Back in the day, there used to be a … well, vibrant Norwegian consulate in Hong Kong. It was a kind of centre for Norwegians living in Hong Kong, from which a lot of activities sprang, for example national day (May 17th) celebrations on the Consul General’s lawn in – something Bay. Somewhere posh. Then about ten years ago(possibly 1997) the government of Norway, one of the richest countries in the world, decided that it couldn’t afford paying for a whole huge consulate in Hong Kong with three employees and all.
The consulate was moved to Guangzhou with only a skeleton staff of one holding the fort in Hong Kong, humiliatingly sharing an office with the Finnish consulate.
At the time, I was quite upset. It was a social life and an institution gone, and for what? To show the geezers up north that we Norwegians believe more in them than the Hong Kong people?
Last time I went to Shenzhen the immigration officer advised me that I need a new passport and sure enough: Only three pages left. I went to the Norwegian Consul General’s website from 2008 which not only contained three grammatical and one linguistic error, but told people that they can apply for a Norwegian passport in Sun Tak Center. Well, people, that became not true in 2009.
Now you have to travel to Guangzhou during office hours to get a new passport, and the office hours for passports are: 2 to 4pm.
Yes, the Norwegian Embassy had duly informed all Norwegians about this when they made the decision, but how about mentioning it on the website? How about even glancing at your own website once or twice after 2008?
Now I have to go to Guangzhou, at least 5 hours’ travel each way, to get a passport, and that in a town where ‘convenience’ is right up there with ‘gross national happiness quotient’ in Bhutan. Fail! Unlike! Un-LOL!
Don’t get me wrong. I love Guangzhou. It’s just that I want to spend my free time there, not office hours which could be spent so much better doing office hours things.
Not only that. I wrote to that consulate for some information Sunday night. Now it’s Tuesday night and I still haven’t received an answer. What, the Norwegian Consulate in Guangzhou is so busy with millions of mainland Chinese matters that they can’t answer one single email from a Norwegian?
One of the richest countries on earth can’t be arsed to look after their own people in one of the richest cities in the world. Unworthy.