SG Streetspeaks: Walking with a Surveyor

[Learn more about Streetspeaks in Author’s Note below]
[Some Mandarin]

Where: Choa Chu Kang Interchange
When: Mar 2016, Monday, 1630h, Cloudy

Train/bus interchanges specialize in annoyances. I can never pass them without the bombardment of lurking men and women and boys and girls looking to trap the weak-willed. It makes me teem with quiet rage. At least that’s what I try to portray. >:\

On this day, I sighted a remarkable mass of targetman. I instinctively redirected my eyes at the pockets of air around them. But midway through, a girl walked up to me. I didn’t stop, but she wouldn’t let me go.

M: 我赶时间 (Sorry I’m in a rush.)
F: 真的假的, 你看到我突然走这样快! (Really meh, you see me then suddenly walk faster!)
M: 真的, 我有约剪头发 (Really, I have a haircut appointment!)
F: 你需要走对吗, 我跟你一起走啦! (You need to walk right, then I walk with you lah!)
M: …
F: 你有没有做过 part-time? (Have you done part-time jobs before?)
M: 没有 (no leh)
F: 喔, 那你现在是在读书啊? (Oh, so you are studying now?)
M: 对 (Yup.)
F: 那你读哪里! (Where are you studying at then?)
M: 国大 (National University of Singapore)
F: 国大是 NTU 吗? (Is it the National Technological University?)
F: 喔, okay 好那你现在是要回家吗? (Oh, okay so are you going home now?)
M: 我要去剪头发! (I’m going for a haircut!)
F: Okay 谢谢, 拜拜! (Okay thanks, goodbye!)
M: Bye!

We parted at the end of the bus interchange. I felt enlivened by the encounter, though she clearly didn’t get what she was looking for. She emanated an air of spontaneity; I don’t recall her even holding a clipboard. And I didn’t stop for her; she walked on with me. And so after the haircut (yes it’s real), I actually hoped to see her again, just to prove the point.

I know… you’re thinking it must be a pretty girl. Yes I admit, but surveyors are surveyors. Rmb, there are already many girls in FASS where I study 🙂

She wasn’t there anymore, though her compatriots were. Static and slumped; much to learn. Instead, another guy came up to me. And that’s a story for another day…


More peaceful times at CCK Bus Interchange. [Link]


[Author’s Note: I’ve been eager to leave the armchair – at least sometimes – to explore my home culture more deeply. This is the 1st post in Streetscope, where I share encounters/conversations (Streetspeaks), sights and tastes in Singapore first-hand. It’s meant to complement my various thematic interests. I hope it becomes a mainstay.]

See also: Streetspeaks – Religious Touting

Socio Empath

Hi, my name is Eugene. I am a Sociology graduate from the National University of Singapore. This blog is an invitation: To see our selves as colored by cultures, and to brighten the colors of our society. I seek to help you create freedom in everyday life, with empathy and the sociological imagination.

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