Friday, December 05, 2003

Snail-mail from Sinterklaas

Today is the birthday of Sinterklaas. A typical Dutch tradition that combines presents, mockery and poems. Or as this writer puts it:

Sinterklaas for grown-ups means a party of giving and receiving gifts, much like on Christmas, but now the presents are called "surprises" (pronounce as "sir-preeze-us"). A surprise is a gift hidden within a product of tinkering, aimed at giving the gift the appearance of something completely different, accompanied by a poem. It serves to embarrass the addressee by reminding him/her of some embarrassing moments in the past year, or to point out a general failure of character in a mocking way.

Now, in the regular mail today, I've received a poem from Sinterklaas about the issue of redeemability of e-money for mobile phone operators. In it Sinterklaas succeeds in convincing the competent supervisory authority AFM (Autoriteit Financiƫle Markten) to ensure that as of today, if so desired, customers get their pre-paid money back from mobile operators.

Now that would really be a 'surprise' !