There’s nothing like food to build bridges – crooked Johor bridge or otherwise.
Since arriving in Boston, I have built up a steady network of Asian friends – mainly Singaporeans with a dash of Malaysians and Asian Americans – through Singaporean forums, craig’s list, Yelp, facebook etc.
Until recently, most of the people in the group were Singaporeans since the group was started by 4 Singaporeans. Since then, it has grown to include many new non-Singaporean members, usually Malaysians friends who got to know us and started coming to outings.
Today was another one of these food centric outings – dim sum at Chinatown. And horrors of horror, it was the first time Malaysians outnumbered Singaporeans!
So in an afternoon, we had an afternoon’s worth of Malaysian hot topics – Penang’s red hot real estate, lagging education systems, disappointing state of Malaysian technologi. And things became interesting (well, for me at least) when we talked about the recent demonstrations by Indian in Malaysia that turned violent.
As the majority race in Singapore, Chinese Singaporeans might never know how it feels to be a minority unless they work/live overseas for a period of time.
To hear about experiences of “being a foreigner in your own country” from these Malaysians is kinda sad. Sure it’s tough being treated as an “alien” here in United States but hey, I can always go back to Singapore and feel all smug and protected.
But for them, home might be something more emotional than physical since most of these Boston Malaysians cannot even fathom the idea of going back to Malaysia to work & live.
I probably wouldn’t either if I had to go back to a social hierarchy where I was deemed less of a citizen because of the colour of my skin.
But as we devored those plates of dim sum, it was all good as us Asians came together to vent, whine and commiserate.
There are no wounds a steaming basket of shrimp dumplings cannot sooth.