Sat, Apr 18, 2009 - Page 8 News List


Institutional blues

Dear Johnny,

I can’t believe the crap I get into these days. I feel I am being targeted.

My sister sent me a postcard with NT$13,500 in it in the form of a check ... which didn’t arrive. Is Taiwan such a disgraceful place that post office employees can so easily intercept people’s letters and take their contents?

I want someone to be caught, and I want someone from the Jhonghe City (中和) area post office held accountable. Where did my check go?


Johnny replies: You know, I’ve never had any real problems with the postal service here or with its employees. And unless your sister is in Taiwan, I’m not sure that you have demonstrated the check was lost at the Taiwanese end.

What I am worried about is why every single postal employee lay down and died when the ass-kissing management canned the new name “Taiwan Post.”

But wait ... there’s more:

Dear Johnny,

Why is it so difficult to get basic services for free? My wife called Chunghua Telecom for the details of our bill. After a brief exchange, they claimed they needed to speak to me because the bill was under my name. I was reluctant, but I got on.

The lady who answered was very polite throughout the whole process. What angered me was that she had another lady in the background confirming my name and address … but when they asked for my ARC number, I was at the point of no return. “Next you’ll want my passport number,” I told her. “Buhao yisi,” she says.

I thought to myself: Will they need the color of my underwear next? And anyway, when anyone calls their telephone company, doesn’t the company have a way to know where the call is coming from? I mean, they are the only land line provider. How can they not have a computer screen in front of them with all my details?

At this point, I told her that maybe I should just cut my damn line (I can’t really do that since I need the Internet … it was spur of the moment thing). If they didn’t appreciate my business, maybe I should cut their services. All because I wanted to know why I was charged an extra NT$230.

I told her, “OK, you know what, forget it.”

I had asked to speak to her supervisor and was denied this. Then she told me that they’d call me back. They did. Twice! What did they say? Well, for NT$200 they can send us that information.

Come on! This is garbage. What kind of policies are these? I pay for a basic service and have never had any problems. In most countries you call and they e-mail, mail or just plain tell you your details. They might need to verify one or two things, but I felt like I was on the stand on some corruption trial.

This monopoly should stop. Why does the government not privatize this industry? If not, at least someone can look into these absurd policies.


Johnny replies: My sympathies, though it will take a little more than this letter to convince me that demonopolizing an industry amounts to savings for all. Exhibit A: cartels. Exhibit B: price fixing without secret agreements. Exhibit C: Loss of services in remote areas.

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