The new law evidently banning
smoking in your own home came in last month. But it is not exactly
crystal clear. It doesn’t actually bite until November and does not
prescribe any penalties, except for a vague warning to put offenders on
a training course. Most likely, the legislation is at best a plea for
smokers not to inflict smoke misery on those who co-habit with them.
More like a travel advisory than a no-smoking charter.
Hundreds of millions of Asians
depend on the fish in the South China Sea for their protein. But climate
change and over-fishing mean that stocks are being consumed at a much
faster rate than they can be replenished naturally. Meanwhile, China
claims 90 percent of the important waterway as its own and is busily
arming the artificial islands she has built there. Let’s hope a code of
conduct is soon agreed if only because 30 percent of the world’s trade
passes that way.
A reluctant farang was persuaded by
his wife to give to her the PIN number to his international bank
account. “You never know when you will be called and there’s a long
legal battle ahead for me when you do eventually shuffle off this mortal
coil,” she affirmed. That was six months ago and a bankrupt and
perfectly healthy farang is now staring a most frugal lifestyle in the
face. No trace of the wife by the way. Nuff said.
Worse in Vietnam
The most unpopular immigration
bureaucracy for tourists is without doubt the TM-30 reporting
requirement of your address 24 hours after entering the Kingdom. But is
it better or worse elsewhere? The local paradise is Cambodia where
nobody seems interested in your location after you fill in the initial
visa form at the airport. However, we hear that Vietnam is very keen to
know any changes in address of foreigners and even restricts your right
to stay in a friend’s house. But is it enforced?
If you ever wondered what happens
to those old cars which can’t be sold and end up parked permanently on
side roads, apparently they are sometimes towed away and then dumped in
the sea to serve as fish-friendly coral reefs. At any rate, that is what
a government spokesperson said recently. Let’s hope somebody remembers
to wind down the windows before the submerging takes place.
UK Visa Query
A reader asks if there are any
exceptions to the rule requiring the UK sponsor to have a minimum income
of 18,600 pounds per annum if the Thai partner is hoping to emigrate on
a settlement visa. Actually, there are a couple. The Thai partner’s
income or bank balance (if any) can count and can supplement the UK
sponsor - although the detailed rules are complex. Another exception is
when the sponsor is in receipt of extra state income, for example for
disablement, which permit some flexibility of interpretation.
Everyone keeps harping on about how
outdated the country’s prostitution laws are. A whole host of
overlapping laws are to blame, starting with the entertainments venue
act of 1960 which outlawed commercial sex. Amongst suggestions now being
floated are civil rights to protect those on the game and even an idea
to prosecute the customers and not the service providers. The debate
goes on. What will happen? Answers on a postcard please.
The latest news on the illness
front is that many Thai hospitals are increasing massively the number of
ICU beds for those with a very serious medical problem. The surprise is
that the figures for Bangkok show that people from Cambodia and Myanmar
account for 30 percent of all ICU foreign patients, to be followed by
Middle East nationals. Apparently 52 percent of all ICU beds are taken
by Thais whilst 48 percent of patients are foreign.
Thoughts for the Week
Let’s muse what US presidents have
said. “When the president does it, then it’s not illegal,” (Richard
Nixon). “I guess I just proved that anybody in America can be
president,” (Gerald Ford). “The day after I became president, I had my
high school grades classified top secret,” (Ronald Reagan). “I have a
lot of strong opinions but that doesn’t mean I always agree with them,”
(George Bush Snr).