27.4.06

housework

This picture is still work in progress, but I wanted to post it here on Nomination Day.

This post is dedicated to Mr Chiam S. T.

housework

Mrs C did not think at the age of 45, she would still need to be doing homework, but she is. Homework, housework - same thing - both give her the same headache she had from as young as 9 solving "problem sums". The only difference was that homework was what she did when she did not own the house she lived in, and housework what she did when she has to pay to keep the roof over her head. Of course, Mrs C has been reminded by her husband that they do not actually own their HDB flat since, technically, all HDB flats are on a 99-year lease from the state. Mr C's rule of thumb is that whatever his grandchildren will not inherit is not really his to own. "Not my house. Not my motorcycle. Not my job." He would occasionally lament. "Only my gene that will them diabetes is mine."

It is very likely that Mr C would be repeating these words this evening. Mrs C peeped at the newspaper the man beside her was reading - "PAP not returned to power. With only 7 walkovers, the PAP is facing a challenge in..." Yes, for the next two weeks, Mrs C has no doubts now her husband would be giving imaginary election speeches before the television.

"You talk so much you go and join the opposition lah." Mrs C had ventured to challenge the short but solidly-built man once.

"You siao ah! Then we will surely lose this house, not in future, but now!"

"It's not ours anyway, you always say, so what's the big deal? Now or 99 years later?"

Mrs C cannot remember what was the reply to that, but it was a long and hard to follow treatise about the defamation charges, undeclared income, mortgage, interest payments, something about upgrading and IKEA furniture.

But tonight, Mrs C had her own plans than sit around and listen to the man fight his imaginary campaign. She would need to mop the floor, put the laundry into the washing machine, take the fan apart and see why it is making that rattling noise, and maybe check on their son's revision schedule - the only son, Mini-C - whose mid-year examinations start right after May Day. Ah, May Day. The union had sent her an invitation for a pre-May Day dinner tonight. As with previous years, she did not attend. What was the union for anyway? Free but cheap dinners and discounts at the cooperative supermarket - cheaper if she bought the things from the market nearby, at least the stallkeepers there will tell her if something isn't fresh and let her bargain. She cannot remember why she had joined the union...oh, maybe it was a colleague who had asked her many years ago, saying something about the danger of losing her job when she hit 40. Well, she is 45 this year and she's still got her job. It's not anything that excites her, but it will do. It pays the utilities bill, it pays for her slimming pills (it's just an experiment, just to try and see if the advertisements work, she is that conscious about her looks), it pays for the flat, still.

So we're back to the flat, Mrs C thought.

And a good thing hers was at the next stop. Maybe there were too many people and it was too stuffy in the 6pm train, but Mrs C could already feel a headache coming.

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