Wednesday, 15 June 2011

It's that time again...musings from Asia...

And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. The Bull logged 10+ miles tonight on one of the coolest nights of the year in Sing Sing (so...87 degrees with 94% humidity - but at least there was a breeze...kind of like the one that comes out of the oven when you open it to put the pizza in), and it felt really good. Granted, it feels like someone's taken a cheese grater to my inner thighs, but hey - at least the nipples aren't bleeding this time!
So it's been awhile since I've worked through an "observation session," and tonight felt like a good time to do it. Below are some of the things that I've noticed are VERY common in this city, and they are all things that just make me go hmmmmmmm...(where's Arsenio Hall when you need him?):
1. "The question list:" Now don't get me wrong, I KNOW that my accent is hard for people to understand. Hell, it's tough for folks back HOME to understand. But why is it that ANYTIME I call to ask for something, I am taken back through the questions that I've ALREADY PROVIDED THE ANSWERS TO? Case in point - Monday night's cab (this happens to me EVERY DAY):
Need a Cab Sammy (NaCS): "Hi, I need a cab from Harbourfront to Evans Road, please."
Dispatcher: "Hello? You need taxi?" (Well, I DID call the TAXI COMPANY, so it's either that or I'm REALLY lonely and need company for the journey).
NaCS: "That's correct - going from Harbourfront to Evans Road."
Dispatcher: "Okay, lah. Taxi. Where you go to, lo?" (IS SHE SERIOUS? EVANS ROAD, LAH!!!!)
NaCS: "Evans Road, please. But I'm at Merrill Lynch Harbourfront now."
Dispatcher: "Where you at now, lo?" (STEAM. FUMING. NO WORDS.)
Dispatcher: "Harbourfront is it?" (I mean seriously - what would you do?)
NaCS: "Yep. I'll be down in the lobby."
Dispatcher: "Where you want to wait. You go to lobby, is it?"
NaCS: "Yes, lah. Lobby."
Dispatcher: "Okay, and you Evans Road?" (OH FOR @#$#'S SAKE!!!!)
NaCS: (through gritted teeth) "Yes. Thank you."
This has happened every time I order tickets, make reservations for dinner (YES, Grimshaw - I actually do that on occassion), call tech support - you name it. Good times.
2. The laugh that removes all oxygen from the room: Now anyone on earth will tell you that I laugh like a hyena. Jenny was so embarassed at "The Expat Wife" that I thought she was going to run away in shame. It's fair to say that I cackle, but I do confirm to Western laughing standards of being loud and exhaling. Asians by and large, however, don't expel air when they laugh. Instead, it's more a series of convulsions that suck in all air in an 11 mile radius, leaving you concerned if you should carry on telling the joke or begin performing the heimlich maneuver. Granted, not all are like this. But for the ones that are - LOOK OUT...and bring your own O2 tank.
3. The total DOMINANCE of the sidewalk: This is the one that's killing me at the moment and will probably see me deported. You see, in the states and in Britain, when you are in a group of 20 and someone is walking the other direction on the sidewalk, you make way. Here, you are noticed, looked at because you are a bizarre Ang Mo with sweat stains in your pits that would make you the talk of the town in a hypercolor t-shirt, and then those walking toward you go right back about their business but DON'T BUDGE. Consequently, you either have to dive out of the way or contort your body in such a fashion that you can slip through the juggernaut. I have actually taken a different approach recently - I am now BODY CHECKING the dude on the end. I have done this probably half a dozen times, and I've observed that either a) they don't BAT AN EYE and keep walking, b) they are startled that they were just touched in Singapore, shake their head like they've been woken from the Matrix, and then keep going, or c) they turn, stare, yell something in Chinese, and then invariably continue their march, bowling over the next cat coming the opposite direction. Perhaps I just need bigger shoulders, but I fully intend to continue this social experiment. Don't worry, mom - I haven't taken out any grannies...yet.
Those are just the 3 on my mind, and given that it's 11:30 I think it's time to call it quits. However, as I know that some of the readership has tired from my incessant running updates, I wanted to let everyone know that I was still keeping up with foreign relations (Top Gun style).
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny

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