The NLB recently sent out many many letters, all in professional 3 fold, tear away papery thingies to recover the millions of fines that errant book borrowers like yourself owe the gahmen. Unfortunately, I wasn't sent any. I just borrow your book and never give it back.

So, ultimately my dad, god rest the soul of his defunt library card got sent a fine for 30 cents for 2 books he apparently didn't return in 2002. Quite fair I suppose, that the NLB's system is so solid to keep the database accurate like even 5 years down the road. Still, some discrepancies are to be noted:

1. Why would a man who reads The New Paper and only that, borrow 2 cookery books?

2. Why wait 5 years?

3. Didn't the cost of the fuckin 3 fold paper thingie with irritating perforated sections PLUS postage become more than 30 cents anyway?

4. How dumb is it that the NLB says, any fines over $60 they are writing off but they are chasing blokes for their meagre 30 cents. [30 cents being the amount of spare change the average taxi user drops in the backseat due to the ample space in their jeans pockets.]

5. Wouldn't chasing the big money criminals be more worthwhile?

But wait, there IS an Indian angle to this too. As I tottered into home, the night of the great Street Soccer Gold medal win [story to be told later], before even my non-regulation DKNY socks came off, there was a distant voice of oppression echoing around the living room.

If there's one thing I enjoy most about observing our middle aged parents receive an official looking letter, it is the absolute superficiality they view it with. Case in point, my dad who threw away as soon as he glimpsed a Starhub letter with some footy stuff on it. His assumption? Fuckers gonna make us pay more money for channels we don't need. The reality? Fuckers were giving us 2 new free channels for the money we were already paying. Goal TV 1 & 2.

So, with this NLB inject came new assumptions.

Assumption 1: Who is the one who took your dad's card and went to Marine Parade library to borrow books?

Follow up: Must be you shanker, borrowed some cookery book for a girl la must be. 2002 you were in secondary school right? [I was in the fuckin ARMY already! I only had time to book out, drink till smashed and book in!]. So, must be you then [finger pointed in direction of younger sibling], your school was near marine parade so you went there! [urmz, what the fuck would i borrow cookery books for?!]. Ok then, think it must be me. Maybe I forgot. But I've no idea why I would have used your dad's card. [All nod heads in unison.]

Reality: This assumption that the books were borrowed from Marine Parade library were due only because of the return address stamped on the mailer. Obviously the main HQ address, here being Marine Parade was printed on the upper left.

Myth busted!

Assumption 2: See, la this Varaprasad, take over the library only start chasing people for money.

Follow up: This is what all those new people who come into the job do la. Chase people for money try to make a name for themselves. Assholes.

Reality: Dr N Varaprasad took over the appointment as CEO of NLB on 15th Sept 2004. It has already been 3 years and more. The NLB wrote off $3.5 million worth of unrecoverable fines last fiscal year. This assumption came about because the man who signs off on this "Pay up your fine motherfucker" letter is the CEO himself. Perhaps to put across that the order comes from the very top. Alas, like as in all organizations, the one who takes the brunt of the displeasure that arises from new developments is the man who signs on the dotted line.

Myth busted!

Addendum: Did you know that the bar codes on your IC or library card or whatever other card that can read your IC number are not dependent on the magnetic strips they are printed on. What I'm trying to say is, information on your IC number is not stored within the magnetic strips. Bar codes use a complex way of different widths of lines to denote each number that the scanner reads. It has nothing to do with the magnetism of them all. Implication? Anyone with a photostated IC can also borrow a book. [Practice is quite prevalent in some organizations where lunch rations have to be accounted for by scanning your IC in a machine]. So, the next time you photostat your IC conveniently for the M1/Singtel/Starhub bloke or when you send in a credit card application, you're just setting yourself up for another barrage of fine payments in the year 2012.

Well, at least the mailer will take 5 years to come. Good on you if the amount is over $60, at least it'll get written off.



Goody said...

oh sheesh! these idiots! they barred me from borrowing cos i didn't pay my late-return fine but thing is, i couldn't pay cos i didn't hv a cashcard on me..only nets and cash and they refused to accept those. haiz........

ah_neh said...

and most library self kiosks..dont even read ur cash card well. sheeesh.

sha said...

as strange as it gets...i got fined 30 cents n for 2 cookery books which i didnt borrow(tats another story)...da only diff...it was last yr while urs in 2002...

da point being...how cud da fines be da same amount eh?...strange...

ah_neh said...

conspiracy alert.

sha said...

sure is =)

ah_neh said...

who might you be?

sha said...

oh...was just blog hoppin...n yup...ur blog...very interesting i admit =)

ah_neh said...

msn me: ahneh69@hotmail.com

Bee said...

Yeah my dad got his reminder for 60 cents. Seven whole weeks later I finally got one for the outstanding balance of $47 odd bucks.