Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Struggling to understand the bureaucratic mind

Bureaucrats live in a strange parallel universe. A place where utter stupidity makes perfect sense.

Public servants, civil servants, government employees, call them what you will, regardless of their nationality they live in a different world from the rest of us.

The latest proof is in my dealings with the Australian Consulate in Dubai. I needed to renew my passport and this morning it was ready for collection.

It would not be handed over to me until I provided proof of my identity.

Think about that for a second.

A passport is the ultimate form of identity. With it and it alone as proof of identity I can travel the world, crossing borders, entering countries.

I pointed to the photograph of myself in the passport and to my face: "There's my identity. It's me".

Not enough. I quote: "The photograph could be anyone".


It was handed over to me...wait for this...only when I produced my Dubai driving licence.

My Dubai driving licence!

Just think what you have to do to get your Dubai driving licence.

So my Australian passport is not proof of my identity to the Australian Consulate, but my Dubai driving licence is.

Over the years I've had some classic examples of the bureaucratic mindset but this wins the Oscar.

I shall wait to see what response I get from the Ambassador to my suggestion that the system needs reviewing.


Alexander said...


My Irish wife returned from the UAE many moons ago to marry me and when she presented herself at the Labour Office in my home town to register, they refused to accept her passport as a valid ID. We both pointed out that it was good enough to get her into the country, but to no avail.

As we say here in the UAE... what to do?

EyeOnDubai said...

I so feel your pain! Have just had a depressinlgy similar brush with the mandarins...