Over the past 2 working days I have travelled 200 kms, spent 28 ringgit on tolls and god knows how much on petrol, queued and waited for a total of 7 hours in a room that doesn’t have enough chairs for half those present, all in order to obtain permission to stay another year with my husband of 42 years. 42 married years, that is. (I might wish he was 42 years old, but…)
Welcome to the Immigration Dept in Shah Alam, Selangor. The staff are lovely and very patient – not even losing their cool when shouted at, which happened today. (No, not by me.) But, folks, the system is seriously f-…um, stressed. I STILL haven’t got that precious stamp in my passport and I have to travel another 100 kms, pay another 14 ringgit and wait another few hours to complete the process.
However, what I am really blogging about is this. They have a video screen to watch while you wait. No sound, just pictures. They show odd things like the trailer for a Harry Potter movie…and a long sequence, obviously a govt health dept production, on how to wash your hands. Presumably because of the current swine flu epidemic. You know, lots of soap, lather well, get between the fingers, etc etc.
So after a number hours of waiting (and reading Tad William’s Shadowplay – thank the lord for a good book. I was the ONLY person among the several hundred there with a book, mind you) I go to the loo. And afterwards, head for the taps like the good girl I am.
And there is no soap in the dispenser. What’s more, by the look of it, it has been empty for a long, long time.