2 hours ago Shade_Wilder said:

I will not mourn the death of Thailand Pass, I will be happy to do a little jig on his grave.

Honestly it wasn’t so much the Pass as it was compulsory insurance which by all parameters I can see was nothing more than a way for the Thai government to bail out the kingdom’s incompetent insurance companies . If there’s one thing I really hate, it’s a business where profits are privatized and losses are socialized and that was what the Thailand Pass was.

However…

After the Thailand Pass experience, including the many failures of the system along the way, the Thai government now has the opportunity to move from its largely paper-based immigration processes to digital platforms. This, at this stage, has not yet shown the first signs of implementation.

But imagine uploading your flight details and passport information into a “Thailand entry app” and simply stepping off the plane, scanning your QR code and walking around the country. THIS would be a useful future for a revised Thailand Pass style digital gateway.”

Is seeing Thai immigration going fully digital something that members want? I’ve been in the kingdom on and off for several decades and remember (at least!) data breaches by the Thai government every year, if not more often. There was the guy who was updating the immigration database who decided he didn’t need a password while he was working, and it leaked. There was the form created by a senior immigration official where we had to provide all sorts of personal data to get a renewal; where is this data now? Someone? Seriously, anyone know? I remember seeing unattended computers where everything was stored. These are two examples that come to mind, and I know there are many, many, many more.

Call me a ‘Luddite’, but I want a piece of paper, duly stamped waaaaaaaay too many times, to go with all my passport visas/extensions.

A wise man once said “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you”.

No mourning, indeed.

Ref to immigration, I’ll be glad to see the grumpy dinosaurs in charge, clinging to their comfy old shoes, step down and make way for the next generation coming up through the ranks, who will then face less resistance to wear the plunge into the 21st century, using COTS technology to streamline systems and procedures for us directly, and indirectly improving processes for their end-user immigration staff; who, let’s be honest, many in their 20s and 40s have long rolled their eyes and lamented the archaic system and procedures they have to deal with.

For over 10 years here, a paltry sum compared to many others, I’ve been quietly amused by the stark contrast between the paper-intensive process I/O deals with for my annual and stay extensions, juxtaposed that they and their colleagues get up in the interim.

I sat there watching the painful marriage-based extension with a Thai process unfold the first few years here (before moving on to the retirement extension), amused by the sight of idle immigration staff toying with their phones, exchanging messages, photos and attachments with friends/family/others instantly, perhaps transferring money to pay for orders on Lazada, with 2-day door-to-door delivery, all in pressing a few buttons.

I was excited the first time I showed up for a 90 day report and learned that the old paper form had been discontinued. Tremendous! And then feeling deflated and slightly annoyed when the processor didn’t ask me the most important question underlying the very intent of the 90-day requirement – ​​whether I still resided at the same address. Not a word, which begs the obvious question.

There were other minor improvements along the way, some stalled, some not, some capitalized on the technology, but unfortunately they were just another step in the I/O process. without a corresponding reduction in paperwork.

Thai dinosaurs have been forced to adapt, to varying degrees, during COVID. Keeping expectations low to avoid disappointment but cautiously optimistic as we tumble, two steps forward, 1 back, in spurts, but we’ll get there eventually.