Getting a smart passport

Kuching Travel Blog

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Chinese temple at Muara Tebas, near Kuching.

I spent two weeks with family in Singapore and Malaysia, a worthwhile visit planned around my mother's 78th birthday!  While there in Kuching, I renewed my passport ... an impressive process which saw the document being issued the same day.

 

Malaysia adopted the smart or E-passport (containing a chip with biometrics) in 1998 but I've managed to get away with a type-written one issued in NZ all this time.  It was the first in the world and actually preceded the international standard but the irony is that my photo was taken in the stairwell next to the broom closet! 

 

The passport is a joy to use.

Chinese temple at Muara Tebas, near Kuching.
 I simply put the passport on the "autogate" when entering or leaving the country and the machine pulls up my photo, name and other details from the central database.  I then put my thumb on the scanner to verify my print against the one on the chip or database.  Before I can say "Open Sesame", the gates fling open for me!  And I've missed all this for the last seven years!

 

My arrival into Kuching coincided with the end of the seventh Chinese month in which the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts occurs.  I forget how traditional people are as many were burning “silver paper” (traditional fake money) to appease the spirits. 

 

On a nicer note, we moved into the eight month the next day, and that has the Mooncake or Lantern Festival.  Its definitely my favourite month as I love mooncakes … a pastry of sorts containing a sweet mash of lotus (or bean) paste.  I particularly like the version containing Chinese ham, pork fat, sesame, almonds and candied melon; it tastes like a Christmas cake with ham in it!

 

Soultrekker says:
Thats awesome, I never heard of the E-passport before..but makes sense.
Posted on: Apr 06, 2012
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Kuching
photo by: aotw