Saturday, 5 April 2008

Of Atuomania and Arabs

Stay long enough in Singapore and one succumbs to atuomania.

The 'atuo' stands for 'another totally useless object' and the manic variation manifests itself as an irrational desire to purchase objects, solely on the basis of a 50 to 70% sale price and irrespective of whether one actually needs the object or not.

Today's 'atuo' purchase was an OSIM eye massager for the princely sum of $S148 (we passed on the $4,500 massage leather chair after one pummelled us into submission in Plaza Singapura).

Once I got the massager home and discovered how to switch the heat function off, the sensation was quite pleasant. The device is designed to relieve eye strain and stress and as I spend a lot of time in front of a PC screen, it seemed like a good idea to get one. At least that's what the salesman intimated.

After tightly adjusting the velcro strap around one's head, it is simply a matter of selecting the programme variations of choice - heat or no heat, gentle tapping or Thor style hammering and finally, the amount of air pressure. The last setting is somewhat critical and the first time I tried the unit out on too high a level, the sensation was akin to having one's eyes gouged out by a drunken masseuse.

There is one inherent design problem with this gadget and no doubt you have spotted it?

If one has followed the printed instructions and tightly bound the eye pad to one's head, it is impossible to read the instructions further.

This results in a feverish fumbling as you struggle with the keypad and its very slightly raised control buttons.

Now which was heat? No not that one - that's tapping. No, not that one either ..... as the pad rather painfully vibrates on the bridge of the Caucasian nose.

So what will this item be good for after the novelty has worn off? No doubt after staring at the credit card statements that record such follies I will be in need of its use.

News yesterday of the fall of another colonial icon to Arab merchants. This time it is Robinson's department store in Orchard Road and the new owners are from Dubai. Having recently signed up for the OCBC Bank's Robinsons Card which entitles us to lots of discounts on 'atuo' items such as the one above, we read in this morning's paper that the bank has sold its shares in the store. No doubt this will eventually mean that our card will become redundant in the scheme of things?

This however might be a blessing in disguise.

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