Peter Clarke

Thailand teaching stuff - May 2014

Another picnic basket of tasty blog links

Hi everyone, it's Peter Clarke again, with a selection of my favourite internet blogs and articles that I hope will appeal to teachers in Thailand. Well, actually you don't need to be a teacher, I think anyone who has an interest in all things Thailand will enjoy them.

One of my favourite blogs written over the last couple of months was by a long-term Thailand expat called Greg and appeared on his on-line blog site 'Greg to Differ'. I'm not sure if Greg has just got tired of using public transport, but after many years in the kingdom, he's decided to get himself a Thai driving licence.

I've heard all sorts of stories from other foreigners about how easy or difficult the Thai driving test is and how tedious the whole paperwork process can be, so it was refreshing to see a foreigner write a step-by-step account of 'The Day I Applied for a Thai Driving Licence' (with photographs) Most of the steps sounded relatively painless but I'm still going to take my chances with the taxis and buses thank you very much. I haven't driven in Bangkok since I arrived here and I've no desire to start.

I've mentioned Paul Garrigan in my blogs before. Paul is another long-term expat and works as a freelance writer. Paul makes no secret of the fact that a large part of his life has been spent fighting an alcohol addiction and he often writes on the topic of alcoholism to give hope and encouragement to others. Paul's blogs are all about journeys of self discovery and leading a fulfilling life.

This month he wrote about his burning desire to become fluent in the Thai language - in just six months! Wow! We certainly wish him well. Read his blog to find out just how he plans to reach his goal.

One of the biggest talking points recently has been the scrapping of the 15-day and 30-day 'visa on arrival' if you enter Thailand at a land border without a proper visa. These 'border hops' have become a way of life for thousands of foreigners living here who either can't afford to or just can't be bothered to exit the country and go get a proper Thai visa from a Thai embassy or consulate abroad.

When the new rules were announced a week or so ago, expat forums and discussion boards went into overdrive and there have been numerous articles and blogs written on the topic. This article from The Establishment Post was probably one of the most informative and gave a good overview of the current visa situation. This article from The Asian Correspondent was worth a read as well.

Now what's this? A man builds his dream home in Thailand for just 9,000 dollars? Well, it's certainly a nice human interest story courtesy of The Daily Mail in The UK. But on a much darker note, The Guardian UK ran this interesting story about how foreign passports, stolen in Thailand, could be fueling organised crime gangs around the world. What a scary thought that is! It's one of the golden rules - always keep an eye on your passport and know exactly where it is.

Are you one of those teachers who spends far too much of your class prep time nosying at what your friends are up to on Facebook? I can take or leave Facebook - it's useful for sharing photographs with family and friends but I certainly don't let it take over my life. The Huffington Post website is always good for a humorous article or two, and I particularly liked this feature on how to maintain a healthy relationship with your Facebook page

I haven't seen many new travel blogs on-line recently (perhaps I'm not looking hard enough) but one place gaining in popularity for travellers in SE Asia is Cambodia. Chris Appleford recently visited Cambodia's 'killing fields' and wrote this chilling piece for his Travelling Apples website. Well worth a read.

Finally, The Bangkok Post published an interesting article on the topic of expats living in Asia on a shoestring budget. More and more long-termers it seems are getting 'trapped' not only in Thailand, but other countries in SE Asia. Perhaps the option of returning home has long gone, but combine ailing health, a poor exchange rate when transferring money from home, not to mention the ever-changing visa regulations and many expats are feeling the pinch and surviving here on less and less money. Not a good situation for lots of folks.  

See you again soon.


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