101 ways to pass the time
It’s just past 10pm at the slip road off Zion Road, and I want to think that the Uncle sitting at the coffee shop giving a running commentary on the scene on the road is just passing time.
The coffee shop’s empty save for the Uncle and me and my lovely dining companion. I’m there to eat the ‘zhao pai’ wonton mee, where the wonton is fried, the noodles are springy (oily) and the chilli, something else.
There are policemen on the slip road, loitering, for want of a better word, hovering around cars illegally parked – side of road, unbroken white line, $70 – and issuing summonses.
Uncle tells of how merciless these policemen are, issuing summonses after 10pm, when the regular parking police from the URA have called it a day, and how some poor taxi drivers, stopping by Zion Road Food Centre to use the toilet, come out and see their taxis booked (in a different way).
I walk across to where the policemen are, to take a picture of them at work, giving them ample warning by smiling at them and showing them my phone camera. They’re shy blokes, these cops, and they hide their faces and make themselves as invisible as possible, except for the cop in the reflecto-vest, who’s more or less resigned to appearing in the picture I’m about to take.
Then one car arrives, and unloads its passengers, one of whom is holding jumper cables, for to start his car illegally parked at the side of the road with the unbroken white line. He peers at his windscreen, where the wipers are holding a fresh summons.
Uncle walks across to the car, maybe to commiserate with the poor sod. Poor sod doesn’t seem too interested, so Uncle comes back and sits back down at the table next to us, and continues his commentary on the scene.
We finish our noodles, and take our leave. Uncle says goodbye in Mandarin and English, and he’s the only one left at the coffeeshop, save for the stallholders of ‘Teck Kee Roast Delicacies Rice’, the fellas who make the tasty wonton mee.
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