and the thing is, Singaporeans simply expect me to act and think Singaporean by virtue that my passport says that I am. And *some* Aussies think the same way for the same reason.
Yes, I am far more Singaporean and Asian than the average Aussie, but I am so far removed from Singapore sometimes that the differences literally make my head hurt.
My accent is just one of the things in limbo. Everytime someone tells me I sound Asian, I think "ok, I sound Asian" and when I finally convince myself that no, I haven't lost my Singaporean accent, someone will say "You sound thoroughly Westernised". Chalyz's boyfriend's sis put it best when she described me as "that Asian chick who sounds really Aussie although you can tell she's Asian".
Then of course, is the matter of the minute details of being Singaporean.
Everyone knows the major bits. How to speak Singlish (albeit badly), the 5Cs, materialism, capitalism, socialism, communalism, status obsession, cleanliness, traditionalism blah blah.
And since everyone knows this, and discusses this stuff, I'm quite at home with the Singapore mentality here. I understand it even if I sometimes don't agree with everything.
but then come the details.
I was talking to offkilter online last night, and we were talking about hmm....high schools and fashion.
So she mentioned CHIJ TP.
I took one look at that and went. Where? Tampines????????
before thinking really seriously about it and going. Oh. Toa Payoh.
She kinda e-blinks at me, and says "man you're so not Singaporean!!! U Aussie chick you!!!!!"
we natter on about nothing in particular, and then some mention of a shoe and bag brand comes up.
Tod's or Tods or Tob's or Tobs OR SOMETHING. I'm like...whoa???? At first I thought it was a typo- like toads was what she meant to type or something.
As it turns out, (she explains) Tod's/Tods/Tobs/Tob's is a shoe and bag brand, the new Coach.
I sheepishly tell her I found out about Coach only 6 months prior, and only because gerri had come back from New York with a cheap-as-chips bargain Coach bag.
"But you know all the Aussie designers!!!!" she exclaims. (I blame this fully on my Third Millenium dress)
"Yes I do" I conceede. I love my fashion. I love the more creative designers (who apparently aren't that big in Singapore. Too avant-garde, too DIFFERENT. too un-cloneish.)
I tell her I love local designers. The ones that take up the basement of Far East Plaza. But wouldn't know a Tods/Tod's/Tobs/Tob's if it fell on my head. Apparently Tods (you get the idea) is not a local brand. AHHHHHHH.........
Ok OK. So I have a fond spot for Kit Willow. Michelle Jank. Toni Mativeski. Third Millenium. Wayne Cooper. Scanlan and Theodore. and I prefer Citizens of Humanity to Seven. (yesh. I love my fashion) I like my Miss Sixty too. But I like it as much as I like Mavi. and shock horror. I love Esprit. yeah it's a HK brand. SO? I wear $20 JayJays jeans (that's considered dirt cheap here- the land of fantastic fitting jeans) with $90 Sonzai tops. It's mix-and-match. Not spot the brand. I like international brands too. But am obviously not fashion-whorish enough to have all the world's brands covered. Coach? Whazzat????
Oh. AND I HATE MANGO. *fends of 2 million females trying to pelt me with last season's clothes*
So I know nuts about shit like that. And my mother thinks I'm mad when upon touchdown at Changi I run to a
Honestly, all Singaporean-ess about me is learnt through vicarious living. Feeding off blogs, listening to experiences, textbooks (I'm SERIOUS! That's the sad part), hanging around with them waiting for some Singaporeaness to rub off. It does work btw. Enough to maintain a quasi-Singaporean accent, and to know enough that I am still a functioning only-semi-alienated Singaporean as opposed to an alienated non-functioning one.
My best friends back home do their best to fill me in. RenaissanceMan in particular displays great patience, sitting there explaining stuff to me. Sometimes I wonder if he takes notes on what has been happening in the past year to fill me in. Whatever the case, he's been doing a great job for the last 8 years. I even have a better understanding of NS as opposed to most Singaporean girls. Hats off to you RenaissanceMan!
but as I said, occassionally, something will catch me off guard. Like Steven Lim's yellow underwear and fetish for 14 year olds. Or new boybands. Or Tods/Tod's bags.