Chapter 10: That Hint of a Smile
Before he realized it, he’d already been in New Zealand for a week. That day, Wang Bo had just been watching TV to learn English, when Charlie suddenly ran in full of energy to find him and bring him to the city hall.
Wang Bo asked, “Did we find a clue to the female ghost?”
Charlie shook his head, “That’s not it, your nationality change has been finished, so now you need to go through the motions to complete the formalities.”
Wang Bo asked, “So fast?”
Charlie smiled slightly. “A special matter will be done specially!”
When they arrived at the city hall, a middle-aged white woman was waiting for them. After Wang Bo verified his identity, Charlie handed him his passport and a bill. The first one was his ‘green card’, while the latter was his tax bill, and had his tax card in it.
Speaking earnestly, New Zealanders don’t have identity cards, nor do they have cards like the United State’s ‘permanent resident card’. If you’re looking for something similar to an identity card or a green card, then to an adult, that would be a driver’s license and passport. Foreigners would stick a resident visa onto their passports, and after living there for a full two years, they could exchange it for a ‘permanent returning visa’, which was the same as a permanent resident visa.
Therefore, the two most important things in New Zealand were one’s driver’s license and one’s tax card. One’s driver’s license can be considered their ID card, while their tax card is issued by the Inland Revenue Department, and is referred to as an ‘IRD card’. There was eight or nine numbers at the top of it, called the tax number, this was Wang Bo’s number to pay taxes with in the future.
“You must make sure to hold onto your IRD card well, and you mustn’t do tax evasion, believe me, my brother. The strongest people in New Zealand aren’t the army, but the Inland Revenue Department—don’t provoke them no matter what!” Charlie repeatedly warned him.
Wang Bo nodded his head and said, “I understand. There are two inevitable things in life, death and paying taxes, right?”
Charlie bitterly laughed. “That’s right!”
Following their conversation, the middle-aged woman brought Wang Bo to an office and gave him a sheet of paper. On top were some Chinese and English words, which she had him recite to both the New Zealand Flag and the United Kingdom’s Royal Family.
Wang Bo knew that this was an indispensable part of immigrating to a vassal state of the United Kingdom. According to the United Kingdom’s Vassal State Law, every immigrant that becomes a member of their nationality has to swear an oath of loyalty and devotion to the Queen of England. Despite the oath being a religious action in and of itself, New Zealand is still known as a “Free Country” that guarantees everyone’s freedom but doesn’t have a “no swearing an oath” freedom.
But right now, this was just for the sake of appearance. The overseeing judge was a grizzle-haired old man, who was absent-minded and dozing off.
There was another white man in front of Wang Bo, who was currently swearing the oath, standing very solemnly and respectfully. His right hand was seriously affixed to the left side of chest while he raised his left hand up with his palm facing outwards, before using a very grave and sincere voice to say,
“I hereby solemnly swear here that I vow to completely renounce any current affiliation to any foreign prince, monarch, country, sovereignty citizenship, and loyalty. I will faithfully and honestly vow my loyalty and devotion to New Zealand, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and her successor… I hereto freely swear, without any mental obstructions, excuses, or reservations, to request God’s aid as a citizen of New Zealand!”
It was now Wang Bo’s turn, and he copied the way the other white man had stood: straight, with his left hand over his heart and his left hand forward. He muttered to himself irresolutely for a second before saying,
“Great Mother Nation (China), your child currently lives in the Cao camp but his heart lies in the Han camp
. You must believe me—that I am entering the bourgeoisie to better serve the proletariat! Furthermore, you must bless me, bless that my small town will develop and grow. I am willing to have my small town become a paradise for our children. Finally, the Chinese People, an achievement of both culture and military, carried on for thousands of years, may you unify the entire country…”
The drowsy judge was looking at him with strange eyes by the time he’d finished speaking, Wang Bo deliberately used choppy English to explain to him, “I’m, I’m sorry… my English… English no good. Can only use Chinese to swear.”
The judge nodded, then drew a cross in front of his chest. “I hope the Mother of the Chinese People blesses you to learn English faster.”
“……” Old Wang gloomily left. It looks like the number of people that can understand Chinese in New Zealand is a lot more than he expected.
Not long after he’d finished obtaining his green card and tax card, Charlie once again came to find him and told him that the small town’s application had been approved by the country’s parliament. He had him sign his name on a ballot and letter of appointment. Like this, he became the first mayor of Sunset Town.
Wang Bo was dumbstruck. “The town application was approved this quickly? New Zealand’s civil service efficiency is that high?”
“Special things are done in a special way.” Charlie beamingly said, his happy appearance as if he’d completed some sort of meritorious deed.
Wang Bo looked at the ballot and letter of appointment. His English was only so-so, so he was only able to get a rough idea of what it said. However, Charlie was really patient and helped translate the areas he didn’t understand.
This ballot was really important; it’s both used to archive the small town and to decide the mayors of New Zealand via vote. Because Sunset Town only has Wang Bo, a single person, whoever he writes on the ballot is who will become the mayor.
Once again signing his own name at the top, Wang Bo forced a smiled as he said, “I guess that I’m the only mayor in the world commanding with a light stick, right?”
Charlie collected the ballot and letter of appointment with a smile, then like he was performing a magic trick, also took out a green ballot with a flip of his hand. He wrote Wang Bo’s name at the top and winked, “You now have a resident.”
Wang Bo happily said, “You joined my small town?”
“You’ll need to give me an honorary residence.” Charlie complacently said.
Wang Bo raised a thumb as he praised. “Charlie, my brother, you’re too loyal. Not only can I give you an honorary residence, I can also give you a job. Say it, which department of the town do you want to work in?”
Charlie shrugged his shoulders and said, “Forget it mate, I think that my current job is quite good. Let’s go, don’t foolishly stay in your room anymore. We need to go out and eat a grand meal in order to celebrate this matter. You’ve become a mayor brother, a mayor!”
Wang Bo was also very excited and followed Charlie out. It could be said that ever since he’d come to New Zealand, he’d never had a good chance to roam around. During these past two days of investigating the haunted castle, he’d only had contact with information and the internet.
Charlie was very familiar with Omarama, but he didn’t know where he’d obtained a Toyota, which he took Wang Bo with him to a place called “Rice Straw Field”.
The small town seemed to be going through some sort of activity right now, as there were a lot of street decorations, and the surrounding town and city people had all come here. This made the originally spacious road stuffed to the brim, so the overbearing Toyota could only be driven slowly.
Wang Bo curiously looked at the decorations that were out in the streets, but after watching for a bit, he lost interest. Remembering the matter of the meal, he asked, “Are we not going to go and have a great meal? Where is this ‘Rice Straw Field’? Does New Zealand also have a lot of rural tourism?”
Charlie said, “New Zealand naturally has rural tourists, but the Rice Straw Field…”
He’d only said about half of his sentence when he suddenly hit the brakes and quickly changed into the last gear, the car that was driving along coming to a stop.
Wang Bo was so frightened he jumped a bit, then asked, “What happened?”
Charlie didn’t answer, only opened the car door, and leaned on the car with a smile as he said, “Hey, Irina, where are you going?”
Wang Bo followed him out of the car, and with one look, his heart started to jump.
In front a cold drink store, a girl wearing a white shirt and a long skirt was half squatting by the roadside, helping a small six or seven-year-old boy wipe away his sweat.
This girl looked to be around twenty years old and looked like she had a sweet and gentle temperament, which amongst Caucasians, was quite rare. She was wearing rimless glasses. She had light feather-like eyebrows, cherry-red pearly-white lips, and a small nose that was slightly straight and pointed. Her pale golden hair was combed into a low ponytail that hung over her shoulders, was supple like water, and was extremely shiny—when the light shone on it, it was almost like it slid right off.
After Wang Bo finished looking at her appearance, he looked down; she had a waist that looked like it was made of silk, slender legs… and she was also wearing transparent flesh-colored stockings. Seeing this, he immediately sucked in a breath and said in a low voice, “fúck, this lady has both stockings and spectacles, I’m finished!”
Charlie didn’t pay him any heed, continuing to wave at the girl. After the girl saw him, she then exposed a reserved, polite smile. She held the little boy’s hand, and brought him over to greet him, “Hello, Mr. Stallone.”
To be somewhere while longing to be somewhere else
A mayor that only has power for show. The light stands for “illusion” “just for show”, so it’s a useless stick.