Monday, October 08, 2007

Yet Another Update From Beirut

So I get to spend yet another week in Beirut.

I cannot return to Algeria because my entry visa isn't ready. It'll take longer than usual this time due to a new ruling.

In partial fulfillment of the Algieran visa application, it is now required of me to get a reference letter from the Singapore consulate in Beirut to certify that I am a Singaporean residing in Lebanon. It is not clear why I have to do so because I have a Lebanese resident permit as document proof.

Although this no longer came as a surprise because I have learned first hand that Algerians are masters of generating redundant paperwork in the universe.

Then the consul general of the Singapore consulate in Beirut (a Lebanese) had to add his own contribution into the paperwork fun. First he wants to know why he needs to issue the reference letter in his capacity.

So I had to fax the consulate (their email is not working) a request letter stating my purpose, attached with scans of my passport and Lebanese resident permit. On top of that I've also attached a sample letter issued by the Malaysian consulate to a co-worker , in case the Singapore consul general doesn't understand my request.

Then the Singapore consul general wants to find out if it is in his capacity to issue the reference letter by running it through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs first. I mean, dude, it is just a simple personal request from a Singaporean citizen overseas, don't make it a foreign affair issue please.

And all this while I am legally and physically residing in Beirut since the beginning of last month and had done so last year before being stationed in Algeria.

Meanwhile, my delayed return to Algeria is driving my paymasters nuts because they prefer to see me earn my pay slogging over there where most of the sales revenues are coming from.

USD/SGD Exchange Rate Hits Record Low

Speaking of my pay, which is calculated in US dollars, the recent decline in USD/SGD exchange rate had been very bad news for me.

My 2 year stint with the company has seen the USD weakening against the SGD. Last month, it broke through the 1.5o mark.

Today, the USD hit another bottom (US$1= SGD$1.472). It has reached the record low in 5 years
. With my pay pegged at USD 1 = SGD 1.65 in my job contract, today's exchange rate implies that I had kenna an approximately 11% paycut!

Why? God, Why?!

Hopefully, my paymasters will have mercy on me and revise up the pay to compensate for exchange rate losses soon. The pay package is beginning to lose it's attraction.

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