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Heavily ‘beautified’ Korean passport photo inspires shock & awe among other Asians

Might get stopped by security.

Nyi Nyi Thet | November 21, 11:39 am

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Mike Chen is a real famous YouTuber known for his engaging food reviews.

US YouTuber reviews S’pore’s McDonalds menu, professes love for McSpicy

He’s quite recognisable, accruing over 2.8 million subscribers on his main YouTube channel.

But even the most ardent fans might have a tough time recognising him when presented with this photo he uploaded to Subtle Asian Traits.

“Got my passport photo taken in Seoul yesterday and…well, if you ever want your passport photo automatically KPOPized down to the eyes. Just have it taken in South Korea.

Appreciate all the friend requests 😅
Prob IG: mikexingchen is better 🤗🤗”

Image from Mike Chen

Here’s what he usually looks like, pre-filter.

Image from Mike Chen

A bit different.

Here’s his Korean episode.

Korean passport photos

The post was met with shock and awe, leading to over 13,000 likes in just over an hour.

The amount of filter is nothing new for Korean passport photos though.

In fact, a blogpost from back in 2017 titled “What did Korea do to my face? A passport nightmare.” detailed some of that “beautification”.

Megan Indoe described the horror when she saw her passport photo:

“First the eyes. They are bigger, maybe even further apart, and my makeup looks like it’s all smeared under my lower lashes.

Then my nose. What is up with my nose? There’s extra shading on the sides of my nose like a bad contouring job. Did someone pinch my nose with charcol? Also, what the heck is up with the shape of the tip of my nose? It’s rounded and more bulbous.”

Here it is:

Image from Boboandchichi.com

Others chimed in with their own experiences as well.

With some absolutely loving the effects.

Image from Boboandchichi.com

“When I arrived in Korea and got told I had to get a passport photo taken for my registration card, I cringed.

I had just taken a long distance flight and was suffering from my first soju hangover.

However, when I saw the photo, I was extremely surprised.

Who is this girl with flawless skin and naturally pink lips?! I was very impressed by the wonders of photoshop- in the UK, I asked a passport photographer to remove some fly away hairs and got a slap on the wrist for such a suggestion.”

A Straits Times article in 2016 also highlighted the phenomena when their South Korean correspondent, Chang May Choon, wrote about her experience with passport photos in Korea.

“I walked into a Kodak photo shop the other day and came out with a new face – on my ID photo, that is.

Gone are my freckles, dark eye circles and laugh lines. My eyes look perfectly symmetrical, my skin is several tones fairer, and my chin is sharpened to a lovely almond shape usually seen on K-pop stars.”

So yeah, if you want a flawless-skinned, feature-changing passport photo, you know where to go. Might get stopped the next time you go overseas though.

Image from Mike Chen’s YouTube channel

 

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About Nyi Nyi Thet

Thet has a chronic fear of teenage girls laughing at him. He sometimes puts on a cap in his room and yells “Gryffindor”.

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