A Reader Writes: I am writing in regards to Craig’s response to Thailand, The Rest of the Story. I would like to comment on the part in which he says, “I would certainly think that anyone choosing to work overseas would have done their homework with respect to paperwork and legal work permits prior to accepting contractual agreements.”
In response to this statement, I want to point out that many schools overseas expect new hires to enter the country under false pretenses (on tourist visas), work illegally at their own risk, and sign bogus contracts that do not represent the actual working conditions, remuneration, or benefits in effect. To illustrate this, we were offered teaching positions resulting from our participation at a job fair. We expressed our interest in pursuing this opportunity and agreed to have the school send us contracts for our review.
Upon receipt of the packet from the school we found that the headmaster actually stated in the cover letter that the contracts didn’t accurately reflect the truth but that it was a game they had to play and “not to worry”. The contracts also stated that we would enter the country as tourists but that the work visas would be forthcoming after our arrival in country. This raised gargantuan red flags for us. While we are not naive enough to think that this isn’t the way things are typically done in some countries, we were also not naive enough to agree with putting ourselves at risk by trying to enter a third world country with all the baggage required to relocate a family of four under the guise of tourists. We were also not comfortable with putting our children in the position to have to lie to customs and immigration officials.
When we asked for the advice of an individual who was employed with a diplomatic service and was involved on a daily basis with issuing visas for her government, she was appalled and emphatically recommended not to allow ourselves to be put into that type of situation. She was also appalled when we told her that we frequently encountered these circumstances when offered overseas teaching contracts. When we opted not to sign the contracts, the school promptly reported us to the organization hosting the job fair who, just as promptly, blackballed us. Neither party spoke to us about the actions they were taking.
They also coerced another school which had subsequently offered us jobs (which we had accepted in writing)to break the laws of their own country to rescind their already signed contracts. They also wrote us and told us that they would no longer support our candidacy and locked us out of any further access to our on-line account and file. So, it is easy to stand on our moral ground and say, “I would certainly think that anyone choosing to work overseas would have done their homework with respect to paperwork and legal work permits prior to accepting contractual agreements,” but it would be much easier to do this if the schools and the hiring agencies treated the teachers as the professionals that they are and followed legal, international hiring practices. There currently seems to be no auditing or policing of the unethical practices of the hiring agencies who support illegal hiring practices of their client schools. There also seems to be little effective recourse for teachers who have be! en treated such as we were. At least through ISR, teachers can now “do their homework” in the sense that they can hear from other teachers and avoid schools which fall short in their ethical treatment of staff.
A Reader Writes: “Craig” writes the usual “eggy” (slang for ‘Farangs’ who slavishly suck up to Thai authorities) nonsense decrying people who speak the truth about Thailand.
Thailand is a fundamentally corrupt society whose cheaper private schools make a point of defrauding their foreign teachers and humiliating professional people by making them KowTow to uneducated family members.
Lying is the Norm in Thailand. Indeed everything possible must be down to ‘save face’ for the rich and powerful and normally means that the white face will have to pay (Thais don’t employ Black faced westerners).
There is however a strong “Stockholm Syndrome” where the western teacher is so overcome that he actively backs his oppressor. Claiming the complainant is disrespectfully to Thai Culture is the Norm.
As for Buddhism Thailand shows little interest in the teachings of Guatama. Lying,theft ,casual violence and all manner of dishonesty is the absolute norm.
Don’t come and work here -I’m leaving ASAP.
A Reader Writes: The rebuttal glossed over too many serious, specific charges aimed at the particular school. What rehab is available to westerners in Thailand, by the way? As for the one review tainting an entire country, I don’t think so. I’ve been to Thailand and I recognize the Thailand that the rebuttal advocates, but I have also seen how westerners are treated by officials. It starts with the assumption of guilt, even against children. I have noticed that the school in question is now being very clear on what it offers and how it operates. If memory serves me correctly, this was not necessarily the case a couple of years ago.