The Attended And Unattended In Changi Airport

Security not taken seriously enough at Changi Airport, Letters on the Web News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

That’s interesting. Ape’s encounter was a totally different experience. In total, 7 security related officers turned up in different shades and forms to attend to an unattended bag. The bag must be begging for attention.

Not too long ago, ape happened to be in Changi Airport, happened to come across an unattended bag laying innocently on the floor in front of the lift lobby. Ape scanned around. The area was pretty deserted. That part of the airport was mostly offices. Members of the public don’t go there other than attend to some official office business. No one was in sight then. Well, ape took out his phone amd called the Airport Police and reported it. How did ape know what number to call? Being a paranoid, ape is one who likes to read escape routes, identify the nearest exit points or fire extinguishers and emergency contact numbers. It was in plain sight if one cares to look up from the smartphones and check out the surroundings.

The officer who received the call informed ape that he would dispatch some officers and requested ape to stay until his colleagues arrive. Ape wasn’t in any hurry and the bag seemed so so lonely so ape waited. Before long, someone with a trolley type luggage, commonly used by flight crews, stepped out of the lift and spotted the bag. He was the owner. Apparently, he placed that ‘abandoned’ bag on top of his luggage and it must have fallen off unnoticed when he was rushing for the lift earlier. Ape thought he heard the abandoned bag crying for joy since the owner came back for him. Or it could be ape’s imagination. Anyway, Owner agreed to stay with ape until the police arrived to explain the situation.

It was a good 10 minutes when the first pair arrived in plainclothes. They didn’t identify themselves and the first thing said from one of them was “Where is the bag? Is this the bag?” with one hand holding the phone to his ear and the other hand pointing at the bag. He seemed to be receiving some last minute instructions over the phone but ape can’t be sure. All ape heard was his intermittent replies in the form of “Mm… ah… or…” When he’s finally done on the phone, he looked up at both of us and identified one as the Caller, yours truly, and the Owner. The Plainclothes took down our particulars, enquire for some additional information. Instructed the Owner’s partner to step aside  (aside meant a distance that’s perhaps somewhere from 3 to 5 metres away from the bag, ape estimated) while the 4 of us (Called, Owner, Plainclothes x 2) were within a meter from the bag.

Ape reckoned it was about 15mins from the time the call was made when the next wave of security officers arrived. A trio. They were from Certis Cisco as can be seen from their uniforms and one of them can be identified as a Screener from the grey shirt commonly sighted at the screening points doing their stuff in the airport. The screener was holding a bag. She took out a pair of gloves from it and when given the signal from the Plainclothes, she proceeded to do her stuff. She set her bag on the floor and took out a wet tissue and started cleaning the abandoned bag or that’s what ape thought at first – so nice of her. Then she put the tissue into her bag and gestured to the Plainclothes. That’s when ape realised she’s swabbing for something with that piece of tissue paper. Perhaps there’s a chihuahua in the bag that could sniff traces of prohibited items like drugs or bombs? It must be! The bag couldn’t hold any larger dog. However, ape heard the Plainclothes mumbled “sabre” or something like that. Sabre? Sabre toothed tiger? Ape thought that animal extinct long ago. Anyway, Plainclothes went back to his phone and typed more notes while the screener removed her gloves, placed them back inside and zipped up her bag before returning to her always-ready standing position. Ape was watching everyone. Owner had his arms folded, looking at the floor beside his bag. Screener standing in senang diri position, arms behind her bag but her eyes were attentive. The two Plainclothes and the other two uniformed were… just hanging around. Owner partner standing at the not so far end was chatting with someone. As if sensing the moment was kind of awkward, Plainclothes with phone spoke to us and said we had to wait for “resources”. Ape wondered what “resources”. Perhaps some snacks and refreshments? Or maybe some fierce, heavily armed SWAT team to burst out of the lift with assault rifle, smoke granede or some shit like that?

It must be at least 20 minutes since ape made his call. 2 more uniformed officers arrived in a slow, leisurely stroll. Kind of resembling prison wardens patrolling the cells without the baton rolling across the jail bars. The senior of the final duo (Ape can see his crab with more bars then the other on his uniform) identified the lost-but-found bag, the Caller and the Owner, took stock of the situation and told ape he could leave. Well, ape left. Ape’s almost late for an appointment with the local favourite – Singapore Chilly Crab. Good thing ape don’t carry any bags else he might absentmindly left his bag behind in the rush to meet his appointment. 

Ape reflected over the whole episode while crunching the shells of the crab. Of the 7 Wonders  (Ape wondered about the 7 officers), ape thought the Screener must be the most professional. Her pace was neither leisurely nor rushing. The first moment ape spotted her, her eyes were checking out the situation, roving from person to person before setting down on the bag. She did what she did as if she had been doing what she did the whole of her lifetime, systematically with precision. It was more interesting watching her than Military Police throwing their rifles around during Drill Performance at National Day Parade. When she had nothing to do, she would stand attentively on the ready for whatever came next. Ape wouldn’t be surprised if there was a nuclear fallout or zombie apolocalypse and she would know exactly what to do. At least that’s what ape thought reflecting on her posture and demeanour. She must be the most well trained, experienced and senior among the lot because she seemed to be the oldest or perhaps only second to the last to arrive with crab-and-many-bars.


About ape@kinjioleaf

I'm just an orang utan, ranting and sharing about life in Singapore. Take whatever I wrote with a pinch of salt.
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