Avid readers of my site know that I love my new home here. But, there are moments like tonight that I am not too proud of who I am. My friend shares the same birth town as me and she lived in Australia for a few good years. Just recently she has decided to try out Singapore and as a proud Singaporean, I did not hesitate to show her around. I even got my friend’s wife to try to find her an accommodation (that unfortunately was beyond her budget). And since we work at the same workplace (different building though), I got to hear about how she adapts to the environment here. I have been there, done that, and I know exactly what she is going through.
She found a new place (an entire 2-room HDB flat) to rent on her own a few months back. The rent was reasonable and the location is pretty centralized. After she moved in, her nightmare began. Her landlady kept visiting the apartment with and without her presence. My friend didn’t have a sense of privacy and one day, her landlady suddenly demanded a raise in rental – hardly a month after my friend settled in. Not wanting to bear the extra cost, she has decided to move out.
And then the hassle started to sink in. Her landlady kept calling her in the middle of the night to demand compensation, countless excuses such as the poor condition of the place after my friend settled in. Oh please, I visited her home back then and my friend is definitely not that kind who vandalizes. Her landlady even called our HR, faxed to her office in large font with the claim that my friend owes her money and so on.
My friend couldn’t take it and she filed a report to the police. Guess what? The police couldn’t help either because it is not a domestic violence. There is no blood involved (read: physical harm). So, my friend went to the court (you must understand that she is pretty Westernized and prefers to settle things through the law) and the judge told her: get a lawyer, there is nothing we can do here in Singapore. She was hoping for a refrain order but of course, there are none here.
Then I told her: you should have told me earlier. I would have a face-to-face with her landlady and settle it the Singapore way. Well, coupled with some other unpleasant experience she has here in Singapore (pure bad luck, sigh), my friend has decided to move out of Singapore for good. She is my friend so I support all her decisions. But from now till then, I promise to introduce her to my female network of friends so that she can have someone to do nails with, do facial with … something very fundamental to the female species but yet not everyone has that privilege.
I knew one day the feminine side of me will pay off. Saving one friend one day at a time.
Related blog entry: A Ridiculous S$1,000 Claim Against My Friend By Her Ex-Landlady.