Sunday, 13 April 2014

Understanding my Singapore

Spent our first 2 weeks awakening to reality, and I must confess, life in the states seemed too comfortable to start appreciating our origin again. Singapore, our country and our home. I know its culture, people and place, and I finally know why some would choose to leave for a life abroad. Having had the opportunity to spend a mini fraction of life overseas, I can't help, but to share some lovely experiences in the states, with our local observation. And of course, there will always be perspectives and rooting reasons to understand our origin:
  • I held the lift and door for you, but received no appreciative words. But... I understand that a verbal expression is one we, Asians can be rather reserve about.
  • I walked into most stores with no greetings or help from the salespeople, not any, until I approach. But... I understand they were giving me space and a stress free shopping experience.
  • I checked out my groceries at the register, I was so used to being greeted and asked if I could find what I needed. But... I said, 'Hello!' instead. Hope that made your day. 
  • I drove with much patient on the road, you got impatient with me. But... it's a country of the rat race. You could be rushing for an appointment.
  • I would roam my kids alongside the road, with much confident that drivers always yield to us. But... I'm mindful that land is a scarcity here, we hardly have a bicycle lane, what's more about widening the road for spacious pavements. I woke up from being complacent about road safety.
  • I requested for something to be served differently in a restaurant, I got declined. But... I understand, you have a decent basic pay regardless of the service rendered. 
  • I waited for my man to start dinner at 6pm, but not till 7 plus. But... I understand the hectic work life inculcated and that road jams are common almost everyday. 
  • I bought some big items and conveniently asked about free returns or refunds, if item does not fit. I got declined and was shown the terms and conditions. But I understand, a relaxed in such policy will give you a big headache. An honour system that endeavours trust, honesty and honour, is one unestablished among our people. With ikea an exception, we love!
  • I took an elevator because I have a twin stroller in tow, and I got bumped out when it got crowded with people who seemed able on the escalator. But... I understand the long day or rushed hours that got your legs tired. 
  • I tried to smile at strangers whom my kids were playing with or gave me eye contact while walking past, I got some amused looks. But... I understand, smiles aren't what we commonly exchange among strangers. I do hope smiles are contagious though.
  • I empathized a child who was publicly chided by his dad. But... I understand the mindless respect we have for our children in the early years of Asian culture. 
  • I bought my car at an exuberant price. But... I understand the need to control the numbers of cars on our very congested road. 
  • I tried to cook healthy home meals for my family, with realisation that its cheaper to pack from the hawker. But... I understand, this is what serves the busy people conveniently.  
  • Last but not least, while browsing through some retail products, I realised how cost of living is so much easier in another land. But.. I understand we hardly have some strong and good local brands to rely on. 

We are extremely thankful for the brief experience of life abroad. It gave us opportunity to widen our perspectives, be gracious and teach our children the good values in life. The goods that we should learn and preserve, and the bads that we should abandon and not practice.

There's always a flip side to every story. There will always be our love in Singapore and buts in another land...

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