T.I.T. Podcast Episode 41: Driving Me Crazy

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•    Welcome to episode 41
•    Lazy days of summer
•    Occupying my time
•    Pattaya Passion forum
•    A driving we will go
•    Tom’s experience with the Thai DMV
•    Take a friend…NO REALLY…take a friend!
•    The 5 tests
•    The driving safety cinema experience
•    Parallel parking from the other side
•    I’m good for 5 years
•    Rent-a-heap is the next step
•    Should I buy a car?
•    A bad omen following the experience
•    Hit and run
•    A voicemail from Dean and Craig!
•    Saw the latest Harry Potter flick
•    A week to go till Oz
•    Tom + flying = anxiety attacks
•    Swine Flu panic in Thailand?
•    Lead medical school suggests sealing borders
•    Schools and internet cafes closed
•    Paper masks everywhere
•    What not to do when you wear a mask!
•    Closing remarks and love!

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Red Tape Part 2….

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Well, I finally made it to Saturday evening here in one piece after a mentally exhausting week down at the office. I know that i have hinted a few times in my previous entries that things are not all rosey at work, and I’ve tried to keep work complaints out of my blog despite the stress it causes me from time to time. Today that ends!!!! How does that old saying go about life imitating art? I can’t exactly remember, and not that I’d call my ramblings on here art anways. Something happened yesterday day that relates so closely to my previous post on red tape and visa work that I felt it a relevant topic to share with you my family, friends, and the occasional curious stranger.

I was checking emails early yesterday morning while sipping my coffee from my superman mug, and the office clerk was busily shuffling and re-shuffling her papers sprawled across her desk. I casually turned and inquired as to the current status of my work permit, as it is still being held hostage somewhere behind mountains of red tape. I was given a brusk “In process” and as my current visa runs out in 2 weeks I pushed a little further for more information. She mumbled in Thai the usual complaints about being so busy, and why do foreigners always want to know everything, but I wasn’t backing down this time. So i asked what the problem was, and she starts to explain to me bits and pieces of the drama that would unfold. I am informed over my coffee, that my nearly completed Masters Degree in “Education” is not adequate anymore to obtain a teacher’s license, which is needed to obtain a work permit…which is needed to extend my visa. She went on to explain that the shifting sands of Thai law have changed again and that the “powers that be” have decided that if one doesn’t possess a bachelor’s degree in Education, then a Masters in Education isn’t adequate enough to qualify one as a teacher. (Insane and totally illogical I know) So basically….she tells me that my 2 and a half years and nearly 9,000 dollars spent where all for not…money and time wasted down the toilet. Further, in the same breathe she starts talking over my head to the office manager in Thai “about” me and what I might have to do if the process can’t be finished in 2 weeks. She says to the office manager that i might have to pay an additional 50 dollars to extend 10 more days and then if that isn’t enough time then I might have to exit the country for a 3rd time to apply for a new working Visa abroad. Now imagine that all the while i’m sitting there…literally sitting between this conversation about me going on over my head, and so try to imagine my face slowly going red and with steam starting to seep from my ears.

My patience snapped and I shouted that I would NOT be paying anymore money because of her inability to get my paperwork sorted out in time. Nor would I be coming out of pocket for yet another visa run, because of the inept ability of some rude office clerk or because of the inefficiency of the various Thai ministry’s bureaucrats in processing little bits of paper at the rate of a sickly army of snails. I was furious!!!! So, by this time the bell had rung and it was past time for me to head off to the kiddies, and as luck would have it we were due to practice a “Pep” rally for our students. So I needed to suddenly put on a happy face and get ready to cheer our team’s chants! Ahhh, the frustrations of life here sometimes.

So, I waited till later in the day when the owner of the school arrived and she cleared up the whole mess a bit better. Apparently, despite what the moronic clerk had told me, I have been issue a temporary teacher’s license based on my qualifications….which ARE still considered an adequate teaching credential. However, at some point I will have to take some 4 day Thai cultural course and exam for some reason and my boss assured me over and over that there was nothing to worry about. She said that we had 2 years and that the government was bound to shift between now and then, thereby changing all the rules yet again. Therefore, the inept office clerk just had not one clue what she was talking about and ran her mouth off trying to save face (Which is another extremely annoying aspect of Thai culture i’m not going to go into today). Therefore, keep your fingers, toes, and whatever appendage you’d like crossed that the dust will settle soon. I hope everyone finds some way to make their weekend special and talk to you next time! Hopefully with a more cheerful topic. ;-)