Sunday, August 04, 2013

Who's Kiasu Now?

I recently went to Singapore for an extended weekend with my family for my cousin's wedding. I found a place to stay from Airbnb and stayed with a Singaporean girl who hosted us, let me just call her May.

I believe this is the first time I'm actually staying with a true blue Singaporean and the experience was interesting enough that I would like to blog about it.

Interesting because I always thought Singaporeans were not very different from Malaysians. Of course, there are obvious cultural nuances which set us apart, which I won't focus on in this post. To cut to the chase, it was the attitude towards safety in the country.

Upon arriving at her HDB, I removed my shoes and took them into the room instead of leaving them outside along the public corridor. Heck, in Malaysia, if you leave your shoes in the porch, even with the gates locked, they WILL get stolen. I didn't dwell on the strange look May gave me until after I came back and reflected.

Shortly after, my parents wanted a single seater removed from their room to make way for an extra mattress for Jan to sleep on. May simply pushed the chair outside onto the common corridor. I asked, "Aren't you worried someone would steal it?" to which she merely replied, "Steal ma steal lah, it's so old anyway". This was shocking to me. Again, anything placed in a common area in Malaysia WILL be stolen.

Then, as and when we came back to the apartment over the next few days, we realized May hardly locked her door, even if it were late in the evening. Jan, who's renting with a Singaporean family, explains this is normal in Singapore. In Malaysia, you get robbers rushing through your gates in that few seconds as you try to close your gates after driving into your porch. Or the case whereby the robbers jumped over the fences while you're relaxing on your porch and rob you.

I have not realized how I have been moulded in so much fear from living in Malaysia. It's a sad fact indeed.

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