Making plans to visit the Land of Smiles (Thailand) in August, as always I had to partake in my least favorite activity, the purchasing of travel insurance. In all my travels I have literally spent thousands on a product I hope I will never need, and touch wood so far have not.

However, whilst I do lament having to pay the $100 for a months cover – I still cannot understand travelers who forego this relatively inexpensive travel requirement and then when things go wrong expecting others to pick up the tab. I do have sympathy for travellers who get caught out on over technical product disclosure statements and fail to read the fine print, but these are far and few in between.

These days there seems to be an ever increasing presence in my Facebook feed of sob stories that describe the mostly young and carefree traveler in South East Asia that have gotten themselves into trouble. Almost always due to a motorbike or tropical infection with no insurance to cover the thousands of dollars requested by a western style hospital.

Here is one recent request I received recently:

Kevin moved to Thailand four years ago and lives in Pattaya helping tourists and new expats to learn about Thailand.

About six months ago Kevin started to have daily indigestion that in the past month became unbearable, leading him to the hospital this past week where he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

Without insurance Kevin will undergo chemotherapy, radiology and possibly surgery with costs nearly 1,000,000 Baht ( $30,000 )

He will also have to drive to Bangkok five days a week ( a four hour drive ) for his radiology treatments (30 session).

All funds raised will go towards medical bills and recovery with hopes that we if raise enough maybe we can get him a hotel in Bangkok so he won’t have to travel daily for the four weeks this coming month.

Thank you so very much for your support in Kev beating cancer.

His Go Fune Me Page can be found at https://au.gofundme.com/help-kev-in-thailand-beat-cancer

Why Kevin thinks anyone should fund his decision to live in a country without any health insurance and with millions of other Thai residents in the same boat should get ‘special treatment’ is beyond me.

From The Readers:

As I am sure the first email I will receive in my inbox after posting this week will be – what travel insurance company do you use and what level of protection do you get? I will get in first.

I use 1 cover travel insurance who can be found at the website http://www.1cover.com.au

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I only get Medical Insurance coverage as I never travel with anything more expensive than a $1000 laptop that can be easily replaced if lost or stolen.

However, as the saying goes you never know your insurance provider until you have to claim and I have only gone through the process of lodging a claim once. This was in a Bangkok Hospital when I was infected with a nasty case of inflamed conjunctivitis during Thailand’s worst ever period of air pollution.

The staff I spoke to were friendly and professional and assured that any out of pocket expenses would be covered as per the PDS. In the end, my excess was higher than the doctors visit so it was moot for me to go through with the claim.

FYI – I do NOT get paid by anyone for these comments and ALWAYS pay full price for my travel insurance with 1 cover.

#watchthisspace

The Wet Season is well and truly underway in South East Asia with the underreported and yet quite shocking statistics that in the last two weeks, lightning strikes have killed 13 people and injured 12 others, while a total of 59 people have been killed by lightning this year, with 56 injured.

Because the cultivating season has arrived, farmers have started to work their fields and grow crops to support themselves and their families. Working in fields during thunderstorms is highly risky for the farmers. As well as the human cost, lightning has also killed 17 cows in the last two weeks.

Keeping with wild weather and Bangkok has seen some of the wildest upon the city earlier than expected. With the annual blame game starting after authorities have vowed to step up efforts to prevent flooding in Bangkok now that the rainy season has now taken hold.

Authorities have vowed to step up efforts to prevent flooding in Bangkok now that the rainy season has now taken hold. Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda on Tuesday revealed the outcome of a meeting he called on Sunday with relevant agencies to find ways to prevent flooding in Bangkok, two days after torrential rains swamped many parts of the capital, causing heavy traffic on many of the cities roads.

The flooding also reportedly stemmed from a power outage at Bang Sue’s water draining tunnel, one of the city’s largest water draining systems. The outage dragged on several hours before resuming at around later in the evening. Bangkok traditionally relies on pumping water to prevent flooding, with attempts made to drain the water into the famous Chao Praya River or the sea. There are currently 14 locations marked as critically flood-prone whilst another 56 can be flooded if significant enough rainfall.

As the regular readers of this blog would know my comments on the booming Vietnamese economy and whilst inflation is higher than liked. A recent report stated the Vietnamese economy is expected to grow at around 6.7 percent this year, the fastest rate in Southeast Asia, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ recent Economic Insight: South East Asia report.

According to the report, Southeast Asian economies except Vietnam have seen exports drop in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year while Vietnam’s exports grew albeit slower than in 2018.

Its economy grew at 6.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter driven by strong manufacturing, steady services and higher agricultural output.

However, its economic momentum is expected to trend lower due to reduced Chinese demand for goods and rising trade protectionism. While the escalating US-China trade war could benefit Vietnam in the short term due to trade diversion, Vietnam still heavily relies on China, with its exports to that country accounting for around 10 percent of GDP in 2017.

For those looking to travel to The Middle East Emirates Airlines has reinstated its daily flight from Phnom Penh to Dubai via Bangkok instead of via Yangon due to increasing demand for travel between the Cambodian and Thai capitals, the airline’s commercial manager Abdulla Adnan told reporters at a media briefing on Tuesday.

Emirates Airlines discontinued its service from Phnom Penh to Dubai via Yangon on May 31. The increasing demand for travel between Phnom Penh and Bangkok as well as better flight connections in Bangkok airport were the principal reasons for Emirates’ decision to switch from Yangon to Bangkok as its stopover to Dubai.

The Week That Was:

For better or for worse it’s official the Junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha has formally become Thailand’s 29th prime minister this week after a royal endorsement, completing a long transformation from soldier to a civilian leader and vowing “love, unity, and compassion”.

But critics may doubt the divisive leader’s pledge after his previous stint in power which was marked by a ban on political gatherings, a clamp down on the media and the muzzling of dissent. The 65-year-old ex-army chief led the 2014 coup, the last of at least a dozen since 1932 by a military woven deeply into the country’s turbulent politics.

Thailand’s first parliament since the coup was stacked with 250 hand-picked senators who helped vote Prayut in as prime minister over the charismatic and embattled leader of the Future Forward party. But he holds a razor-thin majority in the lower house in a country frustrated by the military’s influence on politics, with the hashtag #RIPThailand trending on Twitter after the vote.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s “two brothers-in-arms” who are core figures of the regime have retained their ministerial posts, in the know source says.

The Democrats and Bhumjaithai have meanwhile successfully grabbed key economic ministerial seats in the new cabinet, according to the sources.

A list of people speculated to be in the cabinet line-up emerged after Gen Prayut was royally appointed Prime Minister for a second term on Tuesday.

Embattled Gen Prawit Wongsuwon will remain as a deputy prime minister in the next government, while Gen Prayut will also be defense minister, a post-Gen Prawit previously held. Gen Anupong Paojinda will stay on as interior minister, the source said.

Gen Prawit is also the deputy chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) while Gen Anupong is an NCPO member. The Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties vehemently refused to return key economic ministerial posts to the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP).

Both coalition parties said the deal for ministerial posts had been sealed with the PPRP before they agreed to vote for Gen Prayut to reclaim the premiership on June 5. The Democrats were eventually given control of the Agriculture and Commerce ministries, whereas Bhumjaithai will take the helm of the Transport Ministry, as earlier agreed with the PPRP, the source added.

Gen Prayut on Tuesday said he would sit down for talks with coalition allies to form a cabinet as swiftly as possible. Before the royal appointment ceremony, Gen Prayut told reporters that the new cabinet would be formed soon.

Photo of the Week:

The past few weeks photo of the week winner is drum roll please……………………man on the left. From many emails received over the past few weeks, the reason given is the girl you marry at 20 will be vastly different to the lady your married to at 60. Your comments, not mine!

The photo can be found at weekly news and view post-https://harrisonwhitejournalist.com/2019/05/29/is-phnom-penh-nightlife-bangkok-circa-1990-and-the-super-baht

This weeks photo has been provided by a reader.

Mugshot Cambodian style.

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The Week Ahead:

Next weeks weekly news and views will be very interesting as I will focus on the rising tensions in Hong Kong after the recent proposal in introduce extradition treaties back to mainland China, and if there will be any groundswell for protests in Bangkok against the heavily criticised newly elected Junta leader.

Harrison White can be contacted at harrisonwhitejournalist@gmail.com