Poor Hosts

Singaporeans need to up the standards of their hospitality. The last few times I was invited to homes of Singaporean friends for meals, the experiences were horrid.

Dinner one recent Saturday evening was a typical example. Cold food lying there on the table for hours plus others in the family had probably eaten from those dishes earlier as some meat from a particular dish have been mostly carved out and picked clean, leaving bones behind. We arrived at the appointed time and were made to wait at least an hour at the dining table for no good reason and with all those dishes of cold food (spoiling away?) in front of us. When we finally got to eat, no attempt made to ask if a second helping of rice – which was hard and cold by the way – was required. Nothing offered after dinner – no coffee or tea, not to mention desserts. I wasn’t expecting Royal Doulton or Chateau Margaux or silver cutlery and crystal glasses. But please at least do a decent job! (What happened to good manners and common decency? Treated someone to a meal not too long ago, she ate heartily and said she enjoyed the food, and then when it was all over, commented that her mother could cook way much better! What the fuck! Another story for another time.)

Anyway, Singaporeans should just entertain people at restaurants if they really want to play hosts or seriously take a leaf out of how westerners treat their guests. Westerners possess touches of class and finesse that come from upbringing and common sense as well as an innate sense of graciousness and aesthetics. (Long story short: they are more civilized, and that’s the hard truth.) Actually, we don’t even need to look at how our western friends do it. For me, all I had to do was to compare with how my mum treated guests. Mum would spend days planning the event, even to the extent of cooking a round of food she intended to serve just to make sure her recipes were still good. She was also extremely fussy about cutlery, matching tableware, even the patterns of placemats and the design of the tablecloth. Plus, there would always be flowers on the table, or candles, or what have you. Then she would feed you till you are full and then feed you again till you cannot walk and are suffering from food coma and then mum would pack food for you to take home.

I have long ago vowed never to accept another meal invitation from Singaporean friends. I am irked by the behavior of  bad hosts. To me it’s frustrating to end up with a shitty meal. I don’t need caviar and truffles; even if it’s a bowl of instant noodle, if I don’t feel satiated and satisfied, I get upset. Life is too short for lousy meals. Those few invitations I forced myself to accept I did so grudgingly or because I felt obligated or I didn’t want those inviting me to lose face. I should have the balls to say no to all Singaporean friends who invite me for meals in their homes from now on. Perhaps Singaporeans themselves have been lousy, unappreciative guests to deserve such treatment? Far too many of us show up as people’s guests empty-handed and not even bothering to pretend to offer to help wash up after the meal.

Another bad habit of Singaporeans: you invite someone for a meal, and he shows up with his friends in tow. It has happened to many of us and it has happened to me several times. Once I invited a few friends for a meal on my birthday, one retard came along with two friends – people whom I do not know – then the retard himself said he won’t be joining us at the meal, but left his two friends behind to join my party.

Seriously, such Neanderthal behavior has to stop overall. How often do you see able-bodied young people on the train or on buses, with headphones stuck to their ears, eyes closed, pretending to sleep so they don’t have to give up their seats to the elderly, the pregnant or the toddlers? Some even wear a blindfold that says “Do not disturb.”

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