Trouble at the Border

Over the long weekend, hubby and I did what most other Malaysians did – we tried to take advantage of the long weekend with a trip down to Singapore.  Ordinarily, we would have driven hubby’s car down but since I was pregnant and hubby wanted to give me more space to rest easier, he swapped cars with my FIL and drove the Toyota Alphard instead.

My FIL has a habit of keeping a few extra packs of cigarettes in the car (which we forgot to take out) and our over zealous customs officer picked us up on it.  Fine, it was our mistake and I accept that, but the way he treated us was dreadful!  It was like we were a couple of criminals guilty of a crime far worse than that.  In a rather curt voice, he demanded, “Do you know you can be fined $200 for a pack of unopened cigarettes?”  After that, he and an assistant ran over our car with a fine-tooth comb as if they expected to find a whole lot of other smuggled goods.  His assistant scrutinised my handbag, felt the need to check the contents of my purse and looked suspiciously at my folate tablets.

While I commend the Singapore officials for their thoroughness, I think a little bit of humanity in handling something that was obviously an honest mistake is in order.  I’m sure we were not the first people to make such a mistake and surely, with their expertise in such matters, they can tell the difference between an intentional attempt to smuggle goods from something that was purely an oversight.

In the meantime, I was extremely annoyed because, Gavin who has been regressing backwards and forwards with his potty training had actually told me he needed to poop but because the whole exercise took so long, he couldn’t wait and ended up dumping in his diaper.  When you’re pregnant, all smells are worse than they normally are and I think I nearly suffocated in the car waiting until we arrived at my brother’s apartment.  Suffice to say, I was not a happy camper.

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