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The week that was in Thailand news: Once upon a time in Thailand…..

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The week that was in Thailand news: Once upon a time in Thailand…..

It seemed like a great week to break the law. Plod was otherwise engaged.

This was good news as Rooster’s tax disc had expired (Yes, that is about as daring as I get these days). Sadly, my family had been delayed upcountry after my brother-in-law, who built our house, fell off a roof.

The Bangkok constabulary was busy standing at the end of sois pretending to keep the ASEAN leaders safe from some unspecified threat. Some 17,000 officers were required for this. Or was it just to impress the neighbors that Krung Thep is always traffic free and pleasant. Call that a rhetorical question.

They even shut the schools; who needs education when there is face saving to accomplish.

All Chonburi plod – and every corporal to Lt-Gen east of there – had their leave cancelled to go in search of an American, his wife and a Thai who had the temerity to escape from court where they faced an extremely long time behind bars for dealing in crystal meth.

With penalties as severe as murder why not at least attempt it while trying to escape. That is precisely what happened on Monday and a Thai police officer was lucky to survive being stabbed.

Many forum posters – acting like the Pattaya amateur dramatics troupe – thought they’d all be well gone over the border within hours. The sensible knew that plod would bring out all the stops. Rozzers anywhere always do when it’s one of their own.

By Wednesday Bart Allen Helmus, his wife Om and their mate Noi (or was it Ton) were all in varying states of custody. It was difficult to be sure. I say this because the story featured so much erroneous and inaccurate reporting that even after top brass clarifications on Thursday one is left wondering. One poster summed it up by saying the whole saga should have started with “Once upon a time….”

First the American was the shooter with reports that the guard was hit. Then the Thai came into the frame. Finally the lead investigator at the Pattaya press conference admitted no one was shot in the escape.

Om was reported captured first. Then she was still on the run. Then she was reported shot by Yankee Bart who finally turned the gun on himself after setting off a few volleys at the cops.

Bart was then pronounced dead. Hours later he was alive again in a coma. When the top brass clarified everything they skirted round the minor issue of the death of a foreigner. 77kaoded insisted on the coma angle – they’d asked the doctor showing admirable initiative.

Also it appeared that Bart had not shot at police at all either during the breakout or his capture. Though he reportedly shot his wife who was revealed as three months pregnant. That seemed a bit excessive just to avoid fatherhood, a point made in a roundabout way by Lt-Gen Satawat Hiranburana.

She apparently survived with barely a scratch in one report and was grievously injured in another. Either way it appeared that Bart was unable to shoot straight meaning that the cops had never been in much danger at all, unless you count the threat of losing face. Noi or Ton (his family insisted he was Tam) gave up with a couple of female teenagers who somehow got involved with about 8 others.

Satawat displayed all the evidence and muttered something about “negligent work practices” to explain away how “Mot” had managed to smuggle a gun and a knife into the court cells. Expect tumbleweed to come out of the promised investigation. The Lt-Gen smiled and spoke of the swift resolution to the case. We could all have some crumpets or, it being Pattaya, crumpet for tea.

The forum curmudgeons climbed on xenophobic and bad reporting bandwagons. Doubtless under the pressure to get leads the cops and court officials were willing – as they usually are – to say anything so long as the newshounds were scribbling something to keep Joe Soap informed. Few actually blamed Thaivisa for the inaccuracies.

Thaivisa generally does not involve itself with actual reporting on such cases. Our stories – mostly written by Rooster – were translations from the Thai media who themselves would probably blame plod for errors. We make every effort to check facts from the Thai media using resources from Google to Wikipedia and back. When things are patently untrue or spurious we will say.

But what are we to do when someone is said to be dead. Dismiss it as hearsay? The speed with which online news hits the consumer these days means it is just as well to hold your horses before commenting. The same could be said of Thaivisa news posts, but we know how much you want the story!

Screaming “fake news” is as silly as believing that its greatest proponent – the current incumbent in the White House – is the paragon of virtue or that Boris Johnson is not as long, slithery and unpredictable as his surname implies.

The week began not with “fake news” but with a story about a sporting event that is never going to happen. Namely Thailand and her neighbors staging the 2034 World Cup. The FIFA president stood up at the ASEAN conference to hail the Memorandum of Understanding as though it meant something. His name INFANTino seemed somehow apt.

Football lovers like Rooster would give their right foot (I’m left footed) to see the quadrennial showpiece in SE Asia. But methinks that I shall go to Footy Heaven watching it on the box. Whether I shall even turn on the next edition in the middle east remains to be seen. It is being held in a despicable place I prefer to call Catarrh. A legacy of the totally bent Sepp Blatter.

When the 2022 hosts were announced it came as no surprise to my FA insider sources in Thailand who knew where the smart money was going. I had been advised to put the house on at 2-1. Pity really that the wife owns that…..

The picture accompanying the World Cup story featured a veritable rogues’ gallery of leaders. There was Uncle Too pulling down his football jersey emblazoned with Prayut Chan-ocha on the back in a desperate attempt to hide his khaki underpants. The disgraced Suu Kyi who has lost all her honorary degrees after abandoning her own people. Mahathir who imprisoned his main rival for engaging in banditry of the bedroom kind. Bolkiah of Brunei who would enslave gays rather than give them rights. Hun Sen….

Amusingly no one seemed to want to link hands with Duterte – the Filipino’s fellow leaders clearly didn’t want to get the blood of a thousand extrajudicial killings on their own hands.

Down in QUOTES – the Queen Of The Eastern Seaboard – there were far more down to earth matters. A story about trash left out at a housing estate produced a massive response as foreign posters tried to outdo each other on whose is the cleanest nation. Arch wind up merchant Yinn (“she knows not what ‘she’ does”) stoked the fires by suggesting a tad impertinently that Pattaya is full of foreigners.

She conveniently forgot to point out that no foreigners would be among the 1,400 residents of a Thai housing project and another pertinent fact was also omitted. This was not about the cleanliness of the folk but because of a dispute about people throwing out bulky items such as furniture and beds with their left over rice and curry.

Dustmen were unable to fit it in their carts so everything remained uncollected. On television the next day, clearly stung by the social media criticism, the local authority had brought in a heavy digger and trucks to clear up. Not surprisingly they found it easy, even at short notice, to rent a backhoe in Pattaya.

Up in Chiang Mai 100 Grab riders who are being shafted by their own company protested about the lowering of delivery rates saying they could not make ends meet. The story should be a wake up call for the thousands of people online – especially on Thaivisa – who think that companies like Uber and Grab will benefit everybody.

Admittedly the Red Bus drivers of Chiang Mai are as loathed by some as the taxi drivers of Bangkok. Many see the breaking of monopolies and unspecified mafia groups as beneficial. But be careful what you wish for.

The London black cabbies – another group that might not have enjoyed the best press – have been thoroughly and shamelessly disadvantaged by the drive of the authorities to promote Uber. Thailand is more reticent but the same will happen. But who will benefit? The prices will be cheaper than the established services at first. Then due to a lack of regulation they will rise and be more expensive than current ‘song thaew’ and taxi fares.

The drivers who work for Uber and Grab – as was seen as clear as a Chiang Mai day this week (sorry bad metaphor) – will be paid less and less until they are in greater penury than their out of work predecessors ever were. Prices for the consumer – at present a loss leader like milk in UK supermarkets –  will go through the roof.

The beneficiaries will be the investors in Uber and Grab. Thus the rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer and the public will be disadvantaged. All done in the name of change for the better. Just watch to see if I am right.

In education news it was announced that Thailand had slipped from 64th place on the English Proficiency Index in 2018 to 74th this year. This led to the usual inane Thai bashing on the TV forum. In such threads it is always apparent how little is made of the need to learn Thai when living in the kingdom. And few seem to even think to mention how much better it would be to learn Mandarin or even Hindi.

Reading such threads always boosts Rooster to the highest levels possible on the Schadenfreude-o-meter. Regular readers of this column will know that I made my modest fortune teaching the Thai language. I reserve the teaching of English to my own chicks to whom I rarely utter one word of Thai. Apart from them, the less English Thais speak the better.

That reminds me of some ill advised comments last week. Do such posters who complain about the column not see how ridiculous they look moaning about its content and then saying they would not stoop so low as to read it? I don’t know what is worse – people like that who find Twitter a challenge or those who can read who then post interminable and inaccurate drivel about Thais, Chinese, Indians and Muslims.

The vibrancy and freedom of the forum is important. Free speech is vital but should never be hate speech. At times I think the moderators of online forums as much as the owners of Google, Facebook, Twitter and the like, need to rethink their policies as we enter the middle of the second decade of social media prevalence.

Stories in the financial news would have had us believe that the Thai baht was up and down more swiftly than a Nana Plaza Denizen’s Draws. According to my own research it seemed remarkably stable despite the small rate cuts enacted in the kingdom. Those wanting to see a lasting and dramatic improvement in sterling will have to hope the political impasse in Westminster ends with December’s election. Or when Pigs Fly, whichever is sooner.

To wit, or should that be twit, the Rt Honorable Member for Pratt’s Bottom Rees-Mogg suggested that the Grenfell tower victims would have shown more common sense by jumping into the flames against the advice of the fire brigade. Hindsight is a wonderful thing – like realizing what a complete buffoon one has made of oneself after saying something idiotic on radio.

Back in Thailand Naew Na were continuing to act as the lackeys of immigration and Lt-Gen Big Oud’s personal organ. This week they depicted a Swiss over stayer with a cartoon alien head. Even one of Rooster’s important documents is called an “Alien Registration” booklet but really! As I have said before, I don’t believe that such stories reflect any increase in xenophobia in Thailand but supplying any grist to the mill is detrimental.

Bad guys out, phone numbers to report illegal activity, encouraging snooping for money; would the country not be better served by announcing an amnesty for long term over stayers to get them back in the system, back paying for their stays? Other countries – even the US – have tried it, so why not show a little compassion and good sense Thailand? An over stayer may have broken the law but is not necessarily a criminal and certainly does not deserve to be paraded in the press like an inhabitant of Alpha Centauri.

Finally I hope you are sitting comfortably as I would not like you to faint, bang your head and become the latest expat to cark it in paradise. I have praise for the TAT.

This week they announced that they are reminding travelers – and tour group operators in particular – about what you can and can’t do regarding smoking in Thailand. Many on the forum – TAT bashers who could never admit they might occasionally do good – harped on about air pollution, vehicle emissions, crop burning, the Thai Tobacco Monopoly…..

All important issues but this irrelevant jiggery pokery was like the smoke and mirrors adopted by the TAT over tourist numbers. Stick to the point.

In my view Thailand has taken positive steps in attempting to stop smoking in many public places and there have been some notable successes among the gaffes. Also after some reluctance I must admit to agreeing with the ban on shisha and efforts to curtail the trade in e-cigarettes. Both are insidious ways to entrap youth and the unwary.

Yes, there is nothing worse than a reformed smoker and Rooster is guilty as charged. But I believe that progress has been made albeit slowly. And there is nothing wrong in telling visitors to your country what you can and cannot do.

That is being a good host.

Rooster

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Events

december, 2019

01sepalldayTerre Et Mer at Caprice Restaurant Royal Cliff PattayaBeef. Lamb. Monkfish. Or a fancy plate of Bouillabaisse, We are serving them all at Caprice – A Taste Of Riviera.

01sep08:4631dec(dec 31)08:46Premium Cuts at Royal Grill Room & Wine Cellar Royal Cliff PattayaEnjoy our butcher’s premium selections at Royal Grill Room & Wine Cellar – Excellence & Heritage!

01sep08:5631dec(dec 31)23:56Exotic BBQ Skewers at Breezeo Royal Cliff PattayaTry our new Exotic BBQ Skewers and enjoy our chef’s special menus that are grilled to thrill!

01sep09:0731dec(dec 31)09:07Special Prime Beef Teppanyaki at Chamu Royal Cliff PattayaShowcasing one of the most popular dishes in Japan, try our new Teppanyaki promotion and let us bring Japan to you at Chamu – Japanese Corner.

01sep09:2031dec(dec 31)23:20Silk Road to Huang Chao at Huang Chao Royal Cliff PattayaDiscover Marco Polo’s favorite noodle dishes at Huang Chao – Royal Cantonese Cuisine

01sep09:5631dec(dec 31)23:56Flavours of Siam at Larn Thong Royal Cliff PattayaWe are serving world class cuisine from the 4 regions of Thailand at Larn Thong – Authentic Thai Traditions. This is your opportunity to explore the famous dishes from each region without ever leaving Pattaya!

01sep10:0631dec(dec 31)23:06Gold Medal Cocktails at The Bars of the Royal Cliff PattayaLife is good, especially on the weekend. Drop by and enjoy breath-taking views while you sip and savour our new refreshing cocktails.

01sep10:1931dec(dec 31)23:19World of Cupcakes at Café Royal Royal Cliff Beach HotelEnjoy the most adorable selection of cupcakes at our Café Royal located at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel!

12dec(dec 12)18:0016(dec 16)00:00Wonderfruit 2019 at Siam Country ClubJoin us in December 2019 for an unforgettable five-day journey through arts, music, food and ideas in the serene and sublime Thai countryside.

14dec18:3022:30Saturday Seafood Bonanza, Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort PattayaSeafood lovers will enjoy the wide selection and variety of freshly grilled seafood including salmon, king crab, rock lobster, tiger prawn, fresh oyster trolley. The buffet line also features shrimp on ice, freshly rolled sushi, Thai noodles, Italian pasta, pizza, local Thai dishes, mouthwatering dessert corner and much more every Saturday night at only THB 1,299++ per person with half price for children from 6-12 years.

14dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

15dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

16dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

17dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

18dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

19dec18:3021:30Thirsty Thursday Pattaya at Avani PattayaTDThirstyThursday, Travel Daily’s legendary travel industry networking event returns to Pattaya on 19 December 2019, happening at Avani Pattaya Resort.

19dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

20dec(dec 20)18:0021(dec 21)00:00RCES Christmas Party 2019 at Siam Bayshore Resort, PattayaIt’s legendary among Rotarians and friends of the Eastern Seaboard and up till Bangkok’s Society.

20dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

21dec19:0023:00The 1001 Nights Dance Journey at Hotel Baraquda Pattaya – MGallery21st December 2019 we invite you to our Pre-Christmas show. Let’s all have a magical time travelling into 1001 Nights Dance Journey.

21dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

22dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

23dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

24decalldayChristmas Eve at Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort PattayaChristmas eve on Tuesday 24th December 2019 Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya

24decalldayChristmas Eve Party at Scooters Bar LK MetroChristmas Eve on LK Metro a great Party, and Scooters Bar LK would like to you to join us.

24decalldayChristmas Eve Party at Scooters Bar Soi BuakhaoChristmas Eve is always a great Party, and Scooters On Soi Buakhao would like to welcome you to join us.

24decalldayChristmas Eve Party at Scooters Bar Soi 6“ts a Wonderful time of year, and Scooters Bar on Soi 6 would like to you to join us.

24decalldayWhite Christmas at Dusit Thani PattayaBe ready to Yo Ho Ho! during Christmas’s Eve at our... “White Christmas Dinner” in The Cascade

24decalldayChristmas Eve Turkey Set Dinner at Royal Grill Room and Wine CellarThere’s no shortage of holiday favorites at the Royal Grill Room and Wine Cellar – Excellence and Heritage!

24decalldayA Royal Christmas Enchanting Gala Dinner at Royal Wing Suites & SpaCelebrate Christmas Eve at the poolside of the luxurious Royal Wing Suites & Spa where wehave put together a festive 4-course dinner containing delectable favorites and welcome canapes to start the festivities.

24dec(dec 24)09:2125(dec 25)23:21Glittering Christmas at Hard Rock Hotel PattayaShine bright this season at Starz Diner. Enjoy the Great Charcoal Christmas Buffet with family and friends. Santa. Live Band. Christmas Carols.

24dec(dec 24)09:5325(dec 25)23:53Christmas Party at Hard Rock Cafe PattayaChristmas Carvery Buffet. Santa Challenge. Live Band. X’Mas Carols. X’Mas Vibe.

24dec(dec 24)17:0025(dec 25)22:00Christmas Dinner at Vespresso RestaurantChristmas Set Dinner on Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th December 2019 at 5.00 PM – 10.00PM, no a la carte available.

24dec(dec 24)18:3025(dec 25)15:00Christmas Festive at Pullman Pattaya Hotel GTis the sea-sun to indulge in a Christmas Eve dinner or a Christmas Day Brunch with beach front ocean views and a Christmas feast with all the trimmings.

24dec18:3022:00Winter Wonderland Christmas Eve Dinner at Holiday Inn PattayaCelebrate with a magic at your dinner table by magician Howard Posener, A gifts for the children from Santa and Santarina and much more on Chirstmas Eve dinner.

24dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

25decalldayChristmas Day at Hemingways Jomtien

25decalldayJolly Christmas Buffet Lunch at Panorama – Dramatic AtmosphereExperience the festive spirit with your loved ones as Christmas day features a spectacular Grand Christmas Buffet luncheon at Panorama –Dramatic Atmosphere.

25decalldayChristmas Day at Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort PattayaOasis is the setting for our Christmas Day brunch buffet, with a choice of indoor and outdoor seating to enjoy the traditional Christmas fare along with plenty of fresh seafood and much more. Our live band play your favourite music along with a Christmas carol choir and a visit from Santa, there is plenty of fun for the youngsters.

25decalldayChristmas Menu at O’Garas Irish Bar & RestaurantFor your reserve just call 038-282770 / ☎️038-252773 / 038 250666 or Direct to get your ticket at O’Garas Bar and Grill

25dec12:3016:00Brunch with Santa at Amari Pattaya!At Amari Pattaya be prepared to celebrate your Christmas to the fullest! Come greet the Santa and enjoy full take away of all flavours on your lunch.

25dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

26dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

27decalldayAlfresco A La Italiano at Rossi – The Godfather’s FavouriteEnjoy a leisurely evening with an Italian buffet featuring a selection of tasty antipasti, imported salami, air-dried ham, variety of pastas, home-made pizzas, and a sensational selection of regional dishes to name a few!

27dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

28dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

29dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

30dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

31decalldayThe Masquerades New Year Eve’s 2020 Party at D.I.B Sky Bar PattayaTime flies so fast! Let’s celebrate New Year’s Eve 2020

31decalldayNew Year’s Eve at Sunset Lounge Hotel Baraquda PattayaThis New Year’s Eve event in Pattaya will be held at the Sunset Lounge, offering a great vantage point to all the fireworks and celebrations right in the heart of Pattaya. Our theme is “Retro Bohemian”, so bring along a rebel soul with a whole lot of gypsy wild style.

31decalldayThe Mirage Gatsby Countdown Party 2020 at Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort PattayaThe Mirage Gatsby Countdown Party 2020

31decalldayNew Years Eve Party at Scooters Bar Soi BuakhaoSay Goodbye to 2019, and Join the Scooters girls to ring in 2020 !!!

31decalldayThe Roaring 20s at Royal Wing Suites & SpaThis New Year’s Eve, experience an extravagant flashback to the Roaring 20s as we ring in 2020 with premium dishes, live music and classy cabaret shows.

31decalldayDusit Magical Countdown 2019/2020Celebrate New Year’s Eve in a Mythical Ambience of the 🧙‍♂“Dusit Magical Countdown 2019/2020”🧙‍♂✨

31decalldayThe Flowering Inferno – New Year’s Eve Party at Hard Rock Hotel PattayaCelebrate the last night of 2019 and welcome 2020 in style.

31decalldayNew Years Eve Party at Scooters Bar LK MetroIts out with the old and in with the new

31decalldayNew Year’s Eve Party 2020 at Hard Rock Cafe PattayaParty like a rock star on New Year’s Eve at Hard Rock Cafe Pattaya

31decalldayIntergalactic New Year Party at at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel poolsideSay goodbye to 2019 and ring in the New Year with a bang! Experience an epic intergalactic New Year’s Eve celebration like no other at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel poolside.

31dec19:0023:00499 Baht Buffet Dinner at Thai Garden ResortOnly for 499.- net per adult.

31dec01janPattaya Countdown – New Year’s Eve The Next Level at Horizon rooftop restaurant & barCelebrate New Year’s Eve on the highest level! Horizon rooftop restaurant & bar offers a variety of premium selections and unlimited made-to-order menus.

31dec01janTake Care Kids Charity New Years Eve Motorbike Raffle at The Loft Resort PattayaAll proceeds will be donated to Take Care Kids Charity.

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