In the spirit of 'well just fancy that' comes the news that some of us poor Brits living over here in Thailand are panicking a bit because those who distribute social security payments back home are blocking payments to people essentially living overseas.
So step-forward the Pattaya Brits who find that even a half-good disability pension will cover an apartment, a few beers and a few girls a week in this charming resort though with the drop of the British pound some may have to reduce the quality of service.
Anyway now despite the chippies, greasy breakfasts, mushy peas, warm beer, urinating in the street, football, drunken punch ups, pub quiz nights, drag acts, and having a 'gaff', these 'geezers' are coming to the realisation that yes, they are in fact in the overseas category.
'Nah not me. Must be some other geezers'So now we have to wait and see how they wriggle out of it. Some I gather are already perfecting disguises like this chap here on the right.
A hundred or so Brits have been writing into the local website 'PattayaSecrets.com' seeking more information and offering comment after a rumours started that (1) Customs and Revenue and (2) The Department of Work and Pensions, were opening up offices in the resort.
What a diabolical liberty!
Some of the posters are making known exactly what they feel about people who 'grass them up'.
PattayaSecrets.com is not shy about being a site for 'mongers'; in the local parlance, people who habitually seek sex with prostitutes.
The site even has a section for trip reports where punters rate the sexual abilities of individual Thai 'bar girls' and post pictures of their 'purchases'. I'd much rather like to see a site where the girls rate their punters.
One poster 'Kwarmsuk' writes: 'Why the f**k should I pay for some scrounging f**ker who is living in Thailand when I work like f**k and pay taxes to keep them. I personally know at least 4 or 5 guys claiming sickness benefit from the UK living in Pattaya and they seem to visit bars, and monger with Thai girls ok'. (A little editing was essential here)
Its comforting to see however that many Brits too are angry about these scroungers, one of the most famous of whom in the UK was photographed running a marathon while claiming benefit as an invalid. Actually Brit Paul Appleby (pictured below) ran three marathons between 2002 and 2005 while claiming he could only walk with the aid of sticks or a frame and most of the time was wheelchair bound.
Even Soi 7, the site-owner, enters the fray in his case to extol the benefits of disability payments:' I tore a tendon in my wrist years ago. The doctor said no work for a month. I applied for and got disability payments and went straight to Las Vegas and spent the time enjoying myself. Could not see a thing wrong with that'
Well I guess he could still handle a game of Blackjack or Pontoon and pull a one armed bandit. But, I guess, there's some things he could not do with his remaining workable wrist which could result in clinical depression.
A poster cutely called 'Gobbler' wrote: 'It is wrong to claim benefits while living abroad, especially those whoring in Thailand. There is a free grass telephone line if you know anyone doing this despicable practice'
But he was quickly put down by 'johnniec63' who wrote: 'People like you make me f....g puke!'
(There's a lot of f...g! on this site by the way)
One poster thinks he has found his way around social security sleuths: 'Fly to Belfast, then go to Dublin by bus. No checkpoint or visa check on border. Then buy flight ticket from Dublin to Thailand that way, the UK government will think you are still in the UK!'
Crafty blighter. The British authorities will never work that one out, especially when his ATM card reveals a location next to the 'Gobble and Go' bar. Well actually he's a bit short on knowledge about how much the authorities do know about ticketing.
Disability pension can be over 180 quid (to use the vernacular) a week sterling, a junior executive salary in Thailand, two to three times the salary of a bus driver and about the same as say a foreign sub-editor on the Bangkok Post English language newspaper, which is quite a lot if you don't even know what country Copenhagen is the capital of.