People are People


The usual lunchtime buzz at Tiong Bahru Market was broken by sounds of plastic bowls hitting the floor loudly.

All eyes turned toward the source and we all saw a lady in pink berating the "Ban Mian" auntie.

I could not make out what the argument was about as the lady in pink was speaking Cantonese but appears to be in a very condescending manner.

The "Ban Mian" auntie did not take it lying down and she also got into a fierce shouting match with the Pink Lady.

I was a bit surprised as the "Ban Mian" auntie had always been very polite and cheerful and I do visit her stall quite often.

She is one of those rare One (wo)Man Stall who opens early in the morning and closed only at about 9pm for 6 days a week.

I'm impressed with her diligence and her "Ban Mian" is also nice enough to make me a consistent repeat customer.

Initially, I was not sure what had happened today but since my wife was queuing up for her food just 2 stalls away (And she understands Cantonese), she could hear what the argument was all about.

It was some miscommunication between the Lady in Pink and "Ban Mian" auntie.

Apparently Pink Lady ordered some dumplings thinking that it only cost $2.50 a bowl.

Perhaps "Ban Mian" auntie misheard the order and upsized the order and charged Pink Lady $4 which effectively "upsized" Pink Lady's temper immediately.

Such disputes could easily be resolved by replacing the order or accepting the upsized order.

But instead of trying to resolve it, Pink Lady turned provocative and uttered something disgusting.

"You China People are very good at cheating people, Why don't you go back to China!".

I guess when crass people utter detestable remarks or make brain-less statements, you expect a reaction right?

Yes, the response was flying bowls! (It was probably done in a fit of anger)

Those bowls elicited more crazy remarks from Pink Lady who seems to be stuck in a verbal frenzy mode.

Ban Mian Auntie did the right thing after she cools down and ignored the Pink Lady.

She went about clearing up the mess and continue with her routine.

About 4 customers in the queue walked away...I'm not sure in disgust or in fright.

Maybe both because the pink lady chose to sit at the table right infront of the stall and continue to provoke the poor woman.

Is she trying to win the argument or was she trying to make Ban Mian Auntie come out with a chopper

Whatever she was trying to do, it reflected very badly on herself and she doesn't seems to know it.

I guess this Depeche Mode song, People are People, best sums up the way how some of us who treat another fellow human being:



People are people
So why should it be
You and I should get
Along so awfully

People are people
So why should it be
You and I should get
Along so awfully

So we're different colours
And we're different creeds
And different people have different needs
It's obvious you hate me
Though I've done nothing wrong
I've never ever met you so what could I have done

I can't understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

People are people...

Help me understand
Help me understand
Now you're punching

And you're kicking
And you're shouting at me
I'm relying on your common decency
So far it hasn't surfaced
But I'm sure it exists
It just takes a while to travel
From your head to your fists

I can't understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

Our forefathers once risked their life and limbs to eke out a better life in this far away land and they may have been bullied by the colonial masters, gangsters or people who speaks a different dialect.

Why then are some of the offspring of these earlier immigrants behaving in a manner which our forefathers would not have condone.

I guess "prosperity" has made some of us think that we are more superior than others.

This may indeed be a sad effect of "progress".

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