One of the things I love about living in Singapore is that they help me with my homemaking, by getting rid of cockroaches, that is.
The town council, I suppose, will have the HDB f’lat’s rubbish chute chamber fumigated once in every few months. You know, to keep those pests from invading your world. We are usually advised to mask-tape the hopper on each side (the gap between the hopper and its frame) to prevent the escaping-for-dear-life roaches from creeping into the house. (These roaches sure are tough, by the way, our flat is on the 7th floor and I still get them, lying over half-fainted on my floor!)
Now, did I mention the preventive taping and roaches still getting into the house? Yes, I did.
And it’s a super frustrating and horrifying experience at the same time. Good and bad for me being a stay-at-home mom. Good, because I witnessed and knew that those roaches just got into the house right then, half-fainted, and that was the best chance for me to get the broom and slap them dead! If the scenario were I found them only after I was back from work (or somewhere else), I can’t imagine what the guessing game of “are there roaches left still crawling somewhere in the house, bedroom, baby’s room?” would do to my nerve. Bad, because I saw them creeping in (oh those disgusting creatures, meeting them is bad enough already) and had to start killing them in panic mode! Well, good and bad in pretty much the same way. Look at things from both sides of the coin they say. I got tails on both sides. Anyway..
So what’s wrong with this taping?
We figured it out one fumigation day. As usual, we had the sides of the hopper all taped. Hubby was the taping guy, and he was home that day. Good! Two pairs of eyes and hands to make sure no roaches made it into the house alive. Once our block’s bin chute chamber was fumigated, we saw smoke coming out from the bin chute and soon after we found roaches around the wall where the chute is, some were lying on the floor already. They are quite small in size. Okay, one big fat roach flew in from the window, we both screamed and jumped in horror before Hubby slapped it dead. Very traumatic experience, I know. It still gives my goosebumps even now when I think (and type) about it. So that calls for closed-windows in every fumigation day.
That big one is exception, now back to the chute. Since those succeeded in escaping were smaller ones, we came to suspect the handle of the chute, which were not taped at all. Afterall it totally didn’t look accessible for the roaches (and even the taping instruction in picture given out by the town council is one with tapes only on the sides, the handle is left un-taped). By the way, the type of chute I am talking about is the flat type with handle that works like a door knob, not the older type of which handle and chute is a one-piece-built.
Well as impossible as we thought that roaches could be coming out through the handle, there’s no harm in trying. Today is another fumigation day, we mummified the chute with layers of masking tape, extra layers on the handle! Sometimes the spirit of ‘kiasu’ is of good use too, you know. Heard the loud spraying of gas and slamming of metal door down there. Best of luck to the roaches and me! I waited for some minutes in front of the chute with the broom in my hand. (Baby was safe in the pack and play, in case you’re wondering.)
Not one roach. Not even a hint of smoke. I went back a few more times to the chute and waited. Not a single roach in sight. Hooray!! Did a happy dance with Baby! A happy homemaker I was, and all the happier I am!
*Kiasu: a popularly used Hokkien term in Singapore, is literally translated as ‘fear of losing’; is normally used to describe an extreme effort to play safe, or to out-smart everyone else in everything.