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Triad encounter at Toa Payoh
Friday, January 16 | 3:12 PM

I had a rather interesting encounter over lunch.

After paying for my noodles, I placed my food at a table which had no seats. So I approached this elderly man if I could have the seat at his table which was not taken. He raised his eyebrows slightly and said that someone else will be needing it. In the end, I found another empty seat and headed back to chow down my lunch.

Now, it was one of those days when you just want to get through lunch quickly because you want to run your errands and then head back to swim and enjoy the warm sunshine. As fate would have it, I had to sit at a table where this man decides to strike up a conversation with a total stranger.

I did not want to appear rude so I tried to offer my listening ear. He informed me that the elderly gentleman whom I had approached earlier for a seat is a regular at the food joint and thus he had denied me the seat on purpose. At this point, the stranger got my attention. Denied me what? Benson was the stranger's name. He told me not to take offense as the elderly man has done it all the time to newbies who do not realise that the table was the latter's "territory" at the food joint. I was amused but not totally so. Apparently, the regulars would leave the elderly man alone because they did not want offend him.

"Does he think he's some triad boss or something?" was my immediate response to Benson. Whether I had uttered it out of some bruised ego or arrogance, I truly wanted to know the truth while slulping my noodles. Nobody quite knows for sure. The fact remains, I should leave him alone.

Next Benson added how teenagers today might have responded to that elderly gentleman - stage a confrontation and face dire consequences should the latter be part of some local gang. Was he cautioning me? Then he went on to share his encounter with 3 teenage boys who had confronted him in Takashimaya, a big shopping mall in the heart of town and his use of reverse psychology to defuse the tense situation. Okay. I tried to interject to find out if Benson's a retiree. He just went on and on about his encounter.   


I did have my errands to run and my swim to enjoy.  Politely, I used body language to signal my intentions - HELLO?  You are not answering my questions and I am busy and turning BORED so I need and WANT to leave.  Eventually, I did tell him that I had to run my errands.  I left.

Triad encounter at Toa Payoh central?  Cool.   

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