News that Singapore Airlines now flies direct to New York has filled our little flat with a mix of incredulous joy and deep skepticism.
“Oh, that is so amazing!” Amanda gushed when she first heard the news. “All the way through! No more stops in Frankfurt or London!”
Saffy bosom trembled with doubt. “Really? Sit in a plane for 18 hours? That doesn’t sound like too much fun…” she said, completely ignoring the fact that she had just completed a marathon binge of an entire season of 24, rising from the sofa only to go to the loo or to let in the Deliveroo guy.
“Shall we go to New York for Christmas?” Amanda said, her face beaming with the kind of joy normally associated with a Victoria’s Secret model wearing the million-dollar diamond bra.
I said no, immediately. “I’m not flying for 18 hours straight in Economy.”
Amanda smiled beatifically. “The plane doesn’t have an Economy section. It’s either Premium Bee Hoon or Satay Class.”
Saffy sniffed. “I’ve never trusted the Premium Economy cabin. You get like two centimetres more leg room and the chair tilts back three extra degrees. Big deal!”
“Well Sharyn said she did the Premium Bee Hoon flight to Perth and she enjoyed it!”
Saffy’s bosom rose like perfectly kneaded dough in the oven. “That woman gets excited when a Toyota Prius shows up on her Grab booking. I’m sorry, but she’s not my benchmark for transportation.”
I nodded. “I’m with Saffy on this one.”
“So we can go Satay Class, then!”
“And how much will that cost?” Saffy wanted to know.
Amanda pulled out her phone and tapped a few buttons. She turned pale and murmured something.
Saffy frowned and leaned in. “What?”
Amanda dropped her head. “Sdhsven hadnand…”
Saffy turned to me. I rolled my eyes. “She said ‘seven thousand’!”
Amanda rallied. “It’s not too bad…” she began.
“Compared to what? Walking? Seven thousand dollars for a plane ticket? Are you mad? Do you know how many char kway teows that is?”
“Two thousand,” I told her.
“Two thousand!” Saffy repeated. By now, her breasts had inflated to a dangerous volume.
“Well, they’ll serve you satay!” Amanda bleated.
For days after, it was all Saffy could talk about.
“Seven thousand!” she told Miriam, our condo security guard.
“Who has that kind of money?” she asked the office tea-auntie who, clearly, had better things to do because she snapped, “Ay girl, I’m very busy hor. You want biscuit or not?”
“Seven thousand!” Saffy repeated to Sharyn who said that didn’t sound so bad considering that it was already more or less that amount to fly Satay Class from Singapore to London. “And New Yock is much further away than London!”
Saffy told Sharyn that clearly she, Sharyn, was being paid far more than any HR administrator she knew. “And the thing is, I actually do want to go to New York for Christmas, but seven thousand would have been my budget for the entire trip and not just for the airfare. And we’ve not even included the hotel or food or shopping!”
Sharyn shrugged. “Who ask you study Arts in uni? If you study Law, now you can fly Wedgewood Class! Even Satay Class too low class for you! Can you imagine? Aiyah, you fly Bee Hoon Class, lah. Is good enough.”
Saffy’s chin stuck out stubbornly. “Not for 18 hours, Shazz. I think I’d rather die.”
Still, the idea of spending a white Christmas in the Big Apple haunts Saffy’s waking moments. Every hour or so, she’ll stop whatever she’s doing and go online to Singapore Airlines’ website in the hope that miraculously, they’ll have a fire sale and slash prices off the Business Class fares. This despite Sharyn assuring her that Singapore Airlines only ever has sales for Economy flights.
“When you are rich, you dohn need discount mah! Is like Prada. Prada where got discount one!”
“It’s just not fair!” Saffy puffed. “That’s discriminating against rich people. Rich people should also get discounts!”
Meanwhile, Amanda has been trying to recruit me for the Christmas trip. “We have no children! Who are we saving our money for?” she asked the other day.
But I held fast. The other day, I was on the 105 bus home and I was scrolling through my online bank statement. It made for depressing reading. As I later told Saffy, I could easily stop working today and live quite comfortably for the rest of my life – so long as I died by Saturday.
Saffy shrugged. “I think I’d have enough if I died by Friday morning.”