Why I banged the phone

Phone : Welcome to ABC bank. Please dial 1 if you are a customer. If you are not a customer yet, please dial 2.

Me : 2

Phone : Please enter the card number for your account and press #

Me : ??

Phone : You have exceeded the maximum time. Would you like a survey of this call ? If yes, please dial 1.

Me : 1

Phone : Please enter the card number for your account and press #

Me : Bang bang

Phone : Thank you for calling ABC bank. Have a great day.

Me : ??

When black sheep turned white pigeon

Don’t be intrigued by the title. I am not going to talk about animals and birds for I know nothing of them. But that does not mean I write only about things that I know of. I write about things that I am reasonably knowledgeable about. Here ends the caveat.

The day was exceptionally hot, hotter than many other days if this year. I retired to my desk after lunch and began looking at a mail that spoke about the MAS. Don’t get me wrong. It was not about MAS Selamat. It was about MAS – The Monetary Authority of Singapore.

MAS, as the financial regulator is commonly known, has announced that it would increase the cooperation with other countries in fighting Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing and therefore would be amending the relevant laws for the same. Noble announcements though, I thought.

One of the rules was very typical of Singapore. It said,”.. failure to comply will result in a fine not exceeding $1 million and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine of $100,000 for every day during which the offence continues.” I really liked the ‘fine’ that has become a part and parcel of Singapore’s culture.

Wait a minute. Where is the ‘black sheep’ and how did it turn into a ‘white pigeon’ in this new law ?

Next in the article was an announcement by none other than HSBC bank. It said thus :

“HSBC Singapore continually invests in risk and compliance capabilities to achieve the highest standards in the fight against financial crime, which knows no geography,” said a bank spokeswoman. “As an international bank, we welcome any regulatory proposals that can strengthen the bank’s efforts to combat financial crime,” she said.

Can you imagine this ? HSBC bank coming out voluntarily to accept more regulatory oversight for ‘combating financial crime’? If it sounds like Hitler declaring his love for Mahatma Gandhi, please don’t blame me.

Recently HSBC had apparently assigned Mexico  a lower category of risk. Every small town bank in the world knows about the drug money and un-ethical finance streams in the country. But HSBC had assigned the country a low risk category. So much for ‘fighting financial crime’.

And then it paid USD 1.92 Billion to the US regulator for ‘allowing itself to be used to launder a river of drug money flowing out of Mexico and other banking lapses’.

And in Singapore it says ,’we welcome any regulatory proposals that can strengthen the bank’s efforts to combat financial crime,’

So what is wrong with the title ‘.When black sheep turned white pigeon’? 

The Art of Bluffing

“You are perfectly suited to take up any profession that needs talking continuously on everything in general and nothing in particular. I appreciate your skill in hiding your ignorance in so many words that I have forgotten the question that I had asked you” – my professor said to me during a viva-voce examination after a practical demonstration of a circuit I had designed failed miserably.

You might be wondering as to what had prompted the good prof to praise me in so many eloquent words. The reason was simple.

He had asked me what a small signal amplifier was after seeing my practical demonstration of a small signal amplifier in my electronics lab exam. Needless to mention that the device that I had contrived not only did fail miserably to amplify any small signal but also failed to produce a small signal. Hence it followed that only if an electronic signal of a smaller amplitude was produced by a circuit, then it would be natural to expect the amplifier designed by me to amplify it. When the original circuit ( designed by me for sure ) didn’t produce any signal, the current circuit would fail to amplify that. Simple, isn’t it ?

But the prof who was watching from his chair, slowly walked by and asked a question something to the effect as to what a small signal amplifier was and my answer to that elicited the response that you see in the first line of this article.

Well, modern psychologists would classify my answer as ‘bluffing’. But I am sure i said something in around one thousand words that would, in simple terms, translate to ‘A circuit that amplifies a small signal is a small signal amplifier’. Any well meaning student of electronics would have said that. If you want to call that a ‘bluff’ then what can I say about it ?

Only that there are many more such ‘bluffs’ in the current world.

Take for example Kapil Sibal. Today he has discovered that the problem of inflation in India was due to people having two vegetables in their meals. If you don’t want to award the Nobel Prize for Economics for propounding this theory of ‘The Two Vegetable Induced Inflation and its mitigation’, I can only call the Nobel Committee biased. I am fine if the committee chooses to award the Nobel for this ‘Zero Loss Theory’ of Sibal  that he propounded when the 2G scam defrauded the nation of many millions of dollars ( I don’t want to expose my inability to count the number of zeroes when I try to translate the 2G loss into numbers ).

And talking of bluffing, one should definitely consider the Chidambaromics Theory of Underground Storage. If you didn’t get it, let me explain. The coal-gate ( not the tooth paste ) scam in Delhi exposed the corporate government nexus in looting the coal wealth of the nation. When the matter came out, the good professor of Economics Chidambaram ( Finance Minister of India) propounded this theory of Underground Storage. He spake thus : As coal was available underground and had not been mined yet, the contracts awarded , albeit at ridiculous rates, to the favored companies did not amount to a loot as the coal was still being available underground and anybody in their right senses could proceed underground to ascertain the truth of existence of the resource. If you did understand anything out of the above statement, then the Nobel Committee is waiting to award the prize to you.

Coming back to bluffing, I employ the following tactic when I get these pesky calls from telemarketers. And I am effectively able to ward them off. Sample this.

“Hello Sir, Is this Mr.Amaruvi?”

“Correct. Please go ahead”.

“Mr.Amaruvi, I am Neha calling from BCICI Bank. We have a great loan product for you”.

“Excellent Ms.Neha. Please go ahead”.

“Oh Mr.Amaruvi, you seem to be interested. Would you want to go in for a five year term?”

“Actually Ms.Neha, I would want to have a life term kind of relationship”.

“But Sir, the offer is for only five years after which you would need to top-up”.

“Well Ms.Neha, what would I do after five years without you? So please let us have a life term of relationship”.

“But Sir, you seem to have misunderstood. I am talking about a five year duration loan and the interest is..”.

“Neha dear, let us cut it short. Why should we continue talking like this ? Let us meet up soon and start the relationship. Mind it. It is for a life time and my interest would not taper down”.

“Hello Mr.Amaruvi, you have completely misunderstood. I am talking about a five year loan”.

“No Miss.Neha. I have not. I am not prepared to be indebted just for five years. I am prepared to be indebted to you for the entire duration of my life time. Hurry up. Let us meet at the local registrar office first thing in the morning”.

“Mind it Mr.Amaruvi. I am a telemarketer and am dong my job. For a moment, how did you assume that I am available and that I am not married?”

“Excellent Miss. Neha. It is simple. I used the same logic that you used to woo me to take a loan when you didn’t know that i already have every loan including a cyclone”.

And the caller is heard muttering something to the effect of the excreta of  male cattle.

Now you please say if my good Professor was right or not.

Take Auto Loan the Islamic way

Just in case you want to take an auto-loan in Singapore the islamic way, here is what you should do :

Visit May Bank Singapore.  Ask for AF-i ( Auto Finance-Islamic ). And you are granted one.

So how is this any different from any auto loan ? And what is Islamic about it ?

First, you don’t apply for a loan. And due to that you don’t pay interest for that.

Then what do you get ? An Auto Loan that has the Islamic flavor.

What you essentially get is a lease contract. You enter into a lease with the bank and agree to pay a fixed sum of money for the duration of the lease. And once the lease expires, you enter into a sale contract with the bank to buy the vehicle at an agreed price.

Why this round about manner to get an auto loan ? That is because the Sharia law forbids getting interest payments. In the lease and purchase method, you don’t pay an interest.

So, if you are market conscious, and want to reach out to people by addressing their concerns that might border on religious beliefs, then you are a winner.

And even banking software companies are coming out with Islamic banking products  that are compliant with the tenets of the religion.

%d bloggers like this: