Finally! My New Passport

October 28, 2006

Finally I collected my spanking new biometric passport from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) yesterday evening.

It’s pretty cool that we can apply for our passport online. It was pretty painless until I arrived at the ICA at 6pm yesterday, thinking that who’d except goondus like me who have nothing better to do on a Friday night but ‘hang out’ in a place like that. Like I said naïve. There were like 300 people in the room – 280 to be exact. I was the 281st – not counting screaming babes in their mommy/nanny’s arms & restless kids who decide to make ICA their playground.

My first instinct was to bolt but I decided to stick to it & collect the damn book. “How bad can it be? Singapore’s efficient. I should be out in no time.” I was so naive. I waited & waited & then I saw this disclaimer (which I didn’t see when I first arrived – how can I be so blind??) on the waiting screen – “average waiting time is 2 hours”! Then I figured since I had waited an hour, what is another hour? Called my mom to tell I’ll be home later for dinner.

Right. By 8, there were still 60 numbers before it was my turn. But what am I supposed to do? I had waited 2 hours. If I leave, I would have wasted 2 hours of my time & I’ll have to start all over again when I return the next time. So, what to do but call my mom again to tell her I’m gonna take just a little bit longer… By 8.05, the waiting screen was switched off & the officers were shouting out our numbers – sort of like a fish market kind of scene. But suddenly the turnover was really quick & my turn came at about 8.30.

2.5 hours. Overheard a guy who was like 30 numbers ahead of me telling his friend he was there since 4.30! What!?!? Anyway, the officer imprinted both my thumbprints, I signed the papers & I was pointed out that I now have a new set of passport number (different from my IC) . Fantastic. As if there are not enough pin numbers & passwords in fill my life – my ATM, credit cards, internet banking, my Yahoo mail, my DVD online, my office door security, my office alarm system, my office PC & not to mention my office & intranet administrator codes.

I think my brain is going to explode. But I have my new passport 🙂

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