Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

The End is Nigh

This has been a historic week with colossal implications for the future of mankind. Tragic, too.

Yes, after 18 years I have lost my cell phone number to vagaries of chance, thereby causing an international crisis. It’s a long story.

The day after the USA “elected” a deluded, offensive, egotistical, narcissistic, misogynist, racist, lying, fascist baboon to be the next president, I noticed that my phone was no longer functional as a communications device. Coincidence? I think not! Be afraid – very afraid.


The phone is only five months old and was rather expensive, so off I trot to the vendor and demand to know what they are going to do about it.

They examine my useless ex-phone and finally come back to inform me that there is nothing wrong with the phone at all. It is the SIM card which has died. I never heard of a SIM card dying before.

simFortunately, Mr. China Mobile has a shop immediately across the road, so I head there and wave the SIM card at them demanding to know what they are going to do about it. The young girl in charge of such matters plays with my phone and her own for a while then announces that the SIM card is broken.

“Excuse me,” I remonstrate, “I told you that fifteen minutes ago.”

“What’s the number?” she wants to know. This I supply and she starts pressing keys on her computer. She may be playing Pacman for all I know.

She then demands to see my ID card. I point out that, as a foreigner, I do not possess such a document as a Chinese ID card. On account of not being Chinese – that being what “foreigner” means, you idiot.

“I can’t replace the card without the ID card under which the original was registered.”

18 years ago, getting a cell phone connection as a foreigner was complicated, so I “borrowed” a friend’s ID. No problem then. Big problem now.

a) She is no longer in China

b) She is now an American citizen and therefore has no current Chinese ID card.

“Nothing can be done” Ms Mobile informs me.

Reluctantly, I scoot home, grab my passport, return and apply for a new number. No problem. She asks me to choose a number from a list and I tell her the first one is fine – I’m not superstitious. Within minutes I am the possessor of a functional phone again, but ¥100 lighter in the pocket. Only problem is that, apart from Ms Mobile, I am the only person who knows the number.

So, I spend the afternoon sending text messages and emails around the world informing friends and family that my number has changed. I also spend an hour in the bank to get them to change the number on their files so that my on-line banking works again.  I post the new number (to friends only) on QQ, Facebook, WeChat etc.

But I shall miss the old number.

If I missed you out on the update information, then please contact me through e-mail (see “Contact Me” above), QQ, etc or ask a mutual friend. If you didn’t have the old number, there is probably no reason why you should have the new one, but if you think you are the exception, again use the “Contact Me” button above.

. This entry was posted on Saturday, November 12th, 2016 at 12:59 pm and is filed under Humour, International News, Liuzhou Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to “The End is Nigh”

  1. John O. Says:

    Love your sense of the ironic, commenting on the form of government in the USA from your residency there 🙂

  2. David Says:

    Not like you to be so reticent . I guess it’s just your generous nature too concerned with sparing Donald’s (freaking “”Donald”” for goodness sake !!) feelings by revealing any slight misgivings you may (or may not) have . Too kind for this world you are .
    Moving on , and not wishing to show any lack of sympathy for your great loss , it has come as a great relief in the ‘bad things come in threes’ way . First we had the events of June 23rd then November 8th and I have to say I was expecting a nuclear meltdown at the very least but nothing on the scale of a lost mobile number . It is also the third example of the infamous ‘law of unintended consequences’ . ‘They’ll never vote to leave’ , ‘Theyed never vote for him’ and ‘Proof of identity will curb all those nuisance calls’ , kind of unintended consequences.
    Your sacrifice has made an old man rest easier .
    Incedently , given the numbers rightful home is easily identified is it not possible for those helpful people at China Moble to transfer the number ? Obviously not I guess . I had forgotten the need to show ID when buying a local SIM card .

  3. Kenny Shi Says:

    Wait a minute. I lost my unicom number this time i am in china as well. I went to the unicom shop, they assured me the number has been restricted because it was not real name verified. I asked if a US passport could be used, at first, they said yes. Unfortunately the computer refused to accept my passport number. So i went to china mobile next door, they asure me i could get a number, but their document scanner coundnt handle passports. I was sent to the main shop, and the conflicting message i got was i was not allowed to get a mobile number.

    Which location did you get yours?

  4. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    Mine was from China Mobile.

    Any office should be able to issue a SIM card. They probably had no experience of doing so and just said they couldn’t, or there was some misunderstanding.

    The idea that a scanner can’t do passports is nonsense. In my case, the girl just took a picture of my passport with her cell phone.

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