Monthly Archives: June 2010

#18 Comparing

Just like complaining (See #4) , Singaporeans are fond of comparing many things – grades, how big your house is, how skinny/pretty/talented your daughter is and even who got the better deal on those Wacoal girdles at Robinsons. You name it and we’ll compare it.

Singaporean parents are notorious for their need to compare their children with those of their friends. Most of the time, they are a walking contradiction because they will talk about how you’re a prodigy child in front of their friends/relatives/random strangers who happen to be trapped in the same space as them, and then force you to play the piano for aforementioned people. However, before you start feeling like a rockstar, be warned that Comparing isn’t all peachy keen. Often times, comparing can be used against you to deflate your ego and keep your pride in check. Take Singaporean Parents who compare their kid’s academic achievements to those of their friends’ children, for instance. Nevermind if you got an A- on that killer Chemistry exam, it’s not good enough if you didn’t beat Aunty so-and-so’s son. And Aunty so-and-so’s son/daughter will always get straight A’s, so you can count on feeling grossly inadequate for the rest of your academic career. Singaporeans students of the world, holla if you know I’m talking about.

Comparing can also be used by Singaporean parents as a sneaky and underhanded tactic to guilt-trip you into doing something. There are three stages to accomplishing this:

Stage 1: Confrontation

This usually happens after you schlunk up to your Singaporean Mom with your latest Chinese test in hand, as you rapidly rehearse your excuses as to why your (evil) lao shi wrote a big red  “不及格 !” (aka “you suck at this so please rethink any dreams of being a Chinese tutor stat”) on your paper (even if your Singaporean Mom doesn’t read much Chinese, the big red characters are a dead giveaway). The confrontation usually occurs when your Singaporean Mom accuses you of a) not doing your Chinese homework  b) sleeping during Chinese tuition  or c) both. Affronted, you will then probably state that a) you do your Chinese homework all the time (and fail to mention that you copied most of the answers from the answer key at the back of the book) and b) you never sleep during Chinese tuition and in fact, your Chinese tutor is the one who gets to snooze while you attempt to wade through fifty pages of Journey-freaking-to-the-West (Hello, Sun Wukong? Sienna Miller called. She wants her genie pants back.)

Stage 2: Comparing

This is when your Singaporean Mom will start to rant about how Aunty so-and-so’s daughter scored an A for her Higher Chinese paper even though she doesn’t have any extra lessons. And how she’s a prefect. She will then go on to wax lyrical about aforementioned freaksho- Oops, I mean daughter –  and then sigh in a manner resembling that of someone carrying the world on her shoulders. “If you just learnt to apply yourself more, you could be like Aunty so-and-so’s daughter you know,” your Singaporean Mom will say, as you hang your head in shame. “Did you know that she also plays the flute and is a dancer?” At this point, you will probably feel like shriveling up into ball, humiliated and guilty about your Chinese-learning inadequacies.

Stage 3: Consideration

Once you’ve gotten past the guilt stage, you will then probably dig out your Chinese textbook with steely resolve and attempt to read about 小明 and his escapades (小明 goes to the park on a windy day! 小明 helps an old lady cross the road! 小明 catches an impostor parading as a blind man! Exciting stuff.) Although you will proceed to try and finish all your homework and reading before the next lesson, you will most likely end up throwing in the towel after the second hour (At this point, 小明 will probably be cruising around on his 脚踏车, looking for stray kittens or something.) This will then lead to you falling behind in Chinese class and your lao shi will pick on you and write big red words on your next test (which you will most probably do shamefully bad in).

Besides comparing grades, Singaporeans also love to compare how skinny they are. This is often done in a sneaky, ninja-like way (I would totally call it Ninja Comparing, but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it as Ninja Boasting, doncha think?) More often than not, Singaporean women will loudly proclaim that they are fat. Now this wouldn’t be as annoying if they actually were grossly obese like Gilbert Grape’s mom, but this often not the case. The thing is, most of these Singaporean women usually weigh about as much as a sack of potatoes… and they know it. So why proclaim that they are going on a diet because they are morbidly obese then, you may ask. Ah, young Padawan, there is so much for you to learn! This is merely a clever ninja tactic to rub it in your face and get you to admit that they’re skinny as sin, as you sit there eating your Old Chang Kee curry puff in bitter resentment.

Other things that Singaporeans love to compare include good deals. This can be anything from scoring a pair of $79 airplane tickets to Bangkok to getting a pair of Louboutins for 20% off. This form of comparing usually leads to an immediate need to one-up the other party, and this can be done by stating your latest best buy or acting like you can’t be bothered with their trivial purchases (when deep down, you really wish you had gotten to those Loubies before her).

P.S Sorry for the lack of updates! Work and kickboxing has been taking up most of my day, and I have also recently re-discovered the awesomeness that is My Soju (Korean dramas ftw).

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