Yeeehaaa! Switzerland, here we come!
Okay, okay, so the trip’s not for another 21 days. But I’m so excited over our (mine and Lola‘s) Swiss visas that I just had to take a photo of it this morning, right after getting our passports from the Swiss Embassy in KL. [This photo was taken with my Dopod 838 Pro. It’s pretty good at taking macro shots, provided that there’s sufficient light.]
The Swiss are as efficient as their clocks — we submitted our application yesterday morning and got our visas this morning. In contrast, a Schengen visa (visa into Europe) takes 15 days to process. That’s like…ages! And they require all sorts of documents, which I shall delve into in another post.
For now, I’d like to write about the curse of the Philippine passport, i.e. the inevitable need of all Philippine passport holders to go through the ordeal of applying for a visa to practically every country in the world, except for ASEAN countries.
And for good reason — Filipinos are more migratory than any other animal species in the planet and, therefore, need to be controlled. As of June 2007, there is an estimated 7,945,252 Filipinos in various countries all over the world (and that includes moi), from Algeria to Kiribati to Nicaragua to Zimbabwe, according to data compiled from the records of Philippine Embassies, Consulates and Missions to UN.
In the US alone, the Philippine population is estimated at a whopping 4 million in the year 2007. In fact, according to Wikipedia, Filipinos are the second-largest Asian American group in the US, with Tagalog being the fifth most spoken language in the U.S.
And these are the documented cases. I bet for every documented Filipino overseas, there is at least 1 corresponding Filipino TNT (tago nang tago – hiding and hiding, i.e. illegal immigrant).
Malaysians, on the other hand, just cannot bear to leave their country. No matter how far they may go, they almost always long to go home. And go home they do, 99% of the time. They get scholarships to Australia, the UK, US, Japan, but they miss nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk, served with fried anchovies, peanuts and sambal – sauteed chili paste), roti canai (paratha bread a.k.a. Asian pancake) and teh tarik (literally: ‘pulled tea’ – tea with condensed milk, poured from one glass to another in a ‘pulling’ motion, cooling the drink and creating yummy foam in the process) and so, they go back to Malaysia. They get assigned to work in Sudan, France, Canada, but when their contract is over, they are ecstatic to be able to go back to their kampung (village).
The result? Malaysian passport holders don’t need visas to go into Europe, Switzerland, Australia or Dubai (UAE), among a few countries that I know, based on my past travels with DH. So if you ask me, the Malaysian passport has got to be the most coveted passport in the world.