Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day One

You might not be aware (and sorry if I didn't inform you Mr. Lao) but I've decided to move to Malaysia to work with the International Tropical Fruit Network of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Yes, fruits.

Here are some of my random thoughts for the day.

* The Philippine Government's protocols on OFWs and Expats aren't very clear. I was at a loss on what documents I need and which agencies to approach. I checked the website of OWWA and POEA and didn't find them useful. There were not clear guidelines on what to do. I asked repatriated expats for advice and said that my current documents are enough. When I got to airport immigration in NAIA, they were suddenly asking me for an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) from POEA. I would have to go to Ortigas and apply for a moot document that might take days to process. I stood my ground and the immigration officer asked me to go to the POEA desk. After an inquiry, it turns out that the OEC is a requirement for skilled labor. The government should really make clear cut guidelines and definitions on what requirements are needed for OFWs and Expats. Furthermore, these guidelines should be transparent and available in their websites. All these back and forth wastes time and money. When I got to Malaysian immigration, they let me through without a hitch.

* The Kuala Lumpur International Airport quite unique. While located in the heart of a protected forest and palm oil plantation, its architecture is modern. The whole place feels like a space-age biodome facility.

* I still can't believe that they provided me with my own office. It's pretty spacious! The walls need some decorating and they gave me the freedom to do whatever would make me more comfortable. Here's a tour!

* It's strange that there's almost no means of public transportation. Trains can only get you somewhere. There are hardly any buses around. Taxis are also pretty rare. I talked with my co-worker and it seems that most people own a car. All my co-workers drive to work in their own car. There's no means of public transpo to the office. Hence, they've provided me with a driver (and the company car) until I get my own ride. Uhm, kelan kaya yun?

*Since most people own a car, hardly anyone walks. It was eerie that I was the only one walking in the streets. I suddenly feel so poor. lol.

* I'm starting to become an expert in multiplying everything by 14. I know that you shouldn't mentally convert to peso every time you make a purchase. This time, I can't help it. Everything in Malaysia is at least 30% cheaper than Philippine prices. Food is really affordable. Clothes are also cheaper. I should have shopped here.

* Malaysians are some of the friendliest people I've met. Locals greeted me with a smile. During dinner, a stranger kindly moved a few chairs so I can pass through with my tray.

* I need to learn Bahasa. I get mistaken for a local. Or Thai.

* An open fly is funny in all cultures. A kid pointed at my crotch and laughed. I nearly cursed him to become an open fly when he grows up.

* For a country with huge coins (that are still usable, unlike yung baryang may butas), it's hard to find a coin purse. All I found was this teeny bopper coin purse.

* I'm in love with wintermelon tea and milo dinosaur. =D

* I still don't have an apartment so I'll be staying in a hotel for a few days. That's great. I'm not that excited to unpack yet.

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