The Mouse v Super-Joyce

Posted in maids, the mouse by expatatlarge on August 28, 2011

E@L went shopping for a specific type. Soft-soled, forgiving. He needed to minimizes this incongruous tenderness and this chronic pain.

A leather upper and an air-cushioned sole, for example, and Reebok made the ones he had found successful and that enabled him to wear them at work including the long days standing watching customers walk past to the GE booth at conferences, and not look like a software programmer, someone who’s come to fix the air-con, or a jogger(!) in mufti.


(Just to remind all you faithful readers and inform all the web-robots who come looking for backdoors to spam this site, E@L has peripheral neuropathy, idiopathic, affecting both feet, and manifest in two distinct ways. The balls of feet have been aching for seven, maybe eight, maybe nine years non-stop. Non-stop. At the desk, in a taxi, in bed, in the morning. Non-fucking stop. Speaking of joggers, the feet feel like E@L has been running marathons in Florsheims. Then there are the electric shooting pains and hypersensitivity that affects mainly several toes. Gout sufferers, feel free to empathize at this point. This latter symptom is well controlled (well less and less lately) by several thousands dollars of assorted drugs, mainly anti-epileptic and minor attitude adjustment products. Hence the slightly more temperate position E@L has had in regards to his frustrations at the various perfidious experiences of culture shock he now takes on the chin in his extended tour of the Asian cultures. The pain in the balls (as it were) remain a problem and only super-supportive shoes help.)


The particular shoes in his size were not available in Tampines Mall. Well, duh. Westerner sized feet? Not up here in the heartlands. The shop assistant rang through and found a pair of size 45 at Parkway Parade shopping centre.

“Where is that?” asks E@L who has extremely limited knowledge of the wonders of the East Coast of Singapore (another part of the heartlands?).

“Um…” she replied. “It’s, um, at the end of Parkway.”

“And where is that exactly.”

“It’s hard to describe.” If you are an idiot. Note that E@L did not scream at this point but merely thought of screaming, and instead he smiled and gave his name and contact for the Parkway shop people.

Thank Christ and/or Google for Google Maps, but hang on, IKYN, when E@L opens the app, his screen zapped out and flew across the pacific to centred in on some drug and criminal infested barrio in Mexico City. WTF? Shakes heads, types in Parkway Parade and the app swings back across the vast waters to Singapore. What was that all about?

Parkway Parade, of course the taxi-driver knew it well – it wasn’t E@L’s home address which no-one has ever heard of. Shoes were purchased. One task. Done. Oops there are secondary tasks: buy some fresh squid and prawns for the curry tonight. This Chilled Repository had no fish deli, so he turned around and headed for the taxi-stand.

A women came up the escalator and walked towards him. A short Filipina, round-faced, glasses. Intelligent, focussed expression on her face. E@L was startled. This lady looked the image of The Mouse. It wasn’t her, but she had such a close resemblance that E@L could not help but wish it was her.

Last year, The Mouse had telephoned and cryptically asked if E@L would be prepared to hire her again should she come back to Singapore. The Mouse never called back. Three months later, around Christmas, E@L txt’d her and called but the automatic exchange said something in Tagalog (or Spanish, who can tell?) and disconnected. He wondered what was going on, hoped nothing bad had happened. Who knows, storms, floods, fighting; it’s a crazy land. He had really no way of finding out if she was alright, save a full search-and-rescue operation, hacking through dense tropical jungles (“It’s using the trees!”) of the northern parts of Luzon. Or catching a 12 hour bus from Manila. [Mmm, bucket list: find The Mouse?]

But as he walked on, he wondered if the reason for her lack of contact was that she had come to Singapore after all, or maybe that she had gone back to Hong Kong, and was now employed by someone else. She would now have a local number.

Working for someone else!

E@L’s heart dropped, he felt faint, his eyes almost misted. Perhaps she had found another employer, maybe a better, kinder, more generous, more understanding and supportive one than E@L. One with more books. The thought of her being here (or there) without calling to say hello and to explain hollowed him out. He felt cheated, betrayed. These are not just words, not abstract forms, these tell of physical things, measurable things, you all know this. When E@L says his stomach churned, his stomach really DID churn. When he says he felt sick, he really FELT sick, acidic and bilious. He felt pale, clammy. His pulse raced.

Snap. It was an instant.

Hey, he wanted to have The Mouse. He wanted her to be his. To be his friend again and to be his employee again. He didn’t want her to have said she would come back to him and then to go with someone else, but maybe she had! But that would mean she had lied to him. Did he love her? He certainly held the most positive and caring attitude towards her. He wanted always her to be happy, he wanted himself to be happy even more, though when the trouble had come and she was forced to return, he let her needs rise above his selfishness. Of course he did, he is a nice guy. Dumb fucker. No, he didn’t love her although he wants her, and not just as a maid either, but also as a friend. Was she treating him unfairly, was she being unfaithful? Was she not that good after all?

This was, da duh!, how he had felt the other week-end when Odette had stayed in the taxi and went on with her girlfriend (presumably for steamy sex). Jealous. Cheated, betrayed. LOSS OF OWNERSHIP.

[And yet with his post-modern, self-observant cynical eye, he was amused as he became even further self-informed: he is capable of being an idiot for not only love, like you, like everyone else, but also for a good employee.]

Love and ownership. Proposing, marrying, kidnapping, stalking, raping, pining, committing suicide, murdering, eloping (doing the Romeo and Juliet thing), the Dr Zhivago thing (leaving the missus for a gorgeous tart), pistols at dawn, writing poems, novels, radio dramas,screenplays and operas, attacking rivals in a pub, pillaging the neighbouring tribes for that woman you spied washing clothes by the river bank, starting a war against Troy (the piece of arse that launched a thousand ships), these are things you will to assuage this emptiness.

You know the shape that will fill the hole, and the vacuum is stronger than anything, ever. It’s completely irrational. It’s lower brain, it’s primaeval, it’s lust, it’s jealousy, it’s WANTING. They castrate you because you won’t stop, you climb the tower to get to her, you fight the dragon, you…

E@L stands aside from his emotions and think’d: What is really happening is that you want one of your sperm to impregnate her before that from the rivals (real, imaginary, hypothetical) do. Ah, now we are getting to the point… Your selfish genes control you after all. They don’t care about the pain, the hurt, the nausea; they just replicate and seek promulgation. That’s what they do. It is their purpose and all else is merely the trappings. You are the support system for your sperm, for your eggs. Art, music, poetry. Pffft. Chromosomes rule your life, they are your essence.

This is where the urge comes from, the feeling that makes the world go around, spins it faster and faster… You want that person, you have no idea why or more correctly you have no idea why you want that person so desperately, why all of a sudden you’ve decided they’re yours and you have to have them… It is the forgotten meaning of what being alive entails. We are the too smart apes ruled by dumb genes.


Yes, the snapping sensation, that eureka moment, that epiphany, that hit when he thought of The Mouse, was uncannily like the moment of realization that struck him when Odette went from becoming Izzy’s sister and E@L’s fun-loving, cute, tiny, way-young travel companion to – SNAP – someone else, someone he desperately wanted to screw (but knew he never would/could).

It was in the same epigastric sensation, the same emotion [E@L’s repertoire of emotions is frighteningly narrow-bandwidth, like his cricket batting strokes; a no-step straight drive to mid-wicket, backward defense snicked pulled shot to third man, forward defense snick to second slip] but he reached there along a different path, from a different need. Did his genetic core get it wrong this time?

Friends have advised him, slightly less than jokingly, that he should just marry The Mouse, shut up and get it over with: have a perfect wife, a clean house, good food, a quiet voice, someone to talk about books with, no sex. Should he have done that? Should he still consider that trek to the Bay of Islands. Seriously he could not imagine having a better person as a significant other… But her phone number is lost. That was not her on the escalator.

But, no E@L never fancied The Mouse in sexual way… This was no sexual snap at all, it was an emotional snap, one of a lost friend, but also of lost possession, one of ownership.

He wonders at yet another opportunity lost. Is this his density?


Super-Joyce asked if E@L wanted her to help him with dinner? She was ironing in the spare bedroom and had heard E@L chopping up herbs for the curry paste.

“Sure, can you shell the prawns if you like.”

Silently (unusual for Super-Joyce) she pulled off the shell, cut out the ‘vein’ and placed the prawns in a bowl. Then she picked up the squid and put it down again. E@L opened a tin of fenugreek powder for the curry paste. A small moth flew out. A web of fenugreek coloured silken strands formed a nice moth nest inside the mouth of the tin. This must be where last month’s Infernal Tiny Moth Plague was sourced. It mainly affected the spare bedroom interestingly, not the kitchen.

“Oh,” Super-Joyce jumped back at the tiny moth’s sudden appearance.

“I’ll do the squid if you like,” E@L said and she laughed with some relief.

“Thank you, Mr Pilip. I don’t like the smell on my hands when I am folding clothes.”

“No, that’s a good idea.” E@L pulled the head, guts and plastic spine from the top of the small squid. He had two to prepare.

Super-Joyce was still in the kitchen, she hadn’t gone back to the ironing. “Mr Pilip, I find this on the floor.” She pulled out the rubbish bin [a plastic shopping bag in a bucket], moved some of the prawns shells aside and showed me a curled up black thing slightly bigger than a thumb-nail, eight legs in a clonic spasm. A dead spider. “Is poisonous, I find here, [pointing at a corner near the stove] and spray it. Now it’s dead.” Obviously.

“Many animals here in your kitchen Mr Pilip,” Are moths and spiders animals? Arachnids. Moths are insects, right?

“You need someone to look after you more, Mr Philip.” Pause. “Mr Pillip, can you help me?”

E@L looked up from pouring great quantities of coriander powder into the curry mix to make up for the lost fenugreek. “What is it, Joyce?”

“Mr Pillip,” her voice was now more serious than E@L have ever heard it, strained, louder, insistent, “my employer has going back to working in Jakarta. He cannot sponsor me any longer. Can you sign for me, can you be my employer?”

E@L smiled lightly. “Well I guess I can…” Then he thought of The Mouse, and his essentially forlorn hope of finding her again. “The thing is, I promised I’d sponsor my old maid if she wanted to come back.” That was nearly a year ago, who was he kidding?

“You have another maid coming?” she asked.

“Oh no, no. It’s just that she called last year and asked me to… she wanted me to… Oh, that was so long ago. She’s obviously not coming. Look Joyce, it shouldn’t be a problem but let me think about it. I’ll think about it…”

E@L picked up the bowl of prawns to mix with the now sliced calamari. Super-Joyce hadn’t removed the inner heads of two of the prawns.



In unrelated news: the lady whose signs E@L had missed way back when and he never called back, has been unwell. Some surgery, some therapy and she is fine now but not yet back at work. E@L sent her a good will txt and they had a few vaguely positive (yet negative, now she can’t drink any more and so is unable to come to the distributor’s Sake Party at his place this week) exchanges… Who knows what will come next…

Further news associated to this illness: the lady who had been sitting at the same desk previously had developed a similar problem, but unfortunately with a sadder outcome. No-one wants to sit at that desk. It has bad luck. Ghosts. It is the ‘cancer desk’. IKYN.


Freedom Come, Freedom Go…

Posted in about to be kicked out of Singapore, economics, freedom, maids, Singapore, torture by expatatlarge on January 20, 2011


Several snippets that highlight the contradiction that is the beloved Little Red Dot, i.e. Singapore.


1: Singapore once again rates highly in the 2011 Heritage Foundation (and WSJ) Index of Economic Freedom. A close second behind Hong Kong, and just ahead of Australia,

[ Aside: Australia comes in 3rd presumably because the Huge Mining Coroprations of Australia recently showed the ease with which they could a) rip the guts out of the country, b) sell it to China and c) change any government that has the temerity to say, “Whoa, enough already, you greedy arseholes, what about letting the small companies have a go? Here’s a tax on your obscene profits (that’s money left over after all that needed to be spent has been spent) that will provide funding for a scheme that will guarantee truly fair competition for small exploration companies as opposed to the monopolies and cartels that you behemoths call capitalism.”

But I came here not to praise Australia, but to bury Singapore.]

An article in Asia Times Online deconstructs the Heritage’s methodology, and makes not just a few points about this so-called freedom. For a start they are talking specifically of economic freedom here.

This is not First Amendment friendly stuff. They examine how easy, for example, it is to run roughshod over worker’s rights, and sometimes, when they fall out of the trailer trucks that carry them to the construction site, workers themselves. Sorry I meant to say the “flexibility” of the workforce – flexible enough to bend over backward in order to get any job and to be hired and fired on a whim. Slavery would rate highly on this sort of index – oops, did someone mention how some domestic workers are treated here in Whip-a-poor?

According to the Heritage website, “Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state. In economically free societies, governments allow labor, capital and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself.”

That roughly translates as work, consume, die peoples. When I was growing up in Oz, this was not was meant by freedom.

The blinkered simplification of a word like “freedom” without qualification, almost reminds me of the times that George H Bush used to come to the Asian Tiger economies sprouting talk of how free markets and free societies run hand in hand, or was it run with wolves in sheep’s clothing?… *cough* *cough* “hhhuuuurrrrrkkkk* Oops, sorry, choking on a bit of vomit there…

John Raulston Saul tore that simplistic truism of Bush Snr’s a new arsehole as I remember, in The Collapse Of Globalisation, a few years back.

Then some genuine irony, I mean a conundrum – Hong Kong which ranks #1 in the Economic Freedom Index, also rates extremely highly in freedom of speech and freedom of association, to the point of near anarchy! The exact opposite of what Singapore maintains is the essential political stance for its own economic success! How come?

According to Joe Studwell’s Asian Godfathers: Money and Power in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, it is not because of their political systems at all, but because the families that run them are slightly less corrupt and self-serving than the families that run the countries around them. (About 20 families run Asia. One family runs Singapore and takes in about 60% of its GDP.) It’s a lay-down misère (in Australia that means a certain win, not a certain loss) for business where to invest in Southeast Asia or lower China. Fascism or anarchism, it doesn’t make a difference if the ports are free and pay-offs are minimal.

Anyway, point of story, don’t confuse your freedoms…


2. In completely unrelated news about freedom (of speech and association), the leader of the Singapore’s main opposition party, The Singapore Democrats, Dr Chee Soon Juan, appeal has failed and has been fined $20,000 and given a 20 week jail term (again).

His crime?

Speaking to people.

Talking to people.

Out loud.

In Singapore.

Where you need a licence to talk (or write on a blog, See point #5, below).

Dr Chee is the guy who, in a previous period of incarceration (he’s in jail more than he’s out of it) was sprayed with cold water and made to stand in front of an air-conditioner. It’s not water-boarding but it’s not 100% pleasant either, even in Singapore’s constantly hot, muggy weather.

Of course that fact that this blatantly political result has gone through in a period leading up to what the ruling family party, the PAP, laughingly call an election, does not reveal anything about the judiciary in Singapore. Not one bit.


3: Singaporeans are disappearing race(s). In a town that complains of too many foreigners (like me), the locals are not doing enough fucking to breed more locals. The birth rate of 1.16 is way below what is required to replace the population let alone grow it. At this rate Singapore will invert into its own belly button in 20-25 minutes, which is about the time it takes for a Singaporean to find his dick and put on a condom. According to the authorities, it is the Singaporean’s fault for not having babies. Too lazy to fuck.

Izzy, who camped at E@LGHQ for fortnight over New Years, put me onto a great quote from blogger Menwongth.

One of my friends, a born-and-bred white-collar Singaporean in her early thirties, married with no children and no intention of having them, commented that some species just don’t breed in captivity.

That’s not a hundred miles from the truth Gerald Giam (linked above) of the Worker’s Party, says; the falling birth is due to “too busy at work, cost of living too high, education system too stressful for children (and their parents), cannot find a place of their own to stay.” (My emphasis.)

It’s not increased competition from “foreign talent” (like me) but from cheap, unskilled workers for the service industry out of mainland China or skilled(ish) builders from the sub-continent who can be hired for up to a 1/3 lower salaries. The Singaporeans have to work longer, faster, cheaper in order to compete.

Too busy. No place for privacy, no time for sex, lah.


4: Domestic workers are overpaid. When the wages of slavery rise to the point that Singaporeans rebel, does this mean they are threatening to match the conditions of Hong Kong, where maids can earn more than double, up to about $S1,000 per month and, horror of horrors, they get a day off each week!

Not quite, but an easy solution strikes me. Maybe those Singaporeans who have been squeezed out of work by the foreign talent can drop their extortionate domestic helpers, and utilize the free time given by their own unemployment to wash their own dishes, do their own ironing, fall out their own windows and wipe the arses of their own incontinent aged parents (who themselves lost their employment as Kopitiam cleaning aunties due to foreign talent).

And the ladies might also find the opportunity to squeeze out more babies and rescue the country from irrelevance.


5. The website where I read most of these stories , The Online Citizen (via Facebook actually) has been gazetted, whatever the fuck that means, to register as a political association, despite being merely a conduit for political news from a variety of sources.

This means, even though it is a loosely (dis)organized community blog, not an organisation, it has to conform to rules that apply to political parties, such a transparency in its leaders and funding and the banning of foreign sources.

The immensely wise and amusing Singapore blogger mr brown, himself once silenced by the Singapore media authorities, takes this latest news to ad ridiculum lengths by suggesting that even taxi-drivers should be gazetted.

[Singabloodypore, run by a former “foregn talent” from Scotland, is also on still top things in Singapore as well.]


Enough for the moment. Bangkok work is quiet, hence the lengthy blogging. Time to go for a blowjob massage.