January 28th, 2005

krazy koati

This is the music that you hear as you watch the credits

I finally got around to paying my TV license. Every few months some American on rec.arts.tv discovers British subjects have to buy one and launches an angry thread about this outrage, but I've never seen Singapore's mentioned. I can't work up any feelings about the charge, about US 6.00 per month, which subsidizes the to-air TV and radio channels. It also supports cable-TV reception of the over-the-air stations to everyone in public housing (about five-sixths of the population; they're quite fine homes).

I expected to pay at an automated bill payment station; these are phone booth-like structures all over the place for electronically paying many company and government bills and fines. Since the license mentions online payment, and has a bar code, and at the stations one menu option is government TV bills, I assumed the station would take payment. This is completely wrong. Evidence of automated payment appears to be a fanciful hoax played by the Media Development Authority. You just have to keep trying to enter the bill by barcode-scan or manually until you give up and go to the Post Office, as I did, where I paid electronically.

Peculiarly the annual licenses are due in January, not on the anniversary of the first license. Instead your first (and last) year the fee is prorated to the length of year you have the license. On my first, from the amount, they didn't prorate to the month as I'd expected, or to the day as I thought possible, but to the quarter-hour of when I entered the post office and got the form.

Trivia: Prior to the Challenger accident, the greatest known erosion of O-ring material occurred on STS 51-B (also Challenger), launched at about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Source: The Challenger Launch Decision, Diane Vaughan.

Currently Reading: The Futurological Congress, Stanislaw Lem. I'd forgotten the entertaining neologisms, and robots making stuff up to avoid work, which explains much modern software (no offense meant to my friends who are programs).