Surely some of us have come across impressionable cleaner aunties and uncles in our lives. Mine would be the Cleaner Auntie who had recently retired from her job at my University’s hostel. She is now 71 and has been working there for 27 years.

Saddened by her sudden departure, I asked Auntie out to chat with me at her void deck one evening. At 6pm, she came down the stairs of HDB in her usual hurried footsteps, fondly calling out to me “Ah Girl!”, with a huge grin on her face. Exactly like how she would back in school.

The plan was to get a cup of kopi with her at the hawker centre nearby. But even before I could suggest that, she took my arm and said “Let’s go get food together!” (In Chinese: Ah Girl 啊, 我们去拿饭好吗?)

Confused, I asked if she meant buying food or collecting food. Turns out …