Friday, April 01, 2005

Bangkok's Independent Newspaper: Ding! Round One

Bangkok's Independent Newspaper
This article appeared in the motoring section of The Nation, one of two English language daily newspapers in bangkok, Thailand.

AUTO TALK : Shedding light on flashing lights

Many Americans and Europeans choose to spend their retirements in Thailand. Thais are generally very nice to foreigners, and we sometimes tend to honour them more than fellow Thais. The majority of foreigners who come to Thailand are good people and don’t cause problems. But some capitalise on our generosity and use Thailand as a hiding place to get away from crimes they have committed back home. Some even go further and start committing new crimes in this country.

Today there are certain foreigners who rely on being “farang”, and trick Thai women from the provinces into marrying them. In return they give the women a small amount of money every month in exchange for being able to live in the Kingdom permanently. In the process they also get a partner in bed.

Some of these farangs take advantage of legal loopholes by setting up independent organisations and find ways to publicise themselves. They go to the provinces, donated a petty sum to schools, or take photos at restaurants and small factories in the villages, all so they can send the pictures abroad and claim they are doing charity work. They are angling for support money from international organisations. They lie to people and say that they work for an NGO, even though their work does not benefit the public and is merely a commercial enterprise.

These foreigners, who generally are not well off, usually live in small provinces, like in the Northeast. Sometimes these farangs even trick fellow farangs. As far as I know, the Thai authorities are carefully watching these people and waiting to get their hands on evidence to go after them. Without evidence the police could be accused of violating the bad farangs’ rights.

But today, I have some questions from a good farang concerning the use of indicator lights in Thailand.

When I drive through junctions I can’t help noticing that a large number of Thai drivers like to turn on the headlights while some also turn on the hazard lights. What do these signals mean? Back home when we blink the headlights it means that we are giving way to the car waiting at the junction to proceed first.

Flashing the headlights (usually the high beam) while crossing junctions or passing the top of the soi with cars waiting to come out has a different meaning in Thailand.

In other countries.....blah blah blah......

E-mail your motoring questions to

My hastily fired off email:

re: April fool right?

Surely this must be a joke!

Does your “Auto Mobile” section go straight to press with absolutely no editorial guidance?

How can a journalistically bankrupt piece of trash such as the opening four paragraphs in this week’s column, poorly disguised as an intro be allowed to go to press?

Was the editor asleep on this shift?

I can’t believe the nationalistic vitriol pounded out by Pattandesh, a “journalist” who obviously has an axe to grind, and whose woefully misguided superiority complex has damaged the fine name and reputation of an otherwise outstanding publication, The Nation.

What were you guys thinking when you let this go to print?
What does this racist, non-sensical tirade have anything to do with motoring?

Are you seriously insinuating that I and all the other foreigners who have been fortunate enough to marry a woman from Thailand tricked them into marriage? Oh sorry, that’s right, how silly of me, it’s only the poor and stupid ones from the Northeast who are tricked. Of course so-called “middle class” Chinese Thais would never be tricked by a dirty, shifty foreigner.

I demand an explanation of how this tripe was able to make it to print. I would also like to know how the responsible management at The Nation plans to deal with this situation.

The Epicurean.


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