How students in Thailand try to bribe

You always here about corruption and bribes here in Thailand and I already mentioned in some prior posts that I see students giving “presents” to teachers because they ‘like the teacher’ and just ‘want to be nice’. This week however I have been subject to a bribing attempt. Not a very obvious one but still…and I’ve been told that this happens quite frequently or, at least, that “it’s normal in other subjects” (according to students, so you never know if it’s really true or exaggerated).

One of the student in one of my classes already failed that class once (he never came to class) and has to redo it again. He is doing so now (came twice so far) and came to me after last week’s class to ask a question. He said he is concerned about his performance in class and whether or not he could pass it this time. First I appreciated that he figured that out by himself and thought he would ask for advice or further readings. That, however, did not happen. Instead he asked for “extra class”. I asked what he means by that and he explained: “I want private classes with you. I pay for that private classes and so I can pass the class”. I was a bit shocked by that question and therefore asked for clarification stating that he could get tutor classes from other students and that taking tutor classes doesn’t equal passing the exam. He then stated again that he only wants to have “private class” with me, pay me for it and therefore would expect to pass the class “for sure”.

When I hesitated with a response, since I wasn’t prepared for something like that, he added that he did this in other classes before and it was never a problem and always worked since it is “good for both sides”.

Obviously I declined and told him to get tutor classes otherwise but to always feel free to ask questions during class or before or after in the classroom. I’m still a bit puzzled by that incident since nobody I talked to considered it worth mentioning.

Am I exaggerating?

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