I was at Harbourfront Mall for dinner. Near the front (that is, the side not facing the harbour), around where I saw that ambitious balloon, was an alarm going off. It was right outside the OCBC bank, and the alarm -- a blue plastic triangle labelled CHUBB -- flashed every few seconds, and making a perfectly awful racket in pulses of two tones. The frequencies of the pulses were slightly different, making them all the more attention-demanding. The response from shoppers, from clerks in the stores nearby, and from a security guard walking by, was to ignore it. There's much to be said about taking a nonchalant attitude towards danger -- in a crisis, you're probably better off following the voice of your inner Bugs Bunny than your inner Daffy Duck or Wile E Coyote -- but I'm inclined to take fire alarms at their word.
But none of the other alarms were going off. Walking around to determine this got me wondering if whoever was in management then knew there was an alarm. They don't always; a few months ago I had to tell the Plaza Singapura customer service desk that there was a burst pipe or something as on the third floor water was pouring out the ceiling of a hallway by the sporting goods store.
My best guess for where customer service was based on knowing there are desks providing information at the rear, that is, the harbor-facing, side of the mall, so walked down there. The Cruise Centre desk, the bigger one, seemed oriented just to the cruise ships that dock outside, so I went to the Information desk, which appeared to be oriented to tourist information, but if they're going to say they're an information desk they have to know things like where customer service is. I needed some attempts to explain that I didn't want to get in to OCBC, and that I didn't need an ATM, and explaining what I meant by an `alarm' tripped me up. I couldn't remember if there was a British word for `alarm' or `siren', and had to imitate the noise, and I can only wonder what this tiny Singaporean woman thought of a huge, burly, whiskered man muttering something about the bank and making whooping noises to her was thinking. She finally suggested I try Customer Service, which is located ... in the front of the mall, under the escalators.
By the time I got there, the alarm had stopped, so I had dinner. I finished about the time the alarm started again.
Trivia: An elephant's trunk has about 40,000 muscles. Source: The Uncyclopedia, Gideon Haigh.
Currently Reading: The Vulnerability of Empire, Charles A Kupchan.