Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ministry of...wild goose chase?

Thankfully, I don't have to deal with ministries and governmental offices very much. But a couple of weeks ago, I had to contact the ministry of health for some information, and it wasn't exactly the most helpful experience I've ever had.

Here's how the story unravels:

1) I find the phone number of the PR department of the ministry of health in Abu Dhabi. I give them a call. Someone picks up. I ask for the information I needed, he tells me I need to contact a division of the ministry in Dubai, and gives me the name of the person who could help me out. Okay...doesn't sound so bad. I ask for a phone number in Dubai, but the PR person in Abu Dhabi does not have it. Hmm. Isn't he supposed to know the number?

2) Next, I try to find the phone number of the person whose name I have. So I call 181 (which now became 199 by the way), and they give me the ministry's number here in Dubai. So I call...no answer. Call again...no answer. Call a third time...no answer. Call 199 again to ask for the number, to make sure I got it right. They give me the same number again. I call again...and just as I was about to hang up, a lady picks up. Success!

3) Or so I thought. I try to explain to the lady what I'm looking for...as I'm babbling away, I realise that she's put me on hold...I was on hold, while I was babbling away!!!! Like an idiot! So I wait, and wait, and wait....and waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiit....

4) I hang up, thinking that she's forgotten about me. I call again. Another lady picks up, she tells me she's transferring my call to the right department. As she's transferring me, the line cuts.

5) I call again, a lady picks up (is it the first one, the second one, another one? I'll never know), she tells me I need to call another department. I ask her if she has the number, she mumbles something then transfers my call. I wait. And wait. And wait. Finally someone picks up. I ask for the information again. She tells me I have the wrong department and transfers my call again.

6) So I get transferred for the....I don't know, I've lost track of how many times I've been transferred already. I wait. And wait. And wait. A man picks up. Tells me I have the wrong department, I should call another department. I ask for the phone number, he says he doesn't have it. I ask for the number of the person whose name the Abu Dhabi office gave me, luckily, the man has that person's mobile number. Okay. I'm getting somewhere here. My wild goose chase was finally leading me somewhere.

7) I call the person's mobile twice. No answer.

And that is where I'm at. Ten phone calls later, and I still don't have the information I need. I'll try again tomorrow. Wish me luck!

11 comments:

KJ said...

Wow, and I thought things like these happen in Syria! If I were you I would just head over to the ministry.. once you're there personally they can't let you run around for that long.

nzm said...

Maybe if you tell us what you want to know, someone reading your blog will be able to give you the answer!

Nona said...

That’s happened in all the Arab countries, the same routine and routine and routine, if I were you ill go by my self. In the governmental sectors, most of the persons setting behind the desks don’t like to help and bored from there routine and especially bored from the telephone callssss,
Thankx god that am working with international organization not with governmental

Seabee said...

Absolutely normal procedure when dealing with government - and most companies too. I don't bother any more.

Jin said...

Same applies when trying to get info out of a hospital.
"I'll transfer you"
klik - dead phone line. Try again. Get through. Get transferred, to the wrong dept. Transfer. Klik. Dead. Ended up screaming at someone!

TwinTopaz said...

HI..i am trying to go thru your past blogs but they are not completely visible..is there any other way?

小芥 michico said...

don't know what to say, but hope you will be ok finally.

Dubai Sunshine said...

Hi Twintopaz...I tried going through my previous posts, and I can see them OK. Are you still having trouble?

TwinTopaz said...

yes..still there is problem..for example of u go to your october 2006 page and try to ready oct 28 entry..it ends abruptly..

:(

Anonymous said...

Learn Arabic. Mind the "ayn" and "tha". Learn well and don't make grammatical mistakes. Then learn the local Emarati dialect and local idiomatic usage, but not plebeian. After learning UAE style learn to speak in an authoritative tone, as if you are an important ministry official. Then see the difference. There's no substitute for hard work.

Dubai Sunshine said...

Anon...I do speak Arabic...I don't have the Emarati accent, but I do speak Arabic to these people....

But regardless...Someone calling the ministry should be able to get an answer easily. No matter what language they speak or what accent they have.

Or better yet: someone needing info from a ministry should be able to get it off a well-designed, easy to browse website! That's how evolved countries do it...