Singaporeans are a huge embarrassment to ourselves. Why? I’ll list down the reasons.
1. They pronounce "Ryu" from Street Fighter as "RARRR YOU". Like how the hell did a one syllable Japanese word become a t-rex calling for his friend? The best part was, this was after I tried to explain to the Americans how to pronounce the name of this Japanese guy named "Ryou". I said it was like "Ryu" from SF except you add an O in the middle. How hard can "Ryou" be right? For some reason the Americans just couldn’t get the sound and ended up calling the poor guy Yoh, like Yoh from Shaman King. So I was pretty shocked when I got the response from the other Singaporeans as something to the effect of "You are wrong! It’s RARRRR YOUUU not Ryu!" Then they all turned to confirm this with each other and looked mighty pleased with themselves for apparently knowing what was correct. I tried to control my look of contempt but I suspect I failed badly at that point and let out a really "WTF" face and gave up. I bet they pronounce "Guile" as "GUUU LEEEEE" or something like that.
2. They use words only they or other Singaporeans would know when conversing with people of other countries, without bothering to explain themselves, and I had to do it for them. For example, they suggested going to the karaoke places, but they instead said something like "Go K-BOX!" x 3. Which is stupid because the term "K-Box" is local, as it is the name of the dominant karaoke chain in Singapore and nobody else knows it, so you can’t use it as a verb outside the country.
3. They show up late for every single meeting and even the lessons with the professors, like 30 minutes late. It’s obvious a few of the other Americans are pretty annoyed by this, and everyone pretty much thinks they are bimbos, which is a shame since I’m sure they aren’t that bimbo. I might be wrong. We were at Asakusa, which is home to Seishouji which is a famous shrine and jinja combo, and it’s pretty much a tourist trap sort of place that was really boring for me but I guess it was souvenir haven to the other Singaporeans. We were to meet, all 20+ of us, back at the entrance at 11.30 am after which we were to go for lunch and then return to Waseda for the faculty-meeting session. At 11.30 am we found that one girl, naturally a Singaporean, was missing and we waited for her/looked around for more than 30 minutes before she showed up, citing the reason for lateness being her lack of a watch. She didn’t bring a mobile phone either so was uncontactable. Can you imagine making a group of 20 people you’ve barely known wait for 30 minutes in the blazingly hot sun just because you don’ t have a watch, can’t be bothered to check the time and went shopping by yourself? I’m chalking this down to an honest mistake for now, but let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.
4. They talk like kids, have zero interest in anything besides shopping and try to kill any intellectual conversation. I noticed that quite a few of the participants of the programme are pretty smart and articulate, with strong opinions and great knowledge of the world. There’s a Korean girl from the University of Washiongton who attended the UN summit on post-Kyoto Protocol and had lots of stuff to share. There was this rather handsome and articulate New Yorker, a bit Upper East type, who basically knew a lot of stuff and is probably the most sophisticated of the Americans here, the type that’ll go alone to Art Museums, and made an awesome introduction speech impromptu about how science needs to have a greater amount of influence on governmental policies. There is this Harvard girl who is still secretly eschewing the official dorm to hide overnight at her host family’s house, and she’s the Hayden Paniniteirewhatever celeb lookalike. The Kumar guy I mentioned yesterday from Yale, who talks a lot and basically is intellectually annoying. He had a heated debate with me and Ryou about how Kanji should be scrapped and kana used solely in Japan, to which the two of us were like "WTF? You don’t even know any Japanese." and he couldn’t understand the functions of kanji. There is also Ryou, the Japanese political science graduate who’s now interning in LDP, the political party. He is a casual anime and manga viewer and knows some stuff. In short, we have UN-ko, Talkieman, Harvard Hayden, Kumar and Ryou the LDP guy. I think we just have to remember these few because the rest are alright, but not that interesting. Oh yeah, there’s this guy from Washington as well, who looks drunk half the time and has been on a grand tour of Columbia the Latin American country, where he plundered the women and snorted cocaine. Let’s call him Druggie.
Yeah so basically these few people and myself would often have proper discussions and arguments, be it on sustainable development, ecology, history, world culture or language and a few other subjects and our dear Singaporeans would not know a single thing on any of the topics at all. It’s like the only thing they know about America is Harry Potter (which isn’t American). I suspect they don’t even know that Obama is president, or is a democrat. I’m seriously praying that I don’t get any of my countrymen in my project group later on.
5. During our self-introduction speeches (short ones) to the visiting faculty, about 5 professors from around the world, I made something up on the spot about how I would like to do RnD to produce good food, nutritional and ecologically sustainable stuff, that would alleviate the severe health problems both Africans/Asians and Americans face. And some random stuff regarding how food production is a major issue and problem-causer as well. I thought I spouted rubbish nervously, well until I heard what the others said. Two of them were alright, but the last one basically went like , "Hi I’m XXX, and I work under prof XXX to save coral reefs and HEHEHEHEHEH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!" Yeah you read that right, after that brief sentence, she started giggling nonstop and just sat back down with laughing even louder than before. Everyone, not just the esteemed professors, were seriously perplexed by this strange turn of events. Might have been possession by an evil spirit.
And finally, on an unrelated note, Asakusa really sucks as a tourist spot. Don’t bother going. I also had Tendon aka tempura rice bowl for dinner and it was good. I had okonomiyaki and monja (which is like a really wet and slimy form of okonomiyaki somewhat) at a pretty famous place at Asakura apparently, it was pretty good! Considering I have a huge phobia of vegetables, I ate everything including the massive amounts of plant material. First time in my life.
I decided to pretty much separate the picture posts until I’m a lot freer, since I don’t have time to post-process or select them right now and they aren’t anything to shout about either.