Walking Down Memory Lane: My Collection of (Bad) Passport Photos

It’s true what they say. You simply cannot take good passport and/or driver’s license photos.

Late last year, I was back in Malaysia to spend some time with my family and friends. Mum insisted that I cleared up some of the junk I had left in my old bedroom. During the spring-cleaning, I stumbled upon my treasure box. It wasn’t a box of jewellery or expensive items, but things I collected when I was in school. It contained items that I deemed precious to me back then.

In the box, I also found my old passport-sized photos.

Passport Photos 1

1985: I was five years old. I can’t remember what the photograph was for, and why it was in black and white. Malaysian passport photos require a blue background, which made me wonder why my parents had this picture of me taken.

1988: Eight years old. Typical bowl hair cut for Chinese girls. My hair was pretty much this length till I was 11, when I had a godawful boy’s cut (couldn’t find the picture for it). I think this picture was hastily taken for school records (hence the sloppy t-shirt).

1995: Fifteen years old. Good Lord, look at my brows and eye bags. What did I have to worry about back then to have such horrid bags under the eyes? Ah yes. Form Three exams. That San Francisco t-shirt I was wearing was a favourite of mine. It was a gift from my late maternal grandfather. I literally wore that t-shirt to its death (too many holes to even salvage anymore)

Passport Photos 2

1997: Seventeen years old. That was my school uniform. This picture was taken for the school yearbook. By then I had shoulder-length hair which I tied up almost every day of my school year. Big brows, big eye bags, big ears.

2003: I was 23 and straight out of university. I came back from the UK about 10kg heavier than when I left home. You can tell that from my face. I knew nuts about makeup and eyebrow maintenance back then, hence the thin, over-tweezed brows. This photo was taken for job applications.

2006: 26 years old and third year of working as an engineer. The blouse was part of the work uniform. I lost that 10kg and then some. This photo was, I think, taken for my visa application to Japan.

I have a couple of pictures taken between 2006 and 2009, but I can’t remember where I’ve put them. Fast forward to end of 2011, which is when the photo below was taken.

Passport Photos 3

I’ve gained back a lot of the weight I’ve lost, and goodness me, what’s with the bad uncombed brows?! Ah yes, I needed a very quick photo for passport application, and had to rush to the nearest photo studio after 9pm to get this done. Thus, you see the lack of makeup, bad brows and one craptastic picture.

Out of all these photos, the only one I liked is obviously the cute lil’ me of 1985 ;). Everything else was just blah. My drivers licence photos in Malaysia and Australia were terrible too. I’m not used to not smiling and showing my teeth in photographs, which is why I looked bloody awkward in the photos.

Man … I can’t believe I even showed you these! πŸ˜›

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24 comments… add one
  1. Paris B

    Ahahaha… soooo cute all your photos πŸ™‚ I would never let my passport or ID photos see the light of day πŸ˜› I once had a fairly decent IC photo – I had subtle makeup on and it actually looked good. It got stolen and the replacement is horrifying. Applaud your bravery πŸ˜›
    Paris B recently posted..Tip: Emergency Shoe Rescue for scuffed heelsMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Paris B: In hindsight, I never had makeup on for any of my photos. Even after I became a beauty blogger (ie I should damn well know better). Don’t know why. Hence until now I still have awful looking brows and blotchy skin. Thank heavens photo studios in Malaysia now provide the soft copy as well. I’ll Photoshop them kao kao before I have any reprinted πŸ˜›

  2. Aaryn

    Omg, little Tine was SO cute!

    I’m sure everyone except Heidi Klum has terrible passport photos in their past. Kudos for being brave enough to share yours!

    1. Tine

      Aaryn: Hahaha thanks Aaryn. I’ve had them for a while now, and thought ah why not share with the world the ugliest pictures I have ever taken?! πŸ˜›

      Speaking of celebs, have you seen the ones of their yearbook photos? Most didn’t look all that hot back then either. That sadly makes me feel better πŸ˜›

  3. pelf

    Yes, I must echo PB. I will never ever show my passport photos to anybody! But then again, we are certainly of different “class” lah, you looked great in all your photos except the 1997 one. But I can’t name one person who looks nice in her school pinafore!

    1. Tine

      Pelf: I shuddered at the 1997 one. Bad Aaron Kwok-styled fringe, as you can tell, and Dumbo ears. BUT I actually looked thin back then, so erm, a bit of saving grace I suppose. Hah! πŸ˜›

  4. Grace-melody Moo

    HAHA!!! This blogpost really got me into stitches of laughter! πŸ˜› Not solely because of the pictures but your hilarious comments on them.
    Grace-melody Moo recently posted..Quite a challenging day….My Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha thanks Grace. Glad to oblige your stitches of laughter πŸ˜›
      Man my 2003 one was baaaaaaaaaaaad!

  5. Jenn

    Awww how cute you were!!! πŸ˜€

    Anyways yours arent half bad TBH, unlike mine. My passport / IC photos are HIDEOUS!! >.<
    Jenn recently posted..Jenn Asks: Do you get enough sleep every night?My Profile

    1. Tine

      Jenn: Aww Jenn I’m sure yours are not that bad. Hello, I’ve seen your blog pictures πŸ˜‰

  6. gio

    You look so cute! Mine are much worse, they are really hideous! πŸ™‚
    gio recently posted..Sunday Random Ramblings, Vol.38My Profile

    1. Tine

      Gio: Aww thanks G. I’m sure yours aren’t that bad πŸ™‚

  7. Tram

    Aw!!!!! Cute lil you is so cute!! Hahahha πŸ˜€ I think your photo now looks fine!
    Tram recently posted..Vixen Instant…. Eyeliner Strips?!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha thanks Tram! I like lil’ me too πŸ˜€

  8. xin

    *pinch tine at 5 years old*

    my parents has a collection of our passport sized photos and pinned them on their bedroom mirror. LOL, so they are looking at us growing up each time they look into the mirror πŸ˜‰
    xin recently posted..Review: NEW! Yadah Skin & Body Care from Korea for the YoungMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Xin: Awwww that is such a fantastic idea! Hopefully I’ll get to do that too with my kids in future. Okay, I jom your parents’ idea on this πŸ˜›

  9. beetrice

    Heehee…should I supplement with some from Yeye’s archive? but seriously, your passport photos look HEAPS better than mine – which will never see the light of day. The only one I’ll show is the one on my employment pass in SG which looks decent. πŸ˜›
    beetrice recently posted..August Bellabox – Happy Birthday, Singapore…My Profile

    1. Tine

      Beetrice: On the blog? Oh please NO πŸ˜› But I’d like to have the soft copies if you happen to have any πŸ˜€

  10. Efrain

    You look cute in your childhood photos. I think everybody looks awkward or awful in the license or ID photos, in my case in my ID I look like I’m scared of something and also look tanner that in real life >.<
    Efrain recently posted..Duelo de hidratantes reafirmantes: Garnier Body Intensiva Tonic vs. Palmolive Hydra Natura ReafirmanteMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Efrain: Ouch! Tanner/lighter than in real life is scary. I have one (not in any of these pictures, thank goodness!) which was taken in the last 2 years that made me look like I have no blood in my face. I was so white, it scared the bejeezus out of me >.<

  11. Bugs

    So cute !!!… U had a black and white photo, wow ! ( psst, your are younger than me… shhh )

    I think it’s normal, no one really liked their old photos… and never failed to have a good laugh looking at them now. ^_^

    Suddenly recall i oso have 1 black and white photo ( precious.. Yahoo ! ), my mom was carrying me on her lap…. i think that photo was for passport or something.

    1. Tine

      Aww thanks Bugs! That black and white photo of your mum carrying you sounds so precious! πŸ˜€

  12. Helen (SaveEveryStep)

    Just great! Maybe you’d like to join up with this week’s nostalgia link-up which happens to be on the subject of old passport photos!!?
    Helen (SaveEveryStep) recently posted..Frightful Faces (β€˜Life’s a Journey’ nostalgia Link-Up, week 41)My Profile

    1. Tine

      Haha done! πŸ™‚

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