Of accents

So last night there was this man at dinner. He had three full portions of chicken stew and a frightfully large belly. I spotted him from the very first word: Yum (he pronounced it yahmmmmm). Singaporean! my brain cried, and after a while I decided I would pull a Henry Higgins on him, for fun. Except he got to it first.

You.. you Korean ah?

Oh, no, I’m actually Chinese.

Orh… thought you Korean. Heh… from where, mainland is it?

I’m from Singapore, actually. Aren’t you from Singapore too?

Yah, yah! I am educated from there, then come here.. you come here because of the politics in Singapore, is it?

Well, not exact-

You go school there not? International school?

Oh yes, the whole twelve years. But I went to all local schools.

Which school? International right?

Local, local.. would you like more butter?

He shook his head and returned to the dining hall. I gather that this must either be a great compliment or a great insult. Either my phoney accent has become convincing or I have become unrecognizable to people of my own nationality.

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