The Day When the Tap Stop Running

I clearly remember how my mother and I used to queue up for water at the foot of our old HDB flat. It was a massive neighbourhood mobilisation. The housewives and their children queuing up at the tap – with all the containers they can find in their house. You see all types of water vessels – plastic pails, cooking pots, fish tanks and even big trash bags. It was quite a regular and normal "exercise" for the flat dwellers. No one’s complaining and there was no panic at the queue.

Back at home, mum would store all the water in the kitchen and the bathroom. She instructed me (very sternly) not to waste the water and from her tone, I can tell it was no joking matter. Water that was used to wash the vegetables was recycled to flush the toilet. I wasn’t allowed to use more than 1 cup per day. It was like one cup per person per day. Shower was a torture, slow and animated. The water was cold and I have to make sure my body foam doesn’t "pollute" the clean source. I tried not to use too much soap. Meals were taken using paper plates and disposable forks and spoons.

I hate "waterless" day. And for the last 15 years, I "escaped" the inconvenience of operating without the running tap. (i am either at school or at work!) Most of the time, the maintenance team carry out their jobs outside peak hours (during the quiet afternoon or wee hours). Water Ration Exercise? Nope.. hardly occur since we developed NEW WATER. 

Last Sunday, I woke up realising there was no water running from my tap. My first reaction to Felicia "Yo, did you forget to make payment again??" She said no. My next reaction "Okay, then we musta missed that damn notice!" Felicia called the estate office, they said there wasn’t any water maintenance on Sunday. Later, we found out that the main underground water pipe had burst – the entire estate was waterless!

"No water!!!" I exclaimed! "Then how? I need to sh*t!"

Felicia pointed downstairs – there was a mobile watertank truck and there was a queue of residents (in pyjamas) filling up water.

"Okay, let’s go down and queue," I sighed in desperation. Felicia shook her head and informed me that we didn’t have any pail at home. "NO PAILS!" I stormed to the kitchen, stared helplessly at the tiny pots and pans. The only decent container was our dirty trash bin! This was becoming an emergency!

I went to the bedroom, woke up Elkan and packed our bags with towels and clean clothes. "Wake up, Elkan. We are going to use the swimming pool shower room now! Quick… before the entire 3000 residents do that!"

We dashed downstairs, only to find out that a couple of residents were doing just that. We arrived at the pool’s shower room. Smart ass, NOT A DROP of water. Stupidly, the group of people left the room – you can feel their disappointment. On the way out, we saw streams of people walking toward the shower room with pails and pots. Yeah, desperate minds think alike.

I came back. Felicia bought lunch. Elkan was happy. He hated shower anyway. 

In the middle of lunch, I yelled "I know! Let’s check in a cheap hotel today!!! Yeah!" Tracy and Felicia gave me "that look". Okay, it was a bad idea.

Just then, Scott called me for lunch. An evil thought came to my mind.

"Hey Scott! We haven’t been to your new apartment! Tell you what, ALL OF US will be there in an hour’s time! And I am sure you don’t mind if we use your bathroom, right?" What a house-warming for Scott. 4 of us took turns to shower at his nice condo at WanChai.

Yeah. Finally, I got to shower, sh*t in peace and gel my hair. I never felt so satisfied. For this record, I don’t miss the kampong days.

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