Singapore Adventure

Friday, September 29, 2006

Good Luck, Lah
by venitha

Skirting the tented stalls of the Bugis pedestrian mall, I'm avoiding the half-hearted precipitation and admiring my new watch, wondering how long a $5 watch's battery is destined to last, when a flash of blue - blue! - catches my eye, and I stop agape at a rack of those ubiquitous Chinese charms.

These silly fetishes are typically pale queasy you-don't-look-so-good green or grubby tarnished teeth-grinding metal, and they're always but always on cords of bold jarring whore's-lipstick red. They're never ever ever the lovely sedate ol'-blue-eyes blue that soothes my soul, which, I admit, should have been a damn good indication to me how I would feel about Asia before I moved here.

"Bring good luck, lah."

I smile at the small Chinese woman next to me. I can't disagree: one is fortunate indeed when a Singaporean stranger is friendly. And if the sullen and bored woman examining her nails at the back of the stall is any indication, Lady Luck is not an employee.

"Does it work?"

"Yeee-eeessss!" She proudly shows me her oversized purse, its every zipper boasting a charm. I ooh and ahh, point out the one I like best, then turn back to the rack to fondle my beloved blue stones, suspended, of course, from thick bright red cords.

"This one best. So many coins." She draws my attention to a tawny tobacco-stain amber number with a bell birthing a bonanza of little coins, definitely not one that I would choose myself. "Suc-cess in ev-ry-thing you do."

I grasp the mass of dangling honeyed coins, then exchange a smile with Lady Luck before she moves away, leaving my fate in my hands.