It turns out there's more benefits to being one of the attendees of the International Monetary Fund/World Bank convention than just getting to boss around the cash-starved countries of the world: local companies are organizing all sorts of gift baskets, discounts, and trinkets for the delegates and families. Osim, which makes those very silly belts that wobble body parts to claim to lose weight, donated a dozen massage chairs. At a private fashion show attendees could get a ``Singapore Sling'' -- not the drink, a shawl with a ``Singapore theme.'' I'm fuzzy on what that is, but Shelly Siu, who's somehow responsible, said she liked giving them ``Singaporean names like Interchange, like Pedestrian Crossing, because that is very much a part of Singapore.'' 600 are getting orchid-printed scarves. Don't tell Eugene the Jeep.
A traditional Chinese medicine company is giving chances to learn more about bird's nest, and is giving 400 pillow gifts worth about ten dollars. Osim, not to be topped, has 500 travel pack work about S$300 each, and Taka Jewelry is giving some gold and diamond brooches, which they say are S$819 each, for high-ranking (or connected) women and S$579 men's tie-pins. Naturally, Raffles Hospital has chosen to offer ten percent discounts on health screenings, botox injections, and ``aesthetic services'' including non-surgical face lifts and laser hair removal. They're hoping to develop Singapore as a place for ``medical tourism.''
A bit less flippantly there is a temporary medical center put up at the convention center; just because they're in world banking doesn't mean they're immune to con crud. Most of the reported ailments have been attributed to jet lag and the long workdays -- things like sore throats, colds, and flu, all comfortingly described as ``upper respiratory track symptoms.'' If I heard the news anchor correctly they said the temporary facilities even had an ``obsternation ward'', making me think I didn't hear them right. The person interviewed said they were busiest at lunch and dinner, and saw on average about 20 patients a day, although it'd increased in the previous couple days to 60 or 70 per day, suggesting these are not very tight estimates.
Trivia: The debt which bankrupted Egypt in 1876 thar resulted in British and French control of the Suez Canal totalled about £90,000,000. Source: The Struggle for Mastery in Europe, 1848 - 1918, AJP Taylor.
Currently Reading: Planets of Adventure, Murray Leinster. It's several novels and short stories, including one that was a mid-50s fixup of three novellas dating back to 1920, which is impressively old, according to the copyright page. According to the copyright, too, the 1920/21 novellas originally had a plot twist which would have made me want to slap the book, but this was changed in the 1954 novel-assembly.