Winds of Change in Thailand
The times they have a-changed, again.
Well this time last year it certainly was a very different world economically and politically. The £ was still flying high against the baht and things looked fairly stable.
New Political Order and Recession
Now the political changes in the US with Obama the Democrat (read left-wing socialist) in power now means that we've got a potential new epoch dawning. In my experience left-wing rulers do not like expats and those who leave home-countries to rove further afield. It goes against the left-wing doctrine of 'stay together like good little sheep in a flock' mentality.
With the recession now hitting home all over western Europe we've got interest rates down all over the place so the ageing expats relying on meek earnings out here in Thailand are really going to be suffering. I too believed the days of 5% - 6 % interest on cash deposits were going to go on for many more years. Such optimism now needs to be tempered with caution.
It's basically a case of rolling with the punches and moving to a new rhythm. This is that you've gotta cut back on the luxuries and yes, that means the bars and girls folks. You do that and you can outlast the deep trough the worlds in right now.
OTRT is still fully operational and on the move keeping the lore flowing. We've anticipated something like this for a while. I personally don't mean to sound smug here but I've been brought up the Tory way of saving my money for tougher times to live off. Conservancy may be a dirty word to the younger generation blighting the UK but believe me, I'm glad I conserved. Cause the tougher times have come again and I'm glad the castle has been built and stocked up to live out the ride.
How many folks said to me 'Hey Johnny you should cane some credit cards, flee to Thailand and live it easy here out in Thailand.' That groove ain't for me baby, borrowing another's cash isn't my thing, I just worked hard, knuckled down and fixed the roof while the sun was shining. All the credit thieves are now in a very gray and grim world now as they can't live in the never-never of endless credit. I reckon less than 5% of the credit thieves invested their money wisely out here and that means a lot are now either on the streets, struggling to make a wage teaching or on the next plane home.
The £ against the baht has fallen to the borderline-territory of the £1 = 54 - 58 to the baht. This isn't critically dangerous but certainly is not in the comfort zone of what it was. The failed policies of our reckless Labour government can take the credit for that one. For a fair few of us this is a double whammy too far with the interest rates now cut to 3%. All is not lost though, you have to remember that this is a Trade Cycle. It can take between 10 and 15 years, but typically you have a boom and bust cycle. We've just hit the bust part of the cycle (or the bottom). It will turn but it takes time. I roughly predict a recovery as the recession hits Asia, then a leveling out at about 63 - 68 to the baht.
The Bar scene is fairly quiet, with still some speculation as to whether there will even be a 'high season' for the nightlife and even the daylife activities. There are still those that aren't put off by the wilder aspects of Thailands political situation with the more family-minded farang steering clear for the most part. No great loss there.
Latest news from The Man of Galt (NotStickman) is good, he's remaining optimistic in the face of adversity and is issuing a counter lawsuit against his opponent, the real estate entity from Pattaya. He's still in business and hopefully will remain one of the shining examples of how the farang can achieve success out here if you've got the right mentality and attitude. Good Luck Keith!
UPDATE! Pound has falled to the dangerous sub-50 baht range! Tighten those belts some more folks!
This section is hosted by our resident columnist Johnny B. who has been living in Thailand for eight years now and currently is based out of Bangkok.