Mobi-Snaps: Kanchanburi – Death Railway
I think I am in better shape than I was a week ago and my depression has definitely lifted a little.
There are a number of reasons for this.
I have been talking very frankly to Noo about my situation and that has helped a lot. We have been discussing what we can do to generate a bit of income and also how we can economize, and generally, what precisely are our options.
She has told me that if push comes to shove and I have to go back to the UK for a while until my financial situation improves, (i.e. until some of my frozen funds get released or my house gets sold), then she can live very cheaply and will wait for me.
Going back to the UK is very much a last resort and I am at least a year away from having to make that kind of decision. Hopefully things will improve before that fateful day comes to pass.
The lease on my rented house expires in October, and while I have an extremely good deal – a spacious, fully furnished, 3- bedroom villa with a decent sized pool for 20k Baht per month, I will have to find much more modest accommodation if my financial situation hasn’t improved in three to four months’ time.
I have spoken to my ex-wife about the sale of our house and I feel slightly more positive that she is willing to sell, if we can find a buyer. I will only know for sure if and when I find a serious buyer. I may know this quite soon.
If she is playing games, I will tell her that I will move back into the house, which is my legal right under the ‘usufruct’ that I hold. (A Thai usufruct is a legal document which grants me a lifetime lease or right of residence.) The threat may be enough to shake her out of her lethargy and persuade her that she had better cooperate with plans to sell.
We have been investigating the ‘why’s and wherefores’ about renting out my pick-up out to generate some income. Clearly, the first thing I need to do is get it installed with a GPS tracker device, which will not only tell us where it is all the time, but it also has a device which will enable me to demobilize it, if I think the customer is trying to steal it. Obviously it won’t be 100% full-proof but will probably work in most situations.
We spoke to a rental outfit in downtown Pattaya, and they inoformed us that even now, in the low season, there is a very high demand for modern, 4-door pick-ups so there seems little doubt we can rent it out. But we won’t know for sure until we try. It does seem that we can make a minimum of 20K Baht a month – maybe more – out of such a venture, and that would certainly help.
I am very appreciative of the comments I have received during the week and I am taking your thoughts and advice on board.
Sven, I have not published your comment, as suggested, and I will be replying to you by email.
I really don’t want to go into the minutiae of my financial situation in the blog, because I think it will only create disagreement. I have read so many times about ‘A’ being able to live on X amount of money in Pattaya and ‘B’ saying it’s impossible, and ‘Y’ saying he can live on even less! And so on…..
Maybe some people can live cheaper than others; maybe some people’s needs are different to others. Of course we can all adjust our living standards to our income, as I have done in past times in my life when I was really struggling to survive.
But in a few days’ time I will be 67 and I am not in good health. If I end up having to exist in some tiny, hot, single room, with no money to go anywhere or do anything and with barely enough money to put food on the table then I might as well go back to the UK.
At least in England I have a brother and two daughters, all of whom have their own homes and could probably put me up indefinitely, if necessary – even if I have to move around from home to home. If and when I get back some of my frozen funds, I can return to Pattaya and Noo… if she is still waiting for me.
I mentioned last week that I have a small state pension, but it is much less than some of you seem to think and barely covers the cost of my monthly medications and doctor’s bills. If nothing changes, this is the only money I will have in a year or so, when my bank accounts run dry, and it is definitely not enough for me to live alone to live on, let alone support Noo and her kids. That is why I was so depressed.
Yes, there is a reasonable expectation that things might – and – should – improve. If I can get the house sold, or even if I can start a little truck rental business, it should be enough to keep us going. But who can say for sure? It’s still not a good situation.
I reiterate that I do appreciate the advice and concerns and I thank you for caring. I do feel much better and feel more positive about things so let’s see how it all plays out over the coming weeks and months.
A number of scandals are starting to envelope Obama’s second term in office. It struck me that it might be an interesting exercise to study the capricious nature of the American media and public and to see how they are reacting to these various, unsavoury events.
Recent revelations at congressional hearings now confirm that there was criminal incompetence by the State Department and there was a subsequent cover up by the Obama administration, just prior to last year’s US general election.
In spite of this, the mainstream media, (with the exception of Fox News), and the public at large continue to show very little interest in the despicable killing of four American citizens – including a United States Ambassador.
Department of Justice
The Attorney General ordered mass seizure of phone records and emails from AP reporters and their families, yet it would seem that the public at large is pretty apathetic about it all and shows little, if any interest.
But for once, all sections of the media – including the liberal left – are outraged. I wonder why?
It has been admitted by the IRS that they did indeed operate a deliberate and illegal policy to target conservative groups’ applications for tax exempt status.
Who is outraged about this?
Everyone of course!
After all, the IRS is feared and hated by the whole country, and they are the one organization who can seriously affect the lives of individual citizens, if left to its own devices.
So it would seem that Americans are only concerned with government ‘overreach’ if it affects their own livelihoods. To hell with the four poor muts murdered in Libya – what does it matter? (As Hilary famously screamed at the congressional committee)
In the UK we have the NIMBY syndrome -‘Not In My Back Yard’. (i.e. rich, influential folk will vociferously object to any government project that happens to be near to their own homes, or in their own precious part of the English countryside).
In the USA they seem to have something akin to NOIMBY – No Overreach In My Back Yard….
The Fall and Fall of a Great News Service
Long-time readers will be well aware that the poor standards of BBC TV World News Service is one of my hobby horses, so please permit me a few sentences of indignation.
In my younger days, when I first set out to conquer the far flung corners of the world, we struggled to listen to the BBC World radio service on short wave radio, as it was our only contact with the outside world and the only reliable way to find out what was going on.
It wasn’t only us Brits that tuned in to hear the BBC news, but almost everywhere I went, and particularly in the trouble spots – from the Biafra conflict – to the Arab/ Israeli wars and even during the succession of coups in Thailand –the local populace would tune in the trusty BBC World service to hear accurate accounts of what was actually going on around them.
Although it is a long way from what it used to be, and so many of the local radio relays have now been shut down, the World service on BBC radio is still pretty good.
So it would have been reasonable to expect that the BBC’s sister service on television – a news service that is broadcast to the world at large, would go some way to carrying on that proud tradition of providing reliable, accurate, well presented news.
I know…. I am a naïve, self-deluded dreamer…
I never thought the day would come when I would say this, but:
‘Come back Nik Gowing – all is forgiven!’
I was never a great fan of the now abandoned ‘The Hub’, but its successor in that time slot, World Global News, is the most fatuous, washed out garbage that I have ever had the misfortune to watch. It’s presenter, Jon Sopel has to be the most dithering, exasperating and utterly ineffective presenter that I have ever had to watch.
Sopel and his cohort, Ros Atkins, (who has a voice that is so high-pitched that it is totally unsuitable for a news reader), seem to believe that the world news consists mainly in presenting a single item and then seeking the views on it from a cross section of the world community who call in on bad quality, shaking, web cam hook-ups, offering home-spun opinions in barely decipherable, pidgin English.
It really is total madness. We turn to the BBC to give us professional, well presented summaries of the main news events of the day all we get is these spluttering, idiotic news presenters who spend about 10 minutes on one item, mainly discussing it with a ‘United Nations’ of viewers from across the globe.
One night, the main news item was the incredible, scientific revelation that if two people are in a happy, loving relationship then they have tendency to put on weight.
Honestly, it is the truth! That was the top news item. Soper and his cohorts dragged in so-called medical experts to discuss at length why loving couples get fatter. I don’t know about you, but I could think of a few reasons – not that I give a toss, one way or another.
Then last week, the BBC’s coverage of the Pakistan elections was greater than the coverage of the British and America elections combined. They had reporters in almost every Pakistan city and it went on for hour after hour, day after day. You would think you were watching the English language version of Pakistani TV.
Well I suppose it was a change from watching BBC ‘Indian TV’ which normally benefits from the grossly disproportionate coverage of India by our friends at Broadcasting House.
A friend explained to me the other day that I see so much coverage on events on the Indian subcontinent because I happen to be watching during Indian peak viewing times, so naturally the news is targeted at Indian viewers.
Really? I may be wrong but I do believe there are few other countries in the same time zone. How about a little country known as China, or Indonesia, or Malaysia, or even Thailand? I would guess that if any research was carried out into the allocation of news coverage in this part of the world, you would find that the Indian sub-continent gets about 80%, with the rest of the region – including China and the whole of SE Asia, is lucky to get 20%.
I wonder why that is? It wouldn’t by any chance have anything to do with the fact that so many of the BBC producers and presenters hail from – or are ethnically connected to – the Indian sub-continent would it?
Nah! Never! How dare I suggest such a thing!!!
Oh, I forgot – we did get a news item on China the other day. It was the mind –blowing, sensational news that the famous Chinese dissident, Ai Weiwei, had just released the first song on YouTube off his planned heavy metal album.
Very interesting…. The only problem is that during the entire length of the 10 minute news item, they didn’t even show us 5 seconds of the video itself. Even BBC’s flagship ‘Today’ programme on radio 4 treated us to about 10 seconds of Ai Weiwei’s dulcet tones. But on BBC World news – nothing – just a load of old waffle about God knows what!
And my friends wonder why I watch so much Fox news… well at least it is entertaining.
Randy Andy – What a fellow!!
You do remember Randy Andy, don’t you?
You know, Queen Lizzie’s second son who married that stupid royal scrounger Fergie, and then got rid of her a few years later when he saw that she could no longer fit into any of her expensive, haute couture rags – sorry… dresses….
Yes, you can find much about Andy’s chequered career in the annals of Mobi’s blogs, so I will just briefly summarise some of the high points of his illustrious life so far:
- Andy agreed to a scheme with his ex-wife Fergie whereby she would receive a bribe of £500,000, and in return, the Prince would meet the donor and pass on useful top-level business contacts. She was filmed receiving, in cash, $40,000 as a down payment.
- Kazakhstan President’s billionaire son-in-law paid Andy’s representatives £15m via offshore companies, for the Duke’s Surrey mansion, Sunninghill Park. This was £3m over the asking price.
It was subsequently reported by Swiss and Italian police, who were investigating “international corruption” that a trust which charges “multi-million pound fees” to energy companies wishing to deal with Kazakhstan, had paid £6m towards the purchase of Sunninghill, which strangely, remained derelict after the sale
- Andy had a close friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, a man who is a convicted sex offender in the State of Florida for soliciting an underage girl for prostitution.
- During his 10 years role as Trade envoy for the British government, it was revealed that Andy spent hundreds of thousands of pounds, jet-setting around the world. In one year alone he spent over 600, 000 pounds on hotels, food and ‘hospitality.’
- An American ambassador criticised the prince’s boorish remarks to businessmen during a lunch in Kyrgyzstan, during which he attacked a British Serious Fraud Office investigation into corruption and the investigation into a corrupt Saudi arms deal. Andy was referring to alleged kickbacks to a senior Saudi royal in exchange for a lucrative BAE Systems contract.
He then went on to say: ‘these fucking journalists, especially from the National Guardian [sic], who poke their noses everywhere’ make it harder for British businessmen to do business.”
There is more… but you know… my hard disk, and all that jazz.
So why am I reminding you about all these misdeeds?
The Royal Society, Britain’s pre-eminent scientific institution which has enjoyed more than 350 years of happy association with royalty, and has had such luminaries as Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and currently Stephen Hawking amongst its exalted ranks, now faces unprecedented dissent from its members.
Why is this?
Wait for it folks….yes, you’ve guessed it – that favourite royal of the gossip columnists; England’s Royal wastrel in Chief – that scientific genius – the one and only Randy Andy – was recently elected to become a ‘fellow’ of the Royal Society.
While the objections to Randy Andy joining the ranks of geniuses centre mainly on his chequered career as a royal, members of the Royal Society are also asking the wider question of whether it is time for an institution based on science to end the practice of honouring people on the basis of heredity.
The controversy has been fuelled by the way the prince was elected to be a royal fellow. The ballots sent out to ordinary fellows provided only one box to tick, supporting the measure. Those opposed had to write “no” themselves or otherwise mark or spoil the paper. In other words vote ‘yes’ or fall on your sword.
The Royal Society, which was set up in 1660 with the encouragement of Charles II, announced Prince Andrew’s election as a royal fellow last week.
Dissent emerged later, spearheaded by David Colquhoun, professor of pharmacology at University College London and a Royal Society fellow since 1985.
He pointed to the controversies surrounding Rand Andy, such as the deal which saw the son-in-law of Kazakhstan’s president buy the prince’s Surrey mansion for £3m more than its asking price, and the prince’s friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, an American financier jailed for soliciting a minor for prostitution, and the cumulative bad publicity which had forced the prince step down as a UK trade envoy in 2011.
Colquhoun stated that the prince was “an unsavoury character” who should not be associated with the Royal Society.
Can you disagree with him?
I mean… if he is unworthy to be a UK Trade envoy, how on earth can he be worthy to be a member of the Royal Society?
Randy Andy degrades and cheapens centuries of learned British scientific achievement.
I’m afraid that The UK still has a very long way to go in coming to terms with the fact that a bunch of inbred half-wits whose only claim to fame is that they were born into privilege, have no right to exalted public status in the 21st century.
Certainly none that hasn’t been earned from the sweat of their brow. Nor should they become unqualified and undeserved fellows of one of Britain’s most respected institutions.
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