Day 4

30 Days Of Art With NAC: Extra Time™ by Clara Chow

To inspire and uplift readers as the country emerges from the Covid-19 circuit breaker, The Straits Times, supported by the National Arts Council as part of the #SGCultureAnywhere campaign, has commissioned 30 works by local writers and artists on the pandemic and what it will be like when all this is over

ST ILLUSTRATION: CEL GULAPA

June 11, 2020

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for your feedback. We understand you are not completely satisfied with the first half of 2020. As such, we would like to offer you a time refund. This extra time will be tacked onto the end of your natural lifespan - giving you a full SIX (6) months more life!

Life: Extra Time™ (ET) also comes with a special feature: You can choose to either take it in a body the age you are now, or any other age (subject to first-come-first-served availability, technical specifications and approval from next-of-kin/ caregivers/ legal guardians). This special feature, above and beyond what customers are requesting, is a gesture of goodwill, to thank you for being such big fans of living.

In order to qualify for an Extra Time™ refund, you will need to sign up on our website, http://www.refundgowhere.com. Our online form will be up from June 2, 2020 to [redacted]. Please note that owing to severe backlog, we will not be able to respond immediately (or forever) to your queries. Due to time-travel switching and Phase 1 of ET™ kicking in, some employees taking ET might have reverted to being infants. You might be required to fill up and submit the form more than once. Or a million times.

Please also note that our form may take up to six (6) months to complete. We will also need your SingPass as ET™ requires us to comply with Income Tax, CPF and SkillsFuture anti-fraud measures. To safeguard privacy, we have partnered Google AdSense.

If you are choosing ET™'s Whatever-Age (WA) feature to be of school-going age again, we will need to enrol you in your original school, along with a Time-Travel-Anti-Tamper (TTAT) true copy of all your tests and exam results. A TTAT marriage certificate is also necessary, to avoid customers attempting to use ET™ to change their spouses. Please have all these documents ready before you file your application.

Good news! You can opt to speed up form-filling with our NEW* Auto Form (NAF) service. NAF will take all the guesswork and hassle out of ET™ refunds for you. Available for a low introductory price of $9.99 until [redacted]. A limited number of fee waivers is available: sign a consent form here and tick "YES!" next to the box that says: "I allow the Corporation to embed happy memories and positive associations with all its products and partners in my cyberbrain during ET™. This agreement will take effect from Aug 9, 2069, forwards and backwards, persisting into the Afterlife™."

At the Time-Universe-Life-And-Network Corporation, your well-being is our #1 priority. We sincerely apologise for how lousy 2020 has been so far. It has not been our intention to push out an annual unit that has fallen so short of expectations. We have issued our Nostradamus Super Event Generator disciplinary warnings, and will retire it to play chess with Deep Blue.

We will also be upgrading our Reality Fabric (RF) in stages from Financial Year 2021, to provide you with a better user experience.

Our motto at our Time division has always been to "Pass Quickly, Unnoticeably". We are truly sorry that because of our shortcomings, you've had to stay home and try to kill us. We have passed slowly, discernibly. For that, we humbly apologise.

We urge you to take up our generous refund offer. However, we are aware it might not be enough. For long-suffering customers grappling with unresolved anger and trauma, we offer yet another initiative: the Terminate End-User Raffle (TER). This is a chance to nominate End-Users whom you feel have been responsible for making 2020 worse. We will conduct a random draw of nominees, and announce one of them as the recipient of a one-time Subtract Time (ST) procedure. More details of this exciting contest will be released at a later date.

Once again, we would like to thank you for being a loyal customer of Time. We hope you are pleased with our package (the last time a deal as enticing as this was offered, the Corporation had given lifetime water rebates to victims of The Flood). Best of luck, and we look forward to your continued business.

Yours Faithfully, [no signature required, auto-generated]

  • Clara Chow, 42, is the author of story collections Modern Myths (2018) and Dream Storeys (2016). She has spent the circuit breaker writing with and ordering fountain pens, and spending time with her husband and two sons.
  • For more local digital arts offerings, go to a-list.sg to appreciate #SGCultureAnywhere

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2020, with the headline 'Extra Time™ by Clara Chow'. Print Edition | Subscribe