|Chair of choice for expensive bums|
Apparently Khaw ordered 150 sets of the Herman Miller® Celle® for office use in National University Hospital some 25 years ago. This came to light when the New Paper queried the Ministry of Manpower's decision to purchase 472 similarly expensive chairs. Khaw said cheaper alternatives will not last as long. Strange, that was the same reason disgraced monk Ming Yi gave when asked why he bought Mont Blanc pens.
Khaw also claimed that he, like MOM, got a good bargain as the Celle® chairs supposedly retail at $1,200. Xtra Designs's managing director Lim Choon Hong, would not offer the same price to others, even for enquiries of 10 sets. Earlier in 2005, Xtra also gave NTU a special deal for another top of the line model:
Date: 13 Nov 2005 20:13:36 -0800
I refer to the above press article in the Sunday Times dated 13 Nov 2005 and would like to update you on the background of the matter.
1. The retail price of S$2200 quoted by the journalist for a Herman Miller Aeron chair is exaggerated and may be the list price before discount. The price of this chair offered to NBS is much lower around S$900. The Herman Miller chair has a warranty period of 12 years compared to a normal office chair with a 1 year warranty period and an average life span of 4 years or so. Hence over the 12 year period, the capital outlay of a Herman Miller chair is about the same as the outlay for 3 normal office chairs required for the 12 year period. In addition these chairs have the advantage of ergonomic design for health and posture and is intended to give faculty and staff a more healthy and comfortable work environment.
This staff member stood/sat loyally by the university's decision:
(1) All NBS staff were told the price and certain contract details about the chairs the day the news broke in the Straits Times.
(2) K-mart can try to sue. The fact was I bought such a chair, my back hurt, I replaced the chair.
(3) It is exam time right now. At the moment, I'm doing two things:
(1) marking and checking exam scripts (very boring), (2) trying to dig up old posts from this newsgroup on the conflict between the YPAP and other netizens circa 1996.
Meanwhile, an orthopaedic surgeon in Mt Alvernia Hospital said, "You don't need an expensive chair to prevent back problems. You need a chair that is wide enough, and is set for your eyes to be around the height of the computer. Ergonomic chairs are meant for those with back problems caused by poor sitting posture."
MOM claims Xtra offered ergonomic design, durability and value for money, skipping their other sales pitch, "When it becomes a designer icon, its worth goes beyond its function." In other words, the minister fell for the snob appeal.