I am a Coffee Bean cup and I live in Singapore. I was born in Senai, Johor, a small industrial town in the fifth largest state in Malaysia. I lived close to the Senai Airport, where the low cost airline AirAsia drops off many of its passengers in this southern state of Malaysia and in Singapore.
I was born in a factory in Senai Industrial Park. I had many friends who were all of the same plastic background. Everyday, we played in the factory, running up and down the carousel and chasing each other around the big moulding machines.
We also often played hide and seek among the huge brown boxes. Once, I hid inside a carton and almost got shipped away to Kuala Lumpur. Luckily, I managed to escape because they hadn’t sealed the box. I tumbled out onto the road and picked up a few scratches, and felt like a superhero from an action film.
My friends and I were truly one and united. We were from the same background and we all looked alike. Though neither of us had any names, we could tell each other apart as each of us were different, though similar.
One day, when I was only 12 days old, they took me away to Singapore. The factory owner told me that I was to have a better life. He told me that Singapore was a bigger city, and that I could finally be useful and contribute to society. I protested, but he put me in a container along with 2,000 other plastic cups and wrapped us up in a huge bag.
Off we went into the back of a lorry, and it was so claustrophobic that at one point, I fainted from exhaustion. All 2,000 of us were sat in rows on top of each other, like slaves from West Africa being shipped away to the United States. There was no room to breathe or manouvre, and suddenly, the prospect of arriving in Singapore didn’t seem so bad after all, as I couldn’t wait to get out.
When I arrived, I was immediately given a new name. Coffee Bean was tattooed all over my body. I absolutely hated it, and everynight as I sat in a dark room in the basement of a shopping mall called Marina Bay Sands, I tried to scratch out the ink but to no avail. The other plastic cups that came with me were given the same name, but inside, I knew that I was different.
One evening, I was removed from the dark room, but before I had time to breathe, I heard a young lady say “Ice Mocha” and immediately the cold sensation ran through my body. The more I squirmed, the more uncomfortable I became. I had a brain freeze when they squeezed whipped cream on my head and gave me a transparent plastic hat, which made me look like a total idiot.
I was bought by a young man in his late 20s, who took me out to the pier facing Marina Bay. I saw the Singapore skyline for the first time, and I fell in love with it. It was so beautiful and romantic watching the skyscrapers in the business district light up like fireflies. I was thoroughly enjoying the sightseeing until he lit a cigarette and tried to kiss me.
I was so disgusted that I decided to freeze up, but the humidity at night didn’t allow me to. We spent the next 20 minutes in silence as he toyed with an electronic device on his palm. He seemed distracted, and started to put me down on the floor. 10 minutes later, he left without saying goodbye.
I waited at my spot. I waited, and waited, as I didn’t know what to do. I thought about saying hello to the cigarette box next to me, but he was already fast asleep. I thought about perhaps jumping into the river, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I watched as the night slowly turned into day… when finally a cleaner put me into a bin and out of misery. And that is the story of my very short life.