Excuse Me, Can I Have A Refund?
I’ve been having some strange dreams since the Forward Singapore reports a few days ago. I’m on a minibus going to KL. Halfway on the N-S Highway, the air-con suddenly stops working. It’s sweltering. Unperturbed, the driver smiles, stops the bus, opens all the windows and drive on.
I ask: “What’s going on? Are you going to get your air-con repaired?”
He says: “Why bother? it’s better without the air-con. Feel the breeze in your hair. Feel the warmth in your face. This trip is no longer about A/C. It’s about healthy perspiration that will bring great inspiration. Remove the distortion of the glass window. Enjoy the pure and raw view of the scenery outside … “
I ask: “What if it rains?”
“That’s even better. A few heavenly splashes will cool you down. Besides, it’s less taxing for the engine. I’m getting you to KL faster than originally planned. You should thank me.”
Is this guy some reincarnation of Ah Q? Or does he take me for an Ah Q? So I ask, excuse me, can I have a refund?
On another night, I dreamt of checking into a 5-star hotel room. The moment I enter, I catch the scent of stale tobacco smoke. I call reception to complain. I have specifically asked for a non-smoking room. Why are they giving me a smoker’s room? The receptionist explains that it’s not really smoke I’m smelling but someone has done some aromatherapy with tobacco leaves in the room.
Then, I try connecting to the wifi and find it painfully show. The receptionist said that it’s deliberate. The hotel supports meaningful engagement in real life and discourages unhealthy indulgence in the digital environment.
When I get into the shower, I find the shower head leaking. Water is flowing down the tubing instead of coming out of the shower head. I call reception. How could they charge me for a 5-star hotel room when their maintenance is so poor?
The receptionist is getting impatient with my nit-picking. She says that the purpose of the broken shower is to discourage excessive showering as it could be detrimental to skin health.
Another Ah Q maker? Excuse me, can I have a refund?
Then, I dreamt of an investment guru Mr Bao Jiak who promised me great returns if I invested in a scheme called Profit Always Positive (PAP). I trusted Mr Bao and threw my life savings into Profit Always Positive. The scheme made me lose money. I was disappointed but Mr Bao was still positive about his PAP. He told me that I was investing for the long term. But I was still losing money even after Mr Bao had passed away. His son took over. He continued his father’s bao jiak story until things began to look worse and worse “long term”. Finally, in an attempt to stop me from questioning, Mr Bao Jiak’s son said: “Investment in Profits Always Positive is not just about material success. It is also about fulfilment, meaning and purpose in what we do.”
Hmm… Excuse me, can I have a refund?
My last dream was a real nightmare. I dreamt that I had woken up from a dream and realised that I had left my door unlocked when I was sleeping. To my horror, my home had been broken into and what few valuables I had were all gone. After dreaming the Singapore Dream for so long, what was I, me and mine had become we, us, and ours. I guess it’s my own fault that I forgot to lock the door.
We’ve got to be careful when we’re so wealthy. Per capita GDP is an indication of the standard of living and we are way ahead of Hong Kong and Japan and that’s not a dream. Don’t question or you may get POFMAed. Let’s dream on.