Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thai beaurocracy at its greatest

Today, I had to get my motorcycle license. Granted, I've been driving without it for weeks now, and the vast majority of Thais never get them - it's just not that big of a deal. However, the program wants me to get it, so when the students come, I can show them my license and say, "No, sorry, you can't drive the motorcycle- you need one of these." Even the DMV-equivalent knows that everyone drives illegally - there's no permit, so you have to have been on a bike before in order to pass the road test without any previous license, plus they watch you drive in on your motorcycle in order to take the test, and drive away if you fail.

So even the very basis of acquiring a license is a total scam. We tried to convince them that our American drivers licenses should count, as the last intern group did, but to no avail. You arrive at 8:30. At 10, you are shuffled to a room to watch a 90 minute video in Thai, farangs included. There's no English option and there's no way of getting out of this obligation, even though they know you will not understand a single word. After the video, they tell you more information in Thai, so you're done with at around 11:30. Then they don't offer the written test until 1, so you have an hour and a half to do whatever you do when you're stuck at the DMV - we found food. Then comes the written test - Its 30 questions, you need to get 25 right. There is a poorly-translated version in English, but all the information is from the Thai video for which they had no substitute. How do we know the Thai rules of the road, which no one follows because no one has a license? The test repeats questions because it's on random assortment, so if you get it wrong once, you get it wrong six times. Also, you might get one question twice, with completely different answers both times - how can a road sign mean two different things? Who knows? There are these tiny little diagrams that are supposed to show you different situations on the road, but they're maybe the size of a passport photo, and completely indistinguishable. It's a complete crapshoot. Anyway, you have two chances and if you don't pass, you can't take it again until the next day. Maybe Thais will be able to study the book in that time, but what is an English speaker going to do? So now, its already 2 and we've been at the DMV since 8:30, and haven't accomplished anything. Cait managed to pass the written part, so we wait for her to take her driving test at 2:30, which she, unfortunately fails as well. UGH. 

So we walk out of there, completely license-less, knowing that we have to come back and do it all over again. I was feeling dejected and less confident about my motorcycle skills, which was stupid because I didn't even get to the driving part. Josh let me drive him home on the bike (see what I mean about the failing and not caring?) all the way down the MetroPop (the equivalent of the highway here) for the first time, so that was exciting! Such a stupid system - I will never complain about the DMV again. 

1 comment:

  1. OMG that is so ridiculous. I can not even imagine that it is true! It is so ludicrous and incredibly unbelievable. What the heck?!What a system ar rather lack of system. I suppose you returned, 'cuz now you have it, no? Congrats on having the patience to repeat it all over again.