Singapore Adventure

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Love, Hate, Name Something You Ate XIII
by venitha

  • One thing I love about living in Singapore is...
    ...the fruit stands. Whether you're hungry for slices of guava or apple, a hunk of papaya or pineapple, a stickful of chikku or kiwi, a healthy snack is always at hand. Fresh, pre-washed (at least that's what I keep telling myself), pre-peeled, pre-cored, pre-sliced, and served up in a plastic bag (of course). Best of all, if you share with someone, you can joust with the serving sticks. En garde!

  • One thing I hate about living in Singapore is...
    …talking on the phone. To be fair, I hated talking on the phone before we moved here, but Singapore has significantly increased my aversion. In addition to a disconcerting lack of candor ("Yes, we're open today" - other than from 3 to 6, which they don't bother to mention) and a surprising number of outright lies ("No, we don't have that" - when I was just there, and they do have it, and I'm calling to see how long the sale price is good), I have also, in the last 18 months, gotten exactly no better at understanding the Singaporean accent on the phone.

    "May I please speak to someone who speaks Engl-... er... better... Um... I'm sorry. Is there someone else I might talk to?"

    About half the time, this gets me hung up on, something which, over the last 18 months, I've gotten quite used to.

  • A new thing I ate recently is...
    …burritos! Apparently it takes just about a year-and-a-half for two Westerners to get really sick of Asian food. We recently united the rockin' good find of whole wheat tortillas with a fridge full of leftovers and hence issued into our home a new culinary era. I admit that the appeal of refried beans is significantly enhanced by the fact that many Singaporeans, who, astoundingly, believe that beans belong in dessert and only in dessert, would find them revolting. Yum!

  • Something I recently bought is...
    …the coolest of cool Christmas presents for the family members who have visited us here in Singapore. But I don't want to spoil the surprise. A note to all you shoppers out there, though: I first saw this item in VivoCity, but when I called to ask for details, they hung up on me (see above). I called a competing store in the right-next-door Harborfront Centre, and they not only spoke English I could understand, but they had the same item for less than half the price.

  • Singlish o' the day:
    : snacks. So I think this is not so much Singlish as British English versus American English, but this word never fails to make me smile. I especially love that people here deliver it without batting an eye ("Thank you for the titbits" or "There are titbits in the break room" or "Help yourself to a titbit"), and suddenly I'm a 13-year-old stifling giggles in Health class. Before you send me mail saying "Geez, Venitha, grow up already!", try using titbit in polite conversation yourself, and let's see how far you get.