Everything Else

The Mundane Lives of Singaporeans

Due to the fact that I actually have a Saturday free, I decided to meet up with my cousin for lunch at Paragon. Soon after, our caffeine withdrawal syndrome kicked in and we decided to grab some coffee at Coffee Club Xpress. Just as we were happily sipping our drinks and bitching about the noise pollution created by some tone-deaf band blasting nearby, our lazy afternoon peace was disturbed by a siren wailing.

Intrigued, we watched as a fire engine maneuvered its way through the jam packed road and stopped…..just a few metres from where we were!

“Must be somewhere upstairs,” my cousin declared. We went back to our drinks and moved on to bitching about selfish Singaporean motorists who refuse to give way to ambulances and fire engines.

Suddenly, one more fire engine chugged its way past us. And another. And another. And another.

And they all stopped at the Paragon taxi stand. Five shiny, red fire engines! With serious-looking firemen alighting from them!

By this time, a crowd had gathered and many were pointing at the opposite Cairnhill Plaza. The tables near us were instantly emptied as their previous occupants hot-footed to the roadside to gawk at the sight.

“What if something major is happening near us and we don’t have a clue?” asked the cousin. I shrugged. This is Singapore. What exciting thing can be happening?

“Go and see leh,” said the cousin. Being younger (and having had a free lunch), I acquiesced and made my way through the crowd, which was made up of camera-toting and finger-pointing shoppers by then.

I looked across the road. No sign of smoke.
I looked upwards. No sign of smoke.
I looked across the road again. No sign of suicidal individual.
I looked upwards again. No sign of suicidal individual.

I walked back to our table.
“Nothing?” asked the cousin in surprise. I shook my head. We decided that it was a ridiculous situation to drink coffee in and promptly went off for more shopping.

The next day, there was a picture in The Sunday Times, entitled “Fire fails to put a dampener on shopping trip”. The small accompanying text said: “The (small) fire (at Paragon) was extinguished by the sprinklers before the Singapore Civil Defence Force arrived at 4.50pm. The cause of the fire is not known.”