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SGExpat: Expat pub vs Sgn kopitiam

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SGExpat: Expat pub vs Sgn kopitiam

Postby JR8 » Mon, 21 Mar 2011 8:48 pm

Back from a few days away, I see that 'the thread of whose name we shall not speak' has officially been flogged to death :)

There is a theme that came up again in it's death throws that interests me. Whether this forum, that exists in the ether, should be considered an extension of Singapore?

My own view is that the internet is never going to take on all the constraints of real life, and it will always be freer, looser-lipped and probably more radical in the views expressed.

Put another way. Just because a bunch of expats turn up and have a bit of a set-too about a local SGn issue, in my opinion does not warrant SGns turning up and entering full 'rebuttal' (favourite word of the SG govt, as if normal day to day discussion is a court case) mode.

Do SGns appreciate that one might go down to the pub after work with colleagues and moan about the boss being a w*anker and ... well, and so on, and that it is simply blowing off steam? Or should pro-boss factions be there at the pub to launch a loyal rebuttal?

To me, some of the locals here can be rather animated, running around trying to 'set the record straight', when in fact people are just blowing off steam. It can be like they confuse the culture of the internet with real life, and then appear to feel a need to act out some patriotic duty which comes over as over-sensitive and zealous.

People here have been criticised for criticising the Chinese demanding additional compensation for Christchurch earthquake victims. Well I say, why should people not be free to air these opinions?

p.s. This is NOT intended to be a divisive topic. I simply am trying to understand how people perceive the purpose of this forum.

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Postby x9200 » Mon, 21 Mar 2011 9:09 pm

Methinks many locals do here exactly what the expats do - blow off steam hearing again and again how the expats are frustrated with this or that.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 21 Mar 2011 11:19 pm

There is no purpose to this forum, other than to promote the interests of its owners. That they provided significant leeway in allowing us moderators to control content, doesn't escape the fact that if they couldn't make money and promote other interests, it wouldn't exist.

The fact that you and I have a forum to blow off steam, to debate and argue is great... and secondary to why the forum is actually here. Knowing the owners, at least through this board, I am sure they are also happy that they are contributing to an open discussion environment.

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Postby nakatago » Mon, 21 Mar 2011 11:42 pm

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 22 Mar 2011 2:06 am

Hmmm... interesting comments :)

Someone sent me a link to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqFTyr25z7c comedy interview. The comments are quite revealing.

To cut to the chase can I ask why it appears in some countries things are held to be above humour, i.e. you must not joke about them?

I am not saying it is right wrong or better, but I am having difficulty understanding why I would not be allowed to be critical of say Sarkozy, Cameron or Merkel.

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Postby ScoobyDoes » Tue, 22 Mar 2011 9:31 am

JR8 wrote:To cut to the chase can I ask why it appears in some countries things are held to be above humour, i.e. you must not joke about them?

I am not saying it is right wrong or better, but I am having difficulty understanding why I would not be allowed to be critical of say Sarkozy, Cameron or Merkel.



It marks a large difference when a country can self critisis and there too those within it. Whilst the US bangs on about being the 'Greatest Country in the World' there are large numbers of comedians and commentators on TV that swing the other way, no matter which side the pendulum is on at the time. This does help keep a large proportional middle ground.

Singapore is different. Everything is always great, it's the best country in the World and we get....... The Noose.

A lack of open discussion breeds the myoptic self defence we often see here. What we get in the Kopitam is not what i call an open discussion, it's a bunch of guys whining....... and i mean relatively speaking in comparison to press, media and TV.
'When Lewis Hamilton wins a race he has to thank Vodafone whereas in my day I used to chase the crumpet. I know which era I'd rather race in.'

SIR Stirling Moss OBE

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Postby JayCee » Tue, 22 Mar 2011 9:46 am

Have to admit I never understand why local people get hot under the collar if a foreigner criticises something about Singapore here, it's like an Arsenal fan going on a Spurs forum and then getting offended when people talk about Nayim from the halfway line, what did you expect to find?

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Postby Brah » Tue, 22 Mar 2011 11:19 am

Word.

And worse so, taking it personal and getting defensive.

JayCee wrote:Have to admit I never understand why local people get hot under the collar if a foreigner criticises something about Singapore here, it's like an Arsenal fan going on a Spurs forum and then getting offended when people talk about Nayim from the halfway line, what did you expect to find?

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 22 Mar 2011 5:33 pm

I believe that it was previously established that there is a cultural hurdle with criticism (actual or perceived, outright or constructive). I.e. it does not go down well in Chinese culture. In fact I think it broader than Chinese, perhaps it is an Asian trait. If I have a disagreement with my wife, it always surprises me greatly when she later refers to it as having been a 'fight' :?

Maybe there is no differentiation between real-life and the web? Perhaps what is said here is held to the same standard as real-life? There seems little concept of 'blowing off after work down the pub'. Everything is taken as if meant literally. Though maybe that only applies to comments made in public, as SGns sure are happy to let off steam behind their own front doors.

I think this is what lies at the heart of a significant amount of inter-racial misunderstanding (friction) on this forum.

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Postby mummy mantras » Wed, 23 Mar 2011 9:44 am

My husband (who is a born and bred Peranakan Chinese Singaporean) says that it's a 'tribal' thing. Members of the tribe may criticise each other. But they'll stick up for each other (no matter how much they might privately hate this other member of their tribe) when people from another tribe criticise them.

For the longest period of time, members of my husband's family would do nothing but praise Singapore and it's government with hearty enthusiasm, whenever I was within earshot. But the moment we got married and I became a (newly minted) Singaporean too, I heard nothing but whining and complaints about government policies they didn't like or ministers who they felt weren't doing their jobs.

When I asked my husband about this strange change in attitude, he just grinned at me and said, "You're a member of the tribe now, dear."

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Re: SGExpat: Expat pub vs Sgn kopitiam

Postby ev-disinfection » Wed, 23 Mar 2011 3:53 pm

JR8 wrote:Back from a few days away, I see that 'the thread of whose name we shall not speak' has officially been flogged to death :)

There is a theme that came up again in it's death throws that interests me. Whether this forum, that exists in the ether, should be considered an extension of Singapore?

My own view is that the internet is never going to take on all the constraints of real life, and it will always be freer, looser-lipped and probably more radical in the views expressed.

Put another way. Just because a bunch of expats turn up and have a bit of a set-too about a local SGn issue, in my opinion does not warrant SGns turning up and entering full 'rebuttal' (favourite word of the SG govt, as if normal day to day discussion is a court case) mode.

Do SGns appreciate that one might go down to the pub after work with colleagues and moan about the boss being a w*anker and ... well, and so on, and that it is simply blowing off steam? Or should pro-boss factions be there at the pub to launch a loyal rebuttal?

To me, some of the locals here can be rather animated, running around trying to 'set the record straight', when in fact people are just blowing off steam. It can be like they confuse the culture of the internet with real life, and then appear to feel a need to act out some patriotic duty which comes over as over-sensitive and zealous.

People here have been criticised for criticising the Chinese demanding additional compensation for Christchurch earthquake victims. Well I say, why should people not be free to air these opinions?

p.s. This is NOT intended to be a divisive topic. I simply am trying to understand how people perceive the purpose of this forum.


I consider myself a "westernised" local guy.
having spoken English since i could speak,
Have always failed my Mandarin in school and my Hokkien Dialect is considered above average (only now, not then).

I regularly hang out in expat pubs and release steam on the pool table,
(Oh and BTW we play UK, American, South African, Indonesian, International rules depends on who the winner is, as the winner chooses the rules)
I have more European / American good friends than i have local ones.
Even though i love the current SG gahmen, i do not defend much (more listening), cause i know everyone has their own views and opinion.

Went to my new expat friend's place for breakfast, and my friend offered me bread with kaya, i do not like kaya, so i asked for cornflakes with milk, and my friend was shocked, i wonder why?

Not all locals are like that, it depends on the locals that you hang out or work with. Are they the Singlish / local dialect speaking? Proper English speaking?

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Postby JR8 » Wed, 23 Mar 2011 4:52 pm

Hmmm most interesting!

I like the idea of this topic being a melting pot of thoughts and experiences from which readers might draw their own conclusions... :)

I remember another comment that was made regarding some people criticising the Chinese re: the earthquake. It was along the lines of 'There is no point being critical of the Chinese, as it is the wrong approach and it will change nothing'. I was a little surprised by that, well, surprised that someone might think a writer on a web forum is expecting their words to have some real-life impact. Isn't that an assumption that forum chat is much more powerful than it is? Hmmm.

An analogy? When your wife comes home from work and vents about what a lousy day it has been she simply wants to be heard. The natural response of a man is to assume that the problems are being laid out before them because they are being asked to help resolve them. :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 23 Mar 2011 5:13 pm

Actually, I think you will have to acknowledge that forum chat, if picked up by the right/wrong individual could easily go viral as so many things on the 'net have done over the years. For that matter, it's Snopes reason for existence! :-|

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Postby JR8 » Wed, 23 Mar 2011 5:29 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Actually, I think you will have to acknowledge that forum chat, if picked up by the right/wrong individual could easily go viral as so many things on the 'net have done over the years. For that matter, it's Snopes reason for existence! :-|


Yes but :) If something has already been published in 250 newspapers around the world, it being repeated on a forum is hardly likely to be the source of it going viral on the net.

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Re: SGExpat: Expat pub vs Sgn kopitiam

Postby x9200 » Wed, 23 Mar 2011 8:06 pm

ev-disinfection wrote:I have more European / American good friends than i have local ones.

Do you think or feel being perceived by your local surrounding (friends, colleagues etc) somehow ... I don't know.. with some reserve?

Went to my new expat friend's place for breakfast, and my friend offered me bread with kaya, i do not like kaya, so i asked for cornflakes with milk, and my friend was shocked, i wonder why?

Kaya is deliciouses. I always take few cans for my mom when going back to Europe. No wonder your friend was shocked :)

Not all locals are like that, it depends on the locals that you hang out or work with. Are they the Singlish / local dialect speaking? Proper English speaking?

I think there is nothing wrong in this tribal thing if this is the case - just opposite, IMHO it's a good thing.


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