t Double Yellow's Musings: Favorite Pastime of Singaporeans – <i>Compraining</i>
The warped mind of Double Yellow craves for humor everyday. His daily dose comes from The Straits Times, The Sunday Times, Today, Channelnewsasia, etc. He also thinks that because of this preamble, this blog will never get featured in the local media. And of course, please read the Disclaimer before embarking on the journey.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Favorite Pastime of Singaporeans – Compraining

The favorite pastime of Singaporeans used to be shopping. Not anymore. With the economy just picking up and jobs still hard to come by, Singaporeans have stayed away from shopping malls. In between all those retraining programs, they have decided to maximize their existing skills. Their current leisurely pursuit is commonly known as .... compraining!

Singaporeans comprain about everything. Right from accommodating physically challenged to dog poo in their HDB void deck. They comprain about teens who grope each other on public transport and when their kids get myopia.

But here is the best part – they expect the gahmen to do something about all this compraining. The general practice is to go to the nearest coffee shop and comprain to everyone within earshot. But since the internet revolution has caught on here, Singaporeans at best will email the forum page in the local newspaper and comprain about anything they see/hear/smell.

Just a few days ago, one dude wrote to the local paper compraining about allegedly ‘nasty messages’ that he saw some people wear on their T-shirts. One said, “I am surrounded by idiots” and the other displayed the classic “middle finger”. The letter writer took offence to such T-shirts and with a ‘Uniquely Singaporean’ display of civic responsibility decided to write to the newspaper and comprained.

His duty seems finished by just highlighting such an occurrence. Now it’s supposedly up to the gahmen to investigate the incident, run a check on the number of people wearing ‘offensive’ T-shirts, pass legislation and of course, enforce the rules. Singaporeans seriously think the gahmen has no other better work to do.

Rarely do Singaporeans decide to stand up and say,

Now that is something I don’t agree wif. Let me do something about it. Let me get together with other like-minded people and brainstorm on possible ways to resolve the issue (if it is a problem in the first place)”

The classic case of compraining has to do with littering. Whenever Singaporeans see a strewn piece of paper, they will comprain to the management, town council, office admin, whoever. The more clever ones will try to fill their quota by sending in a staff suggestion. But they will rarely pick up the piece of paper and put it in the bin. But Singaporeans of course hold the final trump card against the gahmen. They can just tell the gahmen,

Gahmen! yes you, gahmen! in primary school, you teach me engrrish, mathematis, physik, kemistree but you never teach me civic responsibility. How I supposed to know har? Gahmen, I prove to you that I very creative. I suggest to you hor, to put in place a program in civic responsibility’ for all Singaporeans. Must have certificate one. Enrolling into course must come wif travel and handphone discount vouchers Employers must give us increment after completing course.

Satisfied with their effort, Singaporeans will then go back and think creatively about what else to comprain about.

P.S: yeah, I know it’s ironical that I am compraining about comprainers. Anyone interested in joining my “Zap the Comprainers into Outer Space” society, please email me.


Blogger Beng said...

Hey, be careful with your posts! Someone might comprain that you comprain about the guy who comprained about the t-shirt!

2:24 AM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

hey beng, you are right! hopefully if i buy the guy who comprains about me a T-shirt with a middle finger on it (so that he can walk on Orchard road wif an air of nonchalance), it will appease him :)

6:41 AM  
Blogger mooiness said...

Big Father Complex I call it because everyone is so used to hearing the gahmen say: Why? Because I say so lah! That's why!

Then they turn around and say to gahmen: You never tell me to be civic-minded what, how I know? Tell me tell me tell me!

Just like you said. ;)

11:03 PM  
Blogger The Rational Neurotic said...

Can I join the society? Oh man, sometimes.. well if you don't like, do something about it... but at least they write to the local paper better than whine whine whine whine and expect the gahmen to know that they are whine.

1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeez. I'd better throw that t-shirt of a girl sucking on a banana away.

1:57 AM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

hahaha mooiness, you're right.. its a typical case of "everything I learn, I learn from you" :)

hey rational neurotic, sure you can join the society. Normally have $100 entry fee one but since you are early bird, I give you free membership ... heheh... :) but the problem also is that once they write to paper, they think its the end of their responsibility.

hey anon, wear it and if anyone comprains, ask them to buy you a Nike t-shirt first :)

2:27 AM  
Blogger Darkharf said...

Oh dang... I've got this T-shirt which I wear as a pyjamas and sometimes to the coffee shop with printing that says "Would You Like To Buy A Vowel - GX FXCK YXXRSXLF" ... If the person buy a wrong vowel, then it's not unpleasant already wat... Blab...

3:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

seegapor peepor like to comprain mah. how to ask them to pick up the litter on the froor?

5:11 AM  
Blogger GhOsT said...

My T-shirts

If he ever come up to me and complain about my T-shirts, I will f**k him left, right, center and upside down!

7:49 AM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

hey darkharf, thats a funny T-shirt. mebbe the coffee shop ppl always buy the wrong vowel. give them the real thing, then town council ppl come and knock on ur door oredi :)

hey cheahchuwen, thats exactly the point. all that we do is comprain and comprain. its time we learn to pick up the litter...

hahaha ghost, i dun think the guy will come and comprain abt ur T-shirts. But if someone does, lemme know so that i can come and watch the scene that follows. This kind of thing very the rare in Singapore :)

8:13 AM  
Blogger Little fish said...

I suppose "complaining" isn't so bad when compared to complete apathy. Just totally bewildered by what the guy was complaining about. But shouldn't we be even more surprise that ST actually printed this letter? Maybe it's the intention of the paper to generate interest so that some newbie feature writer can go do some field work on an otherwise valueless topic?

just wondering....

8:50 AM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

hey little fish, yeah compraining is better than apathy but civic responsibility needs to go beyond compraining. In all fairness to our gahmen, i really think they have better things to worry about.

i too was totally taken aback by what the guy was compraining about. almost spilled my coffee on the paper :)

abt our local newspaper printing such letters, hahahahaa! sorry hor, but i dun think i can expect any better for our local broadsheet. you cd be right on the newbie feature thingy :p

4:26 PM  
Blogger OMFG!! said...

wah lau erh, just only a T-shirt and is ART by the way...

12:07 PM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

hahaha i also say.... this kind of ppl must make them retake their PSLE, no? :) just for the heck of it :)

8:44 PM  
Anonymous michelle said...

it's occasions like these that i have to take out my "i see dumb people" shirt and wear it around singapore.

2:37 AM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

hahaha michelle, totally agree!! mebbe i shd start printing "i see dumb people" or "i read dumb letters to newspaper" T-shirts. Can make some $ in the process hor? :)

7:14 PM  

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