PHUKET: As part of its ongoing reforms, the current government should revise or eliminate the Medical Certificate (bai raprawng phaet) as a requirement in so many government application procedures.
In the process of renewing his work permit, this editorialist was recently handed a form citing, among numerous other documentary requirements, “a medical certificate certifying that the applicant is free from the prohibited deceased“.
In theory, it makes sense to have a doctor certify that seekers of a work permit are in good health and free of dangerous contagious diseases.
In reality, though, there are countless private clinics in Thailand that will serve up a medical certificate in a jiffy. Just walk in and ask for one. A receptionist will hand a form to what may or may not be a doctor for signature. In many cases you’ll not see that person, nor will anyone even check your pulse to be sure you’re not a member of the walking dead. Pay 200 baht and you’re off to the next hurdle in a bureaucratic paper chase that has no finish line.
Of course some hospitals do have protocols that pay at least a modicum of respect to the notion that a medical certificate really shouldn’t be a joke.
“Do you have elephantiasis?” is always a major feature in the application process at such institutions.
Merriam-Webster defines the condition as an “enormous enlargement of a limb or the scrotum [testicle bag] caused by…worms (especially Wuchereria bancrofti).”
Is it an epidemic? What are the odds of contracting it? Just how great a threat to national security is a lavish alien ball pouch?
Currently the only lab test for a work permit is syphilis. What are the odds of anyone having that these days? If it’s widespread here, that would certainly be news to the Phuket Gazette. There are a number of other, more prevalent conditions that would pose a far greater risk to public health and fitness for work.
It is time for the government to either standardize and modernize the system or just scrap it altogether.