October 22nd, 2013

happy girl

I can't think of a title.

I uploaded some pictures from my trip with Arnaud on Facebook last night. This morning I woke up to a comment on one of my photos - a picture of me in a bikini, standing in the water at the beach - from this person that I played tennis with once in Singapore that went, "Where is this beach?" (Question mark not in original.)

For the record, I tagged the location of the photograph as 'Brela Beach, Croatia'. Nevertheless, I decided to be nice (ish) and replied, "Croatia!"

Four hours later, this person posted a follow-up comment: "What is the name of the country? The beach is very beautiful."

I mean, even if you're completely unfamiliar with Europe, technological advances in the shape of things like this nifty little thing called a Search Engine - to be precise, an Internet Search Engine - have pretty much cancelled out any reasonable excuse that one might have had in a prehistoric age long since passed to be...how shall I put it delicately...unaware. It's not so much about the fact that this person has never heard of Croatia; I don't think it's not within the realm of possibility that someone from Asia doesn't know that Croatia is a country after experiencing a bunch of people not knowing that Singapore exists during the road trip. Case in point: when we were at the Montenegro border, the passport control guy slammed my passport against the window and called out ot his colleague, as if to ask him, "What the fuck is this country?"

It's about the fact that the photograph is tagged 'Brela Beach, Croatia' and I said that the beach was in 'Croatia'. Was it that hard to google it? That's what I would do before posting something that would make me look utterly stupid.

I don't know this person well at all; if I remember correctly, he's not Singaporean - so there's hope for my country yet.

Then again, when I read Mag's Facebook message about some rabbit society in Singapore with questionable practices and looked at the screenshot she took of a comment posted by a member of the said society, I was instantly reminded of all the reasons I really, really dislike Singapore. The standard of English - oh my god, the standard of English. It makes me want to die. I really don't understand why Singaporeans in my age group and younger, on average, have such horrible English. We use it as the official language. It's the language of instruction in schools. It's the official working language. Even if one's parents aren't English-speaking, so what? I don't come from some posh, ACS-alumni English-speaking family either, and I manage okay. Singaporean English really annoys me, and so does the accent.

Speaking of the accent, this reminds me of an incident that I wanted to write about a while ago. I ordered some sports bras from Nike UK and after placing my order, I realised that I forgot to change my shipping address to my current address in my account, and so my order was shipped to my old address. I quickly called up customer service and explained the problem to the officer. I spoke to him like how I speak to non-Singaporeans, in this weird no-idea-what-the-fuck-accent-I'm-trying-to-emulate accent that is my attempt to blunt the edges of my unfortunate accent. Imagine my surprise, then, when he said, "Where are you from by the way? You sound Singaporean or Malaysian."

OMFG, my heart totally broke in that second. It turned out that the guy was a Malaysian living in Belgium (where the Nike customer service office is located), which goes a long way to explain how he picked up on my accent. Then again, I didn't pick up on his. I couldn't tell that he was Malaysian at all. Even Rudy knew immediately that I was Singaporean/Malaysian the first time I met him to pass him my tennis racquet to be restrung. At that point, though, I was still quite new in London so I haven't had over a year to practise speaking in intelligible English; but the conversation with the Nike customer service took place about 3 weeks ago, which can only mean that I still retain a lot of my natural accent.

Alas. I don't try to sound British or anything (and certainly not American; it's not my favourite accent, to put it kindly). I just change the stresses on words to their proper place and I say a lot of 'you know', like Roger Federer in a way, to pace myself and to stop myself from saying 'no lah' or whatever - like a placeholder. I had to do this anyway; when I first came to London, most people didn't understand me because of my accent which was quite irritating. I really hate being mistaken for a non-native speaker, especially since I have better grammar, spelling and punctuation skills than most white native speakers. (I especially cannot fucking stand the way the British abuse the comma. The comma is NOT used to join two independent clauses. I see comma splices all over billboards, advertisements, companies' websites, even emails from my school, and it drives me crazy.)

On another note, I am definitely going to Paris with my parents on 16 December for 3 days. I can't wait! I don't think there's such a thing as going to Paris too many times. I could never get sick of Paris. Even if all else fails, I will be happy just pigging out on yummy yummy yummy French pastries.

Speaking of 'pigging out' - I made a throwaway comment to Arnaud on Skype yesterday about how I was lying on my bed while talking to him 'like a pig' and he asked me why I used that simile. I said it was because pigs are stereotyped to be lazy and he said that he's never heard of that expression before. He even asked me why I always say 'yeah right' in response to some bullshit story he made up ("It's an expression of disbelief," I said). I'm generally quite unaware of our cultural differences, i.e. I don't give a shit; and so when he asks me these things, I'm strangely intrigued by how the meaning of certain figures of speech that I take for granted aren't as obvious to someone from a different culture. I don't even know if this 'lazy as a pig' expression is influenced by this Chinese phrase 'lazy pig'; I've just never given any thought to it.

Also, I have developed an addiction to French movies. I've watched two French movies over the past two nights, the first being this terrible pretentious "artsy" film called A Ma Soeur!, translated in English as Fat Girl; and the second was a re-watch of Jeux d'enfants (Love Me If You Dare, of course). I found a bunch of interesting French movies but couldn't find English subtitled torrents for half of them; nevertheless, I'm currently downloading three, including the first instalment of that politically-incorrect spoof of an old spy movie that Arnaud played me when we first started dating.

Just a quick note about A Ma Soeur!: it was okay until the stupid gratuitously violent ending which made no sense and reeked of the director being quite desperate to make a shocking film. Whatever. I was very amused by the fact that the sleazy older guy that coaxes the pretty older, virginal sister into giving up her virginity to him was an Italian guy. After going to Rome and all, I can see why it was fitting to make that character Italian.