austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

The kind of things that money just can't buy

So I attempted to pay my tax bill. This took me to one of the automated bill pay stations, like I use for the cable and intermittent phone bills. The problem: I can't pay for something more than S$2,000 by Nets, the electronic banking system, and my bill's higher. I'd have to transfer a chunk of money to pay by my US debit card, which would be ridiculous anyway.

Thus I went to my bank to raise my Nets limit. At the customer service counter a second line formed around some empty space, and the guy in the second line tried to jump ahead of me when the teller was ready. That minor fuss got settled when the teller asked who was next and the person I'd been waiting behind pointed to me. The teller was happy to increase the Nets limit, and update my personal information -- they had some points that were out-of-date, and one that (I learned later) would become out-of-date (the campus phone exchange is changing for some reason) -- and ... discovered Nets limits can't be changed. The teller's suggestion: sign up for the Giro system, or write a cheque (I don't have checking and doubt I could find my US checkbook on a dare), or withdraw the cash and pay the bill at a post office (at which most all government bureaucracy-person interactions can be done).

Singapore's a safe place, but even I'm a bit nervous about carrying several thousand dollars around -- and, necessarily, having it for a couple of days, because I can't withdraw enough cash in a single day to pay it. For what it offers into my psychology, my choice was to withdraw $2,000 the first day and the balance of the tax bill the next, on the theory that if the ATM should run out of bills, I'd rather run out sooner rather than later. Not that this made a difference, since it turns out S$2,000, while an allowable daily withdrawal from my card, and claimed to be allowed by the ATM instructions, isn't actually allowed by the ATM.

At this point, I think the best option is to go down to the Inland Revenue Authority headquarters, give them my card, and tell them to figure out what to do with it. I know if I fill out forms the bank will send more money in one day to wherever it ought to go.

Brightening my mood: Tank Girl was on the MGM Channel. It's still mighty fun. and I'd somehow forgotten the giant mutated kangaroo-men living in the bowling alley in post-apocalyptic San Francisco were also Beatniks. I apologize for the oversight.

Trivia: Lockheed built 252 of the L-1011 aircraft. Source: The Space Shuttle Decision: NASA's Search for a Reusable Space Vehicle, T A Heppenheimer.

Currently Reading: Remaking the World: Adventures in Engineering, Henry Petroski.


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