In the little flat I share with Saffy and Amanda, nothing preoccupies our waking lives more than the idea of retirement. Now, alert readers out there might pause and think,“But these people are just barely out of puberty! They still have decades of CPF to contribute to! Why would they be thinking of retirement already?”
These are all undeniably accurate sentiments, but, nevertheless, they do not detract from the fact that we are all essentially bored with our lives.
The other day, Amanda said being a lawyer just made no sense. “I mean. It’s not as if I’m an engineer or an artist. At the end of the day, you’ve got a bridge and a painting to show for your hard day’s work. What do I have to show? A pile of paper.”
Not to be outdone, Saffy said Amanda should trying being in HR.
“At the end of my day, I am surrounded by very unhappy people. They’re unhappy when they join the company because they’re still emotionally scarred and bitter from their last job. And when they leave this job,” Saffy said, pausing to suck in breath, “they’re even more scarred and bitter because they never got that promotion they were promised when they joined in the first place!”
“It’s almost like dating, isn’t it?” Amanda suggested.
Saffy’s eyes brightened at the a-ha moment. “It’s exactly like dating! You know it’s all going to end in heartbreak, but you go on the date anyway and when it’s all over, you wonder why you bothered in the first place.”
“And then you go out and do it all over again,” Amanda said, “because if you didn’t, you’d be sitting at home on a Friday night watching an old episode of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix!”
“So, the solution is to just walk away from it all!” Saffy said, her enormous bosom inflating with enthusiasm. “Give it up and call it a day!”
“But then, what would you do?” I asked.
“I would do yoga all day,” Saffy said.
“But you can’t even touch your toes,” Amanda pointed out.
“Which is why I would be doing it all day!” Saffy sighed, thinking, not for the first time, that it was an absolute scandal Harvard ever gave Amanda a degree in the first place.
“What would you do if you could retire now?” Amanda asked me.
“Absolutely nothing!” I replied.
“Well, you can’t do nothing,” Saffy said.
“Of course, I can. That’s the whole point of retirement! So you don’t have to do anything! I would just live off my CPF and sit around the apartment all day!”
Amanda looked astonished. “But you’d be bored!”Which, in turn, astonished me. People seem to have this idea that being bored is a bad thing. #Notme.
Because I read the news. And it’s telling me that it’s a scary world out there. All this excited talk about nuclear wars and trade wars and biological warfare makes me nervous.
Today, I was informed that Facebook has weaponised the data it collects. I don’t know what that means exactly, or how anyone could weaponise a picture of my lunch, but I’m glad I’m no longer on it. And apparently, Ebola is back. Just thinking that I could catch Ebola gives me indigestion.
Apparently, an old Chinese curse is to tell someone, “May you live in interesting times.”
Which is just a very fancy way of saying, “May you never have a moment’s peace.” And it’s such an effective way of hating someone. Because nobody has ever cursed anyone by saying, “I hope you die of boredom.”
To my mind, being bored means you’re safe. There is no imminent danger of something awful happening to you. If I wanted that kind of excitement, I’d still be a lawyer.
“Well, that’s a very strange way of looking at the world!” Saffy said, her bosom trembling like a pot of simmering soup.
“It’s true! Bored people have no stress!” I told her.
“Yah, is very true, what Jason say!” Sharyn piped up. She pushed up closer to Saffy.
“You look at all the line on my face! All cause by my husband and my chil-ren! Before I mare-ly and before I give birth, when I was single and got no ploh-blem, my face smooth like Fann Wong! After I mare-ly and give birth and got mortgage, my face become like Christo-per Lee!”
“Ooh, he’s hot!” Amanda said with approval.
Sharyn sniffed. “Where got? He got so many wrinkle now. Like me lor!”
Leave it to Sharyn, Saffy said later, to come up with her own version of #MeToo.
This story first appeared in 8 DAYS issue #1442 (Jun 7, 2018).