Love Those Pictures
Unless you are really attractive, I have this tendency to talk to you even if I hardly know you. That is, despite the fact I am believe it or not, a rather shy person. I seldom work at the office in town. But I am there long enough to know that the pantry cleaner’s wife is also a pantry cleaner who works in the same pantry, taking the morning shift. Or that estate management staff, I presume, from China finds our Sentosa resort charming. One day, she was happily showing me the evening photographs she took on her iPhone. I didn’t like her phone. But I found her affection towards one of our top tourist spots engaging. When I first started living in Singapore, I was not agreeable with the warm weather. My sensitive nose sneezed for more than a month. Long enough to make me wondered if this flu was going to disappear. My first impression of Singapore was certainly different from hers, it seems.
Who is Going to Pay the S$100 Petrol Bill?
If you are from overseas, you may wonder why Singapore petrol stations need petrol attendants to pump petrol for us. I always politely decline their service. Instead, we chat while I work with the pump.
Did you know that as a petrol attendant in Singapore, besides helping customers to pump petrol, it is also your job to clean the outdoor area, including the toilets? Do you know what happen if someone drives away without paying the bill?
One fine afternoon, an attendant pulled out a white receipt from his wallet, showed me the amount, and told me that someone got away this morning. And his colleague and him would need to pay back S$100 to the petrol station’s owner because of their negligence. I was shocked. S$50 must have meant a lot to him.
My first reaction was: Why didn’t the petrol station owner install a surveillance camera and send the footage to the police? He said there is no such camera and the owner would not go into such a trouble. I wanted to ask why but I think I know the answer. Why go through such hassle when you could get your money back from your staff?
Oh No, Please Don’t Go!
Cynthia and I have lived in our condo for more than twelve years. We love our current cleaner who has worked here for two years. During the daytime, he is always being seen working. Either mopping the floor or cleaning the lift. He greets us every working morning with a warm smile. He greets us every time he sees us. I cannot imagine how life is like mopping 14 floors and the lobby as well as cleaning the three lifts and the windows at the corridor every day.
Yesterday morning, Cynthia and I met him inside the lift, cleaning. His usual zest seemed diminished. He told us that his last day will be the end of this month. How come, we asked. It appears that our condo committee has complained that the lifts are not cleaned to satisfactory. There are fingerprints all over the mirror. So he is not happy and he quits. I was speechless. I mean, people do stupid things inside the lift. I have seen liters like empty bottles. I have seen scratch marks made by sharp objects against the lift’s interior. I have seen spits inside the lift. Or puddle of water on the floor because people don’t bother to dry themselves after leaving the swimming pool. Our lifts can never be cleaned to satisfactory because people are stupid and inconsiderate. The lifts are as clean as they can be, taking into consideration of the unforeseeable yet not entirely unexpected circumstances.
I am going to write to our Management Office and sort this out. That is the least I can do for our friend.
What a Stone Can Do
Recently, a car behind me hit the back of our car during a traffic jam. That is an old story. Merely two weeks after we got our car back from the workshop, I found myself return to the workshop. I was so familiar with the procedure that at the reception area, I even knew the claim officer by his name. Except, he was no longer with Honda.
I had no idea. OK, looking back, my previous claim officer told me that he has worked in Honda for five long years. He seemed knowledgeable, no doubt. But I could see a lack of sparkle in his eyes. Change of environment could do him good. Secretly, I was happy for him.
Was it a stone? Cynthia and I would not have known. We were on our way to work when a small object hit the windscreen at 90km/h. To be more factual, the actual relative speed of the stone was faster than this because it must be flying towards us when we hit it at 90km/h. In this age of speed reading, people may think that I was speeding if I am totally scientific on this.
The first reaction when we saw the crack was, Oh no. At that moment, I vaguely remember that the windscreen is insured so I was not too concerned. It was the hassle that got me a bit down. My second reaction was that I began to see mathematical formula flying inside my mind. If force is mass times acceleration and I remember impact has something to do with force and area of contact. Say if I could find out how much impact a windscreen can withstand before it cracks and I know the speed of the stone, I could work out the object’s mass, correct? And potentially work out its size?
Curious mind knows no bound.
What About Retirement?
Recently, I am reviewing a book called Boundless Potential sent to me by the publisher McGraw-Hill. Maybe because of its content, I keep thinking about retirement these days. I start to doubt if our home today is retirement friendly. It is going to be noisy because of the upcoming highway. And it is in the middle of nowhere. A car is highly useful. But looking at the trend of the car prices, I am unsure if I can afford one when I am older. Perhaps, Cynthia’s idea of moving to town is not that crazy at all.
When our government revised the retirement age upward, I remember some were not happy with the policy. The first reaction would be: What, we have to postpone our retirement plan and work longer years?
Boundless Potential is an inspiring read (which I will share my view later once I finish with it). It says we shouldn’t stop working just because we are old. We shall continue to be active and to contribute. Be happy, and stay alive. Now that I think on it, a higher retirement age cap could in fact work for us. We could still retire early if we wish to. And if we wish to continue working – for whatever reason – we can.
Fans may prefer Pink Floyd‘s older pieces. Professor Stephen Hawking’s audio samples found in the song Keep Talking haunts me till today.
For millions of years mankind lived just like animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk.
I was in UK when what would have been Pink Floyd‘s last album The Division Bell was released. It was a euphoric moment in the history of popular music. Magazine articles ran pages over pages analyzing the music. Bands don’t make this sort of quality music no more. Not even comparable to what was left of a legendary band. During the Division Bell era, the sole driving force behind the band was David Gilmour. Pink Floyd in the nineties was like a fearless samurai who was blinded in one of his previous battles, left with one arm, but still stood tall against all those wannabes.
As Gilmour’s epic guitar lick contorted into a muffled human voice struggling to form words and talk, Hawking wraps the song up with two sentences.
It doesn’t have to be like this. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.