Oh my, aren’t the natives stupid?

Don’t you just love it when white people come to Asia to stay in our gorgeous heritage homes and complain about the locals not being smart enough to stay in these wonderful architectural jewels?

New York Times’ (NYT) “Great Homes and Destinations” section currently features Jill and Andrew Pickering, an expat couple who is staying in colonial bungalows built by the british. While it’s always great to see Singapore mentioned in NYT, the snotty tone of the article and the couple featured in it makes it one seriously grating article.

The article features mainly “Real lives of Singapore expat wives” Jill Pickering talking about how wonderful these bungalows are and how much she loves them but there’s always a following commentary about how the silly locals just don’t want to stay in them. She mentions superstitious cabbies who wouldn’t send them home and how these buildings are unloved by “normal” Singaporeans

“Mrs Pickering: Oh don’t you love it when you go to another country where you are so much richer than the locals can ever dream to be?”

Don’t they realize that their monthly rent of $16,410 USD is more than 5 times the monthly income of average Singaporeans?

Don’t they know that Singapore real estate is one of the most expensive in the world and hence most Singaporeans stay in public housing cos they cannot afford anything else?

I have nothing against expats coming into Singapore and living it up in grand bungalows. Sure, I’m envious but hey, it’s their money, who am I to tell them how to spend their money?

But it’s another thing coming into Singapore and believing you’re better than the locals just because you have the means to afford such housing.

They obviously don’t hang out with Singaporeans much or they will know that Singaporeans don’t stay in such bungalows because:

#1: They are usually located in secluded hilly areas where it’s simply too inconvenient for most Singaporeans who don’t own cars to go in and out (cars are insanely expensive in Singapore).

#2: These homes are usually too big for average Singaporean families who, unlike the Pickering family, simply cannot afford separate buildings for each of their children (The Pickering’s 15-year-old son Harry stays in the stand alone cottage).

#3: Most Singaporean families cannot afford a garderner to take care of a 13,000 square feet home & garden

Her last line is really the kicker of the whole article – Mrs “Oh horrors, these savage natives” Pickering explains that “Singaporeans usually don’t like this type of home. They don’t like the jungle, the dark and the bugs. But at some point, I believe they will realize having nature like this is the ultimate luxury in this world.”

“Mrs Pickering: Don’t you just love our Asian furniture and artwork? These poor natives can’t even appreciate and showcase their own culture so we have to do it for them!”


At some point? You mean when these savage natives evolve into human beings?

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2 responses to “Oh my, aren’t the natives stupid?

  1. Oh… I believe the skewed perspective also comes from the writer of the article, Sonia K-J. Siighhh… if only these little expats are more like the ones I’ve been working with. Alot more down-to-earth and less lahh-dee-dah.

  2. well said.

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