INT.OFFICE - PANTRY - EARLY AFTERNOON
Ah Tan was reading newspaper while nonchalantly sipping his coffee at the corner table. Ali and Ah Lim walked into the pantry and each dispensed a cup of coffee before making their way to the table. Just when their butts barely touched their seats, Mr Teo stormed into the pantry with a tight face and even tighter fists. He sat down at the table heavily and abruptly. The other three men held their breath and stared at Mr Teo.
AH TAN (cautiously and slowly): Sir, what's wrong?
MR TEO (irately): Stupid god damn PRC bitch!
The other three men took a deep breath and dared not exhale. Suddenly, as if remembering something, their eyes scanned around the pantry.
AH TAN (even more cautiously and slowly): Er... Sir, you do remember that we're not supposed to talk bad about the new immigrants?
Mr Teo folded his arms, sat back and took a deep breath himself.
MR TEO: Thanks for the reminder, Tan. But I believe Boss could forgive me this time. Do you know that this ungrateful PRC woman actually flashed her blue IC on China national TV while declaring her undivided loyalty to China?
AH TAN, ALI and AH LIM (exclaiming together): What the hell?!
MR TEO: Yap, this unappreciative woman came to Singapore to study, got her blue IC, got a job in a MNC, and now she's back to China. After all that we had provided her.
ALI: Apa ini?
AH LIM: Wah lao! With all the knowledge and working experience she learn here, some more must have also learn English! Must be making big bucks in China lah!
Mr Teo shook his head in dismay.
AH TAN: Hang on... Mr Teo, where did you get this piece of info from? Is the public aware of this?
MR TEO (sighed): I believe so. I got it from my friend's email. It was broadcast on CCTV, but I've already warned our TV stations to ensure that they do not screen it. I've also instructed the press to bring the article down from their online website. The only problem is that, we can't stop it from spreading among the netizens.
ALI: Sir, you don't have to worry about those netizens! They're just a minority anyway!
MR TEO: Well, that's true... but guys, we need to be careful, you know? The people are becoming very edgy these days, with the latest incidents like that birdbrained electronics firm that advertised that they were looking for preferably non-Singaporean engineer, and that harebrained movie company that gave free movie tickets to China citizens only on China National Day in Singapore!
AH TAN: But Sir, seriously, I think the gap between Singaporeans and the new immigrants is getting wider, even wider than that between the greater and lesser mortals.
AH LIM: Yah loh, Sir, more and more people are complaining that there are too many foreigners here to snatch their jobs, their hawker center tables and their MRT seats!
MR TEO: Yes, guys, I know exactly what you mean. That's why it's essential for Boss to convince the people that Singaporeans have still got other privileges.
The three men nodded in agreement.
MR TEO: Oh, and on that topic, can you guys help to brainstorm on what are the benefits of being a Singaporean? I need to put together some pointers for Boss's next speech.
AH LIM: Cheaper school fees!
ALI: But foreigners are also eligible for our tuition fee loan of up to 90% of course fees in our universities like Duke-Nus Graduate Medical School.
AH LIM (cleared throat): I mean primary and secondary schools lah!
The three men sat back, tilted their heads backwards, folded their arms and went into deep thought. Suddenly, Ah Lim opened his eyes.
AH LIM: I know there's this thing that only Singaporeans have and foreigners don't have!
AH LIM (grinning): NS loh! Because Boss scared NS will scare those new immigrants away mah, so even their kids also don't need to serve NS! See! NS is only exclusively for Singapore guys! Not Singaporean, don't have NS for you!
Zhang Yuanyuan,Ektronics Pte Ltd,Golden Village,National Service