Think Big, Think for Your Country

My lunch for yesterday was served with a free show. It was a tired day because I went to bed right before sunrise and my house could never be quiet during daylight for whatever reason. My younger brother, mum and elder sister-in-law had our lunch at the coffee shop between block 7 and 8. We were welcomed with loud noises.

Two women were quarreling very fiercely. It was a good Chinese listening comprehension test for us, as we tried to figure out what was going on while being challenged by the high pitch. They had obviously come over to Singapore from the same country.

I was not trying to be cheeky but at one stage of their aggressive debate when one woman called the other “china woman” and was rebutted that she was also from China, I almost burst into laughter. It was not about any race or nationality that was funny, but the fact that one probably thought her own country people’s were “low class” and tried to insult her kind. Anyway, through this, we understood that the first woman was probably a new citizen who used to be a China’s Chinese.

We were very confused over their roles since we rarely dined over that coffee shop during lunch time, but we assumed a local looking Chinese man standing inside the noodle stall was the owner. The man looked frustratedly lost and tried to calm down the first woman at times. Suddenly, the second woman stepped into the stall’s boundary and tried to take out some dollar notes from a box at the display area. She was stopped by the first woman who threatened to call the police, pointing to the top where she claimed there was a CCTV. The money was eventually safe after some physical contacts like grabbing of hands. That was a time when I thought a fierce fight was going to take place.

We were not able to figure out their relationship and whenever both of them were the stall’s staffs. It was until another man whose accent was obviously from mainland China as well came over to help the second woman, we got some hints. The first woman told them the vegetable cost money and a few cents was also money; and if her opponent wanted, the whole plate could be sold at $10. We might be wrong but the cat fight could be started due to the second woman asking for extra vegetable (the “cong”), and maybe, for large portion. Therefore, we got to figure out that the first lady was from the stall while the second woman was her customer. Since the local man inside the stall was most likely to be the owner and yet he could not stop the first woman, while she tried so hard to fight for the benefit of the stall, she was probably the ladyboss. Of course, I had taken into account that our talented Singapore government was not so lousy to give away free citizenship to just a stall helper (not an elite). However, I was puzzled because even though it was a trend for older Singapore men to “buy” foreign wives, there was definitely some “standard” in the ladies’ appearances. I was being frank and did not mean to insult the “ladyboss”.

The customers went back to their seats outside the coffee shop eventually. Then, the “ladyboss” went over to continue with the debate, insulting the clients that they were too poor to pay up. After some speeches delivered by both of them, there was a short tea break. The male customer who seemed to be trying to stop the mess earlier started taking photos of the stall using his phone. He was probably going to talk about the incident in his weibo or renren. The customers (probably just the woman) refused to leave. A few minutes later, we were stunned when the “ladyboss” went over to apologise to the customers. We thought she should be more firm if she had done nothing wrong right from the start but it was good that she brought herself down to try to end the drama. The customer was, however, not as graceful and continued to stare at the stall owners. After her partner walked off towards Pinnacle Duxton, she continued to hang around but eventually moved to the corner of the coffee shop where they probably could not have eye-contact.

I was not sure if the customer had left when two policemen finally arrived. The men-in-blue looked lost and went off without walking into the coffee shop. A few minutes later, they returned and the male stall owner approached them to probably give a short explanation. The entire peace was regained very soon after the two gentlemen left. Both of them were lucky since the cat fight had ended earlier, or otherwise, it was going to be a tough situation to handle.

I am quite narrative about the entire drama but the main purpose is not about who had started it nor who was at fault. Frankly speaking, many people from all over the world have quite bad impression on Chinese from the mainland and it is caused by the huge number of black sheep among them. I have quite a number of China-born Chinese friends who are very good people to communicate with, and I really feel sorry for them. Imagine two Singaporeans quarreling at overseas and even try to put one down by claiming she is from Singapore, she is simply slapping herself. It is definitely an embarrassment to their country.

It is a common sense that if you put one foreigner among nine locals, there may be some chances that the foreigner will pick up the local culture. However, if you place four foreigners with six locals, the four talents are more likely to hang out among themselves and there is so much greater probability that some of the locals will be influenced by the foreigners’ culture instead. The first scenario is called integration into the locals while the second one is creating of a new culture by mixing both. The worst thing is when probably two of the six “locals” have just become locals after staying for a few years.

I believe not all citizen from any country is bad (having bad culture), and there are many Singaporeans who are problematic as well. However, the number of black sheep from some countries may much higher.

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