Saturday, March 28, 2009

Shish Kebab Ministries!

When Firas walked into the passport department to apply for a new passport they told him that he needed to pay 700 US dollars to process his application. When he argued that this amount was much higher than the normal renewal passport fees he was told that the fees are not fixed! On his way out someone told him that he ought to try the Shish Kebab man that serves Kebab near the front gate!! When Firas spoke with the Shish Kebab man – out of shear joke- about assisting in getting the passport renewed, the Kebab man took the paper work and went inside; 10 minutes later he walked out with the passport papers stamped for a mere 550 US dollars!! The Shish Kebab man at the front gate has special discount rates for passport renewal!!!

Another friend had finally had his home door bell rung by the municipality – after 5 weeks of complain. He was waiting for a new cable to be installed from a government-owned, neighborhood generator to his house. None of the cable was going to be within his house premises. The electrician charged him for the cables, for the labor, and for the tools fees a (depreciation of using the tools!!) and when our friend argued why he would pay for something which is considered a government property, the electrician told him that the government property was people’s property too!! Of course, by then our friend was not much surprised because he had only managed to get a municipality electrician come to his house when the tea-man - who serves tea at the front gate of the Water and Electricity Department, helped in getting him a municipality electrician sent to his house for a small fee of 10 dollars!!! – Our friend waited for more than 5 weeks when he tried to get the municipality attention on his own which was proven to be futile. The tea man, conversely, has his saying at the Water and Electricity Department!!!

A few months back a private contractor barged into our ex-neighborhood with his equipment and paved the entire derelict streets and later disappeared, which we thought it called for a big applause. A few days later the streets were all flooded!! The contractor, while paving the streets, buried the entire sewerage system!!! 4 weeks later another contractor began digging a new sewerage system and the work was left unfinished until today!

Those examples are not unique; these are the daily Best Practices of our newly re-born country.

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