Strange, funny things in the UK — #2

Due to popular demand, I’m releasing the second part of my UK Funnies list earlier than I’d planned.

Yeah, I know, it’s a bit ironic posting a blog about the UK on Singapore’s National Day. It’s not planned. I’ve just been very busy with my new blog theme and this is the only post I have, written up and ready to publish.

Let’s get on with it, then!


1. Girls wearing next to nothing in winter


I am in awe of British girls (those who love their parties and love looking hot, at least). I always see them outside pubs and clubs, queueing, waiting for friends, or just hanging out.

And they’re always dressed in really sexy numbers – the kind that cause boob slips or ass peeks if the girl so much as sneezes.

Which is fine, as it’s standard party gear. But how they can wear those things outdoors in the middle of freezing sub-zero temperatures beats me senseless with a large cricket bat.

Please, somebody, teach me how to do that!




2. The undecided measurement system


The UK is supposed to be a metric country. They metricated in 1965 and, in 1978, Parliament made it compulsory for relevant industries to adopt the metric system.

Food is labelled in grams, drinks in litres, and rulers measure in centimetres. It’s very official.

So why do road signs still show miles (and cars show mph), and people still order a pint of beer at the bar and then groan about putting on pounds?

Imperial system, go home! I don’t understand you!


What happened to your metric system?


3. Confusion over meals


In Singapore, everyone knows that breakfast is the first meal of the day, lunch is for mid-day and dinner’s at night.

Then we have tea break for the in-between times, and supper before bed-time.

In the UK, the lines are not so clear cut.

Some people do go by what I’m familiar with. But others have their own versions. For example, dinner means lunch, tea means dinner, and supper could mean dinner. It’s all very mind-boggling.


Miss Shey, can we have dinner?


By the way, you can learn more about British meal names here if you’re interested.


4. Can’t find whitening products here


I find it amusing how different cultures place opposing values on the same thing.

For example, in Southeast-Asia, fairness of skin is valued because, in the ancient past, only wealthy people had fair skin since they didn’t have to go out and toil under the hot sun for survival. This value has passed down into our genes so that even today, we generally consider fair-skinned people more attractive.

In Western countries, especially in the UK where the sun is an endangered species, tanned skin is valued because, in the past, only wealthy people could afford to go to exotic holiday locations to enjoy the sun and, as a result, get a healthy tan.

So, in Singapore, people are obsessed with getting fairer. Whitening products dominate beauty shelves. Girls use makeup lighter than their natural skin tone to look fairer (and some end up looking like uncooked dough).

In the UK, people are obsessed with getting tans. The word “whitening” does not exist here. Girls slather fake tan gels and powders all over themselves to look darker (and some end up looking like someone’s smashed a pumpkin in their face).

I find this opposition of values quite funny.

And also lamentable. Because I have to ship my Nivea Whitening Body Lotion from Thailand. (Note: Most whitening products don’t actually make you fairer; it’s just a myth created by the beauty industry. But I use this particular Nivea lotion because it’s the only one in the world that doesn’t make my skin feel greasy or sticky afterwards.)


Whitening vs. tanning


5. Saying “You alright?”

[Suggested by Salie Salleh]


A few months after living with Piers, I started getting annoyed with him because he was always asking me, “You alright?” Like, many times a day.

It seemed very obvious to me that I was all right because I felt and looked alright. We were in the honeymoon period of our relationship so everything was obviously great and brilliant. What could not be alright about me?

Later, I learnt that “You alright?” is the British way of saying, “Hello, how are you?” or even just “Hello.” And when asked it, you’re supposed to answer with, “Yeah, alright?” or along those lines.

But I can’t quite get used to it because “You alright?” means something different to me.

It means, “You look sad/diseased/dead. Are you okay?”

Every time I meet someone and they “you alright” me, my mind reflexively wonders, “What’s wrong with me?” before the thinking part tells me that it’s just a greeting. By which time it’s a bit late to answer back in a polite way because my face has conveyed to my greeter that a catastrophe has struck.

Or the greeter has walked off because he’s gone off to “you alright” someone else.

No wonder I don’t have many friends here.


Meeting and greeting in the UK


We will stop here for today.

I drew lots of multi-panel comics for this one because I couldn’t think of funny single-panel ones. Which means I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of gaming/sleeping time to produce this post, which means you should share it with all your friends tell everyone to read it and write lots of comments! :D

Thank you!

There will be more to come. I’ve got a long list, so come back again!

And Happy National Day to all Singaporeans!


Previous chapter:

Strange, funny things in the UK — #1

The one where I get roasted alive

The powers-that-be must think that I’m not tanned enough.

Actually, tanned is an understatement.

Hot on the heels of this heat-stroke-inducing four-day-shoot for a short film…

Production still for independent short film

…comes this shoot that effectively burnt the entire cast and crew to a delicious crisp.

Production still for Changi Beach Club TV commerical

It was so hot yesterday the top of our heads got melted away. Now, I’m waiting for my brains to grow back. Which means that, today, I’m a blonde. (With the wrong hair colour.)

So you’ll pardon me if I start cracking corny jokes.

A man walks into a bar…


Now, all jokes aside, my mission today is to regale you with beautifully shot photographs taken on the Changi Beach Club boardwalk. We were there to shoot a TV commercial for (yes!) Changi Beach Club.

You must ignore the blurry, dull quality of the photos because the shots were taken with my crap phone camera.

But you must at the same time marvel at the beauty of the shots. Credit goes to my friend, Vamp, who was part of the crew, and who got loaded with the unpleasant task of taking pictures for me with my crap phone camera.

We weren’t even posing for her. She got all these while we were in motion, acting for the video camera.

Unfortunately for you, my curious reader, I didn’t give Vamp the phone while we were shooting the pool scene. So you won’t get to see me in a swimsuit until the commercial airs on TV.

That will give you the incentive to watch TV 24/7 to try and catch a glimpse of my bikini clad self (just so you can point and laugh), won’t it?

But I did take one picture at the pool.

You know this one was taken by me instead of by Stef because it’s a thoughtless shot captured randomly with nary a thought for photographic aesthetry. (I just made that last word up because it sounds kind of right in this circumstance. Don’t try it at home, kids.)

And a self-portrait.

Anyway, we caught the morning to noon sun at the pool. My scenes mostly had me lying on the lounge chair and getting baked alive.

Literally, mind you. You could fry an egg off the heat, I swear.

We then caught the noon to early afternoon sun at the beach. By that time, my brains were so addled that I forgot to take pictures.

After a whole day of being fried at various locations of the club, the sun went down.

That was when the crew decided to fry us with filming lights.

Yes, we were all burnt toast by the time they were finished with us.

But that’s okay because, for the sake of my art (and TV exposure and a fat cheque), I will happily endure the harshest conditions.

It was a great shoot, anyway. The crew was friendly and funny, the club hosts were very welcoming and the food was soooo good.

Nevertheless, I’m going to stay indoors until I grow some new brain cells and a new set of skin.