Making a passport in Miri one has to go to one of the most beautiful buildings in Miri called Yu Lan Plaza which is built on the old Miri Theatre site.
But don't forget to bring the following
1. 2 photos taken in Broadway or any photoshop for the purpose of making passports.
2. 1 photocopy of your ID (both sides) - Bormas is just opposite this Yu Lan Plaza.
3. Three hundred Malaysian ringgit.
4. Old passport.
6. A good sense of humour and a good dose of sympathy.
Moral of this story
Always be early in a government office and be smart looking. Wear your name tag if you have one.
Dialogue in English/Bahasa Malaysia: Lesson on how to keep your Malaysian citizen's smile on.....and usage of one or two syllable words.
First Day (Tuesday) Form Counter
Nearly Four. Time to close shop....
Malaysian : Good afternoon. Is this where I get a number? Ada ambil nombor kah?
Passport Officer One : Bukan sini. Sana.
Malaysian : Good afternoon. Is this where I get a number?
Passport Officer Two : Isi form. Isi form. Pandai baca ?
Malaysian : Ok. Thanks. Terima kasih. (take form from counter)
Passort Officer Two : Sekarang tak boleh baya. Kaunter tutup. Cannot pay today. Four O'clock. Bayar esok.
Malaysian : Really ???????? But it is not four yet!!!
Passport Officer : Four lah. Counter close. Tutup!! Bawa form ini esok...
Malaysian : ????
Next day (Wednesday) Payment counter @7:30 a.m. Ah Moi - first on the queue
Malaysian : Good morning.
Cheerful Passport Officer 4 : Three hundred.
Malaysian : Can pay make passport with more pages?
Cheerful Passport Officer 4: Biasa Three hundred. cukup.
Malaysian : ok...ok..
Cheerful Passport Officer 4 : gambar. tiga ratus.form ok. tunggu eh...24 jam balik sini ambil kaunter sana. jangan hilang resit ini.
Malaysian : boleh hari ini?
Cheerful Passport Officer 4 : Next.
Malaysian : terima kasih. terima kasih..
Next day (Thursday) Collection of Passport Counter @ 7:30 a.m. A small crowd of expectant new passport holders.
Malaysian : Selamat pagi. (Gives slip/receipt)
Passport Officer 5 : (silence)(No eye contact)
Malaysian : ???? (look for a seat)
4 passports later....
Passport Officer 5 : Ah Moi. Ah Moi...Ah Moi....tak dengar lah...AH MOI!!
Malaysia : Ya. Saya.
Passport Officer 5 :Lu Ah Moi? simpan jari sini.
Malaysian : jari ini? (dumb look which can make you cry - she gives her right thumb...thumb not finger)
Malaysian: put thumb on blinking machine...(many minutes passed...) sudah kah?
(Mesih ada masalah? jari saya ada masalah?
Passport Officer 5 : (no answer)
Malaysian : ???
Passport Officer 5 : Paspot.
Malaysian : Terima Kasih...
Passport Officer 5 :...(give whites of eyes) Boring look. (time for his breakfast may be)
Malaysian Culture : Government Officers are all tired. Overworked.
Actually making passports nowadays in Sarawak is quite speedy. This could be an isolated incident because Ah Moi is rather old and a little hard of hearing. She is also over 60 and probably considered illiterate in all languages. She has that kind of lost look....and of course is no Datuk Nur Haliza...
But she is able to read and write and sign her name. She is different from the older people who have to use their thumb prints (cap ibu jari).
Remember years ago we had to travel to Kuching to get our passport? Or even KL Damansara where the queue was three mile long?
Consider ourselves very lucky today. If we know the passport officer we might even go and minum kopi in the staff canteen or Ban Hup at the corner and laugh over some P Ramlee memorable scenes.
Cheers! What's your passport making story?