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Monday, February 14, 2005

Indulgent Singaporeans

The company held its annual Chinese New Year lunch party this afternoon. There was yu sheng and prawns and curry chicken and curry mutton and vegetables and more. I sat with a group of colleagues whom I work with sometimes and we get along fine. At my table were five women and two men (including me).

And then I found out, though not for the first time, just how shallow Singaporeans can be.

We were tucking into our lunches halfway when they started commenting on the quality of the food. One said something bad about the fried rice, another commented that the breadcrumbed shrimp didn't taste nice, one other said the mutton wasn't "up to standard", and then there were more and more negative comments about the rest of the dishes, including the overly diluted orange drink.

And all I could think of was: "You should be glad that you have food to eat!" I couldn't help thinking about impoverished people who would have labelled us as hedonists for what we think of as regular fare. Especially with the tsunami disaster relatively fresh in our memories and reports of the lack of food and clean water for the survivors.

Or maybe people really care only about themselves and their comfort/satisfaction. When we are confronted with someone in need, maybe we go through a momentary guilt trip and offer what help we can. But with the snap of a finger, we then return to our self-indulgent ways as if nothing happened.

I would be hypocritical if I don't add this last paragraph: I did not say any of the above to my colleagues. I haven't reached the level of familiarity with them where I can be so, err, blunt.

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1 comment:

Tym said...

Yeah, I've been in the same boat with colleagues. Nothing irks me more than when someone who's travelled overseas brings back some snacks or sweets for colleagues, who then bitch behind the person's back about how cheap they were and how what they bought was't very nice to eat or whatever. It's this strange strain of ingratitude and rudeness that seems to run through the core of our society...

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