A Doc's Life is a underground Medical Blog about some poor Singapore doctors. They are sibei sian and very buay song. Best practices not observed!
(Warning: Grammar is non existent in this blog. Those obsessively compulsive about good English please go no further and book an appointment to see your psychiatrist in Singapore.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

龍門客棧 Kopi Tiam

When I woke up yesterday morning, I had this feeling that it was going to be a perfect day. Actually I didn't exactly wake up, I was lying in my bed having been up the whole night. My newborn baby gave me a hard time the night before. (Yes! I am the married Dr Og! Hence also the poorer one.....)Since my mother was finally awake, we dumped handed the little one over to her and headed for my favourite kopi tiam for my regular cup of kopi peng.

It was only 7am and most lazy Singaporeans were still sound asleep on this Deepavali morning. The kopi tiam was empty. We took the most convenient seats right in front of the mee pok store. It was the only store opened other than the drink store. Needless to say, we ordered mee pok.

We were carrying on with our mundane (and hence perfect) routine when a man appeared. He was a 50s/Ch/M, tanned and in polo-tees and shorts. Without saying a word, he sat down on our table, next to me, and shouted for a bowl of mee kia tah. I looked around, the rest of the coffeeshop was empty. And he must sit at our table. Asshole!

Before our mee pok was ready, an aunty 40s/Ch/F, came into the coffeeshop with presumably her son, a 15/Ch/M. The aunty in pajamas spoke in English and asked her son to sit at the table in front of the mee pok store while she go order drinks. The duo subsequently sat down, without asking, next to the tanned man who was next to me and my wife.

The table was getting crowded and the atmosphere getting tensed. No one was talking. My wife nudged me to indicate that she wanted to move to another table. I nudged her back. No one was going to spoil my perfect morning! I was staying PUT.

Then the man took out a box from him shorts. He slammed it on the table. It was a packet of cigarettes with a picture of a mouth with rotten teeth uncannily similar to his. I wondered if he was the model for the picture, hmmmm..... He picked up the packet of cigarettes, tossed it slightly and a stick stuck out of the box, beckoning. In one swift motion, he picked the cigarette out of the box with his mouth and lighted it with one of those green coloured 50 cents lighter.

The man has drawn first blood.

I stared at the man with contempt.

He turned away to exhale but the fan blew the smoke back towards the table into my face.

I fanned the smoke away in disgust.

The aunty stared at the man as well and the boy was on cue and let out a few coughs in protest.

The man stared back at me. Our eyes met. (Again this one not my patient. hahaha)

My wife was getting worried. Staring incidents do become fatal. After a while of eye sparing (and staring). The man put out his cigarette. My staring worked!(but my wife insisted later it was because the cigarette finished liao.... Women!) The man gobbled down his mee kia and kopi. He left but not before staring at me one last time. This time I pretended to look away because I realized he was much bigger size than me when he stood up. (Not say I scared lah, but my wife with me can?)

After he left, the mother and child became quite chatty. The mother was reminding his son not to take any cold drinks as he was coughing just now. Then she was teaching her son how to eat properly. "Must chew your food!" "Stop playing with your food." And how he must go home and study after breakfast as 'O' Levels was round the corner.

And in the ultimate show of motherly love, she took out a dental floss and passed it to her son. The boy looked embarrassed and let out a little whine. "What? you want me to do it for you isit?" The mother threatened and started twisting her own dental floss around her two index fingers.

Lo and behold, mother and child were showing off their perfect dentition in front of us. The incisors, the premolars, the molars and even the wisdom too.... eh actually both also din have wisdom teeth...... I don't know what the dentist say to their patients, but whatever they're saying is very effective! (Or dental fees these days are really so ex?)

Seriously, I lost my appetite. Luckily, I already finished my bowl of mee pok.

So much for my perfect morning......


My point? Singaporeans are basically a rude bunch. Ok, we are not as bad as some other Asian countries..... but we are nowhere near being polite and gracious. Which brings me to my real point. The service industry sucks becoz the people providing the lousy services are also the same rude customers recieving it. It amuses me to see our media and press trying so hard to segregate the two.


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  2. Dr Oz bloke12:30 PM

    Sigh in short its our culture, our society and our values that is the problem.

    I don't think you can change these things overnight.

    I'll tell you a secret. Sometimes the reason why these ah peks behave so rude and crude is because they feel the kopitiam is their territory and yuppies like us are not FIT to be there. We should go to foodcourts that kind of thing.

    And then at the foodcourts we meet the other animals.

    After a while you realise you dun belong in this zoo. So what do you do?

  3. just b4 i step out..
    i wanna ask..

    u happen to sit on the "yellow" table izzit?

    coz only some table in the kopidiam allow to smoke right?

    or ur wife pretty? everyone wanna get a closer look.. haha

  4. ahh...shit..u're married!!

  5. future aussie med student3:02 PM

    hmm agree with dr oz bloke...i doubt these kinda things can be changed overnight.

    working here showed me the worst side of the animals in M.R. we try to be nice and polite, yet they are still so nasty. there's a limit to my patience also wat! i guess both sides have a part to play if we want an improvement in the service industry.

  6. hey, lokun! u din mentioned those younger ah pek who expose their tummy and scratch wor!


    locals need another 100yrs to evolve into a better species lah....

  7. dear xm,

    of course my wife is pretty....esp when she is watching me type this!

  8. Anonymous4:00 PM

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  10. this reminds me of an fugly incident 2 years ago.

    i went to a kopi tiam with my dad for dinner. the kopi tiam's very crowded. we had to share tables. we approached a table where there was only 1 guy, in his 40s i think, sitting.

    i hesitated before sitting down, coz checking cleanliness of the seat. dad was standing beside me, looking at the stall signs, thinking of what to eat.

    the guy suddenly chastised my dad in dialect (i think he was trying to say "what, the table and seats too dirty for you is it? so atas, then don't bring your gf here lah!"). wah lau, i look like a hooker/mistress is it? i was in ordinary office attire! with no make-up! maybe i should be a nurse, and go kopi tiam in nurse uniform to eat.

    my dad clarified that i'm his daughter. and the asshole, bastardly jerk said something like "i don't buy that. i know better. you so old already still go and get young gf. shame on you."

    dad translated for me, i was so insulted for my dad, i said f-off to the guy. the guy insulted back, saying "don't think you all speak english, i dun understand. f-you back ah!"

    this being a public place, i din wanna kick up a fuss. almost wanna to throw something at his face (like my bowl of steaming hot soup), but din. not worth it.

    you tell me, if this happened to your dad, would your blood not boil? some singaporeans are so stupid.

  11. About the guy who sat beside you and your wife, he belongs to the species that lingers around at the end of the escalators, block the alighting passengers at the doors and hang their wet clothes out to dry.

    They are simply not well brought up. Period.

    And I guess the mother grew up in a much different era than us.. so that explains it lah. Cos' you said the son looked embarrassed right. I will fall off my chair if you've said the boy wanted to floss so much.

  12. Dr Oz bloke4:17 PM

    Dear the poor traveller,

    wow sounded bad huh? Why think of it so negatively?

    Maybe the old guy was just jealous of your dad meaning you are one jude babe!

    When you wrestle in the mud with a pig, you can't tell who is who after a while.

  13. dr oz bloke,

    precisely, i din wanna get my hands muddy (or bloodied).

    not jude babe lah. i not pig. not stupid. not chio. sorry. hehehe...

  14. hmmmm, thanks all for analysing so much into my breakfast. will mebbbe blog about lunch the next time?

  15. Anonymous6:12 PM

    there are also very uncivilised ones in your chat box who use vulgar words previously.

  16. there are sometimes weirdos in this hawker centres, coffee shops etc.

  17. Anonymous6:59 PM

    loctor..isnt this state general?how come suddenly got singapore popping out ah... =P

  18. Anonymous7:49 PM

    mmm seen people with that attitude in 3 countries so far...i guess they just want to point out that they can do whatever the fk they wanna

  19. Anonymous7:51 PM

    kinda funny how doc blog said something about his wife...then in the post right after somedude had the url for a website about cheating spouses

  20. eh....maybe not all rude lah....which neighbourhood u stay in? my 'hood very peaceful, no staring contests.....

    cos all lao ah peks and grannies....eyes got cataract...

  21. ang ku kueh si bei cute

  22. there're always wackos in the chat box ones.

    the normal ones will hide under the MSN sky when they come....

  23. Anonymous12:19 AM

    i totally agree with the last 2nd n 3rd line. but wat can we do? shout or stare back n create a whole lot of commotions.. then wat are we to say others or rude?

  24. Dr's wife1:01 AM

    Unfortunately, some of those people mentioned by Dr Og also make it to overseas...
    one incident ina fairly decent Vietnamese restaurant..Evryone is quite and enjoying their food. In come a CH couple 40's with 2 sons. " Aiyah " why service so slow..got no chilli sauce then we had to listen to a long whine " in Singapore we this ,that blah blah" so loud that everyone HAD to hear it.The kids were whining and picking on the food. Finally, " daddy hor, I go toilet u make sure u look after my 'loo wooton' bag hor .. 1000 dollars u know" dont let people steal.
    I'm sure everyone there wished we were a few miserable tourists less.

  25. Anonymous6:20 AM

    We forget that we too are Singaporeans. And yes, even though these people may be a disgrace, I think they are what makes Singaporeans Singaporeans. Not to say it's an identity I'm particularly proud of but if that's who we are, that's who we are.
    Singaporeans will never be "polite and gracious", its too ingrained in us.

  26. dear anon @ 1219:

    neber said others are rude, just meant that we are all rude. regardless of race language or religon......


  28. IT is not really true that it is just the Singaporeans.

    Once, I was in a taxi queue where this big No Smoking sign is there, on the walls. But this 2 ang mohs would stood way before me (meaning they are even nearer to see the No Smoking sign) was puffing away their cigerattes. It is really annoying, because there is really no way for your to douch the smoke.

    So, I think this is a generic problem among the human species.

  29. Dr Oz bloke11:33 AM

    Just a side thought:

    Having "smoking sections" in a restaurant or cofee shop is like having "peeing sections" in a swimming pool.

  30. why no chat box, no profile, no link section liao?

  31. sorry...come back liao....

  32. Ang-moh-no-big-deal12:27 PM

    Sometimes ang mohs can be very rude too.

    One day, my family took the lift from B2 to level 1 at wheelock place. We were attending to our toddlers in the lift when the lift door opened. Not sure if we were at B1 or level 1, we took, like 3 sec, to confirm the level that we were at. In came this fat ang moh saying :" Yes, yes, go, go now, don't waste my time."

    Can you believe it? Ang moh, so what? He thought he owned the building or he belonged to a superior breed like what many asians think of the ang-mohs to be!

  33. Dr Oz bloke12:37 PM

    Unfortunately what you said about the ang moh is correct.The govt in Singapore calls them foreign talents. Which means they are better than Singaporeans.

    So the ang moh has every right to treat Singaporean locals as inferior beings compared to his talents.

    When ang moh insult me in Singapore I have no choice but to say I'm sorry to him because if not govt will get angry with me aksing me why I chase away crucial foreign talent.

    Don't sabo Singapore leh.

  34. Anonymous2:55 PM

    ang mo no big deal: you should retaliate back to that arrogant ang moh. don't let these ang moh treat us like shit.

    why should we have this inferior complex? when we are in other countries, the foreigners always defend their own rights like they have the rights of being citizens.
    we should behave in the same way and fight for our rights as citizens. come on we are in singapore, if the ang moh wouldn't dare to beat us up men.

  35. Anonymous8:36 PM

    dr blog team very busy recently. no new entries leh?

  36. amg-moh-no-big-deal8:55 AM

    I did. As I do not scold vulgarities, I merely ask him why he was so rude. Don't have the kick, right?

    To Dr oz bloke : Like that my maid is also a foreign talent, right? The 'talent' of foreign maids comes from the ability to tahan some Singaporeans' nonsense. I heard my neighbour's maid sleeps at 1am and starts work at 4.30am. Eats only plain bread for bf and lunch and dinner only at 12 midnight!