Manic Monday

You would think that after the ant-in-eye misfortune and an ongoing bout with kidney stones (I am currently drugging myself crazy to get rid of the pain), my trip to Japan couldn't be any more jinxed.

Well apparently, the bitch of an immigration officer doesn't think so. Admittedly she isn't the one to blame for the events that transpired, but my God, she is shrill. Anyway, back to the story.

So this is my third trip to Japan; my last trip was October 2007, and I have never had any problems. And considering I haven't done anything significant in the past few months, this trip should be no different. Or so I thought. From out of nowhere, I am sudddenly on the BID watchlist (or whatever it's called). I told the immigration officer that it was impossible, this is already my third trip, and she shows me, and true enough, my name is there with a hold order from DOST-SEI.

I was on hold because I was supposedly a DOST scholar. I said no, I'm not a DOST scholar, and the immigration officer asks me if I'm sure. Good Lord, how can I not be sure I do not have a DOST scholarship? I tell her of course I'm sure. And then she asks me where I went to college. And then high school. And then grade school. Now how, for the love of God, is this going to help? But of course I answer, pointless as it may seem. And then she asks me again if I'm sure I am not a DOST scholar. Did I not receive allowance from DOST? Or tuition fees, perhaps? I am not an idiot, woman. I know what a scholarship is and if I received any allowance from DOST, I am sure I would have remembered, don't you think?

Anyway, I explain to the shrill shrill woman (who was already shouting at this point) that I have left the country twice already, and I have never been asked for a clearance, nor have I been told I am in any hold order. She then investigates my passport, and apparently, she was the same immigration officer that processed my passport during my first trip. She tells me that she must have asked me for a clearance then. I tell her, no, she didn't, because if she did, then why would I be there would no clearance. And then, she retorts, "so sinungaling pa ako ngayon!?!" What the fuck kind of an answer was that? So I give up and tell her I'm calling the office, and then she tells me she'll let me pass this time but next time I should have a clearance. I have no idea how I am going to get clearance when I am under no obligation to DOST, but I just grabbed my passport and left before I can hear her shrill voice again.

So thankfully, my trip pushed through, but not without a lot of stress and increased blood pressure level. The people at DOST have a lot of explaining to do. The fact that my name suddenly appeared in the DOST watch list when I am not, and never was, a DOST scholar is inexcusable. I did take the exam, and I passed, but I declined the scholarship precisely because I did not appreciate the travel restrictions and the added hassle. I am so frustrated right now I just want to burn DOST to the ground. And I would have, if the trip was cancelled. But we'll see when I've mellowed down. The cherry blossoms should help.

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