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Saturday, July 08, 2006

I am Singaporean

iamsingaporean, via mb

My IC number starts with S and ends with the letter H and my IC is pink like every Singaporean's.

I had six years of compulsory primary education, with streaming in Primary 3 which I did badly in but it identified the boys and girls who were gifted and put them in another class. We still got along together, but they had different files. We played catching, where you can 'twist' or 'chope' to ensure immunity, or you can run to a 'home' which ensures the same. 'Who stole the cookie?' was fun too. There were other ditties: 'Copy cat, kiss the rat, go home let your mother slap' which I still hear kids today chanting, nothing has changed twenty years on. I had to learn Civics and Moral Education and Hao Gong Ming where we were taught about how we should not let the stranger give us things and take us away, about how different ethnicities and religions have different wedding traditions, and how a boy named Si Ma Kuang got himself or his friend or someone out of a big water pot. I also learned that a pot like that with still water breeds mosquitoes and probably dengue fever.

We have pavements to walk on along the roads which is something we should not take for granted because it is not a norm in every Asian city. We learn to walk on pavements and not take up road space. My mom calls the pavement the 'five foot way', till today.

I am part of the strong kopitiam culture, where we hang out, eat out, over extended periods of time, and often. When I was a kid my parents will take me along to their adult gatherings at kopitiams and other eating-out places, or sometimes those that say (air-con). We stay out late into the night to do so. This is our solidarity.

I own a mortgage on ninety percent of my house and I have technically twenty-something years to fill it out, and this house is on ninety-nine year lease hold like all flats do, so like many others in Singapore, I have debts but not my own place.

I call all food sellers and taxi drivers uncle and auntie, even though we are obviously not related and they might even seem young. They call me xiao mei if I am wearing my home clothes and makeup-less or xiao jie if I am dressed my age.

I enjoy shopping at places like NTUC or Shop n Save where I can collect coupons or watch out for great deals on the newspapers and such. I kiap my wallet under my arm like most aunties do when they buy things at the supermarket.

I understand acronyms, even some army ones, and we seem to like forming more and more of them everyday. It is a whole new language.

I know Singaporean road names, and I have friends who share names with certain roads, such as Flora Road (at Changi) and Wilkie Road (at Selegie). I also know that there are two Sennetts, and Crescent Girls' School is not at Crescent Road (which is near Guillemard). I know that roads like Woodlands Avenue 7 and Ang Mo Kio Ave 8 are also roads that run alongside MRT track lines. To get from my house to Bishan you can take Paya Lebar, Bartley and then Braddell Road, or you can take the PIE (Jurong) exit CTE (Ang Mo Kio) at Upper Serangoon Road and exit Ang Mo Kio Ave 1. But CTE is always jammed. Alternatively you can take bus 55.

I watch movies, and help contribute to the statistics that say Singaporeans are some of the most avid movie-goers in the world.

I know many hokkien swear words, which we have the habit of being able to spell them out in English, wah lau, hong gan, tulan, and maybe even make them into acronyms: knnbccb.

I am not a boy but all the boys I know around me have one thing in common, and that is army. I understand how army took away the boys around me, and how sometimes they need a girl to accompany them to some events. I understand most army speak, and enjoy hearing them. I even like the songs, the lingo and the typical things said. 'You think I thought who confirm?!'

I love Singaporean men, especially mine. I could bear with their soccer, gaming, sports, male buddies, for a long time.