We Can Vouch For Your Slacking Skills!

, , , , , | Related | March 20, 2021

In order to revitalise the failing tourism industry in the wake of a certain health crisis, the Singaporean government has given every Singaporean adult $100 of vouchers that can be redeemed at most tourist attractions. I am above eighteen when the vouchers are handed out, so I get a share, as well.

Alas, the government forgot one minor issue. EVERYONE has a massive backlog of work and studies from the lockdown and quarantine, which means that no one has time to go visit tourist attractions. That’s why, several months later in February, my family’s entire supply of vouchers is still untouched.

Mom: “[My Name], you can have all of our vouchers. Go spend it all quickly.”

Me: “Huh? Why?”

Mom: “They’re about to expire really soon. It’ll be a waste if you don’t do it.”

Me: “Wait? Really? I thought they lasted until June.”

Mom: “Like I said. Really soon.”

I roll my eyes at my mom’s definition of “really soon.” It’s a common affliction among Singaporean housewives.

Me: “So why are you passing it to me instead of [Younger Brother]? My A-levels are in three months! I need to study.”

Younger Brother: “Yeah! Why are you giving him the vouchers?”

Mom: “Because [My Name] is the king of slacking off.”

Younger Brother: “No! I’m the king of slacking off! Nobody can be lazier than me!”

Me: “He’s not wrong.”

Mom: “Let me rephrase. [My Name] is the king of slacking off and is somehow still getting straight A’s. You are the king of slacking off and failing.”

That’s true. I played computer games the night before my GCSEs and still walked home with straight A’s. My oldest cousin is even better; he binged video games the week before his A-levels and somehow managed to get the single highest grades amongst the cousins.

My younger brother, on the other hand, actually has to deal with the consequences of laziness — namely, failing his exams because he didn’t study for them.

Younger Brother: “Not fair!”

Mom: “Life isn’t fair. Get double your current grades and we can renegotiate terms. In the meantime, your brother gets the vouchers.”

Me: “Thanks, but no thanks. I’m nineteen now — a legal adult. I can’t simply slack off like a kid anymore. I’m going to work hard and ace my A-levels! No more slacking off!”

Mom: “Okay, then. I’ll see if your cousins want them, instead.”

The very next day, it is announced that the international A-levels are cancelled due to the health crisis.

Me: *To my mom* “Can I have those vouchers now?”

Luckily, my cousins were facing a similar issue regarding the vouchers and were struggling to spend all of theirs, so they didn’t want ours on top of theirs. I got the money!

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We Hope This Story Goes Viral!

, , , | Healthy | March 18, 2021

I’m seeing a gynaecologist at a private clinic because the general polyclinics in Singapore don’t have the specific type of birth control I want. The doctor is a woman and seems okay on the first visit.

Doctor: “And what do you do for a living?”

Me: “I’m a virologist; I work for a vaccine development company.”

On the second visit, she tries to hard-sell me the HPV vaccine. In many countries, it’s given to teenagers for free, but it’s very expensive to buy out of pocket privately.

Me: “I don’t think I need it because I’m married and my husband didn’t have any sex partners before.”

Doctor: “No, but once you become sexually active, the HPV can fly through the air and infect you at any time.”

This is complete nonsense; HPV is not airborne.

Me: “Remember last time when I said I’m a virologist working in vaccine research and development?”

This story is part of our Best Of March 2021 roundup!

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I’ll Hold Him Down While You Punch

, , , , | Working | March 9, 2021

When basic military training begins, conscripts have to go through something called Confinement Week, which is actually two and a half weeks of staying in camp without the ability to leave. We all have to live in the barracks. Needless to say, the first week is exceptionally grating, as everyone tries to live with a dozen other strangers with their own bad habits.

We’ll either emerge from that as brothers or emerge wanting to murder each other. Alas, for my section, we emerge wanting to gut each other.

In particular, two of my sectionmates get into a feud during this week: [Sectionmate #1] and [Sectionmate #2]. They’re assigned the same bunk bed.

On our second or third night, [Sectionmate #2]’s alarm starts blaring and [Sectionmate #1] wakes up. He gets up and starts his morning routine, only to check his phone and realise it is three in the morning. He angrily shuts off the alarm and goes back to bed.

Later in the morning, [Sectionmate #1] confronts [Sectionmate #2].

Sectionmate #1: “Why did you set your alarm for three am?!”

Sectionmate #2: “Oh, I wanted to wake up at three am to go pee, so I set my alarm to wake me up.”

That night, the same thing happens. [Sectionmate #2] forgets to turn off his alarm and winds up waking [Sectionmate #1] again, and a few others this time. And the same thing happens again the night after that, which really makes [Sectionmate #1] cranky.

He forces his bunkmate to turn off his alarm in front of him and another two guys, all of them confirming that the alarm is deactivated.

On day seven, [Sectionmate #2] is confronted again, as his alarm keeps going off at five am, which is an all right time to wake up, but he never wakes up, forcing us to turn his alarm off for him. It doesn’t help that his alarm has the worst, and I mean the WORST sound. His response?

Sectionmate #2: “Ah, but it wakes you guys up. And you guys always wake me up, so it’s doing its job!”

We had to pull [Sectionmate #1] off of [Sectionmate #2], which wasn’t easy, considering that he was the biggest guy in the section. It didn’t help that everyone was tired of the alarms waking them up, so half the stronger guys didn’t help, and the other half only helped so that THEY could assault [Sectionmate #2].

Amazingly enough, those two made it through the remaining eight weeks of the nine-week training without a murder.

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I Think I Read A Fanfiction Like This Once

, , , , | Romantic | March 8, 2021

I’m an out-and-proud lesbian. I left the closet at age six and never looked back.

My best friend and I have been BFFs since we were toddlers, and my parents basically raised him and me as siblings — to the point that I call him “Bro” and he calls me “Sis.” I always introduce him as my big brother and he tells his friends I’m his little sister. It helps that he has a passing resemblance to my mom and me.

Singapore has this really dumb law that property can only be owned by people above thirty-five unless they are married. My best friend desperately wants to leave his toxic family and never return, so he needs to get hitched as soon as possible.

[Best Friend] found himself a girlfriend in similar straits, and they agreed to marry after he finished his mandatory military service and saved up enough to afford a flat. My mom also agreed to give him a loan and conveniently forgot to mention any interest or fixed repayment date.

Alas, his girlfriend found herself a better deal with someone else and summarily dumped him about a third of the way through his service, leaving him with a broken heart and even more desperate than before.

He had a backup plan, of course, but it was fairly unpalatable, as it involved renting an apartment with three other guys, and the only people he could find to agree with that were either horrendously immature or slobs.

My BFF is lamenting this conundrum while having dinner at my place, when I decide to “propose” to him right then and there, with the idea that we’ll divorce after he gets a flat. It takes a bit of convincing, but beggars can’t be choosers. My parents have to sweeten the deal by promising a really generous dowry, but he eventually says yes.

We begin preparing to get married. We tell all our friends about it, which is where things get silly.

EVERY SINGLE ONE of them reacts with shock and disgust. “Oh, my God, but he/she is your brother/sister! Isn’t that incest?!” Even some younger members of my family react that way.

It turns out we’ve thought of each other as siblings for so long that we’ve never told any of our friends that we aren’t actually blood-related. And my younger family members — including my actual younger brother — genuinely never realised he wasn’t actually my brother as, since as far back as they could remember, we always told them [Best Friend] was my brother.

After a whole motherload of explanations, the two of us are sitting on my bed and looking dumbstruck at each other.

Me: “I never realised just how many people we told that we were siblings.”

Best Friend: “Yeah, that was awkward. In all fairness, Sis, you’re literally one of the last people I saw myself marrying, so we never saw that as an issue.”

Me: “Huh. For me, you were literally the only guy I even remotely considered marrying. But I see your point, Bro. Never thought we actually would get hitched. You being my sperm donor was obvious, but actually marrying? Nope.”

Best Friend: “I know. It’s one thing to help you have kids. But to actually marry you?”

He shakes his head and lets out a long sigh.

Best Friend:  “Anyway, thanks again, Sis. I owe you big time.”

Me: “Eh, what are best-friends-slash-siblings for? Don’t mention it.”

We hug.

Best Friend:  “Love you, Sis.”

Me: “Love you, too, Bro.”

We stay like that for a while before we let go.

Best Friend: “But after we get married, we absolutely have to introduce ourselves as best friends or a couple. Calling ourselves siblings just causes way too much drama.”

Me: “Crap. That’s not gonna be easy. I’m so used to calling you my brother.”

Best Friend: “It’s not easy for me, either. I literally cannot see you as anything other than my little sister.”

Me: “Same. God, this is so awkward.”

Best Friend: “No kidding. Ah, well, just have to knuckle down and do it.”

I groan.

Despite everything, we get married a year later. We have a beautiful ceremony, swear our vows, and kiss. And every single person that attends says that it feels weird.

Me: “I always wanted to be a bride. I’m one now, but this doesn’t feel real.”

Best Friend: “If someone had told me that I’d be marrying you, I’d have laughed in their faces. I can’t believe we actually are doing it.”

Dad: “I seriously can’t see [Best Friend] as anything other than your brother.”

Mom: “It feels like two of my kids got married at the same time.”

Aunt: “This is so weird. The two of you look like cosplaying siblings.”

Cousin: “Someone please get me some brain bleach. The two of you kissing just looks beyond wrong to me.”

Uncle: “I cannot take this seriously. The two of you look nothing like a couple.”

Homophobic Grandma: “I’m happy you married a man, as is only proper, but even this feels wrong to me.”

Younger Brother: “I feel so much like Tyrion Lannister right now.”

Me: “Noted. I’ll name our son Joffrey, then.”

[Younger Brother] gives me the most horrified look.

Younger Brother: “I was joking!”

Lannister jokes aside, our marriage was perfect. It’s been a couple of years now, and my best friend now has his own flat and is far away from his toxic family. Meanwhile, the ex that dumped him underwent a really messy divorce and lost the flat, stranding her back at square one with nothing to show for it.

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Keep The Ring In The Family, Lose The Weird Prejudices

, , , , | Related | February 25, 2021

This conversation takes place when I’m at the age where jewellery starts becoming a part of my life. My mom promised me anything I wanted from her collection as a gift. She’s taken all her jewellery out and is showing me the pieces, one by one.

We’ve gone through a truly surprising number of pieces, including a ring engraved with my name that I am eyeing. But then she pulls out one last ring, and it stands out because of how old it looks.

Mom: “And this horridly outdated piece is our family engagement ring. It’s been passed down from mother to daughter since before World War Two. I got it off Grandma back when she thought she was going to die any day.”

Me: “Wait, what? But Grandma’s so healthy.”

Mom: “Turned out to be a false alarm, but she gave me all her jewels back then. She really regrets that now.”

Me: “Wait, it’s an engagement ring. How is it that mothers give it to daughters? I thought engagement rings were given by the guy?”

Mom: “Normally, it’s given from mother to daughter-in-law. Well, more accurately, the son will ask his mother’s permission to marry, and his mother will give him the ring to propose with. But as things happen, Grandma doesn’t actually like [Aunt #1], [Aunt #3], and [Aunt #4].”

Me: “What? But they’re all so nice.”

Mom: “Well, Grandma was supposed to give it to [Uncle #1], but she didn’t like [Aunt #1]. She thought she was a gold digger, so my older brother didn’t get the ring. Not that it stopped him.”

Me: “Ridiculous. [Aunt #1] is my nicest aunt.”

Mom: “My mom had this silly belief that brides shouldn’t be older than their groom, and [Aunt #1] is older than [Uncle #1].”

I shake my head in disbelief.

Me: “Then what happened with [Aunt #3]?”

Mom: “Back then, Grandma didn’t actually think architects were a real job. So she was really annoyed that [Uncle #2] became an architect. So when my younger brother married [Aunt #3], who was another architect… Well, there’s a reason they live in another country.”

Me: “I get the point.”

Mom: “And I trust we don’t have to discuss [Aunt #4]?”

Me: “Nope. I already know what Grandma thinks of [Aunt #2] marrying [Aunt #4].”

My mother’s older sister had to go overseas to do it, as Singaporean law forbade — and still forbids — same-sex marriage. Grandma still insists that the marriage is invalid.

Me: “So, because she never gave it away, you got it when she gave you all her jewels.”

Mom: “That, and I’m her only child that had a ‘respectable’ marriage.”

I snort.

Mom: “Anyway. That’s the last piece in my collection. Want the engagement ring?”

Me: “No, thanks. Maybe in the future. For now, the ring I want literally has my name on it.”

That conversation was nearly a decade ago. Now, I have that ancient engagement ring in hand and am about to go out for dinner with my girlfriend. Wish me luck.

This story is part of our Best Of February 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of February 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of February 2021 roundup!

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