B: Here, your documents are ready. You just have to pay now, IDR 500,000 for each child, at the cashier over there (pointing at a table at the far end of the room)
B: Then please come here with the receipt and I’ll give you another receipt as a proof of payment when you picked up your children’s nationality letters.
B: Oh, one more thing..
Here we go, I thought.
T (Oh right, those copied documents): How much for the legalization?
T (acting naïve): Oh, I thought it’s according to the amount of documents I legalize.
This, I remember, is how legalization is done in The Netherlands. No haggling, nothing – just plain, clear tariff per document.
T (I’ve counted before): About 24 documents for two children. How much is it per document? In the Foreign Affair Ministry office of The Netherlands, it used to cost EUR 20 per piece(!)
B: Say, I’ll give you IDR 200,000 for all those documents.
T (I thought so!): Can’t you make a kind of statement like your colleague here?
I pointed at a small piece of paper with his colleague’s handwriting and signature, stating the amount of money he received for the application folders that I purchased.
B (lazily searching his desk and shirt): Paper, I need paper. I don’t have paper. Do you?
T (producing my sketchbook-diary, the only thing I had at that moment): I can take a piece from here.
I folded the last page of my book, ran a knife along the rim, and produced a small piece of thick, creamy-white paper.
He got up his seat, walked to a computer at the nearby corner of the room and started typing. He came back to his desk with a typed receipt. Meanwhile the cashier woman has prepared my proof of payment and we dealt with all the necessities. My business is done here. Proceed to the ‘extra’ matters..
B (signing his self-typed receipt): What do you need this for, actually? For your office or something?
T: Well, it’s exceeding a hundred thousand, so I’d better have a report for my own responsibility.
B (while handing the receipt to me): There another thing..
B: So you've paid the application, IDR 500,000 for each child, then another hundreds for this legalization. The last one is for a ‘service charge’ when you pick up your documents. The amount is up to you.
1 I wish people could access complete and detailed information on requirements – on the Internet or otherwise - including the direction to not cut documents that are smaller than A4 (i.e. ID card, passport) according to their sizes, and the amount of copies they need.
2 I wish procedures and fee for each step are stated clearly, as well. All about what to do next, where, what to submit, how much and when we can receive the results. Is this too challenging for the government institutions?
3 I wish all government offices possess copying services. I am lucky to be fairly young and fit that I had no trouble walking out a bit and back repeatedly. But I’ve seen less fortunate people forced to do the same thing but could not quite cope with this simple task. If it’s so hard to maintain and operate your own machine, at least allow small copy shops to conduct their business ‘in-house’.
4 I wish we are not so corrupt and greedy.