Messages from Maureen:

Maureen H
To: all
Sunday, November 03, 2002 1:10 AM
Subject:: Contact

Sorry people you haven't heard from me cos I'm on Koh Chang Island - tropical paradise, Thailand but the internet cost 4 B a min. ( $190+) so can't afford it. Shall be back in Bangkok on Nov. 14th. so may have time before I head to Chaing Mai for the Festiva.l of Fire and Flowers when they float flowers with lit candles down the river to float away all evil. Shall pray iti does just that for all of us - tho' I haven't evil in my life right now ( let's keep it that way) Shall be with Michaela from Dec. 6th for 2 months and have free access to Internet - Hooray so shall make up for lost time. Do keep in touch but don't expect answer before end of month. Peace and Love to all of you and those you meet, Maureen-Kovida

From: Maureen H
To: all
Sent: Tuesday, October 08, 2002 6:44 AM
Subject: Fwd: Re: Letter to Embassy - Ottawa via Thailand

Now you know why you haven't heard from me and the 'SAGA' goes on.  Today I discovered Can. Embassy here had given me their incorrect address so it has only just gone to them at the correct add. before they can forward it to Ottawa!!!  Peace and Love to all of you and all those you encounter, Maureen-Kovida

>>From: "Maureen"
>>Date: Sun, 06 Oct 2002 13:39:10 -0400
>>To Whom It May Concern:
>>Before I recount the "fiasco" or my "tale of woe" I have
>>experienced, I'd like to state quite clearly that the treatment
>>which I have received from all the employees (Civil Servants) at
>>all of the Passport and Immigration Offices in Toronto, Vancouver
>>and also the Canadian Embassy in Thailand has been
>>polite, understanding and even compassionate. They have shown the
>>utmost respect. However, the 'SYSTEM' !!! The individuals who
>>have tried to help me were in a situation that could cause them to
>>lose their jobs or positions had they acted in an intelligent
>>humanistic way.
>>ACT 1 - SCENE 1
>>Aug. 15 - Arrive in Toronto from Korea aware that I have to get my
>>passport replaced because my replacement passport expires Nov.2.
>>Also, I needed a Taiwanese 2 month visa to visit my daughter who is
>>studying Chinese in Taichung.
>>Post office, photo studio, doctor's office.
>>Aug. 16 - Pick-up application and get passport photo taken.
>>Aug. 19 - See family doctor of 42 years, Doctor Joe Greenberg to
>>act as guarantor etc. Everything signed etc.
>>Passport Office, Mississauga - Immigration Office, Mississauga
>>Aug.20 - Take all necessary credentials, including Korean Police
>>report of stolen passport end of Oct. 2001. Take number and wait
>>for my turn. Finally reach counter. Young woman checks everything
>>- O.K. Then 'May I have your Citizenship card please?". "It was
>>stolen - I have my replacement passport". After brief conversation
>>she disappears to check with superiors and returns with message "As
>>of Sept 11 no exceptions. Go to Immigration Office and have them
>>fax verification of your citizenship"
>>Aug.21 - Arrive at Imm. Off.Miss. where 185 multi-nationality
>>persons are being sworn in as Canadian Citizens. Enjoyed the
>>beautiful ceremony but was then told - "We no longer do what you
>>need - you'll have to go to St.Clair St. East Toronto.
>>ACT 1 - SCENE 3
>>Aug 22 - Arrive and wait at Immigration Office, where I was
>>politely told - " Oh, we can't do that. You'll have to go back to
>>Passport Office and have them fax a request to get
>>verification and we'll check with Nova Scotia and fax back".
>>ACT 1 - SCENE 4 Now the weekend everything closed.
>>Aug. 24 Sunday - Pay a visit to Honorable Jean Augustine M.P. for
>>Lakeshore-Etobicoke whom I taught with 30 years ago and have
>>remained in contact with, doing campaign and voluntary work etc.
>>over the years. Told her of my situation. "Come to my office and
>>we'll give you a letter " True enough they did - in fact gave me
>>two. One for the Passport officials and one for the immigration.
>>ACT 1 SCENE 5 Passport Office Mississauga
>>Take all credentials, including letters to P.O. Miss. Given a
>>number WAIT Young gentleman this time because young lady was off.
>> He checks everything , listens to me, goes to his superior
>>returns -"As of Sept 11 ....(which is what every official prefixed
>>their information - I NEVER WANT TO HEAR THAT DATE AGAIN) By now
>>I'm becoming a TRIFLE angry and somewhat anxious cos it's getting
>>close to my departing date of Sept. 2. I politely but firmly
>>request to see the TOP OFFICIAL who appeared and checked my
>>passport and documents. She reiterated about not being allowed to
>>fax anything as of Sept 11 ... but upon looking at my passport
>>stated "you've been misinformed. Your passport can be extended for
>>$12." I could keep the application for a year and reapply. Heaving
>>a sigh of relief I said O.K. let's do it! However, she added "We
>>can't do anything without your citizenship card!!!!!" I had a valid
>>drivers' license, my social security card, my OHIP medical card.
>>"We know you're a Canadian citizen BUT as of Sept.11 !!!! No
>>exceptions to the rule." Even the Honorable Jean's letters were of no
>>benefit. The Supervisor's suggestion was to send all credentials
>>etc. to Nova Scotia via priority mail and get them to send
>>citizenship card to Vancouver where I was due to fly on Sept 2 for
>>a week.
>>ACT 2 SCENE 1 Big rush - send everything. Include a cover letter
>>explaining situation and in RED CAPITAL LETTERS request that they
>>mail, as quickly as possible the card for me to pick-up at the
>>Vancouver Immigration Office.
>>ACT 2 SCENE 2 Vancouver Immigration Office
>>Sept 3 Arrive at Vancouver Imm. Off. Take number and wait.
>>Explain my situation to the receptionist, about how I am waiting
>>for card. Give contact phone number.
>>ACT 2 SCENE 3 Same setting
>>This time after number and wait was directed behind closed doors
>>and a gentleman said he would check N.S to find out what had
>>happened and be in contact with me or call tomorrow.
>>ACT 2 SCENE 4 Same setting
>>Once again in line and witness a horrible scene - in fact 2 scenes
>>during which the very kind, pleasant and helpful young receptionist
>>was verbally abused, as were the security men, first by an
>>ex-European man and then a ex-Korean man. Having been what I'd
>>been through I could understand their frustration but...
>>They were just following orders and doing their job. Verbal abuse
>>is not only unacceptable but also a waste of time and energy.
>>Finally the police were summoned and I was able to see my gentleman
>>whom said "Card has been sent to applicant". However he couldn't
>>find out where and suggested I contact Toronto to check.
>>ACT 2 SCENE 4 Phone messages etc.
>>Sure enough it had been sent to Volataia Cres. registered mail but
>>nobody was at home so it was sitting at the P.O to be collected. I
>>had to phone the P.O. then fax a letter giving them permission to
>>pick it up. My friend then suggested I get it mailed to my
>>address at the Buddhist In't Centre in Seoul Korea. Unfortunately
>>it was the one annual Thanksgiving and Death Ceremonial time when
>>everything is closed from a Thurs. to Monday for the Koreans so I
>>had to leave Korea for Thailand on the Sunday. My Buddhist monk
>>friend Ilbo then forwarded it to me at the Bangkok Int'l Youth
>>ACT 1 SCENE 3 Canadian Embassy in Bangkok
>>Finally, armed with the CITIZENSHIP CARD plus all the other
>>credentials I had amassed and accompanied by 2 volunteers from the
>>Youth Hostel traveling on 2 buses for 1 1/2 hrs. We arrive at the
>>Canadian Embassy. Wait in line take a # and finally see the
>>receptionist. I explain my situation. I'm armed with all my
>>credentials starting with Police report form Seoul Korea Oct. 27th
>>2001, replacement passport and everything else!!! to be told by the
>>young woman, "This is no use to us cos it's all signed in Toronto
>>and we need a guarantor in Thailand - cos your in Thailand" I
>>tried to explain to the young Thai lady that actually as I stood in
>>an Embassy I was in Canada!! but to no avail I asked to see a
>>Canadian and was told to return tomorrow but first to go to an
>>appointed place where they would take photographs which would be
>>sent to Can. Emb. Also no $12 you have to have 4,900Bt which is
>>about $160 plus photo money etc. She said it was impossible for
>>me to see a Canadian cos there were only 2 and they were'nt
>>available ( they weren't available the next day either - I wonder
>>where they are?) On our return, being the rainy season and having
>>to travel 1 1/2 back. Changing buses at stops. Traveling through a
>>fierce storm we got soaked so did my passport, credentials and
>>everything else. Including my money. I arrived at the hostel
>>absolutely saturated and still no closer to getting my passport.
>>Now 15 work-days have passed and all I've done - in - 3 countries
>>is try to replace a passport.
>>ACT 3 SCENE 3 (?)
>>Today I arrived at the Embassy and demanded to see a Canadian not a
>>Thai person. Not because I don't trust the beautiful Thai people
>>but I thought a Canadian may understand my situation and have a
>>little empathy and possibly more knowledge. However, once again
>>NEITHER of the 2 Canadian were available. I was prepared to wait
>>the whole day - night if necessary but after 1/2 hour I was called
>>in to office #5 and met " Ganya " a Thai lady who listened with
>>sympathy to my verbal account of the FIASCO - now play I have
>>experienced. She is going to try to help me but needed full
>>details of my account so I decided to add some creativity and make
>>it into a play - should be entitled "Comedy- of' ?"
>>I just trust somebody in "the bureaucracy " will read this and
>>exercise their intelligence. Obviously the N.S. gang didn't read
>>the RED BLOCK CAPITAL instruction to send the Citizenship Card to
>>Vancouver then I would be sporting my passport and would by now
>>have Taiwanese visa to visit my child.
>>Having taken the time to write this ( no easy task) on paper before
>>putting it on the computer I'm sending copes to the Honorable Jean
>>Augustine M.P. Ottawa, possibly some media press and who knows who
>>else. If I knew some terrorists I'm probably send them a copy cos
>>as far as I'm concerned they've won the battle and all it took was
>>2 planes, hitting 2 U.S. Skyscrapers and killing 3000 persons while
>>hundreds of thousands of people in Europe ( World War 11), Bosnia,
>>Vietnam, Korea, Poland, Afghanistan to name a few countries have
>>lost their lives but so few seems to remember or care. Isn't it
>>amazing how powerful the mighty dollar and capitalism is when it
>>can change the world cos it has been threatened. It has changed
>>our world and has ordinary people who just want to live in peace
>>and harmony and bring up there families, now filled with fear (
>>which is what I observed during a brief visit to my
>>American-citizen sister during Aug. 9-15)
>>Thank-you whomever reads this. My request is that I get an
>>extension on my passport for the $12 I am entitled to and do not
>>have to pay the 4,900B. which I could use to feed, cloth and
>>educate my foster-son in India for 3 months!!!
>>Sincerely yours, Maureen Hunter B. A, B ED. Special Education
>>Teacher, E.S,L Guidance Counselor, Driver Ed. and Instructor .
>>Now retired and trying to help others less fortunate than ourselves
>>in non-Western countries.



From: Maureen H
To: all
Sent: Friday, November 09, 2001 10:31 PM
Subject: Re: The Adventure

> Hello Friends and Acquaintances, Just learned how to send mail to several
> persons at once. Great when you just want to deliver a message of what's
> been happening. Michaela's contract ended on Oct. 3 st. so we had to move
> from the apt. I'd made arrangements with a Korean lady, Maji, to share her
> apt. paying half utilities in return for teaching her English so I moved
> into her place and Mich. en to stay with a friend. She'd already "given"
> the gift of a trip with her to thank me for all I've done for her over the
> years. What a blessing this daughter is!
> However, before this took place I'd had a dreadful thing happen. After
> enjoying a wonderful Canadian Thanksgiving and Hallowe'en party a large
> group of us headed to a nightclub, Hollywood, in (the little America
> of Seoul) Iteawon. I had my purse containing almost $1000 of cash, cos
> paid for all the tickets and everybody had paid me back. Also all my
> identification, passport, credit cards, address book etc. In fact
> everything. We did ask a young man to stay at the table while I went to
> the washroom but unfortunately he didn't and when I returned it had been
> stolen. I've nobody to blame but myself and my stupidity. I should have
> taken the purse with me. It has been a very hard lesson to learn.
> I cannot begin to describe the nightmare, horror, nerve racking 10 days
> which ensued while I bustled around trying to replace identification,
> cards etc. I truly got to a point where I just felt like quitting and
> getting the next flight back to Canada. None of the business people,
> including the Police spoke English, the Federal Express failed to inform
> Credit card Co's that they were on strike which led to unbelievable
> complications re getting a credit card before leaving on proposed trip.
> Finally at 9 p.m. Tuesday the MBNA Mastercard arrived at the Int'l
> Centre - we left Wed. for Taiwan and Bangkok!!! Thank goodness my
> monk friends proved to be true to our beliefs. I enjoyed time spent with
> friend Kitti as we waited for the card to arrive. You cannot imagine what
> I'd been through. Even the Canadian Consulate receptionist had spent 31/2
> hrs. on Monday trying to trace the card.
> Obviously I still have Int'l driver's licence, senior, Canadian Cit. etc.
> cards to be replaced. My address book with all the friends around the
> - contact is a source of great sorrow but I'm praying that whoever stole
> them will have thrown them somewhere where they can be returned to the
> Embassy in the future. None of the cards or bankbooks etc. had been
> so there may still be some hope.
> In the meantime "life goes on".Mich. and I flew together to Taiwan where
> stayed in order to look for a job. Hopefully to start in Jan. /02
> She received a wonderful reference from the Korean Mil. Intelligence re her
> performance as a teacher with the officers. She was a tremendous "hit"
> all her students, thoroughly enjoyed her work tho' she was not overly
> enthusiastic bout Seoul. However, she did, as I do love the Korean
> I continued on to Bangkok where I arrived at 11.59! I spent the night
> reading and dozing lying across my luggage. Decided that if anyone wanted
> to steal it they'd have to take " my body" with it. At 6 a.m. I took a
> to the Int'l Youth Hostel where I was welcomed.
> It's very pleasant here I've met lots of interesting people including a
> Canadian family of 3 children - girl 16, boy 13, girl 11. They are
> traveling around the world for a year, having left the Prairies in July.
> Just an ordinary family with plenty of guts and sense of adventure. Quite
> an inspiration and what an education for the children. There is even a
> at the hostel having been found straying in the road the day before
> so I am at home. Kids and animals who could ask for anything more. I've
> developed a good relationship with the family and we'll keep in touch,
> to e-mail!!!
> In the meantime I've had a daily massage, toured, by local bus the whole
> Bangkok. Actually by mistake I missed the stop I was suppose to get of t
> and ended up doing a complete double route. Turned out to be a great
> mistake - got a total "bird's eye view of the city. Am going to try to
> persuade Mich. and Franchesca to go on it with me. Today I'm hoping to
> visit some of the temples which I've neglected so far but I'm sure Budha
> God can understand.
> Have also found a "local" where I've enjoyed a daily drink. Checked in at
> Travel Agent re our proposed trip to Laos, Vietnam (possibly Cambodia)
> starting , I suspect, next Fri. or Sat. Our friend Francis, is arriving
> Thurs. from Toronto, Mich. will be here on Wed. We're very excited about
> the whole adventure. Fran. has never been to Asia before, she's in for a
> "Shock" It is such a different world from the West. It should be fun - 3
> generation of women - 27yr. 40yr. and 67yr. - together !!! What fun!!!
> have to make sure I've learned my lesson and am more careful re trusting
> people. However, I still feel there are way more good, honest persons in
> this world and traveling really proves it to you. Appears to bring out the
> best in us, especially those who frequent Youth Hostels.
> Well, must be off to get my daily massage. Today I think I'll have 1/2 on
> my feet and 1/2 oil body massage. Then the Temples and checking on the
> travel plans.
> Bye for now, love and peace to all, Maureen