Ah-Neh vs Ah Tiong

This has been simmering in my mind for some time already….

Two weeks ago, I went to the Goldkist chalet resort at East Coast for Cheak Hong Ian’s 21st birthday party (and it was my first time there since the horrible car-scratch with the white van during Alex’s 21st birthday party).

And on the porches of the dinghy chalet, I had the most interesting conversation in months with my ex-classmates. One of us, Jacqueline, would be going to Shanghai for six months from January for a study-and-intern program. The conversation that followed gave me interesting insights on how Singaporean Chinese view their distant cousins from the Chinese motherland.

It seems to me that PRCs must be the most hated group of people in varsities. Monday morning lessons are “ah-tiong times”, front rows at lecture halls are occupied by “them”, post-lecture consultations with profs are basically requests to translate, profs are biased towards Ah-tiongs when giving out A-pluses…

I voiced that such labels were merely stereotypes, but was swiftly rebutted. They are apparently true observations of what’s really happening.

The stereotyping does venture into the nasty. The girls don’t shave their armpits, the guys are secret pervs…..and the list goes on and on. I think the only positive comment I heard was that the PRCs are genuinely patriotic of their nation; Xinyan recollected how one of them proclaimed to the class that his beloved nation was celebrating its 60th anniversary today (to the very loud cheers), and that they watch the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony for leisure. I’m not even sure if that qualifies as a praise.

I quote “it’s good that they love their country so much, so that they won’t stay here”.

The conversation moved moved on to China itself, as Jacq was going to spend 6 months there. Apparently Facebook is banned, MSN is banned, Google rarely works. The netizens there must be using their own private network or something. Luckily for Jacq, a lifeline existed in the form of a VPN to the NTU network.

(I wonder how many notifications you would get if you took a 6 month break from Facebook. hahahah)

In China, you can’t eat their Char Siew Pau (apparently it is mostly made out of cardboard) nor drink their milk (remember Melamine anybody?) nor eat their pork (swine flu is still alive). The only food safe to eat would be (if you are lucky) bear paw, tiger tail, monkey brain and other exotic dishes found only in China.

And so on and so forth..

I never really thought about Ah-Tiongs until JC days, when the teachers would lavish praise on some bloody Chinaman who could still score for his GP even though he barely spoke a word of English. (I am still quite sore over this. hahaha)

I think the Chinamen are going to take over this country. All ranks of society have been infiltrated, from the elite scholars to the lowest economic strata like toilet cleaners and coffee shop assistants. It seems the top PSLE and O Level students have been PRCs for many years consecutively now. Even our top sportswomen are effectively imports.

Personally, I suspect its all part of Harry’s plan to maintain the racial quota in Singapore. Since local Chinese can’t produce enough, he is importing from China. China probably doesn’t give a damn about losing a million of its scholars or workers, they’ve got a billion people.

At the current rates of reproduction, the Malays will become the biggest racial group. (PAP would lose, Mahatir would be a hero and Lee Kuan Yew would see his empire crumble, but thats another story for another day).

Being a Tamil Muslim, its doesn’t really matter which race calls the shots, I would still be a minority.

What I am really worried about is when these Ah-Tiongs here speak Chinese to me, and expect me to do to the same. And unless you are blind, you wouldn’t expect me to speak Chinese right?

When I go to the Ban-Mian shop, the shop keeper refuses to learn English, even after 5 years. She says “Why should I learn, when everyone can speak Chinese in Singapore?” And her shop is in halal foodcourt, where the majority of customers are Malay.

This arrogance infuriates me greatly.

It is not their lack of language skills, but rather the attitude that makes my blood boil.

I have experienced many many situations where Singaporean speak Chinese around me and leave me to attempt my own translations. But, 99% of the time, they do translate for me in the end. I have grown accustomed to it, and see it as an unavoidable cost. But at least the majority of locals are courteous enough to offer a translation. I truly appreciate their efforts, and I think thats what makes us Singaporean.

I suspect that Chinamen think Singapore belongs to their motherland, like Taiwan. Thats why when Harry spoke his mind at the White House, there were angry comments from Chinese netizens.

China’s meteoric rise has made its citizens proud. From what I observe and infer, they believe that China’s domination of the world is inevitable and Chinese-majority Singapore should be its vassal.

During my trip to Beijing and with my own experiences with PRCs here, I find that the Ah-Tiongs will always see me (or Tamils) as aliens, or just someone from another planet. When we talk, its at arms length. Language is a great barrier to making friends, but I feel that there is a greater sense of “you” and “me”.

When I went to Beijing in 2002, practically on one believed that the six Tamils in my group were from Singapore as well. Both the Beijing University students and even our tour guides would respond with a “really??”. Even now, in school, other PRCs can still have the cheek to ask me “so when did you migrate over from India?”

Bloody bastards.

So is there hope?

Jared Diamond says humans are determined by their environments. I subscribe to this theory, and say that we should take in only babies from China, so that we can indoctrinate them from birth.


14 responses to “Ah-Neh vs Ah Tiong

  1. zomg! damn funny!! but if you only take in babies from china, then the environment will make them singaporeans, and not smart anymore. HAHAHA.

    (psst. i remember huiyu speaking to you in chinese at swenson’s the other day. HAHAHAHA.)

    be happy k. it just means we dont draw the racial line. yay to racial harmony! you can speak tamil to us one day too! (and then translate) 😀

  2. (I didn’t exactly mean it to be a satire, but thanks anyway)…..haha, you and huiyu are fine friends!..proud of you’ll.

    For the racial line part, I feel that most Chinese are indoctrinated from young not to draw the line thanks to all the social engineering (which is good by the way). But for the PRCs, its a reflex action to draw the line..

  3. haha lOving this post my fren.. therez the part abt food in china haha.. best..

    and yea, i agree abt their attitude and they’re unwillingness to intergrate into singaporean society.. the way they still spit and litter is mOst annoying for me.. honestly, in a first world country, at least try to act first world..

  4. just wondering why you can’t learn Chinese for a change? the self-righteousness in this post is just repulsive. and I don’t think there is anything wrong with speaking in their mother tongue in front of you, if you are not their friend. I believe if your a friend to them, they will have the courtesy to speak English to you. I have seen many Chinese people trying their best to speak in English to those who do not understand Chinese, just like you.

  5. which school are you from?
    bet you’re not from hc,vj,nj,tj.
    perhaps you’re from acs,yes?

  6. I am afraid to say a lot of information you presented in this article is not true at all. MSN is not banned in China and you can still get access to facebook easily through VPN. You cannot still remain in your stereotyping of Chinese when u went to China in 2002 which is 10 years from now. If you have a look at the girls in Shanghai, they have so much better sense of fashion than most of the Singaporeans. People are just curious about your race because you don’t look at Singapore Chinese definitely. Being so mad at that shows your own lack of confidence of your Tamil Muslim race.

    • Somehow I came across this thread, didn’t want to comment until I see this arrogant young man’s reply.

      Firstly, to nomadichaps, I like your article. From your words I figure that you are a polite and courteous man. As for your experience in Beijing, I would explain it as a stereotype of thinking in China, which has a long history. For my knowledge, most Chinamen tend to be fond of “white” ppl. I mean, this is not really racism. Even it’s a white man from a whatever-country, with lame job and ungraceful behaviours, Chinaman still like him. I would say this is physiological and it’s not your fault. About PRC speaking Chinese in front of you, If it’s a group discussion, then I consider it a great disrespect, and I would get angry definitely if I were you. But if it’s a shop assistant or foodcourt auntie, please don’t expect too much. These PRC aunties are uneducated people, you can’t expect them to learn a foreign language at the age of 50. At the same time, uneducated people are very easy to grow arrogance. Sometime even I hate to talk to them. This surely is not just a language problem. So, my suggestion to you: simply ignore them. There are PRC out there who are willing to make friends with you. You can find them in time, if you try.

      to Anonymous,
      Yes MSN and facebook is banned. With VPN you are access literally anything, even facebook. But is this something to be proud of? VPU don’t change the way people think and the way government acts. So what’s the use of VPN in your point?

      Secondly, it’s 7 years ago. instead of 10. And nothing about fashion is said in this post. Do you think you really get the points here? Even say, if Shanghai got the most beautiful girl in the world, what difference does it make?

      Last about race, I really did not want to say racism things. But I believe that arrogant country people do not deserve respect.

  7. I am afraid to say a lot of information you presented in this article is not true at all. MSN is not banned in China and you can still get access to facebook easily through VPN. You cannot still remain in your stereotyping of Chinese when u went to China in 2002 which is 10 years from now. If you have a look at the girls in Shanghai, they have so much better sense of fashion than most of the Singaporeans. People are just curious about your race because you don’t look at Singapore Chinese definitely. Being so mad at that shows your own lack of confidence of your Tamil Muslim race.

    • Hi Hi Mr Anonymous

      1) I am not from any of the schools you mentioned.

      2) I do not have a trace of Chinese blood with me, so I do not see why I must learn Mandarin or any of its numerous dialects. The language is simply not my birthright. However, as a minority in Chinese Singapore, I think speaking Mandarin is a practical necessity. Therefore, I am slowly learning it. I have found learning the language and its rich history to be extremely enjoyable and hopefully I will master it in time to come.

      3) Thus I do not see why me not being able to speak Mandarin to the Chinese is considered “repulsive self-righteousness”. Unlike you, I was not lucky enough to have met many Chinese people who try their best to speak English to me. However (as I had mentioned in my post), it is not their lack of language skills, but rather the attitude that makes my blood boil. And I’m not talking about friendship – I’m refering to mostly my experiences in the service sector and working for projects. Most of them time, all I get is very lousy service and poor manners.

      4) I suppose you are right that I cannot be stereotyping China based on my visit one decade ago. However, that remains my most recent memory of that country, until I get the chance to go back there, that will be the basis of my perceptions. I do not know if VPN or Facebook is available now (those were hearsay from my friend) and I am not fashionable enough to comment on how trendy the Shanghai-nese are. I am quite curious to find out if being a Tamil Singaporean will still attract the same stares as before. Rest assured, I will blog about it if given the chance.

      5) I do not know how you concluded that “I had a lack of confidence in my own Tamil Muslim race”. (To clarify, Tamil Muslim is not a race. Rather, Tamil is a race. Muslims belong to the religion of Islam). However, I assure I am most proud of who I am, where I belong and which country I come from.

    • If time is money you’ve made me a wealthier woman.

  8. Forgot to mention…. There is not a single reason why you MUST learn Chinese(unless you got interest). You and PRC are both foreigners. PRC can’t force you to learn Chinese just like you can’t force PRC to learn Tamil….

    Just to remind again to these arrogant PRC uneducated ppl, this is Singaporean’s country, not China’s. Be a polite guest please.

  9. These Mandarin Speaking chinese people are trying to force their mother tongue on their own chinese who speak other dialects such as cantonese, hokkien etc. Not only that they are doing the same thing to other races Malays, Indians and Eurasians.


  11. I am an Ah Tiong. and I find your post to be interesting too! 🙂

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