marcel barang

Posts Tagged ‘Kasikornbank’

The Kasikorn Bank Russian roulette

In English on 26/05/2017 at 2:26 pm

My yearly retirement visa was due to expire today Fri 26 May – it’s been extended another year, thank you. But it was touch and go, and not because of Immigration, who provided speedy streamlined service as never before in my almost four-decade-long experience.

Immigration insists, in this particular option, on being provided with a letter from a Thai bank certifying that at least 800,000 baht (about 21,000 euros) has been held in the applicant’s account for the past three months.

Ahead of time, I had obtained from Pattaya Immigration a model of that letter. On Tue evening, armed with that model, bank book and passport, I went to the nearest Kasikorn Bank branch along with my daughter who had just driven up from Bangkok. She had taken leave for a day and a half (and was imperatively due back at her office by Thu afternoon) to help her helpless father through this and a couple other administrative hurdles.

How lucky for me that she did!

When we stated our case at the bank branch, we were told that such a letter could not be delivered, because my account was elsewhere – specifically, in Bang Lamphoo, Bangkok, where it’s been for the past twenty-six years. It was a new regulation from the National Bank… So, we had to go back to Bang Lamphoo next day.

As previous experience showed that such a letter might well take days to be issued, my daughter insisted that the bank contact right away the Bang Lamphoo branch to arrange for the letter “to be ready for pickup first thing tomorrow morning”. This was kindly done.

Back on the pavement, we were flabbergasted at the prospect of a 340 km return trip to Bang Lamphoo to get a bloody piece of paper.

But then my daughter said, “I’ve got doubts about this regulation about not certifying money in another branch account, because at first she said it was from the National Bank but then her boss said it was from the bank’s central office. So let’s try another Kasikorn office, you never know.”

Again, we explained what we were after. Five minutes later, we had in hand the letter signed and sealed, and even written more formally than the model provided by Immigration!


Scan as scan can

In English on 30/05/2011 at 9:06 pm

Today it took seven hours all told to buy a scanner.
Yesterday my favourite neighbour’s niece lost her key, so he gave her his, so he finds himself locked out once he has driven his wife to work, so he wakes me up two hours before the time agreed. I treat him to orange juice and toast, give him my second mug of coffee and skim the Post. No time to shit. No time to shower.

We drive to the other side of the Bangkok moon. At that IT Mecca, shops open at 11am. We’re early, damn it, so we take a second coffee while we wait.
A round of three or four shops shows that plain scanners are out of fashion; it’s all integrated stuff these days – printers that scan and make phone calls and take your purse pulse and scratch your back.
In that one shop, there’s one HP ScanJet, so we come back to it and buy it.
As we go to one corner of the shop to test it, I notice a pile of a dozen Cannon scanners – sleeker and cheaper than the ScanJet! So we ‘un-buy’ the ScanJet and buy the Cannon.

End of story? Nyet. He needs to go to ‘that bookshop over there’ to buy a gobbledygook computer book it takes him fifteen minutes to decide not to buy. Then goes and says hello to ‘my friend over there’ and in another ten minutes will have bought three bootleg CDs to further his expertise in computer-ease.
As we are back in the car: ‘You don’t mind, do you, if we stop by my accountant’s? I have some documents to sign. But let’s have lunch first: I know a place famous for braised duck.’

The duck is worth the dozen or so miles it takes to reach it.
A further drive to another side of the moon brings us to a sprawling housing estate.

Half an hour later when he’s done, we retrace to the IT Mecca because ‘Oh shit! I forgot: you need an OCR program to convert your scanned images to text.’
I do?
Turns out I don’t, the ‘friend over there’ says: optical character recognition programs are only eighty percent reliable in Thai. The idea of buying a scanner is to have a digital way to forward to a typist a (picture of) a Thai text to retype as a Word file…

Finally back home, I turn on the air-con, he turns on the TV, drinks some more orange juice and takes a nap while I go out to smoke a cigarette. By the time he leaves to go and pick up his wife, seven hours have elapsed.
Add to this another three to scan as scan can, and it’s time for shower and shampoo.
Next time I need some IT item methinks I’ll shop on the net (he has told me how to PayPal my way out of those useless Visa and MasterCard Kasikornbank cards).

Wake up call

In English on 25/04/2011 at 10:25 pm


Sleep for me is a fight.
I have this more-or-less established pattern of two or three or four brief (two to five hours) slumber nights to one good night’s sleep (seven, if lucky even eight hours), whether I wake up to pee or to cold, heat or noise one to four times a night or not.
Another pattern I swear by is that of sleep cycles – in my case, from experience, one hour and twenty to thirty minutes: even on a single cycle, I wake up fresh and sharp; even on five or six cycles, if interrupted, I wake up incoherent. Woe betide whoever tries to befriend me then! For a quarter century, I got constant flak from my erstwhile companion rightfully complaining I was living in a different time zone. All my friends and colleagues know better than to call me before noon. A morning call is definite dreadful news.
This morning, after an orgy of B-grade movies and Jack Lang, I went to sleep at 3:30.
At a blessèd 11, the phone rings on an unfinished cycle.
I grope for it.
A female Thai voice says something like, ‘Sawatdee kha … this is … check … account … ten thousand … call…’
My first thought is, Is this CAT?
Why CAT? Well, while my daughter was in France on her way to see her uncle and grandfather the other week, she emailed me an SOS which had me call my brother and leave a message as he wasn’t there right then, so the call will cost me, and, since they’ve changed 001 to 008 as international prefix I don’t know when, it’s CAT that pockets the charge now and, as I have no account with them, they had me, for a previous 436-or-so baht call, go all the way to their tinted-glassed skyscraper down the river to cough up and this still rankles. This is what goes through my startled neurons here and now.
So I say, ‘Khor Phra Than Thort Khrap (Excuse me), I’m just waking up. Who is this?’
‘This is Kasikornbank checking on your credit card’s recent expenditure of ten thousand baht. We … bbzzz … What’s your name?’
‘My name is Marcel Barang.’
‘Manjal Prang, right?’
‘Mar! Cel! Ba! Rang!’
‘Parcen Bland…’
‘Listen, I…’ Then the line goes dead.
Shaken but unfazed, I proceed to my wake-up routine: coffee, toast, Bangkok Post. I’ve trouble focusing on the news and, after the first cigarette (when there’s still the second mug of coffee and Life’s cartoons to go through), I jump out of the porch rocking chair, get Kasikorn Thai Bank’s savings book, Visa and MasterCard ready and dial 02 888 88 88, the bank’s 24/7 call centre I’m quite familiar with given my credit cards’ hemiplegia (see previous ‘Kasikornbank’ postings).
After the usual declension of identification tags, a short, friendly conversation leads to the comforting verdict: ‘Nothing’s wrong with your account, kha. It was just a case of mitcha-cheep (criminal activity).’
‘Phishing’, they call it, these days.
The cheek of that chick, waking me up at eleven!

Credit where credit is due

In English on 01/03/2011 at 6:40 pm


I can’t quite believe it: this morning, Immigration was a model of efficiency and speed.
The inch-thick pile of documents compiled over the past two months by Personnel was approved and a one-month provisional extension of my yearly visa duly signed, all within one hour, waiting time included! Was that, I wondered, because the phoo kong (department head, a woman) had seen me on television last month? I think not. At least, it made for civil conversation while she glanced at the documents once again.
I even had time to barge into the cubicle of my processing officer of the past three years (Khun Art) to wish him a happy new year. This time, it was a woman who did the processing.
Police-wise, there has been an embellishment over the previous year: my mug shot was taken (never mind the photo already in the file) as well as my right and then my left index finger prints – the computer age is dawning there too. Next year the toes?
I left feeling mighty relieved and impressed – as well as mighty sleepy as it had been yet another night of sleeplessness, the fourth in one month. Call it nerves if you will.
The question of ‘notification of residence’ every three months wasn’t raised. Maybe it will be when, four weeks from now, I go there again to fang phon (literally ‘listen to the result’, meaning being granted the extension for the rest of the year) and apply for a new re-entry visa.
There is no end to angst. Most of it self-made?
I bought cookies to the three ladies of Personnel thanks to whom the event went without a hitch and treated myself to a coffee and an ‘upside down’ (a slice of pineapple cake) – an annual sin, dating back to the times when I worked for FAO, at the turn of the century.

Meanwhile, Air France has taken no account of the double booking of flights for my daughter. I have a new password to my credit cards (no, I didn’t destroy them after all, as they are still useful anyway anywhere else than on the net) but won’t chance it again … and go to Air France and pay cash.
The latest trap I found on the Kasikornbank website when applying for a new password is worth explaining to farang readers: the relevant page has three items, in small-type Thai and bold English. The first one asks you to enter your passport or ID number; the second asks in English for Expiry Date: if you type your passport expiry date, like I did, you are done for – it is your card expiry date they want, as the Thai line specifies! I’ve suggested to them to change the English line to Card Expiry Date to remove any risk of confusion, but will they listen?

It happened last night

In English on 13/02/2011 at 8:45 pm


Sometime in April, my daughter will go to Paris for a few days with a bunch of friends, travelling with a cheap airline and an overnight stopover somewhere in the Middle East. While her friends fly back, she’ll be one of the half-dozen staying on for a few days: she’ll catch a flight to Toulouse to see her uncle, 64, and grandfather, 94. Her last visit was three years ago.
So last night, with her return flight finally confirmed, she came over so that we could book her Air France flights between Paris and Toulouse. The Air France website is well designed. We chose those flights that would give her maximum time in Toulouse yet enable her to catch her return flight at Roissy.

We booked the flights using my Visa card. Everything went well. Air France asked for my daughter’s cell phone number and instantly wired a set of figures to complete the transaction. She punched it in.
Then we were transferred to the Kasikornbank website to confirm the legitimate use of the Visa card.
That same Visa card that was blocked when, a few months ago, I tried to purchase one of my own books to check on the PaySbuy payment system of my website (see ‘A sad electronic tale’, 26.09.10).
That same Visa card for which I was issued a new password.
I keyed that password in and guess what? No can do.
Undeterred, we renewed the entire operation using my MasterCard card this time. And guess what? Same difference.
My daughter called the Kasikornbank 24/7 call centre. Yes, a man said, we have records of your booking twice the same flight as you explain. There’s nothing we can do, except wait ten working days to see if Air France has also registered the booking and asks for payment during that period of time.
Are we going to be charged twice? Answer: could be.
Can’t you automatically prevent double payment? No, but after the expiry of the twelve working days, we can cancel the payment. What you should do is contact Air France yourself.
How can we do that since we have no evidence to show for a transaction that may or may not have taken place? Well, too bad. Thank you for using our services.

In early 1978, while in Nepal just before I came to settle down in Thailand, I chanced to befriend a hippie with an attitude. He was the heir of a canned food tycoon in the States. One day, he took out of his pocket the tiniest pair of foldable scissors I’d ever seen, the size of half my index finger sheathed in black leather. As I marvelled about it, he told me he’d bought ‘a few pairs’ in France – ‘see, it says “Inox France” here’. Tickled that a Frenchman would be ignorant of his French find, he gave me one. I’ve been clipping my nails with it ever since.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll go to my Kasikornbank branch and, in front of the relevant officer, will use that pair of scissors on my MasterCard and Visa cards, which he issued to me for no purpose but trouble.
I lived sixty years without a credit card. I figure I can survive without one.