December 18th, 2005

krazy koati

But you can keep them for the birds and bees

Let me give couple bits of Singapore news, since I like these odd mixes of big-city and small-town events. A guy working for the Today newspaper exchanged some Singaporean money for British; a month later, he noticed that the six £50 bills were counterfeit. None of them had a watermark, and three of the bills had the same serial number. The money changer was willing to refund half the reporter's money. I'd make a sneering comment about the money changer's generous trade of counterfeit bills for, presumably, legitimate ones, but why did the guy not look at the bills for a month? I could easily see buying some money for the souvenir value (I've picked up some Malaysian, Indonesian, and European currency that way), but just one sample of any given bill. And you'd think the serial numbers would be a bit of a giveaway. The Monetary Authority of Singapore recommends not accepting counterfeit bills from money changers.

A couple of low-budget airlines have set off a festive little holiday fare war by selling tickets to Australia for just S$1.00 each. The catch, of course, is that you have to pay hundreds of dollars to get out of Australia. (I'm only joking a bit; they are one-way tickets, no automatic return purchase, and a one-way from Perth to Singapore is a couple hundred Singapore dollars.) Tiger Airways is going a bit farther still, with 50,000 free seats to a couple of destinations in Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam for January and February flights. (There's still taxes and airport fees, so it's not exactly one dollar or none, but close enough.)

And in Tampines, on the east side of the island, Khoo Swee Chiow is hoping to set the world's record for longest scuba dive. He dove into a tank of mineral water about 3:30 pm Friday, and if all goes as planned he'll emerge just after noon on Christmas day. He's not allowed to surface, but he is allowed to come up for five minutes once every 60 continuous minutes. Expected threats are dehydration, nausea, vertigo, and boredom.

Trivia: Bodoni was selected as the exclusive headline typeface for The New York Tribune in 1919 -- the first time a single typeface was used for all headlines -- by managing editor Garet Garrett. Source: The Paper: The Life and Death of the New York Herald Tribune, Richard Kluger.

Currently Reading: Fur-De-Lance, Rex Stout. (A Nero Wolfe story; I realized overnight I was unclear about that yesterday.)