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The Void

The colloquial term "void deck" refers to the ground floor in public apartments here in Singapore. Unlike apartments everywhere else, public housing apartments in Singapore leave the ground floor vacant, a common meeting place of sorts. Occupancy starts on the second floor up.
Goodness knows how it came about that this meeting place would be termed the "void deck". Another semantic idiosyncracy is with regards to physical location. You're always "beneath" the void deck, even if you're very much on the ground floor. It's never on or in the void deck. It has to be beneath.
So here I was this afternoon, standing beneath the void deck of apartment block number 54, Marine Parade, Singapore. The scene before me encapsulated public housing life, and it warmed my heart. The elder residents playing Chinese chess on their homemade boards that were lovingly hand-carved. A short distance away, their grandchildren running about.
It is a sad fact that the generation in the middle – the parents, are the ones not often present to witness the growing up of their children. No matter your profession, it is customary in Singapore to work your butt off. Life, it seems, can wait for the time you retire.
Checkmate. The old folks start a new game. I smile and move on. I've got errands to run. It was nice sharing life's essence, even if it was for a moment.

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