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Hypothetical: Refuse Dump and the Good Samaritan

image DSC03043.JPGConsider the following hypothetical situation. Joe and his Thai wife Bo decide to build a house in Thailand. They buy a plot of land in a subdivision from a friendly Thai developer Ae. In the subdivision there are roughly 10 plots. Around the time Joe and Bo are building there is a lot of building activity going on.

The plot of land directly across from Joe and Bo’s is owned by a farang and his wife Pete and Ann, who live in Wales. They also purchased the land from Ae. Pete is working overseas, so he coordinates with the nice Thai developer Ae to handle some details for him. He want to come over and supervise the actual building himself, but contracts with Ae to handle some prebuilding tasks for him (while he is overseas), such as constructing a perimeter wall and bringing in fill dirt.

As Ae (the Thai builder) is building up other houses in the same area, she needs some place to dump building rubbish, temporarily. There is a lot of building waste that comes with a house project. Most of the waste is dry waste, such as pieces of roof tile, roofing material, blocks of cement, etc. So she uses Welsh Pete’s plot to hold the rubbish.

One day Joe is talking with the developer and she mentions that she is scheduling to have fill dirt brought in. Joe asks when she is going to have the rubbish taken away and she replies that she is just going to fill on top of it. Not only is there piles of rubbish on the land, but also one corner of the plot as a small (2 meter square) cement slab from a squatters hut that was there before. You guessed it, Ae is planning on just filling on top of the rubble.

Joe realizes that is a different take on rubbish, in general here. He explains the downside (settling, later excavation, etc.) of having a layer of hard trash as a substrata. Wouldn’t the owner, Pete, prefer to just pay the 500 or so baht to have the rubble hauled away?

But you see, Ae has pulled a fast one. She already charged for the fill dirt, she can’t really charge Pete 500 baht for something which she shouldn’t have done in the first place.

Another important point in this hypothetical is that Joe has never met Pete, but is friends with his brother (Bret). Maybe Joe is just a do gooder, but he puts himself in Pete’s place. How pissed off would he be if he bought pristine land only to find out someone had used it for a refuse dump and then covered it up. One day Joe and Pete will be neighbors.

So Joe takes some pictures and shows them to Bret (Pete’s brother). Bret is also friends with the developer and has a long discussion with her about it. In the end, the trash doesn’t get hauled off, the fill dirt is placed on top of it. Ae the developer is pissed off at Joe for sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong.

Here is the question. Is Joe a busy body, or is he just being neighborly? What would you do in the same situation?

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