Saturday, March 17, 2007

Queues, milestones and hairy decisions

What an epic day.

Today, D and I were officially inducted into the Singapore guidebook to life. We decided rather spontaneously to put our names in for a ballot for a new HDB (read: government-subsidised) apartment near the central city in Singapore. As of this moment, 729 applications have been received for 106 prized apartments.

We channeled Frodo and Sam as we prepared for our journey of unknown proportions to HDB Hub, to submit our application in person. Water bottle: check, full breakfast: check, good book: check, ipod: check, wad of documentation: check, sudoku puzzle book: check.

We got to the offices at 9am only to be faced with an orderly system with no queues. No sullen clerks telling us to fill in multiple forms in different colours. It was completely simple and pain-free! Man, I love Singapore.

But I was still in for a shock though. Just as I was signing on the dotted line, D ambles up to me saying "Guess what? I'm the head of the house!" This is our ensuing conversation:

Me: Eh? But I'm the principal applicant! (only Singaporean citizens can be principal applicants, you see. Kiwi permanent residents can only be the secondary applicant.)
D: Yeah, but as the husband, I'm the head of the house!
Me: Oh yeah?
D: Yeah, which means the ethnic quota comes under me.
Me (very interested now): Really?
D: Yeah, so instead of us applying under "Chinese", we are now officially classified as "Other".
Me (weakly): Other?

This is the first time I've been labelled an "other" in my own country. Last time I checked, my ancestors hailed from a village in Guangzhou called Sek Long or Stone Dragon, and my second language was Mandarin under Singaporean education policy. Hmm, ok... this may take some time getting used to. But again, as in all things Singaporean, I soon became peckish and my grapplings with identity and culture were overcome with my desire to have Ya Kun kaya toast.

Anyway, so we put in our application (fingers crossed: ballot takes place in May!) and as soon as we emerge from HDB Hub, we see massive queues of unformed students. All shapes and sizes, all so young!

Turns out Mediacorp was holding auditions for Campus Superstar. Had to take my hat off to these kids - they queued up in the open for hours for a few seconds in front of the judges. We hung around for a while, and got to see some elated, talented students qualify for the second round.

Then, it was one major milestone in life to another. More specifically, the billion dollar question that has been plaguing me of late. To perm or not to perm.

My one and only perm took place when perming technology gave just about everyone Maggi Mee curls and the wet look. Needless to say, not the best of times and I have a stack of photos (and a host of lost dates) to show for it. So since then, there's been this huge perm phobia. But in the spirit of major life events today, I decided to go for a ceramic perm.

Here's the last picture of me taken with straight hair (whilst hanging out with D and Dean last weekend).

Here's the new hair! I've got... more of it! Woo hoo. I can do stuff with it besides wash it and let it dry and erm, put my sunnies in it. So even if we don't win the ballot, at least I've won the war against bad perms. Fair trade, I say!

Am now feeling wondrously renewed, ready to take on my virgin trip to Tokyo (leaving Tuesday night!) and to usher in my 31st year. Wonderful what a trip to the hairdressers can do to a woman's mood.

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