Readers' Submissions

Thai Culture And Visa Extensions

  • Written by TEM
  • February 21st, 2008
  • 6 min read

Let me start by introducing myself: my name is Dr Chuntoriacholarmchoipratapang-suarithnongsiri but I usually introduce myself as 'Nong' as most people haven't got all day.

As many of you are all too aware, shortly it will become necessary for all foreign teachers in Thailand to attend a course on Thai culture (tuition fee 8000 baht) and then sit an examination (costs a further 4000 baht). If they are successful, they will be awarded a Thai teacher's licence, otherwise they face deportation from the Kingdom.

Despite articles that you may have read in the past such as this one

or this one

I assure you that we Thais have a great respect for farangs who have made enormous financial and personal sacrifices to live in this wonderful country. Accordingly, those of us at the Ministry of Education have written a few words to help you pass the examination: in fact we have provided you with a sample of the sort of paper you will be required to take in order to avoid deportation to a destination of your choice. Please note, however, that there are no direct flights from Thailand to either Afghanistan or Chechnya.

Before presenting you with the sample, I should like to thank the following for their helpful comments and very minor criticisms of my written English. First Mr Basil 'send the wogs home' Withlington-Snatchby, fourth deputy assistant attaché at the British Embassy, visa refusals sub-section. Second Dirk 'I ate gooks for breakfast back in Nam' Schweigler-Ramirez of the counter-intelligence division at the US Embassy. Finally I am particularly grateful for the numerous discussions held with Pierre 'Put all Indians in reservations' Czykanuzwxykwskovich, seconded to the Canadian Embassy from the Department of Native American Cultural Affairs in Ottawa.

So, without further ado (as I am sure you are very busy…aren't we all?) here is the sample examination paper.

Instructions to candidates

Time allowed 3 hours (more or less). All questions are multiple-choice and you should select the best answer. Nevertheless you may select as many answers as you wish and not be penalised for any that are incorrect. However plagiarism is strictly forbidden and any candidates suspected of engaging in this deplorable practice, one that is totally alien to Thais, will be subject to either a fine of 235 baht (includes VAT) or 10 years in jail or both. Kindly note that the examination invigilator may well leave the room at any time, possibly to answer a call of nature or because (s)he is hungry. During these periods, you are free to talk to other candidates but not about the contents of the paper (see penalties above).

1) What is the most appropriate way for a student to greet a Thai teacher?

a) Ignore them.

b) Wai and say 'sawasdee krap/ka'.

c) Fall on their knees and kiss the ground.

d) None of the above.

2) What is the most appropriate way for a Thai student to greet a farang teacher?

a) Say 'hello cocksucker, where you go'.

b) Raise the middle finger of the left hand.

c) Raise the middle finger of the right hand.

d) All of the above.

3) A Thai lady believes her husband has a mia noi. Her likely response will be:

a) To threaten to throw herself under a truck.

b) To attempt suicide by drinking lavatory cleaner.

c) To throw herself out of the window.

d) Rationally to examine the evidence that he is indeed seeing a mia noi.

4) While approaching a U'turn on a dual carriageway, a Thai lady receives a call on her mobile 'phone. She should:

a) Stop, block the U'turn and answer it.

b) Pull into the fast lane of the oncoming traffic, stop there and answer it.

c) Not answer it and call back at a more convenient time.

d) Up to her.

5) What is the minimum distance that a motorist should leave between his/her own vehicle and the vehicle in front, when travelling at 120 km/hour?

a) 1 metre.

b) 1 centimetre.

c) 2 centimetres.

d) 2 metres if the vehicle in front is carrying buffalo.

6) On the subject of buffalo, what is the maximum number of buffalo that can be carried in a motorcycle sidecar in Thailand?

a) One.

b) Three.

c) Seven.

d) There is no maximum but all buffalo must wear protective helmets.

7) Female employees of the Thai Ministry of Tourism carried out a survey to determine the main reason that foreign males came to Thailand in the first place. The commonest response was:

a) To look at statues and temples.

b) To get acute food poisoning from our delicious cuisine.

c) The delightful, friendly people.

d) That furry little thing between your legs.

8) The safest place for a child travelling in a car in Thailand is:

a) On the driver's lap.

b) On the lap of the front seat passenger.

c) Freely wandering around inside the car.

d) This is not an issue since accidents in Thailand are very rare, due to the care and consideration that all Thais show to other road users.

9) You are waiting for a bus and it arrives in front of you. In Thailand you should:

a) Let passengers who wish to get off do so before you jump on it.

b) Immediately jump on to the bus so anyone who wishes to get off is unable to do so.

c) Let everyone behind you in the queue get on before you.

d) Up to you.

10) Which is the largest country in the world, in terms of surface area?

a) Thailand.

b) Thailand.

c) Russia.

d) Singapore.

11) Thai people are very particular about hygiene when eating. Therefore your dinner host will invite you to:

a) Squat on the floor and eat with your fingers.

b) Sit at a table and eat with your fingers.

c) Sit at a table and eat using spoon, fork and/or chopsticks.

d) Place a dog on your lap and invite you to share your food with it.

12) The purpose of the hard shoulder by the side of the road in Thailand is:

a) To provide a firm platform so buffalo can graze safely.

b) To provide a flat surface so families can picnic while watching the traffic go by.

c) Somewhere to place dead dogs, chickens and cats after they have been run over.

d) To provide an additional lane, along which drunken motorcyclists can drive at night, in either direction, without lights and carrying children.

13) What do you call a sidewalk in Thailand?

a) A place to set up stalls, in such a way that pedestrians are unable to pass.

b) Yet another lane for motorcycles.

c) A urinal.

d) Somewhere for stray dogs to procreate.

14) A farang barfines a Thai lady on six consecutive days; on the seventh day she will probably tell him to:

a) Go away as she has found a wealthier customer.

b) Go back to his country and send her 80,000 baht every month so she can give up work.

c) Give her 100,000 baht as both her buffalo and her mother require urgent medical treatment.

d) Marry her.

15) Sadly Thailand will not be represented at the forthcoming Euro 2008 soccer tournament. The reason for this is:

a) The Thai Association Football Federation (TAFF) forgot to register in time.

b) The tournament organisers were unaware that Thailand is in Europe and therefore neglected to issue us with an invitation.

c) We were eliminated in the qualifying stages by Nigeria and Brazil.

d) None of these.

16) A Thai mother finds that her baby's bathwater is too hot. Therefore she

a) Adds some cold.

b) Leaves it for a while and then gives the baby a bath.

c) Sends the baby to bed with Coca Cola in its bottle instead.

d) Puts on a pair of rubber gloves to avoid scalding her hands.

I do hope that the above will prove helpful but feel free to email me if you have any queries.

Stickman's thoughts:

I have to admit laughing rather loud in places! I hope readers took this in the spirit it was written, as tongue and cheek and not too serious.