An apocalyptic week
by Bertha Henson
FOUR top-ranking civil servants were huddled in the subterranean sound-proof room, tasked with the mission of drawing up a list of issues that cannot be publicly discussed, not even in Parliament. Their new assignment comes after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that sensitive issues such as whether Muslim women in front-line jobs should be allowed to wear the hijab should be discussed behind closed-doors. After closing the steel-reinforced doors with a double-locking mechanism, the bureaucrats, known fondly as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, got down to work.
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Mr War (cracking knuckes): Well, the boss has already given us the hijab for the no-go zone. What else should be eliminated?
Ms Famine (cracking melon seeds): I don’t know why though? There’s always the Parliamentary Committee of privileges which can hammer down bulimic MPs who throw up everything and anything…
Mr Pestilence (popping a health supplement): That’s because Parliament is not a contained facility and we risk the virus getting out and infecting people. Remember we just had a resurgence of Zika?
Mr Death: The bell tolls. I hear. Death knell.
Mr War (ignoring Mr Death): I recommend a scorched earth policy, where everything to do with religion is out. Like mosque-building, church fund-raising, temple celebrations, Thaipusam, Christmas and how much hongbao to give relatives on Chinese New Year…
Ms Famine: That’s piling too much on the plate. We would be starving people of information and they’ll just go for a diet of fake news. Maybe just foreign imams using village bibles and church leaders who think they can sing should be added to the menu.
Mr Pestilence: I already said I could bug everyone and stop things from going viral… Why do we even need a list?
Mr Death: Leave it. To me. I will. Meet. Everyone.
Ms Famine (sweeping shells onto the floor): Surely, people won’t refrain from partaking of the City Harvest? Such appetising food for thought! Too harsh, too lenient or just right… ?
Mr War (impatient): Well, the AGC is applying for a criminal reference, so we shouldn’t talk about it. I also say we shouldn’t allow discussion on terrorist attacks unless they are accompanied by nation-building and societal-bonding terms.
Mr Pestilence: But we haven’t dealt with who should be invited to such closed-door discussions. People whom we’ve already inoculated?
Ms Famine: Then, they won’t have very much to chew on since we’re sure they would swallow everything anyway.
Mr Death: Walking. Dead. People.
Mr War: At least the rules of engagement will have been set and we won’t have loose cannons destroying our fortified policies. Think of closed-door discussions as a barricade against attacks.
Mr Death: SGSecure.
Outside the bunker, fire and brimstone rained on the surface. The Four Horsemen traded bureaucratic jargon as they worked on their policy paper, oblivious to tremendous on-goings outside because of their double-locked, steel-reinforced, sound-proof bunker. Mission accomplished, they were going out for air when they found that the doors had malfunctioned. Mr War couldn’t punch through steel. Mr Pestilence couldn’t infect the locks while Ms Famine’s shrill screams went unheard.
Mr Death: Death. Comes. To us all.
Featured image by Sean Chong.
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