Singapore and Stories Day 2: cultural dummies

A while back London did this thing with cows. Or was it Bristol did cows and we did bears? Large polyester figurines painted by a mix of artists, celebrities, ne’er-do-wells and schoolchildren and then auctioned in some worthy fundraiser.

I imagine this is something everyone does, choosing a character better to represent themselves. The Germans have a sausage, I imagine, the French a shrug and the Americans an ego.

Walking around Singapore.

Taking in its greenery,

its bursts of national self confidence in some of its architecture and public spaces.

We happened on a mall. As you do in Singapore with the ubiquity of. Red post box in the U.K. Or is that an uncollected dog poo back home? No such faecal statements of civic indifference here, for sure. The punishments are eye watering for such infractions.

The mall in question is opposite Raffles hotel, a tourist must where we take tea tomorrow with my nephew. This is a throwback to the colonial history which is represented here, not so much as oppression nor as a subject of gratitude but rather as some event in the past, like a change of jobs of a grandparent that altered the families fortunes but really isn’t the reason why today’s generations are a success, merely part if the setting. It was unfortunate, they seem to be saying, there are some things we’ve kept, well, because you do, but we’ve moved on.

It’s better than the chips I sometimes encounter, this benign understanding but maybe a little forced, like indulging granny now she’s a frail old lady even though you know she slippered your mother at the slightest sign of some infraction and left her with some mental scars.

Inside the Raffles Mall there’s an exhibition, somewhat like the cows and bears of home. But this one is, how can I put this? Toddlers. Pointing. The theme is something like the future or progress or some such but the blank-eyed uniformity of the mannequins is, frankly, creepy like some sort of mind-control at work, these willing babes pointing at a Big Brother figure sitting on high – all seeing god or demonic dictator, it’s not entirely clear.

Here are some, weird and wacky and cute and creepy unlike the bears and cows which at best were thought provoking, st worst tasteless and kitsch. Maybe this is the future, maybe it’s welcomed but it doesn’t feel like progress, this sweet innocent control. Capitalism in a social conscience wrapper, manipulation for the common good. Hmm.

In contrast we past through a walkway by the utterly bonkers Japanese artist Kusama who does to spots what Brigid Riley does for stripes and Jackson Pollock for drips.

The reflections are twisting and testing on the eye as cars hustle past. There’s something both appealing and encouraging in this little installation.

Like an otherwise A starred teen of impeccable behaviour getting a tattoo on their ankle. Maybe one day this will be a home grown artist but for now international subversion is a start. From such small rebellions does great creativity come and I sense in Singapore a move from conformity and copying to a country keen to create its own identity, and with it all the messy freedoms that such creativity demands. I hope so.

Todays story is prompted by the Lawyer using this picture.

His instructions were to have two neighbours with secrets.

Margaret Platt has a secret. Her neighbours in Abbeywell Mansions, a mock Tudor block on the outskirts of Cheam to the west of London, see Margaret as a little old lady, spending her days with her knitting circles and book clubs, occasionally venturing out with her wheeled basket to take a healthy walk into town for some shopping. If any of the tenants wonder about the inside of Flat 7, they assume it kitsch, perhaps, be-doillied and full of nick-nacks.
Graeme Rickshaw, at flat number 8, also hides the truth of his existence from his fellow residents. In his thirties Graeme, they assume is an accountant or, perhaps an actuary, keen on healthy living, exercise and self improvement.
Margaret and Graeme’s privacy is maintained because no one pries at Abbeywell. Residents nod on passing, a hat may be tipped and occasionally a greeting exchanged. But rarely are thresholds crossed. It simply isn’t done and everyone likes it that way.
That remained the status quo until today, a broiling hot Thursday afternoon in June. Graeme’s window is open; he is at his workstation, concentrating on his latest task when he hears a noise. But not any noise. It is a cry of pain, a cry at once both sharp and sad. He stops and waits. There is a muttering and then another cry, lower, more guttural, followed by a distinct : ‘Help.’
Graeme is torn. On the one hand he is halfway through his current task and loathe to stop completely and lose momentum; on the other the sounds are continuing; females in distress. Old fashioned chivalry, instilled by his father overrides more quotidian concerns. He checks everything is in order and heads for the door.
Graeme has already determined the sounds emanate from Margaret’s apartment. He knocks and puts an ear to the door. Muffled though it is, the sounds of continuing discomfort come to him. He tries the handle and pushes.
Those who see Graeme as a health aficionado base their assessments in part on his physicality. He is strong and the lock no match for his shoulder; so much so that when the door gives way Graeme hurtles, in a somewhat undignified manner through the door and straight into the sitting room.
Surprise is but one reaction to this accelerated visitation. Shock, too, is there as is some little distress and, at least for two people a degree of hope.
For Margaret is not the quiet retiree of common myth, nor are her (exclusively female) visitors knitters and readers but those who enjoy the calming relief of group tantric lesbian sex (Wednesdays half price for the over seventies). Today through a combination of a new position and a dislocated hip, Jemima Newbiggin (train guard and stamp collector) and Sandra Flout (self-employed pig whisperer) are knotted together in increasing agony while Margaret is trying to ease them apart, hindered as she is by the slick sheen of their naked limbs and Jemima’s understandable if inhibiting punches every time the pain increases. While it is not entirely essential for this tale it is worth noting here that Margaret is also sweaty and naked.
Graeme is a man not given to embarrassment in the presence of nudity. He takes in the scene and steps forward. ‘Allow me ladies’
Graeme, you see, is an up and coming, if one can put it that way, porn star whose principal asset is his exceptionally impressive wang. He is a keen student of contortion and has been known to carry three female actors across a set so this menage appear, to Graeme’s eyes at least as a straightforward challenge.
The three women however are less than enamoured of Graeme’s well meant if a trifle thoughtless approach. However pain dulls articulacy and none are capable of explaining their reluctance to be manhandled by one so patently masculine, even in extremis.
No one is clear whose hand grabs Graeme’s groin and finds, no doubt unexpectedly a metal weight. Equally it remains unexplained why that hand does not let go when confronted with something so strange but instead yanks for all it is worth.
It must be noted that, in his time in the industry Graeme’s wang has been the subject of considerable manipulation; however never before has this happened when wearing his penile-enchancement weight. As Graeme tugs one way and the weight is tugged the other something delicate is torn rendering Graeme no longer capable of supporting three writhing women. He falls to the floor concussing himself on an ornamental spittoon and pinning Margaret beneath his inert self.
A combination of the screams, the splintered door, the cries of distress and Graeme’s somewhat earthy and Anglo-Saxon reaction to having his foreskin julienned brings more help to Margaret’s apartment.
One would like to report the attendees first consideration is to call the appropriate services to help the unfortunate foursome. Sadly there is a delay while pictorial evidence is obtained and shared on social media, as is the modern way. While the old adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity may hold true, the local paper’s headline takes some living down
Slick chicks in tricky dick fix
(More pictures pages 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, and 21)

After a day of sightseeing we had dinner for all of us at the Tippling Club. We need to glam up; the Lawyer organised a cab. Sometimes he is so like his mum…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in family, humour, miscellany, short story, singapore, thought piece, travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Singapore and Stories Day 2: cultural dummies

  1. willowdot21 says:

    Brilliant Geoff, not sure which is funnier, the story or the Taxi ride. Great photos …. Keep on keeping on!! 🌹🌹

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:

    Those little figurines were cute.. in a creepy way! And the story… too funny!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, Singapore is weaving its spell and taking your stories to a far steamier place….. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anabel Marsh says:

    I find those toddlers a bit scary – though I rather like the sequinned one. I do hope Graeme et al are ok…..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary Smith says:

    Those pointing toddlers are weird and scary.
    I hope you enjoy tea at Raffles – but why not a Singapore Sling. My friend Lucinda recently posted about her trip to Singapore and a visit to Raffles – said the prices are eye-watering. But they got lots of free peanuts.
    Loved the story!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. At first glance I thought that the creepy toddler had his middle finger up, which would have put a whole new slant on things! I still find them ugly and unappealing!
    I loved that story, it is right up my street! (Well actually I wouldn’t be surprised around here)!!! 🤣🤣


  7. Erika Kind says:

    Those toddler figurines felt really creepy to me… depending on how they looked. But in general, it felt like an invasion from a horror movie… lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Val says:

    It looks to me like Tintin may have found his way into into those figures…
    As for your story… it made me laugh out loud (or lol, if you prefer). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. blondieaka says:

    As always entertaining Geoff…I quite expected to see ET pop up…..but no!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Try the 1887 Sling if there’s another visit- yummmmm.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mick Canning says:

    Creepy…yes, I don’t think there’s a more appropriate word.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My goodness, those figures are so creepy, especially the one in the glass coffin.
    What a great taxi. Glad to see that everyone knew the dance movements to Y.M.C.A.


  13. What the hell with that one in the glass case? They’re all creepy but… *shudders* What were they thinking?! The taxi made up for those photos, though. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

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