“Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho” was being shown on GMA PinoyTV (a Filipino Television station) while I was busy fiddling my phone. I was barely looking on the screen and half listening when one of their segment caught my attention.
It’s about a Filipina who was suspected as a drug mule and was held by the Indonesian immigration for several hours. That brought back a somewhat similar (but not quite) incident that happened to me when I went to Batam, Indonesia to accompany my brother’s family for a day tour.
The Indonesian immigration official thought that I was using the trip as a form of exit in order to get my passport stamped with another month to stay in Singapore. He led me to an office for an “interrogation” in which I calmly explained that legally, I’m allowed to stay in Singapore for a maximum of one-month after the cancellation of my work pass.
I further mentioned that I’m going back to the Philippines in three weeks time, showed my flight itinerary, and the cancellation of my work pass. Unfortunately, I don’t have the letter that states that I can stay in Singapore for one-month.
As a result, the immigration officer was eyeing me like I’ve done something horrible and I felt like he’s silently telling me that I’m a threat to the national security. Ok, I was paranoid… but that’s how I felt when he was looking at me. The little tigress in me wanted to scratch his face and scamper away. However, my Philippine passport reminded me not to act like a neanderthal… hence, I controlled my boiling temper and met his eyes with a cool and composed aura.
I informed the officer that I need to hustle because my relatives were waiting for me and I don’t want to be the cause of delay of our one-day package tour. To speed up the process, I seek permission to use their internet connection so that I can show the information (found in the Ministry of Manpower website) needed to clear the air. Sadly, the internet connection sucks to the highest level! 😦
The immigration officer can’t seem to stand my incessant query as to why they don’t have internet connection so he referred me to another immigration officer. The second immigration officer led me outside and apologized for the poor “nonexistent” Internet connection. I looked at him with “it’s absolutely bizarre!” plastered on my face.
We went outside to check if the signal is better. Using his blackberry, we were able to find a hotspot but the speed was terribly sloooooow. After half an hour, I was still stuck in the Immigration area and by then, the tour guide appeared. I explained the situation and expressed my exasperation about the Internet connection in that port. The immigration officer seemed to take it as a cue and went to look for a computer with a “stable” connection. After 15 minutes, he led me to a different office and told me to use the laptop that he borrowed.
In less than two minutes, I showed the Ministry of Manpower website and the section which states that I can stay in Singapore for 30-days. The first officer had a serious look on his face while stamping and returning my passport. I was grinning mischievously and triumphantly while I took back my passport. Thank goodness the issue was handled in a mature fashion otherwise I could have been deported if I allowed the barbaric side of me to control the situation. Ha!
James is my 6-year old adorable and quickwitted nephew who taught me how to play beyblade, Wii, and Xbox. He also wanted to teach me how to play Bakugan but I kept giving excuses. :p
In any case, below are some of his cute funny moments:
Credit Card James: Mom, can I borrow your credit card? Mom: Why James? What do you need it for? James: I want to buy toys for free. Mom: What do you mean for free? James: Because if you use a credit card, you don’t spend money. You just swipe the card! You should use it more often Mom.
Can you believe it? He already had that concept at such a young age. omg! Note: It was later on explained to him that the credit card is paid through the bank.
Phone James: Hey Tita, why are you always using your phone? Tita (TheCuriousMe): Because you’re always using my laptop James. I’m using my phone to surf the internet, chat, browse facebook, listen to music, watch videos, and write articles for my site. James: Is it a phone laptop? Me (TheCuriousMe): Yes James.
James stopped talking and was in deep thought for a moment. Then he suddenly grab his Nintendo DS and dash off to the bathroom. Maybe to internalize how “phone laptop” works. I’m sure he will figure it out when he’s few years older.
School Me: James, will you be in Grade 5 next school year? James: No, I will be in Grade 2. (Note: He’s currently in Grade 1.)
Me: How come? Can’t you choose? What if you want to be in Grade 6? James: That can’t be. I need to pass through grade by grade. (Note: His expression is really serious and he sounds like we are discussing a very crucial topic)
I just smiled. Another lesson from James eh? To sum it up, we can never climb Mount Everest in just one day. We can never move a mountain with one push. There’s no shortcut. It should be taken one step at a time. Aja!
Moreover, one thing that he can’t live without is Pinky! It’s a pink stuff toy that was bought before he was born. His Mom thought she will give birth to a baby girl but it turned out that it’s a boy! Sans James and Pinky are like twins, simply inseparable!
I was planning to work in Qatar but it looks like it’s not part of God’s itinerary for me. I felt that he was whispering to me, “My child, stay in Singapore for the moment”. And so I did.
And the story begins…
I chance upon my fellow GI (genuine ilokano) and “dabarkads” (a.k.a. friend), James Lee, when I went to do my clearance in my previous work. He mentioned that his sister is working somewhere in Singapore and pointed out that maybe I can try my luck there. He was kind enough to refer me to stay and share the rent in his sister’s place while looking for a job.
I quickly grabbed the opportunity without weighing the pros and cons. All I wanted at that time was to bounce back from the terrible and chaotic event that transpired. Moreover, I did not ask for money from my family because I knew that they also have their own financial obligations to settle. My little savings back then was not enough but I was not even worried.
As I think about it now, God sent an angel to help me with regards to money matters. No wonder I was not worried! God is indeed very good! Hence, I booked my flight and went to that part of Singapore with just few clothes in my luggage and no laptop at all. It’s like going to a battlefield without firearms. Ha!
Furthermore, I haven’t seen Joan (James Lee’s sister) in person and in photo. So I had no clue at all on how she looked like. After a three and a half hour flight, I took a taxi from the airport to Joan’s place. I was a bit apprehensive because I felt like we were traveling in the forest with the trees looming at me. I had goosebumps but I tried to maintain a relax facade.
I relaxed a bit when the taxi finally dropped me off at the entrance of a building. A couple were sitting at the entrance. The girl looked like James Lee’s female version so I presumed that she’s Joan… and I was right.
After sharing the sumptuous meal that they have prepared, I unpacked my stuff and then Joan and Jessie (Joan’s boyfriend) showed me around and taught me how to get to one place to the other. It was a long weekend when I got there, thus, most shops were closed including the money changers.
FYI: Joyce lent me her laptop (isn’t she an angel? ) and told me to send my resume to at least 1000 employers. According to her the trend there is to apply online and only shortlisted applicants will be called for an interview.
Within two months, I must find a job and as well as get my work pass approved within that span of time. A real big challenge ey?
I admit, no matter how fabulous the advantages of using an iphone presents, I still dilly- dally. At that time, my drive to start my blog site was very low. The motivation that I’ve been looking seem to sunk down in oblivion. However, my momentum resurrected and went on a steady beat when I break free from the claws of a dangerous creature.
So, it took me two years to weigh the pros and cons before I finally decided to buy an iPhone. The convenience of using the iPhone to “pen” down my thoughts and immediately upload it to my blog site writing while in the train, bus or wherever I am was the deciding factor.
Thank you Steve Jobs for being the greatest innovator of all times (in my point of view that is…) :p Now, my iPhone became a part of my daily routine. It’s the last thing that I check before I go to sleep and the first thing that I look for when I wake up.
The practicality and usefulness of the iphone allowed me to utilize my time wisely. Aside from writing articles, I was also able to do the following:
I decided to sell it (see transfer of ownership) due to unavoidable circumstances. It’s pretty agonizing because I’m letting go the most amazingl gadget that I’ve ever had so far. Of course, the laptop is also useful but iphone comes in handy at all times.
At any rate, life must go on. Who knows, I will get another one in the near future. Maybe by that time, Steve Jobs has already developed a phone that can enable people to teleport. Ha! :p