Thursday, September 24, 2009

Saying bye bye

Other than catching up with my dear family this time round, the reason for our trip back was so that I could settle Rosabelle's problematic Chinese citizenship issue. After three trips to the Chinese embassy in Singapore (first time to enquire, second time to apply visa, third time to collect visa), we finally had it settled - nope, not denouncing her citizenship, but just to get her the right paperwork to enter China legally again.

At the China customs, before we left Beijing for Singapore, I showed the officials both her passport, with the expired visa, as well as the exit permit we'd applied for her. According to the officer, he said there is no need for us to apply for an exit permit for her as she's not a Chinese (but if we had not done so, she would have been deemed as an overstayer since her visa had already expired). So confusing, right?

So, when I got back to Singapore, I made a trip down to the embassy (actually wanted to do it on the Friday we got back, but Rosabelle just refused to take her afternoon nap, and was too sticky to me, so I had to resort to going the next week). It was afternoon time, and they did not process any applications, so I could only enquire with the security guard, who suggested I return the next morning to enquire. He was helpful enough to inform me that if I wanted to notarize her birth certificate for use in China, I could go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on that day to get the copies stamped. So off I went and took a 15-minute walk to MFA and paid SGD10 per stamped copy.

I went again to the China embassy the next morning, and the receptionist was also puzzled by the fact that the Chinese officials in China deemed her a Chinese national, and referred me upstairs, so I waited to first get her birth certificate notarized (SGD30 per copy). The officer told me as she does not have a Chinese passport, she is not deemed a Chinese national, especially when she already has her Singapore birth certificate and passport. O...kay.... all Chinese people, but in each country, they are telling me different things.

Next, I stood in queue for about 20 minutes to enquire about the paperwork to get her back to Beijing (Singaporeans can stay for 15 days without a visa), and the woman told me I should apply for a tourist visa for her, and then go to the relevant authorities in Beijing to request for an extension of this visa. When asked how I should go about applying for this tourist visa, this B*TCH of a woman said she has many people waiting in queue, and I should go enquire with the receptionist. Cursing under my breath, I went down and the receptionist said all I needed to do was to fill up a form and submit with Rosabelle's photo and passport... so that B*TCH of a woman upstairs couldn't tell me something so simple, and I had to stand in line for yet another 20 minutes to submit the application to her. So. in.eff.i.cient.

Not to mention that I needed to pay yet another visit a few days later to collect the notarized documents and passport/visa - I chalked up more than SGD100 in taxi fare on those trips down, not counting my precious time wasted! Grrr....

So, now, Rosabelle entered on an 'L' visa granting her 60 days of stay, and Wayne will then have to find out from the folks here if there is a need to extend her visa (by right, if they deem her a Chinese, she does not need to do anything, and the next time we leave Beijing, we just need to get another exit permit). Worse comes to the worse, we will then denounce her Chinese citizenship in Zhengzhou since we have the notarized birth certificate (problem is, Rosabelle needs to appear in person in Zhengzhou - although we can most certainly explore just carrying any other kid in her place as they can't recognize her anyway...).

Such bureaucracy is such a nightmare, I tell you...

Anyway, this marks the last of my posts of our Singapore sojourn. On 16 September, my family sent us to the airport, where we only barely managed to squeeze one big luggage, the Quinny Buzz, and a big carton box into the car, with 4 adults and 3 kids in tow.
Rosabelle was her usual, sticky self, clinging on to me, but at least let my mum carry her long enough to get a last shot with her.
There were F1 activities going on, where we could take a free family shot (they printed out copies for us), and the kids thereafter took part in racing games.
As we said our bye-byes, I surprisingly did not shed a tear (unlike the other time when we left in end-March) - maybe it's because this time round, the stay was only two weeks, as compared to about 7 months the last time round. And also, I was uncertain then about whether Rosabelle would adapt well in Beijing, but this time I know she's going back to something familiar, and of course, her doting Dad who missed her much and went on walks to play with other kids the days we were not around, heh.
Although the trip was marred by Rosabelle's fever, I'm glad we managed to make this trip home. I know that we're always welcomed back, and I am certainly looking forward to the next homecoming and reunion!

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