Thursday, September 18

US Trip (Part 2) - Security ain't funny bizness.

This is my first trip down to the US.
When I touched down at the Los Angeles Airport, I was quickly whisked off by the Custom Officer shortly after he stamped my passport.

Custom Officer A: Sir, please follow the yellow line and keep walking.

So I walk along the yellow line, trying to keep walking straight, lest they try to test if I am drunk or on drugs. =p

I was asked to fill in a form, and after a long wait, was interviewed by another officer.

Custom Officer B: What is your purpose here?
Me: On a business trip.
Custom Officer B: Which company did you work for?
Me: Oh I work for XXXX (which I presume was a well-known US company).
Custom Officer B: What?
Custom Officer B: What company is that?
Me: Its a US MNC.
Custom Officer B: MNC?
Me: Multi-National Company.
Custom Officer B: M-O-U-T-Y?
Me: M-U-L-T-I
Custom Officer B: What does Multi do?
Me: Oh, I work for XXXX.
Custom Officer B: (A little pissed off) Then why don't you just say you work for XXXX?

I just smiled. No point wasting time clarifying around here. I just wanted to get it done and over with. My colleague who was on the same plane as me has already started calling me on the phone, after being a little concerned about my "arrest".

I reassured her that everything was ok, before I continue with the interrogation.

Custom Officer B: So what is your office number?
Me: I got to check.
*searches the wallet for a namecard*
Custom Officer B: You mean you don't know your office number?
Me: I never call myself in office.
Custom Officer B: How could you not know your own office number?
Me: I don't memorise them. Thats what namecards are for.

I was getting a little irritated by his attitude.
But I tell myself to maintain my posture.
After all, Limpeh no terrorist.
I have got nothing to hide.

Custom Officer B: When is your father's birthdate?
Me: I do not know.
Custom Officer B: When is your mother's birthdate?
Me: I do not know, but she's one year younger.

Ok, I was not being exactly too helpful.
But I spoke the truth, and had no idea why this information was neccessary.

The interview was overall pretty serious and solemn.
It felt like I was guilty unless proven innocent, not the other way round.

Yes, security is something that we should not take lightly. But come on, loosen up a little. Don't act too snobbish. Or was my skin too yellow for ya?

It is hard to get me pissed.
But this time, he got me.

But to be fair, the subsequent Americans I met were very nice and helpful people.
And for that, I'm thankful.


khengsiong said...

Some officers are nice, others are more stringent. We are pretty much at their mercy...

In the U.S., 'multi' is pronounced 'multai'.

Shingo T said...

Oh, no wonder he couldn't understand the word "multi". Thanks for the enlightenment. ^_^

The Horny Bitch said...

Security purpose..

Heng they didn't ask u history questions..

numbernine said...

My encounter with customs was not friendly either. But I was focused on acting like a weirdo so that he would be distracted enough not to realise that I'm smuggling food over to my sister.

US ppl don't understand Singlish at all. But the one I had in San Fran knew that zuo2 shou3 means left hand so better not pray pray.

At one point he asked me "are you going to San Francisco" and I had to stifle the urge to say, "no and I'm not wearing flowers in my hair either."

And I had the good sense, when they asked me to take off my shoes, not to ask if I was about to enter a mosque.

numbernine said...

Think I'll blog about some US adventures soon.

Shingo T said...

next question is to ask if I support Obama or McCain. =p

I smuggled food over too. =p
Yes, please blog about US. Getting interested in how us Asians view US.

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