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Filipino American Expat in Singapore

Congratulations but you are now at the centre of the city’s no. 1 dengue hotspot.

With almost 100 cases reported in the area, you briskly walk towards the bus stop on Guillemard. Because you’re bored and you want to visit Parkway Parade. You know, one of those malls that are not connected to the MRT network. You want to go there and explore. You want to go there and make something of your otherwise mediocre Summer Friday.

Five minutes at the bus stop becomes almost fifteen. Finally, a double-decker Bus 197 approaches and the moment you stand up… you make eye-contact with a young woman behind you who is about to board the bus as well. She gives you this funny feeling. Because her eyes gave you this funny feeling. You know, where you feel like you have to show her that you’re not interested in women. Or how much make-up she had on.

You enter the bus with a mission to sit on the upper deck to get a view of the Hari Raya lights along Geylang. From upstairs you see a long queue outside that Vietnamese restaurant two bus stops away. It’s raining slightly. You wonder if the bus you took is correct. Since this was uncharted territory for you.

It’s already nightfall and there’s nothing much to see. Only the uniformed orange-tinted streetlights of the city as you zoom past a mix of shophouses, empty roads, and condominiums. Katong is a lovely neighborhood, you wonder.

You alight in front of Parkway Parade with a sense of excitement. Even if there’s nothing much to be excited about since almost every suburban mall in the city is a copy paste of the other one. Inside you spot every single restaurant, store, or kiosk you once enjoyed in Bishan. Challenger, Cotton On, Yankee Candle, KFC, Starbucks, Giant, that Korean BBQ stall at foodrepublic. You take delight at spotting a llao llao yogurt stall as bonus.

While everything seems nice and pretty, you accidentally see something you wish you did not see. A woman, on the floor, not moving. Someone is rubbing the woman’s back slowly while a security guard was standing next to the woman. You don’t know what’s happening but the first thing that comes to mind is the question, “Is she still alive?”

It’s terrible actually. But you continue exploring the mall trying to erase the image in your head. You go upstairs to look at the stores and see if there’s a cinema level. There isn’t any. But there are cute restaurants you wish you tried instead of settling down for the same food court food at the basement.

On the way back down to exit the mall, you are on the escalator and look down. You see that same spot with the woman who collapsed. Now, she’s wrapped in a blanket of what looks to you like foil. And it’s even more disturbing. “She hasn’t woken up?” you wonder. Are you looking at a dead body? This can’t be happening.

So you look for an alternate way to get to the front entrance of the mall without having to pass by that spot. You end up walking around the perimeter corridors and spotting a Marks & Spencer, Q-Cut Korean $10 Haircut stall… until you see an exit on the side of the mall which leads into an empty playground. It’s drizzling and there’s a couple there looking for privacy. You note the several CCTV cameras placed at the playground. But you continue to walk towards the street, mindful of not staying too long in the drizzle since you are recovering from a cold.

An ambulance is already parked outside the drive-way of the mall. And immediately you wish to leave before seeing the woman for a third time. You head towards the nearest bus stop. But decide to treat yourself to Koi hazelnut milk tea just to make you feel a bit better. You ask for a carrier so you can enjoy the drink back home. You feel like making eye-contact with the server because she has a pleasant smile. You do this because you need something sweet to remember Parkway Parade.