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Auntys and Uncles

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BedokAmerican
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Auntys and Uncles

Postby BedokAmerican » Wed, 06 Feb 2013 11:07 pm

Is there a general criteria for being labeled an "auntie/aunty" or "uncle" in Singapore? I was under the impression those phrases were for people in their 60s or 70s or older. I'm 39 and don't have gray or white hair but recently when getting in an elevator, a maid/helper boarding the lift with some children said to "watch out for the auntie" and was referring to me.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 06 Feb 2013 11:39 pm

Get used to it. I was called uncle by my neighbours kids when I was in my late 30's. It an honorific that we would normally use Mr. or Ms. for at home (I'm a Yank as well).

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Postby Wd40 » Thu, 07 Feb 2013 6:10 am

Its common in Asia, to address people with title instead of name as a token of respect. If someone is slightly elder then you are expected to address as Brother or Sister. If much older then refer as aunty/uncle. Its not your absolute age that matters. But the difference in age that matters. For a child, even a 20 year old is an uncle. But for a 20 year old you need to be like 40+ to be called an uncle.

In India we used call our teachers as "Sir" or "Maa'm" when we were kids until we first got exposed to western television and noticed how western kids call the teachers by name. That was shocking. Even at workplace during the old times we never called our boss by name, it was always sir and Maa'm. Then came the IT and Call Center revolution in India and with it brought the refreshing American culture of calling boss by name among many other things.

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ecureilx
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Postby ecureilx » Thu, 07 Feb 2013 8:39 am

Wd40 wrote:Its common in Asia, to address people with title instead of name as a token of respect. If someone is slightly elder then you are expected to address as Brother or Sister. If much older then refer as aunty/uncle. Its not your absolute age that matters. But the difference in age that matters. For a child, even a 20 year old is an uncle. But for a 20 year old you need to be like 40+ to be called an uncle.

In India we used call our teachers as "Sir" or "Maa'm" when we were kids until we first got exposed to western television and noticed how western kids call the teachers by name. That was shocking. Even at workplace during the old times we never called our boss by name, it was always sir and Maa'm. Then came the IT and Call Center revolution in India and with it brought the refreshing American culture of calling boss by name among many other things.


but in some parts of Asia, calling elders aunty/uncle can be very upsetting ... been there, done that .. (Nak may concur .. ) :)

Then again, I often remember one of my local volunteers, who is in her 50's, when I called her aunty, she threw a big hissy fit and reminded all of us "I am not old ok, I am late 50, not married, and still looking, so don't like to be called Aunty ha .. "

:D

Generally, Miss works for all woman ..

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Postby the lynx » Thu, 07 Feb 2013 8:57 am

Rule of the thumb: The uncle/aunty honorific term is for children or young people to use for men/women old enough to be their dad/mom/granny.

It is the equivalent of Sir/Madam like mentioned by posters above.

Of course there are finer points about this uncle/aunty/sis/bro/miss but I'm not going there unless OP requests to know more.

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Postby BedokAmerican » Thu, 07 Feb 2013 2:12 pm

Oh ok, thanks everyone for your replies. My husband said he's been called uncle before and reminded me we're technically old enough to be grandparents (even though our child is only age 1). But like everyone said, it's an age difference thing as opposed to having gray hair and appearing old.

On another note, Sundaymorningstaple, I see you're a Ravens fan. Congrats on the Super Bowl win.

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Postby therat » Thu, 07 Feb 2013 4:27 pm

since young, I was told to address anyone older than me by auntie or uncle.
When I went to stall to buy food or drink. I address the stall helper or owner as auntie and uncle.

Until come to a point, I realize I almost reach the auntie and uncle level.
Now, when I buy food or drink, if the stall owner or helper look not much older than me. I call them boss.

In local, we had a way of addressing different stall owner like drink stall and food stall, they had a special name for it. But it was in dialect.
Last edited by therat on Thu, 07 Feb 2013 11:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Thu, 07 Feb 2013 11:09 pm

I agree with a lot of comments above. To me it is about showing 'deference and respect to your elders', and so it is something to be accepted as a courtesy, and with pleasure.

It is not about absolute age, to a 12 year old, someone of 18 is ancient, a pakcik (uncle) or makcik (auntie).

p.s. In Malaysia for my in-law relatives around my age, I just call them 'brudder' (i.e. 'brother'), that's sorta bonding, in a slightly tongue-in-cheek shared-joke way.

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Postby ecureilx » Fri, 08 Feb 2013 9:24 am

therat wrote:since young, I was told to address anyone older than me by auntie or uncle.
When I went to stall to buy food or drink. I address the stall helper or owner as auntie and uncle.

Until come to a point, I realize I almost reach the auntie and uncle level.
Now, when I buy food or drink, if the stall owner or helper look not much older than me. I call them boss.

In local, we had a way of addressing different stall owner like drink stall and food stall, they had a special name for it. But it was in dialect.


And always remember, the Tiger Beer Aunty is always called "MISS .." ;) ;)

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Postby iloverice » Fri, 08 Feb 2013 2:38 pm

My son always address those above 25 as uncle or aunty (even I explained to him many times that he need to call them gege or jiejie first). I guess on the eyes of 4 yr old all mommy's friends need to be address as aunty or uncle. It's good in a way but bad at certain circumstances .. :(

But in Singapore normally the children will call those above 30 as uncle / aunty :D so, ladies (and gentlemen)... try to accept it. :D


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