Sunday 20 June 2010

It's the end of the world! (For Wendy's)

It was the first time I saw snow.

I had just moved into my university dorm room in the US midwest. Before I went to sleep, the grass outside was still green with only a sprinkling of autumn foliage.

When I woke up the next morning and looked outside my window, everything had turned white.

I thought the world had ended.

It had snowed overnight. Having lived in Singapore all my life previously, I was just getting used to being surrounded by all these white Americans and suddenly, I was also surrounded by all this other white stuff.

When I returned to Singapore a couple of years later, I was similarly disoriented when I was suddenly surrounded by all these Chinese people at Changi Airport. We all looked the same to me.

I barely recognised my mother waiting for me at the arrival gate. Had she always been this short?

As of last week, I have grown re-accustomed to our country's snowless climate and my mum's dwarf-like stature – or so I thought.

When I woke up on Wednesday around lunch time, the first thing I did was logged onto my Facebook page like everyone else does – and saw pictures of Orchard Road underwater.

I thought the world had ended.

Once again, the universe had shifted while I was sleeping.

But what I found even more shocking than the flooding of the world’s 27th most expensive retail street (according to Colliers International) was news that a Wendy’s was one of the businesses affected.

Wendy’s is back in Orchard? Since when?

I still remember when a Wendy’s manager politely but sternly asked me to get my feet off the chair in the Far East Plaza outlet while I was chillaxing with my Spandau Ballet-listening pals back in the '80s.

I resentfully complied and telepathically put a hex on the fast food restaurant. It closed down soon after.

The US-based franchise returned to Singapore in December with an outlet at Lau Pat Sat Festival Market.

The one at Liat Towers had been open for only a couple of days when the flood hit – whereas previously, McDonald’s and Burger King had occupied the same location for decades without a disaster like this.

This is clearly a sign. Wendy’s is lucky not to be snowed under.

My apologies to everyone else inconvenienced by the Orchard Road flood. You were just collateral damage.

Don't be so hard on PUB. The national water agency and its inadequate drainage system were up against powers greater than PUB could ever comprehend - powers that outlasted Spandau Ballet's chart career.

Today, I plan to go to the Wendy’s at Jurong Point, stretch out my legs and dare anyone to tell me to put my feet down.

I don't think anyone wants the entire western part of Singapore swallowed up by a freak earthquake. Or avalanche.

I knooooow this much is true.

- Published in The New Paper, 20 June 2010

UPDATE: Wendy's reopens 31 July 2010

UPDATE UPDATE: Orchard Road flooded again almost a year later

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE: Wendy's hit by flood again!
23 Dec 2011

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE: Wendy’s Singapore Closes Last Outlets, Pulls Out of Singapore Again 1 May 2015