SINGAPORE - I was in the office loo last Tuesday when a colleague walked in, saw me, and immediately asked in hushed tones: "Were the murders near your place?"
I took a few seconds to register what she was saying.
No, I replied, when I finally got it.
It happened quite far away.
She was referring to the Kovan murders, of course, a case that got Singapore talking because of the sheer horror of what happened.
A father and son slashed in their Hillside Drive home. The body of the son dragged 1km by a car on a busy road before being dislodged outside the Kovan MRT station. The arrest of a policeman as the suspect.
For days, the "Kovan murders" hogged headlines.
The Kovan MRT station is a 10-minute walk from my home, and the house where the killings took place about 2km away.
Because I'm familiar with the neighbourhood, the crime affected me in a more direct way. I could picture clearly where everything happened. I felt sad that tragedy could suddenly befall people who travelled the same roads I do, who probably shopped at the same supermarkets, and who were as familiar with the area's landmarks as I am.
I've lived in the neighbourhood all my life. I was born in a house there before moving directly across the street to another house where I've lived for the last 40 years.