As anyone who has taken a quick break from catching Raticates and Squirtles on Pokeman Go will tell you, the world has turned a particularly nasty shade of crazy. You just can’t do anything without coming up against something or someone who is out to get you.
Case in point is America where if you’re born in a certain country, it’s not guaranteed that you will be allowed out of the airport and that they won’t send you back on the next flight out.
“Is Singapore on that list?” Saffy said the other day, demonstrating once again the appalling lack of depth of her reading material.
Amanda rolled her eyes. “If it is, you can be sure a lot of Singaporeans will be screaming blue murder about their children not being able to go back to their expensive schools after their Easter vacations.”
Saffy nodded, her bosom inflating without much enthusiasm. “Seriously, what is the world coming to? You can’t go anywhere anymore. Or do anything. Sharyn says she bought a tray of water-colour paint for her kid in Hong Kong and packed it in her cabin luggage, but at the airport, the security people said it was liquid or gel and she had to leave it behind. I mean, how are you supposed to bring down a plane with water-colour paint?”
As Amanda pointed out recently, you can’t even go to London these days because the air there is so toxic that 10,000 Londoners die each year. “Can you imagine it?” she said, lifting her eyes from her iPad on which she was reading the dreadful statistic. “The air quality on Oxford Street is apparently as bad as Shanghai’s! You go into Selfridge’s for a bit of shopping, you come out and collapse from a fatal asthma attack!”
Leave it to Sharyn to put things into patriotic perspective when she arrived that evening with a da-bao dinner of char kway teow and packets of rojak from Old Airport Road’s hawker centre. You could tell she was still sore about having to surrender her daughter’s water-colour.
“So siow, those airport people!” she huffed. “If, hor, I put all the tube of paint into my toiletry bag, then can go true. But because I put in the original box and carry separately, sah-dun-ly cannot. How they can anyhow do such ting, I oh-so do not know!”
“It’s a crazy world, we live in, Shazz,” Amanda told her, returning to her favourite theme. She opened a white Styrofoam box. “Oh, I love this rojak!”
“Yah, boy. Better stay home in Singapore and don’t go oversea for now. At least in Singapore, when the gah-men is crazy, somehow, got make sense, one!” said Sharyn, card-carrying PAP member since 1982. As Saffy once observed, if the PAP gave out the government equivalent of PPS memberships, Sharyn would have been a lifetime Solitaire member a long time ago.
“We really must stop using all these Styrofoam boxes,” Amanda murmured as she stood back and looked at the white rafts currently floating on our dining table. “This is all going into landfill and they’ll never decompose.”
“Oh, yah,” Sharyn said. “I remember you don’t like, but today I rush from work to get to Old Airport Road and I forgot to bring my own container. Sorry, hor.”
“I really should write to the Prime Minister and tell him,” Amanda said in a tone of voice that suggested that she and Mr Lee were on WhatsApp terms.
Saffy looked up from her plate of rojak, crunching noisily a particularly fresh mouthful of cucumber. “I the-riouth-ly…” She paused and chewed faster and swallowed and tried again. “I seriously think the PM has more important things to worry about than the biodegradability of hawker food containers!”
“That’s probably because no one has actually brought it up with him!”
By now, Saffy’s attention, never the sharpest knife in the kitchen, had wandered off into a whole different train of thought. “Actually, I wonder if the PM has actually da-bao’d anything. Surely he has people to do that sort of thing for him. And surely,” Saffy went on as another thought occurred to her, “he wouldn’t eat his rojak out of a Styrofoam box? I always imagine him eating off white fine bone china!”
Amanda couldn’t help herself. “Uhm…why white fine bone china?”
“PAP colour, mah!” Sharyn sighed in a tone that said Amanda’s Harvard education had been criminally wasted on her.
Saffy pointed her fork at Sharyn. “What she said,” she mumbled through a mouthful of char kway teow.
Amanda says it’s totally crazy how she’s friends with some people.