austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

To keep a rendezvous

It's been a whole day since I impressed anyone with the deep oddness of Singapore, so let me toss in one more thing that I caught at the end of my flight. The Immigration and Checkpoint Authority is holding a contest, as described by their posters:

Professional Service with a Smile. The hunt is on for the friendliest ICA officer and friendliest team from the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority. If you are satisfied with the service provided by an officer, do cast a vote for him/her. Things to look for include:

  • Eye contact
  • Greet and smile
  • Personalise service such as greeting passengers by name
  • Welcome or bid farewell to passengers
  • Return passport with both hands

I was quite happy with my passport check, because the officer in the empty ``Singapore/Residents'' line called me over from the modestly long ``All Passports'' line. I don't know if that's because she spotted my green card or if she felt bored. I don't know if as an employment pass holder I qualify as a resident. While I certainly reside here I don't have `permanent resident' status. I keep meaning to check this, but since the effective difference is the couple of minutes I spend on line the couple of times a year I fly back in to Singapore I just don't think about it in time to ask. Besides, the officers are clearly on the job, though mine didn't return my passport with both hands.

Those who make nominations are entered into a contest with a prize of, of course, an iPod Nano. There are other, unmentioned, prizes too.

Trivia: Peter Stuyvesant's tombstone, in Manhattan's Church of Saint Mark's-in-the-Bowery, gets his age and title wrong. (His title was Director-General of New-Netherland.) Source: The Island at the Centre of the World, Russell Shorto.

Currently Reading: The Suiciders, J T McIntosh. It carries on for a while as space-operatic silliness about witches using brain-transfer and body-clone stuff, and the `war consultant' trying to foil them. Near the end the protagonist explains that witches have always existed, and yeah, 95 out of 100 people killed in witch hunts were innocent, but they had to be killed lest the five actual witches go free and maybe turn evil. It's amazing how quickly a line I imagine was intended to build up the menace -- since, to that point, the witches didn't seem noticeably worse than the Space Navy -- so efficiently made the book repulsive instead.


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