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Privatization of Thai Airways postponed. Special training for Thai Airways staff

Posted by hasekamp on 31 July 2000 at 14:49 PM
The proposed (partly) privatization of Thai Airways International has been postponed due to the low level of the SET (Stock Exchange of Thailand) index. The price of the THAI shares has followed the general tendency of the SET index closely and therfore is near an all-time low.
THAI is now owned for around 90% by the Government and is due to be partly privatized. Selling part of the shares now, however, would only bring in a fraction of the amount hoped for by the Government. Not only the SET, but also the Baht is still performing badly, with an exchange rate of around 41.3 Baht for one US $.
Meanwhile the THAI staff is being trained by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) to be able to deal better and more effectively with drug smugglers.
This is another step in the Government's war against drugs, that seems to be fierce at the moment and dominates the Thai news media now. We have expressed more than once our hope that this war will be effectively won by the Thai Government, as soon as possible.


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No end in sight of Myanmar drug traffiking

Posted by hasekamp on 30 July 2000 at 18:22 PM
The drug traffiking from Myanmar, of which we have reported several times now, seems a hopeless case. On the ASAEN meeting in Bangkok, recently, the Thai and Myanmar delegations have spoken about the subject.
The result is very poor: Myanmar promised that it will make its country heroin-free by 2015. (Yes, you are reading this correctly: two thousand and fifteen). Minister Win Aung of Myanmar said: "We have a comprehensive plan for total eradication of heroin". Well, it does not appear to be a very good plan in our vision, if execution of it will take (at least) 15 years!
And, even worse, Myanmar could not given any guarantees at the ASEAN meeting about methamphetines ("speed pills")! The Minister said: "Our country has a lot of places under the control of armed groups. We have a cease-fire agreement with them, but those areas are still under their control."
So "speed pills" will, therefore, be produced in the North of Myanmar -and transported through Thailand- for tens of years from now, it seems. And its production seems to be completely controlled by the WA armies. Is it really beyond the power of the Myanmar authorities to do something about that? Are they so far in the power of the WA armies? We cannot answer this question.


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New website to catch drug criminals

Posted by hasekamp on 30 July 2000 at 13:31 PM
The Thai Police has launched a new website, with the aim to catch wanted drug criminals.
People who give information that leads to the arrest of these criminals, will be rewarded with sums of 3000-10000 Baht, depending on the criminal. The site is directed (mainly) to the eight Northern Provinces of Thailand. Pictures and other details of wanted people are published on the site, that can be found by clicking this link.
The site is in Thai, so you should be able to read Thai! But maybe you want to look at the pictures only. The third (dark) button from above, on the left hand side directly leads to the top 10.
As far as we know this is a new method to catch criminals. In some countries this method might be considered not alloweable, being an "infringemant of the privacy of not yet convicted people", but we support this new idea highly! We hope that this method will be successful in banning out the new wave of drug traffiking from Myanmar!



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Thailand.com wants to make 300 million Baht per year

Posted by hasekamp on 29 July 2000 at 20:16 PM
Thailand.com. an internet site that still is partly under construction, aims at making 300 million Baht in the next 12 months.
Yesterday the site announced its new tourism partners: Citibank, Budget Car and Truck Rental, East Siam, Diethelm Travel, Turismo Thai, and Mcdang.com. The site is owned by The Nation, one of the two major English language newspapers in Thailand, and that shows.
The news section looks like a clone of the site of The Nation. The tourism section is to be launched in September, with a world-wide advertizing campaign. The tourism section should offer bookings for hotels and tours, as well as touristic information.
Thailand.com already has an export section, opened two months ago.
The future will show how much the site can make true of its expectations. We doubt if a relative newcomer like Thailand.com will be able to outrival excellent on-line services already in existence. Also providing touristic information of high quality, which took other sites -like the site of TAT- several years seems hard to improve. We will follow the activities of Thailand.com.



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Fly THAI...

Posted by hasekamp on 28 July 2000 at 19:20 PM
Thai Airways International plan to recruit a huge number of new cabin staff, as many of the persent staff are "too old" and are not looking "sexy enpough". Although THAI states expressly that it is not trying to sell "sex", they nevertheless want to give their (female) 45+ cabin staff ground jobs or want to let them retire.
We at Hasekamp Net always fly THAI when we visit Thailand and we have always been very happy with it. So far we never noticed that the cabin crew was not attractive enough, and the service was always excellent. Maybe we are getting old, if we did not notice any shortcomings in the looks of the staff?
Our personal reference source from Thailand adds the following information to this posting:
In order to become a member of the cabin crew of THAI the selection always has been very heavy. Minimum requirements have always included: excellent knowlwedge of English, a height, taller than a certain minimum, good looks, and a bachelor's degree from one of the Universities of Thailand (or abroad).


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German matchmaker arrested

Posted by hasekamp on 27 July 2000 at 12:47 PM
A German webmaster (living in Thailand), maintainig a website through which foreigners could meet Thai women with the purpose to marry them eventually, has been arrested. A complaint against him was filed by one of his clients (an American citizen) who had paid 60,000 Baht (around 1,500 US$) to the German. The money was to be sent to his Thai wife-to-be, to pay the trip to the US, but never reached her.
The webmaster defended himself by saying "It was just for fun"! He made at least 500,000 Baht with his "funny" activities!
This is is exactly the danger we warn our visitors for, when they ask us how they can meet a Thai wife. Do not trust "matchmakers" nor Thai, nor foreign!


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Surviving golddiggers face prison sentences

Posted by hasekamp on 27 July 2000 at 12:34 PM
In addition to an earlier message, posted this week, we can report that two men have been arrested, who were involved in the gold-digging incident near the River Kwai, in which six people lost their lives. So apparently there were two survivors, not one, as we reported earlier.
The two men have been arrested and will be charged with "forest encroachment" by causing damage while excavating both inside and outside the cave in which their six companions died. They can face prison sentences or a fine up to 50,000 Baht as a result of their illegal activities. This is another example that shows us that illegal activities are being punished severe in Thailand. You should be aware of that when visiting Thailand. Stick to the law and you will have a great time. Tresspass the law and you will have to spend another holiday in a not very comfortable prison!


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Kayaking in Thailand. Fancy a ride?

Posted by hasekamp on 26 July 2000 at 10:20 AM
After the Eskimo's, the Thais have discoverd the kayak. Not as a nessecity to catch the daily fish to eat in order to stay alive, but as a tourist attraction.
In Pang Nga Bay, near Phuket Island, kayaking is being presented to tourists now as the latest novelty. And we are not talking of the real Eskimo kayaks, made if sealskin and quite difficult to navigate, but of high-tech katyaks made out of fiberglass and other Space Age materials. Fancy a kayak ride? I'm suer you will, have to bargain about the price! Anyway, the weather in Pang Nga is more attractive than in Greenland, so if you want to give it a try, Thailand is a good choice to do so. Being environmentalists, we hope that the precious environment of Pang Nga Bay will not be harmed by this new attraction.


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Bangkok Subway system on its way

Posted by hasekamp on 26 July 2000 at 9:59 AM
The Metropolitan Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) expects to get the concession to operate the subway train that will run in Bangkok. The cabinet will decide on this issue next week. The contract should last for 25 years and includes producing and operating the subway trains.
Subway trains are being planned to run between Hua Lampong Station and Bang Sue. The rail system for the subway train has been completed for about 50% now. Partial operation is expected to start in 2002, whereas complete operation is due to start in 2003. May we expect that the complete system will opened on 5 December 2003 (the King's birthday), like the Skytrain was opened on that date in 1999? Let us hope that the subway system will be more successful than the Skytrain, whose operator is not able to pay the interest for the loans, as we reported earlier on this page. It should be no secret to the visitors of Hasekamp Net that we are no great fans of these large prestige projects for Bangkok. We have our doubts that the Bangkok general public will be interested in this subway train. Nobody can expect it to be competitive in price with the Bangkok buses or the Express Boat, both so popular with the Bangkokians!


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Deadly Goldrush near River Kwai bridge

Posted by hasekamp on 25 July 2000 at 14:31 PM
Six Thais died (and one survived) while looking for a gold treasure in a cave near the bridge over the River Kwai. Police believes that they died of suffucation, there being not enough oxygen in the cave for so many people.
There have been rumours since four years that the Japanese had buried a large treasure near the famous bridge, which was built by POW's under the Japanese. There has been a short "goldrush" after these rumous started first (4 years ago), that stopped when nothing was found. The recent -fatal- expedition was the first of its kind since quite some time, and the first fatal one.


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Thai Economy not going well: SET index falls under 300

Posted by hasekamp on 25 July 2000 at 14:06 PM
The SET (Stock Exchange of Thailand) index has fallen below 300 yesterday, as a result of a fall of more than 4%. At the moment of posting of this message the index is even a bit lower than yesterday, at 293. This is bad news for the Thai Economy. It is coming much slower out of the Economic Crisis that most people expected. When we were in Thailand last November experts expected the SET to be around 400 again in January 2000 and a further rise was expected widely.
To give some more bad Economic news: The Thai Baht has dropped further against the US$. Now you get 40.7 Baht for one US$. Just a few weeks ago you just received 38 Baht for one US Dollar. Although the whole region is not performing very well Economically, Thailand still seems to hold the bitter record of performing worst, as we also report earlier on this page.


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Samak Sundaravej elected as Governor of Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 23 July 2000 at 23:29 PM
Samak Sundaravej was elected today (Sunday) as the new governor of Bangkok with the largest majority in the city's history. He received twice as much votes as his closest competitor.
"My top priority is to transform Bangkok into a cosmopolitan city. The city needs a large convention centre that can accommodate more than 10,000 people, and I aspire to build such a centre in three years," he said, after having been elected.
The new Governor also wants stricter regulations for street vendors.
We at Hasekamp Net have never been experts in Thai Politics, so we have to wait and see what Samak will accomplish. However, we are no great admirers of the cosmopolitan look of Bangkok, where the Sky Train hardly leaves any light on streets like Silom Road. He being elected with such a large majority of votes means, however, that he and his plans have to be taken seriously. We will follow the realization of his plans with Bangkok from the background.




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Thai traditional massage enters hospitals...

Posted by hasekamp on 23 July 2000 at 23:14 PM
Please note: We are talking here about Thai traditional massage, not the brothel activities, often called "Thai massage"!
This being made clear, here is the news item:
The ministry of Health wants to appoint Thai traditional massagers in Thai hospitals. Until now "traditional" medicine and "modern" medicine have strictly been separated in Thailand. The Minister thinks it is time for patients in hospitals to receive traditional massage treatment, in order to give them the same relief others find by this ages old healing method. At the same time the Minister hopes that massage in Thailand -in general- will get a better name and the association with the sex industry will be softened.
Traditional Thai massage has become more popular in recent years, not only with the Thais, but also with tourists.
We gladly want to inform you here that you can get a good Thai traditional massage at the school for traditional massage at Wat Pho in Bangkok. It is the best relief for feet and body after a day's walk in Bangkok!


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Drug traffikers try to infiltrate police

Posted by hasekamp on 22 July 2000 at 15:49 PM
Drug traffikers who now mainly work from Myanmar -as we reported earlier on this page- have been trying to infiltrate the Thai Police Force recently. Consquently intensive security checks will have to be made for all the 60,000 applicants for the Thai police training schools! Drug dealers are not applying for the force themselves, but have been trying to send their relatives to infiltrate the forces. In that way they hoped to get their illegal activities covered up. Fingerprins will -among other things- be checked of the applicants for police training. From this disturbing news item it luckily appears that the Thai police was able to discover this infiltration attempt in time. As we stated earlier, it is a shame for Thailand that, now that opium culture has been (almost) banned, the name of the Country is lowered again by criminals, operating from neighboring countries.


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Special Banknote issued by the Bank of Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 20 July 2000 at 23:40 PM
On the occasion of thr 50th Wedding Anniversary of their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) has issues a special banknote to commemorate this occasion. It is a 500,000 Baht bank note and it can be seen on the site of The Bank of Thailand. The Royal Wedding took place in Bangkok, on 28 April 1950. During this year several other events will take place in Thailand on this occasion.
Hasekamp Net wonders who will be able to afford a 500,000 Baht banknote in Thailand, where this amount of money represents two or more year salaries for most people (see the preceding message)!


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Salaries in Thailand (recent figures)

Posted by hasekamp on 18 July 2000 at 16:35 PM
Asiaweek has published the current salaries in Asian Countries, among which those in Thailand. Hasekamp Net wants go share some of this information with its visitors.
So what should you consider avarage salaries in Thailand?
First the Free Professions: A doctor, a lawyer or a State professor can count on a monthly salary between 20000 and 25000 Baht. An architect or a civil engineer has to be satisfied with 10000 to 15000 Baht per month.
Then some figures about Corporate workers: Count on 100000 to 120000 Baht per month as a director in a Company, be satisfied with 70000 Baht per month as a manager and be happy with around 35000 Baht per month as a software developer. As a secretary, dependent on your responsibilities, you should reckon with 15000 to 25000 Baht per month.
Worst off are Government workers: An entry-level Government clerk receives about 3500 Baht per month. Sadly futher data about Government officials are only are given for Politicians, so we don't know how much the salaries are of academic level Government Officials.
Fancy a job in Thailand? Hasekamp Net offers you your future salary level here!


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Pattaya tries to brush up its image

Posted by hasekamp on 17 July 2000 at 11:21 AM
Pattaya, the Thai beach resort, famous for its sex industry, has discovered (at last!?) that this is not the way to become popular with the majority of tourists. With beaches getting dirty, AIDS spreading around like the flue and child prostitution prospering in a disgusting way, the City wants to brush up its image now.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Pattaya City have a budget of 113 million Baht to do this job. A loan from Japan's Overseas Economic Co-operation Fund is being used for the purpose.
Hasekamp Net welcomes this effort of the Auithorities and will follow it critically. Some healthy criticism about the chance for being successful seems -however- in its place for the moment, given the long history of the current image of Pattaya!


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Serious flooding in Udon Thani

Posted by hasekamp on 16 July 2000 at 15:36 PM
The Thai news media report serious flooding in several parts of the Country, worst of all in Udon Thani (North East Thailand; "Isarn"). Mention has been made that this is the most serious flooding in 100 years. Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai and other Government Officials have visited the most seriously hit areas.
Some Central parts of the Country also have been plagued by flooding during the past weeks. Before planning holidays in the North East and the Central parts of the Country (which does not include Bangkok in this case) it may be wise to consult the large newsmedia in Thailand. Links to the media can be found in the Internet Portal of this site.


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Drugs entering Thailand from Myanmar

Posted by hasekamp on 15 July 2000 at 14:57 PM
Opium cultivation in the Golden Triangle -as far as Thailand is concerned- has been succesfully fighted through the years. Among other ways this has been done through the Royal Projects, initiated by HM The King. Other cultures than poppy flowers have replaced the former opium cultivation now.
Therefore it is very bad news for Thailand that from Myanmar (Burma) the so called United Wa State Army is traffiking drugs from Myanmar to Thailand. As a result villagers in the North of Thailand, who were cultivating opium in the past, are now being trained to prevent these transports of drugs to enter Thailand. We hope that the Thai authorities will be able to fight these new drug transports from outside the Country in a successful way!




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Insects are becoming a popular food

Posted by hasekamp on 14 July 2000 at 19:28 PM
In the North-Eastern part of Thailand (Isarn) insects have been eaten, let us say, "forever", as snacks, but also as regular food. In these parts of the country insects are now being cultivated on a quite large scale. They are being canned and shipped all over the country now, where they are becoming quite popular, it seems. Countries to export these canned beetles, ants and what would you like else are being sought too. I was surprised to read "silk worms" on the label of one of these cannes delicacies. I hope this will not affect the silk production, in which these insects are more useful, in my opinion. Anyway, from now on don't just point at a random item on the menu and wait what you get, because you might get a dilicious portion of red ants with red chilli sauce!


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Monk donates gold to the Bank of Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 5 July 2000 at 21:35 PM
Followers of Luangtha Bua Yannasamanno donated 575 kilos of pure gold to the Bank of Thailand (which is the Central Bank of Thailand) yesterday. The total value of this gold is almost 2 billion Baht! This was not the first donation from this Monk. He started a project in April 1998 to help the Government to overcome the Economic Crisis. He appealed to the people to donate money (in particular foreign money) and also golden objects, that were melted down into gold bars. As can be seen from the result, this appeal was honoured massively by the Thai people. The gold bars are kept in the vaults of the Bank of Thailand until a decision has been made about a proper destination.


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Skytrain is not popular....

Posted by hasekamp on 3 July 2000 at 21:32 PM
Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) is in trouble, because the "Skytrain" is not popular enough. Last month BTS was not able to pay the interest for their loans (900 million Baht interest!), so the company is in trouble. To increase the number of commuters who use the Skytrain, BTS is considering to provide free shuttle-bus transport to the Skytrain terminals (in cooperation with the Microbus operator). Also reductions for students are considered. The aim is to increase the number of passengers to 300,000 by the end of this year. I suggest that YOU, the visitors of this site -a site that always has a very warm heart for Thailand- use the "Skytrain" and nothing else for your transport in Bangkok!


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Tamarine out of Wimbledon

Posted by hasekamp on 3 July 2000 at 16:25 PM
About 20 minutes ago Thai tennis hope Tamarine Tanasugarn sadly lost her 4th round Wimbledon match against Serena Williams from the US 6-1, 6-1.
Serena Williams (seeded 8) apparently was too strong for Thai Tamarine. The first set lasted 21 minutes and the second set 30 minutes. Tamarine scored a total of 27 points and Serena Williams scored 54 points. Although this is a sad early ending for Tamarine's 2000 Wimbledon trip, she can nevertheless look back on a satisfactory performance, having reached the 4th round.
We will follow her achievements again next year on this page!


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Thai stocks perform worst of the region

Posted by hasekamp on 2 July 2000 at 21:16 PM
According to Reuters the SET (Stock Exchange of Thailand) index perfoms worst of all the Asian Stock Exchange indexes. It fell about 30% since 1 January 2000, which is not only worse than the Asian indexes, but also a lot worse than the main US indexes (Dow Jones Industrials and NASDAQ Composite). It looks so far as if the European stocks performed best during the first half of this year.
The SET was expected by Thai analists to be above 400 at the beginning of this year. It is around 330 right now. So, is this a good moment to start investing in Thailand or can the SET still go lower?


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Tamarine with the last 16!

Posted by hasekamp on 1 July 2000 at 15:51 PM
Thai tennis player Tamarine Tanasugarn raeched the 4th round of the Wimbledon tennis tournament, by beating Anne-Gaelle Sidot of France 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. So Tamarine is now with the last 16! In the next round she has to play against Serena Williams (US), which could be a tough job! Hasekamp.Net wishes Tamarine the best of luck and hopes she gets through to the next round!


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