We all judge and people watch but I’ve never really stopped to think how it comes across if you are looking at someone in a specific way. The way that people have been looking at me is one of the main things I have noticed so far about living in Singapore!
I live a long way out of town, and like everyone else in this country I’ve been using the MRT to go everywhere, but there aren’t many other westerners that live in the part of the country. If you are on the MRT in town there is no issue, you are just a tourist in a popular part of the city wearing touristy clothes (because who wears jeans in this heat?!?). However the second you wonder too far from the centre and end up completely surrounded by locals you start getting looks as if you must be lost. Although it’s very lovely for people to ask if you need help why is it such a shock that I want to see the suburbs and see the real hustle bustle of the country?
The looks and stares get worse as you ride the MRT out of town back home, I can feel people glancing at me wondering when I’m going to get off. The looks aren’t hostile, if anything I think people are worried I’ve got confused along the way!! But I do find it unnerving and feel I have to conduct myself with more certainty so that I can blend in more… I know I’m white and look like a sweaty mess but I do know where I’m going I promise!!!
The same confusion comes with ordering food in the hawker markets. I know that
westerners don’t have a great reputation for their tolerance of spice but I love spicy food so throw the chillies on top, go mad! On Sunday evening we wondered out to Rockor Road where there has been Food Festival from 15th – 31st of July and found ourselves to be pretty much the only European looking people around (my flat so far as me-UK, a girl from Poland, and two guys from Denmark and Holland). We sat down an
d then split up to get our favoured dishes for dinner, I went up to grab some noddle soup
with fried fish. It was good but a little
bit random that you’d put crispy fried fish into liquid so it becomes soggy? But when I ask for chillies on my noodle soup the guy looked at me curiously and reiterated “Chillies?” back to me. He took a spoonful but shook some off before adding it to my soup, the chillies were super tasty but maybe a few more wouldn’t hurt.
I’m gradually getting used to getting odd looks. I guess as a young white girl wondering around alone is a little odd for this far West in the country! Eventually I’ll stop checking my skirt is tucked in or if I have food on my face when I get looked at in such a curious way… it’s all part of the experience I guess!
<- Newton hawker market on a lovely sunny Sunday