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My husband tell to me nam pheung [honey] not spoil ever. Is true, Khun Andy? Is special way to keep better?
Yes to your second question, Ning, and a qualified yes to your first. Bee honey has been found edible after thousands of years. (Odds are you haven’t nursed your honey that long.) Small residues of edible honey have even been found in a pharaoh’s tomb. However, it is advisable to not keep honey for longer than two or three years. Store it in clean, hermetically sealed vessels in a dark place or in darkened glass jars or bottles (not metal or wood). Avoid direct sunlight and protect it from oxygen inflow. Optimal preservation temperature is +4 to – 10 °C. Store in a dry place to prevent the honey from absorbing any moisture; excessive moisture might cause fermentation.
What a Drip
I’ve followed your plumbing suggestions, specifically related to drips and leaks, through the years, Andy, even going so far as to install new hardware. But after a few months the dripping starts again. Is there any faucet or type of repair that completely eliminates leaks and related problems?
Your best bet, Jack, is the ceramic disc valve. The faucet mixes hot and cold water inside a mixing chamber called a pressure balance cartridge. Two ceramic discs at the bottom of the chamber raise and lower to control the volume of water flow. Temperature is controlled by a side-to-side rotation of the handle. These faucets are high quality, very reliable, and rarely need repair. While more expensive than conventional faucets, they require no maintenance and generally will last drip-free for many years. A ceramic disc faucet actually has two fire-hardened ceramic discs–an upper one that moves and a lower one that is fixed. The two discs move against each other in a shearing action, either blocking water or allowing it to pass through. The seal between the two discs is watertight because they are polished to near-perfect flatness. If a small stone ever gets into the valve, it could score the surfaces, but these occurrences are rare. Should you ever experience a drip, don’t try to force the handle closed; just flutter it back and forth a few times to dislodge any particles. In general, all washerless faucets offer very precise, ergonomic control. However, if repair is ever needed, the entire ceramic-disc cartridge must be replaced, which runs from about 1,000 to 2,000 baht. Some models are guaranteed for one year while others carry lifetime warranties.
Norwegians Get Away
My husband and I recently relocated from Norway to Pattaya. Given the extreme weather differences between our former home and here, we are in the dark as to what is the best time of year to plant gardens—both flower and vegetable. Thank you for your great column.
As I’ve admitted several times over the years, Rangenhild, I know next to nothing about gardening. (Okay—nothing). The only useful tip I can pass on is from my late father (he’s not dead; he’s just late all the time). His gardening rule, “When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it’s a valuable plant.”
Try as I might, Andy, I just cannot seem to “get the hang” of picture hanging (sorry for the pun). I want to decorate my walls with some artwork that I particularly like and several treasured photographs, but I don’t know how to ensure they are positioned correctly. Can you offer any tips?
Knowing where and how to install the picture hook is the real trick. Start by determining the height you want the picture to be. The picture’s center should be eye level for someone standing in front of it. Put the end of a tape measure on the floor, look straight ahead and note the distance. Now lay the picture face-down and measure from bottom of the frame up to the high point of the hanger wire. Subtract one-half of the picture frame’s height from that measurement. Add the difference to the eye-height number you calculated above. The new number is the point above the floor where you want to place the bottom of the picture hanger. On the wall, measure up from the floor the distance you calculated for the bottom of the holder, and make a small horizontal mark with a pencil. If you need to measure away from a corner, a door jamb or any other vertical reference to determine where the picture should be left-to-right. Make a small vertical pencil mark at that location. Extend either the horizontal or vertical mark, or both, until you can mark where they cross. Hold the hanger on the wall so that the bottom of it is on the horizontal cross mark and it is centered on the vertical cross mark. Drive the nail or screw into the wall at the juncture.
Could you please tell me what I could use to clean my wooden kitchen cabinets which are coated in old grease? In England we had sugar soap and soda crystals but I cannot find them here. Also, could you tell me what methylated spirits is in Thai, if indeed they have it in Thailand?
If you’ve been reading this column for any length of time, Terry, you know that I much prefer natural cleaning solutions to potentially-harmful commercial products. With that in mind, I would suggest that you brew your own wood-cabinet cleaning mixture using the following ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil, 4 tablespoons white vinegar, 1 liter warm water. Combine all ingredients in a 2-liter container with lid, and shake it until the contents are blended. Then dampen a soft cloth with some of the mixture and wipe down the cabinets. Use a second soft cloth to wipe cabinets dry. This should remove grease and dirt without harming the wood.
As to your second question, methylated spirits is a mixture of ethyl alcohol (95 percent) and methyl alcohol (5 percent). The latter ingredient is added to prevent you from using methylated spirits for a cheap high. Instead, I’d suggest you consume adequate amounts of distilled spirits (available here in abundance) and forget household chores.
Signs of Our Times
Sign seen in an auto repair shop:
Ping-Ping-Ping 1,000 baht
Plunk-Ping-Plunk 2,000 baht
Klunk-Ping-Klunk 4,000 baht
Thud-Thunk-Thud 5,000 baht
Clank-Thud-Plunk 10,000 baht
Q: I have a work permit and non immigrant “B” visa. But I am finishing my job in a couple of weeks and want to switch to a retirement visa without leaving the country. Is that going to be possible?
A: Assuming you are at least 50 years old, it is possible. You need to visit the labour office which issued the work permit, with a letter from your employer, to terminate the work permit. The office will give you a tor tor 10 form. You should then visit the immigration office of your choice, preferably the same day, to obtain a one-year retirement visa. Of course, you will require the documentation for the one-year visa. When a work permit is cancelled, remember that the visa collapses too the same day.
Q: I have a 60-day tourist visa, single entry, but I hope to visit Vietnam after about one month has been used up in Thailand. Can I obtain a re-entry permit to ensure I can get back into Thailand? I am a British citizen aged 42.
A: You could, but there is not any point really. When you return to Thailand from Vietnam, you will automatically receive 30 days at Bangkok airport. If needed, you could request a further seven days later. The re-entry permit doesn’t extend the life of the visa but simply protects it.
Q: I have heard that I must carry around my passport at all times while I am in Thailand. But I am concerned that I might lose it. So is this requirement really enforced by the police?
A: No it isn’t. The best idea is to obtain a small laminated copy of your passport and visa and carry this around in your wallet (being careful not to lose your wallet of course). What the police need, if they stop you for any reason, is proof of who you are. A valid Thai driving license is an alternative to the laminated passport copy. But you will need your actual passport to carry out some functions such as obtaining money at a bank, dealing with Thai bureaucracies and the like. It’s just a matter of common sense in the main.
Q: Accidentally, I recently attended a sex show in a nightclub although I did not realize it was going to turn out like that. I spent the whole time worrying what would happen if there was a police raid. Would I have been arrested?
A: Unlikely. If a club is raided because of indecent display, or whatever, the manager, the staff and the performers would likely be arrested and be asked to pay a fine at the police station. But it is most unlikely any customers would be arrested unless they tested positive for illegal substances. However, the police do sometimes take photographs or shoot a video of the proceedings, so if you feel vulnerable, then simply pay your bill and leave as soon as any dubious performance begins.
Q: What are the main reasons why a tourist visa to Britain is turned down? I want my Thai girlfriend to visit me in Manchester and I want to be fore-armed as it were. I have heard you have to prove a genuine relationship.
A: There are several common reasons. One, as you hint, is that there isn’t sufficient evidence of a genuine, long-term relationship. You need lots of photos, evidence of phone calls and emails etc to illustrate how you keep in touch when you are separated geographically. Another common reason is that the guy in UK has not shown enough evidence of his income or resources. The third reason is that the Thai applicant has not shown sufficient cause why she (or he) would return to Thailand at the end of the holiday.
Q: I have a friend who says he knows somebody at the embassy who can get me a visa for my girlfriend if I pay 100,000 baht. Do you believe that’s possible?
A: No, I don’t believe you can bypass embassy procedures by bribery.
The decidedly odd political situation here was nowhere better illustrated last month when Luang Pu Buddha Issara, the monk and key PDRC protest leader, had his group reservation at the Shinawatra-owned SC Park Hotel in Bangkok cancelled for obvious reasons. The monk received 120,000 baht in compensation, emphatically the first time in recorded history that any hotel guest has been paid to stay away. Yes, incredible!
Nobody predicted three months ago, even two, that the reform movement led by Suthep Thaugsuban would have the huge impact it has had. Many commentators speculated then that the move to establish an unelected people’s council, the demand for a year or two delay before a general election can be held, and the exhausting series of rallies in the capital would soon fizzle out. Well, they haven’t.
Not that Suthep has avoided mistakes. On numerous occasions he has predicted the demise of the caretaker government, but that has not happened–at the time of this writing anyway! He has exaggerated the power of the PDRC which, in spite of fiery speeches, has not brought Bangkok to a grinding halt. Some of the rally speeches, summarized nightly in English by the TMN cable TV company, have contained vitriolic and sexist attacks on the caretaker prime minister which would never be tolerated in UK or US. The violence on both sides of the political divide has been lamentable.
When the history books are written, it will likely be written that the government has been outmaneuvered not by a clever opposition but by its own mistakes. The cardinal error by the prime minister was calling a general election in the first place. It now finds itself in a deteriorating situation as a caretaker administration has very limited powers. The furor over the rice subsidy scheme and the anger of unpaid farmers are a direct result of the government’s decision to call for a new mandate which is still stuck in a bureaucratic and legalistic muddle.
Yingluck should take the initiative to regain public credibility, but this is easier said than done. Apart from failing to disburse rice funds to pay farmers their due for giving the government their crops, it has not produced any policy directions and even failed to reclaim parts of Bangkok occupied by the protest movement. Other disasters are happening. The Government Savings Bank saw a run of withdrawals after customers became worried that their cash might be swallowed by a government loan. The prime minister is under scrutiny by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, and the courts have issued several anti-government rulings in the last month.
The status of the February 2 partial election is still unclear. The low turnout may well suggest that the Thai people’s desire for an election is somewhat less than that of the UK and US foreign media and the partisan journalists of the BBC. Although the constitutional court has ruled once that the February election was not illegal, there is a lot of water to pass under that particular bridge. Future legal challenges are more than likely. Meanwhile, every time the prime minister appears on TV to defend herself, she risks breaking the law as her remarks could be said to be an attempt to influence the masses when the election process is still pending.
Most heated arguments result in a compromise. Short of a judicial or Army coup, neither of which can be ruled out, needless to say, one possible scenario is that Suthep agrees to drop his opposition to a new poll in April or May, and the caretaker government accepts that a new poll to supersede the February one is now necessary. The result is likely to be a much closer finish than we have experienced in general elections over the past 15 years. Actually, that would be a good thing for Thailand and its people.