Finding things to talk about

You know how, in relationships, you reach a point where you run out of things to talk about?

Piers and I got to that stage a few months back. We gradually replaced our bonding sessions with TV. Lots of TV.

I was starting to get addicted, too, because England has no end of interesting, crazy TV shows.

Not very productive.

Fortunately, things are beginning to change now that I’m back at school. Piers will ask about my day and I will have many stories to tell him. We can last hours this way.

That wasn’t possible just two weeks ago.

Our daily updates went like this:


Piers: How was your day?

Shey: Um, same as yesterday. How was your day?

Piers: Same as yesterday.

Shey: What’s for dinner?


His job is a bit boring. He sits in front of three monitors and stares at pixels all day long. If the pixels are not worth staring at, he stares at his iPad.

For me, two weeks before, I played Facebook and iPad games full-time. Sometimes, I blogged.


Daily updates are good for relationships.


But now, we can have more engaging conversations, like this one that just happened:


Piers: How was school today?

Shey: We learnt how to transfer water and beans from container to container.

Piers: Gosh.

Shey: And how to open and close padlocks.

Piers: Wow. Sounds interesting.

Shey: Yes.

Piers: You must be becoming very useful.

Shey: I think so.

Piers: I can get you to do all sorts of stuff around the house now.

Shey: Do you have beans that need transferring? I can do that.

Piers: No, but now I know you can, I might get some.

Shey: I can do mung beans, butter beans, soya beans and aduki beans.

Piers: Amazing. You’re so smart! Proud of you.

Shey: Thanks!


We went on to talk about nuts. I tried to convince him to buy me honey roasted cashew nuts to practise on, but he wouldn’t hear of it, insisting that I haven’t been trained to work with nuts.

I have, though. I’ve been living with one for almost a year now.

Yes, we’ve been dating for nearly a year, so it’s understandable for us to run out of things to talk about.

But not anymore!

I think tomorrow we learn how to use scissors. Yes, Piers and I are going to have another exciting conversation!

A stranger came up to me and…

A strange thing happened as I was jogging home earlier this evening.

(Doh. The Goony Goonfather just came to look over my shoulder. He saw what I typed (above) and asked, “Hey! What strange thing happened?!”

“Don’t tell you,” I said cheekily.

“Did you fart and run faster?” he suggested.

“Siao lah!” I laughed despite myself.

“The propulsion created by the fart would make you run faster.” He illustrated by miming a fart-propelled run.

“Go away! Stop bothering me!” I made a face at him as he walked away making farting motions.)


I didn’t fart.

Not while I was jogging, anyway.

I was on the finishing leg of my 6km jog. My usual route takes me through my estate, past an overhead bridge and through a park connector which winds through a HDB estate. And then back the way I came.

So, I was on the finishing leg, running on a pavement beside some blocks of HDB flats.

Fifty metres ahead, I noticed a well-dressed Chinese man in his mid to late 20s. He looked like he could be a teacher or a salesman, or just some random executive, on the way home from work.

I noticed him because he was looking at me as he walked towards me.

I focused on my run and kept to one side, not looking at him.

When we neared each other, he stopped me.

“Excuse me,” he said.

Sheesh. I had to stop to see what he wanted.

“Yes?” I looked at him expectantly.

“Is there a running track nearby?”

Oh, maybe someone new to the neighbourhood who wants to get some running done.

“No,” I said, “But there’s a park connector there.” I pointed back to where I had been jogging.

“I see,” the man said, smiling.

He spoke in a pleasantly modulated tone with clear, grammatically correct English. His eyes were focused on mine.

I got the feeling that he wasn’t really interested in running tracks.

You know how, when you give someone information, their eyeballs will shift as they process the information? Or they will at least look where you point?

Well, this man just kept his eyes focused on me and smiled the whole time.

Maybe it wasn’t enough information for him to chew on, I thought, so I continued, “The park connector is just across that overhead bridge over there.” I turned around to point carefully in the right direction.

When I turned back to him, he was still looking at me, and not at the place I was pointing at.

“I see,” he said again.

And he didn’t even make an effort to ask more about running tracks, which was all I was interested in talking to him about.

So, I smiled at him and started to jog away.

“You look really fit,” he said, still smiling.

Caught by surprise, I muttered a quick thank you, coupled with a bashful smile.

I had jogged about three metres away from him by this time.

He didn’t give up.

“Do you run every day?”

Five metres. I had to sort of jog backwards so I could face him to answer his question.

“Er, no. Only whenever I can.”

“That’s great,” he said. Still that unceasing evergreen smile.

Seven metres.

“See ya!” he said, waving.

Oh gosh.

I gave him a quick smile and jogged forward, never looking back.

So, what was up with that?

I don’t think he was trying to hit on me. I was in a baggy t-shirt and shorts, messy hair, no makeup, sweaty.

I looked worse than in this photo. Seriously. I had to touch up this photo a bit because I look like Sadako without makeup and I don’t want to scare my readers off.

The man was good-looking. But who cares? The way he tried to have a conversation with me was weird.

I mean, it’s probably not weird in friendlier, more liberal cultures. But it’s certainly weird in conservative Singapore where people are taught from young never to talk to strangers.

And who would try to start a conversation with a jogger? The fellow is jogging, for goodness’ sake. He has no time to stand there and have a conversation with you!

Some very weird people exist in this world. I suppose it makes the world more interesting. As long as they’re not into raping or mugging or murdering.

What do you think?