Monday, June 9, 2014

Another one from the 'Privilege Files'

If embassies and consulates did all the things people believe they do, it might be hard to keep people in their home country. Singapore's foreign minister, K. Shanmugam, recently made a Facebook post in which he detailed some of the stranger requests Singaporeans abroad had made of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. While those listed are undoubtedly outliers, it may also betray a certain level of entitlement felt by travelers.
In one instance, Shanmugam said a Singaporean sought Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) intervention "for a refund after he had gotten illegal sexual services in a foreign country".
"He wasn't satisfied with what he had gotten. We had to tell him that MFA could not help!"
Shanmugam said the ministry also declined to intervene when a man demanded an investigation over alleged racial discrimination while overseas.
The man had claimed "he received a smaller piece of KFC chicken compared to what the locals had".
"He wanted MFA to investigate this instance and seek justice in that foreign country for the unfair treatment he claimed to have received," Shanmugam said.
Say what you will about eating at KFC while abroad, but sometimes there's just no other option.

As the bottom of the article suggests, Singapore followed the lead of the UK, which released a similar list a few years ago. It's easy to have a chuckle at the expense of these travelers, of course, but given the sheer number of Americans out there and the vast array of embassies, consulates and missions the country has, there must be just as many – if not more – such requests by Americans abroad.

Odds are we'll never hear those stories, though. After all, that's classified information that could be integral to national security.

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