I had dinner with my eldest sister yesterday. She gave me 9 toothbrushes, a nest of 5 red cosmetic pouches and two oranges. And a delicious home made dinner of tofu, rice, glass noodles and mushrooms followed by Chrysanthemum soup. All cooked and served with love in the tiny flat were she now lives, and where my Mother also lived with her for 5 years before she died.
I asked big sister Daisy when my Mother’s birthday was and she got out all my Mother’s old passports and right of re entry permit to Hong Kong, that allows HKers to travel to and return from mainland China. So Kam Lai it turns out was born 8th October, a Libran like me.
Before I found my family I tried 3 times before the Chinese government granted me a visa, because I had no HK ID and had had so many name changes. When I did finally get one it cost shed loads. Lucy paid over £200 I think, in 2019 to go to Shanghai after she visited me in HK.
So a right to return permit would be a great thing to have and would allow me to go in and out of China without applying for an expensive visa each time.
But I can’t have one, as Winnie and I discovered on my last trip and an aborted attempt. New rules mean I need to have a valid HK passport, not the same as the right of abode ID I did get, and requiring more bureaucratic hoop jumping and form filling. Winnie also thought I would be safer travelling in and out of China on my British passport. And even moreso in light of all the recent troubles. So I made the decision not to bother to reapply for the right to return permit, and just pay for a Visa as and when required.
But now I do have one, a re entry permit. Not mine, but my Mother’s. Of course it’s worthless in that it won’t save me any money, but i am so proud to hold it, own it. To touch something that was hers, that she had held and kept carefully. My big sister has gifted it to me and that means such a lot. Generously and freely given with no hesitation. After my adopted Dad died, my adopted sister was unwilling to let me have ANY of his personal belongings. The difference between the two sisters is vast, unfathomable. Enough said.
The permit is in great condition, enclosed in a bright red shiny cover that I too might have chosen, and it shows me all the dates my Mother travelled to China, sometimes just for one day. Also I know she was 64 in this photo.
Looking at the dates, I think she may have entered and left Hong Kong at similar times to me, when I first ever visited back in 1986. Perhaps our paths crossed at the airport. We shall never know, but I like to think so.