Thursday, May 3, 2007

First post by Heesco

Well, after being invited to contribute to this blog by Billy, I spent some time pondering the meaning of this blog, and reading Billy's entries. There's been a lot of things on my mind regarding the topic, having lived in Sydney for almost 8 years, mingling with variety of people of different nationalities and ethnicities. And what does it really mean to be a Mongolian abroad? Here's my perspective on the matter:

We are an exotic bird - many have heard of us in their history classes, yet noone has seen nor met anyone of us. I am 876 person's first Mongolian they ever met. (And the number's
growing with each day. Although, sometimes I meet people without them ever realising I'm a Mongolian). It's the most proven conversation starter, our origin. Most people get excited and start bombarding me with questions, sometimes to a point where I have to go back home and brush up on my current and historical knowledge about Mongolia, using Google.

It is a definite advantage being someone from a unique country. Yet it can easily serve as a curse at times. Sure, people remember you because they "met a Mongolian today! Can't pronounce, nor remember his name, though". But then you enter the Department of Immigration, whatever reason you have, and you're categorised under "Lever 3 Countries", which simply means you need to provide about 10 times more documentation of everything, plus thorough health examination with x-rays, blood and urine tests. And if you're unlucky like me, you'll have your First and Last names all mixed up on your
Mongolian State issued Passport. Try and explain it to the dude:
- They have misprinted my first and last names...
- How come?
- I don't know, the government department made a mistake in printing... (Queue long and thorough examination of every single page of the passport, any signs of forgery...)
I had to deal with it at least 7 times. It was so ridiculous - I had my bank account under my proper name, Khosnaran Khurelbaatar (Khurelbaatar being my last name), cause I filled out their application form as i'm accustomed to, and they just glanced at my passport while opening an account for me. And then later, I tried to get an ID card, because everytime i go out I kept being asked for an ID, and I would never be carrying my passport around (who does?!). So i go to the RTA, fill out a form, wait in line, hand it in, and they refuse to give an ID card to me! Because my bank account name and the name on my visa don't MATCH! And after about 20 minutes of passionate explanation without success, I had to go to my bank, stand in line, close all my accounts, open new ones with the goddamn "correct" names, go back to RTA, fill out the same form again, stand in line again, and finally got a card, with my father's name as my name, and my name as my surname!
And then guess what? I went back to Mongolia last year, and got a new passport, with my name printed CORRECTLY this time!! So then, as you have well guessed, queue all of the above trouble all over again... "Yeah, I'd like to be issued a new visa, well, cos I got a new passport, and they 've printed my name correctly this time... well it was all correct in Mongolian side of the column, but in the English language side the first name and last name have been misplaced... yeah... no... AAAARGH!" It's like, thanks a bunch, my dear Government!

Eh, this post turned out to be a bit personal... I didn't intend to rant this much, haha. But I guess you get the picture.

To be continued...