Amanda has always said that of all the free websites out there, the only one she would voluntarily pay money for is YouTube.
“It really is the best!” she marveled the other day as she watched a decades old interview with the then crown prince of Thailand after she read about it in the newspaper. “I mean, back in the old days, I don’t know how I would ever have gotten my hands on this video.”
“Some dusty library, probably,” Saffy said as she peered over Amanda’s shoulder. “Goodness, his English accent is so posh!”
“Expensive boarding schools,” Amanda said with the kind of knowledgeable authority you can only get from months of ruthlessly following every single aspect of the king’s coronation.
“The new queen is pretty. I wouldn’t mind being a queen one day,” Saffy said as she allowed her imagination free rein to gallop. “Her Royal Majesty, the Serene Queen Saffy of Monaco. That’s got a ring to it, don’t you think?”
“They don’t have kings and queens in Monaco,” Amanda murmured, demonstrating, not for the first time, her encyclopaedic grasp on European royal heads of state.
Saffy paused. “Oh, well, in that case, I should marry the king of Bhutan, or something. He’s so hot!”
The idea of her royal Bhutanese nuptials occupied Saffy’s fevered fantasies for days, until Sharyn told her that Bhutanese winters are dire.
“I ever saw a documentary on YouTube,” she said. “Wah, dey all, ah, look so damn cold! Minus sick degree in January! My husband set our air con to 22 degree, I or-redi cannot tahan!”
“Minus six?” Saffy said, her eyes wide. “No way!”
“Confirm, cannot,” Sharyn said. “You want to marry, must marry someone who live somewhere warm. Like Bel Air!”
Which is how Saffy found herself trawling through YouTube videos of Bel Air, a suburb that, until the death of her dream of being Bhutanese royalty, she’d given absolutely no thought to at all.
One day, shortly after lunch, she was randomly clicking through the videos that YouTube’s algorithms had generated, and found herself watching a real estate video of a house that had just come onto the Bel Air market.
She immediately forwarded the link to Shayrn who sits next to her. “Ohmygod, Shaz, you’ve got to watch this. This 22,000 sq ft Bel Air house costs $88 million! Eww-ess dollars! And it’s on the market!” she said in tones that suggested this was an absolute steal.
Sharyn immediately clicked on the link. “Siow ah! Must be for Chinese market, if asking price is eighty-eight! Ang-moh where got so much money?”
“It’s got nine bedrooms, seven guest-rooms, 15 baths, and something like eight bars!”
“Wah, got hair salon and spa room!”
“Did you see the car elevator?”
“Aiyah, Singapore oh-so got what!”
“The one on Scotts Road? That can fit only one car, I think. This one fits six!”
For days, it was all the girls were able to talk about. What boggles the mind, Amanda observed recently, is that you don’t just buy an $88 million house and call it a day. “You need a full time staff of, like, 20! You can’t have one part time maid cleaning a 22,000 sqft house! It’ll take you two days just to mop the floor!”
“I don’t even know what 22,000 sqft means!” Saffy pointed out as she scrolled through YouTube. “Ooh, what’s this?”
She clicked on it and gasped. As if the Bel Air mansion wasn’t sufficiently OTT, she’d just stumbled on a 38,000 sq ft, 12-bedroom house.
“How much is it?” Amanda called out from the kitchen.
“$188 million!” Saffy shouted back.
There was a clatter in the sink. Amanda’s head popped out. “Seriously?”
“It’s available for rent, and it comes with its own helicopter!” Saffy reported.
Amanda sidled up behind Saffy’s chair. “Who are these people?” she demanded.
“And why are we not married to them?” Saffy added.
It turns out the house also has a $300,000 quartz sink in the guest bathroom, 350 built-in speakers, a $250,000 onyx garden wall, and a $2m staircase. But what’s captured everyone’s attention are the fire extinguishers that are literally made of bottles of Dom Perignon.
“Wait, you’re extinguishing fires with actual champagne?” Amanda asked.
By this stage, Saffy was so numb by the excesses of the house, she just shrugged. “You know what’s depressing is that I shop at Sheng Siong. And the owner of this house probably doesn’t even know what the inside of a supermarket looks like! I’m going to die poor,” Saffy decided.
Sharyn says the owner probably isn’t a Passion Card holder either, an observation that, days later, still has us all in stitches.