Work has been keeping me pretty busy this week so I haven’t had the energy to post — what energy I did have left over from the week I spent at a friend’s birthday party on Friday evening. I’ve spent most of the weekend escaping with Criminal Minds DVDs and the new The Honeys album 水 as well as spending time with Roger and Winnie. Therefore until I do come up with something better to blog about, I’m leaving you with the archive of my posts from Lost Laowai.
On Saturday morning while I was sitting in Starbucks a group of Laowais walked in and they were talking how they were all afraid that they were going to all be kicked out of China because they can’t renew their visas. Now from their conversation I could tell that this was an area they didn’t have a lot of experience with (my company follows this issue closely as we advise people who are establishing their China operations for the first time so I have a bit more knowledge than the average person) but I wanted to go over and just tell them to stop over-reacting.
For those that don’t know the Chinese government has restricted the issuing of multiple entry F visas for business lengthened the minimum application processing time to four days and limited the issuing of visas in Hong Kong to only permanent residents of the SAR.
There has also been a lot of good coverage of this issue in blogs and the mainstream media. But as the above conversation shows a lot of people have become consumed by fear — just check out this post on Shanghaiist about foreign students supposedly being expelled for the Olympics — it turned out to be a false alarm. And that is throwing people into a tizzy.
As I mentioned to a reporter from the German business newspaper Handelsblatt yesterday the restrictions that are being put in place aren’t a catastrophe they are to deal with volume. Lots of people are expected to come to China for the Olympics so that means more visa applications hence the longer waiting times you’ve heard about. Many people travel to Hong Kong — since you don’t need a visa to get in there — and apply for China visas in HK. Too many people are doing that now for the foreign ministry office in HK to handle hence the regulations that foreigners who are not permanent residents of HK must apply for a China visa in their country of residence.
What that means is until the regulations return back to normal which is expected to be in September you need to plan ahead. If you are on a visa that requires you to renew it outside the country (ie anything other than a Z-class visa) arrange a trip home at the same time. You’re not going to be denied a visa as long as you’ve obeyed the laws here and aren’t a known pro-T1bet/F*G* protestor. You just can’t leave visa renewal to the last minute now.
Today, we welcomed home a new member of our family — our new dog Roger.
More pictures and updates to follow soon.
I had the laser surgery this morning and everything went fine. I’ll be back to full steam tomorrow.
Regular posts will resume later this week.
Reading Cityweekend yesterday, I found out that the editors had recorded many of the talks from the Shanghai International Literary Festival. Having attended the festival I think this is a great way for those who couldn’t attend to catch up on speeches by Paul French, Duncan Hewitt and Rob Gifford. You can find the podcasts here.
Well I went for another visit to the eye doctor on Thursday and it was decided that I should have some minor laser surgery. Unfortunately, this can’t be done at Huashan Hospital where I usually go. Instead I have to make the trip to Fudan University’s Eye, Ear Nose and Throat Hospital (which isn’t that far from Huashan). So yesterday, Winnie and I got up before 6am to make the trip out there for the preliminary check by the EENT doctors so that I could get booked for laser.
Now like most hospitals in China (other than Waibing clinics), you can’t book an appointment, service is given on a first come first serve basis. We were able to get the fourth appointment due to a fluke that the hospital let me stand in the line for people over age 70 (not sure what that says for my appearance).
After about a 30-minute consultation with a doctor, I was able to get the authorization for laser. The doctor was actually very reluctant to do this, because my retina is attached and there is no sign of detachment. Therefore, he’d prefer to leave it be. But the doctors at Huashan want to prevent any future problem from happening by removing some vitreous from my retina — something I agree with. So after explaining to him that this was something I wanted, he gave the okay.
I’m going for the laser on Monday morning. I will update you later in the week on how it went.
I know it’s been way too long since I last posted, but I’ve been busy. In the last three weeks, I’ve been to Beijing, swamped with work and trying to help my girlfriend get a visa for our trip to visit my parents in Canada in June. Now that I am pretty much on top of things at work and we’re almost ready to submit the visa application, it’s time for my next challenge.
I visited the eye doctor last Friday and it looks like I’ve hit a bit of a road bump. My retina has some degeneration and I’ve developed vitrous opacity in the fluid inside my eye. This might not be of a big concern if I wasn’t already visually impaired but since I am it is.
The doctor has advised me to have weekly checks right now and I may have to have some laser surgery in the future — it’s not a fun procedure but I have had it done before and I will survive. Unfortunately that means for the next little while, my blog posts will slowdown and it may take me awhile to get to your comments but I will keep everyone posted on any progress I make.
I hope to be back to full blogging capacity soon.