I was driving on the motorway and had to admit I was driving above the legal speed limit! It’s bad habit here, i.e. to think that you can break the law if there are no policemen around. This time the policemen were out in force around the next bend and they caught me on camera. Oops!
I thought should I put a folded one hundred baht note in with my license? Corruption is a normal but under the table practice here after all. But something stopped me and the police officer took my license and handed me the ticket.
I winced! This shouldn’t happen to me! It shouldn’t be like this. I didn’t hurt anyone. Why didn’t you go and catch criminals! The road was empty. I needed to get home in a hurry. Excuses flew out. But the bottom line was I did break the law yet my mind was speedily trying to find a way out!
I admitted defeat and went to the highway police station to pay my fine. Still felt total resistance and full of excuses even as I handed in my ticket! Needless to say I got a telling off. But something interesting also took place.
The officer told me how hard his day has been but it wasn’t a moan more a sharing. He pointed out how he can enforce the law when people don’t believe that laws are there for a purpose, and for our own safety. He did have a point!
For most Thais, the laws are there to be toyed with. We tend to become extremely creative at bending the laws to suit our needs.
He then told me how hard it is for him to operate. If I was a high ranking mandarin or soldier in full uniform and was speeding only then would he think twice about issuing tickets.
Yes the social strata exist in Thai society and dictate how we behave. The law does not have influence on most of us yet social positions do!
Some people are above the law whilst others think that they should be. Then the little people can only escape the laws by evasion.
If you imagine that most of us has this mind state to begin with then it all makes sense. You can see that within this chaos there are defined orders!