Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Trip to Singapore: Harbour Front Story

This is another story of my trip to Singapore. My family dan I decided to go to Singapore this weekend. We decided to take the route through Batam island.

Our trip started from Bandung. We took GA-Citilink flight from Bandung to Batam. The flight was full with family and people on holiday. Some schools, private ones, in Indonesia have started the holiday. The flight was smooth.

We arrived in Batam and took a taxi cab stright to Batam Center, where they have ferry or speed boot to Batam. The fare was Sing$ 14 returned (both ways). I think there’s a Sing$ 3 tax. We also had to pay “fiscal”. It’s some kind of tax for Indonesians leaving the country. The fiscal is Rp 500 thousands. If we leave Indonesia from other places, such as from Jakarta, the fiscal is Rp 1 million. It’s quite expensive, really. That’s the most expensive component in our trip.

We arrived in Singapore at Harbour Front. The place was packed with people. Apparently, several speed boats arrived at the same time. I suspect there were around two hundred people in front of me and another two hundreds behind me. I predicted it would take around one hour for me to clear custom. I was wrong. It took 90 minutes to clear custom! Wow, that long? Yes, it was that long. This would not have happened in Changi Airport.

The problem is that there were too many people and a limitted number of officers. I recall there were only three or four rows of custom desks available for non Singaporean passports. There were between three to six officers processing the queue at one time. (There were another three officers processing Singaporean passports. There were a lot of Singaporans too at that time. Maybe it was holiday season?) No wonder it took that long to clear custom.

Those custom officers work really fast and efficient. I notice especially one young man of Chinese decendent, with glasses. He worked really fast and efficient. When he encountered problematic vistitor, he would hand the case to his fellow and he processed another visitor. I bet if there’s a competition, he would win it. You have my respect. Usually, people write bad things about custom or government officers. Not many people write good things about them. This time, I would like to say that they are doing a good job.

People were complaining about the slow movement. I was also tired, but given the limitted resources what can they do? These officers have done a tremendous job. They were very efficient. It’s just that their number is limited. Perhaps the Singaporean government could add more personnels and counters at Harbour Front?

Our worry at that time was not clearing the custom. What were worry us was the time. My wife and son have not prayed. As muslims, we have to pray on schedule. We were worry that we would miss the prayer. It was close to 7 PM and time is closing to Maghrib praying time.

So, that's the story.


::: Lathifah Arief ::: said...

CMIIW, Dalam kondisi seperti itu (sedang dalam perjalanan) ... kita diberi rukhsah (keringanan) berupa boleh menjamak sholat 'kan Pak?

feha said...

wondering how about if that condition really happened at Batam Center.....I believe it will take more than 90 minutes huahahah.....

budi said...

justru itu ... mau dijamak di akhir :). jadi kalau lewat itu, dua sholat (dzuhur dan ashr) yang lewat. :(