Some Things Do Change

Bring up national schools!While many things do not change, some things do. I have been wearing my present pair of spectacles for more than 6 years. Although it cost me a pretty penny when I first bought it (~£300) it has been worth every sen. However, it has started to show its age as the lens coating is coming off and the paint job is peeling off. So, I went off to the previous optical place to make myself a new pair of spectacles.

So, I tried on a huge number of frames before it came down to two options and then I ended up taking an even longer time, wearing both of them before finally deciding on one. Then, I started bargaining on price and was given a good price on the lens with a new set of transition lenses. The new set of transition lenses are better than the old set as they are able to transition faster and to a very dark shade of blue. My present set of transition lenses darken very gradually and only to a light shade of brown. So, I guess that they have improved the technology over the years.

Then, they measured my eyesight and it seems that my power has come down for both my short sightedness and my astigmatism. That must be the reason why I have recently been looking over my spectacles when staring at really close stuff. Subconsciously, I must have realised that my power has changed. Well, this surprised me as I thought that my eye-sight should no longer change, seeing that I am no longer developing. However, I highly suspect that my real power probably lies somewhere between the two measurements and is within the margin of error for each.

Anyhow, I ordered the new pair of spectacles and I should be taking delivery of them shortly.

Today, I dropped by another shopping mall, that is located in a residential area. This shopping mall has a Carrefour in it. Surprisingly, this Carrefour has shrunk by about 20% in size. Where it used to occupy a large part of the ground floor, this space is now home to three cafes and one post office along with an assortment of tiny stalls selling mobile phones. I guess that it must have come under tough times and had to let out the space in order to reduce cost and boost revenues.

However, what surprised me even more was the number of rumah urut (massage houses) in the building. By rough estimation, about 40% of the tenants are rumah urut. While I was exploring the place, trying to reacquaint myself with the shops there, I was constantly bugged by the workers sitting outside who kept asking me if I wanted a foot massage. I guess that I must’ve looked like I wanted a foot massage, since I was busy looking at all the shop signs to see what they were selling.

What was even more surprising was when I stopped for dinner at the Nam Heong restaurant there (purveyors of the best chicken rice in town since 1938). I was actually attended to by a Malay male waiter. First of all, it is less common to find males working as waiters in a restaurant in Malaysia. Secondly, it is downright difficult to find a Malay working at a non-halal food joint. One section of their menu is dedicated to pork dishes. I guess that the tough times must really be affecting everyone.

As I did not want to presume anything, I spoke to the waiter in English and ordered the standard set. He asked me pak kai or siew kai in such a monotonous manner that I didn’t understand what it was he said. Then, he repeated the question in English and asked me what soup I wanted. So, I said the chicken feet soup and he promptly asked me kai kiok fa shang and I said yes. After that, I saw him serving other people and was fairly amazed at his command of Cantonese.

I guess that he must be a local boy, one who grew up in KL and mixed around a lot with the local Chinese. It is not so difficult to find these people around but it is still surprising to see them working at a non-halal food joint. Yes, there were two – the other one was actually working in the kitchen!

So, some things do change.

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Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

One thought on “Some Things Do Change”

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