A group of ah peks are sat behind us, huddled around a large wooden table draped over with a cloth the colour of an ang pow and covered with a transparent plastic sheet, a prophylactic against stains, grease, and cigarette ash. The ah peks are arguing with the lone woman in the group, a Filipina, about the number of airports in Cebu. 

Somewhere at the front of the kopitiam is a very angry man yelling about an umbrella. He curses in Hokkien and warns an unseen someone, “don’t play play”. The tables of shirt-clad office workers on their lunch breaks turn to watch the fight between mouthfuls of lunch. They seem nonplussed, like they’ve seen it all before. Later on, the police arrive to take statements from the kopi hands. 


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