First time on this blog? Beijing Traffic Lesson: Left Turn is probably a good place to start.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Emasculated by The Man

I got my temporary residence permit today, and it almost cost me my gender.

If you're going to live in China for any length of time (and I believe this applies to the Chinese as well) you need to be on file at the local police station. Not sure what the minimum stay to apply is, but my three months counts, so a coworker agreed to take a few hours to help me get the paperwork sorted out.

First we had to go back to my apartment to get my passport, then go to the building management, give them my passport, and get a letter stating that yes, I did reside here. Then we took a taxi to the JiuXianQaio police station, where fortunately my coworker did all the talking. My passport and visa were scanned and filed with the letter, my form was filled out and we were on our way within 10 minutes.

Back at the office, when it seemed like all was done, my coworker gasped. "There is a mistake!" she said, pointing at a Chinese character. "They said you are a woman!"

For the record, I wear the dress STRICTLY as a comfort thing, and since when is it a crime to accentuate one's cheekbones and eye color?

I don't know what it says about me that I was seriously a moment from asking her, "Is that a big deal? Do we just let it slide?" But she was already on her way out the door to get a corrected form.

It's a lot of bureaucracy, yes, but it is efficient bureaucracy. Within 45 minutes she was back with a corrected form, as you can clearly see here:

Of course, there were a few other errors that I decided not to bother with. So when I get back in 2016, my name will be Miguel Sanchez, and I will live in Nuevo Laredo.

Just better to let it slide.