Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gimme back my Singlish speaking waiters and waitresses!

First of all, let me declare that I'm not xenophobic. I work in a MNC with more than half of my colleagues from the rest of the world outside Singapore, and I really have no problem working with India Indians, China Chinese and what not.

However at the same time, that doesn't mean I love to be surrounded by foreigners 24/7. And with the rate that foreigners are coming onboard, we are seeing one foreigner for every two or three Singaporeans now. Which means that I'm still surrounded by foreigners after I get out of my MNC office. I know this shouldn't bother me because gahmen said foreign talents are good for us and I should take it as a good Singaporean. But when these foreign talents start to conquer culinary positions, they start to get on my nerves.

Did you realise that when you order a kimchi soup from a Korean stall in the food court, it is most probably cooked by a China Chinese chef? Did you realise that the local delicacy chili crab that you're offering to your overseas guests might not be cooked by a Singaporean? Did you have problem understanding what the sweet counter gal at a fast food chain is saying, only to realise that she was asking whether you want to "upsize or add any dessert", in English?

When I take a coffee break at the kopitiam, my favourite kopi aunties has been replaced with some young China gals, and my kopi-C siew dai always turn up as kopi-O siew dai, kopi-C without siew dai, or simply kopi. These days I just order Milo to be safe.

When I go to a steakhouse for some good steak, I have to give my order in Mandarin. That didn't really challenge me much because I can always point at the menu when I'm too lazy to do mental translation. The only problem is she has no idea what is "medium rare" and I've got no idea medium rare equals to how many percent cooked. Luckily there is still a local floor manager who can translate my medium rare to whatever percent cooked.

Recently when I had dinner at a Japanese restaurant at Suntec City claiming to sell only authentic home-cooked Japanese food, I had the illusion that I was at Manila. All the waitresses there were Filipinos and believe me, it is not easy to understand a Filipino pronouncing Japanese dish names.

I'm really not xenophobic and I don't care that a foreign worker quarters is located just down the street from where I stay. But seriously, I just want to order my food and eat in peace. I just want my waitress to say "How you want your steak? Medium rare har. You want baked potatoes or fries?".


chillycraps said...

yah, kopi order mixed-ups are getting more and more common with the foreign talents...

Unknown said...

maybe tat's why yakun is participating in speak proper english movement! next time we order "coffee with evaporated milk and less sugar", no confusion! :P

Unknown said...

eh, isn't it a bit much to expect Japanese/Korean waiters and hawkers in Singapore? What I mind is when they don't even bother to put up a good show. I don't care who cooks or serves the food, as long as it is good and authentic, and they understand what they are serving.