Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Was I wrong?

I've just arrived in Dallas 10 hours ago after 28 hours of traveling. It wasn't a comfortable trip with the flight being full and for those who travel regularly, you would know being stuck in economy class for over 18 hours and having to sit in the centre row as both window and aisle seats were not available, can't be a good thing... not to mention than I have extremely long legs.

I was arriving into LA before having to catch a connecting flight to Dallas. Here I needed to go through the immigration and clear customs, then collect my luggage and re-check them in for my next flight. After spending over 20 hours on the go, all I wanted to do was to clear this process as quickly as possible and stretch my legs a little before catching the next flight, but this was not to be.

The situation at the LA immigration was worse than a market. At least in the Malaysian markets, everyone knows what they are doing and are clear on what they want. Here you would find immigration officers guiding passengers to the various counters by screaming at the top of their lungs. The queuing system and the efficiency of clearing the queue as quickly as possible was also screwed up.

After having to stand in what I would have called a relatively short queue for 45 minutes I realised that it had stopped moving. This is when I realised that the 3 counters which served my queue had closed and the officers were packing up to go home. It took another 10 minutes before one officer came to replace just one of the 3 counters, and even then he did not open the counter straight away. Instead he started taking out his soft drink and did things in really slow motion, like you at times see in the Malaysian government offices.

A quick look to the other queues and I realised that they were being processed a lot more efficiently than the one I was in. What luck!! After a bit I just could not stand it anymore and gestured towards one of the immigration ushers to complain. Her reaction of "What do you want me to do? There's nothing I can do, this is normal" stunned me. Not to mention the arrogant tone of voice. After explaining that I was going to miss my connecting flight, since we had already landed an hour late, she hesitantly said she would see what she could do.

Anyway to cut the story short, I was ushered out towards another queue which cleared much faster. I am totally appalled by the kind of service I seemed to have received. My impression of the US has been further tainted and I am not really keen on spending much time exploring much of this country. For the rest of my journey to the hotel, I had also encountered similar rudeness when asking for any kind of information or help.

To me the people make up a country, and if there cannot be basic courtesy and politeness, then it's really sad. All that people say about the greatness and superiority of the US is total bullshit from my point of view. I am proud to be a Malaysian, and I would suggest that we are very much ahead in many ways when compared to the US. If anyone wants to talk to me about corruption, transparency and a real democracy, then don't because it's pretty much the same in every government and both you and I know that! So as we close in towards yet another Merdeka celebration let us cheer and say "MALAYSIA BOLEH!"

1 comment:

krunner said...

I read a book once about a guy who went the USA in the 50's. He wrote about the rude immigration officials then and now I know they ars still the same.