Half-Baked Brickie

Stephen the man was kind enough to let me come along to learn bricklaying with him. I didn't want to allow Jen to follow because I preferred to have Albany resting at home than to spend one full day outside. Jen did not listen to me and die die wanted to tag along. In the end I let her, so that she could understand what kind of outing was a 'men's outing' and there was no place for a woman and baby. I was not trying to be chauvinistic. Consider this, bricks, sand, mortar, dust, sun, noise, hazards. No place for a baby.

It was a fruitful trip as I got to know another Singaporean right from the start. Sim was introduced to me by Steph before we started work. The whole show belonged to Steph. He demonstrated every step to us. It looked easy when we stood there to supervisor Bangadeshi workers as site managers. Yeah, baking looks easy too. It's all mixing fat and flour and stuff up and throw them into heat after all. Wait till you try it and taste your creations. No, even with a recipe, it is easy to screw things up. That was the same when we tried preparing mortar for brick laying the first time.

Measuring and laying out the site was a ritual that I was familiar with. So I patiently waited for Sim and Steph to sort things out with the owner. Then came the most impressive part when Steph laid the first brick. Swish! Swash! Swat! Steph's deft moves were a sight to behold. You would only appreciate such things when you did it yourself and realised how good others were. That's the same reasons why many people watch sports, many are ex-players of the game themselves. Even for those who was not in the sport, they could be fans if they know how to appreciate the level of skills demonstrated by sportsman. On the scale, I admire the skills of craftsmen.

Contrary to beliefs, bricklaying to not just mere labour work. It requires logical planning, mathematics, geometry, eye coordination, observation, management, patience, a lot of common sense and of course, physical fitness. It isn't just about brute strength and endurance. There was so much to learn on just one afternoon, building just a simple BBQ pit. Imagine building a house, a curved wall, an arch or a tower. Being a metal tradesman for more than half a year, I knew there was so much more to it being a bricklayer as a profession. That afternoon was merely a play-day for Sim and I. It was an eye opener.

For that trouble, we were invited to Sim's house the following Friday night. It was great dinner and I spent some time playing Snakes-and-Ladder with Sim's beautiful young daughter. She broke every single rule that exists in Snakes-and-Ladder. We could fly, use Princesses' face as portals, being blown away by wind, throw dice using the mind and moonwalk the squares. My 7th game with her and ended up as confusing as the 1st. By the end of the day, she awarded a large trophy (took from her dad's room) to herself being the overall winner of the Snakes-and-Ladder competition.

What caught my attention that the little girl was cheerful, active and extremely expressive, like many of the kids I observed here. I remember when I was that young, I used to hide behind my parents' legs when visitors came to our place. I wondered if it was due to personality, genes, education or cultural differences. I wonder how Albany would be at Emily's age...

birds of the wild visiting
kick ass
this is a bbq pit, not tombstone k
Handsome Stephen kor kor
barang many many


  1. wow, interesting experience! Are there many Singaporeans in Perth?


  2. If there is plastering after bricklaying, even there are some defects in bricklaying due to workmanship, these defects will be able to cover up nicely.
    Only through bricklaying without plastering that the skilled level of the bricklayer will then be able to judge whether he has a good workmanship.

  3. "What caught my attention that the little girl was cheerful, active and extremely expressive, like many of the kids I observed here"...
    Most of the children I came across from western cultures seems to be so, regardless of their race.
    I was really impressed with how my friend's son turned out after they migrated down under. I think the pre-schools there are doing a better job than those in singapore, which focused too much on academic performance, even with such young children