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Netpats invade Bangkok

chatuchakAlthough a late riser on weekdays, Veronica, a 26-year-old America, never forgets to sets her alarm clock early on a weekend.

In the lull before the heat and the crowds descend on Bangkok’s vast Chatuchak market, she patrols its labyrinth of stalls and rifles through mounds of vintage denim and tee-shirts.

Her practised eye soon picks out a dozen items that will thrill fashionistas in Los Angeles or London. Her booty secured, she can then dedicate the rest of the day to her everyday occupation – enjoying Thailand”s unbeatable opportunities for fun.

Making your living from eBay takes a lot of discipline, she says. But the pay’s not bad.

‘I make a pretty good living out here. Of course, Thailand is incredibly cheap, but I can afford to eat at nice restaurants and to travel,’ she says.

Another Bangkok netpat is Giancarlo, a 32-year-old Italian whose apartment near Sukhumvit Road is easily spotted at 5am as the only light in the 25-storey condo.

‘The problem with currency trading is that nothing happens for hours but you have to be there when the opportunity arrives,’ he says.

For Cyrile Hareux of Company Vauban, the internet is opening up new categories of expat. In his real estate business he finds increasing concern about connectivity and the possibility of setting up a home office.

‘A good example of the trend is a sportswriter who continues to write for publications in Dubai, where he can command an attractive rate, while benefiting from the cheap cost of living in Pattaya,’ he says.

In a pioneering development in Hua Hin, a Dutch developer has even installed a fibre-optic network to enable his upscale residents to continue their professions.

One of the owners of the luxury villas is a German management consultant who maintains links with clients in Korea and across Southeast Asia though tele-conferencing.

‘The lifestyle I enjoy here would not have been possible even two or three years ago,’ he says. ‘In my work it is essential to establish relationships face-to-face but I can now do a lot of my job online.’

For Cyrille Hareux, the internet could radically rebrand Thailand for expats.

‘Until now, people have generally thought of Thailand as a place to relax. Actually, a white beach or the side of a swimming pool also makes a pretty pleasant work environment.’

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