Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Midweek Moan: Mind Your Language

I have spent a good part of the last few hours effing and blinding and cussing like a sailor. And the reason for all the foul language? The very word itself: Language.

Mid last week I realised, halfway through my early evening snooze I had completely forgotten to renew my Turkish passport. It was a matter of urgency, considering I had already booked my ticket for 29 July. Hence, I jumped off the couch to run around the house like a headless chicken to gather all the required bits to send off to the Turkish Consulate in London and sat down to write a letter, which was not one of the requirements. I just thought it was courtesy you see rather than just sending the postal order and the passport. The letter printed, documents ready, I made my way to the post office the next day to send my passport off via special delivery. I was not worried about time constraint as I had been through the procedure about three years ago and it had taken them only a few days to stamp my passport and post it back to me.

When I got home today and found the special delivery envelope that the other half signed for, I was much pleased with the fast service on the part of an office of the Turkish government whose generous application of the red tape would make a civilian want to tear their hair out at the best of times and want to jump off the tallest building in town in an exasperated desperate bid to end all the suffering and waiting. Then I opened the envelope. It didn’t even cross my mind to check the passport until the other half picked it up, found a letter from the Turkish Consulate folded inside passport and announced that my passport had not been renewed. Not a speaker of the beautiful Turkish language, he handed the letter to me to read the lame excuse of their refusal to renew: On the proforma letter, they had actually inserted a hand-written condition stating they did not accept letters written in English. You can imagine the amount of ‘French’ that came out of my mouth, let alone the English…

Now these people are employed by the Turkish government as a select few who are well-educated and well-spoken, able to communicate in at least one language other than their native one. They are extremely able to decode any form of written or spoken English. Believe me, I know, I applied with a letter written English three years ago and my request was promptly resolved. Three years on, the employees of the Turkish Consulate in London must either have regressed in their language skills or must have lost a huge number of grey matter in their heads. I have sent my passport, my Turkish I.D. and a postal order which is written to the amount quoted for a two year passport extension. Whether my letter, which I remind you was only an act of courtesy on my part (Woe be me for actually showing manners and courtesy!), is written in English or Turkish, is irrelevant as far as I am concerned. For someone who lives in the U.K. and works at one of the most coveted posts available only to a select well-educated few, they are equipped with the skills to decipher the nature of my request, regardless of whether my letter was written in Urdu, Sanskrit or Yoruba… It is the act of extreme pro-nationalism that makes their own nationals suffer which frustrates me…

I have since voiced the very same request in Turkish in a letter that surprisingly contains no expletives which I think is a generous courtesy on my part. I will need to retrace my steps back to the post office and post the same documents once again and hope that this time they renew my passport before the 29th. Mind, I did include the words ‘Royal Mail’ in stating that I was enclosing a self-addressed Royal Mail envelope. If they send my passport back with another lame excuse, they will be hearing from me. And this time it’ll be all ‘French’.

12 comments:

diary of a G said...

I hate anything having too much connection with the Government
---Just my uneducated opinion--

Have you ever had to pay a traffic ticket or a fine or get your drivers license reinstated?
man the run-around these fucks give you...pardon my English

well good luck on renewing your passport

Ugo Daniels said...

Just wanna say Goodluck as you renew the pass. Don't mind them embassy staff. Every body is claiming de-westernization, abi englization these days..lol!

And here;s wishing you enjoy your stay in Turkey :)

Hadi gorusuruz.

diary of a G said...

I like your play list and you're a teacher- that's hot

zaiprincesa said...

lol..na wa oh....multilingual woman...(hope i spelt that right..)...y do we even wait till the last minute to do stuff??..

Confused Naija Girl said...

hope u do get to renew ur pass port. at least they have got to be better than the naija government.
u are vickis cousin right?

Pelmo said...

I can match you word for word in profanity, and can understand how you feel dealing with a governmeant agency. In August of 2001 I applied for a copy of my citizenship papers, and had to pay a fee of $135 to get it. Well good news, I finally received it in April 2007.

AN IBO DUDE'S CORNER said...

hope u do get it

i hear they have great beaches in turkey( or was it Greece again)

crazysexycool, keep it up

Vickii said...

Hey hun, this must have been so frustrating for you and I admire the fact that you actually wrote another letter and one that did not contain any expletives!

Please, I do not believe for one moment that they don't speak English. I'm pretty sure that they needed to demonstrate a workable use of the English language before they got their jobs ... it's blatantly just a power trip!!!

How long are you in turkey for? I'm jealous!

Onada said...

LOL THATS FUNNY!! they dont accept letters in English but they are located in an English speaking country!! Hope you get it renewed in time for your trip!

Fo said...

lmao...u shld have written it in French in the first place,they might not have sent it back...lol
xoxo

rheytarded said...

woah...
that would really make me speak all sort of profanities too- in french, tagalog, or any other language i can think of!...

hope things go well the second time.

i hate it when that happens really! when you have something beyond your control and all you can do is bitch about it, but then you would have to do what they want you to do so that you can get what you need... am i confusing? lol...
oh well, atleast when everything is done you get to go on your vacation! :) atleast that is something you can look forward to.

pamelastitch said...

hello,
welcome.

The africanloft is open to all africans and friends of Africa. The competition is open to all. We have had some responses from nigerians, sudanese, tanzanian, zimbabweans. The competition is open to all. So pls, participate..... :-)

welcome.
Thank you,
pammy