Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I am OFFICIALLY Nineteen

No doubt about it. I've always believed I was born 1988, and I have been proven correct by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs no less (and who said government agencies don't do their job?!).

Bars in Bangkok are pretty strict about not allowing minors to come inside these venues. I think one has to be like 21 years old. Therefore, EVERYBODY needs to present an ID (for locals) or a passport (for foreigners). Honestly, bringing a passport to a bar is very inconvenient. Who can wear skinny jeans with such an enormous thing in your pocket? And there's a danger that you'd leave it at some place where you end up from a night of drinking, you know.

Anyhoot, so I presented my passport on two occasions that I went to this gay place in Silom. After quickly scanning my passport for my birth year, the bouncer would say, "Cannot. You young. You nineteen." I can't be more than flattered no? But then it's the wrong occasion dear.

"No, that's 1980," I insisted.

"No, 1988. You nineteen. Cannot," the bouncer shot back. He took a look at my face the way one would examine a piece of apple in the supermarket if it has any bruises or not. Thank god I lather my face with loads of sunblock and moisturizer all the time, I can still pass off for a twelve year old!

"No, no. You too young. Cannot," the bouncer declared with such finality.

Goodness, I never thought going to a bar is such an test of persistence. (But at least the bouncer is doing his job ha.)

So I pull out my ID from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which shows my birthdate. "There, that's 1980," I told the bouncer.

He took a lot at the ID and then compared it with the passport. "Okay, okay," he replied.

The area is a complex of gay bars and they check your passport/ID first when you enter the courtyard and second when you go inside any bar. After passing through the first "screening", I had to present again my passport where another negotiation took place, similar to what happened earlier. Can't that be more cumbersome? This happened on two occasions already when I tried going inside a bar.

I also remember that when I provided a copy of my passport to my present office, the administrative officer had to ask me if I was born 1980 or 1988. I told her I wish I was born 1988 but no, that's 1980.

I wonder why the DFA cannot just use higher technology in printing our passports? Have they heard of printing machines? Why do they insist on scrawling by hand our passport details? But really, I like the idea that the Philippine government has officially adjusted my age. That's a full eight years clipped from my birthdate!

Take a look at my passport. Does that read 1980 or 1988 to you?


jt said...

They have started issuing machine-printed passports here, but yes, that looks like ocho.

kawadjan said...

i got mine from Davao pa, so malamang delayed ang technology sa dako pa roon. keri na rin yan, at least i'm younger according to the DFA. :-)

thanks for dropping by, JT.

Dexter Mejia said...

farangs are never carded. do you know that?

kawadjan said...

hi dexter. thanks for visiting.

i saw several farangs who had to present their passports at the entrance, unless they're super old, which is pretty obvious.


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