Several incidents in the past few weeks have had me laughing at this recent idea of Thailand forging into the digital world.
The first was my annual visit to Immigration to extend my visa to stay with my family. My application was the usual heavy document of photocopied pages, all in duplicate and many exactly the same for the last eight years. I watched in amusement as Immigration officers walked around carrying these huge tomes and waded through them with applicants who were made to sign every page. So much for my wife’s smart ID card.
Next was a visit to the Land Transport Department, or to be totally correct my three visits, which were deemed necessary to change documents on a motorbike that had been sent from Bangkok and registered at Chiang Mai in my son’s name. Being a Thai citizen doing this in his name saves the added problems of doing it myself, but if this is the quick system, heaven help us.
Last was a visit to the bank because my account passbook was full and I need one to record my transactions to satisfy Immigration’s desires. “Good morning, Mr Steve, what can I do for you”. I need a new passbook. “Yes, no problem. Passport, please.” Despite knowing exactly who I am, bank procedure meant staff insisted on passport copies. Several of them, plus some forms – again, all signed. That new digital world is obviously still a long way off.