I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about the Immigration
Department’s handling of my visa application this year. In the past, after a
cursory look at my papers and a certain amount of light-hearted banter (what
did I think of Thai ladies, would I be bringing back a spare bottle of
Chivas Regal on my next Singapore trip, was I interested in an extra wife to
help take care of my generous pension etc.), I would leave with the visa
stamp in just over an hour.
This year, the staff barely glanced at the papers I had laboriously
accumulated, there was no banter and I was out in under half an hour with my
visa extended. What are the Immigration Department officials for if not to
provide a pleasant hour or two of chit-chat? If I had wanted to deal with a
courteous but grimly efficient administration I would have retired to
Switzerland. I sincerely hope the powers that be will put a stop to this new
practice and revert to that of previous times.
On a related subject, a note for the cost-conscious: Cost of a standard
letter from the British Consulate (collected the following day): 1670 baht.
Cost of a standard letter from Bangkok Bank (ready in five minutes): 200
baht. Cost of a medical certificate from any hospital (including brief
health check), ready in half an hour: 60 baht. Nice little earner for some!