So we went today before lunch. The scene that meet our eyes was unbelieveable. I groaned inwardly. There were hundreds and hundreds of ppl and to make matters worse, the air con did a number on us or probably there were too many ppl to get any effect of same, the Immigration Dept was stuffy, the numerous fans that was switched on didnt do much to help matters, it probably made it worse as one could, if one tried hard enough, smell the sweat that was emitting from the numerous ppl; not an inviting scene but something that had to be endured.
We went through the usual routine of going to the counter and asked the staff there whether there was a counter for Senior Citizens and were glad to hear there was. We took the application form, filled same, attaching the required photos, getting a number, standing and then waiting for your number to be paged and that was like forever and after standing for more than 1 hour, back aching, legs aching, I spotted two vacant chairs and walking quickly to get it before someone else does.
The waiting game continues. Tried to entertain myself by what was happening all around. I spotted a man rubbing his bushy mustache; up down up down, probably finding it soothing. Then I spotted a mother breast feeding her baby in public instead of going to the small cubicle assigned for this purpose; then another mother opened up a mat and laid some small pillows on it and then her four kids playing and eating fish crackers and generally making a mess of the fish crackers on the floor; another child was happy, he discovered that the chair he was sitting was loosen; he played a game of jumping on it and making quite a din and he felt like a hero when other kids were laughing at his antics. I saw the fatigue on the faces of alot of elderly ppl; some of them were dozing off with their heads bobbing up and down. It didnt help matters when the boy behind me kept kicking my seat; after suffering in silence, I gave him a glare and the kicking stopped for a while and then started again.
Then we heard our number being paged, we went to the counter to hand the completed form and did the necessary. The staff told us that we have now to wait for our number to be paged again in order to pay for the passport. It was already two hours before we were paged again and this time we paid the required amount for the passport to the Cashier, had our thumb print taken and the waiting continued.
We waited for another 1 1/2 hours and still our number was not paged. Hubby went to the counter where we were supposed to pick up the passports and we were not at all amused to find that the Cashier omitted to tell us that we had to take a different number and the waiting continued again until finally after a total of 4 1/2 hours we got the passport and an extra bonus of a backache. Hubby asked the personnel in the last counter why was there no preferential treatment, since the lst counter told us that Senior Citizens will be given preference, and guess what was the reply? "Uncle too many Senior Citizens today!!!
I like to give my 2 cents:-
- If the public are supposed to get a different number, the Immigration Dept should have put up a Big Notice of same so that ppl are aware of same and not depend on their personnel to relay information as at the best of times, due to tireness, things get screwed up for the general public.
- Why the necessity of getting a different number? I simply dont understand? Why cant the same number be used throughout this body aching exercise? We should all aim for efficiency.