'A German friend of mine bought a one-metre long samurai sword from Suntec City during his tour in Singapore. While checking-in for his flight back to Munich, he declared the item to the airline staff at the check-in booth and was informed that the airport police had to be called in to give approval for the checking in of the sword.
Despite the airline staff informing the airport police over the phone that the flight is taking off in just over an hour’s time, two police officers arrived only 15 minutes later. And they showed no urgency in their dealing of the matter. They ordered for the sealed item to be opened for investigation, then took down my friend’s personal particulars and questioned him on where, when, why he bought the sword.
I thought a decision could be made by the officers at the scene, instead, they reported back to their HQ, repeating all the particulars and information taken down. After which, they notified us that the information will be relayed by the HQ to the Investigating Officer, who is the sole decision-maker. The clearance was given only 30 minutes before the departure of the flight.
I appreciate the tight security measures, but I feel that our security personnel should use their judgment and be flexible. Surely a sword bought at Suntec City can be cleared for check-in after taking down his particulars? Even if it's not so, why didn’t the decision-maker be on site to investigate? Who is going to be responsible if a tourist misses his/her flight due to the delay of clearance by the airport police?
The airline staff commented that no matter how hard the service staff strives to create an image of efficiency for Changi Airport, their effort will be futile if the ‘government body’ shows disinterest in being efficient and is entangled in bureaucratic practices.'
just sent this letter in to Today and Straits Times.
the german is not my friend, but a member of the chorus. and this is a toned down description.
after waiting for 10mins for the police to arrive, the airline staff said 'the people at the government body drive us up the wall, here we are trying to be fast and efficiency and look at what they are doing.'
when we saw the policemen approaching, they were like taking a stroll in the park la. with no sense of urgency whatsoever, the airline staff said 'just look at their sense of urgency, see how hard they are trying.'
i am quite disgusted and felt damn ashamed. the question they asked the german, and the guy asking looked like he is from NPCC la..
NPCC: where did you stay in Singapore?
German: Copthorne King's hotel.
NPCC proceeds to spell Copthorne wrongly on his white A4 paper, then..
NPCC: Where is it huh?
German: What do you mean? Its in Singapore.
Me: Its located at Havelock Road.
NPCC: what are you here in Singapore for?
German: I'm a artist, came to perform.
Me: yes, i'm from the National Arts Council and he is here to perform at the Singapore Arts Festival
NPCC: Arts Fest? what is it about?
my goodness, a Singaporean asking a german what the SINGAPORE Arts Festival is about.
the most absurd thing was that they comms back to HQ and repeated all the info la. i cant believe it man. at that moment i wanted to bury my head into the clean airport toilet bowls. is this Singapore? if you cannot make the decision then what are you doing there? send the NPCC back and get the real Investigating Officer down la. why? paypocket too full can only sit in office is it?
the german commented that he felt like the most wanted person when the NPCCs took out the sword to 'investigate', cuz they attracted quite alot of attention.
the cleaners do their part to keep Changi clean, the service staff work hard to provide efficient services. the police do their best to waste the effort of others.
We are Singapore.. More good years ahead.