Thursday, October 11, 2007

Loosing our Roots in Thailand

Roots…. What roots? The only thing that resembles roots on my body are the stray curly hairs that grows out under my balls. Maybe, if I meditate hard enough under the Bodhi tree, by balls will start absorbing nutrients from the surrounding soil. That will impress the Yoga masters for sure.

Yesterday I met some suppliers form China and Hong Kong. And when I tried to speak in Mandarin, it came out a jumble of Thai instead. I can’t even say the word “stairs” or “island” in mandarin at some point of time. Phrasing the Chinese words in my mind seems so hard. I realized it is even difficult to speak Hokkien now. Does one loose ones roots when away for long periods? Do we forget who we are? I look into the mirror now. I still see me. But inside my head, everything seemed cross wired severely.

I guess if you were to plant yourself alone in a different environment, your mind, behavior, living life styles, they way you speak and etc changes. You just merge as you mingle, but the results are just a bad mixture. However, there are some of us who are re-located, who tend to still flock together most of the time. And these are some who retain their roots unaffected. But they can’t merge. Where are our characters headed, we re-located people? We are yellow people, who just look like any other yellow people you can find in Thailand. The Caucasians however, will always remain different just by looking different themselves. Is the Singapore Singlishness to be proud of and kept alive out here? We used to speak loud and proud in kopitiams, but that is a style unacceptable by Thais. We simply speak too loud and too proud. Now I speak gentle as Thais.

I miss… speaking like a Singaporean. The jokes we can crack, the famous Hokkien versus related to every mother on the globe, I just miss talking like I used to talk with friends. Many sentences of humor, curses, slang or phrases simply cannot be translated into Thai. They can’t comprehend when we do a word for word translation. It is sometimes just soothing to be sitting at the hotel lobby, listening to the next table of Singaporeans talking cock and me laughing till tears within.

Ask again.. what is Singlishness but an interesting mixture of Malay, Indian, Mandrian, Dialects and English all in a rojak bowl. So adding Thai into that already over-ingredient bowl results in still an interesting mixture we discover with each minute here. It is us still here, just with more to add in the blend and looked by the Thais as hell of a weird walking language machine.

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