I am not an early bird. So despite my love for Egyptology, I groaned at the prospect of having to wake up early for the “Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb” exhibition at the ArtScience Museum on Saturday.
Coupled with the fact that I didn’t eat breakfast before leaving home, my ears rang and I could barely keep my eyes open. I was only able to string at most three words in a sentence.
Wait. Slow down. Relax. Rush for what? Eat first.
I was barely functioning. So it was a surprise that I even spotted the two ice sculptures before my friend Yvonne.
They belonged to the BERING pop-up booth, as part of the launch of their Frozen in Time campaign.
The towers were constructed crudely — several square slabs of ice simply stacked on top on one another — but interestingly a crowd had gathered around.
Because frozen within were several BERING watches and jewellery pieces, which they stood to win if they retrieved them from the sculpture.
What? Can win something one? On!
That jolted me out of my stupor. Immediately Yvonne and I grabbed a metal spoon each from the BERING staff and began hacking away at the ice.
After three minutes or so, one of the promoters took away our tools and told us that we now had to use whatever items we had on us to excavate the prizes.
The girl, perhaps my age or younger, nearly jumped when I growled at her why. Although the spoons were malleable and bent out of shape after a while, they provided some distance and protection from the frost nip.
The shopper on my right protested too and demanded an explanation, but he quickly turned his attentions back to the ice sculpture when another shopper, a middle-aged Indonesian woman with keropok hair, started chipping away at the spot he was working on.
Annoyed, he writhed his way back in, glared at the woman and resumed with the ice sculpture — this time with his keys.
Some used metal rulers, other borrowed scissors from the surrounding shops. A few even took to the sculpture with coins.
Yvonne and I ourselves took turns to work at the ice with my pen and a pebble I found nearby.
Ours was a better idea, but only marginally. We had been at it for at least half an hour, but we barely made a dent.
It’s times like these that I wish I was a smoker and that I have a lighter around, I said to Yvonne wryly, with ice chips flying into my hair and down my shirt.
Pouncing on the idea, Yvonne sped to the nearby 7-11 to buy a lighter.
It was by far one of our better tools. It bore a hole through the ice in no time. Trouble was, Yvonne kept burning her fingers on the metal flame guard which became hotter and hotter the more we used it. Still she persisted.
Perhaps that was why an elderly bystander offered us a pair of wire cutters to use; he must have taken pity on Von. I have no idea why he would have a pair of wire cutters — he could have been a electrician for Marina Bay Sands or a serial killer — but we were extremely grateful.
I was gleefully hacking away at the ice, feeling like an Arctic explorer (inner monologue: Persevere men! There is glory and honour ahead!), when another BERING promoter came and told us we weren’t allowed to use scissors and the like.
If they tell me one more time that I can’t use this or that, I won’t need any scissors or spoons to smack them, I thought.
By then we had spent an hour on our knees in a puddle, jabbing continuously. A group of teenage boys who were standing further off giggled. Yes, the imagery was not lost on us either. And apparently a tourist took a video of us both in that position.
Then I felt my fingers slip around the watch. With renewed vigour, Von and I melted and hacked the ice surrounding the hole. In fact, our voices rose as the hole grew bigger.
Oh my god, oh my god!
And we screamed when we finally prised out two watches.
OH MY GOD, WE WON! AHHHHH!
SWEET TRIUMPH! VICTOREEEEE! WAHHHH!
We won a watch from BERING’s Ceramic Collection, worth SGD 450, as well as a $50 voucher, which was the top prize.
For our second try, we won another $50 voucher.
Yvonne was generous enough to cede me the watch even though we both worked on it on our first attempt. In return, I gave her both vouchers.
As we collected our prizes, the promoters told us we had been there for over an hour, and how impressed they were at our dedication and general badass-ness.
I laughed. No lah, it’s teamwork. It’s the power of friendship.