Thursday, August 25, 2005


It was my turn to do the night duty yesterday. With the LTA contract, the whole department had to rotate and do night duties cos LTA operates 24hours. I started work at 8pm and was supposed to finish at 8am the next day and then go for a day's break. The whole night turn out to be really interesting..

David was my partner for the night. Now, those of you who follow my blog closely, I talked about David before. To cut the whole story short, David is a Chinese national worker. Hes in charge of helping us shift out cars before these cars are being delivered or packed into containers. He does not look like a typical Chinese national, other than his strong Fujian accent when he is talking. Hes very tall and dark, due to being under the sun everyday. Just imagine a tall, dark, rather good looking guy with a very carefree way of walking and you get the whole picture.

It was about 4am when I finished my work for the day. During the whole time, David was acting like my big brother, he kept coming into the office and asking me to take a nap. There was even once when I went to the toilet. David was sleeping in the car outside and when he realized that I was missing from the office, he came looking for me. In the end, we both scared the wits out of each other when he came out of the office just as I was going in.. Bleah...

After I finished most of my work and after my brain refused to continue thinking straight, I went outside to join David in his car. At first, we were too hyper to sleep, so he took me to visit his hostel. Turned out, its actually an empty office in the middle of the yard where all the cars are being parked. The whole place looked really bare and eerie but him and Aaron, another Chinese national stayed there. That was their home.

Then he drove us back and we just lied on the front seats of the car. He pushed them back all the way so that they resembled make-shift beds. Just trying to get some comfort out of our limited space. Perhaps its cos of the mozzies flying around or perhaps it was cos of the cold in the night, but both of us can't sleep. So we talked.

We talked about lots of stuff, about his hometown in the Fujian province in China, his lost dreams of striking out a career, his 3 year stint in the Chinese army, his near escape with getting hitched to his Commander's daughter, his wife, his desire of having a family to return to after a hard day's work, his way of resorting to smoking, drinking so as to soothe his homesickness.

We talked about how he would like to go up to the roof-top and look at the moon when he just came to Singapore 3 years ago, how his agent dumped him here leaving him penniless and hungry, how he was betrayed by his a friend whome he considered to be his brother.

We talked about his views towards Singapore and Singaporeans as a whole. He thinks Singapore is a wonderful place to live in even though the cost of living is very high here and how really wants to have a PR here. He also happens to think that most Singaporeans are naive and simple minded and obedient.

We also crapped a lot, about our boss, about our horoscopes and even about palm reading. He said I would be involved in a three-way relationship during the later part of my life. Incidentally, he was the third person to comment about that. We also talked about how girls in Singapore are so much different from China, Korea etc. We also talked about my siblings conflicts, my nagging mother, his elder sisters whom he missed, his wife whom he has yet to go through the traditional marriage ceremony with and his desire of having a car to drive his wife and childrens around, if he really do have children. We also gossiped a lot about our boss and the department as a whole and the management.

Its really weird but he is a man of few words and yet during last night, both of us talked like we knew each other for a long time. So, the 2 of us were lying in the car, side by side, and looking at the roof of the car while talking non-stop all through the night. At one point, he drove us to the 2nd level where it was really dark cos I commented that its getting brighter and I have yet to catch my sleep. And yet, while we were there on the 2nd level of the warehouse, in total darkness except for the lights on the radio of the car, we still can't sleep. We just talked and talked and talked.

I was glad that I went for the night duty cos I think I have made contact with another human being that night.


Paddy Tan said...

It takes a lot of courage to leave one's own comfort zone to be out making a living. At times, it really feel good to talk to someone that is willing to be a listener. :)

Iris said...

I have a feeling that he just wants a listening ear, the more I listen to him, the more he will talk.


rijac said...

i liked reading this post a lot. it reminded me of similar experiences connecting with people for just a short time.

Anonymous said...

I liked reading this post too, make me feel warm in the heart somehow after reading it.. I agree with paddy.. David is very courages to leave his home town to find new ways to earn a living here..

When I start my new job on last thurs, I was shock to see my current partner now was a 47 year old guy who is being retrenched by his ex-company that he worked for 21 years.. he got lost of story about human behaviour to shar with me too.. seems like its a flashback of his 1st day working till now after he got retenched n still need to find a rather low paying job just to get the days go by..

human beings are really very unique from persons to persons, u will never know more w/o getting the "first contact" :)

Iris said...

I think the best way to connect is to listen. Something so simple yet so many people forgets.

Anonymous said...

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I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!