Monthly Archives: December 2010

#24 Karaoke

For the longest time, I’ve been thinking about what to blog about. What exactly do Singaporeans like, I wondered. Food? I suppose. Sales? Too cliche. And then, on Christmas eve morning, I was rudely awoken from peaceful slumber by my Singaporean Mom gaily singing Christmas carols on our ancient karaoke machine. While making preparations for our annual Christmas eve party at home, my Singaporean Mom had re-discovered the karaoke machine and took it upon herself to spread some Christmas cheer by singing holiday carols at 9am in the morning.

“Siiiiiiileeeeent niiiiiight….Hoooooo-ohhhh-leeee niiighttt – eh Melba come and sing!” she belted out, as Ozzy and Jolie (our resident German Shepherds) stared in puzzlement at my Singaporean Mom warbling away on our karaoke set straight out of the 1990’s.

I tried to drown out the noise with my pillow, I really did. But sadly, to no avail. Anyway, my point is – it finally dawned upon me that Singaporeans, especially Singaporean Moms, love karaoke. I don’t know if it’s because we harbor secret hopes of becoming the next Mariah or Jay Chou, but god, karaoke is fun.

From the cheesy love songs that you would never be caught listening to on your iPod (Who doesn’t love belting out Whitney’s “I will always love you” or Celine’s “My Heart Will Go On”?!) to the completely random videos of women traipsing around an island in a Bay Watch-style bikini and 1980s make-up (nevermind that you’re singing a song that has absolutely nothing to do with the beach), Singaporeans can’t get enough of karaoke. And for good reason too, because karaoke allows you let loose (Go on then, pretend to be Taylor Swift. Nobody is gonna judge you when you’re singing karaoke.), brings people together and above all, ensures that you never have to make uncomfortable small talk. It also keeps my Singaporean Mom in a mighty jolly mood, which is fine by me.

Speaking of my Singaporean Mom, have I mentioned how much she loves singing? One time I walked into her room while she was blasting her new Celine Dion CD and unabashedly belting out “To Love You More” (complete with the whole eyes-closed emo expression – Celine would’ve been proud), while pottering about in her pajamas. Talk about letting loose even without the Grey Goose.

Anyway, have a great New Year celebration tonight ya’ll. I’ll be kicking it with my Singaporean Mom tonight and I suspect she might bust out the karaoke set after dinner. My Singaporean Dad, on the other hand, will probably eat some papayas for dessert and say something along the lines of, “Why do women love to sing so much har? They really love to sing, you know. Tau tiah!”

P.S In case you get a sudden urge to sing karaoke tonight, here’s a video of one of my favourite songs (the video leaves much to be desired though).

#23 Child Labour

Apologies for the lack of updates! I’ve been busy with work and other grown-up things (not Korean dramas, I promise) but I’m sort of enjoying the momentum. I also quit my corporate job a couple of months back and am now working for my Singaporean Mom. This brings me to the topic of this post – child labour.

Have you ever been made to carry shopping bags of towels, 3-for-$10 panties and kitchenware while your Singaporean Mom charges ahead to tackle the next sale? Or were you ever forced to wake up at an ungodly hour on a Saturday morning to tag a whole pile of bags and shoes (which sadly, will not be yours) for your Singaporean Mom? There there, you are not alone.

The Singaporean Mom is hardcore. And by hardcore, I really mean no-nonsense. She can sniff out a lie even before it escapes from your mouth. I’m not kidding about this – one time she called my Singaporean Dad out on a fib even before he said anything, as he guiltily tried to stop his traitorous nostrils from flaring and giving him away.

The Singaporean Mom also does not tolerate shoddy excuses for laziness. Staying in bed because you have a “sore throat”? Or a “fever”? Rest assured that your ailments will mysteriously disappear once your Singaporean Mom gives you her Ninja Death Glare, only reserved for moments when you know you’re in Deep Trouble.

On a side note, you should totally see my Singaporean Mom’s Ninja Death Glare, which would make even Voldemort crap his pants. It starts out as a slight furrowing of the eyebrows, before the vein in her forehead starts to throb in an alarming manner. As her voice gets progressively louder (and scarier), her eye will start to twitch dangerously. This is when you should probably run and hide.

Singaporean Moms believe that forcing their children to work for them builds character, keeps them out of trouble and above all, means that she never has to carry anything except her handbag. Whether it is having to lug around huge shopping bags of potpourri, linen and scented soaps, or transporting stocks to the bazaar shop at 2am in the morning, you can be sure that your Singaporean Mom will, in some point of your life, Ninja Death Glare you into doing it.

Besides being her personal valet, you might also be roped into giving her a neck massage (“Aiyoh! Why so boh lak (no energy) one?”), painting her nails and helping out at the office (which in my case, means stock checks and tagging endless piles of clothes, shoes and bags). Whenever your Singaporean Mom asks if you’re free to help out on Saturday, note that she really is telling you that you have to go to work on Saturday. Do not ask how long you have to work that day, because she will merely silence you with her Ninja Death Glare. Above all, do not ask her if she is going to pay you for your time, because she will furrow her eyebrows, and give you a look that says “Look buddy, I spent 15 hours in the delivery room giving birth to you, so you’re gonna work for free. Capisce?”

Take note that child labour doesn’t end, even after you have graduated from college. Look at me – I’m 22 and I still work for my Singaporean Mom. Hey, don’t get me wrong – I love that I can wear crazy pants to work, or my Chuck Taylors even on days that are not Casual Friday, but living with your boss means that 10pm meetings in the dining room (in your pajamas, no less) will not be uncommon.