My mum recently learnt the Singlish phrase “half past six” and has taken to dropping it into her conversations. I never thought much about this until Alec mentioned she’d asked him (innocently) if he knew the phrase too, whereupon I remembered its actual etymology and OMIGOD.
Then while writing this up to share with you (yeah I know, you’re all like “Well cheers for the thought Michelle, but any conversation involving your mum talking to your husband about floppy dicks should only be shared with us on a NEED TO KNOW BASIS”) I remembered that I used to record mum quotes here when they particularly amused me, but hadn’t done so for ages. Here’s one that shouldn’t slip through the cracks:
My mum, returning from her church group’s Christmas party a few years back: We exchanged gifts. Look at all my booty!
Me: Er, mum, people use that word a bit differently now.
Mum, preoccupied with all her presents and not really listening: Yay, I have so much booty!
While chatting with my mum on what she got up to while I was away:
My mum: Daddy and me went to Chinatown for the first time.
Me: That’s nice, did you have fun?
My mum: Yes! I bought Alec some cute cat coasters for his new balcony table.
Me: MUM!!??! He’s a guy! And he doesn’t have or want a cat!
My mum: That’s exactly why he needs cat coasters.
Manhunt (Tuesdays 10 pm on Starworld) is America’s Next Top Model’s poor transgendered cousin. The first episode featured the guys skydiving in Calvins, because apparently this would test their ability to work as a team. It’s poorly produced, features a crop of guys with even less personality than your usual wannabe fameseeker, and gimmicks that have passed through the colon of every other reality show. The token “male supermodel” judge is pure vanilla next to Tyra Banks, who at least held a strange “How much more gaunt and ugly can this woman get over the course of the season?” fascination for me. Also, it’s hosted by Carmen Electra, who brings her own special brand of brainlessness and appalling incompetence to the show.
Needless to say, I’m planning to watch it every week.
Watching with my mum makes it even more of a head-trip. For example, this is from last night, when Ron got eliminated.
My mum: Pity, he has an interesting look.
Me: Yah, he does.
My mum: He looks like Mephistopheles.
During previous exam study periods, my walls have been adorned with post-its bearing various motivational messages such as “A 2-1 IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH”, “YOU CAN’T WRITE ESSAYS ABOUT ____________ (whatever book I was absorbed in at the time) CAN YOU??” and “STOP PLAYING DOPE WARS”. They worked.
This time I wanted to quote Dizzee from Stand Up Tall, but then realized that my mum wouldn’t take too well to “Can’t run the marathon without training or stretch the arsehole without straining” whenever she comes to my laptop for her Solitaire fix.The poor woman already takes issue with the photos I paste on my desk wall (of my life in England):
My mum: From these photos it would look as if you’ve had strings of boyfriends!
Me: Mum, two of the men with me in those pictures are priests, and another one is the preserved corpse of Jeremy Bentham.¹
My mum: That’s even worse!
¹ Upon graduation, I thought it was only polite to pose for a picture with the subject of my dissertation. (Jeremy Bentham, not his corpse.)
The scene: Casey running madly back and forth between the kitchen and the backyard.
My mum: What a streaker! Our cat is such a streaker!
Me: Er, mum, a streaker is someone who runs around naked.
My mum: Yes, I know. Doesn’t she run around naked?
Michelle: Okay, so I’m going out for dinner, and probably to a club after that. It’s my friend’s birthday, so I guess I’ll be back pretty late.
Mum: Do you know, I watched that Missing show on TV yesterday, and it was about this girl your age who left home for work one day and never came back!
Michelle: What do you want me to do, never go out?
Mum: I’m just saying, if anything ever happens to you, I will curl up and die.
Michelle: You have two other children lah.
Mum: Did I ever tell you about my friend? She had three daughters. Then one of them died. Then another one got some intestinal problem and died. A year later, my friend found a lump in her breast. But because she had no will to live on, she refused to do anything about it, and she died too.
Michelle, throwing hands in air: STOP IT MUM!!
Earlier tonight, while watching Justin Timberlake: Down Home In Memphis on Starworld:
My mum: So who’s this?
Me: blah blah blah blah soooooo cute blah blah blah blah sooooo catchy blah blah blah blah fantastic dancer, look mum!
My mum: He looks like Gurmit Singh.
I have not the words.
[For non-Singaporeans: Gurmit Singh is a local TV personality, best known for an admittedly masterly comedy role as a dodgy building contractor sporting a mini-Afro perm, yellow rubber boots, and a large mole, best forgotten for an attempt at a talk show where he was probably trying to be Conan O’Brien but didn’t quite realize that only Conan O’Brien can be Conan O’Brien, and everyone else trying to be Conan O’Brien really just ends up as cringeworthy as Brooke Shields in Suddenly Susan. Suffice to say, he SO DOES NOT EVEN FAINTLY RESEMBLE JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, OR VICE VERSA.]