From ‘Heartlanders not cultured enough for Holland Village’, 24 March 2011, article in Yahoo! News Singapore
…(Samantha, caller on 91.3 FM’s The Married Men show): “I live in Holland Village, and I just can’t understand why people from the heartlands want to come here. We people are cultured, and you heartlanders are definitely not cultured,” she said.
She defines heartlanders as being “people from Ang Mo Kio, Yishun, Toa Payoh and the nearby Bukit Batok” who “have no manners”, “talk loudly” and wear “cheap clothes from Bugis Street”.
“People who come here are cultured. So if you want to come here, you know, when you’re in Rome, behave like a Roman. When you’re in Holland, behave like us — cultured people. “
Er no, when in Rome, you do as the Romans do, you eat in their coffee houses, you drink their water, but you don’t start talking or acting like a Caesar. And to compare Holland V, with hardly an historical artifact remaining worthy of notice, to an ancient European metropolis can only be the kind of lazy analogy someone who hasn’t the faintest idea about culture would come up with. Holland Village is not even a ‘sleepy’ enclave anymore, now fueled by the cheap buzz of pub crawlers, school kids, expats and horrible parking. There’s no atrium to facilitate intellectual discourse, no eccentric gypsy shops, not even cobblestoned walkways, and the hawker centre is as ‘heartland’-ish as all the others in the country, meaning foreign workers plying their trade, lunchtime workers drinking chin chow, people choping seats with tissue paper, and stinky public toilets with entrance fees 10 cents more expensive than the ones in ‘Ang Mo Kio, Yishun or Bukit Batok’. And they have a shop selling fake Crocs as well as a Sasa too. Real classy, Samantha.
Of course, this could very well be a radio scam or premature April Fool’s joke to boost ratings because the snobbishness comes across as rather far-fetched, and we’re too small and dense a nation to accommodate the likes of elitist snobs like Samantha, who, despite sounding like a rich man’s daughter whose face you can’t resist thwacking with the most heartland weapon you may think of (a tie between a Sinha beer bottle and an auntie’s wet market trolley) is highly unlikely to get away with such a comment without losing some inevitable heartland friends. A good time to revisit old Holland V though, which emerged in the late eighties as a haunt for an extinct species of Singaporeans known, rather unflatteringly, as ‘yuppies’ (Holland Avenue comes alive with a different charm for a mixed crowd, 13 Oct 1989). Who remembers ‘Shakey’s Pizza’?
Holland V even has a long running Mediacorp drama serial filmed about it, and it’s not exactly Singapore’s version of Melrose Place, judging from its lowest denominator melon jokes that even kopitiam uncles would refrain from using to impress their beer ladies (see clip below). Which adds to my suspicion that this ‘Samantha’ jig is really a ploy to get people excited about radio talk shows again, maybe even rev up some much needed solidarity among Singaporeans by creating an irrational fear of social divide. All at the expense of stereotyping heartlanders as country bumpkin folk who speak mangled Singlish, can’t pronounce macchiato when facing a ‘barista’, can’t handle R21 movies in their hometowns, or take sleazy videos of Miss Worlds parading around their malls in bikinis.
Filed under: 1980s, 2011, Dress sense, Local radio DJs, Nightspots | Tagged: bad dress sense, discrimination, dress sense, heartlanders, holland village, stereotyping, Ugly Singaporeans | 3 Comments »