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  1. #1
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    thai construction workers overseas

    its not exactly construction in thailand, but not sure where else to put it.

    The family of the missus have 'found' a job for the younger brother (who has just finished his 2 years in the army). A labouring job in Taiwan, I have heard only bad things about these sort of jobs, and BTW, they need 200 000baht to send him there ???

    Does anyone else have first hand experience / information re: this stuff.

    I recall reading a report that thai workers are only paid in vouchers, and live in dormatories, are banned from using mobile phones etc.

  2. #2
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    I dont have any 'evidence' only what I learnt from talking to a couple of the village neighbours who went to either iran or mexico - totally dodgy as.

    5 months ago we got my sister in law and her husband over here on tourist visa but put them to work on a farm here in town. Simple work like planting and pruning trees etc. They did 10 hrs a day 5 days a week. paid me back for all the airfars (including mine to go over and pick them up) and they still went home with 450,000 baht.

    Now every villager wants to come and work here - for some reason they dont understand that there isnt a hope in hell they would get a tourist visa to australia!
    News is what someone, somewhere is trying to suppress - everything else is just advertising.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeMock View Post
    I dont have any 'evidence' only what I learnt from talking to a couple of the village neighbours who went to either iran or mexico - totally dodgy as.
    thats what i've heard too - they only told me about the 'opportunity' today - but it's been in the pipeline for awhile i gather.

    I'm trying to dissuade them.......

    the missus 'has' to rush back to Thailand - sell some of her land (for some reason she has to do it in person and cannot do it via fax etc ??

    to pay some 'job broker' 200 000 baht

    all i can smell is SCAM SCAM SCAM

    but all they hear is farang not want to help family blah blah


    5 months ago we got my sister in law and her husband over here on tourist visa but put them to work on a farm here in town. Simple work like planting and pruning trees etc. They did 10 hrs a day 5 days a week. paid me back for all the airfars (including mine to go over and pick them up) and they still went home with 450,000 baht.

    Now every villager wants to come and work here - for some reason they dont understand that there isnt a hope in hell they would get a tourist visa to australia!
    som nam nah!

  4. #4
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    well here's some stuff i found on Thai Labour Campaign

    "Taiwan" Shoemakers: Thai Workers
    by Junya Yimprasert
    Thai Labour Campaign
    October 2000
    Overview Destination Taiwan Pou Chen Corp Getting to Taiwan Working Conditions Living Conditions Problems
    - Harrassment
    - Hazardous Working Conditions
    - Underpayment
    - Forced Overtime
    - Language& Culture
    - Recruitment Agencies
    - No Grievance System
    Conclusion

    Overview
    The Isarn (Northeast region) Village today is much difference from the Isarn villages I first visited over ten years ago. I remembered that when I first visited Isarn, the village is full of people. The dirt road was full of dust from footsteps of cows and waterbuffalo. I remembered seeing many children mostly young boy and girls pushed trolleys full of buckets of water or carry water on their shoulders heading to their small houses that made from bamboo and glass’ roofs. Not many houses in the village have zinc roof at that time.
    Ten years after, the Isarn today is much difference. Along the both side of the concrete road are full of big and beautiful wooden houses. However, many houses are closing. The villages were quieter today then before. And In the corner of villages’ shops, there were several elder women chatting together. Not many animals left in the village.
    This is due to younger generations are running around looking for job opportunity in the city or overseas. They explore almost every country that is opened for job opportunity. The results, many of the Isarn people live their life on income of their families’ members who work in the big city like Bangkok or in many countries around Asia. These workers were moving around from one country to another country according to politics and job demands. Starting from the Middle East countries in the early 1970s, moving closer, i.e. to Singapore, Brunei, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and especially Taiwan, which has become the most popular destination for Thai workers since the early ‘90s.
    “I came from Udon to meet my cousin who has just returned from Taiwan, to learn more on how to go to Taiwan and how much is the recruitment fee.” Said a middle-aged woman; one of her sons returned from Singapore several months ago because of being paralyzed and could no longer can work. Now she is looking for job opportunity in Taiwan for another son. Although the son who was injured in Singapore has received no compensation and she is undergoing the process to claim compensation for his condition.
    In return with the income between 40 - 50 billion baht each year since 1995 sent home from 210,000 workers, 28 billion baht alone (the highest) was from Taiwan. The question is: What is the cost that the country has to pay in return? Does the income compensate for the damages to the family life of these migrant workers? Are they being exploited in the host countries in return for the so-called “huge income” from the labour cost?

    Back to Index

    Destination Taiwan
    Taiwan opened the country for migrant workers from Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia on 19 October 1989. It quickly became one of the most popular spots for Thai workers since 1993, starting just after the Iraq and Kuwait war; Saudi Arabia stopped issuing visas for Thai workers in 1991. Many of those migrant workers who had returned from Middle East were heading for job opportunities in the East and Southeast Asian countries, in particular, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.
    The number of Thai workers in Taiwan increased rapidly from 9,319 persons in 1992 to 64,143 in 1993. In 1999, the number of Thai workers entering Taiwan increased to over 100,000 workers. Taiwan thus became the highest overseas employment place for Thai workers or 56% in 1999. The numbers of Thai workers entering Taiwan from 1997 to 1999 are 100,910, 106,828 and 115,096 respectively.
    The job opportunities in Taiwan are: 40% in construction work, and 60% in production manufacture (textile and garment, electronics parts, mechanic, steel and metal work, car auto part, plastic and rubbers, and others like chemical, wood work, cement, and food).
    Construction workers are mostly male; Women workers are mostly in textile and garment, electronics parts and plastic. In 1999, the number of women workers in Taiwan was 16,002 or 13.9%.
    According to the Taiwan Council of Labour Affairs, the local company can employ migrant workers 30% of local workers in production manufacturers and 50% in construction sector.

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    Pou Chen Corp: One of the World's Largest Footwear Producers
    Pou Chen Corp., a Taiwanese-owned major shoes’ producing corporation, has been monitored by many labour groups because it produces for many leading brand name, especially Nike. The Pou Chen Corp mainly sources from factories in China, Vietnam and Indonesia where there are frequent reports of labour violations.
    “Pou Chen Corp was founded in 1969. The company is principally engaged in the production of rubber shoes. It has developed into a diversified shoe maker in Taiwan. The company has fourteen factories. It also produces shoe-related materials. Most of its products are distributed to North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and domestic market as well.
    In 1999, earnings before extraordinary items at Pou Chen Corp were 3.56 billion Taiwanese Dollars, or 26.7% of sales. This profit margin is an improvement over the level the company achieved in 1998, when the profit margin was 24.2% of sales. Earnings before extraordinary items have grown for each of the past 5 years (and since 1995, earnings before extraordinary items have grown a total of 635%). Pou Chen Corp.htm
    Tsai Chi Jen, the oldest of four brothers, began building the family shoe business more than 30 years ago.
    Tsai Chi Jen's drawings led to today's high-tech teams that design shoes in Taiwan under the name of Pou Chen. Manufacturing plants -- populated by armies of mostly female workers in China, Indonesia and Vietnam -- then transform the designs into products under the name of Yue Yuen.”

    Back to Index

    Getting to Taiwan
    “ There were 230 of us travel together in the plane on 7 July 1997 to work for Pou Chen footwear factory in Chang Hua. Each of us paid 85,000 Baht to Fa-ez Service Recruitment agency in Thailand.” Phan, the first Pou Chen worker we contacted told us.
    It took only one and a half-months for Fa-ez to process application forms to work in Taiwan. However, Phan told us that if anyone processes the application forms by himself or herself or through the Department of Employment/Ministry of Labour, it would take over six months or longer period.
    Phan is lucky that his family has a piece of land, so he mortgaged the land with the bank, therefore, he could pay off the debt within eight months.
    Fa-ez Service Recruitment Co. Ltd, is located at 279/1-2 Moo 2, Udon-Sakon Road, Tumbol Nong Bua, Muang District, Udonthani province.

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    Working Conditions
    Phan who has just returned from Pou Chen early July this year after finishing his contact, helped to link us with many of his friends who returned to Thailand during the same period.
    “There are nine factories in the same area in Chang Hua, which produces almost every shoes’ brand name like Nike, Adidas, Timberlands, Converse, Reebok, Polo, Champion, Lockport, Columbia, and Winson. I was in the factory number 9 called AA2 which produces sample shoes.
    From what I can recall the first factory produced Timberlands, NDC factory produces Nike. BB1 produces Adidas, The sixth factory produces Converse, Champion and Reebok, the AA1 produces Nike, EE1 produces Columbia and Lockport, EE2 and factory number eight produces Nike again."
    All of the overseas workers which mostly 700 out of 2,000 workers in Pou Chen, Chang Hua are Thais and there were only 100 migrant workers from Filipinos and Indonesian. The rest are local workers, which according to Phan, they were among 30-40 years old and very slow in working. The Thai workers earn monthly wages, according to the contract of 15,840 Baht per month (excluding overtime payment).
    “There are managing differences in each factory, depending on the management. Some factory likes to deduct money to compensate for the price of the shoe if we damage it. One poor worker had lots of deductions and had only 500 baht to spend the whole month.” Anand.
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    Living Conditions
    Dormitory
    The factory provides dormitory for every migrant worker. Twelve workers were arranged to stay in a 2.5 by 8 meters room, which the company provided six bunk beds in this small piece of space. However, the workers have to follow several rules, such as, they must return to the dormitory by 10.30 PM, they were not allowed to stay outside the dormitory, the guards will check whether they are in the room every night (some time twice), they were not allowed to cook in the dormitory, they was no electricity outlets in any room, and their clothes will be taken by guard if it was hanging in their room. “It is like a military camp”, Phanthep told us.
    The dormitory opens at 6 AM and close at 10.30 PM. If anyone enters the dormitory late or was caught for not staying in the dormitory, that person will be fined 3,000 baht, which will be deducted from their salary.
    Food
    The company provided three meals a day. However, most of the workers told us that they have to eat outside because the food was very poor quality and very bland test.
    “ The breakfast usually rice and one dish. Lunch and dinner will be served with three dishes, but mainly the component of bean curd, vegetable and salted grill peanut. We were so sick of eating salted peanut every day.” Anand
    Phan emphasis that “The food was terribly bland, therefore, we have made many complains for the company to employ Thai cook, but the company simply said that if you cannot eat, it is your business and refuse to improve the condition of food.”
    Culture difference on food and drink has caused a problem. Phan told us:
    “We have many problems with drinking water as it Taiwan they like to drink hot tea, but as a Thai people we used to drink cold drink. Therefore we constantly asked the factories to provide cold drinking water. After many complaints, the companies simply just connected the tap with the water supply pipe for the workers to drink. Later when few workers including myself have to undergo appendix operation, the company was afraid that drinking water directly from the tap may cause the appendicitis, they simply removed the pipes, but still refused to provide us with cold drinking water. Therefore, many of Thai workers did not drink much water in Taiwan because we don’t like hot tea.”
    Some people may question on why it is troublesome to Thai people when referring to bland food and hot tea. For those who know Thailand, they would have no question at all about this complains because they must have realized how spicy Thai foods are, especially Northeast foods. However, the company refused to acknowledge the culture differences and ignored the request of Thai workers.
    Salary
    According to the contract, these workers received 15,840 baht a month. Every month, the factory deducts 20 percent for tax. It also opens a bank account for all Thai workers and deposits 3,000 baht a month (deducted from the salary) as escape insurance. Workers who leave before the contract is due will not receive this amount back. The factory gives only 3,000 from the monthly salary for each worker’s personal expenses in Taiwan. Another 400 baht per month is also deducted from the salary to contribute to medical care. The rest of the monthly salary will be sent back to their family in Thailand to service the worker’s debt and to support his or her family.
    Apart from salary the company provides every worker would Birthday a ‘7-Eleven’ coupon gift equivalent to 500 baht, and a Chinese New Year gift for 3,600 Baht.
    Back to Index

    Problems Faced by Thai Workers
    Phan told us that after he arrived to Pou Chen, he has to sign a new contract which stated that, “we will follow the company's rules and regulations such as we were not allowed to cook in the dormitory. We have to respect the supervisor, and that there were three steps of warning from verbal warning, deducting money or compensate for the damage 10 times higher the price.”
    According to many workers, the working condition in Pou Chen is very bad compared to many factories in Taiwan.
    “I was working in Taiwan at Nan Kang factory for two years before working in Pou Chen. The situation in Nan Kang was far better than Pou Chen. But I finished my term with Nan Kang, therefore, I had to take a job at Pou Chen in my second contract.” Anand.

    Harassment
    Taiwan supervisors are famous for their harsh behavior toward workers, in factories throughout the developing world. Working in Taiwan, nearly all the Thai workers interviewed claimed of being verbally assaulted by the Taiwan supervisors.
    “The supervisor in PU is the cruelest, like to yell and scold and threaten to send us back home.” Anand who needed to return to Thailand before finishing his contact because of serious back pain from lifting a too-heavy mold, told us.
    “ It was normal for us to be yelled at or scolded by supervisor.” Thipa told us in an angry voice.
    “Supervisors really like to give us a threat of deducting our salary or sending us back home. We were all scared to be sent back home, especially in the early period because we have not paid back all the debt yet.” Apple emphasizes.
    Almost every worker interviewed complained of how supervisors often yelled or threatened to send them back home.
    “We can tolerate the hardship, but we cannot stand the behavior of supervisors that are very cruel and like to yell and scold at us unreasonably.
    We can go to toilet only if there is someone to replace us. We were not allowed to use the toilet more than 5 minutes and only twice a day.” Apple
    Sompong also shared with us his experience of seeing Thai workers who responded to the unfair practices of the supervisor being sent home before the contract ended. Therefore, he said that “many of Thai workers were scared to respond or argue with supervisors and had to do whatever the supervisors said, because they were afraid that they would be sent home.”

    Hazardous Working Conditions

    Even though there are many workers in the Pou Chen factories, but there is no first aid room. If any workers are sick they have to wait until there are more sick workers joining the car before going to the hospital.
    The workers will be allowed to go to the toilet for 5 minutes if there are someone can come to replace in their position. Their toilets’ uses have been recorded, and if they have a record of leaving to the toilet, they will be warned by the supervisor. As a result, many workers try not to go to toilet by not drinking much water or suppression of their urination.
    “We have to work hard and can only go to toilet if we can get someone to replace us, we generally have to run to the toilet. We were not allowed to use the toilet more than 5 minutes’” Thipa
    “I was so much in pain and suffered from kidney infection because I always suppress my urination. I requested the supervisor to send me to the hospital, but I have to wait for nearly one hour until there were two more sick workers to fill the car before it can take off to the hospital. I have to stay in the hospital for six days without any visit from the company management. During my sick leave, the company paid only 50% of my wages. As soon as I returned to work the company forced me to work over-time until 11 PM or midnight every night, although I tried explaining to the supervisor that I need to rest but, however, the supervisor forced me to work and I had to work.”
    Although Apple told us in a normal tone of voice, but I was enraged by her story. I endured a similar infection 8 years ago and had to stay in hospital for only two days, but I am still remembering the pain so well. Therefore, listening to her story I know that she must have felt so much pain during that period that I begin to wonder myself of how the company was so negligent and cruel to her painful condition and she had to wait for an hour before being sent to the hospital.
    Anand who was producing molds for Pou Chen, told us that, “It is a very heavy task. This was not the task stated in my contract. I was supposed to be a truck driver but ended up working in the factory. After two and a half years, I was faced with serious spinal pain which is still painful even after I returned to Thailand.”
    Thipa suffered from heart disease during her time in Taiwan and had to be under medical treatment. “I was sick with heart disease and had to take medication in Taiwan and now I am under medication in Thailand. I don’t know whether it was caused by the working environment in the factory.” Thipa still has to see doctor regularly after returning to Thailand.
    Many workers suffered from glue fumes and put up with vomiting and nausea. “I was working in the glue section. It was very odorous, and it makes me feel dizzy and gave me headaches. It took me a while to get use to it. I had to buy protective cloth masks, apron, and gloves myself because it was difficult to ask from the factory.” Once again that Apple reaffirm to us about her experience in Pou Chen factories.
    Many of these workers have to buy their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), such as, gloves, cloth masks, or even apron. There is also no uniform, everyone wears whatever they like. But they were not allowed to wear the same brand name shoes that the company produced this is to prevent being accused of stealing the company's shoes.
    Sompong was working in NDC production line that making the outsole. He said that lifting heavy molds has caused him backaches until now. Also, the mold hit his hands twice and damaged his right hand forefinger permanently. “I have not received any compensation from the company. The company only transfers me to work in the rubber section, which is very bad-smelling and I have only a cloth mask.”

    Underpayment
    Phanthep told us that he and all of his friends have to take only half an hour lunch break and start working right away without a calculation as over-time. Therefore, he claimed that he and his friends have been underpaid for 30 minutes every day.
    Apple, Sompong and Anand also reaffirmed that their salaries have been deducted during their sick leave. For Sompong, besides not getting his salary -- which was deducted 100% during sick leave after his forefinger has been damaged by the mold -- he has not received any injury compensation from the company.
    For the first time, we heard male workers complain of receiving less than female workers. “ Women workers are usually earning higher than men. But male workers were working in the sections that were mostly dealing with heat, heavy and hard work. But we earn the same salary. Therefore, women workers who were in the assembly line -- with much over-time work -- were earning more than male workers.” Sompong complained in despair.

    Forced Overtime
    Male workers complain of working difficult tasks that deal with heat and heavy lifting, with no additional compensation and not much over time payment. On the other hand, those workers in the assembly line that are mainly women workers were working excessive over-time hours, until 10 to 11 PM almost every night.
    The normal practice is for garment and shoe production is to pay the lowest wage and pressure workers to work over-time to earn enough to meet with their basic needs. Pou Chen is no different. Some of the workers interviewed told us that, since they were going to work in Taiwan for a short period, they tried to work as hard as possible so that they can earn more money to send back home. However, to work until 10 to 11 PM every night -- sometimes even until the morning -- is very trying. Some workers complained about not having enough rest and requested the company to allow them to take some rest.

    Language and Culture
    One of a biggest problem for Thai migrant workers in almost every receiving country is their language and the resulting inability to communicate with their supervisors and local people of the countries they work in. Not knowing the language is one of root causes of the other problem that leads them to exploitation: They cannot join with the local people to gain better conditions. Nor can they read information or otherwise learn their rights according by law. Most importantly, they cannot protect themselves or fight for their rights of fear of being sent back home.

    Recruitment Agencies
    When Phan went to Taiwan, the recruitment fee was around 85,000 – 95, 000 baht. But at the moment the recruitment fee is over 180,000 baht, which is higher than the limit of Ministry of Labour (not to be more than 56, 000 baht). The workers have to work for one or two years just to pay off the debt they borrow, in order to pay the recruitment agencies. For those who have land or property and can mortgage the bank, theinterest rate would not be so high, but for those who do not have property to mortgage to the bank, they get loans from informal sector that the interest can be from 5 – 10% every month.
    Recruitment agencies have played a very important role in overseas employment. They took 65% of the market share. At the moment there are approximately 260 recruitment agencies published in the Employment Department web site.
    Most recruitment agency over-charged the recruitment fee set by the Ministry of Labour. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare has long known about this problem. Last year alone, there were 9,665 cases reported to the Ministry of Labour and there are over 200 recruiters have been charged.
    The present Minister of Labour, Pracha Promnok, is taking serious attention on the issue of illegal recruitment agencies and over-charging of recruitment fees.

    Number of Thai workers working in Taiwan by agencies then by gender, 1999
    Self Arrangement
    Dept. of Employment
    Employers
    Recruitment Agencies

    Total




    working
    training



    Male
    Female
    Male
    Female
    male
    female
    Male
    female
    Male
    Female

    36,124
    2,585
    492
    149
    53
    86
    61
    7
    62,364
    13,175
    115,096
    31.39
    2.25
    0.43
    0.13
    0.05
    0.07
    0.05
    0.01
    54.18
    11.45
    100.00

    Source: Year Book of Employment Statistics, Office of Overseas Employment, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, 1999, page 59.
    No Grievance Systems
    “ I was crying almost every day in my beginning period of working because my supervisor yelled at me that I was not good at the work and threatened to send me back home. I cannot return home because I was not be able to pay off the debt.
    I was a very cheerful person before I went to Taiwan, but during my work in Taiwan, I forgot how to smile” Apple.
    All the male workers interviewed felt the they were not allowed to give comment or suggestion regarding any problem. During the company meeting if they raise their hand to speak they will be yelled at by a supervisor. Only when the problem has turned out to be serious would the company some time listen to them.
    “The factories apply much power over the Thai workers. They were not open for any requests or suggestion from us. The company also took all contract documents and our passports.” Sompong.

    Back to IndexConclusion
    Most of the shoe’s leading brand name, especially Nike, Adidas, Reebok or Timberlands have codes of conduct to ensure basic rights of workers. Pou Chen main customer is Nike and under Nike codes of conduct, there should be no discrimination against race, sex, nationality or color. The workers will not be underpaid or forced to work excessive over-time. Nike also guarantees the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
    However, Thai workers in Pou Chen have many of their rights violated and face discrimination and harassment. The Pou Chen workers were underpaid, working over the 60 hour limit of Nike's code of conduct. They have been forced to work over time. The PPEs are not regularly provided to the workers. In addition, there is no first aid room and doctor or nurse in the factory.
    When the difference of culture and way of living are concerned, the company should open for suggestion and request from Thai migrant workers working in their factories. Especially since clean and safe drinking water is a minimal expense and essential for good health.
    It is still the practice among footwear factories, to apply double standards between the production workers and with the customers. Anand told us that “If a buyer from America visited the factory, every thing with be perfect, workers will be ordered to clean the factory, the food cooked for us will be excellent that day, for example.”
    Just because these migrant workers in Taiwan factories can earn higher than minimum wages in Thailand factories that these Thai migrant workers have no other rights to live as a human being or have their rights to freedom of expression suppressed. These workers should have their rights protected from all form of exploitation, violations and harassment.


    This paper produced for Press for Change. For more information please contacts Jeffrey D. Ballinger at email: jeffreyd@mindspring.com
    Junya Yimprasert can be reached at email: lek@thailabour.org

  5. #5
    lom
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    I have met quite a few Thai's that has been working overseas - Taiwan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq to name a few places.
    Most of them tells about this part in their life as a time of hard work but good pay and all of them did this when they were young.

    I have asked around today since I found the 200K Baht a bit over the the top, but it seems to be the going price. 150K for Korea, 200K for Taiwan..

    Be aware though that scams in this business in not uncommon.
    The wifeys brother should do some investigation about what job he is gonna get and choose a recruiting company with good recommendations.

    Even by doing that, still it could be water or it could be wine...
    The voices in my head are mostly kind, I also like the music.

  6. #6
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    ^ yeah the thai labour department says that the amount should be no more than 56,000 baht - but apparently 180K is about the going rate....

    I guess it depends on the company.....

  7. #7
    better looking than Ned
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingwillyhggtb
    The family of the missus have 'found' a job for the younger brother (who has just finished his 2 years in the army). A labouring job in Taiwan, I have heard only bad things about these sort of jobs, and BTW, they need 200 000baht to send him there ??? Does anyone else have first hand experience / information re: this stuff.
    A Thai friends family sold off a plot of land to pay the slimie shits for a job in Taiwan never ended up going lost the money. These head hunter fucking recruters are blood suckers. He is taking a risk with his life heath and money. Spend the 200,00 bht on school so he has got a trade is a better idea

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rigger View Post
    Spend the 200,00 bht on school so he has got a trade is a better idea
    now thats a damn sensible idea...

    however, as sole big-nose in family (and not paying all the bills) I 'sepct that my opinion will count for little.....

  9. #9
    ding ding ding
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    "thai construction workers overseas"

    Is there a demand for uphill bathtubs and stone age electrical installation in the west?

    Maybe these dummies can shovel sand or something but thats about it.

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