This month is our fourth anniversary of moving to Thailand. Since I met Ploy this is the longest that we have lived in any one country.
There is no doubt over the last two months I have seriously been considering whether to stay here. The problem is, with all the traveling I have recently been doing, is you have time whilst on the flights or sitting in restaurants alone or sitting in hotel rooms alone, to reflect. To think too much. Of course Thailand is not perfect, you don't have to live here to realize that. But things I thought would never bother me, such as the incompetence of the current government, started to irritate, and I wasn't sure why. Actually I do know why. They are not just incompetent but are belligerently so. The last few days we have had flooding. Nothing too serious and it didn't last long. Other places are much worse hit. We did not have a repeat of two year's ago though because the industrial estates have built flood barriers and in any case the rain was much less. But whilst some stood waist deep in water outside their houses or shops, the government were telling us it was not serious and was not as bad as 2011 and it was all hyped by the media. The same scenario goes for the rice subsidy, the way they deal with unrest in the south, well they way they deal with anything. Or don't deal with anything.
Why does this bother me. The Canadian government were bordering on the insane with some of their initiatives. I think because I feel less permanency here, especially now I am back to 3 monthly visa runs again. And as new visa regulations have just been applied for those entering Thailand for the first time so you realize those rules could also change at any time.
I must have imagined it!
As I left for my last trip to Shenzhen we had been two days without water. Of course it came back but what civilized country just turns off the water (for repairs apparently we later found out) for such an extended period time. And perhaps because I have been traveling on the roads here more (trips to the airport mostly) the insanity of the drivers here has irritated me more than usual. I could go on. I already have. Even my regular reader has probably given in by now, drowning in a tsunami of whining.
But when I look back over these last four years I realize that in any other country we would be destitute. The low cost of living here, the ability to just do things without permits or health and safety or some other bureaucratic Hitler sticking their nose into your business, has meant we have survived the inevitable misjudgments and mistakes we have made in running our business. And we have managed it without getting seriously into debt because no-one here will lend us money anyway (except for the usurers that is). So we have had to rely on a good friend and Ploy's gold. And soon we can set that right.
Whatever the outcome of the next few weeks we are almost certain to have got our business on a sound footing. Finally. And the financial security that will bring will allow us to look at Thailand with completely refreshed eyes. Gone will be the sixteen hour days, seven days a week, (to be just twelve hour days, 6 days a week). I can't do anything about the water or the government but money does allow us to isolate ourselves a little more. If the water goes we encamp ourselves to a hotel for a short break because we can afford to and I won't have always urgent work to complete. When the social anarchy starts to affect us as people are out of work and have no money, we go and live in Singapore for a couple of months or even longer if need be. Or we buy that boat and anchor in international waters for a few weeks.
When I look back I wonder if I would have had it any other way. Weeks after moving here we had paid off the balance of our house. A few months after that the business was established and we had a balcony and kitchen built onto the house. We have a dog, and not just any dog but a dog that I helped be born. We have achieved sales to some prestigious companies, including Lockheed and NASA. We have invented something that has attracted the attention of many companies (it is one of these that may be buying exclusive rights to the idea that is providing us with our financial security). And Ploy and I are happy, probably more so than we have ever been. Ploy has stood by me through all of this roller coaster ride and even today as I explained I was probably going to accept an offer for our idea that is magnitudes less than what we could potentially realize she just smiled and told me to do what I thought best. And not because she didn't care but because she trusted me to do the right thing for us, the thing that is the nicest thing to do. The altruistic thing to do. The opposite of what this government would do.
But without trying to come across as sanctimonious, what is the point of spending a silly sum of money on vet fees for a street dog whilst screwing someone else over at the same time over some business deal. We can't change the world but we can at least distance ourselves from its actions.
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