Quiet day on the news front! No news is good news 😀 , says the positive side of me. The negative side wonders what is going on – are they working on some kind of major cover-up. Or maybe the sombre news already broke early morning, when the fatalities overtook SARS. Albeit this new one supposedly being less lethal. Shrugs, it is really strange that no numbers appear at all today, the last tally was yesterday …..
The scarier part is that … tomorrow … (the rest of) China officially starts work again. If anyone of you have lived or worked in any Chinese cities, you would know why the dread and the fear.
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As for happier things …
The doubleOs are back home from Japan, and they are doubleAs now. Oliver and Oscar are all rosy like little and big Apples from their wintery trip. Sis remarked at how quiet our roads have become. I remarked at how quiet her workplace is going to be when she’s back tomorrow. 😮 I have to transit at her workplace every week, and for me, the quietness is a relief.
So we were on the topic of Chinese-ness again, which is funny, cos it always differs depending on who and when. I remember when I travelled with Dad across western China, when we chatted with Hongkongers and Taiwanese, it was always with a certain amount of camaraderie, guess with respect to all of us being “outsider Chinese” yet not exactly “overseas Chinese”. There is alot of racism / racial issues involved here, so I won’t go too much into it until I am more ready to take this on. Sis was telling me how this time when they were in Japan, there is still that distinguishing “which Chinese” instinct, but with a twist. Everyone’s just examining each other as to where each is from, but that gaze … hahaha. the way she described That Gaze. If I were in her shoes, I will probably end up writing a paper on Orientalism and Occidentalism from an internal viewpoint or something. So, well, if you have not guessed it, everyone’s just judging everyone on which type of Chinese each is – mainland or territories or overseas etc, and probably mentally calculating a safety radius. Haha!
We can normally tell, because the accents are starkly different. Singaporean’s Mandarin is rather crap and not many can converse in full, complete Mandarin sentences. Taiwanese Mandarin are alot more refined, while Hongkongers have a distinct Cantonese accent. Hongkongers sound alot like the Chinese in Canton region (e.g. Shenzhen, Guangzhou, etc), so this is where we still get mistaken and rely more on behaviour and mannerism than just accents. Although, the HKers probably inject many English terms into their conversations too. It is very interesting.
Even in Singapore, we have quite many dialects that the older generation are still conversing in. My dad speaks in Hokkien, while my mom speaks in Teochew. As for my siblings, we can understand both interchangeably, but if we try to speak in those languages, it just ends up a mishmash of sentences because we cannot tell which term is which dialect (I can only tell from whether it came from Mom or Dad).
Anyway, whatever our language, whatever our culture. Lives are lives and our innate humanity is larger than our prejudices. If we aren’t so, we can strive to be so. I am reading about so many prejudices on social media, that I am starting to watch my very own thoughts, my words, and my actions. Maybe in difficult times, it is every man for himself. But I really don’t think we in this country are in those difficult times as yet, so I aim to have a bigger heart and … prioritise compassion and empathy over all the other complaints I have about bad social behaviour elsewhere. Reminder to myself: 能施是福 – being able to give is a blessing.
Oooh, I found a series of clips which has the government message about protecting ourselves from the virus. Comes in the few different dialects I mentioned above! ❤