In the same way that the early Americans built their towns and cities on a sensible grid system to counter the problems inherent in the more naturally evolved infrastructure of old England, Singapore has created an extremely wise solution to avoid the ills which arose from cheap labour in the Americas: do not allow these people to breed.
This interesting fact was explained to me by a taxi driver yesterday. I went to a fabulous spa on Sentosa for a facial, massage, mud wrap, and reflexology – really lovely! I like to have cheaper, more local treatments on Orchard Road at least once a week, but as Don is away, I deserved a spesh treat. I’ve been getting really quite stressed since he left (yesterday morning), what with the ongoing worry about Max’s Minecraft obsession (over which I have abso zero control, and now he has started watching YouTube clips about it, which probably signals the inevitable terminus of his six-year childhood); and Milly’s dysfunctional relationship with Froo Froo dog.
I’m v concerned about Froo Froo too because she has taken a turn for the worse, and seems to be muttering to herself in dark corners of the house. At this rate, the poor thing will need psychological support that I am simply not equipped to deliver. That’ll be expensive here, no doubt : ( Maybe I can find a Skype dog psychologist.
Sometimes I wish we lived in the States. Things like dog therapy are much cheaper there. Moving for the dog’s sanity, though, would probably not hold much sway with Don. He didn’t even want to bring the Froofster. When it came to the crunch, I had to say (bluffing, of course) that it was me and the dog, or neither of us. He did think about it for quite a while, looking back.
Anyway, so I spent the cab journey to Sentosa catching up on the news on Facebook. I like to keep abreast of the goings-on on the Singapore Expat Wives’ group. It’s very much you-snooze-you-lose with that group because there are so many interesting posts constantly emerging.
On the return journey though, I was all zen and relaxed, so I settled back into the seat, and listened to the driver’s sweet chitchat. So, that was when he told me about this clever way of discouraging the lower working people from breeding.
He explained that, as the vast majority of domestic workers (female, of course) are Filipinas, the imported manual laborers and such males are deliberately not from the Philippines. Genius!
Instead, they are Bangladeshi or Chinese, and because they often don’t speak English, and certainly not Tagalog, fraternising simply does not occur; thus no little baby working people are born on Singaporean soil. Pretty clever, eh? That, plus the required six-monthly pregnancy tests for domestics, pretty much sews up the problem : ) It covers all bases, as those hilariously metaphorical yanks would say.
By the time I got to Dempsey to meet my new friend Liz for lunch (Liz knows Deb, whom I know from our last country, from the country they were in before that; I think it was Zambia, or Namibia or somewhere; def one of the African “ia”s), I felt v curious and inspired by the circumstances of the lower workers in Singapore. I am considering writing a book, if I can find the time, either about Filipina domestics, or perhaps a collection of taxi driver tales. Both would be so fascinating, I can’t decide! (I still haven’t decided about my pool towel and club dilemnas! Argh!!)
Thankfully, I have at least made up my mind about which Gucci bag to have flown in to Dubai airport. Quel relief!
I think Liz, particularly as a newcomer, was v interested in my potential sociological studies because she kept nodding, smiling, and saying, “Ah, yes” and “Oh really?”. In her previous (pre-expat wife) life, she was an editor on a highbrow British paper, so she knows a good story when she sees one. Lay off my ideas, Liz!! LOLs.