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Infrastructure Woes

My house is shaking like a thing possessed, the roar of heavy machinery is jangling my nerves and renders any civil conversation impossible. To make matters worse, the power has gone off (and may not be on again until tomorrow) and I have a deadline to get this article to the editor!!

Nothing unusual in Phuket!! Like many on the Island with half complete road works on their door step, today was my turn for the road making crew to plough the road outside my house, again; and something as tempting as an electrical cable, in plain view, hanging over the street was too hard for the grader driver to miss, given that it earned him a half hour break (and quite coincidentally blocked the traffic) for the half hour it took someone else to defuse his electrically charged yellow monster.


Should I complain? Infrastructural deficiencies and horror stories abound. Killer traffic lights, one way systems that change at midnight and change again without notice two nights later seem to be turning into a way of life. (What’s this got to do with property I hear you ask. Bear with me I’m getting there. I think!!).

Should I complain? Tempting as it is to do so, on balance I have to say "No". However badly disrupted the Island may appear (and with the rate of growth taking place in Phuket, some kind of disruption is inevitable), the situation is I believe improving dramatically. Fourteen years ago when I first lived in, what is still my house in Phuket, just 600 meters from what is now the Diamond Cliff Hotel, we had no electricity or phone and had to walk 500 meters along the beach from the nearest road to reach the house.

We were then fortunate to get a small dirt road within a year (the same road that is now being slowly transformed into a well paved scenic coastal highway), but had to wait 5 years for our first phone line and 8 years for a single phase electrical meter (in the interim, we had to "borrow" electricity from a neighbors house and live with an equipment destroying voltage, that fluctuated between 150 and 180 volts at best).

As much as I am tempted to complain about the current noise and disruptions (which undoubtedly could have been reduced with more care and better management and planning), things will change. Tonight my power will be back on again (they say) and in a few months I will have a clean (mud and dust free) paved road leading to my house. Sure, it will bring more traffic (and some of the charm of the wooden house on the sand track by the beach will be changed forever), but if I need a new phone line it can be installed within 15 days of asking and for the last few months I have even had street lights (that work). On balance and in the eyes of the world, this is progress and progress of this nature makes the Island more desirable as a place to live, which will continue to encourage more people to come to live in Phuket and further push up property values. (I told you I would get there eventually!!)

So next time you curse a wasted day, without electricity or telephone, Be pragmatic and consider it as part of a long term investment for Phuket and all property owners.

Finally as another year draws to a close, it leaves me to bid you all a very Happy Christmas.

Look out for yellow monsters bearing unexpected gifts.