Every day I get emails from people from around the world asking questions about life in Thailand. The vast majority of time they are about three subjects; relationships, money and visas. In the past ten days however, the questions have changed to, "What's going to happen now?" Now I know it might seem extreme, but it is illegal to talk about this in Thailand. What I have responded with to many of the people asking the question is what does it matter to you as long as Thailand is safe?
The Thai government has had problems for as long as most people have been alive. Tourists still keep coming and expats keep living here. Can Thais be difficult, rude or downright nasty? Of course. Where in the world are there no people like this though? The King's passing, although expected, was and is still hard for many Thais to fathom.
One guy wrote me and made a big deal of how Thais are to foreigners. For all the negativity talked about here, Thais can be very tolerant, forgiving and gracious hosts. If you are worried about what's going on here, it's simple...do not come. If you live here, leave. Seriously.
Another man asked me what I thought about the current situation here and then asked if it was okay for him to ask his Thai friends. If it isn't okay to ask them, why is it okay to ask me? Why does he need to know anything more than what the news is telling him? Anything else is unimportant.
"I am highly considering a move to Thailand for my retirement so I want to know!"
King Bhumbol Adulydej is gone but will never be forgotten. In the past few days a never-ending stream of well wishers have sent their condolences to me. Rest in peace, He was a great man, I am sure Thailand is in great pain. Message after message all showing respect for a man from people who only knew him from afar.
It is a muted time here in Thailand and I admit, I was more affected by the King's passing than I expected. A constant in Thailand for more than 70 years, he has been a constant in my own life here as well. Now, as a sign of respect, Thais and foreigners alike are dressed in black and white. Red and yellow replaced by black and white, a somber period in which people mourn and attempt to heal from their loss. Modern Thailand has only known King Bhumibol Adulydej.
Those foreign to Thailand, whether living in the country or outside of it, can never know how much he was loved.
We may think we know.
We do not.
We can only think we know.
Now I am beginning to get the inevitable questions:
"Should I still come to Thailand for my holiday? I paid for everything already."
"Am I going to be able to hang out in the bars and drink?"
"What's going to happen?"
A 56-year-old man writes in wanting to know about specific, factual data on what business is the best for a foreigner his age to start. While statistics and data can be useful, there are a host of intangibles that can negate what looks to be the sure thing.
Below is the letter he sent and my response.
Have you or others ever researched out a particular subject that has probably never been asked in one of your letters on the YouTube channel? What particular business, food, or otherwise would be the best for a 56-year-old male to start/open up?
I have some of the information you are looking for in the member’s section of my website. I have a Thailand specific 2016 version of a PDF from the World Bank (see below) that has a plethora of information.