Two kinds of horror

I got diaper duty Sunday afternoon when we were at Paragon because Naomi was busy at some shop – so Kai and I made our way to the diaper change room at level 5 to get him cleaned up.

He knows the drill, and he’s familiar with the change room, which is small, functional, and quiet enough to keep your baby/toddler calm while you change him, except when it is on occasion invaded (there are no locks on the sliding door) by Paragon staff looking to get hot water from what seems to be the only hot water dispenser in the building. Apart from that, it’s kept pretty clean, and we like it.

However, on Sunday, when we were changing Kai’s diaper, a woman came in with her helper and baby, and went about trying to get her changed as well. She kept admonishing her helper for not being gentle enough with her baby – which is ok, cos you really want people to handle your child the right way – and then she asked if I was about to use the sink next to me. I said I wasn’t going to yet, because I was still putting Kai’s pants back on.

She then thanked me and then proceeded to put her now diaperless daughter into the sink SO SHE COULD WASH HER POOP OFF IN THE SINK!

Anyone else seen this happen? I was so horrified I didn’t know what to say to the crazy inconsiderate woman.

The other thing that’s made me cringe in horror is this CD they sometimes play in kids’ shops – a CD of songs sung by kids with very strong Singlish accents. I’m really sorry, and I know it’s just me and my snobbishnessness, and if I can accept that the old Ribena ad from the ’70s is cute, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the harmonious sounds of children singing:

Twinker Twinker Leeter Star
How I One Der Wa’ You Are
Upper Ber Der Were So High
Lai Ker Die Mern In Der Sky
Twinker Twinker Leeter Star
How I One Der Wa’ You Are

One Litre Two Litre Tree Litre Indian
Four Litre Fye Litre Sikhs Litre Indian
Seven Litre Eight Litre Nigh Litre Indian
Tan Litre Indian Boys

State of the nation

Almost every other blog post this month has been about the baby, so Naomi and I have endeavoured to keep abreast (breastfeeding pun not intended) of current news and happenings here:

1) It is heartening to note that home grown brand Cedele is spelling things as they pronounce them:

Crips!

2) Just as heartening that the “Home Team” is very confident that none of these vehicles pose any security threat to the SGX building as they stop right on the No Stopping multiple zigzag lines on the lane behind it. (Makes sense – no need to sabotage a weak stock exchange):

No stopping behind SGX, or mebbe can...

3) There are monks earning $20K a month!

4) That some nominated MPs aren’t seeking another term.

And I have Naomi to thank for telling me that the Straits Times article talking about this was accurate in calling Eunice Olsen a musician. I was about to make a monkey of myself making lewd remarks about the instruments Miss Olsen might play. Apparently she plays the keyboards and is in a band.

Quite a cool band it looks like too, although I really do have a bone to pick with biographies that go, “Shahn first picked up a guitar when he was 16″, because the next logical line should be, “before that, he was only strong enough to pick up smaller objects”.

Underworld childbirth

Yesterday we congratulated our friends Mika and Gary because they’re brand new parents to a brand new baby boy, and we went and visited them at KKH just a couple of hours after she’d returned to the ward and enjoyed her first couple of hours of motherhood.

It was a happy afternoon all round, and it’s always a happy feeling around the maternity ward and the nursery and it was probably the only place in the whole world where I would have completely understood what the women in the corridors were talking about when they were discussing the merits of natural childbirth as opposed to a Sicilian one.

Excuse me sir, any pump?

Boxbirdnest
“Make by Burke”

Our Ang Moh friends find it hard to understand us sometimes, and it suits us just fine. It suits them fine too. In fact, this status quo ante bellum thingie works well for everyone.
If something stuffs up, the Ang Moh can just say they find it hard to understand us, and leave it at that. We stuff something up, we say they don’t understand us, and everyone leaves it as is. Get it? No? Me neither. Hard to understand lah, we all.

One of our Ang Moh friends recently commented that Singaporeans had trouble understanding each other, and it wasn’t just an Ang Moh vs Singaporean thing. Apparently, according to him, we’re out there misunderstanding and undermining each other because of our lack of a common effective language.

Take for instance the petrol kiosk cashier auntie whom I see once every ten days because I can’t afford to buy a hybrid car to save the environment. I’m in a ten-long queue, and she asks every one of the nine customers in front of me the same question, and they still all go “har?”

The question being: “Good evening sir/ma’am, any pumm?”

It throws me off every time, and it still takes me a while to understand that she’s asking, “good evening, did you purchase any petrol with the rest of your purchases, sir/madam, and if so, which pump did you dispense the petrol from?”

So, if you were having a humdrum day, doing humdrum things like filling up your petrol tank, and you walked into the kiosk/grocery store, you’d hear the following:

“BING BONG (irritating door chime)…. good evening sir, any pumm?… har?… orh… pump five…”

Sometimes there are variations:

“BING BONG…. good evening sir, any pumm? har? Orh. No pumm. I looking for lollipop. You got lollipop? No. Lollipop no have, got Chupa Chup. Har? No lollipop? Yah, don’t have…. BING BONG”.

I swear that really happened.

More importantly, add up the collective time taken to go “har?”, and you’ve lost valuable productive hours. And add to that the time taken up by the kiosk cashier auntie trying to sell you something that’s “on ploe mow shun”:

Petrol Kiosk Auntie: Together with pumm?

Me: Yes, together with pumm, and it’s pumm five

PKA: Any Burnetts for you? On ploe moe shun only twenty five dollar after discount?

Me: Any what?

PKA: Burnetts.

Me: Who are the Burnetts?

PKA: Burnetts, Burnetts.

Me: Um… Yah, I dunno any Burnetts.

PKA: Burnetts! The nets make by the Burke!

Me: Make by the Burke?

PKA: Burnetts you never eat before? Good for the saw troke!

Me: Um, how much is my petrol?

PKA: You should eat the Burnetts ah, your skin not so good also. Try lah, eat the Burnetts….

Me: No thank you

PKA: So, only pumm ah?

Me: Yes.

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$1b plant made using living cells?

Plant made of living cells?

I bought the papers this morning and saw on the front page that some pharmaceutical company was going to build a $1b “plant in Tuas using living cells”, and I thought, oh wow, and opened the paper in a hurry to read about the amazing biotechnological-construction-breakthrough thingie that would finally allow us to thumb our Singaporean noses at sand and granite bans.

So apparently the building’s not going to be made from or with the help of living cells. Dang. Would’ve been really something if it were. And it would’ve been almost as good as that headline in WW2: British push bottles up German rear“.

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