Chinese fire drill

I just experienced what I can only be described as a ‘Chinese fire drill.’ I know that that might not be a PC term but that’s what it was. Apparently every building here needs to do regular fire drills because; Singapore is a nanny state.

So anyway, at 11 o’clock this morning the fire alarm goes off and none of us move—it goes off all the time and it’s not the most effective fire alarm. It’s like the boy who cried ‘wolf!’ We all ignore it now and it is ignorable because it’s not very loud like the one we have back in the US office which will drive you out of the building with it’s skull splitting squeal.

Since none of us had any plans to leave the not-so-burring building someone had to come through and remind us all that it is a regulation and we have to leave and oh, by the way, it is a planned fire drill not a malfunction in the alarm system this time. So we all march down the nine flights of stairs and walk around the front of the building and wow, it’s a party!

There were neat little numbers hanging up so everyone could congregate by which floor their office was on. They even provided drinks and there were people walking around with megaphones. And they provided entertainment, well sort of. They burned a bunch of trash in a bin and demonstrated how to use a fire extinguisher—over and over again.

After about thirty minutes—and just before it started to rain—they let us back in to the building. So of course it took another 20 minutes to get back to the office as the whole building was trying to take the lift at once. And now some fire marshal can go back and put a tic in the ‘Chinese fire drill’ box for our building and we can work for another year before they teach us to use a fire extinguisher again.

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