Chong Ai Jia
ACT I – Saturday afternoon
ACT II – Sunday morning
ACT III – Sunday night
ACT IV – Monday afternoon
ACT V – Monday night
ACT VI – Tuesday morning
The scene of the play takes place in the house of David Summers in Singapore in December 2021. The house is three storeys, and the dining room is on the first floor. You must go through the living room and then walk up a few steps before you reach the dining room on the right. If you go further in, you see the kitchen. Apart from the television there is also a piano in the house.
Scene: It is Saturday afternoon about 3:00 p.m. in the dining room and the curtains are drawn. Adrian, Ai Jia, and Bernard are seated at the dining table. David is playing the piano.
Adrian (yawns): I had a good sleep last night.
Bernard (to Adrian): So, was it good?
Adrian (to Bernard): What do you mean was it good?
Bernard (to Adrian): I mean, did you have a good sleep last night?
Ai Jia (pours tea for herself): He just said he did, what’s wrong with you Bernard?
Bernard (to Ai Jia): It’s unfair of you to say that of me.
Ai Jia (to Adrian): What Bernard is trying to find out is if you slept with Corrine last night.
Adrian (looks at Bernard): This is absurd!
Walter: Good morning, everyone!
Adrian (to Walter): A fine day this is.
Bernard (to Walter): Yes, indeed it is fine. Did you bring what I asked you to buy?
Walter (hands a McDonald’s bag to Bernard): There you are, Bernard, I brought you your favourite ham and cheeseburger.
Bernard (opens the bag): This is not what I wanted, I asked for roast beef croissant.
Ai Jia (to Bernard): Just take it, Walter is doing you a favour.
Bernard (to Walter): No, I specifically asked for roast beef croissant.
Adrian (to Bernard): Walter must have forgotten.
Bernard (to Ai Jia): How could he forget a simple thing like that?
Walter (to Ai Jia): Sorry, this was your order, pointing to the cheeseburger.
Ai Jia (to Walter): Thanks!
Walter (sits down): By the way, have you noticed the cashiers at the supermarket lately?
Adrian (to Walter): What about them?
Walter (to Bernard): They are kind of weird.
Bernard (picks up the cheeseburger): Weird? In what way?
Walter (to Bernard): I was buying avocados, and as it was on offer right at the front entrance, naturally I picked it up.
Ai Jia (to Walter): And then, that was normal, no weird at all!
Walter (to Bernard.): The lady.
Bernard (to Walter): Which lady?
Walter (to Bernard): Her name was Jasmine Tan.
Bernard (to Walter): So? That is a common name.
Ai Jia (to Bernard): I can confirm that; Jasmine is a common name. It’s a Chinese flower.
Walter (to Bernard): No, she was very keen on explaining things to me.
Bernard (to Walter): Explain?
Walter (to Ai Jia): Yes, she kept telling me that the avocados were a “buy-one-get-one-free”.
At this time David stopped playing the piano and he joins in the conversation.
David: But won’t that be normal?
Ai Jia (to Bernard): Indeed. It was her job. Walter (to Ai Jia): Whatever. But the way she said it, it was a little over-emphasised, if you know what I mean.
David (to Walter): Was it spoken in English or Chinese?
Bernard (gets up and goes to the piano): How does the language play a part in her behaviour?
Walter: (to Bernard): English.
Bernard (to Walter): So, it wasn’t abnormal. She knew that you don’t like to speak in Chinese.
Walter (to Bernard): I guess so. But how would she know my language preference just by looking at my appearance.
Ai Jia (to Walter): No need to get annoyed. This is her lexicon.
Adrian (opens the bag as well): Ok, now that my brunch has arrived, may I start eating first?
Ai Jia ( pours tea): No, it is tea, not brunch.
Adrian (to Ai Jia): You mean it is already 3:00 p.m.?
Bernard (to Adrian): Yes of course, you think you are still in the U.K.?
Adrian (to Ai Jia): That means that I overslept.
Ai Jia (to Adrian): Yes, what time did you go to bed last night?
Adrian (to Bernard): I can’t remember when I dozed off to sleep. Was Netflixing.
Bernard (to Adrian): And what was the name of the drama?
Adrian (to Bernard, slightly crossed): Hey, why do I need to tell you?
Ai Jia (to Bernard): He can’t remember.
Bernard (to Ai Jia): Adrian is getting old.
Adrian (to Bernard): Of course not. How old are you?
Walter (to Adrian): I am older than Bernard.
Ai Jia (to Bernard): Don’t you want to eat your cheeseburger, Adrian? Or is it ham burger?
Walter (rather annoyed): It is ham and cheese.
Bernard (to Adrian): Oh yeah, let’s get to the point. What were you watching last night before you went to bed?
Ai Jia (to Bernard): Let him. He can’t remember.
Adrian (to Ai Jia): Who says I can’t remember? It was “The Journalist”.
Walter (to Adrian): Oh yes, I used to be a journalist before I came here.
Bernard (to Walter): What has this got to do with Adrian’s movie?
Ai Jia (sipping her tea): So, this is Jasmine tea.
Bernard (to Ai Jia): No, it’s not. It is Ceylon tea. Jasmine tea is Chinese tea, not Ceylon tea.
Adrian goes to the table, picks up the teapot and he looks at the tag.
Adrian (to Ai Jia): It is Jasmine tea.
Walter (to Adrian): But how can you be so sure?
Bernard (to Ai Jia): Did Corrine pour the tea in front of you?
Exit Ai Jia. She goes to the kitchen and looks for Corrine.
THE CURTAIN FALLS