I'm lying a little bit in the title, the stories are not fun they are more WTF? stories than anything else and I think you have to live here in order to really understand why they are funny or sad or or a combination of both. We begin with a story that is from the city I live in, Chiang Mai.
25 people were arrested last night in a sting of a rooftop bar in Chiang Mai that was illegally operating. At the moment the sale of alcohol is banned at all establishments and this is especially true of bars. You can still get a beer or something like that in a restaurant but it will need to be on the outskirts of town or in coffee cup. But this bar was brazen enough to have a bunch of people dancing, making a bunch of noise, had a light show going on and even a live band. Basically, it was not covert at all and it got busted.
I think the ban on alcohol sales is really really stupid but that is what Thailand vilifies every time there is an emergency. You can buy as much booze as you want and bring it home, you can even have a party, but you better not have a beer in public!
Next up we have some Covid news. This is quite normal from around the world but the crazy and sad part of this particular story just shows how weird the government and media are being about the virus. A woman was found dead in a room. She was naked and her body was all beat up. The story talked about this briefly and how the CCTV footage of the man that might be responsible is unusable because the CCTV setup was very low quality. The stupid part of the story is that the real concern of the story was not that this woman appears to have been brutally murdered, but that she is positive for COVID! Get your priorities straight people.
Next up is a story that if you live here you just roll your eyes when you read it. Immigration somewhere down south in Hat Yai was recorded asking for monthly bribes from an immigrant or tourist. The police (immigration are police) response to this is hilarious because they are pretending as though they are just aghast that something like this could possibly happen in their angelic ranks and that a full investigation will take place to get to the bottom of these horrible acts.
Everybody and I do mean everybody, is very aware of the fact that Immigration is dirty and corrupt in this country. It is simply understood that you can get any visa you want provided you are willing to pay a price for it. Whether or not you actually qualify for that visa isn't really important. All you need to do is have a bunch of money. They have a friggin program called Elite which is basically a method of bypassing tedious immigration policies if you have the money for it. This is a government program and they have representatives, buildings, and a website dedicated to showing how you can bypass immigration law for a one time fee of something crazy like 30-60 thousand dollars.
Getting and maintaining visas with legitimate documents and not paying bribes is possible, but the officials make this process as difficult as possible. I've only been here a few years and even I know that.
So I guess that will do it for now. I'm gonna head over to the bar that I go to where we drink alcohol right in view of the public, the police, whose station is just down the street are VERY AWARE that we are doing this. They don't bust us because we aren't pushing the limits by doing really stupid crap like having a live band and dozens of us crammed together.