Sunday, June 13

The Agony and the Parody

In April I went on a two-week package tour of Northern India (Uttaranchal) with sixteen Singaporeans. Not my first experience with India. Not my first experience with package tours. Not even my first experience with package tours in India.

Nor was it my first time with Singaporeans; long ago I lived in Singapore for a few years as an exchange student and itinerant computer programmer. OK. So I have no one to blame but myself.

The Singaporean self-image is greedy and cheap, summed up by their word for themselves: "kia su" — afraid to lose. The April tour was one of the worst experiences of my life, but it was inspiring.

The following song, which I wrote, which was written by me, that I wrote, by myself as it were, being the one who wrote it you see, [that clear enough, Eric?] contains Singaporean patois and is sung to the tune of The Bangle's Walk Like an Egyptian.

All the statues in Tiger Balm Park
They look real weird can't you see
You stay there your side (oh ai yo)
How come you are so kay po chee

All the towkay boys at the stores
They want to know: are you gonna buy
Why no discount (oh ai yo)
They kick you out but you don't know why

Private cops at the tourist shops go
Ai yo ai yo, ai yo ai yo
Tour like Singaporeans

At the buffet they go first
Then they go back, take some more
They're scared to lose (oh ai yo)
You get in front then they get sore

Get on the bus, chope the best seats
Stay out of the back of the van
Keep it all for me (oh ai yo)
We're touring like Singaporeans

All the kids milling in the malls go
Ai yo ai yo, ai yo ai yo
Tour like Singaporeans


Best one is under the stack
Get your share, go on attack
Stuff's much too kwee (oh ai yo)
So try to get your money back

If you wanna find all the cabs
They're eating laksa in the stalls
They so kiasu (oh ai yo)
Can or not give more they will call

All the memsahibs with their men
They never heard about ASEAN
And the nonyas know (oh ai yo)
They tour around like Singaporeans

All the cabs eating chili crab cry
Ai yo ai yo, ai yo ai yo
Tour like Singaporeans
Tour like Singaporeans

Uttaranchal wasn't any picnic either. Note to Indians: stop burning everything!

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