2. Slapstick bureaucracy.

Admittedly, what I am about to suggest is perhaps not as cost-effective as many people desire and just generally impractical, but my obscure recommendation for a fascinating day out would be the Changchun International Medical Centre which I had to visit to get a medical for the job. 2 hours of my life that I’d enjoy reliving again… After queuing for a good 20 minutes to see a receptionist, the queue develops a community spirit, especially when you bear in mind that we are witnessing the madness described below. It’s fair to say that this group morale hit an all-time low when, agonisingly, the chap in front of me got his turn only to find he was in the wrong section, and had to start the grisly process again.

Finally, we received the forms necessary for the check, and filled them is as you may expect. No shocks so far. It’s worth pointing out that the reception area was a long desk with 5 people along it- for ease I’ll refer to each in numerical order. So, number 1 passes to 2, who we pay, then we get passed on to number 3. Number 3 does nothing of any discernible note. The game of beurocratic ‘pass the parcel’ (the prize being a confused foreigner) finds its way to number 4, who proceeds to verify and then stamp and process the documents. Number 5 doesn’t get a look in, which may be explained by my application just not requiring her sporadic attention, however during the whole time we were there she didn’t raise a pen in anger towards a single document. This centre looks after any foreigners, people travelling abroad among other things, which doesn’t clear up her role. Anyway, number 3s time to shine, as we get slid back along our administrative conveyor belt. Oh, nope. No, she passes it back to number  2 again, inspiring the sole reasonable conclusion that her job must be left a beautiful mystery. You may note that we are still at the front desk.
The medical exam itself can only be described as Montypythonesque in terms of logic. Comically, we had to go to a different room for each test, so like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumbfounded, my Chinese colleague and I toddled off through the various stations of Benny Hill’s alternative sports day- blood pressure, samples and everything that may normally be expected in a medical exam.  A full belly laugh moment was the eyesight check, where I was asked to read a single number on a piece of paper, and I was hence adjudged to be fine. Better still, I was encouraged to sit down for this 5 second drama. However, this pales into insignificance compared to the purity and sincerity of the penultimate test. I was led into the room and requested to lay on the bed provided- I was to undergo an ultrasound. Now, for my own clarity as much as yours, was not an extension of an x-ray, nor the examination of my internal organs- I had already had that test. No. This 5 minutes episode, as was confirmed to me beforehand and then again afterwards, was to check I was not pregnant.
Have a good week

4 thoughts on “2. Slapstick bureaucracy.

  1. CathReeds says:

    And were you pregnant?

  2. Kelly Duggan says:

    I actually can’t stop laughing! Hope you’re enjoying yourself xx

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