Singapore Adventure

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tequila Required
by venitha

A friend here recently joked that the exorbitant local booze prices are good insurance against alcoholism, but dealing with ineptitude from across the globe has a big ol' bottle of tequila looking quite reasonable in comparison.
  • Fidelity. Mail from them (my 401K rollover check) and mail to them (my pension rollover paperwork) apparently collided, and the resulting fireball destroyed both packages, including Jim's freshly notarized signature. A US notary is available at one end of a charmingly long line during charmingly limited hours at the charmingly inconvenient-to-get-to US embassy for a charmingly non-zero fee.

    Tequila required: One shot for the 401k; one for the pension. Bonus shot for Jim if the notary gets to charm him again.

  • Avago. My vacation balance has been incorrect since Agilent's sale of my division became official two months ago. Thankfully, this hasn't stopped me from being able to take vacation, and - surprise! - they're perfectly capable of accounting for that. Subtraction, they've got down; addition, not so much.

    Tequila required: One shot every work day until it's resolved or until my math skills deteriorate to the point that they match my employer's.

  • United Healthcare. They have lost/not received/rejected without informing me/conveniently and suspiciously misplaced every insurance claim I've submitted through the post and, when I call them, they deny the very existence of their international claims department.

    Tequila required: One shot for every insurance claim I have to re-submit. One shot for every time a United Healthcare employee flat-out lies to me; make it a double if the employee claims to be a manager; make it a triple if the employee does not have an American accent.

  • Associates in Family Medicine. It turns out that the Hepatitis B vaccinations I received in 2005 (three shots over five months) are most likely ineffective due to improper vaccine storage. My US doctor will gladly give me more shots for free. But will he pay for my airline tickets? And what about my pain and suffering? And I don't just mean from the needles and the jetlag; if I get vaccinations here in Singapore, I have to submit claims to United Healthcare. See above.

    Tequila required: One shot per shot. Heh.

  • US Postal Service. Our airline tickets to India were apparently also destroyed in that mid-air collision, and multiple calls to the US Postal Service have resulted in the not-so-reassuring assurance that they'll file a request to find our tickets and get back to us within 60 days. My Singaporean travel agent's advice: file a police report at my nearest police station and take a copy of said report to the airport, where for a fee, the airline will re-issue the tickets.

    Tequila required: If I really do end up having to file a police report to get to India, forget tequila. I'm holding out for a .

Two other details to justify my impending alcoholism:
  • A help-line available from 9am to 5pm Eastern US time means 10pm to 6am in Singapore.
  • 1-800 numbers are not free outside the US.

Pass that bottle of tequila, and, no, I don't need a glass.