Sunday, June 26, 2005

So what's an "ang moh?"

Every now and then, I get questions from my sisters and their daughters about what Singapore (SG) is like. One particularly cute question, from one of my neices, was "What is the official language of Singapore?" They had looked up the "answer" on Google, and came up with "Singlish." Of course, this is only our patois, lah! The official languages are actually English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil (a language from southern India). Ang Moh ("ahng moe", with a soft a) is Hokkien (a Chinese dialect) for "Caucasian." It literally translates into "red hair," which of course I don't have. Anyway, my blog's title then means "Caucasian in Singapore," and we all know how very few of us there are here. :)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Thanks to BWG!

I recently came across the quasi-blog, BWG - Adventures of a Big White Guy living in Hong Kong, Randall van der Woning's account of his life in Hong Kong. What had impressed me the most about Randall's work is that he seems not to have lost his spirit of wonder after having lived in Hong Kong for such a long time (since 1998). The cultural distance between North America and East Asia is rather large, and after reviewing some of his photos and writings, I had realized that Singapore, for me, had become taken-for-granted. Perhaps this is because Singaporeans are really trying to be British, but I seem to have lost this sense of wonder about living in a foreign culture. Certainly I had that sense while I lived in Korea a few years ago, but for Singapore, the thrill is gone...or so it seemed a few days ago.

And so, insha'allah, I'm going to try to revive that sense of wonder in this blog by trying to show through pictures and words what my life as an American expatriate in Singapore is like and to inject some "foreignness" into a now-familiar country.

I hope you'll join me for the ride.