They say that travel broadens the mind. Of course, Saffy is of the view that the people who say this sort of thing are usually cashed-up rich kids who eat quinoa salads for lunch and can touch their toes in yoga.
“I mean,” she said the other day, her bosom inflated to maximum capacity, “it’s all very well for Suzy to vomit such horrible platitudes at me, but really, if I didn’t have to work because my husband is a plastic surgeon and I live in a house so big I need two maids, which then left me with all that free time to travel on Satay Class to San Francisco, I’m willing to bet that my mind would be broader than her hips!”
“Ooh, girl, snap!” Barney Chen growled as he helped himself to another bite of coconut cake at PS Café. “Who is this Suzy woman? She sounds like someone who needs to be pushed down the Istana steps!”
Saffy rolled her eyes. “Ugh, she’s this woman who does yoga with Amanda. I was waiting to go to lunch the other day, and she came out of class with Amanda and she says to me, ‘Oh, I’ve just come back from the East Coast and I must have caught a cold there!’ And I said, “Oh, do you know Sharyn? She lives in Joo Chiat!’ And you should have seen the look she gave me!”
“So bad,” Sharyn piped up, her eyes magnified by her Coke bottle-thick spectacles. “Joo Chiat is East Coast what!”
Saffy’s breasts puffed up even more. “I know!”
Amanda, having already heard this tirade at least five times in 24 hours, sighed.
“I mean, who says East Coast to mean Boston?” Saffy went on, gathering steam. “And that was when she dropped that stupid line about how she loved to travel as it broadened her mind! Broadened her fat ass, more like it!”
Amanda looked at Sharyn. A secret code to change the subject must have passed between them because Sharyn coughed and said, “Ay, I ask you ah, I got two-week leave I must use up. Where can my husband and me go ah?”
“Why don’t you try the West Coast, Shazz?” Saffy said immediately.
“Hah? What for I go to Jurong for two week! You siow ah?"
“No, I meant San Francisco!” Saffy turned triumphantly to Amanda. “You see?!”
Amanda rolled her eyes.
“Seriously, though, Los Angeles would be lovely this time of the year!” Barney said. “Not too cold, not too hot. Lots of cute men.”
Sharyn shook her head. “Doh wan! Skali, got earthquake like in that movie and my whole hotel fall into a hole! You tink all those cute men will help res-kew me? I doh no why people want to live on top of a fault line! Siow!”
Amanda frowned. “What movie?”
“San Andreas,” said Saffy, who like Sharyn, adores both Dwayne Johnson and apocalyptic movies.
“Tanzania?” Barney suggested. “The gorillas there are supposed to be amazing!”
“Doh wan. Got Ebola and Zee-kah! And lagi expensive!”
Amanda began: “But that’s in East Africa and there’s no Ebol...”
But Sharyn wasn’t haven’t any of it. “Thank you. Next!”
“My sister just came back from the Maldives,” I said. “She was at this amazing resort where…”
“Aiyoh,” Sharyn moaned. “Got tsunami, then how? I cannot swim, some more! Sure drown, one!”
Barney hesitated. “Uhm, India is meant to be really…”
“Cannot,” Sharyn said firmly. “My husband got asthma. Confirm he die from the poh-lu-shen!”
“I love Paris,” Amanda said. “All those gorgeous French me…”
“Ay, hello! There, still got riot, hor!”
“I know! Melbourne!” I said, feeling a little desperate. “You’ve never been to Australia!”
“Got big spider there!” Sharyn said. “Cannot, I takut spider!”
“Where got?” Saffy began and then mentally rewound what she’d just said. “I mean, what spiders?”
Sharyn’s eyes widened. “Hah, you doh no, meh? That Kee-ree-gos got bite by spider! And then he straightaway lose his match!”
It took a while, but we all got there eventually.
“Oh, Nick Kyrgios,” Barney sighed.
“Yah. Spider!” Sharyn repeated. “Aiyah, no point lah. Everywhere in der world so dangerous. Maybe we should just stay in Sing-gah-pore and have a staycation. Hor, Saffy hor?”
Saffy shrugged. “That’s really boring, Shazz, but it’s your holiday!”
Later back in our flat, Amanda said it was a miracle of nature that Sharyn had survived to adulthood, much less gotten married and had children.
“Well, I do see her point,” Saffy said. “The world is such a dangerous place these days. You can’t open a newspaper without reading about someone dying somewhere!”
“But people are dying all the time!” Amanda pointed out.
“Yes, but there’s no reason to pay good money to fly out to where they’re dying,” Saffy told her. It was a statement of logic that defeated even Amanda.
The last we heard, Sharyn was investigating hotels on Sentosa.
“Don’t tell her about the landfill,” Amanda warned us.