On January 1st 2016 it will be seven years since the deadly inferno at the Santika club in Ekamai that took the lives of 67 New Year’s revelers and left over 200 others injured.
The exact cause of the fire has never been officially determined with the most likely cause being outdoor fireworks set off inside for the 1000 plus partygoers who were crammed into a club with a capacity of 500 people. A club with only one marked exit at the front of the building that measured just 2.3 meters wide.
The victims died from burns, smoke inhalation, and from being crushed to death in the stampede to get out.
The dead lined up in rows outside the club
Santika had been refused an operating license three years prior to the 2009 New Year tragedy because of safety concerns, however, it was allowed to remain open while its owners appealed that decision.
The Bangkok Post reported at the time Santika was licensed only as a restaurant that was supposed to close at midnight. A Ministry of Justice investigation later discovered the club was officially registered as a private residence and therefore had never received a fire safety inspection.
News reports following the fire stated the club had only one fire extinguisher inside.
Inside Santika the day following the fire
A total of seven people were prosecuted over the fire in cases that slowly worked their way through Thailand’s court system.
Four of those initially prosecuted have been acquitted and another fined.
Two men, the club owner Visuk Setsawat, and Boonchu Laorinath, owner of the Focus Light Sound System Company who were responsible for arranging the special effects and fireworks, were both sentenced to three years’ imprisonment by a criminal court in 2011 which the pair appealed.
Club owner Visuk Setsawat
On October 22nd 2013, the Court of Appeal acquitted both men allowing them to walk free. The court found that the charges in Visuk’s indictment for directly causing death through carelessness were unclear and lacked evidence.
That verdict was overturned last week by the Supreme Court, whose decision cannot be appealed. “The defendant was careless which caused death and injuries from the blaze”, the court said.
A survivor of the Santika fire
So after almost seven years, the owner of Santika club, Visuk Setsawat, is finally behind bars to serve his three year sentence.
A sentence that equates to just over 16 days for every person who died in the blaze. I didn’t do the math for those who survived and have been left scarred for life, both mentally and physically, by those responsible for turning a blind eye, taking shortcuts and putting peoples lives at risk in a bid to fill their pockets.
My Week Off Was A Washout
I turned 50 last Monday and the plan was to work all day then, later on, celebrate with my missus and a couple of close friends before taking a few days off to relax and do something other than sit in front of the computer all day and night.
This plan was carved out on Friday night and Saturday morning.
All weekend I had my head down putting together a skeleton schedule on social media for my planned time off to keep things ticking over, just at a trickle.
Then on Sunday evening, the entire plan fell apart in one small but sudden movement.
I did my back in and the pain was excruciating.
Despite feeling like I was getting tasered every time I moved I cracked on with the social scheduling on Monday and went out as planned.
By Wednesday I could hardly move. I tried walking, laying down, heat pads, a massage thingy for your back… no dice.
A few packets of pills from the doc started to ease the pain but coughing or sneezing left me on the verge of passing out in pain.
Over the weekend with lots of pills and laying flat out on bed relieved things somewhat but what a wasted week.
I did nothing and went nowhere.
So here I am, back at my desk having had the longest period of time off since November 2019 when I flew back to Scotland for a few days and no better off.
One word sums up my week off – washout.
No Twitter, No Problem
Facebook is the dominant social media network with far more users than the likes of Twitter but with more users comes more rules and for Stickboy that has been an ongoing problem for the past 7 years.
In February 2020 Zuckerberg & Co pulled the plug on the original Stickboy Bangkok Facebook page that had gained 60,000 followers.
25,000 photos, 1000’s of videos and endless hours of work gone in the click of a moderators mouse – well, it is their site and their rules which I tried hard to follow but it was impossible with the haters and keyboard warriors reporting all the posts and AI technology used by Facebook incorrectly marking content as offensive.
This has made the new Stickboy BKK FB page rather dull and boring plus it isn’t as easy to share others content on the platform like it is over on Twitter where they are far more relaxed with their rules of what is and isn’t acceptable to post.
The problem is a lot of people aren’t interested in Twitter or just don’t get it so followers of Stickboy end up missing out on some great content and conversations shared on that platform that just isn’t suitable for Facebook.
As a way to give readers choices, I have published a page here on stickboybkk.com that lets you see my Twitter feed without the need to download the app and sign up for an account.
I have also done the same for the Stickboy Babes Twitter account that doesn’t exist on Facebook as the risk and chances of getting banned are far too high.
So there’s no need to miss out on any great content being shared somewhere you aren’t interested in or signed up for.
No account needed, read right here on the Stickboy website
FROM THE ARCHIVES: 5 Things Expats Love To Boast About
Bangkok is bullshit central as far as I’m concerned – it always has been and it always will be. It matters not where you work or socialise, your fellow expats in vast numbers tend to talk utter crap, usually about themselves.
There’s no stopping them and what I’ve listed below are only a handful of the things expats like to boast and brag about with 99.99% of it nothing more than a figment of their imagination.
If you are here in Thailand legally what difference does it make what visa anyone else is on?
Well, to some a great deal as it happens and anyone on anything they deem a “lower status” option than theirs shall be looked upon and treated like shit on their shoe.
Yet, many claiming to have their house in order are the ones disappearing over the border every three months… because they just love Cambodia so much.
Who They Know
Name dropping knobheads are everywhere and there’s no escaping them.
Do you know such and such? I bumped into blah blah the other day. Yeah I’m pals with the owner of XYZ.
My answer in these situations is always, “Nah, sorry I don’t know many people here” and to be fair, that’s a true statement. I don’t know many people here.
The chances of me knowing some guy who put on a show in an unknown venue located down a sub soi in the arse-end of Sukhumvit Road are about slight to none much the same as me knowing the owner of XYZ.
But they are super well known in Bangkok… well, I live under a rock with a tiny population and that’s just how I like it but good for you on having such a well-known and well-connected network.
They will talk to fellow expats in Thai and then pull a face when you don’t respond – we are both native English speakers you fud so what’s with the Thai?
Then we have those who “think” they can speak the lingo when at best they can tell the taxi driver left and right on the way home but that doesn’t stop them making a complete fool of themselves with their gibberish.
So you can speak some Thai, good on ya, but you aren’t alone, there are plenty of foreigners here who have put in the effort to learn the language but there’s a time and a place but chit-chatting to me in Thai isn’t one of them.
Wife / Girlfriend
Her heritage and social standing will be mentioned in the first breath of manure coming out their mouth about her being Thai-Chinese, or is it the other way around?
You will quickly be informed of how she is the only child of a super-wealthy hi-so family who owns half of Thonglor.
In their head this makes them believe they are superior to anyone foolish enough to date an Isaan native.
And what usually makes this funnier is they aren’t dating some super-rich chick at all but some wannabe WAG.
But why spoil the fun by pointing out the obvious? Let them carry on with their foolish fantasy.
Their Latest Money Making Idea
And the most important part of the title is “idea” because 99.999% of these dreamers who harp on about the millions they are going to make with their amazing money maker never ever get around to putting their big plans into action.
They spend all day, and night, talking and do absolutely nothing.
And it’s funny how they always need a “partner” to get it off the ground.
Right, Stick is outta here before we get to how long they have lived here, the millions they are earning a month, how much champagne they drink, the fantastic job they have, how successful they were back in farrangland… and please don’t let me ever meet another special forces guy.