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dimanche, mai 24, 2009

 I rather love my AMK (or, Why I Think I am a Heartlander, or Heartland is Where the Home is)

Rie and I have these terribly funny conversations all the time about how I'm a "pseudo-heartlander", a poser, a wannabe. I, in turn, call her an atas-face, which she takes with a graceful sweep of her $50-or-more-haircut hair (she will refute this vehemently but don't believe her, even if she produces receipts), and basically, well, owns the sort-of insult.

"At least I acknowledge that I am atas, and cannot function outside of AMK Hub, okay," she huffs. "You are the worst: a wannabe heartlander who cannot admit the fact that you are atas. Ashamed of your own class.*" (* well, obviously not in so many words, but the general IDEA behind the sentiment is correct anyways...)

I cannot remember if I've tried defending myself before (I have a sneaky feeling that I have), but after another one of my trips to AMK, I felt that my love for AMK should really count towards my credit!

Here are her arguments which (purportedly) support the idea that I am an atas-face: I stay on landed property, and have never stayed in an HDB flat before - nor an apartment. I've gone to the best schools, and I've travelled far and wide, and I speak English predominantly.

"But, but, but," I argue, "it's not particularly fair to penalise me for my parents' investment savvy-ness, or my mother's willingness to queue up for the best schools, or my wanderlust! Not to mention the fact that my mother speaks NO Mandarin at all, since she was a Malaysian, and studied Bahasa Melayu rather than Mandarin. And my Dad only learnt Chinese till he was Primary 6! The fact that I speak ANY Mandarin at all is a major miracle!"

Seriously speaking though, I think that the notion of a heartlander is one which is limited only by the mind. I prefer a hawker centre over the food court, and a food court over a restaurant, and I'm happy to go bargain-bin diving (as my good friends will attest!) to find the cheapest multi-plug, rather than head to the nearest D.I.Y. Fix-It shop (which, let's face it, is pretty expensive compared to the chapalang shops that exist in the heartland town centres!). I would not think about going to Tanglin, for example, to buy a lamp - it's Ikea (oh come on, this is WAY not atas!) or just some random shop in AMK or Thomson Plaza.

Ah, Thomson Plaza. That's another point of contention between Rie and me. She points to the fact that it used to be Yaohan, the Japanese supermarket, and concludes that it's got a history of atas-sion. Plus, its house supermarket recently upgraded from a regular NTUC Fairprice, to NTUC Gourmet - WOW, that's a sign of crazy atas-people living nearby.

Puh-leeze. That's like saying that Tampines people are now half-Japanese because Uniqlo opened in Tampines Mall.

Granted, the NTUC Gourmet has a wide selection of alternative (organic, wholistic, expensive) food, but its proximity to me has NO bearing on my poor old heartlander heart. AMK is a bit further, but I go there more often and I think I comport myself with great heartlander decorum.

Today, I went and repaired my shoes with the uncle who has no shopfront - just a quasi-legal store at the lift lobby of the Sports Link building. I went to alter two pieces of clothing with an auntie who was sitting outside her store with two pedal-operated sewing machines. I bought a zip. Bubble tea. Bread for my family's breakfast tomorrow. A $1 lock.

All transactions were conducted in a mixture of Mandarin and Hokkien, or in singlish. I joked with the uncle that I didn't need his card - I knew where to find him. I was very happy haggling with the sewing auntie. And I enjoyed (as I always do) walking around in the crowd, drinking my SweetTalk bubble tea, visiting ValuDollar and the many, many chapalang stores that AMK Central has... and it never feels like I'm slumming, and I don't look down on anything there. (Okay, to be very honest, some of the buskers are really quite irritating thanks to their expensive sound systems (ironic much?) , but even then it's more compassion and sympathy I feel rather than stuck up.) At no point did I feel like I really needed a nice, clean Gucci store, or a foot massage by an overenthusiastic Cartier salesperson.

The point? Atas-sibility and heartlander-syndrome is really about how at home you feel in your chosen environment. It's not just that I feel like a fish out of water on Orchard Road (or Raffles Place area), it's not just that I'm prudent with money, and it's not just that I happen to have a certain zip code. It's all about the mind - for where the heart is, the mind is also.

Libellés : , , ,

[I rather love my AMK (or, Why I Think I am a Heartlander, or Heartland is Where the Home is)]
Sngs Alumni @ 24.5.09 { 1 comments }


I cannot believe how I loved this post! :) Hey!

And really, my haircuts are like only $38 dollars at HV shopping center.

And since I like the hub but is not considered a heartlander, neither should you. :P Though maybe- given our love for bubble tea- you, in particular, can be granted temporary status. Macham, visiting permit.

Another thing, that you grew up in thomson area means you can never be heartlander. But we'll resume that argument another day.

Also, also.... uniqlo doesn't make people at tampines part japanese. Though the fact that they have something like five shopping complex in a tiny strip of real estate has to count for something. The streets are becoming stuffed like japan, so maybe you have something there...

I was at the hub the other day and told wen the story of how we'd pretend we cannot breathe outside the hub. He thinks we are nuts.

Love ya. miss ya.

By Blogger Cherie, at 27 mai 2009 à 04:04:00 UTC+8


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