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Anything is Possible

It’s barely 7 am and am wide awake. It’s infuriating because I’m on holiday!

Hoi An has been a great first stop so far. It’s still a somewhat sleepier than other Asean holiday destinations, with a small town charm that will be hard to retain as it gets more commercialised. I do hope it manages to hold on a while more – I’d like to come back someday.
We’re staying near the town center somewhere along the river. That’s where you can find all the tailors this town is famous for. The beach is about 4km from here, a 20 minute picturesque but also quite scary bicycle ride.If you’re planning on coming primarily to utilise the many tailors, I’d suggest you stay around here to minimise time on the road.

The Victoria Hoi An beach is nice, and with one of the longest stretches of white beach I’ve ever seen, definitely worth a visit. But the nicer (and more expensive) resorts are self contained, and you probably experience less local culture unless you make your way to the public areas of the beach which on a weekend can be like Bondi Beach on the first day of summer.

Back to the tailors. Come prepared. Bring pictures or samples of items you want. Or be patient to flip through old catalogues and magazines hoping to spot the design of your intended skirt or dress. Turnaround is overnight. You can even get custom shoes made!
I’m picking up my orders today. Am properly excited.

First, off to get some breakfast!

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First night in Hoi An

Hoi An is turning out to be a sea of tranquil in the chaos that is Vietnam.
Ha An hotel is a gem, rooms clean and adequate, beautiful courtyard ideal for idle hours. Staff may have went a bit mad with strewn flower petals though, now there are sad silty petals underfoot.

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Singtel Deposit

I’m disappointed that this post will be a negative one after such a long hiatus from my blog, but I feel so strongly about this that I have to write and get it out of my system.

A couple of months back, I decided that it was time for me to join the ranks of those who already on the Mobile Internet and so I started looking for a phone that would allow me to surf on the go. When I started my search, I didn’t even consider looking at the iphone because I have been a loyal Starhub subscriber for the longest time. I had actually already decided on a HTC HD  Touch. Shortly thereafter, I had a few conversations with iphone users, and after fiddling around with the iphone a few times I changed my mind and decided i’d take the plunge and switch to Singtel. After all, the price plans between both providers are now pretty close and the lure of the iphone was quite strong.

So today I got of work and made my way to a Singtel shop. After ‘verifying’ my identity (?!?!), the shop assistant announced that I have have to put down an $800 deposit to purchase the iphone. According to her, there have been too many ‘fraudsters’ who buy an iphone for cheap and run away with it. The result is the new $800 deposit policy. Joy. Rather than waste my time arguing with her further, I said, well, Singtel’s just lost a potential customer and left. I left not because I don’t have the money. It was a matter of principle that i choose not to bear the punishment Singtel is imposing because of the faults of their other customers.

By the time I came home, I was still fuming, which led me to send Singtel a complaint letter. My point to them was that such a policy should be clearly articulated in all their iphone communications so that consumers won’t get a rude shock when the get down to the shop. Had this been written into the website, I would not have bothered to go down in the first place.

After I sent the letter, I did some searching online, and found out that this policy has been in force arbitrarily for a while. Apparently (based on some forum postings I came across), Singtel and their shops practise perfect discrimination in that random individuals get ‘chosen’ to have this deposit rule imposed on them. Employment Pass workers, Work Permit workers are some of them. Was I ‘chosen’ because I am Malaysian? I can’t verify this for real, but it certainly didn’t help my mood. I really do hope someone from Singtel gets back to me with an explanation.  I’d like to find out a bit more about this policy.

I am a good customer. Fiercely loyal (stupidly?) and reliable. I pay my bills on time and don’t leave balances outstanding on my credit card. They should check my credit rating.

Its a shame that my excitement of owning an iphone has been marred by this organisation who claims to be Asia’s Leading Communications Group.

 No thanks Singtel, I’ll stick with Starhub.

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