Bangkok Diary – Annus Horibilis For Residents At Le Raffine

Bangkok Diary

From Andrew Drummond, Bangkok, November 6th

As the flood waters spill their way towards the city there are a lot of unhappy bunnies camped out in one of Bangkok’s most expensive condominiums having undergone their own ‘annus horibilis’.

I’m talking here about residents of Le Raffiné (refined or sophisticated) in Sukhumvit Soi 24 where to buy a place one needs about 30 million baht stashed away.

The condominum, one of Bangkok’s longer established high-end residences, was, of course, the subject of a recent fire. The fire broke out on the 18th floor of the 30-floor building.

Documents in my possession show that, while desperately trying to preserve their cool, residents have been worried that at any time they could be grilled, smoked, electrocuted to death, unless management gets its finger out.

Despite paying service fees equivalent to a small mortgage for us country folks, (well it would pay my mortgage) it seems some people believe that the security they have been getting has not been that much better than one would get from renting a 4,000 baht condo in Klongtan. Though, of course, this is not my claim I should point out.

(Right: Fire drill at Le Raffine)

To date residents do not know the cause of the fire, which they think might possibly have been an exploding gas bottle.  They have to wait for a report from Thonglor Police, who in turn are waiting for a report from the Forensic Police etc. A maid seems to be taking the blame.

What is more ominous is that not many people heard the fire alarm at the time. Some of these apartments are so vast apparently unless you have your ear glued to the front door you will miss it completely. Forget it if you like ‘Thin Lizzy’.  If another fire breaks out it could be ‘Good Night Vienna’ for a few of the owners, who comprise a Who’s Who of Bangkok’s local and foreign elite.

Above: Fire alarm – not negotiable


Apparently new wiring and a new fire alarm system are being put in place with alarms now inside all the apartments. In the meantime if a fire breaks out residents are going to be alerted by a Somchai down at reception who will call them immediately.  This could be tragic for some people who do not take calls after hours, even if Somchai were to get to them. There are 54 separate units to call. I would be tipping Somchai to get the first call.

Meanwhile the management would like to stress they are doing their best.

‘We would like to sincerely say from our heart that we never ignore to make our place improved but some issue example cause of fire it is beyond our ability to force police and we were informed by Thonglor police that this long time waiting is very normal process.’

 For more suggestion, please feel free to give us.”

The letter was addressed to Dear Owners and Tentants. One wag has changed it to ‘Dead Owners and Tenants’.

In many ways management are to be complimented. There have been no reports of fire doors being cemented up or merely just locked. And, as there is a swimming pool on virtually every floor, it seems the Thai fire brigade which cannot get to the top of high buildings had a built-in source of water.

And it’s also nice to know they are ready for the floods.

Seems these plans are much more sophisticated than mine which is to leap aboard my floating sala with a several crates of beer, a bottle of La Phroaig, or Old Pulteney, several large flagons of water, plus food,  with fridge, TV, fans, music etc. connected to the Thai national grid via overhead wiring.

My wife however says she is taking the kids to the eastern seaboard to loot the supermarket shelves there at the same time – a current complaint by locals down in Chonburi.

Picture: The floating sala. Lazy shot from bedroom window. My lake is now up at record level and another foot or so will be over the lawn or part of it.  Another 2 ft and the cricket pitch is done.  When it gets to 1.5 metres my wife is ‘outta here’.

Footnote: Just done a live two-way with Sky News to say most of Bangkok city centre is still dry but serious flooding to north and west. But many people have left due to warnings. Authorities may now be getting a grip on situation. Interesting to see what is coming out of people’s houses, green mambas, lions tigers etc.

10 thoughts on “Bangkok Diary – Annus Horibilis For Residents At Le Raffine

  1. More proof that all this so-called expensive and refined bollocks is just a scam. Get yourself a Tata Nano/a scooter/a bicycle and a tin roof and save yourself loads of dosh for a rainy day. A decent environment is far more important than this macro-materialistic shite. Refined is as refined does. In this case, they obviously don't.

  2. Totally OT, but that letter to the residents is damn near incoherent. Thais will certainly be on cruddy end of the stick when ASEAN opens up all those English necessary jobs to the beautifully fluent Malaysians. I cannot wait to be able to understand a Thai "" English"" voice menu on the telephone, for once…
    ""…Pwah Engwish,pweathe pweth pwthaw. Pweathe pweth gwawp..""

    Fans of Drummond

    Who wants to meet me tomorrow at the FCCT restaurant around 1'ish? We can have a Drummond Appreciation Lunch !!

  3. The FCCT have just asked me for next years's dues. As Noyes' is quoting an FCC man saying I should go back to Scotland I am in two minds.
    Of course it won't be true but the FCCT won't know that.
    And should I be signalling where I am having lunch? Don't think I have ever been there at lunch time. Private message sent.

  4. I would neither rent nor buy a condo over 5 stories. Just how high does the Bangkok Fire Dept ladder go I wonder? In any event, these places are a disaster waiting to happen due in no small part to the low level of fire precautions that are put in place, the wonderful electricity system in Thailand, etc etc.

  5. The plan really sucks doesn't it! No standby power and no confirmation that any diesel has been bought! LOL! Last year in Koh Chang there was some major earth slides which took out the power to the 'touristy side' of the island, I was heading for the Tropicana Hotel, they were out of power and I saw the staff trying to start the emergency generator! It fired up for about two minutes and 'died', I went to see if i could assist but the smiley faces all knew that the diesel fuel reserve had been 'syphoned off' months ago! Ha Ha! Never mind this is Thailand!Did the hotel ever do anything about it? I doubt if the diesel tank has yet to have a lock installed on the filler cap! After all it the landslides have gone away now haven't they?

  6. At 30 million a pop I rather think they should be able to afford a full time ""singing canary"" skivvy on hand to alert them to dangers, pyrotechnic or otherwise.
    The problem with the FCCT, one enters the place perfectly sober but usually leaves incapable of seeing a pink chang at 50 paces.Must be something in the water there…..

  7. In order to put a ring of steel round our intrepid and noble reporter Andrew Drummond can I recommend that readers of this invaluable news organ send letters and emails to British Ambassador Asif Ahmad in Bangkok recomending that the sainted Mr Drummond be awarded an MBE for services to Thailand and international journalism.

    In fact some of the more resourceful members of the Andrew Druummond Apreciation Society might want to send letters and emails to former Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva requesting that Andrew Drummond be awarded a similar honour such as the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant. It does exist, it was awarded to Abhisit himself in 1999! And of course Abhisit was born in UK and went to Eton and Oxford so he would perhaps be sympathetic to our valid requests.

  8. Can I add my weight (I'm about 15 stone) to the clamour for an 'Award for Andrew'? I write from Leeds where Sir Jimmy Savile's golden coffin has just passed my office. Jim would've fixed it for AD I'm sure. But in his sad absence, would an online petition garner AD the recognition he so richly deserves for making Thailand a safer place for visitors?

  9. I sincerely doubt whether he has made it a safer placer in the short to medium term Mr Fixit. Loss of face tends to make things even more dangerous. But then again, someone has to make a start. No Thai politician, police officer or civil servant, journalist or businessman has really even vaguely begun to shoulder the burden of this country's slapdash attitudes.

    Keep up the good work!

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