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  1. #1
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    Default What's normal in Thailand

    I am planning to move to Thailand within the next 2 years. Although I've been travelling to Thailand for over 15 years, have had short stints living there etc. etc. Despite this experience certain events are beginning to make me wonder if I'm doing the right thing and whether or not I can actually live there permanently. I realised a long time ago that Thai's and westerners 'think differently' but recent events are making me think that western and Thai cultures are not compatible.

    Taking things back a few months, my wife and her friends went over to my house and trimmed back some trees in the garden. They dumped the cuttings on some disused farmland across the road. When I arrived a few weeks later and saw this I was alarmed. She said not to worry, its normal. As it was organic waste that would rot away I didn't make a fuss.

    I am currently having my house renovated ready for the move (the agro I'm having with the builders is a completely seperate matter ) and have a friend there acting as my eyes and ears. Today I asked if the site had been cleared and all the rubble and waste taken away - this was part of the contract and priced accordingly. "Yes, its all in the 'jungle' opposite the house" was the answer. What? Builder's rubble dumped on my neighbour's land? You can imagine my response but it just makes me think.......can I really get along with people who think such behaviour is acceptable?

    This is not like fly tipping in the UK - they actually think this is OK!!

    Anyone else had similar experiences?

  2. #2

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    It's called the path of least resistance



    The picture shows how Thai hikers would take the easier route, I guess the longer arduous ones are taken by Brits
    Last edited by marshall; 5th Dec 2017 at 12:38.
    The clock on the wall reads a quarter past midnight

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip View Post
    ...certain events are beginning to make me wonder if I'm doing the right thing and whether or not I can actually live there permanently....

    ..can I really get along with people who think such behaviour is acceptable?
    Some of us have been saying that for a while.. I can't believe I've resisted the impulse to use a 'lol' emoticon!

    Though online personas may be different from real-life ones, I think you wouldn't like it. You seem to like a grumble, a heated debate without repercussions, things done a certain way. Those are all Thai-incompatible. They like mindless happy thoughts, not debate. They'll pretend to agree with you to avoid a straight argument and then they'll not do it your way, ever. Then when you blow up they'll get together in a group to agree how you're the unreasonable one. Etc, etc, forever. That's Thailand.

    The only thing you may get over there that you don't get here is respect simply for being older. Though I'm not even sure about that. You're a farang. I note I don't get called 'Pii' by younger Thais as much as other Thais my age would be.

  4. #4
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    I've been aware of some of the problems for a long time LWTG but so far, apart from the crazy bureaucracy that seems to be required for the simplest of tasks, I've more or less escaped them. Its only now that I have no choice but to get personally involved with things that I've realised just how different we really are. It would not enter my head to calmly walk across the road and dump my rubble on my neighbour's land and I just can't understand why someone would do that. Its even harder to understand when the rubble is not even hidden, its on full view from my gateway.

    As my leg is so far in, and in the end I'll have spent far more on my house than I could hope to get for it if I decided to sell, I'm hoping that once I'm through all the building work, registered my car and motorbike in my name, the only hassle I'll have is the yearly visa brain frying. Any yes, I do know what's invloved in registering vehicles, I have one registered in my name already.

    A walk outside with my dogs just now, in a force 9 gale (well its feels like it ), sort of puts me back on a Thailand trajectory again.

    You are absolutely correct about them agreeing and then not doing things my way - I've never had builders like these, the standard of work is poorer than poor. I called a halt on Saturday and sent them all home to think about things for the weekend. A way forward was agreed an hey presto, we are back to the same old crap today. They say yes, then do the opposite, they just don't listen.

  5. #5

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    For a Thai us westerners worry far too much, and we get upset when they don't take our concerns seriously and they're perplexed we even mention such 'trivial' things.
    It must be very hard for someone uprooting and going to live with people who think completely differently to us, having been 'programmed' over the years to act a certain way spontaneously for any given situation.
    Holidays are one thing but to live there year in year must take some adapting to. I often think those who live there must be very calm and wise because I honestly think I would struggle to maintain the right temperament, though I feel much calmer in Thailand, probably because I don't work when I'm there.

    Maybe this is one of the reasons you've not sold up and gone sooner Flip, because you're caught between worlds and like aspects of both without wanting to be permanently based in either place?
    The clock on the wall reads a quarter past midnight

  6. #6
    Premium Member ash's Avatar
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    This is not just a Thai trait it happens across the world Africa France etc. etc.

    Poor quality builders even happen in blighty

    When we built our house it was mega annoying and several times had to restrain myself from wanting to kill the builders but patience and perseverance resulted in an OK house for not too much money. As Flip says when its cold wet weather and blowing a gale then Thailand seems like a great deal , when its great UK weather then maybe not.

    I just had a week in Capetown in a house with great seaviews , 22 degrees with sunshine would I move there nope , don't want to live behind a fence with a panic room. Would I live in Thailand no way could not handle the frustration , great for vacation not for retirement.
    Human beings are seventy percent water, and with some the rest is collagen

  7. #7
    Premium Member caller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip View Post
    Its only now that I have no choice but to get personally involved with things that I've realised just how different we really are. It would not enter my head to calmly walk across the road and dump my rubble on my neighbour's land and I just can't understand why someone would do that. Its even harder to understand when the rubble is not even hidden, its on full view from my gateway.
    I think partly it's down to location and the exposure the locals have to the farang way of thinking. And of course, had you been present this wouldn't have happened.

    Where I now am in Hua Hin I am now using Thai workers by choice over at least one farang run company, based on personal experience. Neighbours have recommended various Thais to me who have worked for them and these workers are clearly 'acclimatised' to the standards farangs expect and so far have done very good work for a far better price than offered by the farang companies. It's a no-brainer for me.
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    Rather you than me. I'd have all the wiring, everything, checked by tradesmen that come from outside the country.

    Just doing a visa run to Malaysia you notice the difference in the quality of fittings, buildings, in the same kind of serviced apartments. The Bangkok building I lived in had to have work done just a couple of years after it was built. Things were falling apart.

    Thais just don't seem to care. They don't complain because someone would lose face and that'd be the worst thing in the world (far worse than someone getting electrocuted by faulty wiring, for example). So nothing changes.

    I don't even like going back there for holidays now. I'm worried the kids will touch something that'll turn out to be live, fall down a big hole that someone's left unprotected or be wiped out by some stupid selfish driver. I know that when I insist on the kids being in proper (non-cardboard) car seats and there NOT being overcrowding in the hire car, the wife will get tense about me 'making a fuss', caring more about the noise than the things that are important. There's selfishness, carelessness, no sense of safety or priorities and no will to change.

    Against that, the English weather isn't too bad. At least we have seasons and can take a walk most months.

  9. #9
    Veteran ผู้มีประสบการณ์ prikphet's Avatar
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    With regards to people recomending Builders etc. I noticed noone would recommned my wife a roofer when we needed one, but I got no end of recommendations - I think that says alot.

    Here's a classic case that stick in my head, Phil's lived there years and he still get taken for a ride.
    https://www.ajarn.com/blogs/bangkok-...andyman-wanted

    Flip, can you not trying renting for a year and see how you cope, before you go the whole 9 yards ?

  10. #10
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    Are the dogs going too?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by caller View Post
    I think partly it's down to location and the exposure the locals have to the farang way of thinking. And of course, had you been present this wouldn't have happened.
    No it wouldn't have happened but that was unavoidable. I'm actually using a Bangkok company but I doub't that's where their staff come from.

    If I was there, I think I'd have been locked up for murder by now - some of the things have gone on! Its long and boring but I've had a double wall installed using thermal lightweight blocks in an attempt to deal with the heat. Obvioulsy the sockets need extending from what is now the outer wall across to the new inner wall. Firstly the wires were simply twisted together and taped and unbelievably were all extended using red wire. Just one example but even now, after sending them off to ponder their sins, they come back and start the same crap again.

    - - - - - - - u p d a t e d - - - - - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by livingwithathaigirl View Post
    Thais just don't seem to care. They don't complain because someone would lose face and that'd be the worst thing in the world (far worse than someone getting electrocuted by faulty wiring, for example). So nothing changes.
    Before I left I fitted a hot shower to the house I'm renting whilst the work is done on mine. The wiring for a hot shower was already present in the bathroom so it was an easy job. I located the correct circuit in the consumer unit (fuse box) and flicked that trip off so I could work on the shower safely. At that time half of the lights also went out - shower and lights on the same circuit . But worse was to come - the wiring in the bathroom consisted of three wires as normal, including an earth. However, when I went to flick the trip back on again I noticed that although 2 or 3 earth wires came into the consumer unit (meaning not every circuit was earthed), the earth bar was not connected to anything!!! There is no earth rod, nothing and this is a new house!! So it doesn't matter how well anything in the house is earthed, the earth wires terminate in the consumer unit so there is no earth. I don't know if there are any regulations about this - I doubt it. I'm just wondering if the 'electrician' actually knew that there is no point in earthing circuits if the earth goes nowhere??

    I would suggest that other members here who have a house in Thailand, check their wiring as this could be a common practice. Its quite easy - take the cover off the consumer unit - the earth bar is usually at the top. It consists of a brass bar with several small holes drilled in it containing locking screws. At one or more points, there is a larger hole. The purpose of the earth bar is to connect all the circuit earths to the actual earth. The circuit earths are connected to the smaller holes whilst the incoming main earth is connected to the larger hole. I would even take things a stage further and get a qualified electrician to check how effective the earth is. After what I've seen I would not be convinced that even if there is a main earth cable present, its actually connected to earth.

    - - - - - - - u p d a t e d - - - - - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by prikphet View Post
    Flip, can you not trying renting for a year and see how you cope, before you go the whole 9 yards ?
    I bought my house 4 years ago.

    - - - - - - - u p d a t e d - - - - - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Scot View Post
    Are the dogs going too?
    Hmmmmm sore point, probably but god knows how or where I'll walk them. More importantly, how I'll keep the packs of Thai neighbours dogs at bay whilst I walk mine.
    Last edited by Flip; 5th Dec 2017 at 19:46.

  12. #12
    Veteran ผู้มีประสบการณ์ prikphet's Avatar
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    Shocking !

    But seriously, this is what scares the out of me as a Father, you obviously know your way around electrics a fair bit - my knowledge extends to wiring a plug so you put your faith in tradespeople to do a job properly and safely, the lack of regulations (I guess) and lack of ownership when all turn toare just a breeding ground for cowboys I guess.

    I wonder who the high-so brigade and top level hotels trust to do their fittings, surely their must be some folk who have a western sense of doing a job properly, or is just a case of repitivity and when you go off scruipt their stumped ?
    Last edited by Tobias; 5th Dec 2017 at 21:18. Reason: Language filter violations

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by prikphet View Post
    Here's a classic case that stick in my head, Phil's lived there years and he still get taken for a ride.
    Classic case of buy cheap and pay twice.

    The misses took her car into the local tyre shop for two tyres and an MOT last week, in the UK. Manager shows the misses “worn out brakes” and quotes price inferring there dangerous and required for the MOT. He presumably thought she would stump up the cash. Wrong, (my wife didn't come down with the last shower of rain). She asked the manager to phone me and explain.

    Manager “the disks and pads are worn out”

    Me “what thickness are the pads”

    Manager silence..... “very thin”

    Me “have you measured them ” ?

    Obviously he hadn't - just a lying cheating scumbag trying to get money by recommending work which was not necessary.

    I later measured the pads which had 8mm of brake material left on them. Probably another 2 years of life in them. MOT pass standard is 1.5mm. (Don't ever let your pads get that thin they could over heat and fade).

    The disks where 23.952 mm thick. There is no minimum thickness for disc rotors for an MOT pass. I would estimate a further 20,000 + miles left in them.

    I was tempted to complain to Trading Standards but members of the public cannot do so any more.

    Rip off Britain. Makes Thailand look like amateurs when it comes to corruption.

    And don't get me going on UK builders....
    Last edited by manfarang; 5th Dec 2017 at 22:37. Reason: full stop added
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  14. #14
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    A little daily frustration. Yesterday I took my daughter fishing I didn't fish as I have only one rod. Popped into tesco for bread for bait, no prices on the shelves so after a while I found out what they were I decided to take a small farmhouse loaf (don't eat this, don't like it but the fish do) at 17bht. They didn't like this as they had put in the large loaf and another loaf into the till and expected me to buy all. So it was all my fault and not theirs.
    At the fishing park woman wanted 200bht for us to fish I told her only my Thai daughter was fishing so it got reduced to 100bht but it is still only 60bht for Thais. I'm not to 40bht but because I take her she has to pay more than anyone else, very annoying, it's a matter of principle, I did notice there were no "farangs" there for the first time. So petty! But this is a daily occurrence for living in Thailand and best to let it pass you by without anger, I still find that hard.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by manfarang View Post
    ... I was tempted to complain to Trading Standards but members of the public cannot do so any more.

    Rip off Britain.
    Of course you can, and what you say happened is exactly the sort of case they would be interested in.

    Start here: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-trading-standards-office
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  16. #16

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    When I googled “report garage to trading standards” I got linked to this website :-

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards/


    I got the impression that I had to phone then, on a premium phone line and that they would pass on the case to trading standards if appropriate :-

    “Call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline and tell them you want to report a trader to Trading Standards. The consumer helpline will assess your problem and pass it on to Trading Standards if it's appropriate.”

    Unfortunately I have now binned the garage cost estimate for the bogus work. Hopefully readers here will be aware now of the potential “your brakes need replacing scam”.

    Ironically, the local trading standards office is about 1 mile from where I live.
    aka Spud / aka MF

  17. #17
    Premium Member KhunIanB-UK's Avatar
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    I remember contacting trading standards in the past and being told they don't deal with individual complaints and so could not assist me, it was relating to clear breaches of Sale of Goods Act with Currys/PC World. I bought a hob from them and arranged for a fitter to install, it was faulty and so I was hoping they could exchange it so the fitter could continue, they refused saying I needed to contact the manufacturer, I then asked for a refund so that I could immediately buy another of the same that they had in stock and in the store and they should deal with the manufacturer over the faulty one. They refused and I was told to leave the store. They refused to provide me in writing what they were telling me. I eventually got it sorted, but felt really let down by abuse of the "law" and how it's enforced by the powers that be.

  18. #18
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    Let's try and keep this Thai Manfarang but Fast Fit car repair centres have been scamming people for years. I remember this from when I was an apprentice and that's a few years ago

  19. #19

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    I bought a new house in the UK in 1990 . “We” bought a new house in Thailand in 2004. The house in Thailand was a simple 3 bed end of terrace on a Thai only moo baan (gated community) – no farangs, next to the in-laws.

    The UK house :-

    faulty wiring to the immersion heater.
    Front door cracked – replacement door cracked
    leak from central heating pipe through lounge ceiling
    loft hatch didn't fit – was rectified by site foreman with very large hammer !
    All double glazed windows on all houses in phase 1 where installed with linseed oil putty resulting in the sealed unit glazing failing within a few years – but outside of warranty.
    The site foreman did confide in me that all exterior wood work was of a poor standard and they had subsequently changed supplier.

    Thai house :-

    toilets blocked very easily – found out the hole in the floor wasn't in line with the outlet of the toilet.
    Doors and windows where low quality – but there again the house only cost around £10k so what was fitted was reasonable at the time.

    Don't get me wrong – plenty of things in LOS could be better. The education system needs improving foremost. Thais are not taught to think for themselves. That is something that will take time to sort out. I remember going with the kids to the National Science Museum at Pathum Thani. An amazing building. Inside, what really struck me that of all the inventions on display, jet engines etc. none as far as I can remember where Thai inventions.

    My Thai brother in law – smashing bloke, always smiling - heart of gold. He spent best part of a day fitting a shower in the downstairs toilet of our neighbours house. I couldn't believe the standard of work he was producing. He fitted plastic ducting for the wire to run in. All the turns in the ducting where neatly mitered. He was running the wire through the suspended plaster board ceiling. A real professional job. I then pointed out to him that if he had fitted the shower unit on the other wall he could have drilled a hole straight through the wall and the wire would have come out about 1 foot from the consumer unit. The look on his face was priceless... But good for him – no face saving BS he moved the unit and did the wiring job in five minutes.


    Yes plenty of stuff to drive you nuts. When in LOS after a few weeks can't I wait to get back to UK sanity.

    But when you do so.........BORING


    Last edited by manfarang; 6th Dec 2017 at 09:58. Reason: remove full stop
    aka Spud / aka MF

  20. #20
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    On balance I will continue with my plans and hope that once I'm through the crap - yellow house book, ID card etc. etc. I can turn a blind eye to the other rubbish that goes on. As I've said before, my leg is too far in now but one thing I have learned - you must BE THERE if you are having work done. My nightmare with my builders continues on a daily basis - they either don't understand or they don't want to. I'm pretty sure its the latter. I've now called a stop to the work and will continue early in the new year.

    Was I younger, I would not have made the move. Politics used to concern me and I could not accept what's going on in Thailand politically at the moment, plus I utterly hate corruption. Now, I'm more interested in living out my years in a warmer climate. Sounds selfish? Yes it is, when you get a life threatening illness it kind of makes you focus on your own life and those close to you. I've been a bit of a campaigner and fought against what I see as wrong most of my life but now? I just don't have time for it. Younger ones can pick up that torch and run with it as I used to.

    - - - - - - - u p d a t e d - - - - - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by DAS View Post
    At the fishing park woman wanted 200bht for us to fish I told her only my Thai daughter was fishing so it got reduced to 100bht but it is still only 60bht for Thais. I'm not to 40bht but because I take her she has to pay more than anyone else, very annoying, it's a matter of principle, I did notice there were no "farangs" there for the first time. So petty! But this is a daily occurrence for living in Thailand and best to let it pass you by without anger, I still find that hard.
    Yes, I find that sort of thing annoying too. I used to have a pleasant drive through Khao Yai National Park on my way down to Chonburi but I refuse to pay the 400baht entry fee when Thai's pay 40. I now drive the long way around which is actually faster but nowhere near as scenic.

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