Saturday, March 28, 2015


A few days late, but I wanted to leave some thoughts on this.
Being so far away, and ironically being a Malaysian, I still did feel a sense of loss over the recent passing of Lee Kuan Yew. Indeed, part of me was envious that I couldn't be there to pay my respects, reading about this on my Singaporean friends' FB posts. And certainly the huge envy most Malaysians would have, thinking about what a great man and leader Mr. Lee Kuan Yew was, and how things might be/have been if only Malaysia had leaders such as him.
It's pretty damn amazing reading about Singapore's development from a small island settlement to a what it is today. And how it rapidly advanced after its separation from Malaysia, leaving us in its dust while we still, almost 60 years later, struggle with bickering, corruption, racial disharmony. Mention Malaysia here and I'm usually faced with "where is that?" or "Isn't that where they have terrorists?/Is it safe?/That's the country with the plane crashes!".
Mention Singapore, and everyone here knows about it.
Singapore truly has come a long way, and though she isn't without her issues, it's pretty evident that much of her progress can be attributed to LKY. Even if you don't agree with his ways, you can't argue with his success.
RIP, Mr. Lee. You have worked so hard- it is time to rest knowing you have raised a country well.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Passport Renewal

So last week the wife and I made a trip to NYC to a date-trip (in-laws offered to watch the kids as we flew out), and to renew my Malaysian passport.
Yes, I admit, though I could probably apply for US citizenship now, part of me is too damn proud to give up my Malaysian identity. I still take pride telling people here I'm Malaysian.
Which is probably why I put up with the tidak-apa crap everyone else does. Which was well illustrated when I was last in Malaysian in November 2013. I knew my passport expired in late 2015 and didn't think I'd make another trip back in the meantime, and tried to get my document renewed.
The Jabatan Imigresen opens I think at 8AM. I was there by 845AM; to my chagrin there was already a long line there. I took a number to wait for my turn to submit my papers.
And waited.
And waited.
In that humid, packed room.
And after 2 hours and having seen the numbers advance only a few digits, I decided to come back. Especially since one of the officers told one of the Ah Pek's off and told him to come back in the afternoon.
When I popped in again at 1PM, it was still nowhere close to my turn.
And so I told them to go to hell, and decided to do it here instead.
Fast forward to now. 
When I emailed the Consulate General of Malaysia at NYC, my emails were answered in a most unMalaysian way- within a few hours. I asked about what documents I needed, and what preparations I needed to undertake.
As it turns out, all I needed were:
1) To complete the Registration of Malaysian Citizens in USA form
2) Passport
3) Malaysian IC (best to have the new MyKad- you'd get a 5 year renewal, versus a 2 year) and a copy 
4) Malaysian BC and a copy
5) US Green Card (not listed on their website, but they asked me to bring mine)
6) US$70

The embassy was located in the east side of midtown Manhattan, walkable from Times Square if you're adventurous. They open at 9AM; we arrived at 930AM and took a number and were attended to within 45 mins. They took my photo on the spot, and my new passport was ready in less than 2 hours.
And best of all, people were FRIENDLY! For one, the Malaysian camaraderie in the waiting room, "Eh which part of Malaysian are you from?" etc. But best of all the consulate officers were actually friendly, efficient, and quick! 
Such a difference from my experience in Seremban in 2013.
Syabas, guys! This is the way to do it. 
If you're looking for info, they are located at 313 East 43rd St, New York 10017 NY