Sunday stories: Passport renewal & trying to not look ugly (but failing)

After the ridiculously unpleasant ordeal of getting my passport renewed yesterday – and failing gloriously in my attempt to not end up with the most butt-ugly photo imaginable (as if that were possible)… Here are some basic tips to hopefully save the next sorry person from having their mortified face seared into their passport for five years of international embarrassment.

And y’know, I swear! Either we – as an entire species – have deluded ourselves into believing that we’re better-looking than we actually are. Or these global identification-related institutions (drivers’ licenses, identity cards, my university prepaid Eating Card for on-campus dining) have conspired to make the process as uncomfortable, unnatural, and unpleasant as possible so as to ensure that you make – for one brief, but decisive moment in the history of picture-taking – the most constipated face known to man.

Look into this (super old school) Logitech eyeball webcam– CLICK!!!!!!


Not ready? TOO BAD.

Stare at this lens. EYES ON THE LENS – excuse me Miss, please focus your eyeballs on the lensOk that’s great, the cross-eyed look is so vogue this year. Now don’t move, don’t blink… CUE **FLASH BRIGHTER THAN A THOUSAND SUNS!!!**


1. Don’t, for the love of God, wear BLUE

The green screen at the Brunei Immigration Department is blue. And if you wear blue, your body will disappear and you’ll look like a floating head. And the cranky lady at the counter will delude you into believing she’s taking a couple of test shots before sighing loudly and pulling a black scarf out of a drawer for you to drape across your shoulders.

2. You’ll probably have to take your spectacles off (if you wear them)

Aforementioned cranky lady will pretend she’s nice enough to take another test shot before brazenly twisting her computer screen at you “Kan?” to show you how the blinding flash bounces off your lenses and makes you look like a goldfish.

3. Hair behind your shoulders

Jangan di kambangkan rambut atu. Kalau pakai tudong kan bisai.

4. Show your eyebrows

Fleek or no fleek, nampakkan kirai!

5. Pick your poison: eyes half closed OR startled deer-in-the-headlights

They will conspire to make you blink before taking the shot. The only way to avoid this is to stretch those eyelids back and pray you don’t look mentally deranged.

Other things to remember:

  • It costs BND $60 to renew your passport
  • You’ll need single photocopies of your (old) passport and IC; there’s a photocopy service upstairs which’ll charge you 30 cents for both.
  • Rise and shine before 8 am to get a number to join the queue and prepare to waste a few hours of your life in the waiting room (if you don’t want to take the risk of leaving and then coming back later)

May the odds be ever in your favour.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s