living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Bangkok – Japanese tank runs along Royal Palace December 1941

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See more photos of Siam/Thailand, HERE:

http://teakdoor.com/famous-threads/39970-siam-thailand-bangkok-old-photo-thread.html

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June 29, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Thailand – We’re Number 2! – We’re Number 2! – We’re Number 2!

Via: Chiang Mai City News

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The Land Transport Department has passed new regulations that will revoke driving licenses for public vehicle drivers who repeatedly commit traffic infractions. New reports show that Thailand has overtaken both Iran and Iraq in terms of fatalities on the road, and has moved to second place for highest traffic deaths worldwide from sixth place in 2011.

A new study published in February this year found that Thailand currently has the second-highest road traffic deaths worldwide with 44 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 38 per 100,000 in 2010, and almost 43 in 2011. The only place more dangerous to drive in the world than Thailand is in Namibia, where there are 45 deaths per 100,000 people. Most of the deadliest countries to drive are in Africa, where road infastructure might be lacking and vehicles unregulated and very old. Thailand, however, has a well-developed road system and an over-abundance of new vehicles on the road.

 

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute using data from the World Health Organization. One of the researchers, Michael Sivak, said, “The results of this study indicate that road safety is a greatly underappreciated component of public health in many parts of the world.” (Yeah, you think?)

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http://chiangmaicitynews.com/news.php?id=4119

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Personal Thought:

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1. Revoke a driver license? Jeez, what a concept!

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2. Namibia – TOAST!

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June 26, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thailand – 1899 Chiang Mai

Via: TeakDoor

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See more photos of Siam/Thailand, HERE:

http://teakdoor.com/famous-threads/39970-siam-thailand-bangkok-old-photo-thread.html

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June 24, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Chiang Mai – Arbitrary arrests of Burmese migrants continue

Via: Democratic Voice of Burma

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Arbitrary arrests of Burmese migrant workers continue happening in Chiang Mai, with many saying that the Thai police would only release them after a “protection fee” was paid.

Chiang Mai, located in northern Thailand, has been home for many years to thousands of Burmese migrants. Since the military coup earlier this month, Thai security police have been conducting random raids around the city and detaining people without identification cards. Despite these reports, the new ruling junta has denied that any “crackdown” against undocumented migrants is taking place.

On Monday, eight Burmese migrants in Chiang Mai’s night bazaar were nabbed by plainclothes policemen. Making up a large percentage of the workforce at the popular Chiang Mai market, Burmese migrants are often subjected to arrest by the police due to irregularities in their documents or work permits.

Thein Dan, who was among those detained, said he was freed shortly after he was taken to the Central Police Station because he has been paying a daily protection fee to a man with alleged police connections who came to secure his release.

“We were taken to the police station in the old city where the man who I have been paying the ‘protection fee’ came to get me out,” Thein Dan said, adding that three more were bailed out by their employer on Tuesday.

http://www.dvb.no/news/arbitrary-arrests-of-burmese-migrants-continue-in-chiang-mai-burma-myanmar/41632

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arbitrarybased on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.

‘protection fees’ – arbitrary, hmm?

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June 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Thailand – Labour Ministry Speculates There are 2.3 Million Illegal Workers

Via: City News – Chiang Mai

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According to statistics published yesterday, 18th June, by the Department of Employment, the number of immigrants employed in the country total over 2.3 million people – a majority of which come from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Mexico? (See Photo).

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The number of these workers who have their nationalities validated, however, amounts only (ONLY?) to 1.8 million people.

Foreign workers currently working under the inter-nation agreements total 373,880, and illegal workers in the fishing industry who have recently been processed as legal employees total 12,624.

These statistics are only based on the time period between the middle of last year and May this year; how these statistics have been affected by the mass exodus of immigrant workers leaving the country is unknown.

Thailand has also recently come under fire yet again from international newspapers about its part in modern day slavery, particularly among the fishing industry, where thousands of illegal workers are regularly beaten, enslaved and sometimes killed. It is very difficult to gauge how this industry will be affected by the fleeing workers.

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http://www.chiangmaicitynews.com/news.php?id=4079

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PHOTO:

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Chiang Mai, Thailand – Miquel’s ‘Real Mexican Food’

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And YES, they speak Mexican!

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June 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thailand – We’re Number 2! – We’re Number 2! – We’re Number 2!

Via: MCOT

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‘Thailand ranks second in ASEAN for prevalence of obesity’

A recent study shows that Thais are tending to have more tendency to become obese, as the country now ranked second in ASEAN for the most people with obesity.

During the opening ceremony of the National Health Assembly 2013, the assembly’s organizing committee President, Dr Sirina Pawarorarnwittaya revealed the speculated tendency of Thai people’s health for 2014 that more Thais would become obese due to the current eating habits.
She said data from 2009 showed that Bangkokians were most at risk of becoming obese most, while the northeastern region showed the least risk of contracting the disease.
The data reflected that obesity is usually caused among city people who are well off and receive higher salaries than those who live in the countryside.
As for the ranking of obesity in the ASEAN region, Thailand came second after Malaysia, with the highest number of people with the disease.
http://www.mcot.net/site/content?id=539fdb63be0470aeef8b4572#.U6CpzbflrIU
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And NO, ‘sexy’ Russian men (See Photo) are not factored in.
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YouTube – Rod Stewart – “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hphwfq1wLJs

 

 

June 18, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Thailand – 10 Ways The ‘Military Coup’ Make Thais Happy

Via: City News – Chiang Mai

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Suan Dusit Rajabhat University released survey results on the public’s opinions of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and the topic of happiness. The online survey was conducted on 10th – 14th June with 1,634 participants from around the country.

On 15th June SDRU release their Suan Dusit Poll data concerning the public opinion of the NCPO three weeks after the military junta declared a coup in Thailand. Since then, the country has been run by the armed forces under command and control protocol since 22nd May 2014.

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Here are the results of the poll:

10 Ways The NCPO Make Thais Happy

1.     Restoration of peace and order after the political gatherings had stopped: 93% agree

2.    People can go back to work and school since things have returned to normal: 87% agree

3.    Cost of living decreased by postponing fuel price hikes: 85% agree

4.    Rice pledging scheme payments to farmers brings happiness: 84% agree

5.     Stimulating the economy and commercial investment: 80% agree

6.    Crackdown on corruption and enforcement of transparency in government organisations: 77% agree

7.    NCPO’s determination and transparent code of conduct by keeping the public informed with announcements: 73% agree

8.    Public safety improved: 73% agree

9.    Crackdown on criminal activities including drugs and unregistered weapons: 71% agree

10.  Returning happiness to the people with free World Cup broadcasts, free King Naresuan movie tickets and other reconciliation campaigns: 71% agree

http://www.chiangmaicitynews.com/news.php?id=4058

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Personal Thought:

Excellent news, but for me, not surprising.

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June 17, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Thailand – Military junta scraps children tablet project

Via: Thai PBS

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The termination of the project came after wide discussion with the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) to revise the project to distribute tablets to students last Friday.

The joint discussion ended with a conclusion that the project does little to support education, and also is considered an unnecessary spending of national budget.

The meeting agreed to shift the spending of the budget for children tablets to other projects instead.

The NCPO tasked 10 government agencies relevant to education to come up with more viable projects for consideration (books, maybe?).

However the NCPO agreed to allow the delayed tablet delivery project approved during the  2013 fiscal year to go ahead.

Under the project, the OBEC will purchase tablets to deliver to Mor 1 level education students in Zone 4 covering schools in the North and Northeast regions who have not yet received.

But so far it was delayed after a Chinese supplier failed to supply within the delivery deadline, prompting the OBEC to call new bid, and file legal case against the firm.

http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/military-junta-scraps-children-tablet-project/

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Former Prime Minster Yingluck’s legacy:  tablets high-speed rail, rice (vote) buying scheme, amnesty for her brother, Toxsin.

Shoot, Yingluck is another George W. Bush!

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June 17, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Thailand – 120,000 Cambodian migrants flee Thailand after coup

Via: Coconuts Bangkok
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More than 120,000 Cambodians have fled Thailand to return home in the past week, fearing a crackdown on migrant workers after last month’s military takeover, an official said on Sunday.

The mass exodus of labourers who play a key role in Thai industries such as seafood and agriculture but often lack official work permits comes amid a junta warning of arrest and deportation for illegal foreign workers.

“They’re returning en masse like a dam collapsing. They’ve never come en masse like this before in our history,” Kor Sam Saroeut, governor of the northwestern province of Banteay Meanchey where the main border crossing is located, told AFP by telephone.

Around 122,000 Cambodian migrants have returned from Thailand in the last week after being transported to the border by Thai military trucks or making their own way, he said late Sunday.

“They said they are scared of being arrested or shot if they run when Thai authorities check their houses,” Saroeut added. “Most of them went to work in Thailand without a work permit.”

But two days later the Thai foreign ministry dismissed “RUMOURS” the army was deporting Cambodian labourers and later Sunday released a new statement citing spokesman Sek Wannamethee as saying: “No crackdown order targeting Cambodian workers had been issued by the NCPO (junta body).”

As a result of the rumours, “Cambodian illegal workers have reported themselves to the Thai authorities for being repatriated voluntarily to Cambodia,” the statement said, adding that Thai immigration officials had provided transport for them. (NOT RUMOR!)

More than 12,000 migrant workers crossed the border into Cambodia on Sunday alone, according to Saroeut, who expects many more to make the journey over the new few days.

Thousands were sheltering from the rain at local Buddhist temples and a market as they waited for transport to their home provinces.

Cambodian authorities have arranged nearly 300 cars and military trucks to ferry workers home from the Aranyaprathet-Poipet border checkpoint but many would have to stay near the site overnight until transport became available, Saroeut said.

At the smaller border checkpoint of Boeung Trakuon, south of Poipet, around 1,000 Cambodian men and women walked across the border with heavy bags and children in tow, said a local journalist.

Sirichan Ngathong, a spokeswoman for Thailand’s army which seized power in a coup on May 22, had said Wednesday the junta viewed illegal migrants as a “threat” and they faced arrest and deportation.

http://bangkok.coconuts.co/2014/06/16/afp-120000-cambodian-migrants-flee-thailand-after-coup

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Personal thought:

I haven’t read anything similar as to whether this is affecting the Lao and Burmese. If the crackdown becomes more widespread, I believe this will have a dire consequence on the Thai economy.

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June 17, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The hidden cost of retiring early: $51,000 in medical expenses – FALSE, at least for me!

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Retiring early may sound really tempting. But leaving the workforce just a few years early can saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in additional medical costs.

If a couple chooses to retire at the age of 62 instead of 65, they will face $51,000 in additional medical expenses, according to a report released Thursday by Fidelity Investments.

The major cause: Medicare coverage doesn’t kick in until age 65. So without coverage from a former employer, which is an increasingly rare benefit, the couple would have to pay for private insurance.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/hidden-cost-retiring-early-51-040400745.html

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Personal Story:

In 2005, I retired VERY EARLY, age 57.

I knew it would of been foolish to go without medical insurance, but my COBRA quote of $1,000 per month to turn my company insurance to private, was just too damn much!

NOTE: MY TOTAL EXPENSES: including medical, rent, food, transportation. etc, etc,  is +/- $1,250 per month.

So I retired to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where I have FULL (physician, hospital, and meds) PRIVATE INSURANCE, with NO deductibles.

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COST: Less than my U.S. company insurance was in 2000!

MONTHLY PREMIUM INCREASE: This year was a typical increase. 190 baht / 32.5 = $5.85USD.   Yes I know, outrageous!

CLAIM DENIED – In eight-plus years, ZERO!

PAPERWORK: The hospital submits the bill to the insurance company directly, so ZERO!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Because I signed up with my company before I turned 60, I’m covered for LIFE!

SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE: Because I don’t need medicare, my SS check is a little over $100 larger each month.

IS THE CARE ANY GOOD IN CHIANG MAI?: Damn Good!

There are many hospitals to chose from, but I go to Chiang Mai Ram Hospital. (See Photo)

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FINAL NOTE: There are many places to retire overseas, where the health care is very good, and the insurance costs are minimal. So, look around.

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June 13, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment