Thursday, August 11, 2005

Pattaya Expats Newsletter August 10, 2005

Report on our upcoming meeting on Saturday, August 13, 2005

This coming Saturday, August 13th, we will be welcoming back Khun Mukda Pattana-anek, an audiologist from the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital who is also a representative for D-Med Hearing.

On the second Saturday of each month we try to bring in a health professional as one of our speakers, and this is the second appearance for this professional.

Her well informed presentation last year was greatly appreciated and she will be updating us on the latest technologies in testing equipment and digital hearing aids

Please bring all of your questions, particularly if you know of someone that may benefit from a hearing test – there is a possibility that the hospital may set up their testing equipment in our reception area

We also have a welcome return visit by Khun Sombat, our in-house motorbike taxi driver psychologist, who will be happy to interact with us on Thai/Farang relationships. Khun Sombat brings his unique brand of humor, coupled with that special way of explaining things and is always a delight to listen to.

Our club is a great way too, to meet new friends and pick up some new interests while we all enjoy life in Pattaya. Plus, if you have any questions about Visas, Work Permits, Buying, Selling or Renting a home, or starting a business etc., there is sure to be someone who has been down that same road.

Report on our last meeting on Saturday, August 6, 2005

The many attendees at the Grand Sole Hotel this time were carried away by the tunes of a professional guitar player, invited to a prison boxing match and to a big party at the Pattaya People building, and at the Open Forum a true visa expert had an answer to even the most difficult questions.

While everybody was enjoying their breakfast and the attendees of the German Expats Club joined in, we were all treated to some very special live guitar music.

It was our guest speaker warming up for the main event. Then Founder, VP and Webmaster Pete Mills, standing in MC once more for our vacationing Brian Maxey, officially opened the programme.

Pete had received an e-mail in which one of our members expressed his frustration at the obstacles to renewing his driving license recently. But out of this frustration, we now have lots of details and tips on our website ( He also informed us that Cambodia now demands 1,100 Baht for a visa instead of 20 Dollar (approx. 800 Baht).

Vice President Richard Ravensdale, sharing the MC duties today, mentioned that there were tickets for sale for a raffle at the Holiday Bazaar 2005 event. The PILC (Pattaya International Ladies Club) will be supporting this charity event (October 8 at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort).

Richard then informed us that starting September, Pattaya People Television will broadcast 24 hours a day – a 4 hours programme that will be repeated 6 times – and asked the members what sort of programmes or topics they would prefer to watch.

There were some suggestions and Comedy was one of them. Richard then introduced us to Mark, who used to run a Comedy Channel and can provide loads of videos and DVD‘s including the best of British and American comedies, but also drama’s and classic movies.

Richard also mentioned that 3 more restaurants have been added to the large Pattaya Expats discount list: Olivier’s and Saigon in the Jomtien Complex (5%) and Saigon Bay on Pratamnik Hill (10%).

Then it was time for our very special guest speaker or should I say entertainer, as Mick Barker spent most of his career as a professional studio musician. He first talked through his guitar, performing a tribute to one of the finest guitar players ever –Al Di Meola, who started as a studio musician too.

Everyone in the room got carried away by this great piece and Mick’s technical skills. Even the recorded background music was written and played by Mick.

He then told us that he started to play piano when he was 8 years, and though he liked it, he fell in love with the guitar after he saw Bill Haley’s Rock Around The Clock movie. His father promised he would buy Mick a guitar if he was able to play a song within 2 weeks, which he managed to do by choosing Harry Belafonte’s Banana Boat song, which was only based on 2 chords.

In those days there was no real electric guitar education and all the performers were buying the same study books and practicing the same tunes.

At 18 he got his first job at a London West End Theatre, where he worked with Marty Wilde, a well known rock and roll figure. Marty’s daughter Kim was a pop icon and sex symbol in the 80’s.

Then Mick picked up his guitar to let us enjoy his playing skills again. Now he performed a song by Gary Moore, a close friend and quite famous and respected too, though Mick thinks that he could have been an even a bigger act if he had been an American and a bit more of a showman.

Once again the crowd was thrilled by the music. Mick then told us that being a studio musician in those days – between the 60’s and 80’s - was a tough job. All recordings were done in real time and in 3 hours they would produce about 4 tracks. If you made a mistake and they had to start over again, resulting in overtime pay for the extra time in the studio, you knew you were out next time.

You never knew what you had to play; it could be jazz, rock ‘n roll, anything. They didn’t only expect you to read music, you also had to create bits of the song, like a guitar solo. He told us how a friend came up with the sax intro of Gerry Rafferty’s classic Baker Street. Without this intro the song would probably had ended up as yet another average tune instead of hitting the charts worldwide.

Mick told us some anecdotes and experiences and recalled some rewarding moments. The nicest stars to work with were Andy Williams and Petula Clark. With Barbara Streisand it was a little more difficult. He ended his presentation with a composition of his own, called Circus in Spain, and he got a big round of applause for that one as well.

Of course the guitar lovers present had a lot of questions for Mick and we learned that he has his own album out which you can buy on the internet. He ended with a John Lennon anecdote. When the Beatles toured through the USA for the first time, a journalist asked John Lennon if Ringo Star was England’s best drummer. Lennon answered: “He isn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles.”

Then Club President Niels Colov took the stage with some great announcements:

On August 15 there is the Father Ray Brennan commemoration at the Alangkarn theatre. The Pattaya Expats Club is among those who are organising this event. Tickets cost 1,000 Baht and all revenues go to the Father Ray Brennan foundation.

On September 2 all members are cordially invited to the grand opening party of the renovated Pattaya People Office on Soi Day Night Hotel. It is also a party to celebrate the complete local one stop media company that Pattaya People will then be, with 24 hours TV, a German TV channel, a radio station, a new weekly newspaper in English and German, (but also containing some stories in other languages), a glossy magazine and more.

Niels said that members of the Club will always get free airtime on this TV channel and the new weekly newspaper will be distributed at our meetings for free. The party will offer plenty of food, beverages and entertainment and over 1.000 guests are expected.

On September 16 a boxing match will be organised in the Pattaya Prison. The event will take place between 14.00 and 18.00. Tickets cost 1,000 Baht and the revenues are to be used to set up a prison library and training centre. You can also take a tour inside the prison and perhaps even sleep over if you like (just kidding). Bus transportation will be provided.

The Pattaya Expats Club is planning to start a golf section. Members will get discounts equivalent to those of other sports organizations so Pattaya Expat Club membership is getting more valuable all the time. Niels introduced Ossi Viljanen, a professional golf teacher, who is the Head Pro of the Club’s golf section. We will hear more from him soon.

During the Open Microphone Forum an in house expert is now called to the stage. Today: Darren McGarry, an expert in visa matters. Countless questions were asked – Al begged for roller skates to bring the microphone around - but Darren was never shy of an answer and proved to be a real expert. He also offers a 7 days hotline and is available in the foyer area every Saturday.

After the lucky Draw, with dinners for 2 at Globetrotter and Jameson’s, sandwiches at Subway or a cocktail at Opsinjoor to win, a very enjoyable meeting came to an end. Please join us next Saturday for interesting speakers, supportive friends and lots of good information.

Peter Visser, Press Officer & PR Coordinator for Pattaya Expats Club

Pattaya Rules of the Road. 1st English Edition

Rules of the Road
Pattaya, Thailand.
1st English Language Edition.

  1. If you come across one of those strange black and white painted stripe things across the road, and an Englishman (easily recognized with the pale complexion, thick blue socks and sandals attached to a stiff upper lip) is trying to cross, be sure to give him special consideration. He truly thinks one toe on the crossing gives him eminent domain, so slow down a little to give him confidence, and then scare the living daylights out of him by speeding up just as he confidently starts strolling across.
  2. When approaching a main road on your motorbike, into the flow of traffic from your right, you must avoid at all costs looking to your right for oncoming traffic. It is their responsibility to avoid crashing into your motorbike so proceed with impunity.
  3. The counting down number signs now installed on some traffic lights are just guidelines. 10 or 20 seconds either way is OK if you need to cross against the red light in a hurry. If all else fails and you are faced with a 60 second wait, make a sharp left (following the rules in item 2), then a neat U turn across both traffic lanes, then back to the lights and another left turn. Time saved – at least 20 seconds.
  4. If you own a motorbike any bigger than one of the 125cc jobbies, it is mandatory to wear a Nazi helmet complete with swastika. It’s also required that the back seat slopes up at a 45 degree angle so that your girl friend is posed in an impossible yet quite inviting position. When parking this vehicle, make sure it leans into any scooter type jobbie so that it is impossible to escape 3rd degree burns from your monster exhaust tubes.
  5. Double parking, especially if you own of those huge 4 door trucks, is to be encouraged, (to ease the parking problem) particularly close to a traffic light. Please be considerate though and switch on your blinking indicators in case someone cannot see the monster.
  6. If you own a similar truck and observe a kindred spirit double parked near the traffic lights, guide your own truck as close to the other as you can so none of those scooter jobbies can squeeze through.
  7. The logic behind double (and sometimes triple) yellow lines in the middle of the road has so far defied translation from the Thai. It’s OK to cross over them to overtake, or to make a right or left turn across them so perhaps they just ran out of white paint. One school of thought suggests it’s some kind of speed up signal, particularly if there is an approaching bend in the road.
  8. Motor cycle helmets are mandatory, unless there are children on board or more than 3 adults, or at least one adult riding side saddle.
  9. When parking the aforementioned large truck in your small Soi, make sure you park it exactly opposite your neighbor’s truck across the Soi. This gives other neighbors more experience in backing up at high speed through restricted spaces.

And finally, when parking at Carrefour, make sure you snuggle up to the truck next to you, particularly if the car on the other side is parked close to the truck too. This way the truck has to back out in a dead straight line, with no chance to turn the wheel right or left before backing in to the next row of cars. Great for the truck owner to practice his 32 point turns.