Sunday, March 27, 2011
Trying to deal with Thai's....
There just isn't any way I can possibly convey what it's like to have to deal with Thai people....
The word "Impossible," comes to mind...but that's not necessarily so since sometimes things work out. But, most of the time things don't work out since they are really total uneducated or under-educated idiots in most cases, who couldn't think themselves out of a wet paper bag if the need arose.
There are whole websites, essays, debates, and online articles devoted to the subject of Westerners having to deal with or work with Thai people. Mostly it's Western businessmen, CEO's of companies, etcetera, that have to learn how to deal with Thai's as employees. But, there are other areas of concern, like mine, where I'm on a deadline of sorts, having to get my paperwork into the respective agencies on-time or in a timely manner, in order to secure my work permit, teacher's license and non-immigrant B visa. Time for me is running out....
Thai's are incredibly selfish.
Most often Thai's only think of themselves in any given situation and in my opinion, they could care less what happens to the foreigner...in any situation.
If I were a business owner in the U.S. and had to hire a Thai, I would simply fire them rather than try to understand them or learn how to deal with them. But, that's not the case when you're here in Thailand and you have to deal with Thai's since you're in their country.
I've been trying, my utmost, for months...to get Songsaeng Commercial School to assist me with my paperwork. Talking to Thai's is exceedingly frustrating since they appear to have no capacity for linear thought or critical thinking skills.
Panic and chaos seem to be their rule of the day.
If a Thai doesn't know how to do something, or if they have trouble understanding a concept, they will simply do nothing. This is their solution to not understanding something.
They don't appear to attempt to understand any particular situation, they just either lapse into a panic state or they simply chose to ignore the situation altogether. I've often referred to Thai's as "Cowards in Control," since in the preface I often have to deal with them, they are in control since it is their responsibility to handle a situation involving the foreign worker. But, when "In Control," of a situation involving a foreigner...such as dealing with work permits, the foreigner's teachers license, the foreigner's Non-Immigrant B visa, when they don't understand something...they either botch it, ignore it, or put it off for weeks, months....
Meanwhile, my last non-immigrant B visa has expired and I've had to do three border runs in order to stay legitimate in the country. When you do a border run, you only get 15 days in the country before you have to do another one. I'm lucky since I can hop on my motorcycle and take off for the Northern Malaysian border at Dannok, a seedy little town rife with sleaze and prostitution located on the border of Malaysia and Thailand in the South.
To further paint a picture of the ridiculous reasoning Thai's are capable of, get this:
On my first border run, on the 20th of February, I arrived at Dannok in the early afternoon, parked and locked my motorcycle and began winding my way towards the border checkpoint. Like many towns in Thailand, it's a mind-fuck...so much going on that it's impossible to notice everything.
It's a shanty village...ramshackle markets, kiosks, makeshift tourist trap sites selling useless items, clothing stores, fruit stands...reputable store fronts and hotel entrances totally obscured by all of these ramshackle shacks and shanties positioned on the sidewalk...touts shouting at you from every angle, "Hey YOU! Hey Farang! You want PUSSY? You want fake passport? What you want FARANG? We give you anything! We SET YOU UP! How much money you have FARANG?"
Then I saw a small folding table set up on a street corner, utter filth scattered all over the ground, putrid smells coming from everywhere...on the table were Arrival and Departure cards to submit at the border checkpoints...two types of cards necessary to present to immigration. I stopped and picked two of them up. I was just tucking them into my backpack when some Thai Muslim woman ran towards me and said, "Ten baht! Ten baht!"
I looked at her incredulously, frowned, then looked back at the table where there was clearly a small sign printed on cardboard that crudely stated, "Visa form - 10 baht."
"You! Ten baht! No go!"
"Fuck you. These are government issue forms. You have no right to charge me for them!"
Which was true, but...A) She didn't understand a word I was saying and... B) This is Thailand and I could have probably been arrested for "stealing" those forms from her. So, having lived here for six years, I returned them to her and told her politely to go to hell.
The audacity of all of this...these leeches creep over to the border checkpoint in the morning when new cards have been laid out and they simply steal all the cards and return to their little make-shift Thai rip-off station, charging foreigners 10 baht for cards that are supposed to be available for them free-of-charge.
And when you get to the border check point, I guarantee you...there are NO cards available there since they all have been snatched up by Thai leeches.
Anywhere else and those people would have been raided, arrested, and fined for stealing government issued material and trying to make a profit off of them.
Amazing Thailand indeed!
I approached the first border checkpoint on the Thailand side. (No worries about the cards since I'd snatched several of the arrival / departure cards and only given back one set to the Muslim bitch).
No problems at the first border check point. The Thai immigration officer perused my passport, looked at my digital image on his computer screen (there's a webcam staring you right in the face when you approach the check station), looked at me, scanned my passport, looked at the computer screen again and finally began slapping the rubber stamp down into my passport pages. Every Thai immigration officer appears to have the same two expressions...
He handed me back my passport and I began winding my way through the throng of Thai's and Malaysians, all standing around with their fingers up their asses seemingly doing nothing.
Then I entered the tunnel of touts....
A bevy of motorcycle taxi-men trying to get you to use their services, which are simply to drive you to the next checkpoint at an inflated fee of 100 baht (or more), which besides being highway robbery, is just flat nonsense. I know of several foreigners who go to the border on a reasonably frequent basis and end up paying the fee every time...having these vultures charge them outrageous fees. "A waste of good money," I tell them, but they don't listen. They are too concerned about comfort, willing to pay ungodly amounts of money just to avoid a tiny bit of inconvenience....
"No, no thank you! Sorry, no!"
I wade through the throng and break free of the crowd, seeing the walkway to the Malaysian border checkpoint. It's a pleasant enough walk...stroll actually...as long as you've arrived early, since in March it's the dry season and temperatures soar quickly as the day bears on...
Five...maybe ten minutes later I approach the Malaysian border and enter the pedestrian walkway. It's a covered walkway, which is nice if the weather is shitty. In Southern Thailand / Northern Malaysia, don't let the sun fool you, an approaching storm can occur quickly and soak you to the bone in less than two minutes.
The Malaysian checkpoint often has prostitutes hanging around outside the enclosed, air-conditioned building. Why? I have no clue. It seems to me it's a pathetic attempt since most of the people at this site get dropped off by a tour bus, a hired van, or are on foot. A quicky before deciding to cross the border into Malaysia? Who knows? But, the Malaysian border officers are very astute, running them off if they get too close to the building. Perhaps these whores are Thai's and there is some clause that Malaysian's crossing back into Malaysia can bring a guest? Go figure.
The Malaysian side is pleasant. Immigration officers in Malaysia are often polite (not always), smile and will joke with you. On my first run, I had forgotten one of my forms and the Malaysian immigration officer simply informed me of what I'd forgotten...to which I informed him, "All the Thai leeches steal all these forms and try to sell them back to the people crossing the border. I would not buy one since it is not only illegal, but I am sick and tired of paying leeches money that I don't have to pay. To which he not only agreed with me, but gave me the form I needed and instructed me to go to the back, fill it out, and just return to him.
"You don't have to wait in line again. Just fill it out and return it to me when you are finished and I will process it."
All of this said with a smile. That's how it should be, but I can only try and imagine the bullshit these guys have to deal with on a daily basis. So, if Malaysia can take the incentive to be pleasant, why can't the Thai immigration officers do the same? Because Thai's are basically assholes when it comes to foreigners.
I get through the Malaysian checkpoint and run to the bathroom...I've got to pee in the worst way. Then, I leave the bathroom, cross the street, and enter the Malaysian departure side.
Again, pleasantness all around. I head to the Malaysian border departure checkpoint and they smile at me. They peruse my passport, stamp it, and I'm on my way.
The trek from Malaysian departure to Thai arrival is not far...but if you're there late, it's a hot, sweaty trek.
On my first border run I arrive at the final checkpoint...the Thai arrival checkpoint. I take a look at the four checkpoint stations in front of me and pick the one with the female immigration officer.
Probably on her goddamn menstruation period, or suffering from PMS.
"Where is your visa!"
"What do you mean by 'Where is my visa?' My old non-immigrant B visa expired and I've had to cross the border..."
"You understand you now have only 15 days in the country!"
"Yes, I knew that before I even arrived today."
"Don't get that way with me! You should have a visa!"
"You had better be careful. You may have to leave this country."
"And why is that? I know that to not be true. I've studied the law. I will ask you...'How many times can I cross the border in order to obtain a 15-day tourist visa?'"
"There is no limit. You can cross the border for a 15-day stay as many times as you want."
"Oh! I get..."
"BUT! If you attempt to cross the border too many times, an immigration officer might stamp your passport barring you from entering the Kingdom any more, so you will have to stay in Malaysia."
"What? Uh...let me get this right...There is NO limit to how many times I can cross the border, BUT, if I do it too many times, I can have my rights to stay in Thailand canceled...right?"
"That is correct."
"In other words, 'Welcome to Thailand...'"
Stupid of me...you don't argue with the person in control.
But, soon I will be leaving Thailand bent for Penang and my fifth Non-immigrant B visa...soon....
Mused by Jeeem at the following date and time: 3/27/2011 11:59:00 AM