So, after six months, I’ve decided to take on this monumental challenge to continue this game against the Malaysian Immigration – the impossible task to renew my maid permit/passport.
So far, to recap the previous season of this Squid Game competition with the Immigration – I successfully, renewed the contract, tackled the terrible mess of the Philippines government online booking, navigated through the embassy and getting my maid contract renewed and her passport sorted, with the new visa permit on her extended old passport. We also went and collected the new passport. So now I have the old passport with the valid permit and the new passport. These are not easy tasks. But these will be considered a walk in the park compared to what is to come, that is to put the new passport into Malaysia’s immigration system and move the permit from old passport to new. For that, I need to look into:
Defeating the Malaysian Immigration Department. The Bane of all Efficiencies, the Destroyer of Hope, the Betrayer of Good Service, the Devastator of Time, the Unholy Master of all that is Good in this Country, the Forsaken Overlords of the Queues and all that is absolutely Useless In Malaysia. They are the very definition of Malaysia’s government service, which has a the highest ratio of waiting for service to human lifespan found in the entire Universe and Heaven and Hell.
The first foray to defeat this Ruthless Monster, I went to the Duta immigration. I didn’t really know what to do actually. I tried to get an appointment through their immigration website. https://www.imi.gov.my/. Firstly, because the website has been actually designed by gerbils, the navigation makes no sense. In fact, it’s easier to navigate Dante’s Nine Circle of Hell compared to the site. No where will we find any useful information. And each page is designed to put the reader to sleep, with tons of absolutely garbage information that serves zero purpose. So I don’t know. I couldn’t get any appointment so Trusting in the Lord Almighty to give me strength and faith, I took up the two passports of my maid (the old one with the visa and the new one) and went bravely to the imposing fortress of this Monster – the Duta Immigration in KL (opposite Publika).
I already had my share of nightmares getting my passport sorted earlier. In fact, I wake up in cold sweat at night still, tormented by dreams of falling into a neverending queue of silent screaming humans waiting for eternity. Seeing the building still puts me into shivers.
I bravely went up and yes, there was a queue in front of the passport section for helpers. It’s right opposite the passport renewal for Malaysians, which had its own queue snaking down the countryside and far into the abyss. For my queue, it wasn’t supremely bad. Just about an hour.
So after one hour, I managed to snake my way all the way to the front. I explained to the absolutely disinterested officer that I need to do this and that for my maid and she just pressed the queue button, Mickey Mouse Steamboat Willie playing in her mind, no doubt. She pressed, pressed. And pressed again. I finally saw life sparkling in her eyes as she looked up, unsure what to do, as this was out of her SOP to press button. The Automaton spoke, “Oh. Nasib you tak baik.”
This meant, “Oh you are unlucky.”
It’s not something you want to hear. Not after you waited in queue. It’s like The Angel Michael saying that once you reach the Pearly Gates and about to enter Heaven. That’s just not cool.
I asked her what happened. She explained, well the queue machine is broken. It’s hanging. So I asked her what to do. She just chuckled and she went off. For a long time. So now everyone behind me, all 50 people are looking at me disapprovingly, thinking that I was causing the ruckus with a silly request. All of them tapping their foot, grumpily looking at me and wishing me death and dishonor to my family name. DAMN IT WOMAN! Release me from this HELL OF WAITING!
After 15 minutes, which I have picked up my phone and stared intently at the blank screen to neutralise all the cruel stares I am receiving, she returned. This time with an accomplice. They fretted a bit over this cursed machine and finally got it to work, much to the significant relief of everyone waiting. We were all ready to Hi-five each other, the way that the movies show when the rocket to space is launched successfully and the asteroid the size of Brazil hurtling to earth has been destroyed. Great perils share this beauty, that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers – so say the great Victor Hugo. We were strangers no more, we were survivors of the dreaded beast of Malaysian Immigration. We have slewed the wicked —
“Oh. Ini tak boleh guna.”
So sayeth the Automaton behind the counter. This is where the rocket crashes and burns to a billion pieces and everyone in the launch room stares at the screen in utter horror.
What does she mean?
She explained, in rebooting the queue system, the whole number has been mixed up and now she would have to manually work out which is next in line to those who had already taken the queue number. She said ‘already taken’ in a significant sort of way, that I needed to ask what she meant.
She sighed and told me, you can’t take the queue number anymore. It’s over. All of us waiting, especially you poor devil who had come all the way to the front – you need to go home, rest, recuperate and come fight this injustice and sorry excuse of a government another day.
In the year 2022, when I was a kid, I thought we would see hovercrafts, hoverboards, and flight to the moon. Instead I now witnessed an even greater event – time travel. We have been magically transported back to 1962, before any system was invented, where people would just have to wait in queue like a lottery number praying to the gods that lightning does not come and kill you. There was no backup plan. There was no business continuity. The entire country’s backbone for immigration is dependent on a shitty little queue system that if rebooted meant the end of all service.
What the Fuzzballs.
Malaysia, you have outdone yourself. This is me slowclapping you. I couldn’t even be furious with her. All over the room, there was a warning there would be a 2K fine and jail time for anyone ‘obstructing the officer from doing their job.’ which translated, if you throw a fit, tantrum, raise your voice or as much look funny at the officers, you are going to be guillotined. They have faced these tantrum throwing buggers before who had dared to challenge their inefficiency or their general lack of humanity. Throw tantrum? We’ll throw you in our dungeon, you ungrateful ba$tard!
There was nothing to do but pick up my crap and creep away, defeated.
You would think this whole nonsense would end here. But after going through a bit of counselling and psychiatric help, I took up the courage to go again, this time, smartly going around 1.30 pm as I knew these government denizens went about their lunch from 1 to 2.
When I reached, there was already a reasonable line waiting for the lunch break to open. I duly got into line. No more waiting like an idiot.
This time, they opened their doors, we filed in like the gulags and got my queue number and sat, waited for around 15 minutes and then went to the counter and explained to the officer what I needed to do.
She took a minute or so and took my documents, passport of my maid and my IC. She passed me back and without even looking at me said, “You are from PJ, you cannot do your maid passport here. This is for KL.”
I looked behind me, half expecting a TV crew to come and say, “Gotcha!” or some sort of reality show playing pranks on me. I slowly tried to process it. I said, “Wait, I did my passport here. Right opposite. I also previously did all my maid renewal of Visa here. ” I also did my IC renewal here. My two sons, born of blood from me and now carrying my name to posterity, were registered here, their birth certificates were gotten here. If I had to die, I would want to be buried here. This was the location of my entire history of my life, this sacred piece of $hit called the Duta Immigration. How can it be that now, you, Angel of Death, play such a cruel trick?
She said, “Oh, for your passport ok. But maid passport please go Shah Alam. We cannot do it here.”
I know she can. IT cannot be that in 2022, Malaysia is still damned to be stuck in some sort of slippery timewarp where $hit cannot get done because their system is not linked/connected. I pleaded again, “Come on. There must be a way.” Why was this not highlighted in their damn website? Why was this not put as a requirement? Does the Malaysian Immigration think we are all psychics able to read their stupid policies and stupid procedures or navigate through the vomit of information contained in their dungpile of a website? How absolutely bereft of any common, uncommon, cow or goat sense is our good old Government? WHAT THE FLAMING FUZZBALLS is going on??!
“There must be a way.” I say again. Life finds a way. There must be a way, this cannot be the end. There MUST be a way.
Yes, if I was a VIP, prime minster, a government politician or any of these slippery characters that crawl out of their holes sometimes to run our mess of a country. Yes, if I had connections or drink coffee with the Immigration bosses. But No, because I am none of these, I am condemned to lose my fight with this hell-bound creature called Malaysian Immigration again. In fact, Hell’s immigration department would probably even lose to Malaysia, that’s how good we are in torturing our tax paying citizens.
So there. 2 days wasted and nothing to show. I am defeated, I am destroyed once more. I need to rebuild my life and my shattered confidence once again. I leave, a broken shell of human who once had life, dreams and aspirations – all dashed by this wicked institution called Immigration.
To paraphrase the famed Thomas Hardy (not the actor) in his most famous novel of all: “Justice” was done, and the President of the Immortals, in Aeschylean phrase, had ended his sport with me.
Do I dare go to Shah Alam? I will let myself mentally recover for one week first before I pluck enough courage to go again. Stay tuned.