May 22nd, 2008

krazy koati

Time has come, you're standing all alone

So what I was in Manhattan for: the Overseas Singaporean Unit is trying urgently to get people back to Singapore, and so they were holding an event for the Financial Services sector. The idea was that people who do financial services things and who have some connection to Singapore would be encouraged to come back to the country, and that people who didn't previously have connections would give it a try. I'm not really clear how the latter was supposed to be found by the Overseas Singaporean Unit -- by definition it'd be people who were not previously connected to the nation -- but from the questions session clearly quite a few people in the presentation had never lived in Singapore.

I didn't get there quite as early as I hoped: I heard over the bus radio that there was extremely heavy traffic off of exit 16E on the Turnpike and drivers were allowed to take alternate routes, as our bus had just turned off exit 16E. But I got there during the registration period. I wasn't sure where to find the room, but somehow in the hotel lobby I was able to find the person who was looking for attendees, and somehow she recognized me as likely meaning to go there. Possibly it's because I was wearing a dress shirt and slacks, whereas, this being a Saturday most normal folks were more casually dressed.

There were two registration lines, one for A through M, the other for N through Z, indicating the people organizing the session were unaware that Chinese family names are skewed towards popular letters like C and L. The first line was about five times the second, and I was glad I fit in the second line. Actually, at that difference it's worth lying about your name.

And inside the hall it turned out I was modestly under-dressed: most of the men were in full suits. I guess that's the difference between actual financial services people and, say, mathematicians puttering around to see if something interesting happens. I also spotted someone up front reading Facebook For Dummies, which I didn't know existed but probably should have supposed.

Trivia: Plans in 1906 for the liners Lusitania and Mauretania called for them to both have four turbine units at about 17,500 horsepower each. Source: A History of Mechanical Inventions, Abbott Payson Usher.

Currently Reading: The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics, Alan Schwarz.