SIM card Blues

Written by admin on October 27, 2009 – 8:13 pm -

One of the very first things on one’s priority list is to get a local prepaid sim to get in touch with loved ones and friends or to simply make cheap local calls.

It’s a fairly straight forward affair, go to the store to buy a cheap prepaid sim which usually includes a few credits for sending SMS messages right? Wrong! Well not in Mumbai at least. In light of recent terrorist attacks who have used
mobile phones to plan and coordinate the recent Taj attacks, the authorities have now required all communication providers to verify the identities of their subacribers.

As a security measure, one needs to provide a photo, photo id, and proof of billing.

Now here’s where I’ve been running into a bit of trouble. Being ‘Fresh of the boat’ as some would call it, I don’t have any proof that I’m a legal working resident here except my residence alien booklet which surpringsily is not acceptable even thougt it is issued by immigration and the Mumbai police dept.

Acceptable proof of billing are electricity bill, landline telephone bill or lease agreement. Sad to say I don’t have these since my employer shoulders all of these expenses.

The funny thing is that my roaming sim card does work here albeit the high costs of sending SMS or making local calls. Most foreign sims are what you would call disposable which means they can’t be traced. There’s one major loophole for you.

So far the saga continues as my employer has submitted a certification and guarantee that Im employed by them.

Tags: ,
Posted in India | No Comments »

Visa trauma in the Philippines

Written by admin on October 10, 2009 – 9:00 am -

Yet again I have to go through the tedious process of acquiring a new visa evertime I change employers.

The most convenient way would have been to get one while I was still in Seoul. Unfortunately for some bizarre reason the Indian Embassy in Seoul only accepts employment visa applications for Korean nationals. This left me with no other option but to get one from the Philippines.

The Indian Embassy is located inside Dasmariñas Village in Makati. The last time I was there was in 2006 and encountered no real difficulties aside from the fact that it took close to three weeks to process everything.

This time was different altogether, most of the requirements for getting a visa are listed on their website but there was no mention that vehicles will not be allowed entry into Dasmariñas Village. One has to take a shuttle and pay PHP150 on top of that. The problem is that it is assumed that the Dasmariñas Village Association (DVA) does not take into account that people applying will be taking their vehicles and therefore they don’t have any parking area, you’re on your own here.

I’m no prima donna and I don’t have a problem paying fees or following rules that are in place as long as they are efficient. I have a problem when I learn that foreigners are exempted from all this crap, they don’t have to take the shuttle, don’t have to pay. Why is it like this? Why do foreigners get special treatment in my own country. I have yet to see this happen in foreign countries, most of the time, other countries give preferential treatment to their citizens over foreigners, most especially in South Korea from which I had just come from.

And that’s not the end of the story, the PHP150 fee I later learned is for every entry you make, which meant you had to pay when you pick up your passport again. Geez can you fleece your fellow countryman any more than this??? I guess the Dasmariñas Village Association believes that these people will soon be earning dollars anyway.

Whatever it the reasons are, getting visa for most countries in the Philippines will always be a traumatic experience for me.

Indian Embassy Website

Tags: ,
Posted in Seoul | 2 Comments »