I don't know if I wrote about this before - possibly not, as I've been pretty traumatised by the incident and I didn't want to think about it - but I was pickpocketed at Schiphol Airport when picking frachely up. I believe I did mention a little about it and then linked to frachely's post, but if not, then here it is: Black Friday in Amsterdam.
So with my wallet (if I mention, a brand new, very expensive Lacoste, will I get more sympathy?) gone, gone too were the most important things to carry - my Dutch ID, my Malaysian ID and my driver's license.
Hence, my contacting the Malaysian embassy.
I had already made my police report, but it was in Dutch and I obviously can't send in a Dutch report to get a new Malaysian ID card. So I emailed the embassy to ask if they could translate the document for me. Of all places, you'd think they'd be the first to offer it, right?
First, they took almost 2 weeks to reply. In that time, I even gave them a call directly and was told by some Indian/Bangladeshi accented man that *cue Bangla accent* "No, you kenot translate from Dutch at the embassy, only English to Malay or Malay to English".
So I asked him where I could translate from Dutch to English, as it would have to be an official translation accepted by the embassy and the Malaysian police and government. And he goes, "No, we don't know, you have to search the internet and find an official translation yourself. Official translation, ya!".
*cue an irritated me*
I said thanks and hung up and started searching Google for translation services. Found one (although in the US) and emailed them. They replied the next day, quoting me $ 0.10 - 0.20 per word. Whooooaaaaa... I have 5 A4 sized pages in my report and this was gonna cost me easily a few hundred dollars that I'm not willing to part with!
I left it for a while, when one day I received the long-awaited email from the Malaysian embassy. It said:
Yes, we can help you with the translation. You can call the Embassy at: 070-350 6506 to make an appointment with Mr. Jamal from the Consular section.
So this morning, I called the embassy again to look for Mr Jamal. Unfortunately, the same Bangla-accented guy picked up the phone, told me, "No, you kenot talk to Mr Jamal, he has a visiter.". So I asked if I could just make an appointment with him for translation. And he goes, "No, we kenot do translation from Dutch. Only English to Malay or Malay to English. You have to look for official translation in the Yellow Book.". To which I asked if he at least had any recommendations of companies, I mean, this CANNOT BE THE FIRST TIME SOMEONE NEEDED TRANSLATION SERVICES FROM DUTCH? Of course, the bastard went, "No, you must look in the Yellow Book for an official translater.".
After politely saying thank you and hanging up (hey, I was brought up well), I directly emailed the embassy again to clarify this whole bloody situation, why they tell me one thing, but the guy on the phone tells me something else. I also told them that I'm on a time crunch as I'm flying back to Malaysia soon.
Then I look in the Goudengids (the famous "Yellow Book") online for a translator. Schrobbenmaster helps me call a company near our house and they're very helpful, but they say that their official translators are registered in a database which is accessible by people who need to check, but which is probably not accessible in Malaysia. And that I would therefore need to bring my translated document to a court and make an appointment with a judge for him to stamp the document, making it official. And an appointment with a judge normally takes 2-4 weeks!!!
Devastated, I felt like emailing the embassy again to ask for help, when Schrobbenmaster suggested emailing the Dutch embassy in Malaysia as well. I figured it was a good idea, as embassies SHOULD charge less for translation than external business companies.
I emailed the Dutch embassy for help and advice, and a few minutes later, I receive an extremely speedy response from the Malaysian embassy:
Please come to the Embassy tomorrow or Wednesday before 12.00 for the translation.
As relieved as I was to receive it, I can't help thinking, what the hell are they doing? By email they're telling me that they're my saviours, and by phone, a Bangla-accented bastard is telling me that they're idiots.
Anyhow, I will be heading to the embassy on Wednesday morning to hopefully get my translation done. And hopefully for not too much money. I did email them back straightaway to ask who I should look for, because I didn't want to come face-to-face with the Bangla-accented bastard who will probably tell me to go home because they "kenot do translation from Dutch here". In fact, I think I might bring my own "Yellow Book" to bash him on the head if he does say that.
Wish me luck!!!