Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hush, please

Today was the start of Mid Autumn Festival, and our part of Singapore has gone mental.

By now, I'm used to the weekend evenings being filled with the screeching of Chinese opera, blasted at attrition-level volume at the half-deaf pensioners gathered in the square below our flat. I wasn't prepared for the streets around us to be blocked from mid afternoon, while an enormous effigy of a pineapple was built out of sheets of satin.

That was only a preface to the evening's events: a dragon dancing down New Bridge Street, fireworks blasting out of the People's Park Complex, and another concert battling the cacophony from below our window. To have one Chinese concert in earshot is misfortune; two feels more like carelessness.

I should be able to accept it in better grace than this, but after being woken up by drunks at 3 this morning (well, woken up by my drunken wife careering back into the flat) and then traipsing around the zoo all day in the heat, my mental defences were ramshackle. It had been made worse by our odyssey home: first a sprint across Singapore from the zoo in order to make it to high tea at a hotel, and then after that an hour of waiting for a taxi driver who wasn't going to refuse to drive us home. Because taxi drivers should always be able to pick and choose - it's not like the customer is ever right when they select a destination, is it?

Anyway, we'd only had half an hour at home with any peace and quiet when the bellowing and banging started, and it's been going on for two and a half hours without any sign of it abating. There are times when a man murdering a Casio keyboard is to be welcomed, and this was not one of them. My wife told me I had a duty to be hip and go downstairs to listen, but 'hip' stopped being an acceptable adjective in the late 1960s, and I can hear the whole thing quite clearly from our eyrie.

And it's not just that I'm being grumpy. If I went downstairs wearing just my underpants and a pair of slippers, I don't think anyone down there would be happy either.


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