An af­ter­noon at the SSS

Sun.Star Baguio - - OPINION -

SO one fine af­ter­noon this week, I’m at the Baguio of­fice of the So­cial Se­cu­rity Sys­tem. I’d like my SSS ID card is­sued. I take a num­ber and line up, even if I can pull se­nior­ity.

I get to a desk where sits a sweet young girl with whom there is an en­su­ing con­ver­sa­tion about how my name is spelled. Their sys­tem spells my fam­ily name with­out the line, curly or straight, on top of the n. I in­sist that my ID have the line on top of the n.

She asks for an ID that has my name with the ñ. I give her three. These IDs also all have Grace af­ter the Linda. Their sys­tem has only Linda and no ñ. She asks me if I want to see her boss, and off we go to her boss.

Her boss asks me to give her a birth cer­tifi­cate that has the ñ. I tell her that I have never but never in my life spelt my fam­ily name with­out the ñ. Mean­ing that when I first ap­plied for an SSS num­ber, I surely spelt my name cor­rectly.

We go into a dis­cus­sion of how their sys­tem, the SSS com­puter sys­tem, has only re­cently been able to

where I am. It also trans­lates for me too. Pic­tures taken are im­me­di­ately stored with the in­for­ma­tion of time and place. There is al­ways a way with Waze wher­ever and when­ever. All in­for­ma­tion upon en­try to a dif­fer­ent coun­try is given to Juan.

Trav­el­ing to­day is so easy. To Tai­wan a pic­ture stored in my iPhone was sim­ply pre­sented to an of­fi­cer then I was al­lowed en­try. Tai­wan is the only coun­try that has FREE WiFi for "aliens". By the end of the year, Juan might en­joy FREE EN­TRY, with­out visa for visit within 2 weeks.

Once we were asked to leave and dis­em­bark from a train, all be­cause of some small or tiny

have lines on top an n. I say that it’s not my fault. So they should just cor­rect how their sys­tem has been spell­ing my name. My voice slightly raised, I ask: “Ba’t nyo ako tinang­galan ng ñ?”

Then there is some­thing about an of­fice memo and I say that I need a piece of pa­per from her say­ing that I have to pro­duce a birth cer­tifi­cate to val­i­date the ñ in my name. She thinks I am ask­ing for the memo when I say “piece of pa­per.” I am not. I am just ask­ing her to put in writ­ing what she said to me.

We end up with the boss of the Baguio of­fice. At this level, they are able to val­i­date, from a copy of my orig­i­nal ap­pli­ca­tion for an

tech­ni­cal­ity in the visa. Some coun­tries ask for a change of train upon en­try to an­other coun­try, even in the mid­dle of the night.

In Istanbul, long lay­overs are of­fered tem­po­rary en­try for a day tour or a sun­set cruise. In Egypt at one time, Juan can en­ter and ride a camel to the pyra­mids. Now al­co­hol can be con­sumed by Juan in Dubai. Times are chang­ing.

On a cruise from Canada to Alaska, bor­ders are shared. Both flags of the 2 coun­tries stand along­side each other. Juan also has re­cip­ro­cal di­plo­matic ties to Is­rael and Juan was al­lowed en­try to the Rio Olympics with­out visa.

En­try now to dif­fer­ent bor­ders... Bor­ing.

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