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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

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Singapore’s mid-life crisis

I couldn’t help it when Goh Chok Tong said Singapore was facing a mid-life crisis.
Here goes…

Can you believe I’m actually 48?

Sheesh, not too long ago, I was scrabbling the dirt, trying to think about how to survive after I got kicked out of my old home. Now, I’m driving fast cars, drinking champagne at $1,000 per pop parties and flirting with exotic foreigners. I wear so much bling, I am weighed down. (That reminds me.. I should pay up my credit card bill..)

But, hey, I am welcomed everywhere. I am a brand name. I yell that I am SINGAPORE and the world falls to its feet…Okay, not literally.

How dare people say I am going through a mid-life crisis! I am at the prime of my life even though my old man, LKY, who is even older, thinks I might be heading downhill. Can you believe his book? All forlorn and pessimistic. He’s joined the rest of the country in the gloomy stakes. Hah! I’m still going at 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent a year. My neighbours can eat the smoke from my Ferrari. Oh…did I just beat a red light?

I break out in hot flushes (or is that only a female thing?) whenever I think about those people telling me to change. Look at all those complaints and suggestions disguised as “reflections’’ in that report! They’re telling me how to age gracefully! I am NOT old, just middle-aged. In fact, I don’t even qualify for senior citizen discounts!

But, frankly, I don’t mind an elixir or two. My knees are getting creaky. The calcium tablets aren’t working. I am thinking of getting more vitamin supplements to boost my immunity but some people say I’m already taking too much. So I guess more of those foreign workers need to go and I’ve got to grow more fruits, vegetables and medicinal herbs in my garden. Something organic. I will still need my foreign help to water them though.

I went to the doctor the other day.

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I think I’ve got cataracts developing. He says I just need reading glasses. You see, I can’t see properly, especially what’s close by and right before my nose. I am tripping easily (actually I think I’m being tripped up on purpose by pesky people with their computers). I am even banging into coffeeshop tables, hindered by people who don’t wear white and who got to the coffeeshop before me.

(That’s why recently, I’ve only been eating at high-class restaurants where the waitress will show me my table. Half the time, though, I have trouble ordering food. The waitresses can never understand my English, not even my Singlish.)

Maybe, I will get those reading classes after all. The doctor says it will open up a whole new world for me. That I can finally see the faces of people around me. Familiar faces. He tells me though that I have to change the way I talk to them. Look them in the eye, he says! Tell them more about yourself, like what’s in your bank account, he says.

Now that’s a bit too much. I don’t quite trust them to know too much. They will get unreasonable and demand a lot of things. Do they even know what they are talking about? I’ve been doing quite well, thank you, for the past 48 years!

Anyway, I told the doctor I will go to an optician. He says surgery might do the trick too. But I looked at his medical charges…and I nearly fainted. Something has got to be done for older folk and their medical bills. I told that old man’s young man to do something. He said, sure. Wait a week or so for me to announce something, he said, and then go for surgery.

I also asked him (my doctor, not the old man’s young man) for those little blue pills. Very casually, you know. At my age, performing in the bedroom isn’t always a success. Not that I have much time for it. Too busy living the high life. I only hope those big-time scientists I’ve brought from theworld over will discover a cloning technique, besides finding a dengue vaccine.

Oops! I am digressing…you know what’s it like with older people…They ramble. They have gaps in their train of thought, like that big gap on my head. My hairline is receding… Been thinking of wearing a toupe but I’ve been told that’s old-fashioned. The new trend is to go bald.

I should have shaved my head for my 48th birthday. Everyone threw a big party for me on Friday! Those people in white finally realised that they should wear MY colours, red and white, not theirs. Clapping. Fireworks. Dances. Performances. Songs. You name it…they really laid it out for me…and then they left their rubbish behind…

I need to go now…Find the valet to fetch my Ferrari. Got to go back to someone’s Good Class Bungalow for another belated birthday party. Oh wait. I got the address wrong. It’s some HDB void deck party… Dammit! Should have bought those reading glasses.

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This article first appeared on the Breakfast Network.

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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