Peace be upon you all. Today is the 7th day of the new year of 2017. Here is presented the first article in this blogspot for the new year...
Yesterday I've renewed my international passport in preparation for trips to be made out of Malaysia in the first quarter of the year. This prompted me to take a look at my old passports starting with this one, my first international passport ever.
The passport was made more than 25 years to allow me to continue my studies at a renowned university in London, the United Kingdom. Before that I've only been out of the country to Singapore a number of times. That was when I was still a kid. At that time Malaysian children could travel there under their parents' passports.
The passport started as being valid for a year only. Then its use was extended for another 4 years. Within that time I used it to return home to Malaysia and back to London once in 1992. After my studies ended I used it to travel to a number of countries in Europe.
Looking back at this old passport that's when I remembered the Europen travel was made from 17th August to 18th September 1995. I have written some stories on it. Look at the old articles listed below :-
2. Trouble in Amsterdam...
3. East-West contrast in Germany
4. The ugly side of Prague...
5. Playing the fool in Bratislava...
6. Getting classical (and Merdeka too) in Austria!
7. Alpine frolicking in Switzerland
8. Gangsters of Genoa...
9. Locked-up in Lyon!
10. Walking 50km in Paris before closing the trip in Brussels...
After returning to Malaysia towards the end of 1995 I didn't do any more travelling abroad. The necessity only started to come when I had to cover a horse endurance event towards the end of the year 2000. At the time I was still a journalist with the Malaysian national English daily, The New Straits Times (I joined the outfit in 1996) and starting 1999 I was attached to the sports desk. That's when I made my second passport 11th October 2000.
But looking at its pages back I couldn't find anything indicating I've been to France using that passport. Now, I know for sure I've been there with this passport as I've written an article on the trip which came out in the paper 15th November 2000. Look at Equestrian endurance in France
, While I've forgotten when I flew to France I do remember spending no less than a week there and after returning. I wrote the article. After a few days only it was published in the NST.
Nevertheless, I also remembered the electronic passport system was just introduced at the KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) when I made that trip. So my passport then was never stamped in Malaysia, just electronically tagged to record the trip. But as far as I could remember France hasn't employed that technology yet. So I really don't know why I couldn't find any stamping from the French side. Thank God my next trip using that passport was stamped. So I know that I went to Phuket, Thailand 3-13 December. I was asked to cover the Asian X-Games (extreme games) there.
I left the NST towards end of 2001. My next use of the passport was when I left for Medan 5th January 2004 in an attempt to enter Aceh which was then under military rule due to fightings between the Indonesian soldiers against the Aceh separatist movement. The trip then became the backbone story behind my first 3 books, the "Berpetualang ke Aceh" trilogy of novels published 2006-2007.
My third passport was made middle of 2005.
It was mainly for me to make my first Umrah (pilgrimage travel) to the Muslim holy city of Mecca. But since it was valid till October 2010 I have also used it to make 3 trips to Aceh. one in the middle of 2009, twice in early 2010...
Within that I period I have also entered Singapore at least twice. That practically summed up my use of the third passport.
My fourth passport was made 30th March 2010 to be valid for 2 years. While the previous passport was still valid then I have to make a new one as everyone must make sure their passport is at least valid for 6 months before making a trip overseas.
This happened when out of the blue someone called and offered to sponsor me and family for a trip to Brunei. The passport was also used for a trip to southern Thailand by land. I can't remember the rest but I do remember it was productively used despite being effectively valid for only a year and a half (2 years declared validity minus 6 months minimum validity before one makes an overseas trip).
On to my fifth passport. It was made 27 October 2011 despite the fact that the previous passport was valid till 30th March 2012
It was this passport which covered me and family's next trip to Aceh end of 2011.
It was also used to travel to Bentan towards the year end followed by a round-tip of the island of Java middle of 2012.
It was also used for another Umrah trip, this time with the wife in April 2013. This was followed by a trip with wife and kids to southern Sulawesi. In 2014 it was used to go to Aceh and then Jogjakarta. In 2015 I travelled to Aceh once more (my 7th overall) then western Kalimantan and eastern Java.
Looking at my records, I've just realised that I didn't make any overseas travel at all last year 2016. The thing is by right that was supposed to be year I was scheduled to travel most covering places in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Turkey, Yaman, China and more. I won't share why these places were scheduled to be covered and why it didn't happen. Let's just say it was due to a job that eventually fizzled out.
Anyway, I didn't make any oversea travel and suddenly this new year of 2017, I found myself already realistically scheduled to make trips to Pattani in southern Thailand, Padang and Pagarruyung in western Sumatera, and another trip to Aceh all within the first quarter of the year. The first could be made by land while tickets for the second and third trips have already been bought. Its' just while the old passport is valid till March 2012, under the 6-month minimum validity rule it could not cover the three upcoming trips. So that's why I had to make a new passport. Yesterday I made it, my sixth overall passport. Roger and out.