Friday, July 31, 2009

Losing half your audience

The TV ad for the Volkswagen Golf G77 shows the car doing some slick manoeuvres and then it fades out to the words:
"Men drive it.
Boys dream about it."

Either the creative director was a man or they are not interested in selling to women.

Somebody has forgotten that "women hold up half the sky". I hope their sales fail and their mothers/wives/sisters/daughters give them hell.

And their competitors run a similar ad with their car doing the nifty moves, the same tagline, only it cuts away to final scene where a woman steps out of the car. Oh, ok, she can remove her crash helmet and shake out her long, blonde tresses....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Culture shock

The ongoing Singapore Heritage Festival has a lot of events going on all over the island. Some are pretty good, like Chinese hand puppet shows and Indian dance performances.

Some are well ... you wonder what it's trying to achieve. The instalment at the shopping centre near where I live takes the form of an exhibition on childbirth and how the different cultures in Singapore welcome a new baby. And it draws this whopping conclusion -- that a child is the glue that holds a family together.

Which I find incredible and also somewhat insulting. I know enough families who have children that have become unstuck. And I know families who have no children and who are doing fine, thank you very much.

I have two children -- only they each have four legs and a waggy tail -- and while their needs take centrestage in the family scheme of things, this family -- any family -- would be on dangerous ground if a child is required to bind it together.

I do understand though, what a newborn means. But surely it can't be the be all and end all of family living. Children, in themselves, are sort of worthless. They are practically useless and must be cared for. Their importance lies in the long term: the promise of things to come in the future -- much like a Warren Buffet investment.

Given that National Day is approaching, I have a feeling that all this is part of the propaganda to address the falling birthrate and a sneaky way to press my womb into National Service.

Maybe I'll just adopt another dog.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Chain of errors

When I cancelled a credit card earlier this year, I had forgotten that there was a cash guard insurance policy riding on it. It was only brought to my attention in May when the insurance company sent me a letter when it failed to deduct the annual premium from the now dead credit card.

I had been paying them S$70 every year without realising it, for the past 6 or 7 years!

So I got back to them and a very nice customer service officer sorted it out and said that they could attach the policy onto the new credit card. And reminded me to check my credit card statements. Since this was an annual deduction, that must have been why I overlooked it, and forgot all about the policy, he suggested. And since the premium deduction was imminent, he suggested that I email them the new credit card number instead of going through the usual route where he would send me a form, I would fill it, and send it back, which would take weeks to process.

And so I did. And received a return email from customer service which said that they have my new credit card number and would forward the details to their billing department.

Well, the billing department must have been out of the loop because the next thing I got was a letter saying that my policy had been cancelled. But if I wanted to reinstate it, I could do this, that or the other. Which involved calling them. On the customer service hotline. Which takes you through a loop through eternity before you can even talk to someone human. And there's no way of calling the nice customer service officer who handed your problem. You had to call the central line. Which loops through pressing numbers for everything except what you needed.

In the meantime, someone else from the same insurance company called me, trying to flog other insurance products. Since I had someone human on the phone, I directed her attention to my problem, adding that I'm obviously not in the mood to buy anything from your company till it fixes that problem.

She was as nice as the first guy. She had the relevant people sort it out, and called back to check that it was sorted out. And I thought it was.

Until on Thursday, I got a letter saying that the policy was reinstated and that henceforth, the monthly premium would be deducted from the new credit card.

Except that this was supposed to be S$70 annually. Not monthly.

Back I went to customer service hotline's runaround hell. I sent them an email too. At least when you hit send on an email, it does go somewhere. Unlike voice recorded phone hotlines.

And today, I get another letter. This time they got things right. Policy reinstated, annual premium deduction. Yada yada. No apologies. No signature. Computer-generated letter.

Do they really think I would buy their products the next time they call?

Listen, AIG: If you can't take care of the small things, you can't settle the big ones.

Their bailout cheque should have been this:

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Turn-down surprise

In five-star hotels, you get a chocolate mint on your pillow. In two-dog homes, you get a knobby hard chew-bone. Always check the pillow before you rest your head.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Yoga With Dogs positions

The human is maintainining a tree (supine) position, one leg bent, with the sole of that leg on the thigh of the other leg.

The schnauzer is in downward dog (prone).

The fox terrier, as always, is in something of his own making. We call this one the grasshopper kungfu pose.