Friday, March 16, 2012

Hello, am I invisible?

Today I did something I had been putting off for weeks and weeks. I did a supply run. This is something I dread. When I first discovered the little shops in Singapore where I could buy the supplies I need for my bag-making, it was fun. I enjoyed looking at everything in the shops. Now I pretty much go to the same few shops because the quality is reliable. Also, I can't spend too much time looking as I don't want to end up spending money on frivolous items. Today's supply run was more tedious than usual as I had 3 places to go to.

First I went to Ikea to return a couch cover which was too small. I got store credit because I had already opened the packaging. I would have stopped for lunch except that it was lunch hour and I saw that the tables at the food court had all been reserved by packets of tissue paper!

In Singapore, packets of tissue paper are like weapons which marked the chosen tables for hungry office workers who have gone to buy their food. I did not want to piss off these hungry men and women by taking over the empty tables. So I left hungry.

From Ikea, I was delighted to discover that there was a bus going to my next destination - Bugis. I counted the number of stops and thought it was doable. Now, I rarely take the bus as I have fear of overshooting my stop. To be safe, I counted the number of stops. The bus I took travelled at the speed of a snail. It also took me on a scenic tour of parts of Singapore I have never been to. Many housing estates later, I started to panic. I had lost track of the number of stops. Then I recognised where I was. The bus was right outside a train station. I pressed the buzzer and the driver braked to let me off. Yes, I chickened out.

Travelling by train is so much easier for me. I think I'm off bus for good. I hijacked myself along the way to my next destination and got distracted looking at beads at a shop along the way. I ended up spending 20 minutes at the shop looking and touching everything. Much to my amusement, a mute boy who worked at the shop decided he would "help" me. He became my shadow. Every time I looked up I would find him gawking at me. Once I asked him for the price and he signed the amount for me. Then he got shy. Totally awkward.

Finally I got back on track and went to Textile Centre where I bought my 100 pieces of swivel clasps. 100 might sound like a lot to you but I'm confident I'll use them up. 100 pieces of swivel clasps is also very heavy. Yes, I travelled from one end of Singapore to another just to buy these darn swivel clasps.

These little cuties caught my eye too. I have no idea what I'll do with them. But they have little holes in them so I think I could sew them onto something.

After that I had one more stop. Chinatown. Let me just say this. I dread going to Chinatown to get my fusible interfacing and zippers. This shop where I get them, I like the quality. But the shop is small and cramped and the shopkeepers are constantly quarrelsome. I often find myself in the middle of some cosmic storm.

I bought 30 zippers and a huge stack of interfacing. p.s. excuse the images. i'm struggling to adjust the setting for night photography. Another customer saw the number of zippers I was buying and couldn't help but express her surprise. Why do total strangers talk to me? I'm not exactly the friendliest person around yet total strangers often found the need to share some confidence in me. Well, this lady had a bag of old zippers of various colours and length. It belonged to her late mother who LOVED to sew. Why is she carrying this bag of zippers in a shop that sells zippers? I have no idea but she wanted a 7" zipper for a pair of jeans she wanted to salvage. I smell a cheap person! She obviously did not know her way around the shop so I pointed out to her the 7" zippers shelf. Out of the blue she offered to give me her bag of old zippers. Now, I'm not one of those people who would jump at the chance to get free stuff. So I ignored her offer. I mean, good grief! Who goes around giving total strangers a bag of old zippers? The Zipper Woman asked me to see if the 7" zipper would fit my jeans. Yep, she wants me to hold it AGAINST MY CROTCH and see if it fits. See? Normal people don't go around offering total strangers free zippers. Alas, I am too kind. I held the 7" zipper against my jeans crotch and told her it fitted perfectly. Then I expertly moved myself away from her.

Suddenly I heard a commotion. The shopkeeper poked me on the shoulder and asked me if it was reasonable for a customer to pay for a brand new zipper with an old zipper? See? I told you I would somehow be caught in a cosmic war. It turned out Zipper Woman did not want to pay for her 7" zipper. She wanted to do a barter. Using me as a facebook wall, the shopkeeper blasted Zipper Woman for her insaneness.

Sadly, the shopkeeper gets this kind of crap all the time. Each time I'm at the shop I would witness some totally idiotic customer being a "donkey". Like demanding for discounts, shouting at the shopkeepers or throwing tantrum.

The zipper shop was my last stop and by then I was starving with hunger as the tissue paper gang had prevented me from getting lunch. Below the zipper shop is a food court and I had my cup of tea and some snacks. The curious thing about this food court is there are a lot of old men sitting at the tables. A few female Chinese National sit with these men. I'm guessing these women are working as companions. One clue. These are really old men and the women look too interested in them. What's consistent about these women is they are middle aged, reasonably attractive and aren't dressed provocatively. These women basically just sit with the men, show interest in what the men are doing and sometimes they table hop. I have some curiosity about how money changes hand.

I wanted to be sure I was not mistaken as one of these companions so I sat further away. I mean, I am middle aged, reasonably attractive and my body rocks. Happy to report no one mistook me for anything but a strange thing happened. I sat at an empty table. Suddenly out of the blue, a woman sat across me and did not even make eye contact with me.

This is very strange and I would consider it rude if it were to happen at a food court where I live. Generally, people would ask if they could sit at my table. Or gesture or something. Here, they just plonk themselves on an empty seat opposite me and act as if it's the most natural thing in the world. I mean, come on. If you're sharing a table with someone, at least exchange some awkward smiles first. Some time later, the gatecrasher left and immediately another woman came and took her place. I looked at her and she refused to look at me. Yep. Looked everywhere except at me. Again no, "may I?" By now I'm already used to it and soon she left. As I was leaving, I could see another woman sit down opposite me. It's like being in a different country.

A few days ago, I received my cheque for my February VivoCity craft market. Sad to say, after deducting all the fees and commission, it did not even cover my expenses. My next craft market is coming up end of this month. I plan to make 10 more bags to sell. Hopefully I'll be able to make some money. Anyway, this is the first of the 10 bags. It's a crescent bag I've grown to enjoy making. The zipper pocket still takes a little too long to make tho'. I make mine the insanely difficult way - no raw reams inside out. See you.


corinna said...

lolololol.. I wish I would have been with you.. cause I was at China Town too today.. but didn't make experiences like you.. may be this is the advantage of being an Ang Moh lol.. love the black/white bag very much and yes I got my cheque too.. not worth the postage but I got visitors in the morning.. some guys who were at Vivo City around Christmas and they bought a lot.. so you never know what happens next.. see you at Vivo City and next time tell me when you're going to have some adventures like these today :-)

Suzee said...

LOL omg I love reading your adventures! In my town if someone saw some packets of sugar at a table they would of just throw them away and sat down! haha.usually my husband will sit at a table and I go order the food. one look he gives you and nobody will sit there.. It is weird about the lady at the zipper shop. hard to tell what she would of asked for in return if you did take the zippers! maybe some of your new ones??!
I LOVE the new bag! the outside zipper looks nice!

Bethany said...

I'm sitting here laughing trying not to attract attention...
So someone sitting across from you for a meal won't speak to you...but you WILL get someone to ask to measure your crotch... Wow.
This are a bit more extreme than the adventures I have, but there is definitely the same undercurrent of WTF that I've grown used to. Love this post!

Little Blue Mouse said...

Your posts always make me laugh! I loved the bit about not wanting to look like one of the companions.

If you do want any free zips (new), I'm giving some away on my blog.

Carol & Eddy said...

You really made me laugh! Oh boy, and I was planning to get some zippers at that same shop next week! And I know what you mean about that food court downstairs!!

Chris H said...

Your shopping/lunch adventure sounds so weird!
WHY were those women sitting at your table? Weird.
Love the bag.

Anonymous said...

i was having a bad day and your post really cheered me up. your encounters are really so random!

i frequent chinatown for my sewing supplies and cheap toiletries.

the last time i ate at that hawker centre i was 5 months pregnant with twins and this weird guy kept standing beside me as i was eating and called me "mei4 mei4". my friend rolled her eyes but we continued to eat. the last straw came when this weirdo started to stroke my arm. daggers shot out of my friend's eyes and the weirdo left us alone after that..


Laurie-Jane said...

I didn't know about the tissue thing when I was in Singapore and I just thought they were complimentary and used them to wipe my mouth after my meal. I love the zipper story what a hoot.

Kristy QP said...

Oh what an adventure just to pick up supplies! Love reading your blog posts - very entertaining! I'm glad you made it home without meeting more crazies!

Hope the next market is more successful for you - your bags are so lovely.

punkychewster said...

i cannot go on a supply run without being sidetracked. i will buy all sorts of nonsense and forget about my tasks on hand. Esp when i go into a fabric store. i will be itched to buy more fabric without any plans to do anything with them. Very bad habit!

Dee said...

LOL!!! I have read this post several times now and it still makes me lol. In our house we all have lap tops and tend to sit in the lounge room all using them at the same time in the evening. When one of us laughs out loud the 'rule' is "laugh and share". I read you post out loud and it got laughs all round as well as several "what the?" My family keep declaring your writing and experiences funny too.

ktyh said...

Hello!! What is the name of the shop which you bought your interfacing from? :)

Projects By Jane said...

People's Park Centre (the one with a food court on ground floor)
Go to level 2, look for a shop with a huge amount of batting outside the shop.

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