The demarcation disputes between Thailand and Cambodia made us think about our expat client who had a problem with a Thai neighbor. The geographical demarcation by politics and power always overlaps the cultural border. There are many French nationals in Alsace who speak German but they still enjoy the unity within diversity. The Asian integration as the United Nations of Asian (UNA) like the model of the European Union (EU) can be the utopist idea if we are all propagandized by our prejudice historians. All neighboring countries in this world suffer from the disputes which always lead to the violence. The Ancient Khmer culture (Funan Empire) can be comparable to Latin of the East which diverse into many countries in this golden land. Thank to our ancestors, we have our language and alphabets for many centuries. Many politicians provoke the chauvinism for the political agenda. We should not let these politicians to dilute our cultural pride.
Our client was a retired engineer who stayed in Bangkok for 18 years. He bought a house in Green Ville, Soi Siam Country Club. The project is very beautiful with a green atmosphere in a European style.
But now, his morning or night times have always been broken by the noise of his Thai neighbor, Khun Ton, who ran a small factory to assembly air-conditioners in his house. Noise of machines and workers and Thai rock music.
He made a complaint with the Manager of the Housing Development Project (Mooban). They sent a notice to Khun Ton. The situation developed into hostility. They made a grievance to Pattaya City Hall and were told by the latter that his Moonban is not in the jurisdiction of Pattaya City. They have to file the complaint with the Sub District Administrative Council (Or.Bor.Tor).
His other neighbors are mostly retired foreigners married Thai wives. Most of them were afraid and said they did not any problems. “It’s OK”.
Brian was absolutely isolated. This Farang is too demanding. He did not understand the Thai way of life “Tolerance”.
We went to inspect his house on the day after which was Sunday, Thai wives of farangs looked cold at him. We talked to his neighbors and found out that “Our Client did not have any alliance”.
We talked to him to explain our belief that Thais and farangs are equal under the law. We would work out with the Manager of Mooban and file the complaint with Or.Bor.Tor that this area should be only for residential purpose not a factory. If they are ignorant, we may push them by Damrong Dham Center who may receive a complaint for the Ministry of Interior. If the situation is worse, we can even go further to the governor or even Minister of Interior. Even we may sue the officers of Or.Bor.Tor for laxity of duties. The problem was that we did not have any neighbors who will be our witnesses as Dr. Martin Luther King said that what frightened so much him was not the yell of the enemy but the silence of his side. But in case of our client, there were people who were silent but blaming him “This Farabng is Crazy, Too Much Problem”.
We talked to the Manager and found out that we would work together. The problem is that Green Tree Village is not MOOBAN JADSUN (Housing Development Project) approved by the government. The Housing Development Act requires that the project from 10 plots of land must apply for the license. The MOOBAN JADSUN will have a committee with the status of juristic person having By-Laws and Constitution binding all buyers of the houses. The project will have common areas and infrastructure and utilities, e.g., club house, swimming pool and gardens.
To get the license is very difficult with the high cost. In Bangkok, a house in MOOBAN JADSUN will be at least 6 millions for 50 square wahs. It is not illegal to have a project less than 9 plots.
We admired the spirit of the Manager who would never let us walk alone.
However, we propose the ideas of talk before fire. We proposed to have a meeting with the neighbor. But we had to be careful about racism and xenophobia. Our client is quite ideal for us. He is well educated with the decency of typical western gentle man. We asked him never mention “Culture” or “It is not like the country I came from”. He agreed.
We left our mobile number with the wife of his neighbor (Khun Ton). He called us that night and asked us if we were TANAIKWAM (Lawyer). We responded “Yes”.
We said that we know law very well and we should know that he had the right to do whatever in his house. Our client had no right to make photos of his house and he could be deported.
We said that we did not to talk about law, just wanted to let the parties to amicably talk to each other. Neighbors were the persons who would suffer from the antagonism. We are lawyer who were far from the daily conflict and antagonism. He agreed to have a meeting with our client and the Manager.
We acted as a translator in the meeting let all of them speak one by one without interruption. Our client focus on the issue that the properties in that area will be devalued by this bad environments.
The Thai neighbor told us that he would have a shop house outside. They talked to each other by never mentioning any single word about “RACE” or CULTURE”.
Finally they mutually found out that the Thai neighbor would move soon to his shop house and would supervise his employees not to be noisy and would make a high fence with roof. He gave a big hug to each other.
They all mutually agreed to maintain their community in good environments which is based on low and understanding
Everybody is Happy. This story made us to believe in the words of wisdom “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR”.