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What do locals think is appalling behaviour from expats?

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earthfriendly
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Postby earthfriendly » Sat, 01 Nov 2008 2:22 am

EADG wrote:I guess the other one is that bizarre two-handed drop-down simultaneous fork and spoon grip paddle the food in the mouth act, never saw it anywhere else


Not everyone is adept with the fork and spoon lah. My mom attended my US wedding where filet mignon was served. And vegetarion meal was offered as an option to the guests. She wanted chopsticks and spoon instead but unfortunately not available at the venue. Sorry mom, I can't fathom every scenario nor every single need out there.

Could you pick up fishball with a pair of chopstick without piercing it?

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Postby Global Citizen » Sat, 01 Nov 2008 3:45 am

EADG wrote:
I guess the other one is that bizarre two-handed drop-down simultaneous fork and spoon grip paddle the food in the mouth act, never saw it anywhere else



Why is it bizarre? Because you think so? Refer to point no.2 on the first page of this thread.

As for never seeing it anywhere else, the fact of the matter is it's also done in Malaysia and Thailand. :roll: I think it's a very practical method of eating when you're scooping up rice and bite size pieces of meat and vegetables into your mouth. Far more practical than a fork and knife when dining on Asian cuisine.

EADG, I don't get you. All of your posts always tend to be critical or negative of life in Singapore. Is there anything at all that meets your expectations? If not, there are always other options. Life's short; no sense in leading a miserable one.
Last edited by Global Citizen on Sat, 01 Nov 2008 5:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
One man's meat is another's poison.

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Postby Global Citizen » Sat, 01 Nov 2008 3:55 am

earthfriendly wrote:QRM, I do not believe in eating with one's hands, instead of cutlery. It is inherently unhygenic and I have to constantly remind my kids not to do it when they think it is fun to finger with their food. I used to go eat out with a doctor I almost dated. He would always head towards the restroom to wash his hands before every meal. The germs and bacteria that is inherent in the bathroom is another story though.


EF, it depends on your perspective doesn't it? Try telling that to millions of Indians, Malays, Indonesians and Middle Easterners and you'll get a different opinion. I can't imagine digging into a naan or chapati with a fork and knife. The fact that hygiene is practised with hand washing before and after the fact should count for something.

How do you tackle sandwiches, burgers and ribs? I've always found my hands work better here.
One man's meat is another's poison.

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Postby Plavt » Sat, 01 Nov 2008 4:52 am

GC has a point Arabs often eat from a communal plate and they unlike a good many people in my own country (shameful though it is :oops: ) have the decency and good sense to wash their hands thoroughly beforehand.

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Postby earthfriendly » Sat, 01 Nov 2008 5:28 am

GC,

I hear yah. It offers me food for thought. And the reason I said unhygenic is because many diseases are spread via hands. But now that I think about it, it is due to the lack of washing of hands, rather than the hand itself ! Actually there is a methodology of how the hands should be washed too. I actually read an article on the proper way to wash hands, for a few minutes and constant rubbing the soap in.

You are right about the different food cultures of the world. The type of food consumed and the methodology used. Just take something as simple as rice. Some asians consume sticky short grain, SG like the more flaky jasmine varietal, Indians use Bismatic, South Americans (and Spanish?) uses pilaf and Italians dine on Arbory. And in Japan, rice ball (onigiri) is commonly consumed. It is very convenient to eat and makes great finger food when you are outside. It was invented in the ancient days when people had to travel great distance and away from the comfort of home convenience of cutleries.

I could say the same of tea. To keep it brief, some like to add spice to it, some insist on brewing it using special clay teapots and the clay has to be from a specific region, some boil it on stove, others just pour hot water to brew the leaves.

And for a chinese meal, rice is served in a bowl by itself. You are supposed to hold the bowl in one hand and use the other to hold the chopstick to pick up (or shuffle I suppose :shock: if the rice varietal is not sticky enough to form a glob to necessitate chopstick pickup, ) the rice and transit it into your mouth. It is considered rude to leave the bowl on the table and try to eat the rice off it. Whereas in western culture picking up the platter and feeding off it is considered rude.

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Postby earthfriendly » Sat, 01 Nov 2008 5:35 am

earthfriendly wrote:Wow, I think SMS is essentially anti Chinese Singaporean. One only need to mention it in passing and he'll be all over them.


I retract my statement and change it to "SMS is essentially anti Singaporeans". Your perception of them and their behaviours is usually magnified many folds in the negative direction. Please refer to topic regarding SG Ebay site. I am adding a new comment!

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Postby road.not.taken » Sat, 01 Nov 2008 6:53 am

So now we have to rename the thread "What do expats and locals find appauling about SMS"??

:roll:


:D

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 01 Nov 2008 7:18 am

EF,

Bit rich I must say, considering that I'm married to one, been here a quarter of a century (why would I punish myself one would almost have to ask), live in an HDB Estate where I own my flat and am an active member of the local Zone Resident's Committee.

What are you doing for Singapore? Oh, sorry, I forgot, you immigrated to the west didn't you..........

Like I said, let's give it a break shall we?

I bash my own country as well. I'm not prejudice, I don't like wrong values wherever I see them. A wart is a wart no matter where it might be located or how it's decorated.

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Postby ksl » Sat, 01 Nov 2008 1:20 pm

Nice subject and although SMS is quite right in many ways, It's what's normally referred to as a typical mans expression of garbage disposal in a humoristic fashion, i couldn't help but chuckle to myself.

When in Rome do what the Romans do comes to mind, however I don't actually enjoy, eating like a garbage truck, gives me indigestion, although i am partial to a uncontrollable fart now and then, and point the finger at the Mrs.

EF you are so right, although some people can adapt and others cannot, is all part and parcel of cultural experiences, after a while
everything becomes acceptable, even though we don't always agree... My wife who is also Chinese would agree, that some customs she doesn't agree with, however it would be very rude and unacceptable to condemn her own.
I tend to think it's pure bad habits people acquire, because of the lack of awareness to be more polite, So i normally suggest putting extra plates on the table, so the bones are not just thrown on the table.

Like anywhere else, if there is no disposal for waste, it goes on the table or floor for the cats and dogs, primitive but functional... I have also shared meals with Iranians, Sri Lankan's and others where hands are the tools of the day, no problem provided hygiene is top on the agenda.

With TB and other transferable diseases it is always wise to suggest or provide extra utensils so guests do not have to share the same utensils, education is always paramount to change, and not all generations are aware of the consequences until told, and even then, they don't want to change, especially the men of the household.

SMS just tells it the way it is and it is, no frills attached.

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Postby drusilla » Sat, 01 Nov 2008 3:11 pm

SMS is the mod, so when he says give it a break, we should!! :roll:

Thats one example of appalling behavior from expats, or is it just SMS?? :? even though i agree on most of what he mentioned about the table manners of Singaporeans (chinese or otherwise, although i'm quite sure he was referring to Chinese) :oops:

Back to the topic:

One of the most common behaviour of the western expats i've noticed, yes, usually westerners, is that they compare everywhere else to "home". Expats shouldn't expect everywhere else to be "like home".

I'm working in Saudi and it makes me sick to keep hearing them start a sentence with,"Back home, we do not do this. We'd... (fill in the blanks with holier-than-thou methods or ways of carrying out certain duties)" :roll:

I find that most expats are unwilling to be flexible and adapt to the environment that they are in. Instead, they expect locals to understand where they come from and the way they do things. Everything is about "me, me, me!!" Thats what puts me off sometimes.
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Postby AminoAcid » Sat, 01 Nov 2008 5:23 pm

[As for never seeing it anywhere else, the fact of the matter is it's also done in Malaysia and Thailand. :roll: I think it's a very practical method of eating when you're scooping up rice and bite size pieces of meat and vegetables into your mouth. Far more practical than a fork and knife when dining on Asian cuisine.


Not forgetting Indonesia, Brunei and India too. I agree it works a lot better when a lot of rice is involved.

Not that I find it appalling, but it's rather interesting to see expats refusing to conform to the fork and spoon combination when they're eating at, let's say, a food court or hawker centre from a plate. Instead they'll use the chopsticks and spoon when every other local chinese (or even PRCs) are using fork/spoon. It's almost like they're telling the rest of us they know Chinese eating etiquette better, though usually the way they use chopsticks produces equally interesting results (like pierced fishballs or clasping noodles with the middle of the chopsticks). But I guess it probably stems from the fact that they are taught forks should always go with a knife and not a spoon from young?

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Postby QRM » Sat, 01 Nov 2008 6:28 pm

Another expat habit, wiping their bottoms with dry paper. WC provided in Muslim countries have a separate tap/ shower head next to the WC pan to allow proper cleaning. My Muslim chums say its quite disgusting when expats in a tropical climate do not clean their plumbing regions properly after using the loo and its actually against the sharia laws. :shock:



edited SINGLISH CREEPING IN
Last edited by QRM on Sat, 01 Nov 2008 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 01 Nov 2008 8:46 pm

QRM that's one that I also agree with. I worked the first 12 years in Asia in Indonesia where quite often (most of the time truth be known) there wasn't any "toilet paper" anyway so one learns that not only is it a cleaner method, it's a lot easier on the bum as well especially in a tropical climate. Sometimes the old ways are best although I could never get used to the squat type of pan. I even put them in both our baths (taps not floor pans) here when I renovated my flat after buying it.

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Postby EADG » Sun, 02 Nov 2008 12:01 am

Hi GC, as you know I've always be a big fan of yours and respect and agree with your views, and sorry if you found my criticisms too much but that's my character in this forum sometimes. Not all of my posts are critical though. But to attempt to paint that as misery sounds like a jab. This is supposed to be an open place for viewpoints, in an otherwise less-than-open country, so let people say what they will say.

Although this is not my first choice for places to live I do like some aspects of life here, like any place it has its pluses and minuses, and if I didn't like it overall I wouldn't be here still, no matter what the work situation (the main reason, and not because the money is good because it's not). I have no real expectations and any opinions I voice are in most cases shared experiences from both the Western and Japanese foreign communities here.

Anyway I stand by my observation and perception - it's a bizarre style of eating, and I never saw it in Thailand. And I'm not talking about simply using a spoon with chopsticks, which I also do depending on the kind of food; I mean the holding of forks and spoons by the very tips, hanging down perpendicular to the plate, with elbows on the table and hands in a praying-mantis pose.

What used to come to mind when I saw it was the furtive glances that would be shot back and forth if a woman I brought home to meet my family ate like that - even though my family is pretty easy going compared to most, time would stand still!

Having lived in Japan and being more adept than most with chopsticks, including most Singaporeans and some Japanese, I have a pretty good idea of what works and doesn't' for rice, etc. but that is still not an excuse for poor manners, whether with local or non-local food, and I see this all over here with both.

Having lived decades outside of my home country, re point 2 I'm not one to dismiss as one of those just-off-the-boat foreigners, nor should my observation be dismissed as such. In fact those types make me cringe more than probably most other people.

Maybe I should ask, why is it not bizarre? - I don't see Japanese and HK Chinese people eating this way.

Global Citizen wrote:Why is it bizarre? Because you think so? Refer to point no.2 on the first page of this thread.

As for never seeing it anywhere else, the fact of the matter is it's also done in Malaysia and Thailand. :roll: I think it's a very practical method of eating when you're scooping up rice and bite size pieces of meat and vegetables into your mouth. Far more practical than a fork and knife when dining on Asian cuisine.

EADG, I don't get you. All of your posts always tend to be critical or negative of life in Singapore. Is there anything at all that meets your expectations? If not, there are always other options. Life's short; no sense in leading a miserable one.
Ape Shall Not Kill Ape

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Postby earthfriendly » Sun, 02 Nov 2008 4:27 am

Part of good manners (including table which will also entail skilfulness of the equipment or cutlery used) is being aware of other people and understanding that your personal actions have an impact on people around you. Just like everything else in life. And yeap, I don't enjoy sitting on a table scattered with extraneuos objects that are not immedately related to the eating of my food. Ooopf what a mouthful but that sure sounds politically correct. It is just not pleasant lah!

KSL, I hear you but SMS's original post sounded so very very hateful to me. And it riles me up ! Big time ! Yes, I know he is a good man, a noble one who takes care of his MIL. My mom also took care of her stroke-striken MIL for many years. And I could see the toll on her. My grandmom did not want to live in those homes where they had trained personel to care for elderly of her situation. I told my mom, it was not fair and something could be worked out where my grandmom would still feel cared for while staying in the elderly homes. Yes grandma needs care, but so do you! And I do not believe in false dichotomy in life. And yes, I have been told that I am an idealist! But you know what? I also understand that the world is very imperfect place inhabited by imperfect beings.


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