How to Come Good in a Police Exam
The scene is an investigation room in the headquarters of the Royal Thai Police. A Police Captain is checking the football section of Naew Na for possible crime leads, while a technician is hunched over some electronic gadgetry. From time to time he punches a button. From the next room, visible through a one-way mirror, come the kind of groans and moans that normally form the soundtrack of a porn movie. A Police Sub-Lieutenant is seated at a desk holding a pencil over an exam answer sheet as he writhes and jerks about.
Pol Capt: Bugger. I had Denmark down for a draw.
Technician: Number 21 – D.
The groans in the next room increase in intensity.
Tech: He likes D’s, you know. Must be just the right frequency.
A Police Lieutenant General marches in. The Captain quickly hides the paper, stands and salutes.
Pol Lt Gen: So how far have you got with this investigation into exam cheating?
Pol Capt: Nothing definitive yet, sir. We’re still trying to get the equipment to work properly.
Tech: Number 22 – another D.
Next door’s moaning reaches a crescendo.
Tech: Damn, lost the signal again.
Pol Lt Gen: What the hell’s going on?
Tech: Well, sir, we’ve got their transmitter here, and we’ve taped the receiver to Pol Sub-Lt Dongyuen’s, er, thing, but we haven’t yet been able to calibrate the signal strength correctly.
Pol Sub-Lt Dongyuen staggers into the room, a beatific smile on his face.
Pol Sub-Lt: Oh my oh my oh my. That’s the best exam I’ve ever taken.
He suddenly sees the high-ranking officer. He raises his hand in a feeble excuse for a salute.
Pol Lt Gen: What’s wrong with him?
Pol Capt: It’s the exam, sir, it takes it out of him.
Pol Lt Gen: So has he finished?
Tech: Not yet. This is his third go. He gets so far and then it short-circuits. See, when there’s a sudden spike in the ambient humidity caused by him coming, …
Pol Capt: … to a decision, sir, about a test question. We have to keep wiping it off and starting again. But he’s getting better, sir. The first time he only got to Question 12 before he, er, ….
Pol Sub-Lt: Has anyone got a clean pair of underpants, only I’ve run out in my locker.
Pol Capt: You see how it’s slowing us down, sir.
Pol Lt Gen: Hmm, I see. I know, why don’t you use a policewoman instead?
The other police officers look sheepishly at each other.
Pol Capt: Er, we did think of that, sir, but when we explained where she had to put the receiver, she threatened to, er, …
Pol Lt Gen: Yes?
Pol Capt: … reciprocate. Something about a place the sun doesn’t shine, sir. And she’s a very well-built officer, sir. We thought it best to continue with Sub Lt Dongyuen.
Pol Lt Gen: But does this thing work? Is he getting the right answers?
Pol Capt: Can’t really say, sir. You see, nobody’s given us the key, so we have no clue what the right answers are. We’re just pressing buttons at random.
Pol Lt Gen: For heaven’s sake, this is the paper for new recruits. Surely you can figure out the correct answers.
The Captain starts to read the question paper.
Pol Capt: I’m not sure about that, sir.
Pol Lt Gen: Give it here. Have to do everything myself. Right, Question 1 is, er, er, is this spelled right? OK, it’s Choice A. No, wait a minute, it’s C. Or is it ‘All of the above’? Can’t be, B’s definitely wrong. Or do they mean, …
Tech: All due respect, sir, but you know you could solve this problem in 2 seconds.
Pol Lt Gen: How?
Tech: Just stop using multiple-choice questions. If they had to come up with their own answers, a gizmo like this would be useless. Even if the paper was leaked that morning from the printers, they’d not have chance to set up any system like this.
Pol Lt Gen (finding this difficult to grasp): Not multiple-choice? But all exams are multiple-choice.
Tech: Not true at all, sir. See, like Question 1, instead of asking ‘What is the most important quality in a superior officer?’ and then giving 4 choices, you just leave a blank for them to answer in their own words.
Pol Lt Gen: But how could you score that? You’d need teams of markers, all properly trained, looking carefully at every answer.
Tech: That’s right, sir.
Pol Lt Gen: But can’t you see? It’s completely unscientific. It would mean having to bribe every person doing the marking. That would be hundreds of people. Where could the successful candidate find the money for that? They could never raise enough once they got the job. Even the Police Department has a limit. Sorry, it’s just not on. Now find him a new pair of underpants and get him back in there.