Wait-a-minute! Not All Expats are A-Holes!!

This weekend, while I have been quite caught up in my feminist mission (which may or may not have been a dream – argh!), a dreadful thing has befallen the Singapore Expaterati.

A v nasty person stole screenshots from a closed Facebook group of expat wives here, in order to stir up anti-foreigner feeling among the local population. Chaps, this is totes not on!!

I’m not going to go into the original post, suffice it to say that it concerned a woman in labour waiting in a taxi queue, with no one allowing her to queue-jump. At no point did anyone check the passports of those in the queue to determine whether or not they were Singaporean, but an unfortunate inference came about that they were.

So what ensued was a discussion of how selfish or otherwise all Singaporeans are. The majority of the comments totes did not condemn our hosts, and many said the woman ought to have called an ambulance.

What the v nasty person did though, was take screenshots of the most extremo comments, the ones that said Singaporeans are racists. They then posed as an expat, “Sarah Jones” (lolol, who really has a name like that? you might as well claim to be Jane Austen or Bridget Jones! so ridic!!), and posted the shots on a site that is popular with a certain demographic of Singaporeans.

Now.

Ok.

I am all about freedom of expression (hence my feminist mission), but this seems to me a breach of trust and of privacy. Even in a group with over 10,000 members, surely there is a level of agreed sanctitification!! Am I right?? I mean, if something can leak from a group like that, does that mean the Internet has no safe space for people to speak their minds?

Well, if that’s the case then I want no part in this Internet thing anymore!! It’s just mui sinistré, mi amigos. Except for my blog, Facebook, and my meagre Twitter presence, mainly so that I can open a communication channel with V Becks. And Pinterest (I love that!). And StumbleUpon (so many funny things about cats and babies haha!!). And The Old Reader (which I don’t really get, but it’s for people on the cutting edge and that’s so mega-moi). Everything else though, I am done with you, Internet!

So what I want to say here is that although some expats are totes mega a-holes, the majority really are not. Most of us just love living here, muddling along with everyone in an environment of acceptance, and we’re serioso not trying to exploit the economy or pull a fast one. Serio, Singaporeo babeses!!

I even have a proper real Singaporean friend who agrees with me!

I told Clara about the Facebook furore, and she said that it’s “a common phenomenon for outsiders to club together and criticise the host country so as to feel a sense of bonding and belonging”. She said it happens in every expat community the world over, but in mature communities like Singapore and Hong Kong, “the process and the backlash tend to be more venomous”. She said it was to do with the British Empire and stuff about colonisation.

Hmmmmm. Well, Clara, I would agree with you, but for the fact that you have abso no idea what you’re talking about. I for one never criticise my host country and I totes <3 Singapore. The people are great, the shopping is great, the weather is great, there are loads of great restaurants, and David Beckham has bought a house on Sentosa. So it must be great! Mwa-mwa luv ya Xīnjiāpō!! Xx

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Tekka Market

I’m feeling a little more chirpy today, and I was up early, so I decided to go to Tekka Market, the only place that’s open before 10 o’clock. I went during our early days in Singapore, but when I got my local iPhone (they “recycle” phone numbers here, so it’s interesting trying to figure out who had your number before; mine definitely belonged to a lady, and I often wonder what happened to her; maybe she died), I started receiving these odd texts, saying things like, “Meet me in the toilets at Tekka, so I can bleep your bleepy bleep”. Pardon?!

Initially, I just ignored the messages, but they got more and more bleepy, to the point of unpleasantness. So I responded that I was most definitely not interested in having my bleep or my bleep bleepily bleeped. That didn’t seem to make a difference though, and it was only when I got threatening that it stopped.

I wrote, in caps, that I would report the filthy bleep to Starhub. That worked. It’s so nice that in Singapore even the low-life vile people feel intimidated by authority. I know only too well from my previous life as a lawyer, that that is not the case in the UK.

Anyway, now that it’s safe to return to Tekka (avoiding the toilets, of course), I decided to go for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we’ve been in Singapore for two solid months now without any regional travel, and it’s lovely to pretend occasionally that we are in Southeast Asia: the hustle and bustle of the regular folk, and the interesting, if at times sickening, sights and smells. The nag champa takes me right back to my summer festival days, when I was young and free, and didn’t have all this responsibility.

Secondly, my helper and I usually shop at our nearest supermarkets, on Orchard Road, and it’s really much cheaper at the wet markets. I’ve heard that our local shop is the most expensive place on the island to buy food : ( Oh dear. Naughty old me!

So I bought some wonderfully fresh fruit, veggies, and fish, all for under $50, and then dashed home in a cab, which was $10.

I’m in a bit of a hurry now because I have to run to my private Pilates session, and then I’m meeting Deb for lunch at one of those swanky celebrity chef restaurants on Sentosa. I think I’d better have the helper meet me after Pilates to collect my gym stuff. I don’t want to be lugging all that around at a fancy-pants restaurant, now do I?? That’s not my modus operandi.