I had to fly out of Dubai recently for work. When I checked in at the airport, I found out that the travel agency screwed up and the people at the airport wouldn't let me check-in. As I was about to miss my flight, I found myself losing my cool and I was on the verge of strangling the idiot at the check-in counter for the delay. I behaved like an overbearing bastard as I demanded that they put me on the plane - it's not my problem some idiot didn't do his job properly.
It was something of a breaking point; I was losing my patience with this country where nothing is certain and always subjected to change - and it's always your fault when somebody else screwed you up.
Finally, Idiot Counter Guy referred me to an elegant lady in black with a stunning pair of turquoise-coloured eyes. You know the sort - butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.
Lady with the Turquoise Eyes asked, "What is the problem?" Idiot Counter Guy explained the situation to her, all the while avoiding my eyes completely.
"Where are you from?" asked the Lady with the Turquoise Eyes. Then she glanced at my passport, and said matter-of-factly:
"Singapoour? Ok. I approve it."
My Singapore passport saved the day. People didn't respect me. But they respect the passport, the diplomatic clout it represents. I have never really appreciated the efforts made by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs until that day. We cannot divorce ourselves from the foreign policies and diplomatic relations established by our heads of state.
This is what it means to be a citizen of a country.