Administrative hagglings continued today as I (TP) journeyed down to the southern fringes of KL to deal with my accepted application to UKM. It’s nice that they admitted me after a month. I wonder what they expected me to be doing for the past 30 days. I guess this is one of those bureaucratic deals where they pretend I don’t exist just so long as I don’t make any waves. Sort of like Milton in Office Space, at least until I burn the country down.
I have a theory that the amount of paperwork that you put into a bureaucracy is equal and proportional to the amount of new paperwork that you receive from a bureaucracy. I give them application, they give me sheets I have to fill out. I give them sheets, they give me more sheets. I have an appointment for April 8th to discuss visa issues. We will have been in the country for over 45 days (less the amount of time we spend in New Zealand). Good thing we are not politically sensitive visitors or anything. For what it’s worth, I now have a fourth university ID with my picture on it to show around (to add to Brown, Yale, and Wisconsin), only this one has funny-looking words on it.
I got another nice taste of "I don’t understand what’s going on" today while waiting for campus buses. As we mentioned before, UKM’s campus is something like a giant humid desert. Walking anywhere is sort of like Dr. Zhivago in the tropics. I had to walk from the Pusat Pengajian Siswazah (Graduate Student Registrar) to the Wisma Aman (Safety Center), a distance of about a mile. No way I’m doing that. Fortunately, they have buses to take people from building to building–no one else likes to walk around there either. Yet the buses refused to stop for me. I even asked people to show me where the buses stop, and the buses just blasted on past. I think it’s because I was the only one waiting (no Malaysians), although I’m not sure why the bus drivers would be so reluctant to pick up a sweaty, frazzled, soon-to-be-sunburnt foreigner. Fortunately, though, one of the security folks saw me making mean faces at a bus as it roared past, and gave me a ride on his motorcycle. That’s the way to travel.
You may notice that we added a picture of Sinta, one of our wayang golek that we bought in Jakarta. It’s a nice way to liven up the front page.