running down the stairs of your building. If it is a big earthquake you will not have enough time to get outside and you could get trapped in the stairwell or crushed by falling walls if it were a serious tremor. What you need to do is find something to get next to, lie next to your bed or a sturdy couch so it can support the weight if anything falls. Emma agrees it does sound odd but according to experts it is far safer than trying to make a dash for it since the door frame is built to withstand pressure.
As for the earthquake readiness of buildings in Chiang Mai, well I am afraid that Emma has no idea but is rather of your opinion that most likely there is none. Whilst you do have a better chance in a single family home than you might in a high rise condo, it is important to note that it wouldn’t necessarily make a difference if the wall fell directly on you.
Emma wouldn’t say that moving into a detached house would guarantee your safety in the event of a major earthquake.
However, on that cheery note, it is important to remember that Chiang Mai is not on a major fault line and that large earthquakes here are rare. In fact, the last big one was a 5.1 in 2006 and according to newspapers it was the biggest quake with its epicenter in Thailand.
So, take care yes but perhaps it is not yet time to panic. If you are really quite nervous then by all means, make yourself comfortable and find a lower place to live but if you think you can overcome your fear then you may want to consider staying in place for now.

Eating too loudly?
Dear Emma,
I recently saw a news article about a fight that broke out on a Thai Air flight between two Chinese tourists when one stabbed the other with one of the metal forks that are provided for customers to eat their meals. Now, because one man has no manners and the other has no self-control, Thai Air is eliminating metal cutlery and putting in place those awful plastic forks and spoons that do not really work.
This is astonishing to me, I recall a story about Singapore Air having problems with Chinese tourists stealing the cutlery and I know that there have been many issues and complaints in regards to Chinese tourists being extremely noisy and having bad behavior in Chiang Mai but really, this is too much. I read that the tourist stabbed the other man in the face with the fork simply for eating too loudly! Thai Air is now going to ban all metal cutlery from all flights with either a Chinese origin or destination.
What is wrong with some of these people? I have met many very lovely Chinese tourists who, albeit dressing in a colorful style, are polite enough, certainly not aggressive or, like this man, what appears to be insane. However, I have also met those who are loud, pushy, do not queue, stand in the middle of the road and seem to pay no attention to traffic laws when driving. Thankfully I have not yet met any who have defecated, stabbed or stolen.
Perhaps it is time that China required its citizens to take some sort of test before allowing them to leave their country; what not to do when someone eats too loudly should probably be at the top of the list! Defecating in the moat should probably be second.
I am grateful I am not a Chinese national to be honest; it must be very humiliating for the self-aware tourists from China that their compatriots behave in such an appalling manner.
What is going on with the Chinese?

Dear Chinese,
Indeed, Emma has seen the reports of bad behavior from some of our guests. How could she miss them? They are all over the news, the internet and every resident of Chiang Mai’s Facebook feed!
However, given that there are literally hundreds of thousands of Chinese visiting Thailand is it really fair to tar the all with the same uncouth brush? Certainly the spectacular behavior gets reported on and most assuredly everyone focuses on those reports. But we must be honest with ourselves here and admit that this is clearly not a majority of Chinese travellers that come to our fair city and even Thailand. It is a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers that do come. It is no more fair to say all Chinese are uncouth brutes than it is to say that when one sees a British or American or Australian or German or whatever nationality you wish to choose behaving badly in public. Certainly by their sheer numbers and novelty their behavior will outshine those of others but it behooves us all to give the ones we meet a chance to redeem their countrymen and women.

Still noisy neighbours
Dear Emma,
I wrote to you some months back, last year if I recall correctly, in regards to a noisy neighbour who refuses to admit his television is far too loud. Despite trying to reason with the man, talking to staff at my condo and purchasing ear plugs, the noise continues to be a problem. I do not want to move because of one man, I love my home and have been here for some years, certainly longer than he has! I feel that it is neither right nor fair that I should have to suffer in my home because this man is so rude and inconsiderate he cannot turn down his television.
Finally, Emma, I could take it no longer and I decided to fight fire with fire. After warning my other non-noisy neighbours of my plan (they commiserated and agreed to the idea I should add), I set up my friend’s large bass speakers and aimed them at my neighbour’s wall. I proceeded to turn on Beethoven’s 1812 overture on a very high volume. My friend suggested AC/DC but as I am more of a classical music fan I decided I might as well play something I enjoy. When the time came for the cannons, I really turned it up. Like clockwork, he was there, banging on my door.
Upon opening the door, before he had a chance to speak, I said, “Oh dear, I am so sorry if that disturbed you but your television was so loud I could not hear my own music. Perhaps I got a little carried away.”
My point was made and my life is far more peaceful now.
Not a Noise Lover

Dear Noise,
Well, that is one solution! Good to hear it worked out.