In Thailand there have been 39 occupations which are restricted to Thai nationals only. My life-long dream of becoming an alms bowl maker or crafter of Thai dolls will sadly go unfulfilled. Never will I be able to create shoes or hats, or forge a knife. Cutting gemstones is forbidden to me, as is making lacquerware and bronzeware. I can never be a farmer or taxi driver, nor can I weave mats or make a paper parasol. And to this catalogue of unfulfillable dreams you can now add “beggar”. The Thai government has resolved that only Thais can be beggars.

A government spokeswoman is reported as saying that “passing the legislation into law would help the authorities get rid of the large number of foreign beggars in the country”.

In future beggars will be required to prove to the local authorities that they are suitably needy, carry an ID card with them at all times and get a work permit.

Of course, such legislation is the obvious way of dealing with the desperate, the mentally ill, the impoverished. So much better an idea than introducing any sort of social welfare for the destitute.