MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
'I graduate from junior college this year, but want to defer my national service for at least a year to run an online business.'
The second told us to put in a request to the Central Manpower Base. The third was polite but could only urge the caller to make a trip to the base to explain the situation.
'I got a summons for driving across two lanes separated by double white lines. But I was not at that location on that date.'
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
'I want to enrol my daughter in Methodist Girls' School, but I live in Pasir Ris. She usually spends the whole day with my parents-in-law while I work and they live a stone's throw away from the school.'
All three told the caller that as the father was the legal guardian of the child, his address would be used during registration.
But if the father and grandparents made a statutory declaration at the Education Ministry about the care arrangement a week before registration, it could be used as leverage to get the child into her school of choice.
HOUSING AND DEVELOPMENT BOARD
'My parents are old and live in Ang Mo Kio. I live in Jurong and want to move closer to them. But every time a flat goes on sale, I am told they cannot sell it to a Chinese. Why the discrimination?'
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
'My mother says my younger sister's childcare centre should be shut. There have been cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) there.'
She offered to divert the call to an HFMD expert to explain it.
A second officer said the same thing, but the final one said we were calling the wrong department and hung up when asked to transfer the call.
'The water pressure in my flat is very low and the water seems a bit dirty when I first turn on the tap.'
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY
'Why don't your dengue inspectors come and check for mosquitoes and fog the place where I live? There might be dengue spreading.'
One officer, though, was extremely short when pushed on when exactly inspectors would make the trip and hung up after mumbling that the query would be referred to 'the people in charge'.
IMMIGRATION AND CHECKPOINTS AUTHORITY
'I want to renew the passport of my boss who travels all the time. His passport expires in nine months, but he does not have the time to renew it himself.'
Only one officer among the three was able to explain that it had to be collected personally because, with biometric passports, the applicant's thumbprint is collected on the spot when he goes to pick up the passport.
INLAND REVENUE AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE
'I have been out of the country for the last 10 months. As a result, I was late in filing my income tax. Is there any way I can still file my taxes and have the penalty waived?'
The third officer, a Miss Rasiah, was most helpful. She explained that the taxpayer's previous password would have expired, so SingPass should be used to log on.
She also suggested sending an e-mail to the authority to provide valid reasons for the late filing, so as to get the penalty waived.
'I was told to go to the traffic court as I had received some summons. Can I just pay the summons and skip court?'
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