Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dude, Where's My Coat?

Government employees enjoy some perks, among them warm clothing allowance if one is posted overseas or go overseas in the official capacity. The catch was:
- One can claim that allowance once every three years (so if you went to the UK this year and claimed the allowance, you can't claim again when one goes to Norway the next year)
- Claim is only valid if the country of destination is located north of the Tropic Of Cancer and south of the Tropic Of Capricorn. For countries astride the said latitudes, the actual destination would be taken into account (Say, one can claim if one goes to Adelaide, Australia but not if one goes to Darwin)

The sum was quite princely, well at least to me - RM750 around fifteen years ago and RM1,500 today. So one day, this guy came to the office to submit his application for the said allowance. Allowance claims were not under my purview - it just happened that I was in my colleague's room (who did). So the exchange went something like this:

guy : Encik X (my colleague), saya nak buat permohonan elaun pakaian panas.
Mr X : Nak pergi mana?
Guy : Costa Rica
Me : Huh? Costa Rica ( Costa Rica is bloody tropical, what for?)
Mr X (consulting a world map): Tapi Costa Rica bukan atas garisan 45 darjah?
Me : Betul tu, kenapa nak buat tuntutan?
Mr X : Sebab tempat saya seminar tu atas gunung....
Me : (inner thoughts) Kalau macam tu, pergi Genting Highlands pun boleh claim....
Mr X : Tak boleh, sebab Costa Rica bukan negara yang layak boleh tuntut...
Guy: (trying to spin things) Er, flight saya connecting kat LA...US layak kan mohon?
Mr X : (rather annoyed) tempat transit mana boleh kira....
Guy : Ni tak boleh claim la ye?
Mr X Ye la!