Teh Ping Siew Dai

PL & I were are Prata Wala at Bishan on Christmas morning, having the traditional Christmas Breakfast of Prata and Murtabak.

My Kopi-O was too sweet, the chicken murtabak was too salty, yet at the same time managing to taste bland, the curry gravy was heavy on one of the spices – I think it may be turmeric, but PL liked it, and the only saving grace was the garlic prata.

We may have to change the tradition next year.

Then this exchange between a customer and the staff took place.

Customer: “Auntie, Teh Ping Siew Dai!”
Then realising “Auntie” is Indian, and may not understand Chinese dialect, amends, “errr… Teh Ping less sugar.”
When Auntie continues to look at him quizzically, realises that he’s at Prata Wala (not some kopi tiam) and makes another amendment: “Ice Tea less sugar. Sorry Auntie!”

It was less of an exchange, and more of a one-sided, verbal-non-verbal dialogue. But it made me smile. Part of the reason was the ending with a “sorry Auntie”.

I was going to over-analyse why this was sweet and funny, and about the nature of race relations and interaction in Singapore, but I think I will end up with a mess, and ruin this little vignette of Singapore life.

I just want to say it made me smile on Christmas morning. And the thought in my head was, “this is part of what makes Singapore home. The language, the people, and the way we interact and communicate and accommodate.”

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