How My Father Got Into Kindergarten

When someone asks me my birthday, I have to think carefully before I give my answer. If it is a friend, I will say my actual birthday. However, in some other cases where I need to fill up “in official forms”, I have to say another date which is also written in my passport.

Sounds complicated, hmm?

No it doesn’t. Bear with me.

Yangonthu 1-33

My story started with a father who wanted to send his daughter to school before she was old enough to go to school. In Myanmar, a child must be at least 5 years old to go to kindergarten. Before I was 5, my dad wanted to send me to school so he had to find ways how it would work. I got rejected for the first enrollment at No.(1) Dagon which is one of the top school in the country. It was possible that other school (not as grand as  No. (1) Dagon) would have accepted me at that time. However, my father only wanted No. (1) Dagon. So, what happened later was he got in touch with a woman who was working at the school. She told him that she could offer some help in getting me enrolled without meeting the age criteria. She just required a new profile of me and a few Benjamin Franklins. You know what kind of “help” that is.

So, we tried again, this time with a different profile because some other administrative officers would have recognized and rejected me again. So my father prepared my new profile. It’s basically a new name and a new date of birth (which indicated I was old enough for school) and a new address for me.  My father arranged all that in a couple of weeks and I was let known that I was registered at his friend’s place now. Later, I got into the school and changed back to my original name but date of birth stayed the same. I don’t know if the administrative officers did not notice my new yet original name or they just could not have cared less. And I realized the power of a new name and a new date of birth that put me into the one of the supposedly best schools in the country.

Also, the power of that lady my father knew, of course.

Looking back now; It was kind of funny, sad and confusing that people were calling me by the forged name which was only meant to trick a few administrators but it also ended up tricking myself.

All in all, it is not very nice to have a fake birth date in your passport. I have to be careful with every paperwork and I do sometimes have a feeling that I am lying. But no, I don’t blame my dad, he was just doing it for the best. For me or for him. I don’t know.

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