HCMC Dining Guide

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Comedy of Bureaucracy

My quest to obtain a Vietnamese work permit has turned into an absurdly Sisyphean task. I've lost count of the times I've handed in a piece of paper thinking "At last! I'm finally done!," only to have it handed back to me because there is some mundane problem. The latest lesson I've learned from the process is this: when you live in a country that doesn't use middle names, having one can be a problem. I've gotten documents back with "Anthony Tatarski" filled into the name spot and been forced to explain that, no, my name is Michael Tatarski, Anthony is just my middle name. Case in point: this note from the Human Resources department at one of my schools.

"Hi Michael. There's a problem with your work permit procedure. Your name 'Michael Tatarski' on the criminal record is different with 'Michael Anthony Tatarski' on the Bachelor Degree. This problem has happened with many teachers. (Me again: no shit! That's not a problem where we come from!)

Now, you go to the Consulate who will help you fix the problem. You have to pledge that the two different names are for only one person - 'Michael'. I think the Consulate will help you with the problem. Many teachers did the same thing."

What, do they think I brought a fake college degree? Forged my name on the clean criminal record and am actually a mass murderer? So frustrating...

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