Friday, May 25, 2007

Citizen Fat

So the entire fambly takes a day off and hauls ass to the US Embassy at Napier Road yesterday for a little bit of fun with red tape. There are 2 security checks to clear and we finally get through after being relieved of all electronic devices. The Son gets to hang on to his plastic cars, since the Embassy staff want to hang on to their sanity. His stroller gets checked for GPR. What strange times we live in.

It was a real phase shift to look up above the security counter and see a photo of George Bush and Dick Cheney instead of President ... (Oh Shit I Have Forgotten Our Elected President's Name!) and his wife. For a moment there I thought Dick Cheney was George Bush's wife, then reality caught up and, well, I guess not.

Oh yes. Nathan. S.R. Nathan. Sorry. I forgot who I voted for. Oh wait - we didn't get to vote huh. It was a walkover.

Anyway, US bureaucracy is actually quite straightforward. You fill up the forms, wait a short while (watch TV) and then you get into an interview room, they ask questions in a chatty polite fashion and then you're done! Some small people are now a Citizen. Don't know what The Husband was all twitchy about. It's easy! They even talk to you like you're there! Everyone is real friendly ... from behind 3 inches of bullet-proof glass.

You want to see bureaucracy at its worst, go to the Malaysian High Commission. If you can get inside and get your turn, it's a good day! If you only need to go there 2 times, you should buy lottery! My earliest memory of a picnic is a picnic we had at the Malaysian High Commission, because if you want to be there until your turn comes around, you really need to be prepared for a whole-day affair. Pls bring your food, drink and picnic cloth (the place is overrun by ants) and if you do not want dirt (or Unknown Substance X) on the seat of your pants, then you better bring your own foldable chair. And don't drink too much water because then you will need to use their toilet, and then you will truly know suffering.

On more than 1 occasion, half a day passes and we give up and go home before getting our turn, and come back another day. And this is just to renew the passport. Can you imagine how many times we have to come back if we lost it.

Ask me why I became a Singapore citizen, and I will tell you that I was convinced after multiple visits to the Malaysian High Commission that I had better jump ship. Seriously. Just look at the railroad station at Tanjong Pagar. Then cross the Causeway into Johor Bahru.

On the way out, I reminded The Husband of the time we went to ICA for his PR application. We waited approximately 10 minutes before our number got called, before that, there were plenty of clean, comfortable seats and Mr Bean on TV to watch and when we finally got our turn, we didn't have to speak to anyone or even look anyone in the eye because the attending officer just looked through our documents, grunted and scribbled our return date on a receipt without meeting our eyes, and we were done in 5 minutes. This is the Singapore way, which is the way I completely understand. Fast, efficient, fuck off.

11 Comments:

At 1:39 AM, Anonymous Cory said...

Trust me that's only in Singapore. We, too, were surprised at all the redless tape at the US Embassy. And that was right after 9/11. But back here in America now we get to stand in lines, wait, return weeks later, etc.... and they aren't as nice about it as they are in Singapore.

 
At 10:06 AM, Anonymous mic said...

hear hear

i want to jump ship, hubby doesn't

singaporeans ask why do i want to come here when the ppl here are leaving.

guess its a question of which is the lesser evil.

 
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