I Nomad

ramblings from a global nomad

BCThis is not about the recent elections. Everyone knows exactly which election I am talking about, no matter where in the world you are. This is more about political relations between countries and how they can affect any person on any level. My post will be about being born in Taiwan, the foreign relations with Taiwan and how this affected me in many ways.

Both my parents have passports from The Netherlands, but not because they were born there. My father was born in Indonesia to Dutch parents, so obviously he obtained his Dutch citizenship by “birth”. My mother is German, but through her marriage got the Dutch citizenship. I was born in Taiwan. Does that make me Taiwanese? No!

Friends of my parents whose daughter was also born, in Taiwan made the mistake of registering the birth at the HRO (Household Registration Office). After this, they had a hard time getting their own child out of the country. There was and still is no Dutch Embassy in Taiwan. So if you were Dutch and needed help you had to go to Hong Kong.

My parents, wanting to avoid any hassle, did NOT register me “officially”. They had the doctor from Dr. Lee’s Woman Hospital certify my birth (not a typo, that is copied from the letter head). This certificate was then stamped and signed by the Belgian Consulate in Taiwan and used to obtain my first passport from the Dutch Embassy in Hong Kong.

So what politics were in play here? Well, obtaining my birth certificate in order to get married was a night mare and cost me a flight to Taiwan. Read about it in my previous posts or just the one post. In a few words the Dutch government did nothing to help me other than tell me that I had to fly to Taiwan to legalize my birth and pay for this out of my own pocket.

Are you still asking what politics has to do with this? Well most nations recognize China – or The Peoples Republic of China, but not Taiwan (Republic of China). The internet is full of articles about China and Taiwan, but a good introduction is an article on BBC. China sees Taiwan as a province – a province that does not want to be part of China. How do other nations see Taiwan? Honestly I don’t think any one nation really can state publicly what they consider to be Taiwan’s status – independent or a province of China? If you look at nations that have full diplomatic relations with Taiwan, then it is clear why nations with certain interests, be it military or economical, are not on the list of those that recognize Taiwan. The only European entity to have full diplomatic relations with Taiwan is the Holy See. More importantly is the list of those countries that switched recognition from ROC (Taiwan or Republic of China) to PRC (China or Peoples Republic of China). More information for this on Wikipedia.

No big deal??? Well it seems to be a very confusing situation for The Netherlands in any case. My logic convinced me that if Taiwan is not recognized, but China is then maybe the consulate for The Netherlands in Hong Kong (since 1997 part of China) could help me. Well a phone call to the consulate in Hong Kong only confused me more on countries and foreign relations. I was not told to call the Embassy in Beijing but with clear words made to understand that they could not help because Taiwan was NOT part of China. Huh????

So I flew to Taiwan and legalized my documents with the Taiwanese authorities only to get a letter from the Netherlands Trade and Investment Office in Taiwan that due to political relations with Taiwan The Netherlands could not legalize my birth, but they did recognize the authenticity of my provided documents.

So this little lesson on how the world sees this small nation of Taiwan has affected me.

And on another note…….

Prior to 2002, I could not take part of the Green Card Lottery or Diversity Visa Lottery of the United States of America because I was born in Taiwan. At that time the fact that I and both my parents were not natives or citizens of Taiwan did not change my eligibility. Nor did the fact that I only spent my first 8 months on planet Earth there.

 

Version 2

First exit stamp ROC – should read 1966

It was my last day of a 3 night stay in Taipei, Taiwan and I was to pick up my authenticated affidavit concerning my birth in Taipei. So bright and early I made my way to the BOCA (Bureau of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs ROC) to pick up my 4 copies of authenticated documents. To this day I am still amazed at the efficiency and speed of this government office. In under three days they authenticated 4 sets of documents for just NT$ 1600 (US$ 49.40).

Before heading to the NTIO (Netherlands Trade and Investment Office) I took a stroll down a street with many expensive looking shops. I can’t even remember exactly where this was, but I do remember getting lost in the side streets where there were many quirky little boutiques and restaurants. I also remember seeing a Converse store and finding a cute shop with all kinds of leather jewelry and loads of pendants and bracelets in the red, green and yellow (reggae). This is the only shop I bought stuff at to bring home to Bali. Since I was traveling on a very tight budget I never once used my credit card and only spent the cash left over after paying for everything like documents, notary and transportation. I had a reserve of NT$ 3000 for the NTIO and my bus ticket to the airport.

At 1 PM I decided it might be time to go get the 4 documents proving my birth in Taipei, Taiwan to the NTIO for legalization. It took about 20 minutes for the official representatives of The Netherlands at the trade office to write that they could not legalize my documents i.e. my birth because of political relations with Taiwan. To get into this would take too long at the moment, but it is an interesting tidbit of history and politics to read up on. A brief summary can be found on Wikipedia. I was not too worried about this, but frustrated at the fact that I had to fly to Taiwan and incur all these expenses for something like that!

So all of you who think I have a wonderful life as a nomad or TCK, remember that this kind of past can turn and bite you.

img_2193

Normally a birth certificate would be a one page print out with your birth facts….. My file on my birth is competing with the Taipei 101 ! Yes I know, the construction of the Taipei 101 cost a bit more……..

Ticket KLM € 1242,96 (US$ 1395,85)

Hotel NT$ 5940 (US$ 183,45)

Notary NT$ 750 (US$ 23.16)

Ministry of consular affairs NT$1600  (US$ 49.40)

NTIO NT$ 3800 (US$ 117.36)

Total – approximately US$ 1769.22 or € 1579,66

tianmucuOn my third day in Taipei I planned a trip to the part of Taiwan where I spent my first 8-9 months of my life before moving with my family to Hong Kong where my brother and sister were born (lucky them – makes getting a birth certificate so much easier). Looking at my very first passport I am wondering if I was in any one place for very long at all – there are immigration stamps from all over Asia over a period of 7 years. Back to the point….. It was my third day in Taipei and I had no appointments to keep. So off to my “old haunt” it was.

Continue reading

In September 2015 I travelled to Taiwan to get legal proof of my birth. Just wanted to clear that up so you know I am not in Taiwan at the moment, but writing about an important event in my life. Traveling to Taiwan was important for two main reasons: 1. to finally have some form of legal documentation of my birth and 2. to come back to the country of my birth (no I am not Taiwanese – just happened to be born there) after 5 decades.

bcchinese

My first ever travel document

The main purpose of my trip to Taipei, Taiwan was not for pleasure or business. I had to travel from Europe to Taiwan to have my birth certificate legalized. And if my contact at the Netherlands Trade and Investment Office in Taipei was right I would need only 3 days. I knew I was cutting it very short by flying in on the 7th and back out on the 10th (late night flight), but I had never been to Taiwan……. Oh wait I was born there! Well as I was saying, I had never been to Taiwan and had no idea what to expect.

The first day in Taipei was uneventful and after a few rides with the MRT and an Indian roti and curry dinner (yes! was the closest thing to the hotel open at the time) I called it a day. Still had 3 days to explore.

Continue reading

img_2059On a regular evening I sit down with either beer or tea and draft my next post. Along the way I do a little research on what I am posting (yes I like to make sure that what I am writing is not total BS). Sure I take most of what I write from my experiences and write my side of the story, but it helps to research. Even authors of fiction do their research.

The next morning I sit down and re-read what I wrote the night before and edit. It helps to sleep on it. Emotions can run wild and I do not want to upset anyone with my rants. Also despite our modern tools there are typos and unfinished or cumbersome sentences.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: