Thursday, January 20, 2011

Southeast Asia

Taking a break from the usual busy life at work I had a slow start to the day. Instead of waking up at 6:30 I woke up at 8:00. Instead of driving with the intention of being at office by 8:30 I just took a cab, destination Changi airport followed by Hanoi, Vietnam. The driver was quiet unlike the typical chatty cabbies in Singapore. The efficient service at Changi airport got me through the check-in, immigration, security check and boarding within less than a hour. Soon I was on board a Singapore airline flight heading towards Hanoi. Something that caught my attention made me think about the rich variety of this amazing region. A white (Caucasian) man with his wife and son asked the air stewardess for a cup of water and with the true efficiency of Singapore airlines she was quick to bring it to him. He said "thank you" and asked her how she would say thank you. Her reply was simple, "thank you" and she had a question mark on her face. The tourist may have thought that she was Vietnamese or Chinese and will speak another language as her mother tongue. But the truth is from the looks she is very much Asian. But being a Singaporean she would speak English most of the time.

Ever since I first came to Singapore in 1999 southeast Asia has not ceased to amaze me. The region is characterized by the unique nature of land interlaced with the sea and has resulted in a mix of languages, dialects, cultures and a very colorful and interesting society. The close proximity to both China and India has influenced people to maintain a unique culture even if they are originally from China or India. After spending my best years in this region I have to say that it is without a doubt a very good place to be :)

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