In Thailand as well as anyplace else it depends on what you want. If what you want to do or see is essentially illegal yet it is available and in public view, that may be called good corruption. However if something negatively effects you that may be called bad corruption.
All of us at one time or another have run into a law or rule that stops us from doing what we want. Depending on the level of enforcement, we can or can’t do it. It could be as simple as speeding where the speed limit becomes a point of reference that you ignore and pass every time you sit behind the wheel.
So essentially corruption that tends to neutralize the pain in the ass rules, laws or whatever is accepted. After all who wants to deal with them. Most of this is done at a lower level and most likely involves the police.
Take for example the naughty nightlife in Bangkok, depending on what police district you are in you may see or not see all of what you came to see in a go-go bar. The nightlife columns frequently make mention of this fact. Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy are less than a kilometer apart yet one you see bikinis and the other you see birthday suits. Although nudity is illegal, with a little tea money to the police, everyone is happy.
Even the women that work in the nightlife do so to support their family. Part of that is fed by high level corruption that has removed funds for assisting people financially. If such support was there, no doubt there would be far less women working the naughty nightlife, and the poor would not be so poor when it comes to basic needs.
What can be called bad corruption is corruption that only benefits one person. For example a politician may make a deal with a contractor to pad the bill and hand some cash to the politician later. That hurts the tax payer and money that could have gone into the community for improvement, goes to pay for a Lexus.
It is corruption that makes Thailand such a wonderful place for many. If all corruption was removed, it would be like the place you escaped when you went to Thailand.
However even that Thais accept corruption, they do have a limit as to how much they can accept. In early 2006 then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra manipulated laws and made a deal involving the Shin Corporation and avoided paying millions in taxes. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and lead to his down fall. That in turn started a chain of events that motivated Thailand to clean up corruption at the top. As that process is just getting up to speed, some changes can be expected, but as far as mid and low level corruption goes, it will be some time before that is address if at all. In the mean time, enjoy your stay in Thailand.