Monday, March 21, 2005


A huge turnout again. The staff of the Grand Sole Hotel prepared the room for 170 visitors, but only a few empty chairs could be spotted. And as each week, new members could be greeted. MC Brian Maxey thanked the staff (who still sell Carlsberg!) for doing a great job as our new host, though it’s not easy to keep the pace, facing an ever growing attendance. Brian then explained why it is necessary to sometimes repeat themes and information during the open microphone forum, as for new members that can be vital information, for instance to avoid visa-scams.

The main guest speaker was mister Barry Kenyon, the in Pattaya based honorary consular officer of the British Embassy of Bangkok, who adressed us before. An English writer described his job once as helping Brits in the shits. From the 600,000 British who come to Thailand each year, 200,000 visit Pattaya, of whom 2,000 persons seek his help. With typical British humor he informed us in details what the embassy can and can not do for their compatriots. He mentioned 4 main categories:

1. Assistance for arrested people (1 or 2 British weekly), 2. Taking care of formalities after a death (53 last year), 3. Hospitalized people having difficulties to pay and 4. All sorts of support for people in extreme distress (who lost everything, were victims of a crime or have problems with the police). The embassy can help, advice, explain the law, contact relatives, get you in touch with lawyers and so on, but will never pay your debts! His message is clear, the best thing is to stay out of trouble. Other advices; have enough money with you, have a health-insurance, have at least one good Thai friend who you can rely on, don’t drive by yourself just for fun as a foreigner is often blamed when accidents happen. The members had plenty of questions for Mr. Kenyon, concerning marriage, inheritance, real estate, insurance, same-sex relationships, applying for British citizenship and many other matters. All forms are also available at the Cheers Bar in Soi Pattayaland 2, owned by a volunteer of the embassy.

Club President Niels Colov announced yet another new initiative of the Pattaya Expats Club, a Sunday-evening "Dinner with the Pattaya Police Chief". With a powerpoint-presentation Police Colonel Somnuk Changate, who shows a lot of commitment to the foreign community and just became the 14th honorary board advisor of Pattaya Expats Club, will in detail inform us, in both Thai and English language, about the work and organization of the Pattaya police and answer all our questions. This interesting event costs 600 baht (including good food) and will be on Sunday 24. April at 18.30 pm. You can get tickets from next meeting. Bring your spouse or a friend.

Then Niels asked if 2 or 3 ladies would like to help Board member Khun Laddawan Yingyong out with the organization of the get-together for the ladies. This week the program had to be canceled, but Niels promised a restart next week

The expenses of the production of the Legal Handbook of Khun Ponthep Werachon (50 baht), available at the meeting for 200 baht, will now be paid by the writer himself. The revenues will be used to buy a digital camera, so the meeting can be fully covered. The footage will be used for media-purposes, as the club wants to reach out to an even bigger audience.

The winner of the Weekly Free Lucky Draw for members, got himself a dinner for 2 at the Art Café in Naklua (Soi 16). An unique place in a nice environment, where not only the food is art, but you’re also surrounded with it.

Other invited guestspeakers were Pete and Joe who can now offer members of the Pattaya Expats Club a health insurance. He told us about the conditions and the pro’s and contra’s of it and gave us some useful information about the Thai insurance-policy. It triggered an interesting open microphone forum - like exchange of information. Some tips: always have your hospital card with you, let good agency’s explain you which choices of insurance are available and think of a personal accident card as an alternative (for 6,000 baht a year, you’ll be insured up to 200,000 baht if you get hospitalized because of an accident).

Bruce once again asked the members to support his upcoming charity-activity for street children in need. A donation box was placed at the exit.

As always the last part of the meeting was the popular Open Microphone Forum. Questions were asked and answered about the whereabouts of wireless hotspots (computer freaks in the house knew what this meant), how to sue your company (ofcourse houselawyer Khun Ponthep jumped in there), ownership of a condo, where to play chess and where to find farang-orientated supermarkets. Time was up as the German section of the Pattaya Expats Club was ready to make it’s restart. Join us next week!


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