I’ve been here a while now, well a good many years, and in life everyones will change over time as we get older, this is no different for a country.
Why should it be such a big issue here? You see our own countries change and are different from what they were some 20 or even 10 years ago, some
have changed dramatically in just 5 years, so why should Thailand be any different?
I never came to Thailand with the view it will be my last destination or the place I will spend the rest of my life either, it was a stepping stone, somewhere
that was right at the time. I stayed because I liked the lifestyle and I fitted the bill or requirements that were acceptable by the Thai authorities, but nothing stays
the same for ever, I’m not the same as I was years ago, neither is Thailand, I have the same basic requirements to live, however I have changed also, what I need
to be happy is still here, but I’m not daft enough to think that it will always offer what I want, its just the same as with my land of my birth, that also has changed over
the years, and I can say for sure its not a place I’d go back to either, I feel its nowhere near the same, its quality of life has dropped, and is far less the country I
know from before. each time I go back the less I want to stay, and these days since my parents have departed there is less reason to go back.
So to where I call home … Thailand, I am fortunate, I’m old enough for retirement, but still have overseas interests, I still travel and see new places, I still work
overseas, I don’t work here there is no need and no reason to, the working business culture with all its pro’s and con’s does not satisfy the criteria I require to
establish a business, so Thailand is a place to live not work. I transfer money here to live, I do not invest here as there are much better places to keep my money.
Thailand does give me a high quality of life for a lower cost, it has many advantages, but also many disadvantages.
I’m certainly no rich man in a westerners eye, I am comfortable, but also view that fact that I will continue to work until old father time calls my number. the old view of retirement
is an outdated concept. work 45 – 50 years build up a savings and a pension, own a property, have so many holidays each year, retire at 60-65 and hopefully live
out those autumn years in some relative heath in a form of comfort before the grim reaper comes knocking…. an idealistic out dated dream of post war Britain. Reality is
somewhat very different. I saw my parents work bloody hard through their lives, but they could see the writing on the wall 40 years ago, the country was not the same, it was changing
and they knew it would be different, it would not be easy for your average retired person and how right they were…
Standards fell everywhere, streets are not safe to walk at night, public services are being reduced, the cost of living has risen beyond all expectations, the demographic of
everyday life has changed. Nobody knows their neighbours, let alone talk with them, in many places there is no community anymore the way of life is alien.
Eighteen months ago the UK faced the closest thing to a revolution in hundreds of years, disenfranchised people, those that had been ignored, forgotten and bypassed
for years, voted for change ….. and Brexit is the beast woken. It may have come as a shock to some, and maybe the biggest disaster to befit my home land in 200 years,
or it maybe the start of something better, either way there is a lot of work and much pain to go through, but enough of the population was so dissatisfied with life as it was
they wanted change.
Thailand in a way offers me something a little life to life I knew when I was young. I know my neighbours, I actually talk with them every day, I can leave my doors and windows open
I can walk to the local shops, I know the shop keepers and they know me, I can even pick up some goods and pay for them the next day should I have left my wallet at home. public
services are plenty and low cost if even low grade as well, but many are top quality as well, the climate is great, bloody hot in comparison to my place of birth, but much better to be warm,
than cold for much of the year. We have sun 300+ days of the year instead of grey skies. Local food is fresh and cheap, my bills are low and my neighbourhood is safe… yet more clean.
Thailand can be a great place to live if you make the effort to fit in. I know I am an invited guest, so its me who has to go with the flow of what is given, I’m delighted not to have the
responsibilities of running the place or making those decisions, I am and have the priceless option, to just walk away and leave if I want to. We have amazing beaches, remote islands
to explore, wonderful country parks and places of natural beauty, a very diverse culture, and the regions of Thailand are all slightly different, Thailand is a very rural country, but with
its major cities and resorts, its does have most of everything some very good and some very bad.
I’m not going to harp on about the negative aspects, though there are a few, some minor and some that are an obvious concern and a warning that one should never be to
complacent and always have an exit plan should things go all “Pete Tong”. There are some very big “no, no’s” but the balance is still in favour of being here, maybe not as much as
before, but its still a positive. There are changes as I have said, the ones that are a concern are on the civil liberties and the aspect of human rights, being a foreigner I feel I have
little or none of either and things can turn very ugly very fast, so you know its best to avoid the situations that can present those problems. I’m not a bar crawler, if I venture to a bar
its normally with my partner or friends, I avoid the tourist areas for much of the time, loud music, bright lights, people getting hammered by alcohol or other means is really not
what I want to involved with, sure I like the odd party and I’m not quite ready for the pipe, slippers and rocking chair on the porch, but getting down and dirty in the bar are days
of many moons ago.
The amusing fact is Thailand like everywhere has an image, maybe its not the one it wants, but it is one that it deserves. It did turn a blind eye to many issues for a long time, and
there is a big drive to clean up its act and appearance in some aspects, but lets be clear not all of them. In some areas the demographic of the visitor is changing, it can still be a very
wild place if that is what you want, but there is much more to Thailand than that side. However I would certainly say there is a much more xenophobic attitude from upon high than
before, there are a few very questionable activities still going on and justice is not the same justice for everyone if you know what I mean. There is massive investment in the
infrastructure of the country, well certainly in Bangkok and some other cities, it would be good to see the same level given to flood prevention, the cleaning up of the place ( Thai’s
are not house proud if you know what I mean)…Education need massive reform, one where you can allow and encourage young mind to think outside of the box, challenge
the current process and thoughts, develop an independent view, and not be schooled into an indoctrinated outdated system that does not produce the results required to
take the country and its people further.
There is the aim and drive to attract the so called high end quality tourist… well every country wants those, so the competition is fierce, there needs to be a foundation of a basis
to attract those people, and Thailand has a long way to go to get there, not saying its not possible as it is, and it has some advantages and a head start on many others, but it needs to
revaluate its product. You have to offer those high enders what they want, sure cleaning up the seedy aspect is one, but so it cleaning up the roads, streets, the rivers then beaches, being the
“Dirty man of Asia” is not going to win you any awards or attract higher quality people to look at dirty streets and beaches. There are also several other issues that are very public that drain
confidence like the situation in Koh Tao, you don’t need me to spell it out, its a global mill stone round Thailand’s neck and very global public knowledge, safety is a primary essential for your
“well heelled” guest, that will also include road safety, so when you are world number 1 in road accidents and deaths and do very little to solve it successfully, then the big money tourist will
give it a pass.The next bit might seem a bit of farang proparganda, but offering a democracy, which a bit of freedom of speech and the rights to say something is its not right does make
a extremely large and lasting impact with visitors with money….. “ Banana Republics “ or “Military Rule” is not the watch word for stability, comfort, assurance of safety, or even human
rights or fair justice…. it kind of scares the shit out of people with money, just look at the most successful high end tourist places, all are democratic places, where people feel safe and not
governed or ruled by fear or control.
Obviously none of the previous is any of my business, Thailand has a very good basic package, but it needs to up its game, or polish up its act, if it stays as it is or fails to address the
needs of those wealthy visitor then it will continue to get the bottom end of the market, the back packer, nothing wrong in that at all, to charge a higher price, you must offer both the high
quality service as well as the high quality product, both achievable but there is lots of work in the right areas to get there. Thailand is a great country of natural beauty, it has a rich and
interesting history and culture, it just needs to know how to sell and market its product in the area that it wants, its people on the whole are friendly and inquisitive , but there if you do
travel I would say much of the world is like that too, some are just better at it or more natural than others.
Just one last thing its very basic and very simple…. rid yourselves of the dual price thing for foreigners…. it switches guests off if they feel they are being penalised or being taken
advantage off for being a foreigner. Its not the aspect of they can afford it, of course they can they just forked out many hundreds of dollars, euros, pounds or what ever their local
currency just to come here, it might be just a tiny thing, but don’t give give people an easy chance to down grade your country, nobody likes to feel ripped off, it creates bad feeling
and just makes it harder to get them to open the wallet and spend their money.