Apr 04, 2014

    Why not cash in when the MRT stalls?

    TO QUOTE a famous screen villain: Why so serious?

    It seems to me that Singapore needs a shot of humour - pronto. From stalled MRTs to market stalls, Singaporeans have become increasingly good at latching on to every small thing and blowing it up. If we're not careful, we will soon become a distorted version of ourselves.

    But surely, we are better than this - hence the decision to launch this column.

    The stories are drawn from my book, Singapore Siu Dai, and the sequel (due to be published in September). They are intended to put a smile on your face, to remind you that there is no need to sweat and swear over the small stuff. Laugh it off and liven up!


    Mr K. S. Tan looked hard at the small whiteboard in the office pantry. For the second time in his life, he experienced cold feet. (The first was when he somehow managed to clear three electronic road pricing gantries on three expressways with just $3.54 on his CashCard.)

    The office pool had reached $6,550. Everyone, including the office boy, had a stake in it. Daren Lam and Darren Lam (you could tell the twins apart because Darren, with the benefit of an extra "r", rolled his tongue like a contraband American) had helpfully written up all the latest stats. Who did what, when, where and how. What the official odds were and how much bookies charged in the back alleys of Geylang.

    Mr K. S. Tan was normally not a gambling man. He had once failed in balloting for a place at a top primary school for his son, Rex. He had once wagered $4 on a certificate of entitlement and walked away empty-handed.

    The odds were seldom kind to him, even though he had enough Tua Pek Kong figurines at home for a small museum.

    Should he pump in his fair share?

    "No need to wait so long lah!" said Aunty Ah Soh, the perky cleaner who was diligently sweeping away, even in her 70s.

    "I already bet $50," she continued, pointing at five columns on the whiteboard marked East-West, North-South, North-East, Circle and Downtown. Each column clearly displayed the names of the respective punters.

    "Today, North-South Line break down. Tomorrow, confirm Downtown Line break down!"

    The writer is an award-winning author who has published nine books. His latest book, Singapore Siu Dai, retails at $13.91 (after GST) and is available at Books Kinokuniya, MPH Bookstores, Times Bookstores and Books Actually.