A Spoiled Cup of Tea

Singapore family stories

A Spoiled Cup of Tea

A story re-told by my wife Joanie…


Years ago, I lived in Singapore with my husband and family from 1973 until the end of 1975.  My husband was in the airforce and we were allocated very nice home in Medway Park, one of many former British ‘raj’ housing estates.

Wasting water in Singapore was frowned upon by the authorities. To this end we had a constant dripping of water that started from a leaking washer in the shut-off valve of a cistern in one of two upstairs toilets; and this was sufficient cause for my husband to file a work repair form.

After a period of waiting for bureaucracy to complete its paperwork, a locally engaged workman finally came to our home to carry out the simple task of replacing the washer in the valve of the cistern.

Unfortunately, while replacing the washer, he broke the flushing valve. Worse, while replacing the valve, he broke the cistern.

A day or so later, he came back to the house to continue with his repairs. While replacing the cistern, he damaged the downpipe fitting that in turn broke the back of the toilet where the downpipe entered the toilet bowl.

A few days later he arrived with a few more helpers to replace the toilet, which they did – except they dropped the old toilet and it cracked the adjacent bath.

A few days later another team came to replace the damaged bath. Having shown the foreman where the damaged bath was located upstairs, I soon became very concerned to hear workman banging upstairs in the wrong part of the house.

And so, I checked and, ………….you guessed it, they had started ripping out the bath in the wrong bathroom.

After suitably chastising them, I went back downstairs and was having a nice cup of tea with a friend under the lazily turning fan over the covered patio when an almighty crash frightened us beyond our wits. 

The ‘tradesmen’ working upstairs had carried the old bath through some bedrooms to the balcony above where we were sitting and without a single word of warning they unceremoniously heaved the bath overboard, whereupon it smashed into a million pieces not 6 feet from where we were sitting.

Notwithstanding the language barrier that existed between the Singaporean workers and myself, I let them have it with a tirade of well-chosen words.

So, for the want of a washer, we got a new valve, cistern, downpipe, toilet bowl, two news baths, a retiled parquet floor …………and a severe disturbance to our Raj cup of tea.

  • Tracey Barclay
    Posted at 10:41h, 16 October Reply

    Very funny story mum and dad!

  • Paul Woof
    Posted at 12:37h, 19 December Reply

    A very funny story indeed , all for the price of a penny washer .
    I lived near Changi airbase as a kid between 66 too 69 and as soon as I seen the photo of the house I guessed it was Singapore .
    When We were posted back to England , I was really sad , I just loved the place .
    Hey ho though memories never fade .
    Kind regards……… Paul

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