123. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE PRC KIND

Her name was Sulastri Wardoyo.

She was 26 years old and last week, May 3o, she was discovered hanging from a shower head in a toilet at a maid hostel.

Not a pretty sight but that was what the report stated about this unfortunate Indonesian lassie, who like so many other ladies from her country, had nursed hopes and dreams of earning a decent living in Singapore.

But that dream died along with Sulastri when she decided to end it all upon failing a mandatory English test set by the Singapore government to ensure that all young ladies wanting to be slaves….er I mean maids, possess a decent command of the language before being despatched to their future slave drivers….ahem…I mean employers.

What followed this story was equal parts utter disbelief and disgust as readers threw in their 2 cents about what a moronic rule this was given that so many other ‘foreign talents’ in equally low-paid jobs weren’t required to pass this test, namely those from the People’s Republic of China or PRC’s as we fondly like to call them.

Which brings me to my next point.

Why aren’t PRCs in these low blue-collar jobs required to sit for this test while someone from Indonesia, like Suryati, has to pay a hefty price for failure?

Why are PRCs allowed to roam this island, drumming up slow, burning disdain among locals whilst they chatter incessantly in Mandarin and act as if  the whole of the island was a Sunday morning’s toggle at a Shanghai fish market?

Why are they allowed to be in jobs that require them to speak English, which they don’t anyways, because they expect everyone else to speak Ching Chong Kang Kung all day to them.

Is it also because people who hire Suryati as a domestic helper want her to write a thesis on the development and extinction of the Australopithecus or is it because Suryati, on top of being a domestic helper, is required to be an educator for her employer’s children?

Noooo? Then really folks, what could the reason be?

Well, my friends, short of sounding like a lynch-hungry, racist xenophobic, I think the answer is that they are clearly here to fill an ever-increasing void local Chinese are creating, thanks to lower birthrates amongst this segment of the island’s populace.

Yup, someone’s been playing with Frankenstein’s Fallopian tubes, er I meant, test tubes again and this time, like some bizarre scene from George Orwell’s ‘1984’, where the hands of the powers that be dabble into the genetic groove and mix of bar-coded locals, they make decisions as to which of us tagged lab rats should be replaced to make sure the numbers are always maintained.

Thanks also to this new experiment which goes against the natural process of selection, we are now entrusted to endure and adapt to a new way of life with these people.

For those with deft and highly skilled Mandarin-speaking abilities and able to hold a decent verbal discourse with a PRC native, this challenge may seem like a walk in the park. You can basically stop reading now and go back to your Channel 8 drama but for those rusty blade conversationalists, like me or non-Ching Chong speakers, our close encounters of the PRC kind have been quite memorable experiences.

Here are just a few:

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #1: ORDERING ITEMS, HAWKER STYLE

In this scenario, non-Ching Chong speaking man orders lime juice. He states the order in English and there are 2 reactions from PRC drinks lady. First, she replies in Ching Chong and second, she has this blur look which then turns into an awkward smile for a few seconds before she replies in Ching Chong. Either way, you have to Ching Chong your way to get your lime juice, otherwise you could end up with PRC verbally abusing you in the face or serving you 3 day-old goat’s milk.  Baaaa-aaaa-aaa!

 

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #2: IN THE BUS/TRAINS

Here’s another scenario: 2 PRC men sit next to Rusty Blade Ching Chong Indian girl – me, la, of course! PRC men talk a bit, laugh and then both turn heads and gawk at Rusty Blade Ching Chong for a few seconds. Rusty Blade shifts uneasily in her seat while the gawking continues for the next 2 or 3 seconds before PRC men are snapped back to reality and pick up where they left off.

 

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #3: BICYCLE BUMPERS

A pedestrian walk is just that. It’s meant for those employing their legs gainfully to get from Pt A to Pt B. I don’t think the sign said ‘Bicycle Lane’ anywhere so stop bumping us off our rightful path.

 

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #4: PUSHED, PRODDED & SHOVED

This must be a favourite past time in the PRC because every time you try to get on a crowded bus during peak hour, you get pushed, prodded and shoved.  PRCs care not if you are preggers, handicapped or old. In the world of the PRC, everyone is equal. No one deserves any consideration or respect for PRC to give way. Besides, what’s the meaning of ‘give way’ huh?

 

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #4: CAB SOLICITATIONS

Many cabbies have told me horror stories of how daring PRC women, donned in tight mini-skirts and sexy shoes would sit themselves in the front passenger seats of cabs and solicit sexual favours from them. It didn’t matter if the cabbie was young, old, married or not. Every man was equal game. Some of these ladies, frustrated that their advances had been rejected by the cabbie would then furiously demand money from the dumbstruck cabbie or ask to be dropped off at the nearest convenient spot.

 

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #5: THE SALIVA POWER WASH

Rusty Blade Ching Chong avoids sardine packed trains at peak hours where she has to stand near talking PRCs. Namely because if you were forced to stand near a few of them, you’d have to have your umbrella on standby to avoid the rain of saliva that will cleanse all your sins away due to the way they speak Mandarin – with such forceful gusto, it’s gotta make a splash somewhere.

 

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #6: NO CLASS, LOW CLASS

Let’s face it – PRC may have developed economically but behaviour-wise many are still years behind perhaps because of lack of exposure all these years and a lack of education. Whatever it is, PRC people lack finesse. It’s like weird to see some of these rich folk from China who have their pockets full moseying about our island, talking loudly, picking their noses or allowing their kids to poop/pee in public. They seem to lack a sophisticated way of thinking or even basic toilet etiquette.

I mean, come on! Seriously?

Get some class already, people!

Behaving like an devolved human being with branded items and a gold credit card still renders you an ape in the long run and speaking of apes, even they know where their designated poop/pee stations are, for crying out loud.

 

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS #7: ELEPHANT SKIN

Everyone probably knows by now that if you place a PRC native side by side with an elephant, the PRC native is going to win hands down in the ‘thick skin’ test. These guys are surreal when it comes to being totally oblivious to shame or embarassment. I remember a friend of mine once saying how she was once in a long queue at a coffee shop and all of a sudden this PRC couple just sauntered over to the cashier, cutting out everyone behind them to make their order as if the rest of the world had suddenly ceased to exist. Luckily the cashier was sensible enough to inform them about joining the queue or there would have been some pretty peeved off customers in the house foaming at the mouth and I don’t mean the type that’s on their cappuccino orders, mate.

 

So there you have it folks; some possible close encounters you may have to face in the wake of a new golden era in Singapore where being Chinese of China origin, rude and/or uncivilised is more valuable to the development of our nation than o, say, a domestic worker helping a family raise their children or keeping their homes intact for a better future.

I rest my case, for now but in case you still don’t get the picture, there’s always Alexandra Wallace’s version of a Ching Chong close encounter.

Reaction to Alexandra’s Ching Chong rant:

Advertisements

About thejellyfarm

In real life, I am a television writer and producer...er no...scratch...a television director....noo, scratch....a media loser.....wait, that doesn't sound quite insulting enough....... OK, ahem. In real life, I'm an idiot box expert with a penchant for the creative. In short, I'm a loser with no focus or direction in life. I just go where the creative flow takes me. Mostly it takes me to clogged up drains and stinky oceans but it's going.......going.....somewhere. And this blog is an expression of that mindblowing roadblock. Creative frustration is a great motivator and here is a result of that.

Posted on June 4, 2011, in Poems & Musings, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I really love that reaction video to Alexandra Wallace! “I still don’t know what that means…” LOL

    Generally I don’t have a gripe against the PRCs. There are definitely quite a few who are more irritating and annoying and get on my nerves, but I’ve also met many who are good people, so I have always figured that the annoying ones are people whom I would find annoying anyway no matter where they are or what they are. (Plus my dad is from China although he’s been here over 23 years now and is a Singaporean.)

    The thing I find strange about the effort to import so many PRCs – and there are reports of Singaporean officials going to China and offering all sorts of scholarships and incentives and everything to get them here – is that while it is replenishing the Chinese population in Singapore, and keeping the percentage at a certain level, it’s working on the utterly false assumption that PRCs = Chinese Singaporeans. (That is, if they even care about this.)

    But the thing is, Chinese Singaporeans don’t even identify with PRCs. It’s like taking a French guy and an American and saying, “You both are white, right? You’re totally the same.” WRONG.

    I actually identify more with my Singaporean Indian or Malay friends than with a PRC. I don’t necessarily think it is the PRC’s fault – they will behave as they have been brought up to behave and how they are used to – but this is something that the government should have thought about.

    And having domestic workers go through that English test while PRCs don’t have to is just unfair.

    • thejellyfarm

      Hi Kirsten,
      LOL! yea, that video is a hoot.

      I didn’t want to gripe about PRCs either but after 5 years of seeing and hearing horror stories from friends, I decided to take a step back and write out what all the observations are.

      And the fact that poor Sulastri went to extremes to seek a way out of her impending doom, I believe something has to be done to bring to light the unfairness of the foreign talent situation.

      It’s weird how this new generation of politicians are making policies. They are acting like we are the more expensive version of China but yet can’t raise our prices high enough to compete with the rest of Asia who are cheaper economic alternatives.

      Not right la…:D

  2. Hmm.. frankly.. I don’t have an issue with PRCs cause they have been here quite a long time and seem to have been picking up some better manners along the way.

    In my opinion, I do get better service from PRC chinese in shops than from local chinese. They seem more polite & ready to serve. But my mum who works in retail says they don’t really do things properly. Anyway, this is not a comparision between SG chinese & PRC..

    But I do agree with you they don’t seem to make any effort to try to speak English most of the time.

    Also different perspective- regarding getting shoved around while alighting trains, I have identified the shoving culprits from my train trips to/fro work from order of offence:

    1) Singaporean Chinese Women
    – ugly well-dressed office ladies & cranky ‘need hormone replacement’ middle-aged aunties with 3 plastic bags
    2)Foreign Indian Men
    – namely office IT or biz types with no sense of personal space or smell
    3) Foreign Filipino Men & Women
    – kancheong executive or giggling maid types
    4) Singaporean Chinese Senior Citizens
    – whack u with their walking stick types

    The PRCs are not really on my list of shovers. But talking loudly.. hell yeah…

    • thejellyfarm

      Hi Shiling,
      You’re right.

      PRCs have better customer service standards, like most foreigners.

      What I do have a problem is the way even within the FT group, there are odd biased policies that favour PRCs entering this country easily whilst others have to pass tests, go through med check-ups or whatever else they need to do to get a residency here.

      That kinda leads the PRCs to take Singapore for granted – kinda like they have the right to behave like it’s China or something and some of the close encounter behaviours I had up there on me blog kinda reflects that inner arrogance.

      Know what I mean? It all weirds me out. CheerZ!

  3. Have you ever thought about voicing your concerns when you see a situation. As a foreignor and guest, I try to avoid trouble at any costs here. I respect everyone regardless of their obvious class status and try and be polite. However, two things really bother me. I don’t like when I’m standing in line like everyone else, and someone cuts. I also don’t like being pushed aside. When these things happen, I voice my opposition to it. I don’t act like an asshole, but I do in such a way that shows I’m not going to let someone walk over me. I understand that one should respect his elders, but that doesn’t give elders the right to do whatever they please. If you’re an old man or woman and cut in front of me, well then you’ve been alive long enough to know what you did was wrong. I’m going to tell you how wrong you were and then tell you I expect you to return to your place in line. This has happened a few times, and each time it has either been greeted with an apology or they walked away pissed off. Either way, I was happy. Maybe I’m being petty, but being assertive is more personally rewarding than posting pictures on Stomp or just complaining about people later.

    After reading the above, I think I sound a little pretentious…it’s not how I intended it. All that aside, you know what really pisses me off? People who wait in a taxi Q while staying on hold with the taxi company to book a taxi. Inconsiderate pricks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: