Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Enraged of Asia

At about five a.m. the fire alarm went off, loud enough to disturb my sleep but quiet enough to leave me lying awake for the next two hours, worrying that I might sleep through a raging inferno. Well, that and the constant whooshing noise of the air conditioner. After discovering that there’s no way to turn the alarm off on the tablet we purchased, apart from turning the tablet off (and off again at every five minute snooze interval until your brain comes out your ears) I ate a croissant that was probably stale before it was even baked, and then hightailed it to work.

When I got to work, I found that somebody had commandeered my workstation; it doesn’t do to get territorial about a particular monitor or a laptop dock, but when you spend as much of your life as me working with spreadsheets, you tend to value a good ergonomic set up, and to find somebody else has just grabbed the benefits of all your hard work is a bit annoying. Never mind, I thought, I’d just go and ask someone to sort me out with a new monitor.

The whole sorry saga that ensued, of person after person passing me on, like a tech-support version of a ten-hit combo, of mandatory requisition policies that require the filling in of forms on pages that you are forbidden to access, of death-of-a-thousand-cut solutions to minor problems (Here’s the monitor you requested. No, you may not have a power cable. That requires you to navigate the entire bureaucracy again, pal.), could fill an entire day’s blog.

Which is what I wrote, and then worried that I would be bringing everyone around me into disrepute with my constant carping about things not going right. So I won’t talk about that any more. I have a monitor now, and perhaps tomorrow I’ll find somebody else has taken my desk, but I do not mind.

Mainly because in comparison to the trivial yet barefaced ludicrousness of the Singapore telecoms industry, it seems I had an easy ride today.

Singaporeans are enterprising and innovative, I’ll give them that. No other country I’ve recently visited has decided that if you want your phone to display the number of the person calling you, you should pay $5 a month for the privilege. Everywhere else assumes that’s just part of the package, like when you rent a house and expect the lightswitches and floorboards to be included.

I really, really hope when we rent a house, the lightswitches and floorboards are included.

After all of this, I got back to the hotel to find that we’d had our room changed twice (first to give us a double bed rather than the two singles our corporate travel agent had somewhat censoriously requested – I mean, I am married to my wife, we might occasionally want to share the same bed without risking falling out), which turned out to mean we’d got a free upgrade, and then I went to the gym and ran for half an hour on the treadmill, after which everything was right with the world once more.

Or I was too tired to be angry. It doesn’t really matter which, does it?


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