Greetings from Singapore. I have a particularly strong attachment to this city-state's many forms of signage. While being driven by Pi Wen's relatives yesterday, we passed an electronic road sign that advised, "Be considerate/Signal early."
Thoughtfulness! Paternalism! Whatever you might think of it, it was not something I've ever seen in the US. I need to do an entire post on Singaporean signage, which I'll do next week.
Last week I turned thirty-six. The day before we enjoyed a delectable feast at Oakland's own Commis. On the day of, my staff treated me to yummy cupcakes. On the day after, our anniversary, Pi Wen and I flew to Malaysia. Yesterday we took the bus to Singapore, and will head back to Kuala Lumpur Wednesday.
So it's been busy. Several times on this trip I've been offered a fork and spoon while everyone else just uses chopsticks. I can handle chopsticks, not in the classical style but enough to get by. Offering me the "Western" implements used to annoy me. I'd fume (to myself at first and later to Pi Wen) about being singled out, set apart, as if my whitness weren't different enough.
During this trip all that's chnaged. I see the gesture as what it's intended to be: thoughtful. Courteous. Maybe a bit paternalistic, ok. But just like I appreciate that road sign (which would have elicited eye rolls at certain stages of my youth), I now see the upside of the good ol' fork and spoon treatment too. I'll chalk it up to reaching thirty-six, still far from wise but at least less uptight than I used to be.