Until I get my foreign registration card, here are some of the things I can’t do:
- Order internet service at my apartment
- Sign up for a cell phone
- Get a bank account
- Access the ‘free internet’ at Starbucks
It seems strange to me that being here three weeks, without that card, my only option is to wait.
In contrast, I recall in 2007 when I had a 14-hour layover in Burkina Faso in West Africa, I was able to buy a SIM card for about $10 and credit for another $5, stick it in my phone, and instantly had cell phone service
I got a glimpse of this uneasy dance of efficiency and control, before I came. I was booking my train tickets online, from the States. On one hand, it’s wonderfully cool that you can easily get from Seoul to Busan to Daejeon by fast trains, affordably, and buy the tickets online. But, in order to do so, I had to install a digital ‘real name’ verification program on my computer. And I had to provide my country and passport number. Koreans are required the same steps, using their ID number.