I was at the famous Takashimaya Shopping Centre on May 1, 2010, a public holiday. It was a Saturday which was my day off from work. It had been almost a year I had not been to Takashimaya and so I wanted to see how this old lady is competing with the younger malls. How did she reinvent herself? How busy were its food stalls which used to be packed like sardines some years ago? Now we have the Marina Bay Sands with all the top fashion shops.
I found a seat to order ice kachang and the oily carrot cake to eat. There was this young tall and slim girl with long hair writing answers to mathematical problems and using her electronic calculator. She kept thumbing her mobile phone and part of her left side of her forehead was frowned with wavy lines. Eyebrows arched. I was sitting to her left and so could see only her left profile. She thumbed many times on her cell phone. She looked agitated.
Why would a young girl be doing homework on a public holiday in Takashimaya Shopping Centre's food mall? The public library at Takashimaya had closed down some years ago. In any case, the public libraries close on public holidays and this girl had no choice but to wait for her late date at this downtown shopping centre.
Who was she waiting for? Dressed up in modern fashion with zebra-striped T-shirt and coloured rectangles long pants. A touch of make up to give a natural look. At this tender age of 18 years. I could only see her profile as I sat to her left and ate the too sweet monstrous ice kachang and the extremely oily carrot cake which would up my blood cholesterol levels in a few seconds.
I guessed her date was late. Instead of wasting time, she was doing her homework on this public holiday at a public place. I was impressed with young adults who don't have time to waste and who are diligent to study for a bright future.
I was sitting to the left of the girl and she had focused on solving her 3rd maths problem. I peeked and saw words like "real numbers" in her maths worksheet. What is the meaning of "real numbers?". Are there false numbers? Fortunately for me, I did not have to do these maths problems during my A-levels in Medicine Class in Raffles Institution. There is no more "Medicine Class" nowadays in Singapore's junior colleges but there was this rare breed in the late 1960s.
After 10 minutes, a young boy-next-door suddenly banged his books on the table in front of her and greeted her with "I am here!". He appeared from nowhere and his banging attracted the others on the table.
"Ah, you are late!" I scolded him. "You must be her drinks!" The girl did not say a word, gathered her worksheet quickly, put them in her handbag. I looked at her from the side as her date helped her with her things. Was she mad? Was she embarrassed by his loud banging of the table in a public place? I don't know. Her profile showed a reddish brown face. In a few seconds she got away with her date. The young man said goodbye to me.
For young men, please let your date know if you are going to be late. There are many fishes in the ocean but treat each fish with care.