James goes undercover.

Officer : Recruit James

James : YES SIR!

Officer : Can you tell me why you decide to take the skills conversion course at 38 years old to become a police officer ? Please be honest.

James : Yes sir!

I took a deep breath and organized my thoughts before speaking.

James : I come from the construction industry. At 38 years old, its very hard for me to find a job because you can easily find someone younger, cheaper and better. My last employer told me the only reason he hired me is because I am a Singaporean. The only useful thing I contributed to his company is my national ID number and my CPF account, because as long as he contributes to my CPF, he can hire cheaper and more efficient foreigners who can do the job that I do Sir!

Officer : James.. you Chee !

I could tell my officer is very angry with me but he told me to be honest and that’s what I did.

He cleared his throat and recomposed himself before looking at my file.

Officer : Why did you want to become a police officer ?

James : Because it is a iron rice bowl. At my age, there is nothing much I can do, and because the government pays a salary during the skills conversion phase, and also, and also, ermmm, I want to uphold justice, protect the weak, and …and..

Officer :ok..ok…shut up…enough…

I puffed up my chest and looked at the officer who is scanning through my file once more. 3 months into the skills conversion program, I am on track to become a police officer in a less than a week.

Officer : What do you hope to achieve ?

James : I’m not expecting to crack and big cases or anything, I’m just contended if I can pay the mortgage for my 2 room flat and put food on the table. It’s really hard to find a job in the market these days you know.

Officer : You scored straight As for your passion and theory, but you failed every damm thing from shooting, close combat to physical fitness. How the fuck do you miss a target at 15m?

James: Sir, I believe Singapore is very safe, there is no need for me to use my service weapon SIR!

Officer: It says on your file, you…you….holy fuck… you sparred with a female half your weight and you are on the mat in 5 seconds screaming in pain… how the fuck do you do something like that.

James : SIR! I don’t believe in hitting woman!

Officer : You took…15 minutes for a 2.4km run. Did you even put in effort ? It says here you took 16 minutes on your first day here, now that you are about to graduate, you improved by only 1 minute.

James : Sir, I’m…ermm… I’m 38…

Officer : My grandmother can run faster than you.

James : She must be very fit and healthy…

He threw the file on the table and started to practice breathing exercise to calm himself down.

Officer : You know what, I think the trainers are right. You are the last person in the world one will think is a police officer.

James: Huh ? what do you mean ?

Officer : I want you to take on a special assignment immediately. It’s a simple task of gathering information in a legal whorehouse in Geylang.

James : what?

Officer : I want you to be a pimp for a few days and report back everything you see.

I could not believe my ears.

James : really ? I was expecting to be posted to a neighbourhood police station to attend to missing cats, squabbling neighbors and handle the occasional change of address enquiries.

Not this.

James:  Are…are you serious?

Officer : Yes I am…. Do you know why the police force decides to accept you in the first place ?

James : Yes Sir ! It’s because of my unwavering grit, and sense of duty and responsibility and my desire to serve!

Officer : No it’s not. It’s because of manpower shortage issue. We cannot afford to be choosy. And if we put you on our payroll, I can hire a few more cleaners for the toilets.

James: oh…

I watch him press a button for his secretary.

Officer : Suzy, we have a new undercover. Prepare him for his duties.

He stood up and shook my hand before giving me a salute.

Officer : On behalf of the country, I thank you in advance for the sacrifices you are about to make James.

I returned the salute and took a deep breath.

James : I will do my best Sir! I won’t fuck this up!

Officer : Trust me James, it’s near impossible to fuck this up. Just keep your mouth shut, and report everything. No hero stuff.

James: YES SIR!

9600 words

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