As the clock finished the tenth hour (i.e. nine fifties, post ten) the silvery silence overhead enveloped and entrenched the Bangkok skies the morning after the Red’s Blood Ritual was now seemingly foreshadowing storm in the horizon. Having endured a late morning, mid week traffic jam on Rama IV road demanding better part of an hour, I was anxious to fulfill my task to attend Publicity and Publication class.
The thunder was roaring overhead as I arrived to the University bus stop near Kluay Naam Thai intersection. Skipping hurriedly into the University Soi, past food stalls, premature pellets of rain smashed towards my cheeks.
The problem with these split lecture – lab one hour class sessions is there’s not much tardy leeway an instructor can give you. It was comfortably past 10.20 by the time I summated the fourth flight of stairs of building three. Few students lounged outside the two classrooms.
A recognizable Thai Japanese male student in my major was lighting up a cigarette in halfway between the two doors of the first classroom.
“Hey you [what’s his name again?…blank], how’s the classs?”
He pointed to the back door which was not fully shut.
“I made it.” So I thought to myself as I entered the back door of the classroom.
To my sudden dismay, “You’re late. You cannot come in.”
Ignorant to the predicament I inhibited, I stepped forward, raising my good arm in protest of innocence.
Mimicking my gesture, he firmly restated his superior stance. “I am sorry, but you cannot take seat. If you don’t like it, go complain to the dean.” He pointed the direction to the Dean’s International College office.
Resisting the rational to rupture in rage, restraining any irresponsible retorts, I was powerless and left with choice to listen to his advice. Foul mood was I.
At the International office, I met a caring and helpful assistant who heard my case. She could sense my agitation. I pleaded in English to let me make a formal complaint about my instructor.
The dean was busy and couldn’t meet me, which I’m glad to be honest. I didn’t have a pleasant interaction on high emotions in the past and didn’t really want to repeat history.
In that complaint form, I stated my basis as an adult, I pay for my tuition out of my own pocket, I have right to be in class and don’t appreciate being condescended to, the list went on with my focused rage. Beside the fact that I was just tardy, and despite my fortunes, lack thereof, I was pissed off and full of arsenal to fire. Ending the form In Thai, probably sparingly scattered with some mistakes, I revealed that I would report this incident on Thailand University Network.
ถ้ามหาวิทยาลัยคิดที่จะสร้างประชาสำพันที่ดีเหมือนที่เขาสอนเรา ก็ลองมาตอบสนองกันที่เว็บไซท์ ไม่นั้นก็จะปล่อยเป็นเรื่องข้างเดียวของนักศึกษาคนหนึ่ง
And so I must follow through with this statement and report my incident of tardiness here on the Thaiuni.net.
Succumbing in temporary defeat to a 10.30 brunch, without an umbrella, the full fledge fury of the storm restrained me, my electronic media companion and mahogany ukulele to the canteen. Looks like I was going to be late for aned evenmiss the early lab slot. That’s okay, I’ve done my damage and need to cool down.
Lab or no lab, either way, I still had to meet my group members to talk about the Public Service Announcement we got to make next week.
By the end of the eleventh hour, lounging in the seating in front of fourth floor elevators of building nine, I was storming up my biased initial report. I was moments away from disseminating my side of the story. The class finished and students poured towards the elevator.
I saw a few of my group members chatting but they slipped out the doorway to stairs before I could collect myself. Bingo. The final group member, Puifai. She’ll know what’s the score.
Nothing worth the unnecessary surge of emotion I let takeover.
I just need to prepare sound effects for our PSA.
The Instructor walked over and politely cut in.
“Sorry to interrupt you,” he looked at me, “Can we talk when we you’re finished.”
I nodded. Moments later, I heard his side of the story. No double standard policy. He explained that if he did bend the standard specifically for me, he’d be in a world of chaos with other students, Thai or foreigner, who would demand equal treatment.
Feeling embarassed albeit sated by the instructors initiative and agknowledgement, I realized it was nothing to have gotten worked up about, to say the least. Promptly, I withdrew – cancled my complaint.
The office was relieved to return my complaint form in tact, affirming they didn’t just put it in a paper shredder.
Case Solved. It’s interesting to add that later I learned from another student that an important student led meeting was be conducted through formal administrative channels that afternoon, courtesy of the determined female German president of the international club.
The question confidently expressed by a meeting advocate to the group of students lounging at BU Café was something like, “If there’s any teachers you want fired, consider going to this meeting with me at 4.30.”
A little strong was the invitation romantically suggesting a teacher witch hunt. Can you blame the zealous disseminator? These days, you need some kind of a hook to catch the interest of common socialites. Sevenral students didn’t hesitate to offer a few names of unfavorable instructors, though it was doubted that any would proceed to the student survey group scheduled.
After some minor chit chat, following the queue of group size that transformed from 15 strong to four, I said goodbye to the Uni for the day and ventured home in a carpooled taxi going in a similar direction. Said goodbye to the familiar stranger. Skytrain, and foot on back to the South Central Bkk.
Lesson in hand: Indeed, the student masses seek a forum to express the power of voice.