At the pedestrian entrance of the Land Transportation Office on East Ave, a strange man screens everyone who seeks entry into the government agency’s grounds. He is imposing, like a seasoned sentry of an imperial palace. He sits behind a glass window and speaks into a microphone. (That alone should warn you not to get into an argument with him.)
“Ano’ng pakay mo? (What’re you here for?)” his voice booms from the sound system, and I suspect everyone within a one-kilometer radius hears.
“Student permit po,” I answer, deciding it is wiser to play meek visitor rather than arrogant tax payer. But that doesn’t mean I don’t wish I brought a megaphone or my neighbor’s portable karaoke system–just to even the playing field a little.
The Guardian doesn’t turn me away, unlike what he did to the two men before me. Instead, he grabs my right hand before I can even think of protesting, and then stamps on my palm the blue image of…
…a teddy bear!
I have been marked for entry. He points to the gate with his pursed lips and the guard there steps aside to let me in. In less than an hour, I get my student permit. The process is quite efficient, to my delight (and great surprise?).
Must be the teddy magic.
So. What is the very first step to getting a student driving permit? Why, of course, get a teddy bear stamp on your palm.
(Thanks for emailing me the pic, Shii!)