Today I had one of the worst experiences with the abuse of technology. For the past couple of weeks I have been rigorously trying to apply for the Emirates Identity Card which has been mandated by Emirates Identity Authority of United Arab Emirates. I have to say it’s a truly futuristic and highly commendable venture from the authorities. Every professional expatriate is supposed to have one. I foresee in the near future it will be integrated with all banks and form the basis of a Social Security System there by ensuring a nation wide credit system and much more. This initiative was a very good long term strategy which unfortunately lacked proper planning.
However my experiences in trying to procure an EID card have been quite bitter and painful in the royal way. I have been trying for the past few weeks to apply through their official website and fill the pre-registration form but in vain. You could get a cup of tea while the first page loads up (which is usual for high traffic sites). If it’s your lucky day and the page loads up by the time you get your cup of tea then definitely the time is 12:30 AM early in the morning.
The whole registration process comprises four pages. Now I fill the first page and try to submit, which gives me a validation check saying “Please choose your city & and street”. But again these are only optional fields. Then I notice that I was using the most popular browser in the world, FireFox(My mistake). So I switched to Internet Explorer (which accepts any junk.. thanks Microsoft) and the form submits to the second page. Voila, you get a page not found error. Submit again, once, twice then thrice. Luckily I get it now.
On the second page, you are requested to enter you residence permit number. Now this is a number of the format XXX/XXXX/XXXXXXX. However, by the time you enter the ‘/’ the whole content in the text field just disappears into thin air. Was this suggestion given by David Copperfield or David Blane? Hats off to whoever thought of this.
I would rather not elaborate on the third page. This is going to be an adventurous trip for the layman. So all the best and try and see if you know which part of the country you are in (If at all you find it).
Fourth page asks for your qualification. Now when you move on to your profession, it starts to get confusing again. There are tons of professions, and I being a Computer Engineer made me fall in none. Finally I had to satisfy my self with just “Professional” and as a job description, I key in “Sr. Software Engineer”.
Needless to say, once I complete all the four pages and reach the last Application Form preview section, I see that the details I have entered so far is not what I see on the last page. I see a totally new Occupation, someone else mother’s name is there, my company name is now “Sr. Software Engineer” and the rest I better leave it to all of you to figure it out. Don’t worry, its OK says the Call Center Executive. Don’t trust me, then give them a call and see!!!
If my memory is not wrong, this intricate system has been in place for more than a year now. Mind it; this is only the registration system we have been talking about.
You have only seen the tip of the iceberg still. The appointment system is something I still was not able to conquer so far. Hence I gave in and went to one of the centers. Needless to mention the bitter encounters I had with the Emirates Post counter staff, after a long treacherous trip I reached the venue and guess what I see!!! There is ONE kiosk machine (It’s a Touch sensitive enabled device wrapped over a normal computer) with half of its machinery outside for the convenience of the Security Staff so that it can be restarted at ease. At first I though it was my responsibility to restart the machine when it was my turn (If I could make it). Fortunately the Security Staff felt it their privileged responsibility to restart the machine (Yes restart the Computer and you can see….”Windows is Restarting…”) after each Appointment request was generated. That’s right after each request was generated they would restart the Kiosk Machine. Just some information to help those who will be going to get the Appointment from the Kiosk machine: Once you have filled in your mobile number you will be asked to call a standard mobile number something that starts with 0501062… Don’t be surprised when you hear the voice message “The mobile number you are calling is currently switched off…..!!!!” Its alright. Now that’s the intelligent system telling you with its ESP (Extra Sensory Perception) to call the Security Staff and ask him to restart the Kiosk Machine.
Fortunately I have got an appointment date now and am waiting for more action. More on that later. Until then, I shall cap my pen!!!
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