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Monday, 2 March 2009

Fake Bank Notes on Koh Samui

Still running a month behind on these blogs but will catch up in the next few days.

The internet is such an important tool in business these days and a company’s website is the most vital provider of information on the company’s activities and products. Our own website is a major tool in our business and is the first contact that a client usually has with us. It is therefore a potential disaster when that web site is hacked which happened to us in January. For a while anyone using the Firefox web browser received a warning message when they tried to access our site that it had experienced an “attack” and they should not proceed further. Naturally this initiated a flurry of activity on our part with correspondence with our hosting company and Google to identify the problem and eliminate it. It was identified as coming from three sites in China and following the instructions of our hosting company and IT advisors we were able to clean the site and restore its safe availability within 24 hours. We maintain up to date Virus Programs and other safety software but hackers are so ingenious these days that even that sometimes does not help. Internet security is so important these days as there are too many people out there with malicious intent that you cannot be too careful.

Last month I reported on fake thousand Baht bank notes in circulation in Thailand and this month it would seem they have arrived in Koh Samui and indeed it would appear we had one in the office as part of a rental payment. I have reproduced the flyer which helps to identify fake notes below, so please take the time to look at it and be careful when receiving cash. The local banks have states that the money drawn from and ATM will be OK but long experience of dealing with banks here suggests that even then you check what comes out of the slot.

Some good news is that following the visit to Koh Samui of the Prime Minister recently, the state of the roads on the island was discussed and a promise of funding made. We must now see if that turns into reality! See the article later in this Newsletter.

The weather since the turn of the year has been much cooler than normal, and whilst acceptable to those of us brought up in colder climates, has not been welcome by our Thai hosts. Having said that though, there was one night watching the rugby quite late when even I had to make a quick run home to get a slightly heavier shirt and change my shorts to long trousers. Not at all what we expect in Samui in January.

If you are planning a trip here in the spring, the Song Kran Festival this year runs from 13th to 15th April here in Samui although different areas of Thailand extend the dates and you can get wet for a whole week in some places. Samui is pretty sensible and two or three days is the maximum. If you have never been during Song Kran it is an interesting experience – once – although the Thais love it every year but having lived here for nearly nine years now, the novelty has worn off . Or maybe I am just getting old and curmudgeonly!

A somewhat shorter Newsletter this month as there has not been a great deal of published news to report. Generally everything has been pretty quiet having regard to this being High Season. The world economy is certainly having its effect on tourism although there do seem to be a fair number of stalwarts who continue travelling but in far fewer numbers. The Chinese New Year was reasonably busy, a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy tourist season. The next surge would be expected at Easter and Song Kran, so we must keep our fingers crossed for good reports.

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