The Card*

(The third phase of the new Identification Card Act, to take effect in July, requires children aged 7-14 years old to be issued with ID cards.)

‘But you must have put it somewhere, Note. Where is it?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘Did you leave it at school?’

‘I dunno.’

‘It’s not in your other trousers, is it?’

‘Dunno’

‘What’s the matter now?’

‘We can’t find his ID card again.’

‘Oh for – every morning it’s the same theng. Have you looked in his school bag?

‘No, I told him not to put it there. He’s lost 3 school bags this year already.’

‘I’ve got to get to work. I can’t waste my time on this palaver every morning.’

‘I know, darling, but please keep calm. Now listen, Note, can you remember where you saw it last?’

‘I know.’

‘Shut up you.’

‘Bank, what do you know about this?’

‘He’s traded it.’

‘Shurrup.’

‘Traded it? What do you mean?’

‘You know. Those blasted Pokemon cards or whatever they are.’

‘Oh Dad, that is like lame. Pokemon is so yesterday.’

‘Bank, don’t talk to your father like that.’

‘Well I’m not paying another 100 baht for a new card. If he’s traded it, he’ll just have to trade it back.’

‘Can’t.’

‘Why can’t you, dear?’

‘’Cause he doesn’t like have those cards any more …’

‘Shut your hole.’

‘Note! Don’t use that language.’

‘… ’cause he like gave those cards to that slut in P2.’

‘Bank! Where did you learn …’

‘What slut in P2?’

‘Father! You’re just encouraging them.’

‘If you like pay her, she like lets you look …’

‘That is enough. Alright, we’ll talk to your teacher and see if we can get your card back. Bank, have you got yours?’

‘Like sure thing.’

‘Let me see.’

‘Like there.’

‘Just a minute. Move your thumb. Have you seen this, dear? The photograph is all warped. Is this your card?’

‘Like ye-e-e-es. My name, see?’

‘What the hell have you done to this?’

‘Darling, please, your language.’

‘Er, well, like, it was like an accident. ’Snot like my fault.’

‘An accident?’

‘See, P’Det was like showing us how to light our farts, see, …’

‘He was what?’

‘So that’s where my bloody lighter went.’

‘… and like he’d just like lit mine when somebody said the Khru Yai was coming and I like pulled up my trousers like quick, see, and it was like in my back pocket, and it sort of got singed like.’

‘Right, that’s it. I’ve got no more time for you pair. Just get in the car right now or I’ll be late for work. We’ll sort it out later.’

‘Bye, darling. Have you got a lot of work in court today?’

‘Only another 75 cases of primary school kids caught with no ID card.’

‘Oh dear! And will you fine them?’

‘This lot? Not likely. They’re all recidivists. Some have been up before me 5 times already. No, we’re going to they’re all illegal aliens and declaring them persona non grata. That’ll teach them. They’ll be deported to Cambodia by this time tomorrow.’


* The title is chosen to commemorate the centenary of the publication in 1911 of ‘The Card’ by Arnold Bennett.

We just assume the worst, as

We just assume the worst, as though the amaat were Big Brother trying to regiment 7 year olds, to destroy their sense of freedom, independence, and of 'just belonging' in this world by issuing them IDs and then, 'naturally enough', crushing the life and joy out of those who then treat them as the joke that they are. But it's not like that at all, really.

The amaat are just good ole' godfathers, making a big baht on cards of wildly inflated price. If the government doesn't buy things, then there's no rakeoff, is there? And without a rakeoff... well, what's the point in even having a government then? Having issued cards to everyone else they had to go after the 7 to 14 year olds, and will have next to go after the 0 to 7 year olds. It's only 'natural'.

The amaat just 'naturally' think so little about the actual consequences of what they do that they may not even realize the damage they cause, poor buffaloes, nosing heads down in their cash-green pastures that they are.

I know a lovely school in a village in the countryside, and I went there on Tuesday and found all the students... outside. The inside of the school was being painted. Why hadn't the school been painted a month ago, when it was empty? Because the election, well you know it wasn't a sure thing then, but now it seems a little too sure a thing. So the government, 'naturally', 'has' to disrupt the children's education in order to force a 'gift' upon the village which, according to government calculations, will 'require' the villagers to vote for the government out of 'gratitude'... for its wasteful, useless, disruptive 'largess'.

I imagine in Bangkok they think the people don't see through their ridiculous, arrogant and insolent gestures, through their waste of precious resources on the most superficial things even while causing real harm to the peoples' children's educations. They think the villagers are as stupid as bureaucrats; but the villagers walk on the rich, firm Thai earth and cannot afford to be as stupid as bureaucrats, so self-centered that they cannot see beyond the very tips of their noses, much less beyond the limits of the sinking, stinking City of Angels.

Their studied oblivion does not make the damage they do, or the people's profound weariness with their boundless selfishness and with the bloody mindedness of the generals of Bangkok any less real. I imagine that's exactly what the people will try to rid themselves of on 3 July.

The first to use ID cards on

The first to use ID cards on the masses were the nazis. It was IBM that set it all up for them. Population control was of course the purpose for the nazis. IBM did not care what the purpose was as long as the profit was there.

No place left to hide.

Now between the end of WWII and today a lot has changed and yes, to an extent ID cards do make a lot of things easier. But as the world has changed and we are more and more controlled and dominated and under the thumb, ID cards are possibly going to do more harm than good in the long run.

I do agree with you JFL in implying the country kids are of a different intelligence and IMO even natural beauty. In a sense why bother wanting to become a part of the front train which, when it collides with the future will see more damage than those behind.

Education (Abhisit's BS propaganda of 15 years) even when free cannot benefit those kids that toil the fields and labor in sweat shops to help their poor families. Even in European countries where education has advanced in leaps and bounds it is rare for kids to change their social milieu (I refuse to use the words "go up") because social factors and immediate surrounding play such a huge factor.

I believe in Europe a lot of the struggle has revolved around bettering the situation of the workers rather than trying to help them wear suits to work. Whatever the drawbacks and whatever imperfections there are, it is in a sense far more of a reasonably fair and equality-oriented bunch of societies than Thailand.