Monthly Archives: March 2010

#13 Matchmaking

One of the greatest fears in any Singaporean Mom’s life is that their kid will end up single or worse, married to a gold digger/short man/someone who is not Asian. It is for this reason that Singaporean Moms have taken it upon themselves to engage in the arduous task of finding their precious offspring his or her pefect match. Forget about eHarmony or Match.com…your Singaporean Mom will use her snooping prowess to find you a legit match and screen him/her way better than any online dating site can. Unlike Craigslist Personals, it is virtually impossible to lie to a Singaporean Mom (those flaring nostrils will give you away in no time), so you can be sure that you won’t be meeting a 55-year-old balding man-nurse masquerading as a 30-year-old doctor with McDreamy-type looks. Take note, however (and this is a very big however), that your Singaporean Mom’s taste may differ largely from yours.

If you are a daughter, you will probably be matchmaked with one of your Singaporean Mom’s friend’s sons. Your Singaporean Mom will arrange a meeting with aforementioned friend and son, before not-so-subtly hinting to everyone that you are a domestic goddess, even if your track record in the kitchen includes an egg exploding in the microwave and a cheese cake that had the consistency of Blu-Tack. Also note that your Singaporean Mom will not approve of any guy who dresses shabbily, is majoring in anything to do with the Arts, or is taking a break from school/work because he is “still trying to figure out what to do with his life”. On the other hand, Singaporean Moms love guys who are doctors, lawyers or engineers. Extra points if he spends his weekends off from work tutoring disabled children or bringing his mom to her weekly mahjong game.

If you are a son, it is highly likely that your Singaporean Mom will hook you up with a pleasant but somewhat homely chick who knows how to bake a pandan chiffon cake with just a toaster oven. Do not be disappointed if your Singaporean Mom doesn’t set you up with a model – this is for your own good, and she will tell you that a hiao bor/vain pot will take your money and run away with an ang moh man. Your Singaporean Mom will also never, ever set you up with a girl who is not Asian (or in some cases, Singaporean). If you ever do bring home a girl who isn’t Asian, your Singaporean Mom will probably wail pitifully about how her one and only son has been bewitched by an ang moh temptress and that you might as well just kill her already. A note of caution – Do not ever tell your Singaporean Mom that she’s being rude/prejudiced because she gave your non-Chinese date a fork and spoon instead of chopsticks (while talking about her in Chinese, in front of her). She will loudly proclaim that she must have committed some heinous crime in her past life to have such an unfilial and ungrateful child, and then proceed to lecture you about how children back in the day were seen and not heard.

P.S That’s Mulan’s matchmaker, in case you don’t remember.

#12 Scandals

Scandals to Singaporeans are like what attention and fame are to Paris Hilton – they like to pretend that they couldn’t care less about it, or are in fact, “so over it”, but deep down in the crevices of their brains lies an itch to know more… Even if it’s about Jack Neo and his philandering ways, or an epic cat fight between Xiaxue and Dawn Yang. Or… or… you knew this was coming – the escapades of Ris Low, disgraced and dethroned beauty queen (as the tabloids like to put it).

Singaporeans love scandals because they also love to gossip about anything and everything. Often times, Singaporeans will take sides and resort to leaving anonymous comments condemning the subject of the scandal, or even start a hate blog to expose The Many Lies of So and So. In the case of sex scandals, Singaporeans will religiously check gossip websites for more photos and videos (yes, you can hang your head in shame now, all you cheekopeks out there).

I really wouldn’t be surprised if more people knew about the intimate details of Jack Neo’s sexcapades than about the Red Shirt’s blood protest in Thailand. Scandals have the power to make you pick up that trashy copy of The New Paper, as long as its headline has one of the following words: sex, nude, model or car crash. Alternatively, a photo of a scantily-clad woman sprawled out across the front page in a Cleopatra fashion would have the same effect as well.

Most of the time, a scandal is especially gossip-worthy when it involves a famous (or quasi-famous, since we’re in Singapore after all) celebrity. Triple gossip-worthiness status is the celebrity is actually hot.

And please, for the sake of my sanity, stop it with the Jack Neo jokes. Imagining Liang Popo frolicking around in the buff with some chick who calls herself a model is really unpleasant to think about. It ranks up there with getting a root canal and stepping on dog poo. The guy is pushing 50, has a receding hairline and an unbelievably bad sense of style – so please, quit talking about him. Besides, I find it kind of sketch that the same guy who dresses up in drag to play a toothless grandma claims to have had more than one affair. Does Jack Neo look like a player to you?! Because the last time I checked, players were actually good looking. With good dress sense.

P.S Sorry for the lack of updates, but thanks for reading my blog! 🙂 I’m greatly heartened to know that I have more than a grand total of two readers (the boyfriend and best friend). I promise to update this as regularly as possible (unless I get distracted by Cooking Dash/Oven Break/Tap Tap Revenge. I know, I know, I should really get a life).

#11 Saying “Wah ka le gong”

You know what I’m talking about – the cocky expression of all-knowing that your Singaporean Mom or Dad puts on when you realize that you really should’ve heeded their advice before it was too late, followed by the inevitable “Wah ka le gong” (Hokkien term for “I told you so” which essentially means “You shoulda listened to me before, bitches!”).

If there is one thing to be understood about Singaporean Parents, it’s that they love sprouting bits of wisdom to their kids because it makes them feel wise and omniscient. In particular, Singaporean Parents like to make references to ancient Chinese philosophers and scholars, especially Confucius. Despite his receding hairline and saggy eye bags (It’s called concealer. Use it.), Singaporean Parents love Confucius because he would never talk back to his parents, nor would he ever drive his lao shi insane by turning off the toilet flush while she was taking a dump. Not that I ever did that to my lao shi or anything. Doo dee doo dee doo. Anyway, back to what I was saying about Singaporean Parents. Confucius is their homeboy because he embodies everything that a good Singaporean Child should be – filial, smart and conservative. I know, I know… who in their right mind would even want to kick it with a goody-goody like Confucius, what with his questionable dress sense and all (What’s up with his crazy robes and far out hats anyway? Someone give the man a gift card to Zara for crying out loud.) You’d be surprised at the number of Singaporean Parents who would kill meet the guy. You know how you had to write that essay in school about which famous personality you’d like to meet, dead or alive? Singaporean Parents would totally write about Confucius, not Obama. Or Lady Gaga.

Anyway, I digress.

Singaporean Parents love saying “Wah ka le gong” because they enjoy being right about things, and then rubbing it in. Take my Singaporean Dad for example – he loves saying “Wah ka le gong” so much that we debated making him a t-shirt with the phrase printed across the front. One time my sister forgot to bring her passport to the airport and my Dad said, “What did I say? Always check! And double check! Wah ka le gong lah!” Five minutes later (while my sister was still rummaging around in her bag, hoping to miraculously find her passport in there), he gestured at us to listen to the pearls of wisdom he was about to impart upon us. “Wah ka le gong loh,” he said, in a sage-like manner. “You must always check! Passport is a basic thing! What did I say? Passport is more important than..? Makeup. Phone is more important than…? iPod. Wallet is more important than…? Snacks. 

Take note that when your Singaporean Parent gets on a roll with this “Wah ka le gong” business, do not try to defend yourself. Ever. Because that would be equivalent to talking back, therefore negating your Singaporean Parent’s “Wah ka le gong” bliss. Instead, put on an appropriate expression of remorse and promise to be more like Confucius.

#10 Saving

Singaporeans love to save, whether it’s  money, time or toilet paper. Some Singaporeans love saving so much that they’ll even go all the way to Johor Bahru City Square Mall to buy groceries, and then willingly  ferry 10 giant packs of industrial strength toilet paper across the Causeway. And mind you, it’s usually the scratchy, low-grade type that feels like your wiping your ass with newspapers – not the soft, fluffy ones with the picture of the golden puppy taking a nap on the rolls of toilet paper.

From the moment we are old enough to save, we start saving. In fact, one of our local banks even has a special savings account for children, complete with a dancing blue squirrel as its mascot (why squirrels are supposed to be cute and thrifty, I will never know. The squirrels that I see are always kind of ghetto-looking and they eye our fruit trees beadily.) Anyway, back to saving.

Besides saving money and toilet paper, Singaporeans also like to save around the house. Whether it’s saving old school uniforms so that your younger sister can wear them (nevermind that they’re now a sickly shade of bluish-white due to age and several unfortunate incidents involving Clorox), or cutting the toothpaste tube in half to squeeze out the last remaining bits of Colgate, Singaporeans will find all sorts of ways to save.

One time when I was sick, I dragged my ailing self into my parents’ room to scrounge around for some Nyquil in my Singaporean Dad’s mini fridge (which also happens to contain a random assortment of Yakult, charcoal tablets, Evian water, peanuts and an eye mask). My Singaporean Dad hemmed and hawed and felt my forehead, before concluding that I probably had a fever. He then dug around in his stash of medicine and pulled out a foil sheet of Nyquil tablets, brandishing it like a prized medal. I was about to pop two pills when I noticed that the expiry date printed on it was 12 April….wait for it…. 1999. No wonder the pills looked kind of brown (it was supposed to be orange colour). “Medicine doesn’t expire one lah, it just has a lower efficacy,” my Singaporean Dad said, as he fished around for another foil sheet of tablets. “I show you lah! I eat now!”  He then popped the two dodgy looking tablets into his mouth like  jelly beans and proceeded to stick out his empty tongue as proof. I ended up settling for some Advil which had expired in 2007. My Singaporean Dad ended up with a stomachache.

#9 Superstitions

Singaporeans – and Asian people, in general – are superstitious people. I’m not talking about typical  knock-on-wood/black cat superstitions, but more mythical, cool and sometimes even random ones. Singaporeans, for the most part, do not believe in Westernized superstitions like Santa Claus. In fact, the typical Singaporean Parent would probably scoff at the notion of a bearded fat man prancing about about in a red suit lined with faux fur, and tell you that under no circumstances would Mommy kiss an ah pui like Santa Claus under the mistletoe.

Superstitions that Singaporeans believe in can vary from traditional ones like married couples giving money (aka ang paos) to single people during Chinese New Year (awesome for me, not so awesome for married couples who have to reluctantly dole out $10 bills to their insufferable younger siblings and cousins) to peculiar ones, such as being reincarnated into a bug.

One time, a giant moth made its way into the dining room while we were having dinner and fluttered around in a bat-like fashion. My maid came into the room armed with a  a fly swatter (or was it a rolled up newspaper?), all ready to K.O. it, when my Dad shouted, “Eh eh stop! Don’t kill it! When my mother died, she turned into a butterfly. Open the windows instead!”

Yes, I think my Singaporean Dad is kind of eccentric too.

Anyway, I digress.

Singaporean Parents love superstitions, because it gives them a legitimate reason to force their kid to do/not do something. In fact, they probably all received the same parenting handbook on using scary superstitions to their advantage . Your petulant son won’t stop making a racket over the Transformers toy you won’t buy him at the mall? Threaten to leave him there and then casually mention that he should watch out for the pontianak who preys on crying children. Have a picky eater who refuses to eat her vegetables? Tell her the Kitchen God is taking note of her hidden broccoli under her mashed potatoes.

My Singaporean Mom used to tell me that if I didn’t finish all the rice on my plate, my face would break out in pimples and I would hence be doomed to live a life of misery. Or that the “bad wind” would freeze my face if I continued to make pig faces at my sister.

Other supertitions that Singaporeans love include the number 8 (it’s considered lucky), wearing red underwear when gambling and putting  a mirror outside your door during so that demons and ghosts will be scared off by their own reflection.