Saturday, November 26, 2011

Squalid Third World People

Mine Host has sponsored quite a few immigrants to this land.
Some of them have even been worthy of it.

It is a reasonable assumption that cultural differences notwithstanding, that some courtesies or good manners are universal. This should go without saying.

Not so!

A sponsored migrant (Singapore Chinese) working at the Wayside Tavern, was offered accommodation in Mine Host's own house. Free of charge. This isn't any imposition. Mine Host is often away on business, and doesn't spend much time there anyway.

However cultural norms of sharing someone's house for free are very different in Singapore. (Or so it would seem.)

Coming from a developed western nation, one with a reputation for cleanliness & orderliness, one would expect to find someone who is culturally & civilly on much the same wavelength as Australia. After all, migrants from Singapore are all over the country, fitting in without problem
(yea yea, Singaporeans can be robots, but for comparison look at the "adjustment difficulties" that come with Sudanese.)

One would expect the following behaviour, as it is how Mine Host would conduct himself in similar circumstances:
Use the house like it is your own, watch the TV, use the kitchen, relax in the garden etc. Pull your weight in the household & houseyard chores, share & share alike the food, keep the place tidy, don't break anything, don't rock the boat. In short: Act like it is where you live.

More or less the unspoken rules of house-sharing.

However, not in Singapore! (or so it would seem)

At some point the housemate purchased some potatos. As you do. These were stored in a basket used for that purpose in a darkened part of the kitchen.

The potatos sat there for so long they rotted. This can happen. When detected, perhaps by the rotting smell, one simply throws them out & cleans up the mess.

Not in Singapore. (or so it would seem)

The potatos rotted to the point that you'd think it would be impossible to not notice, they turned to mush & dripped down to form a rotten mess on the floor.

Ahh... she can't miss it now. It is more or less in the middle of the room. It'll soon be cleaned up.

However the mess lingered.

By this time kitchen hygiene Singapore style was on trial.

Then Mine Host went away on business. He did not return to the house for a month.

Upon returning (the full month later) it was noticed that the *splatter* of rotten potatos was still right there on the kitchen floor tiles. Though it was well & truly dried by now.

You actually had to move the kitchen chairs to avoid stepping in it. At this Mine Host point decided to see just how long before this woman cleaned up her spuds.

She didn't.

Three months later, when the Singaporean couple moved out, having bought their own house, the *sploop* of rotten potato was still there on the floor.

It was actually Mine Host's mother who cleaned it up.


Skeeter said...

The Singaporeans were probably expecting your amah to clean up.
What? a gentleman of your wealth and standing in the community does not have an amah?

kae said...

Good comment, Skeeter.

Anonymous said...

Silly fellow. Do you not realise that these so-called "rotten potatoes" are in fact a very generous thank you gift from your guests?

It is little known traditional recipe called "Aiyoh Chao Lah". Think of it as a sort of lighweight vegetarian kiviak.

The proper response would have been to thank your guests profusely and consume it directly from the floor with an accompaniment of durian and salt fish.

By failing to do this you have brought great shame on all Australians!

(..and if you believe that, I've got this lovely bridge that might interest you.

Actually Skeeter might be on the money. Non working-class Singaporean families mostly purchase maids to do everything for them and their kids grow up unable to do anything vaguely domestic for themselves. A recent amusing example being that photo that went viral of a young national serviceman making his maid carry his army backpack home from BT for him)

An alternative explanation is they forgot they were the ones who bought them, and thinking they were yours did not want to throw them out and were to polite to say anything to you about it.

Right now they are probably telling all their mates about this crazy Aussie they stayed with who bought spuds and then just calmly watched them rot away day after day and did nothing about it!

Steve at the Pub said...

Yes, everbody in Singapore seems to have a maid. Even unmarried schoolteachers are able to have one.

What they are telling their "mates" (I doubt they have many) is unknown, but I have plenty more to write about them!
Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it.

Why didn't you throw the potatos out soon as they went bad?

Why wait for someone else to clean up your house?

Why wait for months until your mum cleaned them up?

What were you trying to prove?

I just don't get it mate!