Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Sucks to your Internets, Korean Immigration. or: dealing with HIKOREA.or.kr was extremely frustrating today

I'm fuming right now.  All I wanted to do was make a reservation so that I didn't have to wait for five FRIGGIN' hours at immigration tomorrow afternoon when I actually have free time in my MAD schedule to go down and finish the documentation for my marriage visa.

That doesn't sound too hard, does it?

So I go to the website.  No problem.  Try to log in.  Popup.

"*#&@^$^@%@%^" (translation: "this is Korea, durr. We haven't heard of google chrome, or internet platforms other than Internet Explorer Six") ... or to be more accurate..


this...

is...

korea...

we...

haven't...

heard...

of...

you get the idea.

Firefox? (also known as the world's most widely used web browser)  No dice.  Safari?  No dice.

Welcome to Korea.  Mac users need not apply.  My own dumb fault for getting a mac, I suppose, but cripes almighty!

screenshot:  oh really? you don't say.

So I phone the operator at the immigration phone line thoughtfully supplied by the government of Korea.  How nice.  Really. and the lady was quite polite and patient, as she asked me to tell her my hikorea login and password over the phone (seriously, Korea? this is how you do things? have people read passwords to other people over the phone?)

except that there was NOTHING she could do.  Literally nothing.

The password I got when I registered didn't work.

"So how can I get a new password?"
Well, just go to your fax machine...
"Nobody uses fax machines."

Seriously?  A FRIGGIN' FAX MACHINE is the only way to recover your password?
Youtube lets you click a button, prove you're not a machine, and sends an e-mail to the address you originally provided.  Would that be so hard?

"But if you don't have a fax machine you can't get a new password."
Kind of misses the point of bringing the service online, don't you think?
"Maybe you have a friend who has a hikorea login that can make a reservation for you?"
Umm. no.  Why should I need to?
"Maybe you can come in really early tomorrow when the lines are light?"

Got classes then.

So I'm going to end up sitting in immigration for THREE FRIGGIN' HOURS of my ONLY FRIGGIN' free afternoon of the week (thanks to the new "hey, your seniority means nothing; you're all working four nights a week; newlywed nothin'!  Better enjoy your new bride on the weekend, 'cause you'll be getting home dead-tired ALL WEEK!" policy at my school) because that lovely, thoughtful phone line won't let people make reservations over the phone, even if they can provide all the pertinent id numbers.

Nope. They just have the phone line to talk you in circles until you go back to the website, so that nobody has to actually directly deal with you.

I'll be positive tomorrow.  Right now I'm friggin' choked.

And dear everyone running a website in Korea: it ain't 1997 anymore.  figure out a way to run your website on more than just Internet Explorer six.  Dumbass.

GAAAAH!

(image credit)

16 comments:

holterbarbour said...

I had to deal with that steaming pile of inter-not two weeks ago, and I swear I don't know why more foreigners don't go on murderous rampages more often. My favorite part was clicking on links that would give you the required paperwork for your visa type. No new page/window/tab opened, and nothing appeared to be happening on the page at all. As if I were clicking on dead text. But eventually I realized that they had designed the page so that the flash/java/whatever was in fact working, but only loading new information at the bottom of the page. After you click, you had to scroll all the way down to a part of the page that wasn't visible in the link area. That and all the f**king popup windows and the cat-raping neeedtoregisteranddownloadallthosegoatfellatingsecurityactivexsh*tsandwichc*ckp*ssc*ntprogramsand AHHGGHGRHGRHRGGHRGRHG!!! KILL KILL!! EVERYONE MUST DIEEEEEEE!!!!!

Jason said...

Hands down this has to be one of my all time favorite posts because you have to be one of the most patient and tolerant expats I know in Korea....but even the 'Zenpats of Korea' (OOH!!! Good one! I've gotta use that for a post later!) get pissed off once and a while.

Anyways, sorry for being a little entertained by your rant.

I sometimes try to tell myself what I've read in one of the Dalai Lama's books (sorry, forget which one)....that each frustrating person or situation is an opportunity to practice compassion....

It usually works to a small degree--but then I don't have a new marriage, job, and other commitments that require as much time and energy as you do.

Good luck buddy.
J

Roboseyo said...

Zenpats is an awesome coinage, Jason, and thanks for your response. No apologies: I'm glad you were entertained.

Holter: yeah. Just.... yeah. (butts head against wall) - Yeah.

BuckyHermit said...

And that's why when I bought my Mac in Korea, all my Korean co-teachers thought I had balls of steel to do that.

It'd be bad if there was an .hwp file fiasco in there somewhere in that story too.

Jason said...

Rob, something to make you laugh, I hope--I know I did while writing it.

http://kimchiicecream.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/the-zenpats-of-korea-expats-who-seem-to-be-able-to-deal-with-anything-without-getting-upset/

sarin said...

Personally, with the exception of commerce (which the laws have just changed, so I'll give that more time), I haven't had a bad experience with being a mac user (or just not using IE in general) here.

Since the iPhone came, it seems there have a been a lot of changes. My bank (KEB) is now showing the mac app on the front page (you really had to search for it before, and it came from a random ass site that seemed unaffiliated with KEB - still does). I'm not going to jump from correlation to causation, but things are definitely changing. I know that this is your life now, but I give it a year or two for this to not be an issue here anymore (you're in it for the long haul anyway).

All that being said, there's another issue of being outdated. Not to throw fuel on the fire today (I like your writing), but the site is damn ugly...bordering on Geocities ugly (okay, that's a bit harsh). About time to spruce it up a bit eh?

Chris in South Korea said...

Zenpats - nice.

There's more than a few of us trying to make it in Dae Han Min Guk as expats. We try to understand the local culture, even if they don't bother to understand ours. We come prepared in a way that the locals can't be bothered to be. And yet, despite the best-laid plans and the best of intentions, there's another document, another window, or some other dfkhsdfkliguadhifuad thing that needs to be done...

Not that life in Korea is meant to be easy. I'd hesitate to be called a Zenpat... but it is a fun nickname...

Stafford said...

Virtuabox, Parallels, boot camp... c'mon Rob there's more than one way to skin a cat (in this case a snow leopard) or put windows on a Mac.

Frankly I'm surprised at you.

Not to mention there are probably a few old rickety windows machines at work you could use in a pinch.

But giving your credentials to a random over the phone? in the most AFN "Think Op-Sec" of ways....

Nah! Just yanking your chain. You're preaching to the Choir of course so can you do us a favour and just politely mention this situation to your friendly immigration officer (after you have done all your paperwork of course).

If enough people say something Immigration might get round to making their sites standards compliant (and thus foreigner friendly) just like the Prime Minister told them to do two months ago. If enough people mention it you never know...

Pro Tip: There are two computers in the lobby of the Immi office that are free most of the time. Login to Hi Korea and see if there are any free appointments near the time you get there - will cut down the wait time.

chiam said...

Yes, your site is damn ugly. Sarin is correct. There is zero style on your site. Get off blogger. Get wordpress. For the love of god please.

Erik said...

I had a similar experience when I switched companies. Because I had to turn in my ARC when I did my visa run I wasn't allowed to use the HiKorea system to make a reservation and had to ask a friend to do it. Then, after applying for my visa I had to make an appointment to make an alteration. Because I still didn't have an ARC and my visa was being processed, I didn't fall into any of immigration's neat categories and was therefore not allowed to make a reservation, but rather required to wait.

I'd be interested to hear from Koreans who have dealt with immigration in other countries if the process is just as ass backwards. (If it is in the U.S., I sincerely apologize.)

ZenKimchi said...

We really should just organize a day and time to meet together and bust down the office door of whoever is in charge of that site and freak them out.

Roboseyo said...

Erik: you bring up a good point. Despite my frustration, any complaints we make about Korean immigration procedures should be balanced with recognition that immigration into most of our home countries is even more time-consuming, byzantine, and patience-testing...and it may be that they keep it that way intentionally, so that all but the most determined people give up. Any readers ready to corroborate?

Gomushin Girl said...

Actually, I had an interesting conversation about just this topic today with an immigration officer. He seemed receptive . . .nay, eager to hear if I had any ideas or expertise to help them design a better system. I do not, but if anybody else does, immigration is at least semi-aware of the problem and slightly interested in a solution.

Burns said...

Just download the IE tab for Chrome. It makes it work like Internet Explorer:

http://www.chromeextensions.org/utilities/ie-tab/

palladin said...

It sucks that Korean is using IE only active-x for authentication / transactions but that is just they do it here.

Since your not willing to part with the over-priced Louis Vuitton anytime soon you can try dual booting through bootcamp or even a VM method. You can throw a copy of XP Pro SP3 or (preferably) Windows 7 on there.

The Seoul Searcher said...

I always find that information on the immigration English website is impossible to find, but usually I am looking for info about F-4 stuff and F-5 requirements.

The site isn't designed in the right way and nothing I need is ever obvious.

Most government sites are like that. You're better off cracking out the dictionary and using the Korean site.

You could just try downloading internet explorer for MAC, you know.

It's a pain in the ass since you'll only be using it for some Korean sites... but wouldn't it only take 1 hour to download and install?