Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bureaucracy that works

I had to fly from Thailand to Malaysia this week in order to obtain a longer visa. I had to make sure my trip avoided all the different holidays at this time and still took place before my current visa expired, so it was rather spur-of-the-moment.
But I was impressed by the Thai Consulate.
As I entered the gate, the guard there told me where to go, what to expect, and what to do. He also told me that I would be told to come back for my visa at 2pm, but it would really be 3:30pm and I would get bored waiting so long. Therefore, he said, wait until later to come.
I was worried that I didn't have all the paperwork necessary for the visa I was applying for. But the man at the counter said not to worry about it, just pay the fee and come back the next day to collect my passport. So I did.
Today, I returned to the consulate--but I'd forgotten the little slip of paper I was supposed to hand over in exchange for my passport. Oops. I was scolded three times as I passed the different check points, but still given the passport. Shew. As punishment for not having a slip, though, the guard did make me close the gate behind myself so he didn't have to get up. I can live with that.
The whole experience has given me the idea that maybe, just maybe, bureaucracy that works is almost...beautiful.

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