terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Monday, October 04, 2004

That Other Black Hole

I just barely managed to escape the gravitational pull of that entity known as the CPF Board.

Was on hold for the better part of the morning while I made enquiries about setting up the business (finally!), then the two women who helped me weren't the best of the lot; to be fair, the first was helpful if a bit blur (and, with the compartmentalisation that goes on in any government agency, fully understandable), but the second one was just condescending and, well, rude.

Foolishly, I got caught in an eddy of bureaucratic BS. I don't know how I got in, but I'm feeling lucky I got out:

Apparently, I was to make sure that my Medisave account is topped up as advised by EH and then confirmed by the ACRA website. Uh, ok, all right then, what is the amount I need?

First Girl (FG): "I don't know. But your account looks healthy."
Me: "But you don't know if it's enough."
FG: "No, sorry. But let me transfer you to someone who knows."


Five minutes of being on hold later, finally someone who 'knows':

Second girl (Biatch): "Use your SingPass to find out."
Me: "I don't have my SingPass. I lost the PIN a while back."
Biatch: "[audible sigh of impatience] But you tried to register your business and failed, right? If you were directed to me, then it must mean you don't have enough in your account."
Me: "Uh, you need the SingPass to register the business online. I already told you I don't have my SingPass. I couldn't have tried to register, and failed."
Biatch: "Then you should register for SingPass."
Me: "And how long does that take?"
Biatch: "About one week."
Me: "But I'm going down to ACRA this afternoon. My application with HDB for a home office lasts only until Friday."
Biatch: "You can register online. Or come down to CPF or any CDC."
Me: "Can't you just tell me if I'm topped up? I don't need the exact amount. I have the statement here with me."
Biatch: "Use your SingPass to find out."
Me: "???!!!"



And all I bloody needed was someone to say, "Yes, you have the necessary amount in your account."

I think even saying "Well, if you haven't withdrawn anything from your Medisave since you started working, then it should be fine..." would have been sufficient.

No wonder there aren't a lot of entreprenuers in Singapore. They get stuck in the black hole of red tape and no one gets out, except the bruised and battered, all the while wondering what the hell the fuss was all about.

At least the call to HDB didn't go as badly and I got ALL my answers in all of 5 minutes.

***

Update:

Leaving the flat in about half an hour to see if the information on the CPF wesbite is current. If not, be sure to expect another update in about five hours.

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