(Photo of Adam impersonating the guy behind the Warga Emas counter)
Since my friend TV Smith likes photographing ghost towns like Putrajaya, I bought 2 Air Asia Tickets from a travel agent in Shah Alam after losing my way looking for the deserted JPN office that is supposedly there and asked him to accompany me to Labuan to get my Mykad renewed. Halfway to KL Sentral, we figured we could use the money for the KLIA train for a few more jugs of beer. So off I went to Maju Function for another go. He went home to continue his sleep
I went to Maju Junction. Got there at 1030 hrs. Went to the nombor giliran counter. The same guy there. He saw me me, "MyKad?" I nodded. He handed me a number. 2047 (any of you flers buy this number and it comes out you know what to do lah:-). He mumbled something which I didn't quite catch. But I thought he said that I should just go sit down and wait.
There were a lot of people there. I sat down in front of a counter that had a big sign, "Kaunter Khas Untuk Warga Emas (nice name, right? Much better than Senior Citizen) Dan Orang Kurang Upaya." I qualified on both counts:-) If you have to ask why.......never mind lah.
Thing was that the two counters were serving people who obviously didn't fit into either category. I sat for 3 minutes and decided to go up and ask about my number and if I should wait in front of this counter. The guy behind the counter looked like he needed Colema Therapy, had his eyes fixed firmly on his computer monitor said, "Ya, itu nombor VIP." What? Have I been upgraded. Found out later that VIP and Warga Emas and Orang Kurang Upaya same thing.
Waited another couple of minutes and heard my number being called. Went up to the counter and was served by this lady who looked like she was days away from retirement. She had this typical government officer attitude. Which is to make you feel like you don't exist and they're there to tolerate you until their next tea break. I handed over my IC and the nomber giliran and my change of address form. She punched some keys on her computer. Asked me to place my left and right thumbs on the scanner. All the while joking with colleagues at other counters and making me feel really unwelcome. She handed me back a receipt type piece of paper and mumbled something, pointed me to some other counters. I dechipered the mumbles to mean I should go wait in front of counters 1,2,3 or 4. I went.
Those counters had contraptions with two lights shining out and a round thing which I guessed was the camera and its lighting. After a minute this young lady waved me over, asked me to put my left thumb on this scanner. Then she waved me to go sit on this chair in front of her. Directed me to turn left a bit, turn right a bit, tilt my head a bit. And then, "Datang lepas 3 bulan." That was it. Of course, the piece of paper I held in my hand clearly stated that I had to wait 6 months. But then continuity in a government system would make it.......well not a government system. Right?
I looked at my watch as I walked through the door. It read 1040 hrs. I was lost. Didn't know what to do. I had planned at least 2 hours there. Paused for a smoke. This rather desperate looking Chinese guy comes up to me and asked if I was one the guys who helps fill up forms for a fee. I said no. "Then where are they?", he asked me in Cantonese sweat beginning to trickle down his face because his nomber giliran was running. I told him that they are now not allowed to solicit business outside government offices. "So you are one of them lah", he asked. No....I am here to....never mind what form you want to fill? Turns out he just needed to fill up a simple form asking for his name, address and NRIC number. The same one I filled in. So I did it for him and he was grateful.
I left the building. My faith in government departments temporarily restored and feeling good for having done a good deed for a fellow nomber giliran fler in need.
But me being me, I had to go kay-po a bit more la. So I went back inside the place and walked over to the half of the office which is the place you go to pick up your new MyKad. Yes, you have to take a nombor giliran here too.
Okay, okay, the JPN facility in Maju Junction is divided into these two sections by a large wooden reception desk type thing. This morning there were 3 young guys there. One sitting rather casually ON the counter top. But what made me notice the counter was 3 pieces of A-4 size paper cello taped to the edge of the counter to inform people that this was where to register for Undi something or other. Nothing wrong with that except that the "signs", hand written on white A-4 which were dog-eared, stained and torn were flapping in the air-con breeze just like so much trash. Incidentally the A-4 sized hand written sign is a Malaysian icon. Look out for it wherever you go. I caught the eye of the counter top balancing guy and showed him the tattered signs. "Oh itu sudah lama lah." Then he gave me a dirty look that said, "Why don't you piss off and let me and my colleagues here continue our day of fun and frolic at you tax-payers expense."
I sighed and left the building to meet my wife for an early lunch and a game of 10-pin bowling. Good day in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.