Hello people, I’ve returned from my blogging hiatus once again. To all my batch mates out there, it has come to my attention that Arr Jay See has recently decided to enforce its rules and regulations a wee more strictly. Teachers take attendance at every lecture for everyone, cycling and blading are now banned in school, not handing in assignments is a white slip offence and food can no longer be consumed in class. It occurs to me now that if they had been secretly enforcing these rules during my time in school, I would probably have garnered enough white slips to build a live-sized paper mache replica of Barney the Dinosaur. Not that I would want to. Not really anyway. At least I rarely ate in class though. Might have had a few meals in canteen during the class itself, but seldom in it. I’m such a good boy I know. Anyway I don’t think you can really begrudge the school for enforcing its rules, though I think it takes away some of the fun and freedom that made JC different from secondary school. The fact that I was surrounded by scoundrels left and right who would happily skips Math H3 lecture to play 02jam at my house or pon math lecture for a nap in the art room was one of the things I loved about JC. Oh well.
In other news, me and Ge made our second attempt at finding the mythical PSS last saturday. For those who are unaware of the first attempt and why we made it, you can read this.
iamohcy.blogspot.com hereby presents:
There and back, and there and back, and there again, by ohcy
It all started the week before. We had decided to have a grand day out, and to go on a Quest. We just didn’t know what the Quest was going to be. And despite much intense discussion – mainly consisting of multiple cycles of “I want to go to Body Worlds! Buh! Dee! Worlds! Buh! Dee! Worlds!!!” and “And I’ve told you I’ve already been to Body Worlds you bloody twit.” – we couldn’t decide what to do and thus arranged to just meet first and decide. And so on the day itself I trudged down Mount Braddell and took bus 157 to the Phad Thai market. Upon reaching the market and meeting her however, we both decided we didn’t have much of an appetite and thus decided to just skip lunch and head off straight to our destination. And so with a packet of Sugar Cane juice in our hands and our heads held high, we trudged off on our journey, realising somewhere between a stretch of pavement and a decaying patch of grass that we had no idea where exactly we were trudging off too.
I had been all for splattering zombies in some left4deading fun while she continued to fervently campaign for Body Worlds. Eventually though, we decided that it was too sunny a day to be viewing human innards and shambling corpses, both in real life and on a computer screen, and we decided to go rollerblading at Bishan Park. I flipped upon my street directory to take a look at the park and lo and behold! PSS was right next to it. Clearly destiny was shouting to us, in really small font on a 2 by 6 grid, “Go to PSS! Go to PSS!” And so it was that our second PSS journey began in pretty much the same way the first did, going from Bishan to A Far Off Place and then back again. Though of course this time I took advantage of our stronger friendship (and her weaker arm muscles) and grumbled a whole lot more.
We found the roller blading shop without much trouble and proceeded to rent a pair of skates. We were both penniless then so I had to pay for the rental with my magic cards. Yes, I am card captor chin yang. Having expected to explore the more ulu areas of Singapore, I had brought along my tripod for picture taking. Ge on the other hand, was supposed to bring the camera.
“Eh ge, I told you to bring a camera right? Where is it?”
“Errr… hehe. Woops.”
“Hah! I knew this would happen. I knew you’d forget. I knew it. Luckily I brought along my…”
“Errr… hehe, Woops.”
“So we have a tripod, but no camera?”
“Yep, pretty much.”
“Great. Just checking.”
After putting on our safety gear (safety first kids!) we set off for PSS with all the speed of an intoxicated beached whale at a Zouk Out party. What a Zouk Out party has to do with the speed of a whale I do not know, but it just seems to me that if you were to look for an intoxicated beached whale that’d be where you find it. I’ve gone off tangent I know. I do that. The first few minutes of our little road trip mainly consisted of ge slowly making her way past various staggering obstacles – humps, cracks in ground, an army of ants crossing the road – while I circled around her trying to teach her how to brake. You would think that someone who didn’t know how to brake wouldn’t really have that much trouble trying to move forward. Oh well, that’s life.
After a few minutes though, she basically got the hang of it and we were speeding along gracefully for all of 10 metres before running into a corrugated fence. Literally. Well, I stopped some distance before it, but my brakeless friend quite amusingly charged into it with a beautiful clang. Ge, if you’re reading this crashing into walls is really quite a bad habit. You need to learn how to stop. Though on the other hand it’s a way to leave a mark I guess. Who knows, in a hundred thousand years time that Ge-sized imprint in the fence may be all that’s left of humanity. So go ge go! Smash into more corrugated fences. All of civilisation is counting on you.
Apparently a large part of Bishan Park had been closed off for construction works or something like that, explaining the corrugated fencing blocking our path, if not the human sized dent in it. So we circled around for a while looking for another way out before grudgingly stomping across a field of grass to the nearby pavement. Crossing a large patch of muddy grass while wearing roller blades isn’t exactly the most enjoyable activity in the world I know, but at that point it was either that, or ge hurling me through the fence. And nobody likes to be hurled at a fence. Involuntarily anyway.
After trudging through that sinkhole we crossed the road and headed for the nearby HDB estate. There we ran into the first real obstacle of the day – a flight of stairs. And they weren’t just any flight of stairs – well actually, they were just a normal flight of stairs, but to our wheel clad feet they were A TERRIFYING DEATH TRAP. It may have been one small step for Man, but Man was probably wearing adidas sneakers. Slowly but surely though, we got down on our knees and safely crossed the TERRIFYING DEATH TRAP (it just sounds cool to say).
Upon reaching the HDB void deck, we skated around for awhile in circles, leaving all thoughts of muddy grass patches and terrifying death traps behind as we enjoyed the smooth surface of the corridor floor. There was this provision shop right next to the stairs run by an Indian family, and Ge wanted to go grab a drink and a bite. Time waits for no man however, and I refused to be a living meal-on-wheels so we decided to quench our thirst once it was all over. After a while we headed off, and I led our little two-pack through the maze of corridors and HDB void decks. After a long while I stopped and tried to gain my bearings. Ge of course, gave me a sceptical look and questioned where exactly we were supposed to be heading. Insulted that my orienteering skills were being, well, insulted, I told her that I was absolutely sure I knew where we were (I didn’t), we were definitely heading in the right direction (we weren’t), and that we couldn’t possibly get lost (we did). Iphone addict that she is, Ge tried to tempt me to use her fancy little iphone apps.
“Just use my iphone maps lar. We can get our location and everything.”
“No! No! It’s supposed to be a Quest! I refuse to soil our epic journey by using technology.”
“Haha Chin Yang. Isn’t that the same Indian shop we started out at.”
“And look! The Stairs!!”
“Hahaha. All that blading and we’re right. Back. At. The. Start.”
“Oh just shut up and give me the phone.”
Faced with the repeated sight of both the Indian provision shop and the TERRIFYING DEATH TRAP, I cracked and used her stupid iphone app. Don’t judge me. All you hypocrites smirking away like you’ve never tried to find the cheat codes for Freddi Fish: The Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds. Which might I add, ranks up there with Putt Putt Goes to the Zoo as some of the most epic games ever made.
Turns out that we were nowhere near where we were supposed to be. In fact, we had gone in entirely the wrong direction. I tried to deny it but that annoying “Oh-look-at-me!-I-can-play-music-logon-to-facebook-and-identify-your-location-to-the-nearest-ten-meters-all-at-the-same-time!” hunk of junk wouldn’t let me. The arrogant bastard. And so we set off once again, ge’s iphone mercilessly stabbing my bruised ego with every glint of its shiny black casing. Stupid iphone. I want one.
The next half hour or so proceeded without much incident, and I was able to navigate properly to the correct location once I knew roughly where we were in the first place. We were crossing a bridge over some canal when we were both hit with the feeling that we had been here before. And then it struck us, we had returned once again to the Canal of Flying Coconuts, where 3 years before ge and I had been told by a security guard at the nearby condominium that PSS had temporarily moved away from that location. In our subsequent frustration daily exercise routine, we tossed, kicked and generally abused multiple coconut husks who probably led peaceful, if slightly placid, lives up till that point.
To commemorate our triumphant return to the place, we decided to take a picture there. Sadly though we found it impossible to both take a picture that included both us and the Canal of Flying Coconuts using ge’s iphone while maintaining our balance on the steep slope of the bridge. (Hah. I knew it couldn’t do everything) Luckily, this really old couple was came hobbling by out of the condominium so we asked them to help us take a picture. And so we leaned against the bridge, clutching onto the railing for dear life while we waited for the old lady to take the shot.
“来！来！站靠近一点！（Come! Come! Stand closer!）” the old lady cried with a wily grin.
Thinking she was trying to fit us both into the shot, we madly scrambled along the railing and inched a bit closer to each other.
“站靠近一点！再站靠近一点！(Closer! Even closer!)” she cried again, with a smile even wilier than the one she had before.
Yes, somehow we had stumbled upon the president of the Romancing Singapore campaign. Eventually though, she finally decided that that was as close as we were going to get and she snapped a shot.
“这样可以吗？(Is this ok?)”, she asked, passing us the iphone to take a look. It was an interesting enough shot I suppose – a patch of sky in one corner, a patch of grass in another, and what looked suspiciously like a giant index finger covering the rest of it. Rather guilty that we were taking up so much of their time, we asked her whether she could take just one more shot and she agreed.
Thankfully this time she decided not to play the SDU secret agent and just tried snapping the image without trying to meld us into one being. It became apparent though that she had covered the camera with her finger again and so I frantically waved and shouted at her:
“Finger!!! Your finger!!””
To make my point I raised one finger and shook it in her direction.
Yes, I realise what that would look like.
Eventually though, she got my point and took a proper shot with nary a bit of skin in it. We thanked her profusely and went our separate ways, leaving her to return to her quest to repopulate Singapore while I went back to my daily routine of threatening 80 year old grannies.
And here’s the photo by said granny:
After this we continued hobbling across the rest of the bridge. Suddenly, there we saw it – a piece of paper with an arrow on it that said “Peirce Secondary School”. Encouraged by this sign from above – well, stuck to a stick and hammered to the ground if you must be specific, we charged on with new found vigour. Finally, there it was! The Gates of PSS, which we had, years before, sauntered towards only to collapse in defeat beneath a sign that said:
The Fellowship of the PSS:
It was Legendary. I can’t remember much of it now, but in my head a horde of our friends surrounded us, slapping our backs and carrying us towards the Gates, while inspirational Summer Olympics theme songs played in the background. In truth though we probably just gave a whoop of joy and crashed into the gates. All I can remember now is just a tremendous sense of nostalgia and lots of cam whoring around the area.
We had done it though. We had strode rolled into the face of Bad Senses of Direction, Match Making Grannies and Terrible Death Traps and rolled back out none the worse for wear. We were champions. And as champions with mounting overdue charges on their skates we felt we deserved a break so we decided to just take public transport back to bishan park. On the way to the bus stop ge wondered whether we would be allowed to board the bus while wearing skates. Our question was swiftly answered with the arrival of a bus.
“Hi Uncle! Can we board?” Ge cheerfully chirped out.
Almost totally obscured from view by an onslaught of passengers, the poor bus uncle gave us a quick look of confusion before hesitantly nodding his head. Suddenly, his head glanced down and spied our dainty little rollerblades.
“NOOO! NONONONO! CANNOT! 不可以！不可以！”
You should have seen the look of utter horror on his face. Freddy Kreuger in a nurse’s costume during the height of the SARS epidemic wouldn’t have garnered such a reaction. I haven’t heard someone say no so vehemently since the last time I tried to ask a girl for her number. Haha, just kidding. Really.
And so for the second time that day we hailed a cab to take us to bishan park. The cab uncle was friendly enough I suppose, though he was smiling just a bit too smugly at us for my taste. For one brief, haunting moment I half expected him to whip off a mask and turn into the matchmaker granny from before. We relaxed in the cab for a while, and enjoyed the shifting views outside -the grassy fields near the school, the brick red housing blocks of Sin Ming Ave, the forests of Bishan park, the grassy fields near the school … again.
“Erm Chin Yang, didn’t we board the taxi at this area”
“Ohh? Oh… OHHH!!!!”
“Uncle! How come we’re back here again!”
“Aiyar, I tried to tell you all but you all were so busy talking. Just now you all never get off mah…”
And so once again for the second time that day we travelled in one big circle only to end up exactly where we started from in the first place, except this time it cost us an extra $5.60 to do so. Though I guess that incident was keeping in line with the whole spirit of our adventure. After having gone through so much just trying to find the place it only makes sense that we had to spend as much effort trying to leave it.
The cab driver ended up depositing us at the wrong end of the park, though we were too afraid for our wallets, and ourselves, to ask him to drive us anywhere else. The way things were going we would probably have ended up singing for alms in a dusty alley in Yemen. Well, at least ge would. I’d probably be the monkey scampering around with the battered tin can,
We slowly bladed back the way we came, when I decided to speed up a bit and enjoy the fruits of our prior uphill labour. Seeing a steep slope up ahead, I slowed down a little and turned to warn my compatriot, although the yelling blur shooting past me seemed to indicate that I had been a bit late in my warning.
“Ahhhh! Chin Yang! Help!! Help!!!”
I had forgotten of course, about our friend and her little braking problem and thus went chasing after her trying to slow her down, to no avail. And so I shoved her off the pavement.
In my defence it seemed apparent to me at that time that we were both going to end up crashing anyway, and the soft grass next to the slope seemed like a tad more appealing place to do so than the rocky valley of death at the end of it.
Threatened an old granny and shoved a lady off the road. Not one of my finer days no.
And so with a shout of “Fall!! FALL!! JUST FALL!!” we both went tumbling into the grass, where I somehow ended up flat on my back and gazing into the sky. I know it’s at times like this that one’s supposed to look up and give thanks for still retaining fine motor control but at that point in time all I was really thinking was “Owww…” because the sun was in my eye and a pointy rock was poking where said sun wasn’t shining.
We reached the rental shop without any further hullabaloo, albeit with a rather impressive overtime rental charge. We almost got away with it though. The rental lady mistook the 1500H on our receipt for 5pm, but I decided that I had gained enough bad karma that day already, what with the granny-scaring and the girl-pushing, and revealed her mistake to her.
Following that we then walked to J8 to get some bubble tea, singing songs along the way as I blasted songs on my Boombox. You heard me. I have a Boombox. And its awesome:
Stuck on a post victory high, we sauntered down the road to J8, grooving and singing along to “Low”, “Smack that” and other groove-worthy songs. We weren’t so high though, that we didn’t turn around every 10 minutes or so to check if there was anyone staring at us. It’s a bit harder to throw your hands up in the air and wave them around like you just don’t care when there’s a 60 year old woman staring at you with one eyebrow raised.
Soon enough we reached the bubble tea stall and rabidly ordered our drinks. Naturally, Ge has to go start sipping her drink the moment she received it.
“Nooo! We must sip it and go aaahhhhhh… together!”
“Oh! Sorry, right right.”
Minutes later as I turned and took my first sip I would see her gazing at me innocently while vacuuming down a half empty cup of bubble tea.
“Erm… slurrppp aahhhh?”
Well that was pretty much the end of the Quest really. We stoned around J8 for a while as I bought my dinner before parting ways at Mac Ritchie.
It was an epic day.
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