Mondays are actually my teaching days, but I have asked permission from my fellow lecturer to skip the morning class on Oct 1st, 2007. I arrived at Kanwil HukHAM (The Law and Human Rights Regional Office) somewhere before 09.00 and was asked to wait, because the main person who should handle nationality application wasn't there yet. I sat on a bench, checking my documents. I had exactly everything that was listed on the application folder - except, none was yet 'legalized' (fussy legalization of documents seems to exist only in Indonesia). I glued a seal (meterai) on each application letter and signed on them. Ready.
Approaching 10.00, there was no sign of anyone attending the application counter. A sign at the counter window faced the waiting bench:
OPEN 09.00 – 15.00
LUNCH BREAK 12.00 – 13.00
LUNCH BREAK 12.00 – 13.00
Yea right. What if the sign is turned around so it’s glaring at the employees? Perhaps it’s more useful that way. Several minutes later, a personnel from behind the counter asked me what I was there for, then waved, letting me into his office. He’s the next person in charge when the main person is not available.
COPY SHOP FRENZY
He checked my documents and said everything was fine. Except.. none of them were legalized. These documents came from various (government) offices and it was virtually impossible for me to go back to each of them to get their stamps and signatures from their authorities, without spending an enormous amount of energy and time. So I agreed to his offer to just have them legalized at the Kanwil office, which was possible since I’ve brought along all originals. This means I needed to provide double copies of every document. He showed me where the nearest copy shop was located: outside the Kanwil building, to the right after a security post.
I went out to make copies: twice of the kids’ documents and four times of Syb’s and mine. The copy shop was a small one; consisting one functional copy machine and two broken ones, a public telephone and a fax/print service. The queue was not too long, but the waiting was agonizing because both the operator and the only machine that worked
I returned to Kanwil office only to find out that I should actually also make copies of the Kartu Keluarga (which, by the way, mentioned that our children already have Indonesian nationality!). Anyway, I went out again to make copies. The waiting. The agony. The heat. The irritation.
Afterwards, returning to the Kanwil office, I was told that there were two more documents
“IS IT IN ADMINISTRATION?”
Right. I finally got everything I needed. The staff examined my documents and made notes. He made small talks during the process, including: a complain that he was being ‘overworked’ because the first person was unavailable since Friday, a joke that that person was preparing hard for his pilgrimage to Mecca and a conversation around my undergoing to gather all these documents.
B (his name): You came here before, didn’t you. What took you quite a while was the process at the State Court, wasn’t it?
B (tilting his face a bit forward, lowering his voice): How much did you spend?
T (not budging from my posture, nor lowering my voice): Just the court fee, according to what’s stated at the invoice, 265 thousand Rupiah.
B (back to his position): How long did it take you?
B (gesturing at a colleague next to him, with a trivial expression): Hey, she went to the court herself! It took her more than three months!
C (the colleague, coming over): You did, huh? How come it took so long? The judge?
T: The judge, who was out of town or ill. The panitera, who suddenly was out on a long leave before his retirement. It was an excruciating process.
C went about his own business again. Back to B.
T (what the..?! Do I look like a pencil pusher?!): No, it’s industrial design, architecture and civil engineering. (I mentioned all three faculties I worked at during my doctoral research)
B: Oh. And you’re teaching where? UNPAD? Parahyangan?
Continued to Part 2