Passport Renewal 2022

*Update 22 June 2022* – A friend of mine attested that he went at 6 pm to Duta branch and there was ZERO queue. He got in and out by 6.15 pm, new passport renewal. That is approximately 2.27% of the waiting time I bloody endured when I went in the bloody morning!!! So just read below for musings of a complete idiot.

So, my passport is expiring in October 2022 so I had the unfortunate task to go and renew my passport. After the horror stories we hear from all over, I thought it’s perhaps good to document this for posterity.

So now, for passport renewal, it’s a hybrid circumstance of renewing online and collecting offline.

The online is found at https://imigresen-online.imi.gov.my/eservices/myPasport

This may change, as time of writing is June 2022.

First, the good – the Online experience is not as excruciating as you’d think. I mean the interface does look like it’s been designed by a five year old kid assisted by his llama, but it seems to be functional, if not aesthetically resembling a dead iguana’s feces. You basically key in all the necessary information in there and I think the biggest challenge you will face is to submit in your passport ‘photo’. These days, everyone is a damn professional so , everyone (including myself) thinks we can take passport photos. I tried. And tried and tried. It’s a work of futility. It’s almost impossible to get the dimensions they want with a selfie. So, you can get someone to take for you, but you can’t have shadows. So, you need to look for the right lighting environment and… for me, I just sort of gave up and wen to the nearest photo studio, paid RM20 and got a bunch of passport photos plus the softcopy photos. After that, I took the softcopy, and in the immigration site, uploaded the softcopy as it is. There are some ‘adjustments’ you apparently need to make but don’t worry about it. You don’t need to zoom and stuff, just make sure the oval circle has your face in it. It’s auto adjusted for you post submission. In fact, I zoomed into my face thinking I was getting the right dimension and submitted – a few days later, they emailed me telling me that my photo was rejected due to dimension.

So, while the instructions are super unclear – just submit the studio shot as it is, put your face in the oval circle – which should fit, unless you have an alien-like structure head and gills on your neck – and you are done.  Select the place that you wish to pickup your passport – I selected Duta (KL Headquarters) – which might be a mistake.

Then make sure you make the payment and you will receive the receipt in your email.

Print out the receipt. They will claim that once your passport is ready you will receive another email stating so. Well, you likely will receive an email, in the next cycle of your afterlife. So, yeah, when a Malaysian government agency like immigration tells you to wait for an email, you don’t. In fact, they have already known this email nonsense is fake, because in their receipt, it actually states, if you don’t receive any email, just comelah, after 3 days.

So off I went, like a hero to Duta at around 9.30 the week after that. I went into the front door, went up the escalator and saw this HUGE queue of homo-sapiens in front of the passport office. I said, “This poor suckers must be the ones who are doing walk-ins and not aware of the online application, or just too stupid to know how to do it. Lucky I am so smart.” I sauntered up to the officer and the front and told them I already done everything and I am here to collect, can I go in?

He looked at me and did not even bother saying a word, and just nodded to the queue languidly. I am like, Yeah. But I did everything on line. I am not lining up with these losers who are walking in.

And he said, “This is the line for online collection.”

I kid you not. I was like a hobbit looking in terror as the gates of Mordor was opening and the Nazgul was flying out to eat my head. The line snaked throughout the entire floor to the next wing. It was an awesome and spectacular sight to behold, a true magnificent testimony and legacy on the slowness, inefficiency and general ineptitude of our government agency. It was terrifyingly beautiful, and encapsulated everything we love and detest about Malaysia. This is the Malaysian spirit – the ability to spit in the face of modernization, to stomp at the body of efficiency and to cackle in the presence of good governance. We dare you, modern technology and good intentions to serve the rakyat who pays their taxes – we dare you to ask us to improve from the ways that we have been doing since the stoneage. That is, line up, you useless twit, get in queue and wait for six hours to get your stupid passport done!!

Needless to say, I gave up and left.

2 weeks after that, after I have plucked enough courage again to face this dragon of incompetence, I went to the same place at 7.15 am. I was smart this time. Instead of going in the front door, I went straight to the back, walked up the staircase and quickly got in line. Yes. At 7.15 there was already a queue all the way to the next wing.

So I stood in line for 2 plus hours, before at around 9.30 I finally reached the front of the line. Congratulations you have passed the first level of this game of death by a thousand queues. The past 2 hours was the queue to take the number to the queue. Yes. It was a queue to get a queue number. W.T.F.

Received the queue number, and had close to 50 people in front of me Everyone cramming into the waiting area. Waited till around 11.30 before my turn finally came and I went there, took my thumbprints. To be fair, once you are seated with an officer, the process actually is quite short, less than 10 minutes or so they can process you. They told me to wait another hour for the passport to be processed.

So you still have your queue number but it gets stuck behind another queue to get your passport. And lo and behold, I had another 50 people again in front of me.

At this point, I had no choice but to wait. And Wait.

Finally, at around 1 pm, they called me and it was as if St Michael himself had announced my name at the Pearly Gates. I jumped up from my stupor and went bounding over to the officer, away from all these other losers who were waiting.

They passed my passport to me (It had been available probably for some time) and asked me if I wanted a passport sleeve costing 25RM. I was afraid to say no. It was like Don Corleone asking me if I wanted to buy his protection. Of course I said yes. I was so scared if a no brought further red-tape, or backroom processing. They probably would go, “This bastard said No. Stop the passport processing. Let him wait and rot here for the next 25 hours of his life, this cheapskate idiot.”

So please, just pay whatever this officer wants you to pay and get the flaming heck out of there.

So finally, 1.30 pm I was out. A full six hours of a queue’s version of hell.

Now, how do we avoid this worse case scenario. For one, you could try to go at night. I wasn’t sure Duta was opened but the officer told me yes – just come over here around 6 and note they take a break from 7- 8 before commencing all the way to 10pm. Now this is written in June 2022. Things my have change.

Secondly, you may want to choose another office, like maybe another immigration office in a far off place like Shah Alam, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, the Moon, or the planet Arakkis. Anywhere except Duta. You maybe could face with smaller crowds there, so I made a mistake opting to take it at the most crowded office in Malaysia.

If you guys are intending to do this passport renewal, good luck and may God be with you all.

Ode to the Blades

About six months ago, I made an impulse buy to get the Mizuno MP-20. It was a gorgeous club. Absolutely smatteringly gorgeous. If I could take out a golf club on a dinner date and movie and not be viewed as an absolute mental patient, I would.

Yes, when I played it, yes, I was expecting myself to struggle. And Lord did I struggle. The face of the mp20 is tiny. It’s daring you to improve. So I went to the range, again and again, trying to craft out my skills like a samurai going to training.

But getting better at doing something wrong is still basically a $hit way to go through life, isn’t it. I didn’t have the confidence looking down on it. I loved the thin topline. The face was another matter. When you caught it right, there’s no feeling like it.  I am not sure if its the hype of copper plating or what not, but there is a stark difference in flushing the MP20 vs my MP54. The problem was, I was flushing the MP20 one out of five attempts while the MP54 was, meh, around 3 out of 5. Big difference when faced with a 6 iron into the greens.

So finally, after another round of bad irons 2 weeks back, I decided to finally say a (temporary) goodbye to the MP20s and move back to my 54s. At least on the long irons. I couldn’t bear to remove the shorter irons because the set looks so good. DAMN IT! When we need to break up with a girl, we need to break up with a girl! What’s wrong with you, man?

Anyway, we headed to Sg Long. Sg Long is now infested with what I call “Ang Moh Infestation”. Ang Moh = Westerners. We were nicely waiting for our turn on the first teebox behind 2 flights of Westerners, when another flight zoomed in and passed us and squeezed into the tiny space between our flight and the next. We were like, “Oi, WTF? We were here, you need to queue lah! <Chinese expletives because Malaysians are too nice to curse in something the Westerners understand>”

The AngMoh got out of his cart like John Wayne with his testicles the size of Brazil and sauntered to the tee box and told his ‘organizer’ who looked a little like a shorter Don Corleone and said, “These guys are telling us to queue.” He didn’t even bother looking at us, this western son of a b…ig woman. Our inability to scold these western vermin is the reason why we got colonized in the first place.

Anyway, Don Corleone walked to us and said, they booked it through the app and told us, we should try it. Please note these guys look like octogenarians with one foot in the grave and the other foot in a sandbunker. So it was weird to see a great grandfather explaining to me they have an app to do booking. So I said, well, you are in the club and the marshal says its our turn to tee off. And he shockingly said, no, the marshal doesn’t know shit. The app knows everything and they have already paid and booked for it.

Notwithstanding this moronic explanation, and just the general air of superiority these guys went through everything and the undermining and belittling of the marshal, I asked the marshal and the marshal just muttered these westerners were ‘always like that’. He sounded like a man constantly abused mentally and defeated in his early Marshalling days and now he is just a shell of a man looking to get out an abusive relationship.

He helpfully suggested us to go to the back 9 and tee off behind another group of Westerners. This group of Ang Moh wasn’t part of the Mafia gang gathered on the front 9. When they asked, they spoke in Australian accent. So technically they weren’t Westerners. They were Easterners. So they are fine. And they were way more polite than those yahoos on the first tee.

So off we went on the back 9 of sungai Long. After the usual misses, three putts , a few duffed shots etc, I ended up with a respectable 44 with 3 pars. Could have been better, but could have been worse.

Back 9 came.

Started with a chip in birdie. Then parred the long par 5 with regulation on. Long par 3 bogey, then par 4, just a bad approach but saved bogey. Then I went on a tear of 5 pars in a row including the final hole with an approach of 180, then chip and sank in the 8 footer. It was probably the best display of 9-hole golf I’ve had in maybe the last 5 years or so, to get a +1 , 37. Final score was 9 pars , 1 birdie and a couple of double and the rest bogeys for 81. Again, I missed out the mythical 79, but hopefully I am getting close. If I were to analyse, I would say, the front 9 par 5 12th, with a 135 to the hole for regulation on and just messed up my 8 iron with a big push. Then on the par 3 14th, pulled the devil out of my 8 iron again behind a tree and ended up with a double. Then a very simple 80 meter on the par 5 18th with a sand wedge and I completely went under it and it only went 30m.  Frustrating. Those were the strokes that would have led me to the glorious 79.

My 8 irons were the MP-20. For the 54s, I never hit a bad shot all day. This included a few glorious 6 irons into the green, and 5 irons zipping to the flag.

I gave this analogy to my partner as we walked up the final hole. Going to the MP20 was like having an affair with a younger, more beautiful woman while being married to your wife. This is purely from non-experiential point of view, to give this disclaimer. So you feel awesome going out with a younger girl looking like Scarlett Johansson. However, after a few months, that feeling wanes and you wonder, why Scarlett doesn’t cook like your wife, or enjoy a simple Saturday night out with the kids, without the parties; or stop spending on useless crap in the most expensive places; or just stop dressing like her skirt is disappearing from the Thanos snap; or that annoying high pitch voice that constantly seems to ask for you to be nice to her; or those vacuous conversations about nothing that does not have any brain activity involved etc.

And you go, damn, I wish I was back with my wife.

That’s basically the analogy with my MP-20s going back to my 54s. My 54s is the comfort. It doesn’t look that good as the 20s, but it was like slipping back into your comfort drink, or an old pair of slippers. Once in my hands (except for the worn grip), and looking from it from the topline, you go, “Oh yeah, my old friend, it’s great to see you again.”

This feeling is for this round. Knowing how we play golf, who knows what will happen in the next?

Incremental Improvements

For the 3rd and 4th game of the year, there are some incremental improvements.

Game 3 was at palm garden and again, similar to Glenmarie, started the game with very very good drives, before unravelling midway and sorting out at the end. I was +1 over the first 3 holes, with my driver very much in control; before the par 5 sent it OB. The next par 5 5th I managed to par again, and then stumbled to a bogey on the 8th when my drive hit a tree next to the tee off box. The struggle began on the back 9 when I double bogeyed 3 out of the first  4 holes , and then played the last 5 holes at +3 for a 45-46. Its a very frustrating game because the driver which was doing so well early just couldn’t keep the pace and I ended up hooking a lot of shots at the end.

The next game is at Tropicana, where we teed up in the afternoon and ended up chasing against the weather and storm. We managed to cram in 18 before 15 minutes after the end, the siren went up.

This game was much better, but started just the opposite. My driver was cold as we teed up in the West Course and pull hooked the first; and still managed a bogey. The second dogleg par 4 with a lower tier green was navigated with a par before I sent my 5 iron in the drink on the 3rd par 3. Then another par, then pulled another into the drink and escaped with a double bogey. Then pulled another on the 6th but thankfully was so bad it missed the water. Pulled my approach and just missed the water.  At this point, the driver, after 6 holes was still being sorted out and if it keeps on going like this, it would be for a long day.

And suddenly, just like that, it sorted out. It’s weird. Just as how little I know about what I am doing wrong, I have no idea what I am doing right. Boom boom boom. The last 3 holes the driver came in and started to go straight or with a baby draw or with a baby fade. Once I was on the fairway and not hacking myself out here and there, I managed to par the final 3 holes coming in , which was a par 5, par 3 and par 5.

Making the turn, I parred the 10th (east 1) which is not an easy one to do. The 11th was an absolutely missed; I hit it straight and long into the OB area when I was trying to draw it.  Bogeyed the next; then pulled my approach for the par 5 into the water after another great drive. Then from there on, my driver was just booming straight and long, and I parred 3 of the 5 holes coming back, including a sand save at the end. Overall, the game of Tropicana was much more in control; especially once the driver was ticking. I am getting a lot better with my irons – even though there is an occassional duff and mishit due to the difficulty of the blades – but the chipping and putting also was a big factor to my final score of 87.

The putting has absolutely improved. Eversince adopting the lefthand-low technique, it has does wonders to the game. Where previously those jarring 3 footers or 5 footers would have me shaking, I am able to sink all within 3-4 feet today. It sounds pathetic sure – but it does wonders to you psyco when you are able to hit those. Any hackers will be able to attest to that.

The iron play is still WIP – I no longer adopt an extreme stack and tilt, but I still put most of my weight on my left, but just try to focus less on the mechanics than on the feel.

Here’s to better golf!

The Power of Mediocrity

It goes without saying that most of us, most of time have no. CLUE. what we are doing right or wrong when it comes to this game of Golf. That’s why it’s so addictive. We are constantly chasing the high – the last memory we had of a good shot – a good drive, a good putt, a chip in, a bunker hole out, an eagle, a birdie, a hole in one, a miraculous shot over an impossible terrain … anything. While 99% of the time we are snap-hooking, duffing, topping, 3-putting our way to infamy; that elusive 1% makes us constantly wandering around the course looking for it. Most of us will likely haunt golf courses in the after-life or hopefully play cosmic golf in the heavens.

KGNS was the site of the second round of 22. And it was not a good site.

My drives were still stuck in the awful back 9 mode I was in Glenmarie; I seemed to have forgotten how well I was smashing the ball in the first 9. But somehow by some stroke of good fortune and pure fortitude, I managed to bogey my first two holes, chipped in a par for the third, and 3 putt bogeyed the fourth. So far it seems rather ok, despite knowing my game was structured like a house of cards.

Par 4 fifth, hit a great drive, my first good drive. Then proceeded to duck hook my six iron into the g*ddamn water. W.T.F. Past 4 holes my drives were awful and I still managed to squeeze a result out of it and the moment I hit a great drive, I proceed to sabotage it with an awful approach. Dropped, and went on to double bogey. Next up , Par 5 6th, great drive, good second shot, left with 120 to the hole and duffed my approach. Then skulled my chip to the back, came back again for 5 on, two putt. Another double.

Par 3 seventh – shanked my hybrid, another double.

Par 4 eight, topped my approach into the bunker, hit a good bunker shot , escaped with a bogey.

Par 4 9th, topped my approach into the water. Ended up triple. WTF is wrong with my approach? It’s not just irons – I was playing my hybrid  like a rabid hyena snorting cocaine as well.

First 9 was a train-wreck score – +13 for 49.

Back 9 was slightly better – started with a par, before screwing up the par 5 for a triple. But then came back with another par on the par 4 12th, bogey-bogey for 13th and 14th.

The par 3 15th was an awful one with a bunkers on right and water left, and around 180 to the green. I managed to get a small landing spot near the fringe , chipped to around 8 feet, and closed with a par.

Par 4 16th , I smashed my drive into the tree, and sitting around 150m in the rough, proceeded to hit possibly my best 6 iron of the day to the green, around 15 feet from the hole, and rolled my putt in for a very improbably birdie.

Par 5 17th, narrowly missed par and settled for bogey, and the final 18th, just lost legs and got stuck in the bunker and ended up double bogey.

Final score – 49-43, so did not break 90 at all, but its not a bad recovery. And my driver was still struggling nevertheless, so all in all, it’s pretty ok in terms of scoring. And at least, its 2 birdies in 2 rounds so far, which is good.

Another sub 80 Slips away

I make no secrets about my lifelong golf ambition. It’s very easy supposedly and its enough for me to slip to my grave if I achieve it.

I just want to shoot a sub-80 round. That’s it. Simple.

I was on course for it in my first game in 2022 in Glenmarie Gardens. As I’m getting used to my new MP20 clubs, I started the round with my driver smoking hot. I was hitting the driver almost perfect for the first 7 holes. First hole, routine regulation and Par. Second hole, par 3, 3-putted from 10 feet. Frustrating. 3rd hole, my second shot on par 5 with a 3 wood took me to just 10 meters from the green. But what a shitty chip and a disappointing par. After a couple of bogeys on the par 4 and 3; my second par 5, again, a perfect drive and perfect 3 wood took me to even nearer to the green, around 5 meters. This time, a good chip and a birdie. After that, the two subsequent holes 2 pars including a pretty good save on 8 from the woods. On the par 4 9th, again, from the woods, landed on the fringe with around 10-15 feet to the hole and guess what – another 3 putt. I could have saved 2 shots from my 39.

But just as the possibility crept into me to break the 80; my entire game unravelled on the back 9. My drives deserted me and left me hooking my drives again. It’s a testament to some pretty ridiculous short game and putting that I still managed a 46, with the shots I was hitting. Nothing demonstrated it more than the 16th par 5.

I was hooking so badly that I aimed my shot way right and my drive went straight into the trees and dropped a feet away from the ladies tee box. A duck hook 3 wood later, I was left with around 230 or so to the green.  I finally hit a good 3 wood leaving me a difficult 40 meters from the green and I stuffed my 4th to around 6 feet. My putt lipped out for a bogey, but it was this sort of fighting golf that left me scrambling like a monkey at the back 9.

I don’t know why I am playing like a pro in one 9 and then collapse like an idiot in the back 9. Its this type of Jekyll and Hyde game that leaves even a respectable 85 a bad taste in my mouth. It could have been a WHOLE LOT BETTER.

Back to the drawing board. On the bright side, starting with 85 bodes well for 2022. That’s 6 pars, 1 birdie, 8 bogeys and 3 double bogeys. Not too bad but could have been better. Now, just to fix my driver again.

Bad Golf, Here We Come!

For those who know me, I am one of those golfers that are incorrigibly bad at golf for the very reason that I rank aesthetics and looks above performance and money. Let me explain. If I had half a brain that works for golf, I would know that as a 12 – 14 handicapper, I have no way in high heaven or seven hells that I can ever play with a club that is designed for pros or at the very least single handicappers. I used to have cavity Taylormade and when I had the chance to grab a Mizuno MP-54, I grabbed it even though my game suffered like a mad cow slowly being split in half by a rusty drill. Then, I saw an MP-57, which makes it even much much more hard to hit seeing that the 57 was a much older tech compared to the 54. I went and buy it and used it and the cycle of pain continues.

For a driver, I went for testing, and even the fitter told me, SIM Max is suitable for you , as your drives are all at least a bit predictable. I said No. The SIM looked like a club that has gone through a pyschedelic makeover after taking too much drugs and seeing talking barstools – meaning – it’s way too colorful and busy for me. I want my clubs to be the absolutely boringest piece of equipment ever. And so, Titliest would be the one. Frustrated, the fitter then said, OK, there is the Tsi2 which has good CG at the back and I was hitting it OK as well. I said, No. The shape looks like me after having one of my durian binge , with the bulging head shape like my stomach. I want the classic pear shape of the Tsi3. Does it fit my swing? Who cares? It looks awesome!

So here we are, a few days before the Mizuno 221,223 and 225 was announced, I sort of knew that the old version MP20 was going to be unavailable by the golf stores. I called up my fitter and asked him about the MP20. He said, the entire Malaysia was sold out already and MST was preparing for the new Mizzies. But he added, that there was a faulty set available in Penang, that was the last of its kind on this God loving country.

I said Faulty? He said, there were aesthetic dings and scratches, but nothing that affected performance. It’s a Mizuno. Dings and club chatter is PART of the Mizuno lore because of its blardy softness. A Mizuno without this is like a car without a wheel. I said, OK, bring it on, with the discounts – but was still very pricey; and I was then looking at an available MP-5 for almost 60% of the price.

But come on – MP20?

I knew I couldn’t play it. If there was a MP 20 HMB set available, maybe that would be a lot more suitable for me. But MP20 MB blade? It’s like dating Scarlett Johansson. You know, you just ain’t good enough and everyone will be looking at you and go, “How the hell did this loser end up with her?” The MP20 is Scarlett. In fact, I will name my set Scarlett.

Come on.

Say it, it’s f-ing gorgeous. Its even reflecting my big, fat, bald forehead.

Can I hit it?

Hell, no. No, no no.

I’ve played a few 9 holes with it. And last week had my first 18 with this set, in Palm Garden. Shot an 88 – which you would think its pretty ok, but I hardly used my MP-20s. I had a few here and there, chunked my 9 iron once, mishit a few times very badly. This MP20 is like a wife – if you did something wrong – she lets you know and she lets the entire world know about it. You hit it fat? Your 9 iron goes into the water. You thinned it or you missed the center by a hairline? Too bad, your 7 iron now looks like a flaccid p-nis that goes 80 meters only. But the moment you pure it – and it happens occasionally, as in very occasionally – that feeling gets you uncomfortably high. Like as in, you go, WTF is this intense feeling of pure orgasm in the middle of the golf course surrounded by 3 other guys?

No, the 88 was down to some great chips, some great 3-wood, hybrid and some wondrous putting using the left-hand low style. If I had my irons working for me, I would have probably shaved 3 – 4 strokes and at least played to my damn handicap. But I wouldn’t have the MP20s.

So there you go – welcome to bad golf but with a set that is completely unsuitable to the game but so damn pleasing to the eye.

Maid Permit, Passport and Contract Renewal 2021 Part 3

OK, so here we are, Part 3 of this adventure called Maid Renewal. So after getting the documents and the timing for the maid contract renewal with the embassy, the next task is – yup, you got it – head over to the embassy itself.  I did mention that I could not find the previous contract but in reality, my wife had it filed up somewhere and she magically brought it up upon request. My wife keeps track of everything and files it up methodologically so she can bring it up again at a moment’s notice – from receipts, bank statements, housing and car loans, university documents, all the times that I made mistakes in our marriage – you know like any normal woman would.

So armed with the 8 documents, the only thing difference in renewal for MCO is

  • Both the direct employer and DW must appear at the Embassy during the renewal of employment contract if processing thru accredited Malaysian agency is not required anymore.

Because, the good news is that the employer no longer needs to hand around. All I need to do was to sign everything that needs to be signed and off I went about my day. And this is a huge huge plus. Because it was only around 4 – 5 hours later that I received the call from my helper to state she is done, and from there I just arranged a GRAB for her and boom, we now have the new contract + new permit on an expired but extended passport. Contract done for the next two years.

The final level is to get her renewed passport (she has a set day – Tuesday – to collect, based on the receipt she has from the embassy – don’t lose that!), so its just a matter of getting the right day to go over and collect the passport, then I will (I think) need to go to the immigration to transfer the permit over to the new passport physically as well as on the system. And after that, we are done – and the cycle then repeats itself.

Maid Permit, Passport and Contract Renewal 2021 Part 1

Honestly, this topic is turning out to be far more popular than all my golf writeups has been. It goes to show that either my golf writing (and golf) is extremely crap or Malaysians generally have major issues in knowing WTF is going on when it comes to maid permit renewals. I would gravitate to the second. Really, even I find myself coming back to these articles on this blog to refresh my memory everytime the maid renewal season comes up. So yeah, I go back and literally read my own blog to remember how to do certain things.

So now, its 2021 and this time, its the big one. I call it the 3 in 1. Maid Passport Renewal, maid Permit Renewal and Maid Contract Renewal! Let’s start with the first permutation:

a) Passport Renewal and Passport Extension: The Embassy

Now, keep in mind that when you want to renew a PERMIT, the passport needs to be ONE YEAR valid. It means it needs to have a 12 month window there. If you were an idiot like me (who never learned 4 years back in 2017), and just sort of assumed that it’s 6 months based on our normal expiry buffer for travelling, you’d end up in this blog thinking how absolutely numskull you were in doing that.  I am even more stupid in that I reminded myself not to be so stupid back in 2017 when the exactly same issue occurred – the issue of the passport not having 12 months validity left, and you want to renew permit, and you do not have the time to renew the passport (renewal of passport generally will be around 2 months). In my case, this is October and the permit is expiring in around 4 weeks. Well done.

So I now have the extra task to extend the current passport while waiting for the new passport. Why extend you ask? Well, it is so that I can renew the permit, O Simple Reader. Because the new passport won’t be out in time, before the current passport expires, therefore I need to extend the passport to another 2 years. Why 2 years? Don’t know. It seems this is the only option and it cost me RM96. So RM288 (for new passport ) + RM96 (for being stupid).

Now this is MCO, so in my case the Philippines Embassy has a sniper who will headshot anyone who comes in without an appointment. So therefore you need to get an appointment first. So head to http://philembassyklappointment.biz/app/public/ and in the drop down, select Passport Application.

You will then see ALL DAYS are FULL. You will. No matter what day you are reading this article, I double dare you to go to that site (as long as appointment is still needed), every day will be Full, from today to the second coming of Christ. What you need to do is to wake up the next day at 7.55 am. Or earlier. And quickly go to the website at EXACTLT 8 am. Not later. And you will be able (if you are lucky) to get some empty slot days and then select the hour you want to have the appointment. I suggest you take the earliest available slot (if you get it).

Fill in all the information, like name, address, email, phone number and make sure you get the appointment slip.

Once you have the appointment slip, bring your maid, photocopy of the passport data page, the passport itself,  the printout of the appointment slip and make your merry way to the embassy. Oh yes, please download the passport renewal form at

http://www.philembassykl.org.my/main/images/Passport_Form_2018-Renewal.pdf

And you can fill it up and bring it along.

Now due to the MCO, employers (and agents) are not allowed into the embassy, so you must give your maid the necessary money (just pass RM400 or so to be safe) and the specific instruction for her to EXTEND the current passport validity. Else, she might just happily renew the passport and then you are screwed, because you won’t have a valid passport to tie the permit to (new passport hasn’t arrive).

It will take pretty long for all process to finish. We took the first slot at 9 am and we were only done around 1 pm. So just chill, go to a cafe somewhere and get some work done while waiting. Don’t worry, there is more to come.

a) Passport Renewal and Passport Extension: The Immigration

The next step is to go to the Immigration. Why, you ask. Well, it is to inform them that the passport has been extended and that they need to make it valid in their system once more in order for you to renew the permit. Its similar to you asking them to change the passport when you get a new one. Except now, its just an extended old one. So later on, once you get the new passport you need to go to the immigration again and transfer the permit over to the new passport. Yeah, it’s dog work.

The first question asked is, does our Malaysian Immigration in October 2021 have any booking or scheduling system similar to the Philippines Embassy? You can look at http://sto.imi.gov.my/e-temujanji but it doesn’t look like it applies if you want to just extend the maid permit in their system. I don’t know. Anyway, I headed over to the Duta immigration at around 9.30 am. Its probably better to be there earlier since it opens at 7.30 am but I couldn’t be arsed about waking up so early. Make sure you bring the maid’s passport (no need maid), and that the passport already has an extension to it. You can photostat if you want, but you won’t be needing it (at least for me). Do note that the immigration only handles Foreign worker/maid processing up to 1 pm, so you need to get all these done in the morning.

Go up the escalator and make sure you queue up at the right queue. There is a room for Malaysian Passport, and another room for Foreign Workers/Maid. Once you queue up, just wait and then when its your turn, go in and there will be a temporary table there with an officer, take a temperature, and they will give you a form to fill up for COVID declaration etc. So good idea to bring your own pen to write it down. Actually even if you don’t fill it up, no one will know, because at the end you are supposed to put it back on the table, but I noticed many forms there were empty except for the temperature. One of those strange things, I guess of government process that is utterly useless.

Explain to the officer at the first table that you have extended the maid’s passport and you need to update the system. He will understand and instruct you to go to the first counter, and she/he will give you a waiting number.

Then you just wait. For me, it was just around 20 minutes or so and then my turn came up, I explained to the officer again , he took the passport and clickety clack on the keyboard, and in 5 minutes, he looked up and said, OK. I was so shocked at his efficiency I thought he was joking. I asked, “OK? Sudah siap?” He just nodded grumpily and waved me away like an annoying fly.

Wow. Talk about fast.

I didn’t believe their system would be updated in real time. I didn’t. I am a non-believer in the Malaysian Immigration department. So right after that, I went to my office, logged into MyEG and tried to do the permit renewal. Previously it stopped once I clicked proceed and said that the passport was not valid without 12 months.  I was utterly shocked when the system allowed me past that stage now, meaning that I could now renew my maid’s permit using the old, extended passport.

Syabas indeed, Malaysia, I am in tears on how proud I am of you. It is like seeing the child that everyone gave up on as being an utter idiot in school who failed his Matematik and Moral, become the first man to land on Mars and set up a colony there and terraform the entire planet and save mankind.

So now, half of the work done already – we still need to

a) Renew Maid Visa on old extended passport

b) Renew Maid Contract for 2 years

c) Transfer Maid Visa from old extended passport to new passport once received from Embassy

This feels like an RPG game where you have to complete side quests before you can win the game. Bring it on!

Putting Changes

It seems every MCO brings about a change in the golf game.

Possibly due to boredom and the closure of golf courses, I’ve taken the time over the past 6 months plus to revamp the swing and move from the conventional weight shift left-right and left again to a stacked left side. The result? Well, I am not playing worse as before. In fact, my score is more or less the same, hovering between high 80s, low 90s and occasional moving down to mid 80s and low 80s but never breaking 80. That’s pretty much how I play previously.

The problem now seems to be more in the irons and less of the driver/woods. Especially, the shorter irons which I generally pull left and the occasional struggle with the mid irons when I would shank it. I haven’t figured out why, but those blow holes are usually the 7/6-iron shanks. But the drive now is very much more consistent and distance wise, more confident.

Putting seems to be the problem now, so for this MCO, 3 things are being experimented.

a) Left Hand Low

I saw Jordan Spieth putting the lights out and tried his grip. Even though it’s indoors, and on a cheap putting mat – it works. It feels much more ‘intact’. In terms of the takeaway and stroke, it feels more one piece as opposed to my previous conventional overlap. Of course, it’s on a mat, so a lot of discount is needed on the results, but it does feel better, which is important.

b) Forward press

I never thought this would help, but it does. I always had a weight back a bit on my putter stance and sometimes hit up on the ball the same way as how I hit the drive. With the forward press, the putter face is more level and lower when it impacts the ball and it seems a lot more solid as opposed to my previous attempts to hit up – causing very inconsistent hits and often end up just brushing the damn ball – the way I did my eagle putt at the Impiana a few weeks back.

c) Head Up Putting

Now I probably won’t put this in practice just yet but have been experimenting this since a year + even before I knew there was a term for it. My original idea was that – if we threw a ball, we don’t look at the ball we are throwing, we look at the target. So why is putting different? Only recently I found out this is actually a thing that many other people are thinking – and saw Jordan Spieth do it as well. So, head up putting isn’t about staring at the golf hole, it’s about just loosening up without getting too caught up staring at the ball. What I do is to just look probably a few feet ahead of the ball, or to the break-line that I want my putt to go, blur my vision and just stroke the ball.

Blurring my vision is how you do when you disfocus your vision on purpose, same way as you would do when you are looking at a 3D magic eye picture and looking through the picture instead of at it. So far, again, it works but I haven’t done it much on the course except for some simple 9-hole games when we don’t have those previous RM5 hanging on the hole. But now that I know it’s an actual method used by the best putters in the world, why not??!

So those are the changes on the putting – let’s see how it works out as soon as this MCO is over and we are back out on the course!

A Review of Q1 2021

So after around 4 months into 2021, it’s probably a good time to review how the new swing change is shaping up. First of, for a couple of months, the lack of golf was evident, although we are getting back into the groove now (despite our COVID cases increasing!), so we are trying to get as much golf in before any lockdown occurs.

I do a 9-hole walk on Tuesday with a secondary set – a 917F 3 Wood with a putter and 2 wedges + 3 irons (5,7,9 – my old Mizuno MP-57). Honestly I think I play better without my driver as this 3 wood is only around 30-40 meters shorter.  So scoring wise there is good, but better is the morning walk, with just a range bag without trolley.

We’ve crammed in also a couple of rounds of golf in Mines, Glenmarie, Saujana Impiana, Palm Garden and the results were – varied. I think I am back to my scoring as previous before my swing change. Like in Mines, I scored a 90 and 84, Glenmarie – 100 and then an 88. Palm Garden a 92 and an 84 and Saujana Impiana a 92. Good scores? It’s more or less the bloody same as I would score before the changes!!

But.

I do feel the game is coming along fine. For Saujana Impiana, that 92 could have easily been an 87 or 88. I had 4 triple bogeys against a fair number of Pars and a birdie. Of the 4 triple, 3 were really ridiculous. One was caused by a six iron shank from prime position on Fairway. Second was a lost ball after a good drive that just skittered a bit to the left, but for some damn reason, we couldn’t find the ball (most frustrating thing in golf), the third was the final hole, after being on the fringe in 2, and proceeded to duff a chip and 4 putted into infamy.

Only the first quad bogey where I hooked 2 into the woods would I say it was unavoidable.

But the encouraging thing for Impiana was how I played the par 5s. The first par 5 (Hole 3 I think), I proceeded to birdie it after my second 3 wood shot left me only 40 meters from the hole. The next par 5 in the back 9 I thunked my 3 wood so perfect from the fairway from 240 meters that I had to run up and apologise to the group on the green because my shot ended up around 20 meters from the green.

And the final par 5, hole 17. Bombed a drive (or so I thought) to around 160m from the green, and hit my new 5-iron (I reshafted it to a graphite) for my first two-on Par 5 after such a long time. What proceeded after that would forever be part of golfing lore. But before that, the group behind us had a guy who bombed his drive even further, to 100m marker. In fact, it was extremely dangerous as we were around that area as well. So actually, the par 5s are quite short and dangerous in Impian especially if you are a long hitter.

Going for my eagle, my ball was resting at that part where the fringe and green met, so it had that tuft of raised grass. I didn’t think much about it but when I putted, brushing the stupid grass on the backstroke caused a sudden retardation of my brains and I completely lost focus and I literally molested the ball to not even halfway to the god-damn hole. Molested my eagle putt. What. The. Flaming. Fukuoka.

I just stared in disbelief at my partners, before they all started to rail on me for my failure. This is a devastating failure. Because then I proceeded to miss my birdie and was forever labelled the biggest choker of all time. DAMN.

That has nothing to do with new swing. This is to do with a new brain, which I cannot change.

Same thing as Hole 18. Hooked my shot into the woods and from a superbly difficult shot down the hill, through the trees with just a bit of opening, I hit a glorious hybrid to the fringe of the green from 180. I mean, even Mickleson will be proud. Celebrating at least a bogey, I cockily went up and duffed my chip. Ok, no problem, a putt from fringe should be fine. I overputted, and sent the damn putt 15 feet downhill, my uphill putt didn’t have legs and I missed my double bogey putt.

You see, failures are often not due to the swing. My swing (except for the occasional and unknown shank) is coming along nicely and distance is better, consistency is better on the drives. My irons are the ones failing me (short approaches) and my stupid putting is as bad as a Gremlin high on cocaine.

So, overall review of 2021? Good with the long clubs, everything in 100 meters, atrocious as can be seen by up down scores. Am I encouraged with the swing change? For sure yeah. Very encouraged.  Just completely shit around the greens, but that’s not due to the swing change.