Category Archives: Uncategorized

#31 Speculating

speculating

Maybe it’s due to an innate need to always have an answer to everything, but Singaporeans like to speculate about things – anything from COE prices to when the next Reebonz mega sale will be.

My Singaporean Mom speculates a lot. Whenever we’re in a foreign country and we see other Asian people, she’ll look at them furtively, turn to us and say in an all-knowing fashion, “Must be (insert Asian ethnicity here). I know, I can hear one.”

In a bid to avoid being overheard, my Singaporean Mom devises code names to refer to the different types of Asians.

One time a Korean couple sat next to us while we were at a restaurant in Paris. As we heard them converse with each other, my Singaporean Mom’s ears pricked up as she furrowed her eyebrows and tried to deduce the ethnicity of aforementioned unsuspecting couple.

“Must be your TV show people,” she said with conviction, as she buttered a dinner roll. “I know one, I can tell immediately.”

“What? What TV show?” I asked, genuinely perplexed. Grey’s Anatomy? The Mindy Project? Glee?

“Aiyah, lu jin te!” (This basically means “You’re so thick.” in Hokkien. My Singaporean Mom doesn’t mince her words.) “Your drama shows lah! The one you watch every night. With the princess and chaebol.”

“What? My Korean dramas? What has that got to do with – ohhh…OK.”

“Yah, they are definitely your TV show people,” she said again, emphasizing the last part. “I can tell by the bi (nose).”

Speculating is not just limited to guessing the ethnicities of other Asian people. It can also include things like guessing why someone has put on so much weight (“Must be because her new job is so stressful. Or maybe she’s pregnant?”) or why so and so’s son married the girl his parents disapproved of (“She must know some of his secrets. Or maybe she put a spell on him! Wah, zha bor jin gao.”)

#30 Staring at other people’s food

Hello! I’m back, after a two year hiatus. I don’t know if anyone still reads this blog, or if people even read blogs anymore but here I am anyway.

I recently left my day job to start out on my own and my Singaporean Parents were kind of like “OK…so do you know what you’re doing?” and I was like “Um I think so, kinda, well at least I hope so.” and they were worried but I was even more worried because this is my future we’re talking about and I could very well end up starving and living out of my car (but let’s not hope not). Anyway long story cut short, I’m now working out of my sister’s office (I do copywriting projects and run lifestyle website scene.sg – check it out!) and I’ve got more time to write so here I am.

Anyway, on to the subject of this post – I don’t know if it’s just me, but my Singaporean Parents have a habit of staring at other people’s food. Even if it’s just a regular bowl of curry. They’ll make a big show of it too – obvious glances, loud exclamations of “What’s that ah? Is it on the menu? Can we order it?” and all.

Once, we were at our favourite Thai cafe in San Francisco (King of Thai, a bit grubby but still good nonetheless) and my Singaporean Dad spotted a bunch of college kids eating at the next table.

“Wah, look at that bowl of curry! Is that curry? Or noodles? I think it’s curry noodles. Is it on the menu?” he said, as he pointed (very obviously) at one of the boys eating aforementioned curry noodles. “Very good to eat during Winter. Will keep you very warm you know!”

In the same breath, he then proceeded to point and ask, “Young boy, is that curry?” when it was so very obvious that it was a bowl of curry.

curry

I’m not sure what makes other people’s food so alluring, but somehow when you see someone else heartily slurping up a bowl of bak chor mee, you’re like OK I wan’t a bowl too. Maybe it’s because food somehow looks better when someone else is having it? Or maybe deep down, we want what we can’t have? I don’t know, this is deep stuff to think about.

#29 Always being first

I’m back! With steely resolve to blog more this year, because someone needs to chronicle all the entertaining antics that my Singaporean Parents get up to.

I’m pretty certain that my Kancheong Spider (KCS) Singaporean parents aren’t the only ones who have an unexplained desire to Always Be First (henceforth known as ABF mentality). There’s really nothing wrong with having a healthy dose of ambition, but let me tell you that this ABF mentality transcends all sorts of situations – boarding a flight, getting off a flight, lining up for immigration (“Once the plane lands, you have to move out fast or you’ll have to line up very long at immigration, you know!”) …the list goes on.

[On a side note, can I just say that travelling with my Kancheong Spider Singaporean Parents is really stressful?]

There are 3 stages that the typical ABF Singaporean parent goes through.

The Scouting
This is the initial stage where an assessment of the situation is done. My Singaporean Dad takes this very seriously. Whenever we travel with him, he takes it upon himself to scout the area and find out exactly where the boarding gate is (as well as where the nearest bathroom is). Then he goes to the actual gate, asks the attendant at the counter whether it’s the correct flight (never mind that there’s a big LED screen above that has the flight details printed on it), and then checks the flight status on the monitor just to be sure.

You must check and double check, my Singaporean Dad always says. No sloppiness allowed around here.

The Assessment
This is the stage where you have to assess the situation or surroundings to see how to optimize your chances of having a perfect execution.

Once we took a Southwest flight to Vegas (read: no First Class) and my Singaporean Dad was practically overcome with ABF. The moment he saw the flight attendant reach for the microphone to make the boarding announcement, he jumped up and stood by the queue poles with his ticket in hand like an obedient schoolboy.

Unfortunately from him though, we were assigned one of the last boarding positions (because we booked our tickets online). This is not something my Singaporean Parents are used to.

“Aiyoh, sei lo sei lo…no more seats lah,” my Singaporean Dad exclaimed, as a group of college kids walked loftily past us, priority boarding tickets in hand. “Why do they let a bunch of little kids board before us? They should let old people board first.”

My Singaporean Parents are never last. They leave for the airport five hours early, wait around in the airline lounge for a few hours (while checking the flight status every ten minutes), then leave the lounge an hour before the scheduled boarding time. All this so they can be first in line, like eager school children waiting for the bell to ring.

The Execution
Note that while the execution phase is most crucial, it might not always go as planned. One time we were on the Eurostar train from London, and my Singaporean Dad herded us to the luggage exit area 20 minutes before the train was scheduled to arrive.

“Okay once the train doors open – Mom takes the small one and waits on the platform. Are you all listening or not? Genna, you’re in charge of the big gray one and that small one. Gayle takes the purple and the black one, then you both leave the bags with Mom on the platform and come back up to help me with this one. Are you listening? Okay, chop chop!”

He then proceeded to pace around (all the while trying to balance as the train rumbled on) and asked repeatedly, “Which side do you think the exit doors will be on? This side? Or maybe that side. Yes, probably that side. Where that big lady is. She looks like she knows where the exit is,” he said, pointing at aforementioned lady with his chin. “She has a backpack, so she must travel on the train a lot.”

Once the train came to a complete stop, he stood by the exit, all ready and raring to go. The irony of the situation was that before he could even get a head start on the others in the cabin (which consisted of a grand total of eight other people, I think), a group of young boys cut in front of him and blocked his path – forcing him to wait as everyone else on the train cabin filed out.

“These young kids,” he grumbled, as he fumbled with his bulky Samsonite. “Jin pai si!”

ABF mentality also applies to many other situations, such as when H&M launches a new designer collaboration, or when Robinsons has a sale on bed linen. For some godforsaken reason, Singaporeans will willingly stand in line for hours (or days, even) just to be the first to get their hands on a good deal.

And then they’ll proceed to complain about how they have to wait an extra five minutes for the train to arrive at their station. Go figure.

#28 Chinese dinners

If you’re a true-blue Singaporean, you should already know by now that the names Hua Ting, Mong Hing and Majestic are not the names of reputed fortune tellers or underground street gangs, but instead refer to the Chinese restaurants that your Singaporean parents often frequent.

Chinese dinners pretty much encompass everything Singaporean parents love to do – force feeding, fighting over the bill, sharing embarrassing childhood stories, ninja boasting…the list goes on.

The first rule of Chinese dinners is to always finish the food on your plate (which, for some funny reason, is that same white plate that you get at Chinese restaurants all over the world).

The second rule is to avoid eating the last piece of siew yoke/salted egg prawn/suckling pig, unless someone (usually your affable auntie who always has something nice to say like, “Aiyoooooh! Eat the last piece lah. Eat! Eat! So skinny.”) explicitly tells you to take it, or plops it onto your plate.

The last (and perhaps most important) rule is to eat fast, because if you don’t, you’re going to lose out on all the good stuff. Trust me – if you’re the slowpoke of the family, it is likely that you will be left with the yucky, unappealing bits of roasted chicken/steamed garoupa.

Chinese dinners are not a time to have a leisurely chat over a relaxed meal. Chinese dinners are all about being chop chop fast (as my Singaporean Dad would say). In other words, you snooze you lose.

If you’re celebrating your birthday at an old school Chinese restaurant, you can count on having a birthday song straight out of the 80’s played on your behalf (and probably on a cassette too). Holla if you’ve ever had to sit through two minutes of “祝你生日快乐… Happy biiirthday to yoooooou!” sung by a chorus of children over the restaurant’s PA system.

One time, we were at my aunt’s birthday dinner at this ancient Teochew restaurant, and they played the classic Chinese Restaurant birthday song but after the third chorus, it totally picked up a techno beat. It was really catchy, until the song started to trip and one of the waitresses shouted at someone at the back to cut the music. Who needs singing waiters from Olive Garden when you can get your birthday song played over the freaking PA system?

You haven’t lived until you’ve sat through at least one of these birthday songs. My Singaporean Mom loves to sing and clap along, while my Singaporean Dad prefers to look disapprovingly at the festivities and mutter something about “singing nonsense” and “just cut the cake chop chop let’s go”.

#27 Being Kancheong

If you don’t already know, the term kancheong refers to the act of always being  in a rush or in a nervous/uptight state. Whether it is studying for an exam one year in advance (O Levels *cough*) or booking Chinese New Year travel plans months in advance, Singaporeans are not unfamiliar with being kancheong.

Source

The term kancheong spider (KCS) can also be used to refer to  a person who is always in a state of kancheong-ness. Case in point: My Singaporean Mom and Dad. My parents are excellent examples of kancheong spiders. In fact, if the term kancheong spider were in the Oxford dictionary, it would probably be right next to a photo of my Singaporean Mom and Dad leaving for the airport five hours before the scheduled departure time (“Don’t blame me if you miss the flight ok!”). One time while we were in San Francisco waiting for our ride to the airport, my Singaporean Dad took it upon himself to shut off the electricity and Internet at 6pm….when our ride was only scheduled to come pick us up at 9pm. Did we sit in the dark for three hours while twiddling our thumbs? Or did we idle our time away and feel sorry for ourselves? No! We took action! Made a difference! Were the change that we wanted to see!

Or in other words, we just plugged the TV back in and continued watching Glee…until my Singaporean Dad found out and made us move all the luggages out onto the porch.

A word of advice to those who have kancheong spider parents? Never look like you’re relaxing. (Also, never tell them to relax. One time I told my Singaporean Dad to take a chill pill and he was all like, “Chill pill? CHILL PILL? If you miss your flight, DO YOU STILL WANT TO TAKE A CHILL PILL HAR????”).

If your KCS parents spot you loafing around while they’re running around with ants in their pants, you can be sure that they’ll force you to get off your butt to do something productive. Like carry all 12 luggages up two flights of stairs.

How exactly do you avoid this unwanted attention, you may ask. It’s simple, really –  all you have to do is act busy (but you didn’t hear it from me). A fail-proof tactic is the ol’ “I’m looking through the tax statements!” act because all you need to do is have some important-looking papers on hand, and pretend to read through them whenever your KCS parents are hovering around. For an added bonus, whip out a highlighter or a ring file so you can pretend to do some filing.

Another clever tactic is the one where you hide in the bathroom with your laptop. Plus, I don’t know if it’s just a Tan family thing, but nobody ever disturbs you when you’re In The Toilet, because around here, it’s almost like a sacred ritual. Can you move this table to the next room? What? Oh you’re pooping? Ok nevermind, I’ll ask your sister who isn’t doing something important.

Anyway, the key is to remain low on the radar by staying out of sight until your KCS parents have maxed out their kancheongness for the day. Trust me, if your KCS parents spot you lying on the couch watching Youtube while they’re in one of their kancheong moods, you can be sure that they’ll be all, “Enough TV lah! Cut off the Internet then you know. Go and move all the luggages into car! And cover all the beds with a sheet so they won’t get dusty when we’re away. And bring me my Milo. With some chocolate-covered biscotti.”

If you get trapped into doing some physically exerting task, your best bet is to plan an escape route and then nonchalantly back out of the danger zone while your KCS parents are distracted. If you’re a ninja like me, you could probably make your escape unnoticed and unscathed. The secret is to keep saying “Mmhmm” and nodding your head while aforementioned KCS parents are talking to each other, then wait for them to get distracted before slipping out quickly and quietly. Be warned that this is a highly risky task though – the time frame is tight and the consequences are high (if you get caught, your KCS parents will probably make you do twice as much work). Only attempt this is you’re a true professional.

#26 Being Thrifty

I’m alive! And being overworked (sob) by my boss, who also happens to be my Singaporean Mom. JUST KIDDING MOM! (in case you’re reading this on your MacBook Air *shifty*)

Anyway….on to the topic of the day – being thrifty.

Source

This may be more of an Asian thing rather than a Singaporean one, but Singaporeans are pretty disciplined when it comes to being thrifty. This is because from the time you first get your allowance, your Singaporean parents would have already impressed upon you the sacred Thrift Mantra.

There are three simple principles to the Thrift Mantra: use money wisely (“Because money doesn’t grow on trees!” as my Singaporean Dad likes to say), save as much as possible, and reuse anything that doesn’t warrant a safety violation, including the little styrofoam dish you get when you buy raw meat from the supermarket (One of my friends totally used that as a soap dish once. I laughed at her for being such an auntie, but then I realized that it’s actually quite clever because then the soap bar won’t slip and slide around as much.)

The Thrift Mantra to Singaporean parents is like what om mani padme hum is to Guanyin (who, by the way, has some crazy robes. Girl needs to go easy on the layering stat.) You must live it, breathe it and let it absorb into every fibre of your being. Because even if you don’t, your Singaporean Mom will make sure that you’ve got it down pat by the time you go off to college.

She will do this by skimping on extras around the house (no fancy Handi Snacks for you! Just the bag of lao hong crackers from Singapore Airlines), introducing a system of hand-me-downs (let me tell you right now that this system sucks and is least beneficial for the youngest child, because by the time you get your sister’s old uniforms, they’re bound to be discoloured and out of shape and everyone will make fun of how your uniform belt is a different shade of blue from your actual uniform) and buying everything in bulk (When I say everything, I really do mean everything. Every time my Singaporean Mom goes to Costco, she comes back with all sorts of random things, like a gallon-full of mixed nuts – “For when I’m playing mahjong!” – and a year’s supply of panty liners.)

Take note that all this bulk-buying and recycling of things has nothing to do with saving the environment. The Singaporean Mom does not give a rat’s ass about saving the earth. Instead, it is a culture of thrift so deeply-rooted into the recesses of your mind that by age eight, you would have become an expert at folding NTUC plastic bags into neat little triangles for future use.

So how exactly do you engage in Thrift Mantra-worthy behavior, you may ask. First – no shopping sprees (even if the end of season sales are going on), for the Thrift Mantra frowns upon frivolous spending. Do you know why squirrels are associated with being thrifty? Because they’re too busy saving acorns, not spending their life savings on ASOS.com.

Second –  learn the revered art of Reusing Things That You Never Thought Could Be Useful. I.e. Aforementioned styrofoam dish for raw meat or the little cloth toiletry pouch you get when you’re on a Singapore Airlines night flight. True story – my Singaporean Dad put moth balls in that pouch after cutting a few holes in it “to let the moth balls breathe out”. The holey pouch is now hanging in his closet among his suits, and there haven’t been any moth attacks as of late so I guess it’s pretty effective after all. Thrift Mantra win.

And finally – save whatever can be saved, including that free loofah from Four Seasons which you will probably never use.

#25 Korean Dramas

Okay, I’m not just blogging about this because I can’t stop watching them, but Korean Dramas are awesome. Despite the fact that most Kdramas have virtually the same storyline (Spunky Peasant Girl meets Proudy Pig Rich Man and despite getting off on the wrong foot, they fall in love. But alas! Proudy Pig Rich Man has a Psycho Korean Drama Mom who opposes their union, yet they grow stronger from their forbidden love and eventually, everything turns out A-OK.), Singaporeans can’t get enough of Kdramas.

This is because Proudy Pig Rich Man is usually really hot (except for You’re Beautiful, whose male lead had bad hair and gangly arms – an affront to Kdrama Pretty Boys everywhere), and if Hot Mancandy + Spunky Female Lead with Nice Hair is not a winning combination, I don’t know what is. Well, unless the show has more than one hot male lead (Why helloooo there Daniel Henney. Come into my lair. Ohohoho! *shifty* ). That warrants buying the actual DVD set  instead of streaming it on Mysoju.

Besides managing to squeeze a bevy of hot men/pretty boys into a 45-minute episode, Kdramas are usually also very entertaining (Now now, no judging until you’ve watched My Name is Kim Sam Soon at the very least). I don’t know what it is about female heroines in Kdramas, but they always seem to be armed with sharp tongues and a complete disregard for decorum (think kicking men in the shin and shouting “Yaaaah!” in fancy restaurants). If the Kdrama happens to star Rain or Song Seung-heon, there will also inevitably be a scene where he somehow ends up shirtless (Who cares if his hair is perfectly coiffed even though he just got out of the shower? Hello six-pack abs that I can grate cheese on! My friends!). Ahem.

A Kdrama storyline that has been trending lately is the one where the Tomboy-ish Girl pretends to be a guy in an all-guys band/school/team, but somehow one of the guys (probably the proudest and richest one of the lot) falls in love with her and thinks he’s mad because why would he fall for another guy?? But wait! He finds out that Tomboyish Girl is actually a girl and pretty cute (sans man clothes), so everything is fine and dandy. On a sidenote, can I just say that this is the most unrealistic plotline ever? If I chopped off my hair and wore ugly man clothes ala Park Shin Hye in You’re Beautiful , I sooo would not look cute. I would look like an awkward man-girl with bad dress sense and flat hair. Also, wouldn’t you be like what the…? if you found out that your buddy was really a chick and not, as you had previously imagined, just a really effeminate guy?

Nevertheless, Singaporeans still love Kdramas because they give us entry into a fantasy world where girls wake up with perfect hair and glowing skin (yeah this does not happen to me… when I wake up, I look like I just crawled out of the crypt or something) and there is not one, but two mega hot, smart, funny, rich, charming, nice and witty guys knockin’ at your door and proclaiming his burning desire for your love. Sadly, this does not happen in real life. The only guy knocking at my door is the McDelivery man, and the only thing he has a burning desire for is extra tips. Pfft.

#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.

#22 Force Feeding

My Singaporean Mom excels at many things, from running a business to ensuring that we didn’t fail our Chinese O Levels to making just about anything look chic (I’m not kidding about this. She can totally rock an old, ratty tee better than anyone else. One time, she came to visit me while I was in college and she promptly decided to vacuum the entire house after proclaiming that the place was “like a rat’s nest”. She threw on one of my Singaporean Dad’s old T-shirts (the one that says “Smile and the world smiles with you… Fart and you stand alone.”), tied a little shirt knot a la Kristen Stewart and proceeded to zip around the house with our power vacuum. ) Anyway, I digress. If there is one thing that my Singaporean Mom is especially good at, it’s force feeding.

So what exactly is force feeding, you may ask. Is it making you eat your vegetables? Clean your plate so that there’s not even a grain of rice left? Close, but no. Force feeding is when your Singaporean Mom dumps a whole pile of food onto your plate and expects you to eat it up, even if you’re almost comatose from all the food you’ve already eaten. Force feeding often occurs at Chinese restaurants/Nasi Padang feasts, when there are many different dishes on the lazy Susan. Singaporean Moms are especially adept at spooning food onto your plate, and then giving you the evil eye until you finish up everything. Be warned – do not fight the Singaporean Mom’s powers of force feeding, even if you have rice coming out of your nose. She will just dump even  more food onto your plate and say, “Finish this up so they can take the plate away!”

If you are a guy, it is highly likely that you will be more susceptible to the Singaporean Mom’s powers of Force Feeding. I can usually get away by prodding my food with my chopsticks and feigning a “But I’m sooooo full!” whenever my Singaporean Mom tries to pull a ninja move on me, but guys hardly ever get away with it (Unless she thinks your fat, in which case she will probably say, “AiYOH! How many bowls of rice have you eaten?!”).

Rest assured that whenever there are those last few pieces of siew yoke or steamed prawns lying on the table, she will taichi it over to the nearest young and able-bodied man on the table. If there are none, she will put it all on my Singaporean Dad’s plate instead, to which he will say “Slowly, slowly! Don’t get so excited. Aiyo why are ladies always so excitable har?”

The Singaporean Mom’s merciless ability to force feed you with bowls and bowls of braised ee fu noodles is one that is feared by many. But fear not, loyal readers, for I have cleverly devised a solution to deflect my Singaporean Mom’s force feeding prowess. After years of experience and training, I have come to realise that there are several fool-proof ways to escape the wrath of your Singaporean Mom’s chopsticks.

(Credit: Hardwarezone)

The first is called the Moan and Mumble, whereby you put on your best grimace, act like you’re in great discomfort and mumble something about “needing to lao sai”. The trouble with this tactic, however, is that you need to have a track record of eating like a bird. Obviously if you’re known as the resident greedy guts, you will lack the credibility needed to effectively execute this technique. However, this can be counteracted if you’re also known for having a sensitive stomach that always gives you digestion problems.

The second tactic is called the Nibble and Poke, where you basically take small bites of the food that is already on your plate so as to prevent your plate from looking empty. An empty plate, if you don’t already know, is like an open target for a Singaporean Mom. The key is to leave your plate moderately empty, so that you look like you’re still working on your meal. If you’re too full to even taken another bite, you can try hiding some food under a big mushroom/lettuce leaf. However, I wold advise caution when doing so, as the Singaporean Mom has sharp eyes that will catch any tomfoolery. One time, I tried hiding my sashimi (raw fish, yuck!) under a cabbage leaf while my Singaporean Mom was talking to some guests, but she totally called me out on it and said, “Don’t think I didn’t notice you hiding your sashimi har…I can see you in the corner of my eye ok!” Scary.