Sometimes when I’m bored, I fantasize about what it’s like to have a billion dollars. Like…what does a billion dollars even look like? How many rooms would it fill? More to the point, what does a billion dollars smell like?
“Haven’t we already had this conversation?” Amanda asked the other day.
“Many times,” I told her. “But it never gets old. I mean, seriously, if you had a billion dollars in your bank account, what would you do?”
Amanda cocked her head and gave the matter some thought. Eventually, she asked, “Is that US dollars or can we have it in pound sterling? Because the pound is worth so much more.”
In the real world, I’d cross the road for a twenty-cent discount, but in my fantasy world where I have a billion dollars, I’m nothing if not generous. “Oh, take the pound sterling!” I said generously.
Amanda sighed as she contemplated her life as a billionaire. “I wonder if I’d still be working. What would be the motivation? What would be the point?” she asked the world at large. “Maybe I’d just get on a mega-ass yacht and sail away for a year or until I get bored, whichever happens first.”
“I’d set up that old auntie who clears dishes down at the hawker centre with a nice little flat in Orchard Road,” I mused.
Amanda blinked. “Oh…you’re going to do the whole good deeds thing?”
“Well, I wouldn’t be doing it personally,” I said. “All that paperwork would just kill me. No. I’d set up an office, give them some money and get them to do it. I could even hire Sharyn on some ridiculous CEO salary and put her in charge. She loves organizing people and bossing them around.”
When we told Sharyn about her new fantasy job, she was immediately on-board. “Yah, yah! I very good at dis sort of ting. But you must oh-so give me CPF, hor! And company car!” she added with a desperate flourish.
“Whatever you need, Shazz!” I said. “And I’ll send your kids to Oxford, too!”
Sharyn glowed at her good fortune.
Unfortunately, word of my generosity got back to Saffy and she was immensely put out. “Excuse me, but can you please find someone else to be generous to? She’s my best friend!”
I shrugged. “Fine, I’ll put someone else on my huge payroll then. And while I’m at it, I might build a whole bunch of super fancy retirement homes for old people around Singapore. I’ll get Frank Gehry to design them, and Nate Berkus to do the furnishings! And maybe I’ll have Nobu do the catering!”
Sharyn sighed. “Wah, liddat I oh-so want to get old, ah!”
Saffy screwed up her nose and went back to her list of things she’d do if she had a billion dollars. After a week, she only had one thing on her list: Quit job.
“I can’t think of anything else!” she moaned to her friend Ching. “I’m having such a mental block!”
“I so know what you mean!” Ching said, putting down her cup of tea. The overhead light sparked off her twenty-carat Tiffany’s diamond ring. “I’ve just left my job at Ernst and I have no idea what I’m going to do next!”
Saffy paused and stared. “Wait, what? You worked at Ernst?”
“Since when?” Saffy pressed.
“Saffy, I’ve been with Ernst for the past 15 years!”
“Wait. All this time I’ve known you, you’ve been working? As what?”
Ching frowned. “Um, an auditor?”
Saffy leaned in. “Seriously? How has this never come up?”
Now it was Ching’s turn to think. “Huh. I guess you’re right. We’ve never talked about my job. We’re usually moaning about men!”
“But you’re rich!” Saffy said. “Your father owns two banks in Indonesia and your mother owns three islands! I’ve seen your holiday home in Switzerland on Instagram! And all this time you’ve been an accountant?”
“Same thing,” Saffy said flatly. “Honestly, I am in shock.”
That evening, it was all Saffy could talk about. “I mean, she is literally a billionaire and every day she went to the office to work as an accountant! How much could she have been earning for all that stress?”
“I oh so say,” said Sharyn.
Amanda rolled her eyes. “I think the bigger question is how you can be such good friends with someone for 15 years and not know what she does for a living?”
Saffy turned to Sharyn. “Wait, are you a secret billionairess?”
“Yah, so secret I live in a five room HDB! Siow, lah!”