bureaucracy lives on

Recently I renewed my passport. So slowly I am telling those companies that want to know the passport number what the new one is.

Today I phoned one such company to inform them of the new number, seeing as they didn’t provide an email address. They go through the whole “we have to ensure your identity” thing only to tell me that they can’t change it over the phone – I have to fax or post in a form. If they’d told me that in the first place it would have saved everyone a lot of time – they email the form, I fax or post it back. They would neither confirm nor deny they already had my email address – so I had to tell them again.  Next time I should ask first if I can change it on the phone and save all the rest of the nonsense.

I tried to book a flight to KL on Malaysian Airlines.  HSBC had kindly blocked my credit card without bothering to tell me, because I tried to spend the outrageous sum of USD$39 on a service in the US.  Had they called or texted me, it could have saved a lot of bother.  Anyway, I couldn’t book the MAS flight with the card online, so I called MAS to book.  But they don’t sell the cheapest tickets over the phone.  So I had to book online. I called HSBC and found out my card had been blocked.  I could use it two minutes after they’d unblocked it, to book my MAS flight.  And now I keep on getting MAS emails about my unfinished booking, and if I want to complete it – even though I actually have a booking now on the same flight.

While you are making the booking and before you pay you have a chance to reserve a seat or simply move straight on to payment.  What they don’t tell you is that they charge you extra to reserve a seat.  So you click on the reserve a seat button, choose one, and then you find out the charge. For a 45 minute flight I didn’t bother.

You can’t check in until 48 hours before.  But MAS send you an email about 48 hours before with a link, you click on it and put in your booking reference to check in. At this stage you are allocated a seat, but you can change it without any fee.  You can print out the boarding pass, and / or have it sent to your phone.  With the latter you get a web link, which on clicking gives you the pass with QR code on your phone.  The check in was simple, fast and easy.

We’ve had accounts with CIMB for years.  But now, to open a new account they want thumb prints!!  I hate that.  Never used to. A bank requirement, not the government, they told me. And using ink.  They give you toilet paper to wipe off the ink. Very classy.  And it doesn’t work.  So I have to go to the bathroom to use detergent.  Which only partially worked.  Finally Mrs TropicaExpat gave me some hand cream which more or less got it off.  And before, CIMB was quite relaxed. Now they seem to have fees for everything, and they are not insignificant. For some reason, the fees are based on USD.  It’s not what it used to be there.

Oh well.  I’m told banks will no longer exist in 10 years time as the blockchain and peer to peer apps will take over and be much cheaper, instantaneous, and with miniscule fees.  I’ve installed such apps on my phone, but have yet to use them.

That’s enough stress for one day.   Or if I believed the spell checker, enough saree – which makes me feel a bit better, as images of sarees flit through my mind.  But at least the CIMB octapus is cute.


CIMB octopus



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