Perth, 16th September 2013
Back in cold and rainy Perth! Brrrrr…..Though spring supposedly has started in this part of the world I have arrived in the middle of a cold and rainy weather spell…
Travelling back to Perth with my new passport just reminds me how much we depend on identity papers and how much passports have evolved from the early days! I can tell because I have a drawer full of my old passports! This time again despite my business size passport of 64 pages, I still by far did not manage to use it till expiry date. But its getting better as previously it would take me less than 2 years to finish all the pages of my passport due to stamps and visa’s, now I nearly managed 4 years (out of 5). The reason is not so much less travelling as well as automation of the immigration process with these auto check gates. That has considerably reduced the number of entry and exit stamps. As I only collected my new passport from the Dutch Embassy last Friday I had no time to inform the Australian authorities of my new passport. But no problem, as on check-in this morning the alert SQ staff called Canberra in Australia to inform them of my passport change in order to transfer my PR Visa (which nowadays is all electronic) and low and behold on arrival in Perth the new passport details were already in the system and I breezed through without even having to produce my old passport…I was quite impressed.
The scary part of all this is of course that all our information is stored in computer systems and has become so dependable and exchangeable that one wonders at times what would happen with your identity should the information in the computer systems be erased (as you see happening in movies). On top of that the Edward Snowdon affair has learned that whether you like it or not you can be pretty sure that all your personal info, telephone, internet communications and bank data are known to the authorities one way or another and accessible by probably whoever wants to! As a principle when I travel therefore I never leave my passport out of sight…it’s the only “hardcopy” evidence I have of my identity!
Light Watch 4-156: When traveling from country to country city identities are generally typified by their (recognisable) landmarks. More and more these are often the extreme high-rises. While the pyramids may well have been the high rise of the early ages, todays high rises are reaching absolute new heights! Paris- Kuala Lumpur – Taipei – Shanghai – Dubai….higher and higher and higher