King Of Irony - Cont'd
Now I have to get that black mark from my name in the Australian Passport Office. Shall then I venture to yon fortress on my quest again tomorrow? You bet!
So, anyway, when I got the message from the guy (Brit? Aussie? Accent hard to pick) who found my passport wallet, I called him back and he said he'd passed it in to the security desk at about 5pm on Friday! Seeing as how I went to the security desk on Friday at 7pm and made my report, and they had claimed not to have it, you can imagine that I was boiling to a point of frothing fury in the cab ride from the High Commission to the Harbourfront Centre today. I was going to nail those bastards! Incompetence! Negligence! Bastardry!
Oops, I said I wasn't talking about him at all, indeed not! I thanked him profusely, and hung up!
When I arrived, I steamed to the security desk at the HFC and gave the CSO, Mr P, a total blast! He took my attack calmly and when I was spent he said, "Maybe he returned to the OTHER security desk, the one at the Cruise Centre." (Harbourfront Centre, as well as being an office block and a shopping centre is also an international passenger terminal for South East Asia cruise ships and ferries to Indonesia and Malaysia.)
"OTHER security desk? Cruise Centre?" He never mentioned that was another possible place to report lost items on Friday night!
Still, my fusillade of anger is deflected, over CSO Mr P's shoulder…
"Why don’t I give them a call? I have your number, go have a rest, calm down. I let you know what they say."
And ten minutes later he calls. Yes, it was initially handed into the Cruise Centre's security desk - a different group to his, not allied to the building's security management - and they passed it to the police in Clementi. It would have been oh so nice of course, and all problems would have ended at that point, if there had been communication between these two security desks. Bloody hell, was I dealing with an FBI / CIA turf-war issue here?
So I call the Clementi Police and got an answering machine - driving my frustration level up again… All the time I'm thinking - hey, I made my declaration to the Tanglin Police on Saturday afternoon, why wasn't there a match-up and a call at least by Monday?
I wait till after lunch and call again. I explain the situation. Yes, I hear, they have my passport and ALL the other stuff - and I tell the duty officer that, while I am grateful, also I am pissed off about the delay in my finding out that they have it, how this has cost me money personally, and has cost my company money, and a potential deal of USD$250k in the Philippines. He sounds pretty contrite, and so he should…
I take a taxi down and see them. Comfort is making a fortune from this. I am up to about 12 taxi rides over this issue already.
The policeman takes me into a side office. So after giving my side of the story, he explains what happened on his side, and it strikes me that is a case of mismatched priorities -
Me, being a foreigner was more concerned about the loss of my passport than the other stuff, and so I made sure that I gave the police officer at Tanglin the passport number, but I didn't give that of my FIN card (work permit ID) as I just don’t know it! I never write it down anywhere and it always just lives inside my passport for the Immigration people. I said I would have to go into my office to get it. He said, that's OK, they'll find it on the passport number. I think I remember seeing on a form that was on the police desk, that the loss of a FIN card does not have to be notified to the police anyway (or was that NRIC only?).
My passport, etc... was only handed in to them on Monday. It seems that the female officer entering the details of the FOUND items in Clementi on Monday had about 30 items to put into the database, stuff that had been handed in over the week-end from the populous Clementi area. As she was Singaporean, I'm thinking, she naturally went, Hello! someone is missing their Singapore FIN card! And some other stuff, yada yada, including a passport.
She therefore did a search of the LOST property database using what she thought was the most important detail, my FIN number only!
But of course nothing came up... so she sent out a letter to the address that was on the FIN card (it arrived this afternoon) and then went on to register all those other FOUND items on her agenda that day.
She didn’t think to look up the Yellowpages and call me either. (Note to self: get an answering machine). She didn’t call Singapore Airlines, as my PPS Frequent Flier card was amongst the other stuff, and ask for my contact details from them, or get them to contact me. She didn't call the Australian High Commission where my phone number is registered, and they could called me as well, or given her my number. Nope. She thought she was doing enough by searching the police database on the FIN number only.
Because she didn’t search by my name, or by my passport number, the match of the LOST and the FOUND was not made on Monday, as it should have been.
Maybe the software only allows one search item at a time... Maybe she was in a hurry, maybe pressured by her boss to hurry up and put those items through, who knows?
And on Wednesday I was upstairs in the Aust High Com, in the act of cancelling the passport when that call came through to my phone in the guardhouse… So if the Aust High Com had a policy that alllowed phones inside (the camera is the problem) I might have been able to stop them cancelling the old passport and halting the paperwork for a new one... Sigh...
Just a lot of bad luck and a series of minor incompetencies - lack of communications, lack of details entered, incorrect assumptions and perhaps some time pressure. It all added together to transform what should have been a molehill of a pain in the arse into one major mountain of a costly headache in the arse.
I filled in a complaint letter to the police and marked their service as "poor". When I told the officer that it might mean my company could lose a quarter million dollar deal, as I said, he got very apologetic …
Now I think about it, Monday would have been too late for anything done at the police station to change the circumstances of me having to cancel the Philippines trip (I was meant to fly out Sunday), that was more the fault of the two security desks not communicating with each other on Friday night.
Anyway, of course nothing will change.
(I'm sighing a lot more than usual lately.)
I used to have a saying (and this is recently, so you haven't heard it before: I was using it a lot in Egypt and Libya, testing it):
Things are never as bad as they say they are going to be, and things are never as good as they say they are going to be.
Scrub that saying. Things are truly shit. I wouldn’t mind some more of the moderately good times - I'm not going to lie and say I haven’t had some fun times in my 10 years in Asia - but the last year or so has done more than its share of seriously depressing crap-slinging, wouldn’t you agree?
OTHER MONKEYS SAID
Oh my darling...you sound like you need a *strong* drink, a shoulder rub and some sexy company.
VPS: yeah, it's been a tough couple of weeks in some ways. Mind you, Cairo and the pyramids, s[phinx, museums, etc... were terrific! Wish I'd had lots more time there - and didn't have a kidney stone to pass!
Sexy company AND sex would be nice.