Because it was a last minute trip to Singy, I didn’t get to let many friends know beforehand, and so we visit my former landlady (who works shifts at an undisclosed Singapore Air Force base while her hub is in charge of Karaoke equipment and stuff at events which means weekends and public holidays would be busiest) with a tar-powed breakfast before she goes to work.
My first job was at OUB, which has now merged with UOB, and back then I paid SGD 300 for a room (un-airconditioned, officially no meals, but I remember her feeding me often when she was around to cook) in this flat. My landlady/lord are not the kind of super-rich landlords you rent Bel Air apartments from, and I would try to be careful and conserve water when I did the laundry at least as a courtesy, stuff like that.
After the first contract was up and I expected a raise in my rent, my landlady said to me, “You work at OUB right? I read about the merger/acquisition in the papers, and figured you must be facing some job uncertainty. Therefore I’m not raising the rent.” Even though I assured her I was one of 13 retained, out of an old dealing room of about 80 (if I recall correctly), she insisted on not initially raising it though she should’ve. I’ll always remember that even though it was like, 10 years ago. We’ve asked her and her hub to come spend a night at Bel Air on occasion, but they rarely pass this way… Well, maybe someday… Hope you’re reading this Mrs Lee
Anyway I ended up renting that room in this HDB at Jalan Tenaga in Eunos, completely as a fluke. And there I stayed for several years (I kept the room even after I often slept over at Kings’ much-more-comfy-and-close-to-the-office-apartment-where-we-also-kept-2-turtles-named-Oakley-and-Yoga-and-umpteen-pet-miniature-lobsters-who-racked-up-a-long-history-of-escaping. I’m old fashioned that way. Ahem.)
In a few years if she retires, my landlady is considering offering room-and-meals for students from abroad as a pseudo guardian. She especially likes Malaysian students (can’t imagine why hee hee). Interested or curious, email me. When I stayed there it wasn’t just they’re nice people – if your teenager is being an idiot she was the kind of person who’d tell him. Or warn you. Honest and direct. I think that’s more important to find in a guardian than simply putting money down for a nice place and bla bla.
My first apartment out of uni was actually in Ghim Moh, with a landlord recommended by an ex boyfriend’s mum. Since I only returned late at night to sleep, hanging out the rest of the time at my ex’s, I thought the neighbors’ complaints about mysterious furniture moving noises were simply because they had the wrong unit.
Then one uncharacteristic Saturday night, I was home around midnight when I heard banging on the front door. Rushing to the front of the apartment and seeing the grill door open, I assume it’s some emergency and obviously landlord-related since they have a key to the grill which I can see from a window is already wide open (it’s Singapore right, what are the odds it’s an actual crime where someone picked the lock without getting reported?) so I hurriedly unbolt the door thinking Am I going to get a lecture for the bolt? (I had a habit of discreetly adding extra bolts on doors that lacked them when I lived alone.)…
There stood my middle-aged Ghim Moh landlord dead drunk and in my face. Pushing past me he flung himself on the couch and declared he was going to watch tv “because it’s (his) home” (I was occupying this apartment alone, he lived in another one nearby). After standing at the door (in case I needed to run out) for a time and realizing he wasn’t going to budge, I bolted myself in the bedroom and called a “friend” living just a few blocks away. She wouldn’t come and wouldn’t send her husband (or for that matter do anything). Needless to say I stopped speaking to her. Especially after she called weeks later, surprised I had moved out, and said “Oh, so you really were in trouble that night”.)
By the time my ex showed up, Ghim Moh landlord had left, slamming the door behind him. I didn’t emerge til my ex was outside the door, but then the phone rang and I finally realized who’d been prank-calling me for several weeks with things like “Are you alone?” Ghim Moh Landlord berated me for “thinking (myself) too high-classed to join (him for a lie on sofa to watch tv).”
So I hung up and rang his mum and sister (who also owned the unit I was renting), and when they admitted he had a drinking problem and “Oh, so THAT’s why the neighbors complained of noise when you weren’t in,” and oh, they didn’t know if he would be coming back because he was unstable when drunk (they think?) and I should call the cops if that happens, I stayed in the guest room of the guy I was trying to end a relationship with. I was NOT a shiny happy person.
Also wondered if when I returned the following morning I would find my stuff trashed with a baseball bat. (It wasn’t).
And that’s how I ended up at the Eunos HDB area. My mum kind of knew someone who knew them and I moved in practically without seeing the place, I was desperate to move my stuff from the other place (and not impose on my ex). Though I did bring an old friend and his girlfriend along (after getting lectured for not calling them when Total Crackpot was kicking the door in – but they lived too far away and didn’t drive, as did all my other friends u c.)
After breakfast, we eventually make our way to Wild Wild Wet (yeah it seems like I already used to live there, but this place is so big and Rockstar is NOT a water animal we figure there has to be something we can interest him in… In the interests of getting him to like playing in the water enough to learn to swim soon). Will get more pics after I get Kings camera…
So we float, in tires, down Shiok River flowing round the water theme park. Thrice. Would’ve gone round and round all day but we enticed Rockstar out with noodles from the foodcourt.
But the Rockstar would have none of the Longan.
ps: HAPPY (BELATED) BIRTHDAY MR LEE!!!!