Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Facing Facts

The break up of any relationship is difficult. Just ask Tayor Swift. 
Not only do you have to deal with the pain and the heartache, you have to put up with the sympathetic looks from friends, and clucking of your parents. And if you’re even remotely famous, literally the whole world is watching the trainwreck of your relationship. 
“Well, not literally the whole world, surely?” Amanda said the other day. She and Saffy were on the couch, separated by a pile of trashy magazines, all of which seemed to have Brad and Angelina on the cover. 
Saffy sighed. “It might as well be the whole world! I mean, look at this. You can’t pick up a magazine without those two on the cover!  
“I still can’t believe it’s at an end,” Amanda said as she flipped the pages of The National Enquirer. She twirled a strand of hair around her index finger. “I was really rooting for them. Their poor kids.” 
“Poor me!” Saffy stressed, her lips pursed in dissatisfaction. “If they couldn’t make it with all those millions, then what hope is there for the rest of us?” 
Amanda frowned. “I don’t think having millions is a prerequisite to a happy marriage.” 
“Not according to all the statistics,” Saffy pointed out. “I read somewhere that one of the top five things that couples argue about is money!” 
On Facebook, Barney Chen changed his profiled picture of Barbra Streisand and Patrick Wilson to all black. “I am in mourning!” he announced in one post, which he then followed up with a flurry of commemorative posts of Brad without his shirt on in ‘Thelma and Louise’ and ‘Troy’, and stills of Angelina in ‘Malificent’.  
Amanda’s friend Debbie said she didn’t understand why people were so distraught. “It only goes to show that Hollywood people are just like us! They’re human! And humans get divorced!” And just to prove the point that the universe is always listening, a few days later, came news that Debbie had broken up with her boyfriend of six years. 
“Oh, no, they didn’t!” Amanda gasped when she got a Whatsapp text from Debbie. She scrolled through the message and gasped again. And again. “Good God!” 
“You’re killing me with the suspense!” Saffy told her. “What happened?” 
“Debbie broke up with Kien!” 
Saffy paused. “Isn’t he that gorgeous gym instructor?” 
“That’s the one,” Amanda murmured, as she scrolled up and down her phone.  
“But they’ve been dating for like a million years!” 
“Six actually, but yes, I get your point,” Amanda said, finally looking up from her phone. “Well, today is Monday, right? On Saturday, Kien threw Debbie a surprise birthday party…” 
“How come we weren’t invited?” Saffy wanted to know, looking seriously put out. 
“You really need to focus, Saf.” 
“Sorry. Continue.” 
“Yesterday, she flew to Bangkok for work. And this morning, Kien sent her a Facebook message saying he was breaking up with her!” 
Silence settled over the room. Saffy cocked her head. “Wait,” she said, finally. “He…What?...But he…Why… 
Amanda nodded with satisfaction. “That’s exactly how Debbie if feeling right now.” 
Saffy looked amazed. “I thought this sort of thing only happened on TV! Remember when Burger broke up with Carrie on a Post-It note?” 
“God, that episode scarred me. To this day, it’s why I don’t have any Post-It pads in the flat.” 
For days, it’s all the girls have been able to talk about, though the consensus is that at least Kien had the decency to break up on Messenger.  
“So terrible!” Sharyn clucked in sympathy. 
“Imagine if he’d actually posted ‘I’m sorry, but it’s not working out!’ on her wall!” Saffy said. 
“Yah, hor!” 
Amanda shuddered. “Taylor Swift would write an album!” 
“Men are such pigs!” Saffy spat. 
I coughed. In response, Amanda looked at me severely. “The jury is still out on you, buddy!” 
Barney Chen says the world is becoming more and more rotten. “Whatever happened to old fashioned human decency? Who breaks up on Facebook?” His baritone rumbled in judgement.  
“Kien Wong, that’s who,” I told him. 
“I never did like him,” Barney said piously. “He always seemed a little, I don’t know…smug!” 
Of course, it hasn’t helped that we’ve since discovered that for at least the past three months, Kien has been secretly bonking the 25-year-old aqua-aerobics instructor as his gym.  
“Pigs!” Saffy repeated. I didn’t like the way she looked at me when she said it 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Meating Point

You have to watch out for karma. It’s always ready to pounce, just when you’re at your most unsuspecting and vulnerable.
            For years, Amanda has been waging a bitter war against vegetarians, sniffing at the slightest hint of a preference for green leaves instead of slabs of red meat, or cold cuts of left over roast pork.
            Whenever we’re at a restaurant and the waiter asks her if she has any dietary restrictions, her answer will be: “Yes, bad food.”
            “Why on earth would anyone prefer to eat a broccoli salad when you could be cutting into a thick juicy cut of wagyu?” she once asked the world at large as she allowed a strip of said wagyu to dissolve on her tongue. “God, isn’t this so good?”
            Saffy looked at Amanda sideways. Her ample bosom trembled like a pot of water on simmer. “I think you and that sixty dollar steak need to get a room!”
            And then one day, a few weeks ago, on a plane from Tokyo back to Singapore, Amanda, having finished her satay sticks in Business Class, fished out from her handbag a book her friend Janet had insisted she read.
            “It’s life-changing!” Janet had said a few days before, thrusting “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” into Amanda’s reluctant hands.
            “But I don’t need to read this, I have no dilemma!” Amanda had protested as she tried to push the book back at Janet, but she was no match for a hard-core TRX practitioner. Defeated, she dropped it into her voluminous Herm├Ęs Birkin and forgot all about it until she was on the plane rooting around in it for a wet-wipe. With nothing else worth reading, she settled back, turned to page one and started.
            By the time SQ631 landed in Singapore, Amanda had not only finished the book (“I’m a speed-reader,” she told a skeptical Saffy), she was literally trembling.
            The first person she called was Janet.
            “Oh. My. God!”
            Janet was smug. “I told you! Didn’t I tell you it’s life-changing?” she said in her crispest Katong Convent accent.
            “Is it all true though?” Amanda asked as she marched through immigration towards the taxi-stand. “About those poor cows and those poor chicken?”
            “Of course it is! It’s all documented! That book is why I became a vegetarian in the first place! I cried for days!”
            “But…but…isn’t the solution then to just eat organic meat?” Amanda’s mouth started watering at the idea of a steak tartare.
            “Well, that’s what I thought as well, but then my yoga teacher started telling me about how when a cow is slaughtered, they are flooded with adrenaline and fear and panic and anger and pain and it all goes into their flesh, which we then consume and it all manifests in our own emotions and behaviour!”
            “I guess that’s that then…” Amanda sniffled.
            Of course, when Sharyn heard that Amanda had decided she was going to be a vegetarian, her response was to the point. “Aiyoh, you siow, issit?”
            “Those poor cows, Shazz. You don’t…” Amanda began.
            Sharyn waved her hands. “Aiyah, you become vegetarian, how you expect people to invite you to dinner? Or-redi so difficult to cook, now must cook extra dish for you! You think I very free, issit?”
            “But your maid does all the cooking!” Amanda pointed out.
            “Yah, but I have to direct her, you know!”
            “OK, but before you totally condemn me, I want you to read this,” Amanda said as she pushed “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” across the table at Sharyn.
            Sharyn pursed her lips and looked at the book in much the same way a cow probably looks at Aston’s. “Ay, I very busy, you know…” she began uneasily.
            “Just read the first three chapters,” said Amanda in her silkiest sultry voice that has been the downfall of many a married man.
            “Well…”
            Two days later, Sharyn announced on Facebook that she was giving up meat. She ended her announcement with “Aiyoh!”
            Saffy was astonished. “Really? Just like that? Whatever happened to all that stuff about having to cook extra dishes and stuff?”
            “For udder people! But if for myself, then OK, what! Saffy, ah, you must read dat book. The England very powderful some time, but hor, easy to read. So scary, I tell you! The poor cow and pig.”
            “And chicken!” Amanda chimed.
            “Yah, and chicken! Aiyoh, the poor chicken!”
            All of which has made Saffy extremely curious about the book. “But I can’t read it now. Bradley is taking me to Morton’s this weekend. I’ll read it after.”
            Me, I’m staying well away from the Devil’s Handbook.