05 Oktober 2004

Singaporean - Kiasu and Speak English

I got a rare call from Rudy that he would be in JB last weekend. He said he would be attending a course in Senai and asked me to bring him out after the course finished. Being a DVD pirate, of course, he wanted to go to Holiday Plaza - a heaven for DVD and computer software pirates. I replied, hey since you are here in JB, why don't you bring your passport too? Aha... ;)

Being very eager to take my challenge, he went to apply for a passport as his passport already expired long time ago. Despite all his efforts to prepare required documents in a very nick of time, all he got was his application wouldn't be approved because he didn't bring along his mother's passport! The officer gave the reason because he was born in the UK. Ahh... if it's like this, Rudy, you better apply UK passport then... Luckily on the next day, he came again and his application was approved in a short time, suprisingly...

On Saturday after picking him up at Senai, we went to Holiday Plaza. We bought few dozens of DVDs and we spent more than hundred Ringgit for DVD itself! Alang-alang menyeluk pekasam, biar sampai ke pangkal lengan. Rudy bought all titles he wished. Up to you... understood that you might not have this chance regularly. I also suprised that the DVD price has dropped from RM10, which I usually buy to RM8. Wow, that's great!

On Sunday, we started our journey to Singapore by bus. I didn't want to go by car as the bumper-to-bumper traffic at the causeway might cramp my legs while driving my manual car.

We took a bus at Larkin. In the bus we talked about the life in JB. Rudy said he wouldn't live in JB as the life's too hectic. Even if we work in JB, we still have to face those commuters who live in JB go to work in Singapore everyday. They chase their time so do us. Not to mention increasingly traffic woes, the life mustn't be enjoyable.

We also talked about kiasu. This term is so popular and relevant to Singaporean. Originated from a Hokkien adjective word, kiasu means afraid to lose. Examples of this behaviour are such as always want to win, outdo everyone and insist on cheaper price or even for free.

When the bus was about to stop at the checkpoints, we could see an example of kiasu. A few people quickly sat up and went near to the bus door even before the bus stopped. They wanted to get in to the checkpoints first and be the first to queue to get their passports endorsed.

At the checkpoints, everything was smooth as more counters were opened on that day. Our bus stopped at Kranji MRT Station and we then took MRT to our first destination, Orchard Road.

In the MRT, we saw again another example of kiasu. A boy teenager gave a seat to an old woman whom just entered into the MRT but like a lightening, a middle age woman quickly sat and talked to another woman who already sat beside her. We both shook our head seing this incident. Mmm... Rudy, you'd learn fast...

After arriving at Orchard MRT Station, we went to Al Falah Mosque to perform prayer. Then we went to Takeshimaya doing window shopping and eating. After that, we spent few hours at Borders book store.

Before heading to Mustafa Centre, we went to Al Falah Mosque again. After finishing prayer, we heard a few small Malay/Muslim kids speak English. This is quite rare in Malaysia. Malay kids in Malaysia can only be really conversant in English after entering schools.

This is no suprise though in Singapore as the talking language or lingua franca between races is English. English has been fast replacing Malay language (Bahasa Melayu) as the lingua franca after Singapore was separated from Malaysia eventhough Bahasa Melayu is the national language. All schools including vernacular schools such as Chinese in Singapore had been changed their teaching languages to English. All subjects are taught in English except mother tongue languages.

I remember Karim Raslan spoke about Singapore on TV1 last week. He said Singaporean think too global, looking to far places like US, Europe and China. They forget about their surroundings. They omit and cannot speak Bahasa - the lingua franca in this region, spoken by about 250 million people. He remembered one of his friends from Singapore struggled to order teh tarik! However, one interesting fact is that their Prime Minister is fluent in Bahasa.

We stopped at Farrer Park MRT Station and noticed a lot of Bangladeshis (may be Indians too - we couldn't distinguish between them...) gathered around the place. They might be the foreign workers who were allowed by their employers to go out during weekend. We could hardly walk through their groups. One bad thing about these foreigners was that they liked to litter. Lots of food packagings were thrown onto streets. The police attended to the place couldn't do anything as they were a huge crowd.

At Mustafa Centre, we bought few cheap items especially perfumes which were half of that Malaysia price. Mustafa Centre is really a must go place for shopping in Singapore. They are a direct importer of rare products from overseas especially from India and that's why the prices are cheap. The shop also opens 24 hours, offers ample parking spaces and even free at night. In Malaysia, the closest identical shop would be Maidin Store. However, I think Mustafa offers wider range of products and cheaper prices for high end products.

When we went out of Mustafa Centre, we heard a few makciks spoke English while having drinks. We both were silent. After few steps ahead, we both broke into a big laugh. Tak tahan because they spoke English in a very pekat Malay accent. Anyway, this is Singapore!

On the way back, I had to stand up in the MRT almost until our destination at Kranji as it was full with those Banglas. I had to stand with one leg alternately in order to reduce pain after walking a day long. Sigh, what a journey...

Related post:
Siti Nurhaliza Can't Speak English?

2 ulasan:

  1. why.. it's really sad that you have such perspective towards us Singaporeans.
    Please judge us as any other humans.. even if we do not speak well in our own mother-tongue.. that does not make us less humane. Accept us as an individual..not by our skin colour, religion, race or nationality...

  2. There's no intention to downgrade any parties here. I'm only talking about fact and not to criticise anyone. The incidents can happen anwhere in the world and after all, we have to accept facts.


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