Lost and (Never) Found in Changi Airport Part 2: The Ugly Truth about Terminal 2

The search for my backpack didn’t deliver any satisfying results. The officials from Terminal 2 Arrival Hall couldn’t find it. I was advised to proceed to the airport police station on the second floor. Miss I joined to accompany me.

“TELL US WHAT HAPPENED.”

“Tell us what happened.” A full-figured Malay policeman greeted us in a typical CSI opening conversation.

Ironically, I didn’t want to talk about it, really, although I cried for their help to find my bag. But I had no choice, had I?

After going to the toilet at Terminal 2 Arrival Hall, we went to the seating area face to face with the toilet, where lost and found section with piles of unclaimed suitcases next to it. We sat there for about 20 minutes for a quick rest, texting friends and relatives. Our spot was very quiet and as long as I remember, no one but us sitting there before we left the airport.

An hour later, Miss I reminded me that I didn’t bring my backpack. I was shocked. Nonetheless, since Chinatown (where our hotel was) only took 2 more stops, we decided to put our luggage in the hotel first.

I hurriedly reported the loss of my backpack to the Loss and Found department as soon as we returned to the airport. Despite all my complete description of the lost object, including its contents, the bag was not found.

For more dramatic detail in this chapter, kindly check Lost and (Never) Found in Changi Airport Part 1: The Lost Backpack on Terminal 2

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HE MAY THINK I WAS STUPID

He summarized my story on paper in bullet form to make it easier to remember. May be he thought I was stupid. Too stupid to remember that I had brought a backpack from day one. Too stupid not to know that it was gone until my friend told me so.

In the mean time, I whispered, discussing with Miss I about my bag whereabouts in case she recalled anything at all. The bag was still with me until we sat on that chair. If not mistaken, it was on the floor beside my legs. It could be on the empty chair on my left when I sat, turning my body to the other side.

We both had a vague memory about it.

MARC JACOBS’S IN THERE

Apparently he overheard our conversation. He suddenly continued the investigation in Indonesian flawlessly, leaving his Malay accent behind. No wonder, he annually visits his relatives in Jakarta and moreover, he is even familiar with the name of main streets in the city.

His next question hurt me, unfortunately. Because I had to list down what was inside my light blue Reebok backpack, whose top handle had a Singapore Airlines luggage tag with my name, address and phone number in it. There were quite a lot of things in that bag to avoid an extra fine for an overweight luggage. But shit happened and I believe the loss cost more than the fine.

Apart from souvenirs from Korea I wanted to give my family, toiletries and accessories I bought there, I had a portable Chanel no.5 perfume bottle, Marc Jacobs semi cat-eye sunglasses and above all, the most valuable stuff of all was my Fuji X-Series camera, especially the memory card in it. Another worst part was that I only bought it 3 months ago with the 12 month-installment payment deal.

“Marc Jacobs? Really? Wow, he’s (the thief) so lucky.”

It came to my surprise that the policeman right in front of me reacted that way. He even overlooked Chanel. Marc Jacobs number one fan?

I, on the other hand, didn’t think much about those branded stuffs. Instead, I blamed myself that I forgot to put it back from the backpack to my handbag on board.

There were a lot of stories I want to share about the best days of my life in Korea. I already had drafts in my head about upcoming articles I was about to write and it would be pretty hard without supporting pictures that literally tells a thousand words.

Nonetheless, I realized that it had been 2 hours since I lost my bag, more than enough for a thief to steal it. A name tag marking the bag’s ownership was too easy to ignore.

Would I be able to make it?

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HERE COMES THE UGLY TRUTH

Actually I don’t know for sure whether someone took my bag before I know it or I accidentally left it there. I was completely black-out. Hopefully, the analog CCTV screen hanging on the ceiling could give the answer.

The first scene was the luggage claim area, the last Terminal 2 belt number between 3.30 pm to 4.30 pm. I and Miss I watched it attentively. The policeman followed my instruction and kept fast forwarding the recording until we found us on that scene.

“Yep, that’s the one!” I pointed at the rear side of a girl wearing a patterned dress, who was next to another girl wearing a sweater and pants. Despite rough pixels and monochrome images, it still showed a proper silhouette of an object. And for sure, they were no other than us.

In real life, I was wearing a collared t-shirt dress with vermilion red floral pattern.

“Yes, I haven’t changed my clothes since I arrived until now.” I replied in response to the policeman’s question for an affirmation, whether I was still wearing the same dress as that on CCTV. Miss I nodded to support my statement. Same story, she had not got the time to change her outfit either.

On screen, it showed the first chapter of our appearance in Singapore, from the waiting until the collection of our luggage from the belt. My light blue backpack was still attached on my back. After several minutes, there were no odd scenes like a stranger’s hand grabbing my bag or something. Everything went normal.

“How about the scene outside the toilet, at the sitting area?” I asked.

“Wait a moment.” He immediately pressed something on his keyboard to switch to a different CCTV. It unexpectedly took a while. He wrinkled his forehead and the tip of his eyebrows almost meet each other.

“Ow, it’s upgrading.” He said.

“What do you mean by that?” I smelled trouble.

It means the CCTV didn’t work because it was still in the process of system upgrade. I looked at him in disbelief.

The world’s best airport had a broken CCTV??

He revealed the ugly truth, that there were more upgrading CCTVs in the airport, apart from the location of the incident, to comply with the current system.

So far, Singaporean authorities have caught thieves from China and Australia, although some of them could get away with what they did. An Australian coming to Singapore for stealing stuffs? For real? The number of these nasty people have been increasing, yet they have managed to arrest them several times.

Yeah right, but that would not be in my case, since no one could see what really happened at that Terminal 2 seating area.

It didn’t take a genius that I looked completely like hell. He tried to engage us with conversations, especially to comfort me, about the recent situation in Indonesia, what I do for living, his relatives in Indonesia, our travels and so on. Sometimes, small talks stimulate ideas and may bring up some memories that help the investigation. Apparently, it didn’t happen to me.

“I’ll just make you an official report for the insurance.” He said.

That sentence slapped me really hard. I usually regard travel insurance as an unnecessary expenses. From now on, I’ll change my perspective about it.

I finished dealing with the loss bag at 10 pm. Unbelievable.

LOST AND NEVER FOUND

The day after tomorrow, I checked the progress of the search by showing the official police report at the same Terminal 2 Loss and Found department. They said it had not been found yet.

Changi Airport would send an email in case the loss good is found within 3 months. That email has never arrived in my inbox. Until the day I wrote this article 2 years after the incident.

The world’s best airport does not always guarantee the safety of your luggage. The nomination of the world’s best airport does not depend on the amount of active CCTVs versus the broken, or upgrading, ones. The only person who can guarantee the safety of your luggage is you, ONLY you. Not your spouse, friend or partner who travels with you.

Please watch your belongings at all times. Additionally, a good rest prior to the trip will increase the awareness of your surroundings and belongings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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