You (don't) have mail

Before HDB changed the letter boxes at J's block to the sort where you can lock the slot (so that no one except the bona fide postman can place mail in it), we would receive all kinds of junk mail.

A year ago, the packrat in me started a collection of these junk mail. They are brochures and pamphlets mostly, with the occasional discount coupons from Ronald and Colonel Sanders. Some are photocopies of handwritten notes, others are glossy full-colour projects. They range from the full A4 size sheet to the tiniest slip measuring 5cm by 3cm.

The more socially disturbing brochures have included this mail-order-bride agency's advertisement (for single men 25-70!);

mailorder bride

the politically-incorrect messages from maid employment agencies; and the temptations of the neighbourhood porn peddlar (unbelievable titles and promises!). Right after the government announced the go-ahead for 2 casinos integrated resorts to be built in Singapore, I also found this brochure from an enterprising author of a gamblers' guide.

gambling tuition

Having little desire to learn baccarat or participate in any form of legalised human trade, I suppose I am not their target audience.

But on a typical day, the pamphlets are designed for a typical Singaporean like me, progammed to desire our little 100sqm HDB flat - our pride and joy, our birthright on this island.

These are either colourful messages from estate agents advertising their services and properties, or plain, handwritten notes on 3by5cm slips of paper from prospective buyers. Of the two, I prefer the latter:
Urgent! Please Help Us! Dear Owner, we have just sold our condo. Homeless now. Desperately looking for a 5-room HDB flat. We are willing to pay $20k-$40k cash upfront. Please help us!

Dear Owner,
Your surrounding and flat is best to me. I am very serious to buy a flat in your area. If you are selling, please call for serious discussion. No agent pls.

this is my third time writing to you. I am very interested in a flat in your area as my children are being taken care by my parents staying nearby. Willing to pay good price over value. Please call me.

Dear owner,
my buyers are getting married soon. They are urgently looking for flat in your area. Willing to pay $20k-$40k above value, cash payment. Please call...

I am Mr Wong, from Hong Kong. I am urgently looking for a flat in your area as my son is studying in a school in the area. Willing to offer high price. Please call me. No agent pls.

Aiyah, I do miss these little stories in the mailbox: the migrant's tale; the "downgraders" demise from Condo-heaven; the single-parent's struggles...Now, a trip to the mailbox yields only the story of our life of consumption on credit.

If you still get these pamphlets in your mailbox and feel guilty throwing them away, pass them on to me.


wheyface said…
There was a flyer last week about learning to play the gamelan and make wayang kulit puppets at a house in my neighbourhood. This morning I thought I was back in Bali when I heard the gentle strains of a gamelan . . .
ampulets said…
You obviously live in a more refined neighbourhood...
wahj said…
Old fashioned spam. =)

I'm inherently suspicious of all these things. "This is my third time writing to you" is a classic spammers psychological ploy, trying to put you on the backfoot by implying a sense of obligation - "I've written to you twice, you have ignored me, therefore you owe me something". Bah.
ampulets said…
yah, that's what I thought when I saw that note! And not second, but third time!

These notes are best read aloud... or maybe it's only me who finds such drama in these few short sentences ;>

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