Hello Cruel World
Friday, May 20, 2005
Hello, Who am I?
You may not have heard of the latest twist of the knife -- pull on the choke-chain? -- that the Land and Property Information Office tried last week.
I happily believed that, having finally paid off the mortgage (By golly, the mortgagor did seem reluctant to let go, they faffed about for ages in all sorts of ways. Extracting the last drop of interest income, I guess.) and got the Certificate of Title in my sweaty grasp at last, then filled in all the official forms and assembled all the other documentation and ID the same way that I did for his house, there would be no problem with transferring the title from Christopher's name to mine. Last time it took a few visits, but thinking I had learnt the ropes from that, I entered the large, light reception hall with its soothing classical architecture and walls the colour of sun on wheatfields unworried, and took a numbered ticket to await a smooth transaction.
But the eyes of the guardian of our territorial integrity, regarding me closely across the matt grey plane of his melamine desktop, vast and cool and unsympathetic, caught on a snag in the flow of rippling paper. Though it had not been a problem before, and I had the certificates, and the Letters of Administration, and various forms of identification, there was nothing to say that the person "XZ" named on the Letters of Administration -- I don't know why they didn't put my full name -- was the same "XYZ" who had filled in the Transmission Application form and was sitting before him. It could have been the different addresses, some with my own home address while others had my mother's, where I spent much time caring for her.
So. I now have to supply a Statutory Declaration to declare my identity. It has been a bit of a public issue recently: people being detained or deported wrongly, and mysterious soaking wet amnesiacs playing pianos in Britain; maybe people've become more alert to it. Oh well.
He kindly gave me a couple of Statutory Declaration forms and I was sent back into the gloom of a damp Sydney day to attempt to affirm my selfhood; one of the great and ancient philosophical questions: "How do I know I am?" The simple declaration Cogito, ergo sum is not legally sufficient, it appears. Or perhaps the question here is: "How do you know who I am?"
Anyway, here is first draft of the Statutory Declaration.
I declare that I am the [Full Name] born at the [Hospital Name], [Suburb Name] in Sydney, Australia on [Date of Birth] from the union of [Mother's Name] and [Father's Name].
I furthermore declare that I have always been, am still, intend to continue to be, and was at the time the selfsame [Short Name] who, as his next-of-kin and bereaved spouse under law, was appointed Administrator of the Estate of the late [Name of Deceased] by the Supreme Court of New South Wales on [Date of Letter] (Document No [Number/Year]).
Moreover, I also declare that, since my frail and aged mother needed care after the death of my father, for some years I have resided partly at my own house, [Home Address], as shown on my NSW Driver's Licence and other documents, and partly at my mother's flat [Family Address], as shown on the Letters of Administration. For many more years, I have used my Post Office Box [Postal Address] as a secure and central place to collect my mail.
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