When I first found out that H was an electrician, my brain did a double take.
Woah, was my first thought.
Don't show it, was the second. It'll be rude to act surprised.
Instead, I smiled, nodded and behaved as if being an electrician was the most natural occupation in the world.
How interesting, I ventured a while later, then retreated. I pointedly ignored the topic for the rest of our lunch even though I was bursting with questions.
That was four years ago.
Since then, we've discussed it numerous times - and have had a good laugh at my initial reaction.
It's not an unexpected response, I think, at least in Singapore.
No offence to electricians (I'm married to one anyway), but most children here don't grow up wanting to be tradesmen.
So, when I heard that H - whom I'd known in school - had chosen a job that was so different from all our other JC friends (bankers, lawyers, doctors, pilots, businessmen, managers), I was shocked.
I was also intrigued. What made him go into it? What did he do every day? Change lightbulbs? What sort of tools did he use? Was it dangerous to be working around electricity? Did he hate it? Surely a person can't enjoy being an electrician, or can he?
I later found out that being an electrician wasn't the only thing he did in Britain, where he had settled.