SASS AND THE CITY

Kill Bill: Vol. Pay(back) Now

A revenge flick reimagined, featuring Singapore's new sworn enemy: cash.

AS THE cold steel sword snapped to meet the end of the sheath, the female protagonist in a yellow jumpsuit resisted the blatant Bruce Lee howl. Her name is Uma The-Woman, short for Quentin You can Drive My Car.

She was hell-bent on revenge after Bill and his deadly ring of assassins tried to take her out last year. The-Woman, the digitally savviest of the lot, had retired to take on a seemingly peaceful pursuit: getting Singaporeans on board with PayNow, Singapore's digital fund transfer scheme.

She does go out on a limb.

The number of PayNow registrations shot through the roof as she charmed, persuaded, and broke appendages, to have millions of Singaporeans sign up. But she made enemies of those who would love to have dirty money run through shady casinos or overstaffed restaurants that served dubious definitions of food.

The hired killers stormed through the defining moment of her life - her collection of keys to her Build-To-Order flat - and reduced the Bride-to-Be to pulp (fiction). The-Woman also lost her HDB queue number. This did not make her happy.

The-Woman went after the first assassin. The kingpin of Sim Lim Square was not difficult to find. Jovial Chews was the anointed leader of the motley crew there after he went after a customer with the most deadly arsenal owned by Bill's killing squad: coins.

He had the most advanced weaponry. The Third Series coins, launched in 2013, are exquisite, minted on multi-ply plated steel comprising a steel core electroplated with three layers of metals - nickel over copper over nickel for silver-coloured coins; and brass over copper over nickel for gold-coloured coins.

Lighter in weight, the coins also produce a lower pitch tone compared to the older coins, when struck against hard objects. Like the floor from which a victim swept up the S$547 spray of coins unleashed by the full-bred ah-beng.

As Jovial bit his lip, The-Woman headed straight for the shelf that would do him in. She brandished her Made-in-Japan sword and swept through the rows of iPhone X that sat royally on display. Then for dramatic effect, she swept through all other phones - even the Nokia sets, in all their defunct, defenceless, and disrupted, distress.

Jovial Chews walked five steps, and his heart exploded.

Not far away, a civil servant smiled in the shadows. The suffering sod who had slogged through the limit for the use of coins - 10 pieces each of 5-cent, 10-cent, 20-cent, 50-cent and one-dollar coins per transaction - nursed his wounds from paper cuts and public indignation.

The-Woman's second stop was the House of General Shrubbery, where two of her erstwhile colleagues convened. As the clocks struck eleven mainly for dramatic effect (for everyone is using digital clocks, let's be honest), Lazy Susan and Zi Mo arrived for their regular mahjong session.

Lazy Susan and her eldest son Zi Mo once dominated the sophisticated dine-and-dash circuit of the Asian persuasion. Thanks to her philandering ex-husband, Lazy Susan wiggled her way into several families, throwing rank as wife number one.

Using the collective worth of her gossip on the other families, she would gather the different households, preside in squabbles over the last piece of abalone/kailan/gingko nut, and then express mock horror for leaving her wallet behind.

It was Lazy Susan's spin on her Crazy 88 family. This hostage situation, this devious use of game theory against her foes - or the Kiasu Kapow - carried on for decades.

Zi Mo just liked to touch his own bamboo (on mahjong tiles please), and so took on the role of her sidekick for post-dinner gambling sessions.

That was before PayNow was introduced. The digital fund transfer made it nearly impossible for their ruse to continue. Family members would say "PayNow now" for superfluous emphasis. Irregardlessly.

Lazy Susan and Zi Mo retreated in fear. But The-Woman found them with ease. Livid family members had given the pair smartphones, and secretly linked the phones' GPS signal alerts to their accounts.

The-Woman bound them, and grabbed them by the thumbs. Their blood-curdling screams filled the House of General Shrubbery as she enabled PayNow transfers to family members seamlessly, within seconds. SMS alerts added a quaint flourish. There and then, revenge was a dish best served real-time.

Next on her list was Crypto Manic Street Preacher, a crazed millennial in high-end sneakers and Bitcoin sweaters of offensive colours. An undisputed cliche of the times, Crypto Manic was always in his student dorm, skipping class to mine for digital coins, or running through the dorm proclaiming "decentralisation!" before passing out in front of his room from too much alcohol.

The-Woman kicked down the door, and slammed his head onto his keyboard. When Crypto Manic awoke an hour later, he nervously checked his cryptocurrency wallet. It had been emptied out - the Bitcoin, the Dogecoin, the CatCoin. All of it. As his eyes found his reflection in the mirror, he read a bloody tattoo scrawled across his forehead: Love Me Legal Tender.

The-Woman's murderous rampage left just one to strike off.

He was once the peg to her dollar. The fiat to her paper heart. The former gold standard.

"Where is Bill?" she snapped.