I just landed at Changi to news of the confirmation of Mdm President. Did I hold my head up a little higher, stand up a little straighter, walk a little bolder? You know, because #malay #woman, #represent! Well, not at all actually.
As i was figuring out my feelings and thoughts, i was interrupted by a sharp “Kak, sini.” It was the customs officer pointing me to the manual counter because my fingerprints don’t work despite 6 tries on the machine. Yes, my fingerprints don’t work. Not the machine.
Having collected my luggage, i went in search of halal chwee kueh, chee cheong fun and homemade iced lemon tea. At the cafe, i placed my order and the cashier repeated it, but instead of lemon tea, she said honey lemon. i corrected her, “No, homemade iced lemon tea.” “No, honey lemon. Lemon tea no more,” she insisted. “Oh… but i dont want honey lemon,” i said apologetically while bewildered at why am i the one apologetic. She stared at me while stifling a yawn and so i said, “Give me iced milo then.” And immediately regretted my decision. Diabetes. PM just started a war against diabetes, particularly against the Malay/ Indian diet, whatever that means, and here i am getting sugared up the first thing upon landing. She proceeds to scoop heaping spoonfuls of milo powder from the tin. It bears the Healthier Choice symbol.
It’s time to Grab home and i weighed my options. The ‘right’ thing to do would be to go back down to Arrivals and get a Grab from there. No wait, but the rightest thing to do would be to queue up for a traditional taxi. Since i wasn’t gonna do the rightest thing, and luggage plus dabao food is a hassle to drag all the way back down, i decided to take my chances and try to get a Grab from a Departures door. It was a quiet night anyway, there were hardly any cars at Departures. I took extra care to indicate clearly on the app that i’m waiting at Door 2 of Departures. Moments later, i got matched to a driver and it wasn’t long before he called me. I picked up the call and before he could say anything, i clarified that i was at Departures as per what i wrote in the notes. Expectedly, he berated me for my foolishness and told me to go down to Arrivals immediately. Okay. i clumsily hurried down, half hoping he would just cancel my booking. It wouldn’t be difficult to get another Grab at Arrivals anyway.
At the lift, i pressed the down button, but when the lift arrived, a porter pushed rows of trolleys in immediately. i stared at him as he ignored me and continued on with his work. When the lift was full with trolleys, i had expected him to get in and go down with the lift. Bt he didn’t. He exited and the lift stalled. For very long. Passive aggressive me slammed the down button. Now he finally looks at me and says, “Jangan picit.” Grumpy at the lack of lemon tea and having to chase after a Grab booking, i was going to start an argument with him, when another lift came down. i pressed the down button smugly, supposedly to help open the doors for those exiting, but really to annoy the porter.
When I finally found my Grab, the driver repeated again that i shouldn’t have waited at Departures. “Ya i know, i was just trying my luck.” “Cannot… if we go to Departures ah, can kena saman you know!” “i know.”
i know. i know.
i know that the machines don’t always work in Singapore, but it’s really my fault for not doing more to make it work. Like, who ask you to have dry fingers that the machine can’t read? Who ask you to not have richer or more qualified Malay candidates?
i know that in Singapore, you can’t always have what you want. Like homemade iced lemon tea when it runs out. Or Tan Cheng Bock. And when it runs out, i should immediately accept the closest alternative that the cashier provides. The cashier is smart; she knows you like things with lemon, and Malay president, and it’s about time you got your lemon, hence she suggested honey lemon instead. And only honey lemon. Why so clever ask for Milo? And you forgot right that Milo is not good for you? See lah. Next time just accept the professional suggestion straight away. Nevermind that milo also has the Healthier Choice symbol. Or that Farid and Salleh were originally told that the committee may consider their appeal for not being exactly rich enough.
i know that not everyone likes to explain themselves in Singapore; they just want to get their jobs done, nevermind if it upsets or inconveniences you along the way. It’s ok, you can wait for the eventuality and find out yourself. Like the porter who let me press the button and wait for the lift, knowing that when it comes, he would just ram his trolleys in, leaving me no chance at boarding. Or this election where they allowed honest people to nominate themselves and put in the deposit, knowing that they would just disqualify them when the election date nears. He didn’t have to explain anything to me before or after, i would be upset either way, so why bother.
i know that in Singapore there are rules. Rules that everyone has to play by even if you don’t agree with them or don’t think they make sense in the least bit. Like no pickups at Departures. And no Tan Cheng Bock at Reserved Election. Nevermind that i already said that i’m waiting at Departures and yet you chose to go ahead and accept my booking. Nevermind that everyone, non-Malays and Malays, said that they don’t want a reserved election, you still went ahead with it.
i know. But you can never stop me from continuing to try my luck, exercise my agencies of choice, and passive-aggressively register my disdain. Because hope. One day, the damn machine may just read my fingerprint. One day, the cashier may sincerely apologise for not being able to fulfill my wants. One day, the porter may just give way to me. One day, someone may just stick it up with me, and fetch me from the Departures already. Risking saman. Because hope.
Source: FB post by Nur Khairiana