When Colin became Canadian

My brother and his family are visiting from Canada.

With him are his two kids, Josh and Nat.

And Colin (my other brother’s #4) was happy to have a boy his age to interact with (by which I mean play with).

But to understand how important this is to Colin, one needs to understand the dynamics of my extended family.

I have 12 nephews and nieces.

The 3 oldest boys are in secondary school, so they have things in common and they tend to interact with each other.

The next group is the 3 or 4 girls aged between 8 and 12. Or maybe 9 and 13 (they grow up so fast!). Their relative similarity in age leads naturally to their own informal “girls club”.

Colin is younger than the youngest girl of this “club”, but the only other kids left for him are the two youngest who are still toddlers or just post-toddlers. So he is in a no man’s land in terms of playmates. Too young, and not a girl for the “Girls Club” and too old for the toddlers.

So along comes Josh who is about 1 year older than Colin.

Josh’s sister is older than him and he mostly have friends who are older than him. So he finds himself in the unique position of being older than Colin, and the two toddlers.

But he loves having someone his age to run around with and jabber about things boys their age find most interesting.

Josh, having been raised in Canada all his life, speaks with a Canadian accent. Or a North American accent tempered by Singaporean accented parents (who may on occasion throw in a Singlish phrase or expression, just to confuse their kids).

And then Colin starts to speak in “ang mo-fied” English when interacting with Josh. Suddenly, his enunciation is practically North American. He is surprisingly good at code-switching, and his accent though clearly not his usual Singapore English, does not come across as fake or put on, or overly exaggerated (like some sales girl in an uptown boutique shop).

I’m quite sure he is not aware that he is code-switching, but bravo.

I think the two boys will miss each other when they have to part.

Or not. Kids live in the present.

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