I was at my bank yesterday, closing up one of two accounts I have and transferring all the money into the other account. Then I changed the address on that other account to our Singapore address.
The whole thing was taken care of in less than 15 minutes and not once was I asked to show my ID! I brought my two checkbooks so I knew what the account numbers were, but is that proof that I was the rightful owner of the accounts? I couldn’t believe how trusting the bank manager was. I waited and waited for him to say, “Could I see a proof of ID please?” but nothing. Are ID’s obsolete in America? It must be, because today I successfully cancelled the electricity and water service to my parents’ house without so much as offering my name.
Contrast this with the interrogation and the slew of proofs I have to present every time I make any changes concerning any kind of accounts in Asia (gas, water, electricity, you name it), the difference is quite astounding. Are we Americans too naïve or are Asians too paranoid to the point of being anal? I’m still bitter over an incident with our internet service provider in Hong Kong. When we were leaving the country, they wouldn’t even fax me a cancellation form without speaking to Jason because the account was under his name. So that was way too extreme, but maybe a little bit of vigilance could do some good for the Americans? After all, I doubt any terrorists would’ve been successful enrolling in a flight school in Hong Kong or Singapore.