This I have to say: the e-census service of the National Statistics Office is really efficient. Three days after completing my online transaction, I got a copy of my official birth certificate. I didn't have to do the requisite table hopping that is the norm in most government offices, I didn't have to wait in line and I certainly didn't have to wait out the lunch break in the virtual company of Tito, Vic and Joey.
Having said that, I still believe that we put too much faith in the hands of mere mortals who are supposed to safeguard the records of our lives. My birth certificate--the data on which are hand-written (which in effect pegs my era as pre-Olympia and pre-Microsoft)--had the generic "Baby" before what I thought to be my real first name. And to think I used to laugh at my two aunts--the two "Babys"--who are now senior citizens!
It will take a court hearing and subsequent publications--and the corresponding fees, of course--to get rid of the offending "Baby." Clerical error, they call it, which doesn't exactly say much about our clerks.
So now I join the ranks of those with horrific stories about their vital records. A friend who is obviously female had to go through a sex change on paper: she was registered as a "he." Another friend married a girl who was born in Taiwan. On the marriage certificate, he became the "Taiwanese."
And then there's Sister Number Four, whose baptismal records showed that our Dad is not her father. This, of course, did not sit well with my Mom, who was this short of hieing off to a nunnery in her younger years. When she checked the church logs, it turned out that the record keeper skipped an entry, and all the children on that page had the "wrong" fathers. :p