Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lost and Found. Really?

The most common misplaced item at Changi Airport
12 December 2011 CNA

SINGAPORE: Are travellers getting more careless? Well, between January and November this year, some 15,600 items were lost and found at Singapore's Changi Airport - more than the 14,000-odd belongings recovered in 2010.

So what's the most common misplaced item? The answer: mobile phones.

In 2010, 1,800 mobile phones were found. Between January and November this year, some 1,700 mobile phones were recovered.

At the airport's "lost and found" storeroom, there's a treasure trove of various odds and ends, much like an antique junk store. Here, the items are catalogued according to the months in which they were found.

For example, in November 2011, someone left behind a giant mirror. In December, a walking aid was found. There is also a stuffed dog. And, get this - someone left behind a giant television set.

Changi Airport Group's senior assistant for ground operations, Aslihan Tanay, said: "When we receive a lost item, we'll generate a report. Items will be kept for about 60 days, after which we'll incinerate it. This is because we want to protect the privacy of the owner. Perishable items such as bread, cakes, flowers, will be disposed within 24 hours."

Changi Airport Group's customer service officer, Germaine Victoria, said: "We had this Indian couple transiting through Singapore going back to India. And they actually lost their bag which contained their travel documents as well as valuables and 10,000 Australian dollars. We actually managed to find the bag for them within a few hours and they were able to make it back home with their bag and they were very happy."

So, if you misplace something at the airport, there's hope you can get it back.

In 2010, 57 per cent of lost items were returned to their rightful owners.

I wonder how many percent of people who lost their belonging actually managed to get them back in Singapore on the whole. CAG claims 57% in the airport.

I knew a few people who lost mobile phone in taxi and public places in Singapore and none of them actually manage to get their phones back even after extensive search and report to the authorities.

I guess there are lots of greedy people out there.

I also doubt whether CAG is telling the truth that they will incinerate unclaimed lost item after 60 days.

What if you find a wallet with USD$600 in it? Is it illegal to incinerate notes?

I hope the donate money found.

What if you find a 500 years old classic violin that may be one of it kind? Don’t tell me GAG actually burnt it to ash.

I knew some organisation do auction off these unclaimed property after a period of time and the money are donated to charities. I think this is a much logical way of dealing with lost properties.

Maybe you can incinerate phones and hard disks which may contain sensitive information and may cause you a lawsuit but who care about your privacy if you lost a stuff dog, walking sticks or a book at the airport in a foreign land.