Experiences from the weekend:
- Some Chinese people know nothing about any of the other cultures that live in Singapore. At a formal dinner on Friday, we (I and other law graduates) were served Malay food. When the gado-gado arrived, people were staring at it blankly and asking what it was. When some of us (I and the Indian guy next to me) read “potato cutlets” on the menu and concluded that it was probably bergadil (I have no idea how to spell it, because it never appears on the menus, but I’ve used the word my whole life), others looked blank and said they’d never heard of that either. Over the months I have been home, I have also met a first class honours NUS law grad who, when told the cuisine we were eating was from Kerala, said “What is Kerala?”, Chinese people who don’t know Muslims don’t drink alcohol, and Chinese people who know nothing whatsoever about Eurasians. So much for Singapore being a multi-cultural society. If you’re Chinese, apparently none of the others matter.
- Multiple travel agents promised that I could take a direct ferry from Tanah Merah ferry terminal to Tioman, and offered to sell me tour packages on this basis, but the service stopped running in June.
- Singaporeans are willing to queue up for hours to secure condominium bookings, Hello Kitty commemorative dolls, and Singapore Idol audition slots. They are also noted (derided?) for their compliance with rules and respect for authority. However, announcements in four languages and so many ground markings that the platform looks like the scene of a gruesome arrow massacre are not enough to persuade Singaporeans to let people off the train before shouldering them aside and charging in, before sitting comfortably in seats reserved for the elderly/pregnant, studiously ignoring the at least eight-month-pregnant woman teetering in front of them.