Nambia – and other countries we wish existed

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  PeterCoultas 6 Oct 2017
at 10:47

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  • Tom Otley

    You may have seen this

    Trump praises health care of Nambia, a nonexistent African country

    Of course the reaction has been strong, with commentators wondering whether the President meant Zambia, Gambia or even Narnia (it was Namibia, we later learned).

    I think as frequent travellers, we have all been in this situation, however. pointed out that “High Life, the in-flight magazine of British Airways, described Lupita Nyong’o as being from “Wakanda,” a fictional country that appears in Black Panther comics. Nyong’o is not “from” Wakanda — she just stars in an upcoming adaptation of the comic series.”

    Where have you got wrong? Or wished existed, but didn’t?


    I booked a flight to Monterey when I should have booked to Monterrey 😉

    The former is in California, the latter in Mexico – I noticed it in time to change it fortunately – would have been most embarrassing since it was a global corporate event.


    There’s many a story, north of the border of US citizens of Scot’s heritage making the pilgrimage back to the motherland, seeking out their routes and creating an itinerary that includes visits to …..

    Loch Ness
    Isle of Skye
    The Kelpies
    The bonnie banks of Loch Lomond
    Clyde side

    And of course, any visit to Scotland wouldn’t be complete without a day out to Brig a doon.
    Presumably they also set out a day for Haggis hunting on the moors?


    Last week I needed to send a Western Union transfer to the USA (United States of America), using the largest bank in the country.
    Four (4) counter personnel attended to my request, all of their concerns devoted to the country I wanted to remit to.
    1. On the form your can write the country or the accepted WU abbreviation – US. I wrote both
    2. I also included the full written address of the recipient. The US State is the most relevant – NC, North Carolina.
    3. For my nationality I wrote United Kingdom, and UK as well as GB
    4. On completing my registration was informed it could not go through. The following different reasons were given.
    a. There is no such country as the USA or the United States of America, did I mean United States – Guam?
    b. Is the United Kingdom in the United States, as your passport is not a US document?
    c. You cannot send US Dollars to the United Kingdom, or the USA.
    After 45 minutes of getting nowhere, I went to a much smaller local bank where virtually no English was spoken, and had the process completed in 12 minutes, including having to send out for a copy of my passport.

    d. I am a trainee I do not know how to handle this matter.


    Sorry, d. should be below c. above


    Sounds like HSBC in Hong Kong… 🙂


    or any bank here in Singapore 🙂


    My experience of Western Union was that although as the person sending the cash I was given a huge lot inspection to see I was who I said I was BUT, when the money was collected by someone pretending to be the recipient they did absolutely nothing to check the collectors bona fide…..a very badly run business


    Our travel management department issued me with a ticket to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil when I was meant to be going to San Salvador. It was only when I got home and opened the envelope that contained the paper ticket which was on Varig stock that I thought ‘that routing doesn’t make sense’. I suppose I should have pleaded ignorance and gone to Salvador de Bahia and hit the panic button on Monday morning when I couldn’t find the client office, but I would have looked almost as stupid as them.

    Western Union is beloved by scammers for the reasons stated above by PeterCoultas. A very shady outfit.

    For plain geographic ignorance, my best is going to a Correos (Post Office) in Spain with a small packet to post to Cape Town. It was addressed : Cape Town, Republica de Sudafrica. The congential cretin behind the counter crossed out Republica de Sudafrica and wrote ‘EE. UU.’ which is the Spanish abbreviation for Estados Unidos, or USA. When I told her that it was not USA there ensued a 10 minute argument.


    THAILAND is where the WU event occurred, where I have resided for the past 20 years. Having lived in Hong Kong for 7 ears in the 90’s, and banked at HSBC, I can fully understand why HSBC in Hong Kong suggested.


    HSBC is unique of banks, probably having paid more fines and larger fines to the US government than any other?
    I had my own difficulty years ago when they refused to close an account ’till April in next financial year though was availale November!
    Hate to use Hkg currency w/ their name on it!


    My experience of Western Union was that although as the person sending the cash I was given a huge lot inspection to see I was who I said I was BUT, when the money was collected by someone pretending to be the recipient they did absolutely nothing to check the collectors bona fide…..a very badly run business

    Having worked in-house in a large US bank (which has also suffered huge amounts in fines, including in this particular field – albeit (I am glad to say) in a business unit I did not have responsibility for), and having been involved rather more than I would have liked in AML/CTF/KYC issues (I used to be a transactional lawyer, had to become a regulatory lawyer, and am thankfully now a transactional lawyer again!) I can tell you that this is perfectly normal and acceptable. As the person sending the money, you are the institution’s customer. They are no more required to check the bona fides of the recipient of a transfer than they are to check the bona fides of someone to whom you write a cheque. Now, of course, you can raise the argument that a cheque (other than one payable in cash) will only be paid into a bank account and under FATF rules (yes, I know they aren’t binding, but I am just using shorthand) the paying bank should be able to rely on the AML/KYC/CTF protocols of the receiving bank, whereas with a cash transfer this is not the case. Perfectly true, but then the WHOLE POINT of a service like Western Union is to allow people to take cash at the other end – often, because they don’t have bank accounts. If the rules required AML/CTF/KYC checks on recipients, it would automatically render many of the poorest people in the world – who don’t have access to the banking system – unable to receive remittances. Looked at from the Asian perspective, where there are many overseas workers supporting poor families on the basis of cross-border remittances, you can see why regulators are reluctant to impose restrictions on recipients. One day, when there are as many people with bank accounts as there are people with mobile telephones, perhaps things will change. But now, the prospect of cutting off the income source of millions (literally, millions) of impoverished people by imposing receiver-end restrictions on remittances is politically unworkable.

    You may call it a badly-run business, but from a different perspective – and in the “here and now” – it is for many people an essential lifeline.


    IanfmHKG: Thanks for your explanation but, IF Western Union is providing a transfer service to me as a client they should presumably check at least the recipients ID? Not to do so seems to me failing in a duty of care as, after all, they had accepted a fee to make the transaction for me. I might add that in my case there was an opportunity to catch the fraudsters but neither Western Union (nor the Cyprus police) were remotely interested in co-operating. That there is little political will to improve matters is hardly surprising.

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