Borderly Behaviour

Its funny how the US seems so far away when I was a child but now a mere 45 minutes away by car.

We did a roundabout trip to Washington State today so that I can re-enter Canada and close the last of a string of procedures to obtain my permanent residency, and the drive was so short (45 minutes in humoungous Canada IS short!). Once we entered, we drove to Burger King, had a box of fries and then came out from another border checkpoint from a parallel street we came in from. It was hilarious for a Singaporean like me who grew up braving the tail-less Johor-Singapore causeway. There was hardly any queue.

I have always found that checkpoint officers, whether they are in the airport of super-economies or 3rd world countries are totally versatile in their mood swings. Hit them on the wrong day, when the sun is not shining so bright on them – and you WILL get it. I had a certain neighbourly officer threw my passport at me before, the moment he realised that I worked in his country. Another country insisted I filled up an entry form written in Persian. Wearing the hijab and almost always travelling alone, I am so used to being asked more questions than the average Joe post 911, and I have mastered to answer all their security questions with a smile. Hey, these guys are just doing their jobs. The best you can do is to make it a pleasant day for them too. But I have also had the luck meeting another checkpoint officer who offered me a piece of kuih the moment I reached his counter, because the Maghrib’s azan just sounded and it was Ramadan. There was also one who wrote phone numbers of who to call and who to contact if I get into trouble in his country. There was also one who notices my wedding ring and asked about it. Thank God he did not ask about my shoes, cause I hardly travel in fancy ones.

Today the Canadian officers won my heart hands down. I am certain I am not feeling all sentimental just because today is my official permanent residence day, but they were so warm and inviting (all 3 of them!) that you feel that Makcik Limah has just invited you to your home to have a cup of tea and eat goreng pisang. You know, THAT kind of warmth.

As we drove off, I looked around the area and noticed it has the prettiest lawns and along it, some pretty nice quaint houses too. The border where I re-entered was flanked by a river as well, and everything amongst the elements were saying Welcome back to Canada. I did not have the same feeling when I entered Washington State – the officers were stern-faced, the surroundings were industrial and the houses, err…not so pretty.

Now what’s with this Canada is pretty and inviting and the US is just hip and funky country, but ain’t somewhere-I-wanna-live feeling all about? Is it ominous that I get 2 differing treatments barely 20 minutes from each other from the 2 countries?

I know how Canadians feel about Americans generally. This, could be my investiture.


  1. Congrats Bom!

    Oh, I met Chef Wan. Go read about it. And remember the hard cover book you gave me? I had it signed!!! Wooohoooo…

  2. congratulations permanent resident Uja!!!

    pssst, things are not getting any friendlier at this end. come May, sporeans have to pay $20 surcharge to enter malaysia…


  3. ok ok so what does this mean? that u’re not coming to SF to see us just cos we’re in the US????????????? jawab uja jawab kau!

  4. oni: i hope you didnt drool !! 😉

    nazrah: is that true?? Thats ridiculous!! Siapa yang impose – SG side or MY?

    ely: aiayayya scary seh kena soal. I think its the officers at the border lah…the ones in LA airport were very nice. So I am definitely coming to SF sooner or later…heee 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.