Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Taiwanese bureaucracy

My Chinese friend tells of his experience in getting a visa for Taiwan in London:

"I spent most of my morning at the Taiwan representative office. The visa section is located in the basement of a building near Victoria station. There is literally no-one there apart from a few frustrated mainland Chinese. I guess it is because nearly every other country on earth has a visa waiver apart from mainland China, and apart from mainland Chinese, there is no one else wanting to visit Taiwan. After a half-hour detailed check of my 15 pages of supporting documents, I was asked to wait for an interview with the visa affairs officer. Fuelled with frustration, I was very much ready to tell him not to bother and what a joke the opening up of Taiwan is, but the experience turned out to be rather interesting and in the end I switched my single visa application to a multiple entry visa. So as soon as I sat down with the visa officer, the conversation goes straight to, "Oh, you come from Jilin! Do you eat kim chi? (I come from a Korean minority place despite the fact that I am Han Chinese) You know there are lots of xiao chi (snacks) in Taiwan, you must try them when you get there!" The conversation goes from food to culture, history, religion and the prospects of the Communist Party in China, which in his view is no longer Communist. He thinks the western world, like the UK, is more Communist than China as most of the working people's hard-earned cash will be taxed away to share with the rest. I found that our views were so similar and the conversation was absolutely delightful. In the end, he strongly advised me to visit Taiwan again and gave me lots of advice about how to get round the bureaucratic system in Taiwan to get my visa quicker (in two weeks rather than two months)."


Blogger Eurodog said...

We'll be microchipped next. Just like dogs before entering the UK.

9:43 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

You're probably right, ED

7:52 am  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

I agree, it is quite possible...

9:35 am  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

It does sound an interesting conversation!

10:48 pm  

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