Delivery Man

Everyone loves a story. Over here, apparently so. You don't get away without telling a story here, whether you hate it or love it. Be it an interview or shopping. The way people interact here is quite a world apart compared to where I came from.

Lately 2 casual staff were asked to go. It did make me wonder when would it be my turn. Work slowed down but the office manager and the boss were still positive about the future. We would know soon. Before that, I had to double up as the delivery man. It was the role of one of the casual staff and obviously without him, someone needed to take over.

The first delivery day was interesting. It happened that I needed to drop off some stuffs very close to where I used to work. I slowed down to take a good few seconds look at the workshop. I knew what was going on at that time. The back shift boys would be sitting around, waiting for instructions on their first task of the day. The screeching decibels could be heard as far as where I was. I missed my ex-colleagues, especially Steve. They were rough but all of them were good blokes. I didn't stop by to say hi. The first reason was that I was working. The second being me being me, my flaw, I never knew how to handle these situations. 

A roadside signage nearby caught my attention. It said, "Wholesale Fishes." I decided to take a few minutes to 'eat snake' so I made a turn and parked the monster in the factory compound. There was only one customer and he was chatting with the shopkeeper, who sound like the owner of the business. They have so many so call SMEs over here and many of their company names are actually their own names. Such as Dick Smith cleaners or John Walters Auto Mechanics. For some reasons these practices endeared to me. It reminded me of my growing up days where most retail businesses around me were named after the owner. Lim Chuan Huat Trading, Tan Ah Poh Cooked Food, Eng Swee Electronics or Aimee Hairdresser. We shouldn't live in the past but I couldn't help missing those days. Wherever I go here, I see family owned businesses. Some had gotten too big but some are small and nimble. It is a good sign that there are still room in this country to accommodate simple small family businesses. It saddened me to see even something as simple as everyday meals have fallen into the claws of big corporates in Singapore. When the people have very little access or capabilities to do a simple start up, employment is the only way to survival. Employees in Singapore, as we know,  are protected with very weak labour laws. It is a scary way to live. If we have an environment whereby commoners instinctively avoid trying start-ups and consider employment as the only way to make a living, the risk of destroying a generation of innate entrepreneurship is high. We will see the adverse effects of this later, there is no hiding from it. We'll pay the price in the future.

Back to the customer chatting with the owner, I listened intently (ok I eavesdropped) to their conversations as I browsed through the products in the cooler boxes. As I expected, they were talking nothing about fishes or seafood. I mentioned that this was an important discover a few posts back. The people here loved stories, both listening and sharing. Unless of course, you were piss that nobody wanted around. I saw Stephen doing it whenever he went, to whoever he met. Strangers became friends after awhile. Again, it brought me memories of the past where I remembered vividly how frustrated I was going marketing with my mum as she would stop at every stall she made a purchase with and chatted a few minutes with the stall owner. Stall owners would even know some of our private life details such as the youngest child would be going to school soon and our relative was sick etc. A few minutes was a very long time to an impatient young boy. Who would expect that the young boy grew up to appreciate the beauty of the act he used to find frustrating.

I had a go at it and talked to the owner. I told him I was making a delivery nearby, saw his signage and decided to do a U-turn to come in and have a look. He was happy because it was feedback to his marketing effort. Then he explained to me his business model and how we could get the best of it. I asked some questions about his products and he gladly elaborated without appearing irritated. Fortunately he was one of the common chatty fellows here. You know, sometimes you worry if you might get that 'Wan to buy, buy, don wan to buy, go!' remark when doing shopping in some places.

The second delivery day was a much relaxed one. I didn't feel stressful about navigation at all this time. I realised I had not used my phone GPS for a long time. Not that I could use it actually, because the program would just abort itself if I did not hold on to the loose memory card in its slot. It was a blessing in disguise. I used to be a clueless finding my way around in Singapore when I started driving. After 2 years of intensive driving around due to work, and derived cunning shortcuts to gain a few minutes from the customary peak hours traffic jam, I figured I got comfortable enough to try out taxi driving if I needed to in some point of my life. After all, being abused was what I was trained in my entire Singapore career, right from my first job as a IT Helpdesk Consultant onwards. Driving around more here in Perth had the same effects, it helped me get more familiar and confident with the environment. There are no shortcuts to being masters of the roads anywhere. Familiarity will see to reducing the risk of getting into accidents, the ability to deal with different breed of driving douches in a new environment, in a wider variety of harsh weather conditions. Clocking the mileage is the only way to go.

The third delivery was a totally relaxing one. I had so many thoughts during my entire drive, especially the part where I drove 40km from Hazelmere to Bibra Lake straight without stopping at all at 100km/h. Unlike driving to and fro for work, the traffic was non existence at the time I was doing delivery. It was a precious good mind weeding time that I realised I didn't had the time to stop to to do since I landed.


  1. Let me tell you a joke. There was a Chinese shop named, "Wee Kian Fatt Hardware Shop." Opposite another similar shop named, "Soh Are Wee Hardware Shop!"

  2. And there's one at Far East Shopping Centre called Hung Jewellers.

  3. Wow — 'mind weeding time'.
    That is a surprisingly new term for me.

    My mind must have been so overgrown with stress weeds, living here for over 4 decades, that I didn't even realise such a basic concept.
    I'm glad that I could at least spot it when you mentioned it.

    Just let me struggle to tune down some more, the crowds and noise and heat and humidity here, so that I can hear myself think a little clearer than before…

  4. Just in case you haven't noticed, Dick Smith Electronics is a pretty big name down under, not sure about Dick Smith cleaners though .. haha