Singapore Adventure

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

splash through puddles
by venitha

Determined not to let a little rain sabotage my afternoon, I grabbed my umbrella and ventured out. I mentally added splash through puddles to my errand list, hoping to restore some vigor to my heat-sapped spirits and some curls to my humidity-sapped locks.

A speedy eyebrow threading, a new library book, and a mailed Father's Day package later, I was squeezing the mangoes at the Tekka Centre's burgeoning fruit stalls when I was rescued from the cursed fate of buying more than I could carry by a most alarming facial affliction. The man's face was literally falling off! What can that be? The poor man. To go through life like that! The sight of him was so astonishing, so unbelievable, that my options were to gawk at him open-mouthed or to turn and leave, so I fled into the downpour, juggling my half-open umbrella, two pineapples, a kilo of rambutan, and a lovely bouquet of tawny orchids.

I composed both myself and my rambunctious bags, dripped disconsolately through the Bukit Timah pedestrian underpass, then rode up what has to be the longest escalator in Singapore, newly thankful to have mere freckles, in spite of the plethora of products available here to eliminate and prevent my apparently ghastly pox. (If there actually is such an affliction as the dreaded feckles, please do let me know, and my sincere apologies both to those so infected and to Suki Sushi, the feckles cure purveyor.)

Reveling in my newfound ravishing beauty, I made fish lips to emphasize my Angelina Jolie-cheekbones and was attempting a sexier puddle-splashing gait when I turned the corner and found myself face to face with a trio of Arab or Muslim or Middle Eastern or <insert whatever ethnicity or nationality justly or unjustly screams terrorist most loudly> men, smoking silently and suspiciously loitering between the MRT and the bus stop, interested in neither. Osama bin Laden look-alikes right down to his stony expression, they were dressed identically in white robes, black turbans, and scraggly black beards.

Instantly chastised, I walked past them slowly, eyes downcast, to claim a dry spot at the back of the bus stop, to inspect my errand list, and finally to smile at a young couple dancing in and out of the traffic's splash, she squealing with laughter and playfully grasping his arm.

splash through puddles, I thought with determination as I followed an adorable Chinese girl with a widow's peak and yellow boots onto the bus. But burned into my mind was the image of the falling-face man, and through rain-splattered windows, I watched the three men as the bus pulled away from the curb.