Who Look After Singapore's Undelivered Mail

Mail that has not yet been delivered is handled by a six-person staff. Here's a little peek at what they do on a typical day.

Letter forced into the post box
Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

The Singpost building is located on Singapore's east coast.
Wait for an escort, pass through three additional safe doors, and you'll find yourself before a grey door in the middle of the lobby.

A sign on the wall proclaims the presence of a department tasked with returning letters.

Thousands of enigmatic letters and things are hidden away inside this mysterious box with no names, addresses, or stamps.
In any case, they must be the property of somebody out there.
Or perhaps there's a heartfelt letter that holds a special place in the recipient's heart.
Somebody may even come hunting for their missing letter one day.
As a result of these "maybes" and "potentialities," the Return Letters Unit was created.

This Returns section receives an average of 4,000 lost goods each day.
In all, up to three hundred missing letters will be found and brought back to their owners.
Only three or four parcels are returned each day, which reduces the success rate.

It's unclear what happens to the letters and shipments that haven't been returned.

Using the Logimat vertical storage technique, they are meticulously arranged.
Thousands of mail and gifts are crammed into 29 trays of the enormous grey machine.

Returned Goods

Postal officer Jumali bin Tangat receives an email from consumers who phone the general hotline to inquire about the whereabouts of their misplaced mail.
Once he locates it, he begins his hunt in the haystack.

However, they are highly unusual events.
People often neglect to check their mail and letters.
It takes three months to keep regular mail and six months to keep registered mail.
The letters are disposed of once their usefulness has expired.
In addition, "letters are forwarded to suppliers for destruction," Ong Eng Chiew, operations manager, said.
No one is permitted to open the letters for the sake of privacy.

However, the gates to the parcels have been unlocked.
Charitable organizations get donations of clothing, shoes, and watches.
The rest of the goods are disposed of in a landfill.

The Returns department also handles products that can't be shipped, such as comic books and teddy bears.
As Ong chuckles, "vegetables, underpants, cash - with the address inscribed on it" come to mind.
Of course, there are fidget spinners.

"However, it failed to work last night when we received an empty Tiger Beer bottle with the address stuck on.
We're not able to send it at this time.
RLU is the only option, so we leave it there. "He bursts out laughing, his voice breaking with delight.
There's a chance it will do harm to others in the process.

There are many things you may lose your keys to your automobile, your teeth, your La Prairie creams, your contraband products, your wallet, and your birth certificate or another kind of identification.
"We get wallets daily."

Someone slipped money into the postbox by accident once.
As Tangat, 62, recalls, "Seven thousand dollars, the individual, phoned really quickly!"
Singpost's Returns department sprung into action as soon as the owner contacted to report the problem.
They contacted the postal carrier, who pointed out the mailbag as a potential target.
The cash was found in the bag that arrived at the Returns unit.

Wedding bands are another item that is frequently misplaced.
They intended to use the post boxes to send letters, but they dropped them by accident.
Tangat goes on as well.
A Japanese manufacturer sent Tangat a styrofoam package with ice on another occasion.
The insulating box was put to the test.
"Checking to see whether the ice melts.
Only for testing.
We send them back...
That's a fascinating story, I must admit."

Ong adds, "We sometimes have bananas," to the conversation.

"They even post bananas!" Tangat exclaims in surprise as the crew laughs.

Letters That Have Been Lost Forever

Aside from ridiculous things, mail carriers frequently encounter illogical addresses, such as Santa Claus, the North Pole, or even God.
In the wake of North Korea's recent nuclear missile tests, a letter addressed to Kim Jong-Un, North Korea, was published recently.
"We have no idea where it ends up.
It everything ends up here, "Ong just shrugs his shoulders.

Ong, Tangat, and the rest of the crew are stumped on how to get such letters out there.
"In the run-up to Christmas, we've seen children submitting letters to Santa Claus.
We delivered their correspondence to Finland even if they didn't include an address.
There's a place of business there "Ong's work continues.
There are, in reality, several legitimate Santa Claus offices in Alaska, Lapland, and Finland.

A Mistaken Interpretation

Numerous languages are at your disposal when you use a global address.
Greeting cards containing Tamil, Malay, and Chinese addresses are sent to Singapore's Returns team, which processes them.
Tangat and his coworkers assist with translating the Malay and Tamil lines.
73-year-old Swee Heng Chye receives the Chinese letters as a present.

"The majority of the addresses are not legitimate ones.
The street names are referred to by their vernacular nickname among the older generation, "Ong elaborates.
Waterloo Street is the literal translation of Hokkien names like Si Bei Lor.

Swee (shown above) appeared to be working slowly through his translation when we stopped by.
He'll be swamped with work from October through January as the season warms up.

Mohammed Johari bin Salim, assistant operations manager, chuckles, "October onwards is peak season."
In December, things are expected to be the busiest.
The Returns Department will receive around 2,000 mailbags of misplaced mail.
E-commerce has made it easy for people to buy gifts.
"They buy goods from other countries over the internet.
Especially in light of the impending rise of e-commerce.
We continue to get extra items, such as accessories and presents, and are forced to work longer hours to get them all cleared out."

There are no worries from the Returns team.
There is never a dull moment in their line of business.
When Salim adds, "It's an intriguing profession, and that's why I can remain for so long!" Tangat chuckles.
If they start throwing stuff away, we'll find out what's inside!

Unboxing videos abound on the internet.
Unbox Therapy is the name of an entire YouTube channel devoted to unboxing.
When it comes down to it, nothing beats the simple joy of unwrapping a package.
Awe-inspiring, to say the least.
The Returns crew unboxes gifts for a job, can you imagine?
Because they're so upbeat, it's no surprise.
"You want to join?" Tangat asks with a grin.