22nd October-Full Moon Party Monitoring

In a recent change of fashion the immigration office has officially decided to ‘monitor’ the Full Moon parties around the Islands of Koh Samui, Koh Taow & Koh Pang Yang, in what appears to be a backlash against the recent attacks of the two British tourists who were tragically killed after attending a Full Moon party in September.

This controversial move by the office will cause a big wave across the Full Moon party culture, as drunken and drug fuelled tourists will not only be the target to protect, but as most raves go, will also become the targets of the polices unavoidable law enforcement. Where before the ‘mob rule’ effectively policed these events, allowing for revellers to partake in most substances as long as they behaved, now the sight of any elicit substances will force the police to act, taking out one of the major attractions which draws many of a devil-may-cry tourist to the events.

Not only will this new ‘protection’ operation hurt the very tourists it plans to protect, but they plan to impose and ‘entrance fee’ and taxes on all alcohol served. Which ultimately will disgruntle many of a Thai bar owner who will see their profits shrink beyond recognition. And with the combination of the immigration police charging the 100 baht ‘entrance fee’, a strong feeling of resentment towards the officials will not be easily forgotten.

Official offices all around Thailand are on a clean-up operation ever since the Coup not 6 months ago, with statistics since the takeover showing an estimated 400 out of 700 official departments in Thailand having revived a corruption or negligence complaint. In light of this many departments have taking big, but carful steps, with the aim of ‘cleaning up’ in mind.

While this new interest in the Full Moon Parties from the immigration police is expected to cause a stur, party tourism to these islands is expected to rise in the coming months, forcing the police to walk a tightrope of law enforcement without destroying all their tourism economy, a delicate game indeed.

Confirmation of New Education visa immigration Rules

New rules are once again being rolled out through as immigration offices begin to impose a 90 day max extension to education visa, now while to most education visa holders this will be nothing new, there are immigration offices which have been known to give more, those offices are now under the watchful eye of the ‘clean-up force’.

Another aspect of this change is simply once you have been in Thailand for 1 year, since your first entry. You must leave, and then re-apply for an education visa. No matter what you used to do, you can now only have a maximum of 1 year in Thailand, from your first entry date.

While this isn’t a massive problem for most education visa holders, it does put you under the scrutiny of the border immigration officers, who have the power to refuse anyone entry, even if you have a valid visa, simply because they have suspicions you are not here using the correct visa. All fair I know, but unfortunately innocents get caught up along the way, and some perfectly legitimate students can be turned away from Thailand, playing havoc on their near future.

Finally the 8 hour a week study quota is being approved as I type, making students have to study for 8 hours a week, not the traditional 4 hours students have been used to up till now. This extra 8 hours, while not confirmed if you can have your lesson spread over 2 or 4 days, will for sure increase all fees for standards courses, simply due to the higher teacher hours, classroom hours, and increased course material necessary.

Original Source:

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/750734-the-new-extension-rules-for-people-studying/

22nd September – Russians’ allowed to continue with border runs

Lt Gen Sakda Chepakdee, high ranking member of the recent Coup and currently acting commissioner in charge of Thai immigration has recently confirmed that Russians can in fact enter Thailand as often as they like, under the last agreement between Russia and Thailand on visa exemption rules.

After the Russian foreign Ministry recently responded to the new changing of the ‘border run’ rules, by stating that Russia and Thailand have a ‘specific’ agreement which states that Russian citizens may enter Thailand visa-free as often as they like, each time using the free 30 day entry stamp, since the agreement has not been deemed invalid by either the Thai or Russian government. Effectively this allows Russians to continue to use the recently banned “out-in” border runs, and they can use it “as many times as they like”.

However this comes with a gentle reminder that the rules are being strongly followed since the Coup, with Gen Sakda adding that “They need to show proof that they are entering for tourism purposes”, a gentle reminder that anyone in the country live or working on a tourist visa will be routed out. Going on to say “We have found that [a lot] do not come for tourism purposes. Lots of them are working illegally and are doing ‘out-in’ visa runs”… in order to carry on living and working illegally in the Kingdom.

Despite Russia and Thailand’s ‘close’ friendship, Gen Sakda points out that Russians will have to follow the rules like everyone else, and nothing was agreed which states Russians will not undergo the same entry tests as everyone else. With Lt Somchai Jitsa’ngop, Deputy Commander of immigration point out that, “the normal conditions for tourists who want to travel in Thailand apply. Russia is not a special case. If Russian tourists want to travel in Thailand, they have to ask.”

The rules clearly state that the re-entering Russian ‘tourist’ will have to show proof of hotel bookings and sufficient funds to support themselves while in county, if they do not have this they will not be allowed in. Lt Somchai mentioning that “Tourists can come to Thailand but they have to inform us about their accommodation plans.” This type of strong, rule following talk is typical of the governing body since the overthrowing of the last government, which Thailand under their rule was thought to be ‘corrupt’.

We will just have to wait and see what happens to this agreement, most likely the temporary Thai government won’t interfere with any prior international agreements or treaties, but instead clamp down on the illegal actions, a noble course of action the military have claimed to be their main ambition of their Coup-de-tar.

29th August – New Visa Rules

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Effective from the 29th of August this year, the Thailand authorities once again implemented a new set of rules for visa extensions, outlining who can, and more importantly, cannot, extend their visa in the Kingdom of Thailand. They are as follows;

  • Anyone in the Kingdom who are nationals of ‘certain’ countries who are permitted 30 days entry upon entering Thailand, can only extend this once, not exceeding 30 days from the expiry of the entry stamp.
  • If the tourist is not granted the extension due to incomplete qualifications, then the alien shall be granted 7 days extension to be used to leave the Kingdom.
  • Anyone seeking an education visa shall only be granted 90 days, 3 months, at one time. And so can extend this visa up to a maximum of 1 year. At which point the alien will have to leave and re-enter Thailand with a new visa.
  • Anyone under taking work for a charity organization, a foundation, a non-government organization, an association, a foreign chamber of commerce or the Federation of Thai industries, without a letter from a relevant government department, shall be granted no longer than 90 days, but are able to extend their visa up to and not exceeding 1 year since the entry date to the Kingdom.

While these extension rules have been made clear and officially are the only set of rules in place, it still begs the question of how long they will be imposed for before another set of rules is rolled out.

While these rules are clear and un-doubtably fair, it still won’t guarantee entry to someone following them to the letter, as different visa departments and different border crossings are interpreting the new rules as they see fit, while trying to refuse entry to enough tourists to make it look like they’re doing their job.

At the moment all we can do is hold our breath as we go for those dreaded visa extensions, a deadly game a Russian roulette follows, with the denial stamp being held at your head, and you’re only thought is a small prayer hoping it hasn’t been inked to stamp. And maybe this time, you’ll get away, miss the shot, but next time it’s a whole new game.

 

New visa Regulations

New visa Regulations

New Education Visa Rules – Koh Samui Tutor & Vocational School

http://kstvs.com/conformation-new-education-visa-immigration-rules/2014/11/

education visa, now while to most education visa holders this will be … leave, and then re-apply for an education visa…

What’s the correct past participle of lay?

#question
What's the correct past participle of lay?

Thai lessons – An outsiders point of view

Beginner Thai whiteboard

While I don’t currently speak Thai, I’ve been intrigued by the Thai lessons we run at the school, so much so that I, myself, have signed up for ‘Beginners Thai’. While taking this course will be genuinely informative and interesting, that is not why I signed up, no. I signed up to learn Thai, to learn the language of the island on which I currently live, and plan to do so for the foreseeable future. This by no means in a representation of the class or the general reasons people take this course, as curiosity, interest, ease of travel and just general education factors all come into play in the minds of those signing up.

As I’ve only been in Thailand for the past 4 months, my ear has grown a custom to the sounds, to the tonal differences between my native English language, and their Thai speech. The difference at times can be astounding, yet frustrating. To get across to you the importance of learning Thai, at least to a beginner’s level, I’ll explain to you a situation I found myself in back in July 2014, in Bangkok.

Me and my partner has just got off the BTS at the Memorial Stadium, from there we planned to visit Khaosan Road, and we knew that you can get there from Memorial Stadium, however we were not sure how. So as you do when you’re traveling about, you stop and ask for directions, and so we did.

We approached this lovely Thai woman just outside the station to ask for directions, luckily for us her English was fantastic. We explained ourselves and mentioned we were trying to find ‘Khaosan Road’, however, whenever we said ‘Khaosan Road’, she didn’t quite understand.

And so we went back and forth, trying to describe to her what ‘Khaosan Road’ is, mentioned its fame, a place for travelers, hostels, etc. and so after we almost were blue in the face explaining this place, she pauses, looks at us and says,

‘Ah, Khao Saan Road’…

From there she pointed us which way to go and number bus to get and so we went on our merry way and found Khaosan Road not long after.

Afterwards, thinking back, it really was the first time the tonal differences between our languages became so apparent to me. A name of a famous place I believed I was pronouncing correctly, or at least near enough she would understand. But as it took so long, and then how she changed the tonal frequency of the ‘aa’ sound, so subtlety, but clear enough to make a different sound.

And so, this is why at least attempting to understand Thai language, or any language for that matter of a country in which their native tongue is unfamiliar to you yet you find yourself staying for a prolonged period, is so important. Remember guys, its never impossible or too late to learn, everyone has the ability.

 

Rachel Ross – A Principled Principal 

Rachel English teacher principal

‘Most people would say old age brings wisdom, not when you observe every life lesson you’re given’ – SP

Being a teacher of English you meet a lot of people from all over the world, from different countries, nationalities, backgrounds, societies, races, and social disposition. While this is a rich and rewarding experience, it can also open your eyes to the different mentalities that you thought, perhaps naively, were gone. This interaction may throw some people off, but others, others like Rachel, it draws them in, with the hope that one changed mind can make all the difference.

English lessons come in different formats, some lessons are more textbook based, discussing rules and grammar, others and more situational, and some of them are conversational based. The conversational classes is where we find our heroine bringing a bit of life, a drop of passion and a pinch of belief into what would otherwise be a boring ‘hello, what’s your name’ lesson. Rachel finds herself in her element and begins to introduce social subjects, current and relevant issues which not only help her student’s improve their English, but also encourage open debate about a wide range of subjects, provoking thoughts which otherwise would have gone unturned.

Battling between debating on social consciousness, your teaching responsibilities and in Rachel’s case, her principal responsibilities as well, can be a difficult task, even for the worlds most skilled multitasking juggler. But somehow she finds a balance, and not some 50-40-10 off balanced balance, but more of a nicely distributed 33.3333.3333.33 balance (leaving 0.01% left for her lunch).

Being so far away from any possibilities of involving herself in a real activism, campaigning for change in the UK for example, she takes any opportunity she can find to open people’s minds to new ideas and concepts, such as feminism, equality, veganism, human rights (you can see the trend) and many more. A noble task if there ever was one.

Georgina Walls – English Teacher of Samui Way

Georgina English Teacher

Georgina Walls, a wizard of an English teacher with such a cool, calm head decides that she has no ‘teaching style’, the boxes are far to ‘mainstream’, when she enters a class her student’s determine what’s going to happen today (to an extent of course). ‘Are we going to learn something?’, ‘Is she going to learn something?’, ‘What is she even saying?’ All questions that run around a student’s mind when Georgina strolls into the classroom, head up, shoulders back, confident in her teaching and English proficiency and skill.

Using her trusty magic textbooks, Oxford published ‘Headway’ & ‘Get Set Go’, this woman of English speech instructs her class in the wonders of the English language, teaching staff at many of a hotel chain (some of which are rather impressive indeed) how to correctly speak to & with native English speakers and international English.

 Georgina’s positive, get up and go attitude is felt in and out the classroom, making working with her and being one of her students a breeze. Lifting the atmosphere in a room full of students isn’t exactly an easy task, but it’s not an impossible one, as Georgina demonstrates each time she helps her students master the English tongue, and all done with a smile and a spring in her step.

Day in the life – Dave Belcher, English Teacher

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Dave

Advanced and upper intermediate classes can, as their names suggest, prove to be too advanced for certain students, especially when they don’t have the right teacher. Having the right teach can make all the difference for someone learning a language, a teacher who can explain something in perhaps a simpler way, a teacher who doesn’t need to rely on slideshows and board work to teach their class. To put it bluntly, to teach advanced English you need an advanced English teacher, and in this case, Dave Belcher is your man.

Being one of the owners, operators, founders and English teachers at the school can put a lot of extra work on his plate, but he still finds the time to put all the bureaucracy to one side and turn his attention to his students. Dave teaches 2 classes, advanced English and upper intermediate English, using in both the ‘Cutting Edge’ textbook series for the more theoretical side of his classes. But Dave is what you could call a bit of a maverick when it comes to teaching, and tries to keep away from the more ‘traditional’ side of the classroom. Instead, Dave likes to make his classes interactive, and when he’s not using CDs for the listening side of the classes, Dave likes to stuck into his classes, and engages everyone in a group discussion, working on their English in a slightly more radical way.

In Dave’s on words, when in class he likes to ‘use humour to break down the cultural barriers’, as he aims to create a relaxed class atmosphere, get to know his students on a personal level and help his students to learn in a more natural way. Dave believes, strongly, that learning a language isn’t just about speaking to someone, it’s about communicating, and you need to be confident enough to remove the pre-existing cultural stereotypes in your head, and learn, through language, that people are people no matter where they were born.

As his students are already proficient when speaking English, he tends to leave the board out until it gets complicated (and English most definitely gets complicated), only then resorting to the board to show different grammar rules, in their full, glorious forms.

In short, Dave Belcher is a English teacher not to be reckoned with, holding years of experience under his belt, Dave knows what he’s doing and isn’t afraid to break outside the box to give his students a better understand and grasp of the wonderful language the world (mainly the English speakers) calls English.