Expats Can Be Such Totes A-Holes!

Most of us are awesome and lovely, but I have to say that some expats are incredibly rude, self-centred, and self-important. If locals ever develop a negative opinion of us, perhaps sometimes it is entirely justified. Today I witnessed an appalling example of this, while in a lift at the Ion, and I would like to share the incident with you, dear readers (wow, I definitely no longer have to say reader, single! Thanks, Mummy, for telling your scrabble group!), so that you can join me in my expression of outrage.

Ok. So. There are a ton of malls in Singapore, and generally they have a lotta lifts (elevators, lovely Americans, elevators. But your word is cooler : D), serving a lotta floors. Often the lifts can get crowded, and might take a while in transit between floors. Today I got the lift down from the PS Café (who knew they had a terrace? Well, my gorgeous NYC friend who I met for lunch knew! Yay! She asked not to be named) to B2, and then back up again to exit. I was too stuffed after over-indulging in the truffle fries (love love LOVE those fries) to get the escalator.

When the doors slid open at B1, there were these two blonde women standing there, and the one with a gigantic pushchair (the kind that there’s plenty of room for on the wild plains of Hampstead Heath, but here, darling?? I don’t think so), looked quite unattractively frazzled. The one without the pushchair forced her way into the lift – where honestly there was absolutely zero space – and began imploring the existing liftees to make room for her friend. Ex-kuse me?? We were here first, honey. Entonces mi amores, myself and the rest of the liftees had to squash together (lucky for her we were all completely unimpaired, unencumbered people! I mean, what if we had been wheelchair-users or we had had pushchairs too??).

During this cringe-worthy unfoldment, Pushchair Bird said, “I’m really sorry, but I have been waiting for 15 minutes to go up one level because I don’t feel comfortable taking the pushchair on the escalator with a small baby, and all the lifts have been full. I’m sorry to squash you, but if anyone is able to take the escalators, I’d be really grateful.”

She looked like she was about to cry, but thankfully we were all able to avoid eye contact, ignore her pleas, and be-grudgingly make enough room for the silly woman and her stupid baby. A guy at the back said, “There’s really no room!”, and I thought, “Ha, you tell her, sunshine!”

OMG. In those moments, I was truly ashamed to be the only other non-local present. How abso toteso embarrassing. I just wanted to curl up and die right there in the basement of the Ion. Yowzer. Who did that Pushchair Bird think she was?? Disgraceful behaviour. And that’s why it is no wonder if sometimes our hosts view us with negativity. The minority spoil it for the majority.

Now, my cousin Clara says that this kind of thing is an illustration of what happens when Caucasians move to certain countries, notably those with a colonial history, where they are easily physically identifiable as being foreigners. The specific words she used when we spoke today (I didn’t tell her about this exact incident, but this is what she said in general about the expaterati) were “inflation”, “narcissism”, and “being a big fish in a small pond” (um thanks, Clara, for that patronising use of metaphor, but you’ve completes missed the mark there because Don was a big fish at home; so you may need to check back in with your textbooks, sweets).

Anyhoo. After the Ion, I stopped off at Marketplace at the Paragon to get sushi for Max’s dinner, a Waitrose ready-meal for Milly (she loves those and the helper is busy washing the car and cleaning the shoes tonight, so I thought I’d give her a break), and the next stock of organic f and v for my green smoothie tomoz. Incidentally, Don’s out tonight, so I won’t be eating. Not after all those fries.

I get to the till and the check-out minion starts putting my purchases into plastic bags, as per usuo. Then I notice from my peripheral vision that the (obv expat) woman behind me has produced her re-usable bags, and is giving me the full-on evil eye! (the “hairy eyeball”, as Kath & Kim would say, so much LOLOLOL). So, I’m like, “What, now, now, now??”

Not being one to avoid conflict (bottling it in is not good for my chi), I turned right around to face that B – while flashing my Passion Card across the reader – and said, “Sorry, do we have a problem here?”

And you will not believe what that hoity-toity B-face said…

She said: “Do you know how long it takes for those bags to degrade? It takes from 20 to 1,000 years for every single bag, and a lot of bad things happen to marine wildlife along the way. I totally understand if today you’re just in a hurry, or you forgot to bring a bag, but you can have one of mine if you like.”

For the second time in one day, dear readers, I was just dumb-founded. The arrogance of these people! As a Brit, and therefore a Servant and an Ambassador of Her Majesty, I am always polite, even in extremely tense situations like this one (given my astounding composure, I should become a hostage negotiator. I would be amazo at that, and I could defo turn those ISIS peeps around. Tweet me, Barack and Dave). So I said to the B, “Thank you, that is really immensely kind of you, but the checkout girl has already packed my things, and it would be an insult and a burden for her to have to re-pack them. But thank you. Really.”

As I spoke, I gave her my very pretty Kate Middleton smile.

Ha! That told her!! Her high-horse clearly wouldn’t let her waste the time of a lower worker. Haha!! Own-goal there, dearie. Hahahahahaha : )

The fact remains, though, that non-expats can also in addition as well be total a-holes, too. Take, for example, my cousin Clara.

[Abso no offence Clara, but during our conversation today you were a complete C to me, and you really had no right to talk to me like that.]

When we were skyping earlier, I was telling Clara that I thought my helper’s bras were a little risqué (I see them on the washing line if I am ever in that part of the house), so I am thinking of ordering her to dispose of said items and buy more conservative breast support-wear. Clara responded that I have “no right to dictate what she wears under her clothes” (wtf?), and even when I expressed my concern that she may have a hot skype paypal business (why else would she need these garments? Surely she doesn’t have a boyfriend… that’s not allowed here), Clara took the help’s side against mine! She said that my helper “is an adult and can wear whatever she chooses, if it doesn’t affect her employment with me”.

Oh, Clara. You seem so knowledgable/ know-it-all, but I am beginning to wonder if you have any clue what the real world is like. No offence. Mwa Mwa, cuz xox

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P.S. Clara, your page about On the Skype Couch has only had a couple hundred hits in the last few weeks, so I decided to remove you from the page name. It’s much more impressive with just my name, and I’ve already noticed a surge in hits since I cut you out.

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The Help Part Two

Some helpers here wear uniforms, and I have it on good authority that there is an important reason for this. My source – who knows a lot about this stuff – tells me that it is to make them appear more servile, but more interestingly, to make them less attractive to “Sir”. OMG, how ridic!!

She said that she has known helpers to ask their ma’ams during the induction phase, “Do you want me to also service Sir, ma’am?”. Argh and ugh! These poor women, if that is what they’re accustomed to. She wasn’t talking about Singapore though. It would definitely not happen here. Here they have laws about that kind of despicable activity.

When we chose our help, one of my priorities was that she did not appear overly-servile. Quite the opposite, in fact. Our helper is tall (well, you know, relatively speaking; not compared to Scandinavian women or whatever), very pretty (well, you know, also relatively speaking), and has long glossy hair. She looks healthy. Well-nourished. She has a bit of umph about her. Self-esteem, and all that. And no kids back home. It would just make me feel too awful if she had left her children to come and look after mine. I could abso not bear that.

The only thing about her being so well-groomed is that I do wonder if she has a little online business on the side. I don’t wish to spell it out, of course, but I’ve seen her bras hanging out to dry, and I think they’re rather racy. Plus, I’ve seen her photos on social media apps, and they’d rather racy too.

Oh, I’m not sure. I wouldn’t like to speak ill of her. Would she even know how to set up that kind of thing? PayPal can be quite complicated.