To Rathaus civil servants in Siegen Germany

I doubted several times for writing it to the public, but today I could not hold it back anymore. Upon receiving a letter from Rathaus (city hall) Siegen, I know that I need to change my student residential status to job seeker status. Normally in Germany, student could get a 18 months jobseeker status. However, my passport is valid for about 16 months for now. So I called the Rathaus civil servant who signed the letter to me, here, pay attention, my question was only this — “do I need to renew my passport in order to get 18 months job seeker status, since my passport expires in 16 months?” In other words, I wanted to know whether issuing the job seeker status is in compaliance with the valid dates of passport, or say, whether it is necessary to renew my passport. 

Instead of answering directly “yes, it is according to your passport valid dates, so if you want 18 months, please renew your passport”, she said “If you don’t find a job in 16 months, I don’t think you could find a job in another two more months!”

Shame on me, I repeatedly said I understood what she meant, meaning, from her humiliating answer, I understood that it is according to my passport valid date. How simple could an answer be? And how low could I position myself in this situation? No one wants to have a word with them. But I wonder why should she stand on the moral high ground and judging people, making unnecessary judgements towards a situation that no one could literally tell? Who gave her the power? People?

I know it’s civil servants’ daily fun. When we complain about tea sipping, newspaper reading civil servants in China, in the Kafkasque castle sitting the same people, waiting to tell you how worthless and pathetic you are to be in a place that ranks high in all index world wide. 

This is not the first time, neither the last time I will come across this. In Rathaus, foreigners keep heads low, sucking on whatever they could give. Certainly, she doesn’t believe on the two months miracle.

But is it possible to ask these civil servants to open a tiny bit their mind? Not me, or any students, or any refugees deserve this. My wish to have a more improved situation is always there, alas, it’s not coming yet. It is disappointed to hear these words from civil servants, or civil serpents.

Perhaps, I’m writing it out of anger, out of revenge. It’s normal emotions echoing the “two month miracle” issue. Still, does it make her feel better for judging me not finding a job? I assume it does, otherwise, what kind of sick job disease is this. 

Proud of myself being polite from beginning to the end in the phone call. God bless the hollow statement “all people are created equal”. 

Fetching the Lost Inspiration (1)

Ramon stopped in front of a suntanned, appealing adolescent, naked under his shorts, who was selling masks of the faces of Balzac, Berlioz, Hugo, Dumas. –Milan Kundera The Festival of Insignificance  p.5

A cup of Sage tea on the right, it’s my Lost & Found. Midnight inspiration was interrupted by a regular celebration of life from upstairs regardless neighbours, I should feel alive, shouldn’t I ? Realising half of the 2016 has been already left behind, forcing myself to restart with writing on the almost longest day in the year would work. At least, it shows the significance of this fetching of insignificance.

Thoughts started on this Sunday before a trip to Hilchenbach. Living right next to the core of the city often spoils me. The privilege tastes surely better when I complain about the one minute walking distance to the “central park” in the city. No. No. Actually, I do appreciate the advantage.

Climbing uphill after Saturday dinner had been an unexpected adventure, seeing many German gentlemen in green woolen-coat uniforms coming down hill carrying horns in various forms. They were coming from the park where they began a two days competition of playing horns. The next day, a tribute visit has to be paid.

Sunday morning

Typical German gentlemen gathered in the early morning wearing green woolen-coat uniform again. They wear wool hats with feathers on the fringe. Feathers from mallard or some kind of beautiful birds. Trophies in the past? Wait, there are more showing the pride-metal badges on their ties and collars. In the park, it’s certainly a hunting fair. Owls and eagles are present on the tree stump. Arrogantly, they position themselves as the best hunting buddies in competition to a bunch of dogs near them.

Look at our best hunting buddies

Shortly recorded two clips of the competition before I completely sank into my own thoughts.

Jagdhörner Jagdhorn-Wettbewerb 1 @Siegen Germany

Jagdhörner Jagdhorn-Wettbewerb 2 Siegen Deutschland

We are ruled by quotations. — Susan Sontag

However, right now, I couldn’t fetch any quotations in my mind from any great masters of minds, of human intelligence, of creativity that match this celebration/competition, instead, I see faces. There are old faces overlapping on the new and fresh faces, like the masks from Balzac, Hugo, and Baudelaire. That’s how they used to see life. It’s an observation, scrutinisation, but also, more importantly, they engaged in the insignificance of celebration. And their legacies have been passed on unidentifiable faces, lives, human beings. The collection of insignificance became the significance of the Life, the Tradition. It’s the calling of the wild as well as the connecting to the still mysterious nature from the dark ages. Witches in the stone-made prisons are looking through bars, and their glances never could be burned.

Ask where I’m a local

One rare video that I could totally related to. My forging of identity didn’t depend on my parents, since they never had any wish to move to another city or country, neither my identity was forged by copying other people’s life styles–say, everyone in China who is considered a good student should have some sort of studying aboard experience, it is rather from books I read, and what’s more important, my own choices.

The video reminds me one specific place I could call myself a local: Herzliya. Starting from the big black Herzl up to the hill, the city Herzliya begins. Divided into Herzliya Pituach and Herzliya the City, modern or conservative is easy to tell. When people heard Herzliya, they say, woah, you are rich. But I don’t live in Herzliya Pituach where the residence of all kinds of embassies are. Tel Aviv is not far, so its bubble-sized shade completely violates Herzliya’s existence. There is IDC, Interdisciplinary Center, where the most Americans come to study in this over priced private college. All the offices are using Mac, teaching is considered top notch. All kinds of figures made from green landscape are spotted in every round-about in Herzliya. I heard it’s because of a female major. I already like her!

There is my favorite restaurant, Asian as always, due to my ultimate love to noodles. It’s hard to think about those days that I had to make decision of leaving, leaving for good. Because one small tiny thing that I will miss is: when I walk into ChinaClass, Shahar the waiter will already started to put my order — seaweed salad, fried calamari, and 6 shrimps. That’s what makes one a local. At the last day, I got a free salad as the gift. Bitter Sweet.

I can never relate myself to Tel Aviv. It was the place I worked, but I always return to Herzliya. Maybe I don’t get enough chance to know the famous Tel Aviv night life at 2 a.m., but WE got Dolly Parton! The best Schwarm place is called Jamal, where decade ago it was bombed by terrorist. The shop is red, still tons of people go there, bombs do not scare people away. Israel is a very tiny country, where it gives you the illusion of knowing every big city: Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem etc. Later on I realized, it will always be Herzliya.

In the first “conflict” in 2012, I only ran to the shelter once in Tel Aviv University. That was sort of ok. I felt safe at home. But in 2014, during the 50 days “conflict”, my whole world was shaken, one of the reasons was I have to run to the shelter in Herzliya, many many times, in the city I lived. There is one 6 a.m., one 6 p.m., and numerous I don’t even remember. That’s the feeling of getting attacked at home. O, Herzliya was like my home.

The rainbow beach, the empty-yet-full highway on Yom Kipurr, the beauty salon downstairs, the quiet Shabbat, the storm that breaks umbrella, the Sokolov and Ben Gurion.

One day, on my way to work, I finally had the chance to take a photo of that elderly lady. She’s always ahead of me, with a parrot on her left shoulder. 7a.m. in the morning, that’s all what I expected. Life goes on. When I was young, I had a whole family of parrots, green father, blue mother, they had five kids — four green, the youngest was blue. I saw how they knocked their lives out of the shell, I saw how they developed four different birsonalities. Then, life goes on. I don’t feel like a local any more in my hometown, and it is me who has changed. But memory lives on, stories pass on, childhood continues on.

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Here are some quotes from the video.

  1. You can take away my passport, but you can’t take away my experience.That I carry within me. Where I’m from comes wherever I go.
  2. We can never go back to a place and find it exactly where we left it. Something, somewhere will always have changed, most of all, ourselves. People.
  3. Finally, what we’re talking about is human experience, this notoriously and gloriously disorderly affair. In creative writing, locality bespeaks humanity. The more we know about where a story is set, the more local color and texture, the more human the characters start to feel, the more relatable, not less. The myth of national identity and the vocabulary of coming from confuses us into placing ourselves into mutually exclusive categories. In fact, all of us are multi — multi-local, multi-layered.

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/lang/en/taiye_selasi_don_t_ask_where_i_m_from_ask_where_i_m_a_local.html