What is this country coming to.. when you’re walking down the safe streets in Singapore and someone asks you if you are a Singaporean! There’s nothing technically wrong with that question but it’s been happening too many times to me. There are too many expats in Singapore that as an Indian, I’m easily mistaken for one, given the fact that I’m of a north-Indian decent. Here are some of the scenarios:
Office Pantry: A group of Indian expats were having their cup of coffee when I was having mine too. One of them told me “hmm.. you seem different.. so where are you from?” The fact that have a typical Singaporean accent with an expat-like face literally confused this dude. I was astonished by his remarks and wondered how I was different when I’m a Singaporean and he is not! He should be the odd one out.
Office meeting room: After a short in-house course, I was out of the room for tea break. One dude heard me chatting with another guy and later asked me “So you’re a Singaporean, is it?” He was half convinced that I was a Singaporean by my accent and fluency. The irony is that he himself was a Malaysian!
Clinic: I brought my wife to a clinic for a brief checkup and the doctor asked me “Is the delivery gonna be in Singapore?” He was referring to my expecting wife. For some reason I couldn’t take this pressure then and blurted out “Yes of course.. I’m a Singaporean!” And the doctor went on with his “Oh.. I see..”
Food Center: I was out in Adam Road food center and got a Murtabak from a Malay stall. After payment, I realised that I was short of a set of cutlery. I went up to the stall to grab a set and the stall owner asked me if I was a Singaporean. When I said yes, he kept saying sorry. I asked him why and he replied “Oh.. I thought you expat..” I went on in my heart “WTF.. I better check if I’d been ripped off..” and left immediately.
Well, there were other instances that involved housing agents, salesmen and more which I can’t remember anymore. I don’t remember this happening some 5-10 years ago. Not that I looked more like a Singaporean back then. I think very soon I will have to wear tags/T-shirts that say “I am a Singaporean” so as to avoid such questions and get reasonable services from fellow citizens.