Three snippets of what I encountered today.
- At the upmarket take-away outlet of a snooty Italian restaurant chain, I bought a loaf of ciabatta olive bread. It cost $4.20. The cashier, an Indian national judging by his accent, asked if I had 20 cents after I handed him a $5 note. Sorry, no, I replied. He handed over a 50 cent coin, a 20 cent coin and two ten cent coins. Hello, you’ve given me 10 cents extra, I said. Instead of thanking me, he took the returned coin and glared at me suspiciously, before putting it back into the till. Perhaps I should have kept the money, rather than addle his tally.
- I was driving along Bukit Timah Road in the direction of the old University Campus where the NUS Law faculty now is. I’m very wary of the slip road from Stevens Road joining Bt Timah Road, just be4 turn into the Evans Road. Altho there are broken white lines, no one but simply no one ever slows, let alone stops, to allow the traffic on the main trunk road to pass. It’s always a case of taking my chance whenever there’s a gap in the constant flow of vehicles coming from Stevens Road and blind to normal traffic rules. So imagine my surprise, turning into delight, that a bus Number 76 I think, actually stopped and waited for the traffic to pass before filtering into Bt Timah Road. This was the first time in many years that this happened. Must be my lucky day!
- While waiting for the lift to my apartment in late afternoon, I was joined by a family from the 12th floor. A couple, two kids and maid in tow. We greeted one another and the smaller of the two kids, juste stared at me, so I said “Hello” again, loudly. His parents prompted him to return my greeting, with his dad saying, “boy, say hello to Popo.” My smile froze. I couldn’t have heard right. My mother wasn’t with me. So, I was “Popo” to this young couple? OK, a few of my friends have become grandparents while more have become parents in law. But me? Popo? I’m not sure if I’ve gone up or gone down in the world. 😉