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Wednesday, February 04, 2004 

busy bee

My phone started buzzing at 8.30 a.m. Snooze...

8.40 a.m. Snooze...

8.50 a.m. Snooze...

9.00 a.m. Snooze...

It seemed like I would never get out of bed, but I had to. After all, I didn't want to be hunted down by Military Police.

My 'crime'? I forgot to return my Exit Permit to immigration when I returned to Singapore. So, CMPB sent me a heartwarming letter about how Singapore and the SAF misses me, and how they'd like to get their piece of paper back. Complete with specific timing: between 9.30 a.m. and noon.

CMPB has beefed up its security measures by several levels since my last visit (when that was, I can't recall). There was the 'checkpoint'. "IC, please." After duly acknowledging that I am a Singaporean, I was waved through. My backpack went uninspected, which really surprised me. I mean, Singaporeans are all automatically loyal? Can't some disgruntled Singaporean turn his back on his home and decide to do something nasty? Am I (potentially) more dangerous than the (uninspected) contents of my bag? Anyway, another round of "IC, please," at the entrance of CMPB. Scanned into a laptop, along with my contact details. Hmmm... let's say I do decide to do something. Are they going to CALL ME UP after the fact? The people up there thinking up of 'security measures' are brilliant! I mean, sure I'm going to give you my REAL CONTACT DETAILS if I'm intending to do something clandestine. Directed to the reception desk, next to the table where the laptop was. "What are you here for?" Well, let's see... something about returning my exit permit. "Show me the letter and your IC, please." Strange, this fetish for my Identity Card. It's so popular, I almost wanted to have a look myself, just to see what was so attractive about it. Anyway, like I'm going to take a joyride all the way to Depot Road just to test the integrity of CMPB's 'security measures'. I got my ticket number and took a seat. After my number was called, I was lead by an innocuous looking woman - don't judge a book by its cover - to an interview room. *gulp* This time, she wanted my passport too...

Okay, Singapore has an integrated database - let's not pretend that this does not exist - and the Army can EASILY check with Singapore Immigration and Registration (errr... at least that's what I recall it's called, but the appropriate-sounding acronym is SIR a.k.a. Bi. .......) So, let's play twenty questions (ok, not quite):

Did you bring your passport? (Honest mistake, it was listed in the letter, but all I remembered was the piece of paper they wanted.)
Did you know that you are supposed to return the Exit Permit once you have permanently returned to Singapore?
Have you made any overseas trips since then?

I think I answered everything to satisfaction. My interviewer left me alone for a while. When she came back, she said her officer said it was okay, that would not need to see my passport. (Of course! Because it's on record in some database that the Army can access!) Gave me a brochure regarding overseas trips and what not.

It's funny how they can be so thorough with these things, but never seemed to know that I WAS NOT IN SINGAPORE during my first year in Melbourne. For a long time, the Army kept on sending me recall notices and what not. Inform both my unit and CMPB... several times. CMPB says unit's problem. Unit says CMPB's problem. I say, SAF's problem, not mine.

Hahaha... didn't mean to go on a rampage. Sometimes, I just wish I had signed on. I'd have less of a problem if I didn't have to make to constant transition between civillian and military.

Next stop: National University of Singapore. This time, no IC needed. I just dropped off a job application and left.

Went to ComCentre in the city because the only way to disconnect your mobile phone service (at least for SingTel) is to physically be present so that they can verify your identity...

"IC, please."

I think my IC has had a field day after being dormant in my wallet for so long, save for curious people who looked at it in Melbourne. Oh, there was no other place that I could go to disconnect my line. They have mobile phone shops in every nook and cranny, but only one (or two actually, I was told the other SingTel place 'near' where I live is in Hougang) place I could go to terminate it. To think that I terminated all my utilities over the phone in Melbourne.

Then again, Telstra billed me for early termination of my internet account. Which was not the case. But that's another story, which has already been resolved.

Communications providers, can't live with them, can't live without them.

One more stop: OCBC, to cancel my debit card and savings account. I don't have much in it, and it always goes into overdraft because they charge service fees. I thought I put in enough to cover the last overdraft, but it cost me $4.99 (exactly) I gave ten dollars, and they returned me $5.01... like the one cent is going to make a difference after all the ODs they've been charging me interest on. For once, I was (kind of) glad they asked for my IC. I had no idea what my account number was but the all-singing, all-dancing IC did the trick. They had all my records.

Adrian Loo's dad said that the Malaysian IC holds everything the Malaysian authorities know about you, and his friend working in a govt department proved it, listing various things that there was no way he could know. All he asked was for Adrian's dad's IC number. Well, it's probably the same in Singapore. Haven't I said so many times that Singaporeans and Malaysians, and our governments, have more in common than we have differences? Well, like poles repel... I guess magnetism and foreign relations have something to trade stories about.

That was my last stop. Oh, one more complaint. The photo shop is taking FOUR WORKING DAYS to print my digital shots. For goodness sake, get with the times. Penalising me for not using film is only going to drive me to buy a good printer and print stuff on my own. Or find a shop that will do it faster. So, you can't sell film anymore, big deal. Sell memory cards! Wait... they already do that. They do film in ONE DAY. Mind you, the film has to be processed, then they can print. I really don't see why digital photos take four days. But I left my memory card with them, so I'll just leave it be. Never going there to print digital shots. How I miss Vanbar...

Okay, enough complaints. As you can tell, all that tired me out. And if you've reached this point of this entry, congrats! Just a little more to go...

No more complaints, ok? I've really reverted to my true nature as a Singaporean. All I need to do now, is line up in a queue for something cheap, and the transformation will be complete... =P

Had to take an afternoon nap after all my exertion. I met Adrian Mak and Lester for dinner. Started at 7, ended past midnite. Haven't chatted that deeply with two guys for a long time. Haven't chatted with Adrian and Lester for a long time too. We've grown, though memories of days gone by were still in our minds, and alluded to once in a while. The conversation centred on God, Catholicism, Faith and Religion. It was all well and good... inspiring, provoking and affirming...

If only I can practice all of what I purport to say... I'm weak. Help me, God.


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Previous Cave Drawings

  • uncertainty
  • new and old
  • side note...
  • baby sophie
  • lonely planet
  • kuala lumpur
  • tie
  • betting tips anyone?
  • resume epiphany
  • singapura
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