Building

It rarely occurs to one the trouble taken to build a flat. The workers who deal with the sun, mud, accidents and incomprehensible supervisors. Foundations, architecture, engineering, project management, utilities planning, material selection, timelines and ultimately the multiple compromises due to market demands. In Singapore, getting a home means, please sir, can we have more loan quantum?

Grand Designs (on Netflix) is an eye opener. Homes could float away, slide down, crumble into dust. How rare and special it is, to be able to go out and buy a home has telephone, light and water, that is near buses and trains, near ready to eat food, with renovators who at a snap give you a template in order to pretend to have taste and deliver this illusion in a few months. Someone has done all the calculations, taken the risks to made sure there are no expensive mistakes. Nobody has to pay half a million or close to a million to discover that the plot is a bog.

Zoom is an equaliser. Everyone works off a small, slightly, tilting ceiling.

Yet other people’s interiors always bother us: bowed shelves acquiescing to just-one-more-wouldn’t-hurt and joyfully unfashionable floors.

Great money and effort turns inward to stamp that wealth, tearing down and building up. On zoom, only the tilting blank ceiling is allowed. Books and letters piling on top of the dusty piano, and the children and their legs strewn over coffee tables are portraits too intimate.