So I’m exhausted and I want to treat myself to freshly-squeezed orange juice from a vendo. While waiting for the orange juice to be squeezed, a street solicitor approaches. I smile at her and wave her off that I’m not interested. She insists: “Can I ask one question?”

Ugh of course it’s “just one question”. Normally I’d repeat I’m not interested and continue to walk away. But this time I’m stuck waiting for my orange juice at the vendo and she was being too insistent. I repeated myself but she literally just stood there.

Her buddy and her were probably standing at that MRT exit for a while already and, like many of us, she likely has a quota to meet. But a polite “no” is a no already. I hate that I’m so approachable!

A few years ago I was resting in front of Golden Mile Tower when a student approached me and wanted five minutes of my time for “a thesis he was working on”. After five minutes of polite conversation, his questions were now intrusive. A-ha, I have a feeling where this is going. He was inviting me to his church and he had a well-trained answer to questions about LGBTQs “oh, I have friends like you!”.

I recall he wanted to get my phone number but I had to insist that I get his instead (so he would leave me alone) because what the fuq right.

But the creepiest? Probably about 10 years ago I was living in Bishan. My then-partner and I were walking home one night and we were speaking in Tagalog when these two young women heard us. Sensing we were Filipino, they stopped us and asked: “Saan kayo pupunta?” (where are you going)

They just jumped right in.

We sensed they wanted to open friendly conversation. But 1) it was late night, 2) asking us where we were going — try that in the reverse.

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