Monday 15 October 2007

Of aunties and uncles

From young, we were taught how to show respect to the older generation by addressing them in a proper manner. Even amongst siblings and cousins, we greet the older ones as elder brother (kor kor) or sister (jie jie). It can get quite complicated in our Chinese culture. Because of the different hierachies in an extended family, we use different terms for relatives in the paternal or maternal side.

This tradition is still prevalent amongst the people in Singapore though the kids these days generally address the elders as "Aunty" or "Uncle". In our family, my brothers' kids call me "koo koo" while my kids address my brothers as 'jiu jiu".

It's also widely practised in the public. Typically, when you order food at the food stalls, the stall holder would ask, "What's your order, Miss?"

There are some cheeky vendors would go way out to make your day, like this drink stall vendor who once asked me "What would you like, Mei Nu (pretty lady)?", while clutching his heart. Stiffling a smile, I tried to place my order while looking as dignified as I possibly can.

On some days, you meet the insensitive vendors.... like today... after ordering noodles from this middle-aged vendor, he told his assistant, "Go prepare noodles for the aunty wearing glasses." while pointing in my direction.

In Singapore, being called an "Aunty" by a grown man is bad news. It's an unspoken term for a middle-aged (frumpy) housewife.

Okay, so I am almost there but please cut me some slack! After lunch, I just had to head to the mall and buy myself a whole pile of nice clothes. Shopping is indeed the best therapy for a bruised ego.

11 comments:

SOUL said...

you are so far from a frumpy anything! but i am so glad you got to go shop anyhow!!!

Anonymous said...

oh its that way here too...i am NOT your aunty buddy...! at least not yet! LOL

The Real Mother Hen said...

haha this is so funny :)
move to the states ting, i guarantee people here will still check your ID to make sure you're above 21 to buy alcohol. it's the best therapy on earth! :)

Unknown said...

more shopping?!? good for you!

Anonymous said...

Anyone ever call you oba-san, Jyankee? :-)

Nick Phillips (15/03/1967 - 04/11/2022) said...

Oh, I hate it when kids in the street call me uncle, especially when they're teenagers, arrggghhhh, do I look that old??? LOL!

Anonymous said...

anonymous YES...and I HATE it!!!!

Amel said...

Ah...I know what you mean again, Blur. When I meet some relatives whose relation to our family isn't that clear, we don't even know what term we have to use to call them he he he...so we end up saying "uncle" and "aunt" he he he...

Oh dear...insensitive people are everywhere, eh? But I agree with soul...you are SO FAR from a frumpy old woman...you still look SO fit and young!!! I couldn't even believe it when we first got to know each other and I found out you had sons that big already!!!

Blur Ting said...

He he, thanks everyone for the emotional support. I will consider MH's offer and move to the states! I want to feel underaged :-)

SOUL said...

:)) hi just breezin thru

Anonymous said...

Blur, That guy was just resentful because he knew you were way out of his league.