Perhaps I’m blogging more about Romania than about China, but I guess that’s because I still have closer ties to Romania than to China, both in a good and in a bad way.
A Romanian friend of mine, whom I’ve empowered to unregister my car at the Romanian police, mentioned that he was unable to do so, because of a typo. You see, before a car can be unregistered, you must prove to the police that all the taxes have been paid for it. This proof you get from the financial administration. So this friend goes to get the proof, possibly pay the outstanding taxes, but the lady (I’ve never seen her, but if I had to guess I’d say she’s in the late 40s, pink curled hair) says there’s no-one by the name of “Lunesu” in the computer. By some strange coincidence, there is a person called “Lunescu”, on the same address, but that’s obviously somebody else. And seeing as my friend did not have a letter of empowerment from Mr. Lunescu, he could not pay Mr. Lunescu’s taxes.
A couple of things are worth noting here, apart from the obvious deadlock. The first thing that I found odd was that apparently there’s a Romanian native that can see and read the difference between the words Lunesu and Lunescu. In my 5 years of living in Romania, I’ve never encountered a person who would not confidently read Lunescu wherever Lunesu was written. This is why my working permit, my residence permit and my property at the cadaster all carry the name Lunescu. And these are only the important ones. Now, it seems, I’ll have to add the financial administration to that list.
The other thing I find noteworthy is the realization that if suddenly all Romanians acknowledge “Lunesu” and “Lunescu” as different names, half of my official Romanian papers become void!
And then there’s this what-if question: what if I, Lunesu, never pay the taxes for Lunescu? Can I be found guilty? Can I rely on the illiteracy of the tax inspector, the prosecutor, the judge, the jailer? If any one of those is related to our lady at the financial administration (it must be genetic) then I might just get away with it.