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Eat, Pray, Visa

It's been more than a year since my last post, and I am frankly a little surprised my this blog still gets hits. But what can I say, doing a PhD punches the wind out of you, so much so that you only have a vague memory of what life was like before that.

Right now it seems like there are only two phases in my life - PhD, and pre-PhD. The strange thing is, it's not that I've been buried in journal articles and papers for the past years, just swimming round and round, drifting aimlessly as I do so. It's more the little things, that bury me, where I'm just swimming round and round, drifting aimlessly as I do so.


It's like instead of being on the "where is the next conference" and "when is the next journal due?", we get questions like these: "how am I going to register my son in his new school?", "how many hours teaching am I doing this week?", "have I filled in the timesheet yet?", and "when am I ever going to get this FRICKIN visa?!"

Which brings us the visa application process in New Zealand. My student visa recently expired. Immigration NZ graciously gave me a 2-year student visa, when it was explicit that my course would run for 3 years, and that within those 3 years, all my expenses were covered.

Seriously? But why?

Well, because they could. And also because I had a few health issues, none of which were life-threatening or infectious, but were present nonetheless. My glucose tolerance was a bit low, and I had hypertension. But were all under control.

But they wouldn't hear any of that. In NZ, it appears that if you have any sort of health complication whatsoever, you were a leper. And because of that they gave me a 2-year visa, leaving a big hole of "bloody hell what's going to happen if I don't get the visa" in my studies. Seriously, what would happen? Would they deport me, even when I am in my final year of studies? Will they come by in the middle of the night with a death squad, rounding up my family and take us to a field and put us under the firing squad? What would they do? And what could I do, if my application belly-flopped like a fat man after eating a double quarter pounder at Macdonald's? So many questions. So many uncertainties. All of which drowns the spirit, and the will to stick to your guns, trying to finish the PhD.

So I applied for the student visa, as per requirement, two months before the expiry of my visa. Immediately after I submitted the application I got an email, requesting for medical tests. A long extensive list of medical tests. So I did the tests, one by one, until I felt like I couldn't give another drop of blood, or pee into another cup again. No, not another cup. I would get hysterical when my wife poured tea into a cup. No more cups. And so I waited, calling NZ Immigration every two weeks to follow up on my visa. The answer was always the same - "We're sent your medicals to the Medical Assessors, and they are still processing it".

By three months, my visa, along with the visas of my family had expired, and they issued us interim visas, which would last for six months, or until they had decided to deport us or let us stay. And we stayed put, like criminals in jail, waiting on death row. We didn't even have our passports, as NZ Immigration held them for visa processing.

Finally after more than three months, and after countless hours of calling Immigration and pestering them about the progress of my application, they finally sent an answer. Requesting more tests.

See I told you - I was a frickin leper.

And so more tests it was. Of which I have done four. And require another specialist. And it looks like another specialist might be called in, once I sent those in.


All I wanna do is finish my frickin PhD, and get out of this place.

All the love I felt for this country, especially after being here throughout the duration of its worst earthquakes, where we supported Christchurch, bled for Christchurch, and almost died for Christchurch? What love would you hold for a woman who you have given everything for, and she ends up spitting in your face?

Is that love?

Is this how you treat people who put money into your economy, and become fully integrated members of community? We don't take your handouts (because you don't give any), we work and pay taxes, and still this is how you treat us?

You can keep your mountains and lakes for all I care.

I just want to get my PhD.


Razee Salleh said…
Nice to see you back (tho you were like around in netspace).

I have never read yoy being so angry. I guess you must have had effin enough of the 'birokrasi' (and here i was thinking shit like that only happens in good ole tanah tumpah darah Malaysia).

Stay strong bro. Keep up the good fight. Malaysia will always have a need for professionals with passion like you.
Hey bro! Nice to see you round these parts again!

yeah, it's all wearing me down bro. Nak concentrate belabor pun payah, know what I mean?

You been blogging much lately? Facebook kinda takes that away from you doesn't it? Pretty soon you totally shift to Facebook, and have short and meaningless conversations, though on a more regular basis.

That's what mostly happened to me anyway.
Cat-from-Sydney said…
Whoa! Fancy meeting both my now not so favourite uncles here! We don't have FB account. Period. For obvious reasons. Eh, Uncle D, tak boleh ke transfer to Australia or elsewhere? Mengada-ngada betul authorities kat situ, as if you want to be their permanent resident.
I'd suggest you talk to someone called Sultan Yusuf in FIANZ, he's based in Wellington though. His number is +6421786566. Tell him you got his number from that cat lady from Muslim Aid, formerly of Sydney but now back in KL. who knows if could help you out. har har har *evil laughs*
Hey Ange & Cat.. Nice to see you here again! :)
Dah invest 2 years plus kat NZ.. susah la pulak nak tukar2..
And thanks for the no.. may if this thing does go under then I'll give this guy a buzz.

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The End

I am in a hotel room.

It is unclear who else is in the room. It must be my family. But I am uncertain. I know I am in the room with people I love.

The hotel room is in a building that towers above ground level, and we can see all the houses below.

I am in Hawaii I think. How I know that I do not know. All I know is that we are beside the ocean.

I feel unsettled as I look out the window. Something is compelling me to look outside the window. It is getting dark. But I know by right it should not be dark. It is midday. And then I see it.

In front of me a huge storm cloud is gathering. But I start to quiver because it looks like no ordinary storm. The clouds are pitch black. Black as death. My eyes follow their shape to where they originate. I gasp.

I see a gigantic water spout, a tornado in the ocean, funnelling its energy to the black cloud. The water spout is also pitch black. Rain now pours uncontrollably. It is a hurricane at its full blast, but not just that. It is much, much more.

Aku, Bini dan Ginger Beer

Aku haus...

Tekakku yang kering ini menginginkan rasanya yang menenangkan jiwa itu...

Perasaannya apabila ku menggenggam botol kacanya yang sejuk dan berwap-wap dan mengangkatnya keluar peti ais kecilku, perasaannya seperti seorang kanak-kanak Taman Keramat memegang aiskrim Malaysia 10sen pada hari yang panas membara...

Riang... Nikmat... Penantian yang menyiksakan, tetapi penantian yang lazat...

Dengan pergerakan yang perlahan seperti 'slow-motion' dalam sinetron Indonesia kegemaran surirumah-surirumah di Malaysia, muncung botol Ginger Beer kegemaranku mampir bibirku yang terketar-ketar sedikit, sehinggalah aku dapat rasa cecair yang sejuk membasahi tekakku...


Sedap tidak terperi...

Aku menghulurkan kepada biniku, dan dia juga meneguk kenikmatan...

Aku menadah tangan meminta kembali Ginger Beer kesayanganku yang berjenama Bundaberg buatan New Zealand.

Saat itu tidak tiba-tiba...

Aku tertanya-tanya... Mata terkebil-kebil...

"Ni saya punya ya Bang..." ujar …