Yesterday we had some guests in town, so in keeping with Singaporean tradition my wife and I took them to the famous Raffles Long Bar.
After ordering the obligatory Singapore Slings we settled back in our chairs, enjoying the atmosphere as we casually chatted and ate peanuts, brushing the shells off the table onto the floor, as one does.
As luck would have it, before long one of Singapore’s newest celebrities walked in, the one and only Facebook star Bryan Lim.
He boldly marched straight up to the bar, and in a booming voice he bellowed at the top of his lungs, at such a volume that the floor and furniture shook, “Give me the permission to open fire. I would like to see these £@€$^*s die for their causes.”
The barman was stunned, standing there bewildered and speechless. At our table we sat paralyzed in fear. Who was going to die? What causes? How did he sneak a gun into a bar in Singapore?
At the back of the bar we noticed some customers seeking shelter behind tables and the spiral staircase. Some young people were trying to open a window and escape to the balcony.
Then we heard the sound of someone clearing his throat.
It was Bryan Lim.
Everyone listened intently. The barman remained as still as a statue. I swallowed a peanut.
As we wondered who specifically amongst us was about to die at the hands of Bryan Lim, we saw him sheepishly surveying the room. Was he looking for his victim? We had no idea.
Then he continued, “I meant Bloomberg and foreign intervention in local matters.”
Bloomberg? He wants to kill the former Mayor of New York City? Was Bloomberg visiting Singapore? If so, he would surely not be staying at Raffles. A man of Bloomberg’s stature would have the President’s suite at the Shangri-La across town.
Not only that, the Long Bar is a tourist attraction. Bloomberg, one of the world’s richest men, surely wouldn’t be spending his time in such a place. Bloomberg would head for Pangaea, no, too tacky, of course; The Astor would be more his style. Whether he’d dare try Astor’s Chili Padi Mary is another question.
Bryan Lim continued to look around, waiting for someone to speak, hearing nothing but silence. Perhaps he knew Bloomberg was there, incognito maybe? Maybe Lim knew that Bloomberg is a fan of the Singapore Sling and had traveled from New York to escape the lunacy of American politics and gun violence only to be confronted by a new version of homicidal homophobia. The Bryan Lim version.
Yet as the seconds ticked away, there was no sign of Bloomberg. Not even on the the bar television, which was tuned to CNBC. Some foreign students attending the Yale-NUS College asked the staff to tune in to CNBC after becoming bored with Pok and Mok on Okto.
As I glanced over towards the Yale-NUS group I saw they were frozen in fear. Then fear gripped me; Yale represents the foreign intervention!
He is going to kill the Yale kids!
My lungs ceased functioning as my heart pounded like a hammer smashing fried chicken. Can these students escape the wrath of Bryan Lim? Watching a murder was not on our evening’s itinerary and it was not an activity I wanted to include.
As various plans to rescue the students raced through my mind, I noticed Bryan Lim clearing his throat again, and thus he spoke;
“I did not mean physical bullets nor physical death. I mean open fire in debate and remove them from Singapore domestic matters.”
His use of language baffled us, however, our bafflement was overshadowed by our relief that no real death would be witnessed, only metaphorical death by the inferno of heated debate, followed by deportation.
It seemed that Bloomberg was safe (wherever he was), and the Yale-NUS students were safe too, although their remaining time in Singapore was clearly limited.
As Bryan Lim approached the group of students to initiate his hot battle of ideas, we gulped down our Slings, settled the bill and found sanctuary in the comfort of trishaws piloted by uncles taking us through Singapore’s glistening urban streets.
In the background we detected the sound of muted whimpering.
It was hard to tell if the whimpering was coming from the students or from Bryan Lim.
We did not know, but we were happy to be alive.
Happy, until we met another local celebrity, Alice Fong.
“Alamak” said I.
“Have a dumpling,” said she.