Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Fantastic Plastic and Dengue Doses

Yesterday the Robinsons Card arrived.

This elevates one into the foremost ranks of 'serious shoppers'. For those of you who are not familiar with Singapore, Robinsons is a large department store in Centrepoint, Orchard Road.

While it has not reached the same institutional status as Raffles, it is nevertheless a well known entity in its own right. It has been in existence since 1858. The company also owns John Little and the franchise for Marks & Spencer.

I know Marks and Spencer well as despairing Singaporean sales staff constantly refer me to this department store - the only one that caters for Expats of a certain proportion.

When Robinsons has a sale it's a real sale with good bargains to be had. In the past we have garnered the general public's 20% reduction of items but now armed with our Robinsons Card we will have an additional 1o% or more on top of this.

Mind you, the sale items offered are rarely the items I actually want. There are only so many toast racks that one can buy in a lifetime.

I have been eyeing a pair of Clarke's leather sandals that have been on display in the store for the past few months. Each sale cycle seems to pass them by and they are always excluded and remain rigidly at a fixed price.

A new strategy is called for. Instead of expressing overt interest in this footwear (as I have done in the past) I shall now cast derogatory comments whenever I pass the display and within earshot of the sales staff.

"Phew...old stock" is a phrase I have in mind, delivered with an aloof shake of the head. Maybe this subterfuge will motivate them to include my items of interest in the next sale - I suspect not.

Plastic cards are de rigueur in Singapore. I know several colleagues who collect them from different banks and merchandise outlets just for the 'exclusive benefits' they carry with them.

So desperate are these places for your custom that the card annual fees are often waived. If such a fee is ever suggested the holder immediately relinquishes the card and moves on to the next.

In a more serious vein (which is a terrible pun in itself), the incidence of Dengue Fever in Singapore has risen this year. This mosquito borne disease is most unpleasant and often fatal.

Two days a go we received a pamphlet at our door from the Environmental Agency, requesting an appointment to view our condo and assess its mosquito breeding risk.

When the office arrived the reason for the visit became clear. One of our neighbours in another block had contracted the disease and was hospitalised. It doesn't of course mean that Dengue is rife in our neighbourhood as the patient could have contracted the disease elsewhere.

We also learnt an interesting fact that the mosquito that carries dengue, the Aedes, is mainly active between the hours of 7am and 1 pm.

In theory therefore, if you are bitten by 'mozzies' in the evening these are more than likely not the variety that transmits the fever.

I am not sure what the mosquitoes would make of daylight saving but Singapore doesn't have this anyway. If New Zealand cows can become confused by time clock adjustments imagine the predicament of the humble mosquito.

Meanwhile the rainy season hasn't really got underway but when it does so, the dengue situation will improve as the weather is cooler.

The state of my current pair of sandals will not however improve in the forthcoming rains - now where's that plastic card?

No comments: