Ghosts 0, Crazy Singaporeans, a few

From ‘Singaporeans are tremendously crazy’, 16 June 2011, article by Alicia Wong, Sg yahoo news

“Singaporeans are not just crazy, they are tremendously crazy.” This was the conclusion a German TV variety show, Galileo, after a tongue-in-cheek  examination of several facets of Singaporean life in an episode aired in early May this year.

“Imagine if you had to be checked for fever every time before you entered a shop. Sounds strange, but it is an everyday occurrence in Singapore,” remarks the show’s host, who proceeds to unveil the “oddities” of the island-state to prove that Singaporeans are”really bonkers”

…The reporter then follows the sound of chirping to check out Singaporeans’ fascination with songbirds and their willingness to part with thousands of dollars for a bird and its cage. He also joins the Singapore Paranormal Investigators on a fruitless hunt for ghosts.

“Ghosts: 0, Crazy Singaporeans: a few,” he quipped at the end of the session.

Germans: Brains and Braun

A German and a Singaporean are sitting in bar. The German goes ‘I’ve never seen an Asian man around here before’. The Singaporean replies ‘You Germans are everywhere’. The Germans beams: ‘Yar, you see Germany in your shavers, your cars, even this beer you drink. It’s all German.’ To which the Singaporean replies: ‘Yes, even the bartender in the army uniform with the  moustache.’ The German looks across the bar and is shocked to see Mein Fuhrer himself wiping a beer glass, smiling at him. The Singaporean stands up, puts a tissue pack on his stool and staggers towards the toilet, mumbling ‘You’re dead, friend. Welcome to Hell’.

OK bad joke. Whatever the Germans and their Schadenfraude have against wacky Asians and their birds, it still looked like the host was having loads of fun in the show. I doubt there was any malicious or racist intent in this, and even then we should be proud as Asians to retain our short, bucktoothed, exotic mystique to white people, just as the Germans are content with their stereotype of being boring and totally lacking a sense of humour, which is evident in this little featurette. What bugs me about Galileo’s script is not so much the sweeping generalization of the mental health of Singaporeans, but that they could have picked on weirder stuff, which is surprising as one expects more from a German editorial research team. Seriously, what’s so amusing about being scanned on the forehead? The Galileo producers were out to make a routine infra red thermometer check look like someone boring a hole in your skull with a weaponised laser pointer. The chewing gum mockery is dated as usual, last milked dry by Seth Rogen at a Conan O’ Brien show. And what’s so laughable about paranormal investigators? Have the Germans even heard of Ghostbusters? (It’s called Die Geisterjager, for those wondering). As a nation which discovered homeopathy and believes in the ‘memory of water molecules’, I’m surprised they ‘don’t believe in no ghosts’.

Allow me, a Singaporean, to tell you Germans how bonkers we really are. Do a segment on tissue paper chope-ing in hawker centres, people pretending to sleep on a train in MRT, no kissing signs in Mandarin Gallery, sleazy getai, Dim Sum Dollies, Speak Good English campaigns, people queuing for Hello Kitty, grown men walking around nude, maids carrying backpacks for soldiers, or our obscene national swimming trunks. If our Galileo reporter were game enough and willing to sacrifice for gritty journalism he can even spray paint graffiti on a car or two and experience for himself the uniquely Singaporean experience that is caning. The list is endless. Of course if it were up to me to cast our own revenge version of seriously verrückt Germans, it would probably make for depressing TV, and wouldn’t stay afloat without the addition of a couple of ‘weiner’ jokes here and there. Call us crazy all you want, but don’t insult our craziness with these half-hearted, mediocre jibes when we’re so much capable of more.

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One Response

  1. Uncle GD2S: TQ! Mwak! Thought u would be able to make a riposte that’s sharper than saurkraut! Sg instead of being put out shld do something abt those who make fun of us and put on Youtube since that has the g8est reach!

    As for weiner jokes, isn’t it simply killing that the US congressman who sent those knotty pix of himself to strangers should be so aptly named? Gary Weiner! 🙄

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