Saturday, October 9, 2010

Strangers

I discovered a direct bus from our place that goes to Shenton Way. So every morning, at 7:45am, I take the same bus to get to ORQ. The bus goes through BKE, PIE and through Orchard.

One day, a lady asked me about the same bus as she was not sure if it's going to Orchard or not. And from that first conversation, we've been exchanging small talk every now and then whenever we take the same bus. We have somehow became acquaintances who exchange pleasantries as and when we see each other.

Last Friday though that changed. She asked to seat beside me. And instead of reading a book all the way to my destination, I found myself having a conversation with her about anything and everything. And this with a Singaporean. I rarely find a Singaporean who is willing to talk to strangers.

We talked about how in certain places we've been, people actually greet each other even if they are strangers (e.g. Paris, Tokyo, Vienna, etc.). And I compared that to how doing that here would actually gain you strange and suspicious looks.

The conversation even veered into talks about red light districts in Paris and Amsterdam as we seem to have a common travel experience.

My friend is a school teacher who have taught Science, Math, Philosophy and English. But currently, she is focused on teaching English to a few locals and expatriates alike. So of course, our conversation also ended up talking about the English language and Singlish. I talked about how American English is considered wrong by some people I talk to just because they are used to British English. It seems in her class, she actually compare the differences between American and British English.

Anyhow, it is refreshing to talk to someone who actually enjoy conversing with strangers. As I said, it is a rare thing to see a Singaporean who does that as they seem to be so guarded. I guess there is still something new to discover about this place after all.

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