The Author

Previous entries

Returning Home - Again

The God Illusion

Going Home


A Change of Direction

Dogs and Pandemics

The Forgotten tenors

Nine Things I will Miss about Thailand


Just Do It

Ayr on a Shoestring

Oh Lonesome Me

Tipping Point

Movie Reviews

Putting Pen to Paper

A Year to Remember

A Year to Forget

10 Reasons I Cannot Go Home

China Girl

The State of Play


Mind Your Language

New Horizons



Taxes and Death



Grey is the Colour

Beating Myself Up

Nothing More to Say

Better Late than Never

Staying Put

Musical Chairs


A Dog's Life

A Sabbatical

A Welcome Diversion

A Guide to Business Ethics

Remembering the Austin Allegro

Our Lords and Masters

In Transit - Part 2

In Transit - Part 1

Nagging Doubts

While Bangkok Burns

An Evening to Remember

Thai Business Malpractice

The New and the Old

Christmas Lights

Groundhog Day



Adventure is Out There


Grabbing it While You Can

A Few Ups and Many Downs


Pack Up Your Old Kit Bag







Ate Two Caesar

Swine Pie

The Thai Rollercoaster

Stuck in the Middle

There's no Regrets

Profit and Loss

Running on Empty

Getting it out Your System

National Mistrust

Bring in the Old, Out with the New


I am Reviewing, My Situation...

Wat Phrabhat Nam Poo

Today I will Mostly be Eating...


The Thai Experience

Wat Khaowong

Reality Bites

Wat Simalais

Amazing Thailand

He Must have a Big Wand

Right Place, Wrong Time



And it does go on


Bring Him Home



Listening to my Reader.



Diary Archive 18.

Diary Archive 17.

Diary Archive 16.

Diary Archive 15.

Diary Archive 14.

Diary Archive 13.

Diary Archive 12.

Diary Archive 11.

Diary Archive 10.

Diary Archive 9.

Diary Archive 8.

Diary Archive 7.

Diary Archive 6.

Diary Archive 5.

Diary Archive 4.

Diary Archive 3.

Diary Archive 2.

Diary Archive 1.



10 Reasons I Cannot Go Home


  1. Work. I turned 58 this month. Aside from a job at B&Q (who are closing their stores in any case) ageism is alive and well in the UK. As I was told before, why employ me at my expected salary when we can employ four or five young graduates. Young, malleable graduates, who do not have your cynicism - who can be bent and warped into our corporate structure. Who do not question. And I would still have to work, especially in the UK, just to exist.
  2. Getting there. It is not so much how difficult it is for me to get a visa for Ploy to live in the UK, it is the sentiment. The UK government, and according to various polls, its people, do not want foreigners there. Ploy is a foreigner. So why would I want to bring her to a country that is doing all it can to prevent her from going there. It is anachronistic that it is easier for her to get permanent residency in countries other than the one that her husband is a citizen of, and one in which she previously held permanent residency in.
  3. Feeling wanted. In our two years together in the UK we already experienced xenophobia - I won't call it racism - it can only be worse now. Even if I could manage all the hoop jumping (and financial requirements) to get her visa, I wouldn't want her to feel uncomfortable living there and nor would I want her circle of friends to be limited only to other Thais.
  4. Freedom. Of course there are down sides to everything but the UK was suffocating and I am sure it is worse now. Ploy wants to open a business, she does it. If the neighbours want to open an abattoir next to us, they can do so - but thankfully they chose a hairdressers instead. It encourages a certain culture here - no business plans, no accountants, no need to wait months for some safety certificate, no need to attend compulsory courses to learn what is commonsense to most normal people. It is liberating, giving the (false) impression that you are more in control of your destiny.
  5. Food matters. OK, it is changing here, but slowly enough. Yes, the UK has Michelin starred restaurants but I am not talking about that. I am talking about the food we eat most days. Most homes here do not have a microwave - pre-packed meals are only found in the 'expat' supermarkets. Food is usually cooked fresh, and bought fresh daily from the markets, or the many vans that pass by stocked with meat and fish and vegetables and spices and fruit. You never need to leave your house if you don't want to. And more people know how to cook here, I mean really cook, not press a couple of buttons and wait for the ping. Yes the UK has farmer's markets, but they are rare and very expensive. Supermarkets there have 'fresh' food that mostly comes from places the other side of the world, including Thailand. Food matters in Thailand, it is a social event and cheap enough that whole families or large groups of friends or work colleagues can eat out together. So far Saraburi has no McDonalds or any burger places. That will change of course (maybe it already has) but the food I eat comes from the fields surrounding me and that matters to me.
  6. Weather. Today, as the cool season starts, the morning can be a little cool and can have a little mist. The temperature can sometimes drop to 16degC in January and the cold showers we have (no electric showers) can be - how can I put that - a little too invigorating. But the weather here is a huge bonus. I cannot remember the last time I was ill (although stomach ailments can be a little more prevalent). I remember the miserable winters of the UK. To give Canada its due, at least it knew how to do a proper winter. But in the UK the winters are half-hearted affairs, They have sleet instead of proper snow and grey skies that last for months. And all of this non-weather brings the transport system to a halt. Every year. In the summer it is the opposite. Few buildings have air-conditioning. It's too hot the people cry. Too hot, too wet, too dry - never, just so.
  7. Moaning. A couple of years ago we had flooding throughout the country. Of course people moaned about it - lack of government investment, protecting the capital city at the expense of the suburbs - the usual stuff. But, people also found a way to get on with their lives. We had problems with our water supply a few months back, we found ourselves with no water for almost a week. Nothing, not a drop. Whole villages without water for a week. And what happened. People got on with their lives. We filled buckets with rainfall. We flushed the toilet just once a day. Of course people complained, but they also knew that that wasn't going to help anyone. So they got on with their lives. Now we have a drought and still, life goes on. We have bombs in Bangkok and a government that is embarrassing in its incompetence. But people get on with their lives because it is surprising how little the government actually affect your day to day life. But in the UK, moaning over the tiniest little thing is a national pastime - and much better than coping with it. It is as if, after coping with WWII, all the coping was used up. Now the Brits complain. Too many immigrants. Things cost too much. The NHS is rubbish. The trains don't run on time. The weather is too hot. And moaning has replaced coping - it is reason to not do anything.
  8. How can a military dictatorship be better than a democratically elected government? Because it takes away any illusion we have any say in what happens. Who would I vote for in the UK now. I have no idea. Maybe the Green party? Not much point as I think they only have one MP. The UK government joins in a little bombing here and there, and somehow it was mandated to do so - they were voted for after all. It is liberating to know that if this dictatorship decided to invade Laos, I wouldn't somehow be party to it. It is shameful such idiots are somehow allowed to be in charge of such resources, but actually, was I talking about the Thai government there, or the UK one. You choose.
  9. Prestige. 'Oh, you're an engineer, can you have a look at my washing machine?' The UK attitude to engineers has never changed. If I tell people I am engineer here, I can see people are impressed. So they should be, it is quite a difficult job. Tell people here you own your own company and you get even more Brownie points. In the UK people are suspicious of talent and try to bring anyone with a modicum of it down to their level. The UK does not understand elitism. It tries to prevent it amongst the populace, by forcing children to stay at school learning algebra until they are 18, rather than working in a cake shop. By making universities equally unaffordable to everyone. Like it or not, I could work in a cake shop, but the person working in the cake shop probably couldn't design what I do. That's life. But to be denigrated for being mildly intelligent is annoying.
  10. Strangeness. My Thai is still not good enough (and probably never will be) to understand all that goes on around me. But maybe that is a good thing. Living in Thailand heightens your senses. I am a foreigner in a strange land and I feel that, not in an uncomfortable way, but in a way that stimulates. Even sat on a deck chair on a beach listening to the waves I can suddenly be accosted by someone selling something I have never seen before (birds to be set free for good karma) or eaten before (live 'drunken' shrimps). I like that. The UK is boring, it dulls the senses. It has nothing to surprise me with anymore. When was the last time it had a coup for example. Even the London riots were predictable, as are the strikes on the Underground, or the Daily Mail railing against immigration. You are never allowed to get into a routine in Thailand, there is always a surprise waiting for you around the next corner (not always a nice one). But I feel I am living a life rather than sleeping through one.





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