Today in the news – Expats finds Singaporeans uptight and reserved. Apparently in their opinions, all we talk about is soccer. So, are we?
Yes, I am.
I consider myself uptight and reserved. Have I always been like that? Or has age changed me?
As a child, I remembered my mother’s friends describing me as shy. In school, I rarely approach others I do not know. When I was in secondary one, I joined the girl guides. There were cliches between the girls and I felt very left out. A classmate told me to join Home Econs Society instead. We’ll have fun cooking and baking, she had said. And so I left Girl Guides and spent wonderful Saturday mornings cooking.
Thus I’ve been really lucky to have met people who would approach me to break the ice.
On my first day at RJC at Paterson Road Campus, I did not know which class I was in and couldn’t locate the general office. A girl in RGS uniform approached me and asked if I was lost. She had been there for the first three months. Michelle then took me to the general office. Coincidentally, we found out that we were classmates. When I got married, she was my bride’s maid and one of my closest friends.
On my first day working at ICI, Bee, sitting in a neighbouring cubicle, introduced herself and asked me out for lunch. We have been buddy since.
I don’t mix well in a group of strangers. I’m bad in social events, and never seemed to have anything to say during wedding dinners or Mike’s office functions. I’m worse in the company of angmohs, whom I have never been comfortable with. Does that make me uptight?
In ICI, we worked with many expats. In a bonding retreat, I was matched with an expat lady to share a room. I had to beg another colleague to change room with me.
I had found it difficult to make friends with expats. We have nothing in common other than work. Lifestyles, history, food or music. Most Singaporeans are only comfortable in their own social circles, either from schools or from work. Thus, I would gather soccer is the only angmo stuff that heartland Singaporeans have in common with expats.
So yes, I am uptight and reserved. I do not have many friends, but those I have, I cherish. Aaron just commented the other day that I have so few friends in my FB account. He has many more than me.
How true, and I like it that way.