Friday, December 29, 2006

Chula, and the absence of organisation, common sense, tact and diplomacy

Before we can even get going on our trip we have to go to Chula to collect our salaries. A simple enough exercise, you'd think. But then you'd be reckoning without the determined incompetence of Chula's army of secretaries and administrators. As soon as we arrived we were handed forms to fill out for a visa extension, since they haven't gotten around to applying for our work permits yet. Fine. Then we have to queue three more times for no apparent reason, sign away our freedom on a document written entirely in Thai, explain our records of working (which Dino showed up just in time to provide) and try and figure out my address from Smile's Thai directions, only to be told that if we don't go to a compulsory unpaid weekend-long workshop of classes on writing lesson plans and “making your own class materials”, which, given Chula's record of putting us through occasionally fun but overwhelmingly boring and singularly unhelpful lectures, we're not exactly queueing up to attend, we won't get a reference from the university at the end of our year's employment. But finally we got our cheques, left an indignant Plah to deal with the power-mad, reference-ransoming administrator (Plah was indignant with the her, not with us - “she likes to scare people,” she told us) and we were outta there.


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