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Opinion

It’s Not A Race

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The race to be number one is as old as man but in modern times, in a fast-paced world of news and social media things are at an all-new high when it comes to being “first”.

Sure, it feels great to be first with a scoop but it can come at a cost as most news outlets and reporters have come to learn in recent months with COVID-19 coverage.

Desperation to announce the latest coronavirus numbers before anyone else each day became a talking point on Twitter back in March as reporters banged away on their phones and computers as the stats were released.

Mistakes were made almost daily, corrections added later but in truth, not a care was given by any of the guilty parties. All that mattered was they Tweeted the stats first, even when they were wrong with one so-called journalist sharing the previous days numbers that were never corrected. She simply didn’t realise what a cock-up she’d made of it.

Not A Race

In the past few weeks, the same scenario has been repeated with news outlets desperate to be first with booze news and information on easing of restrictions.

I can’t think of one news website who didn’t run the ridiculous story of a two-day amnesty to allow people to purchase alcohol when sales were banned.

The story first appeared on Khaosod Online who sourced the story from who knows where and every man and his dog were all over it like a rash taking what had been published as fact and re-wrote the fairytale.

Did any of them bother to do a bit of research such place a couple of calls to ask a few questions to shed any light on the story, or anything else that might have enlightened them that the whole thing was a farce from the start? Of course they didn’t.

It was just too good not to publish as it was the #1 story of the day that turned out to be complete and utter nonsense.

Over and over again I have been told that I’m not sharing enough news on what is going on right now. I beg to differ.

The updates I have shared have been factual and accurate. Yes, I’ve sat back while others churn out clickbait crap as I don’t want to be part of that party.

Big news outlets get a pass when they share inaccurate stories, just look at the Bangkok Post – you all still read it and believe everything they publish despite dozens of misleading and inaccurate articles over the past 3 months.

If I was to do the same and publish something that turned out to be wrong, nobody would ever believe another word I said. I don’t have a gold “Get Out Of Fake News Jail Free” card.

And to be honest, that’s just the way I like it. Stickboy traffic and stats are great, I don’t need or want to be part of the clickbait crowd. I will continue to share news stories and information that I think will be of interest when the time is right.

It’s not a race, well, at least not for me.



Stickboy aka Sticky Boy aka Mike McKay aka Mike McKwai, Wild Mike, Magic Mike, Mr Mike, and a fair few more best forgotten, is a party animal with hollow legs who loves music, current affairs, beer, food, causing trouble on Twitter, and making the most of life without worrying too much about what people think or say about his antics. You can send him stuff here - stickboybkk@gmail.com

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Opinion

Apologies For The Downtime

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server farm

After two days of visitors getting various unavailable messages when arriving at stickboybkk.com, I’m pleased to announce all is well and back to normal around here.

The downtime was due to the host moving the server that is home to Stickboy to a new location in the data centre meaning the box was unplugged from the network, probably taken to some dark corner in the basement, before being re-racked and plugged back in.

It is a job that normally takes around 4 hours but I was advised to make a full and complete backup of all files and folders just in case something went wrong.

With close to half a million photos that takes a bit of time so to speed things up, I just shut everything down to get the job done without interruption.

And with everything back to how it should be, I better get a few updates done.



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Opinion

Thailand Tourist Visa Requirements: November 2020

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Thailand Tourist Visa Requirements

Following on from the launch of the Special Tourist Visa (STV) aimed at attracting long-stay tourists to Thailand, embassies and consulates around the world have slowly been updating their websites over the past three weeks with details for Single Entry Tourist Visa applications.

The Royal Thai Embassy in Helsinki were the first online with the news that embassies were now accepting applications for a 60-day Single Entry Tourist Visa.

Under the STV scheme, visitors can stay in Thailand for 90 days, which can then be extended twice, each for a further 90 days. That is, the maximum period of stay in the country will be 270 days. After the first stay period has ended, visitors may apply for the extension at any local immigration office

The Special Tourist Visa costs 2,000 THB.

Only travellers from low-risk countries may apply for the long-stay STV and the requirements for a succesful application are lengthy.

The list of low-risk countries are:

Australia
Bahrain
Brazil
China
Cuba
El Salvador
Estonia
Fiji
Finland
Hong Kong
Ivory Coast
Kazakhstan
Macao
Mongolia
New Zealand
Norway
Qatar
Korea
Rwanda
Saudi Arabia
Singapore
Taiwan
Uruguay
Vietnam

I skipped the requirements for the STV as I very much doubt readers of Stickboy will want to jump through 20 hoops before having to jump through another 20 so I decided to focus on what’s needed to obtain a Single Entry 60-day Tourist Visa.

Visa And Certificate Of Entry Procedures

Applicants who wish to apply for a Single Entry Tourist Visa will need to follow all the steps outlined below.

Applying For A 60-Day Tourist Visa

When applying you must submit the following with your application form.

  1. Passport
  2. Two passport-size photographs (2″x 2″)
  3. Visa application form
  4. Declaration form
  5. Medical insurance guaranteeing that the insurer will cover a minimum of 100,000 USD (or equivalent in other currencies) of medical costs incurred by the applicant in Thailand, including medical costs in the event that the applicant contracts COVID-19 (The insurance must cover the whole duration of stay in Thailand)
  6. A confirmation of booking of Alternative State Quarantine (Please check the list of the alternative state quarantine hotels at www.hsscovid.com or www.thaiembdc.org/asq)
  7. Visa fee
  8. A copy of the bank statement for the last 6 months (the balance of each month must have no less than 500,000 baht)

At Departure

You will need to present the following at check-in.

  1. A “Certificate of Entry” issued by The Royal Thai Embassy or the Royal Thai Consulates-General;
  2. A “Health Certificate”, Fit to Fly, issued no more than 72 hours before departure.
  3. Medical insurance guaranteeing that the insurance company will cover a minimum of 100,000 US dollars (or equivalent in other currencies) of medical costs incurred by the applicant in Thailand, including medical costs in the event that applicant contracts COVID-19 (The insurance must cover the whole duration of stay in Thailand); and
  4. A Medical certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID -19 is not detected, issued no more than 72 hours before departure

Upon Arrival In Thailand

Travellers arriving in Thailand must present the following documents to be granted entry:

  1. COE and Declaration Form
  2. Medical certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID -19 is not detected, using RT-PCR test, issued no more than 72 hours before departure
  3. Fit-to-fly/Fit-to-travel Health Certificate issued no more than 72 hours before departure
  4. Medical insurance or letter from employer guaranteeing that the insurance company or employer will cover a minimum of 100,000 US dollars (or equivalent in other currencies) of medical costs incurred by the applicant in Thailand, including medical costs in the event that applicant contracts COVID-19 (The insurance must cover the whole duration of stay in Thailand)

If granted entry, the traveller mus undergo a second COVID-19 PCR test then go through 14 days of Alternative State Quarantine.

Post Quarantine

Tourists are free to travel without restriction but must follow all health and safety protocols such as wearing a mask and social distancing.

Final Thoughts

The steps for a Single Entry Tourist Visa seem straight forward enough, however, the trip is costly with insurance, flights, tests, certificates, expensive ASQ and that 6 months of having 500,000 baht in the bank is going to be the hurdle most will fall at.

To apply for a Single Entry Tourist Visa visit the Thai Embassy website closest to your location.

UPDATE

The Royal Thai Consulate in Hamburg, Germany has stated as of 13th November 2020 no financial proof is required when applying for a Single Entry Tourist Visa (TR).

Bank statements showing a balance of 500k for 6 months is no longer a requirement at this Consulate.




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Opinion

No Mask Required

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No Mask Required

Warner Music Group should remaster and relaunch Phil Collins 1985 award-winning album No Jacket Required here in Thailand with a reboot of the title and the cover – No Mask Required.

Maybe it will help put an end to this mask-wearing nonsense that is becoming a habit that needs to be broken and fast.

I’ve said many times on social media in the past few months being forced to wear a mask when it’s unnecessary is something I’m absolutely sick and tired of.

It has become an utter farce.

Just take look at two big events over the weekend as perfect examples of where “New Normal” protocols were forgotten – Loy Krathong and the Pattaya Bikini Beach Run.

Sure there were zombies in attendance (well, it was Halloween) wearing face masks but that is down to their personalities – they don’t want to be seen as different or have anyone who has been brainwashed by the media giving them a staring look of disapproval.

Bars and clubs were packed to the rafters at the weekend – Halloween masks yes, face masks no.

And like everywhere we go now such as crowded BTS and buses, or anywhere else more than 50 people come together… social distancing is a thing of the past.

When was the last time you saw someone working in a public place wearing a face shield?

They’ve all been binned and we need to do the same with ordinary masks too.

On my weekend adventures, I noticed more and more people in my condo floating around showing off their pale white faces.

My taxis to and from the pub on Saturday were maskless affairs for me, my missus and one of the drivers. The other I apologised to and as I fumbled for my mask he told me, “Mai pen rai, Thai mai me covid”.

My kinda guy.

Of course, if and when Thailand opens back up to the outside world and allows hundreds of thousands of potential corona carriers into the country every month then it might be time for a rethink but right now the only reason for any of us here in the Land Of Smiles to be wearing a mask is to protect ourselves from the pollution.



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