Feb 5, 2010

Bureaucracy At Its Peak - Kuala Lumpur Trip Part 1

It started out just for my medical check-up at IJN (Institut Jantung Negara or National Heart Institute). After that I decided to apply for a US Visa to ease my travels next year. Soon my sister contributed with her piles of documents requiring certification from a train of government ministries. 

Firefly-ing into Subang - or Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (SAAS) Airport, once the international gateway into Malaysia.

I absolutely love Skypark Subang. The simple design and ample space give it an exclusive feel - something like a private jet terminal. This alone is enough to make me bid goodbye to the sardine-packed LCCT.

Cool flight status screen in Subang.

The following morning I have to wake up at an unearthly hour to catch a ride to IJN. 

I was a frequent customer of IJN since I was small enough to travel around. Though their old hospital is nothing rustic and falling apart, the new refurbishment simply amazed me - it's basically like the lobby of any Shangri-la or Hyatt. 

The customer service counter - nobody at this time in the morning (6.30am). By 7 they have professional  service personnels assisting everything from misplaced handbags to getting lost in the new building.

Just curious why LG (lower ground) is at the topmost row while the upper floors are beneath it.

Where I am heading. "Why pediatrics?" you ask. Well, my doctor explains because I had a congenital problem and the department caring for congenital problems is pediatrics.

I am actually there real early because I want to drop my card in and be called first, so I won't have to spend the entire morning cooped up in a waiting lounge full of crying babies and coxing parents. I was indeed number one. Soon I headed to the cafeteria for some Malaysian breakfast.

While watching the sunrise across Central Kuala Lumpur.

My number was called pronto after the doctors finished the morning rounds and started their outpatient consultation. To my disappointment the very pleasant doctor who took care of me for the past 2 years was away, leaving another younger doctor. She speaks real soft and I have to strain my ears to listen what she has to say about my remaining lifespan and things I shouldn't do. I went through a heart echo and an ECG, paid the bill, and was out by 10.30am.
After meeting my aunt at the lobby of IJN we head for lunch. Then it was off to Putrajaya - the Malaysian administration center in the middle of nowhere, to get my sister's documents verified.

If a country has lots of money, what would the government do?
Malaysia's way of spending money - build state-of-the-art facilities right in the middle of nowhere, move every available government ministry there, and give it a nice name - Putrajaya (Prince's Place)

Then, the irony - with your offices in the middle of nowhere, every worker - from CEO to security guards have to drive there. The lack of parking space in Putrajaya is not a mild problem. Even visitors have nowhere to park and my aunt was forced to drive round and round while we were up in the ministries waiting for our efficient government to do their work. Talk about being green and improving public transport.

We went to the Ministry of Education, in Precinct 1  

And the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Precinct 2.

All those running around and waiting in line certainly tires the public. Our wise government made up a way to make money from all the fatigue of the traveling public - build a shopping mall in the middle of in the middle of nowhere. And the mall has a cool name too - Alamanda Putrajaya.

To be continued in Part 2 - some shopping (what's KL without shopping?), my US Visa and Central Kuala Lumpur.