Sunday, March 4, 2007

A Different Melting Pot

We’ve heard since grade school that the United States is a giant melting pot of cultures. But Singapore, as an international port and hub for all of Asia, is also a pretty intense mix. The guest list from a local get-together I attended this weekend was illuminating:

    Our hosts - an Englishman who loves Chinese food and his Chinese wife, who prefers her steak and potatoes

    A Singaporean of Chinese-Malay-Portuguese-Indian heritage, her Swiss husband, and their Canadian-born son

    An Indonesian woman who grew up on the coast of a small island, diving among the coral reefs until the dredging and construction of a string of new beach resorts turned the reefs bare and white

    A Spanish man and an Israeli woman who had come to Singapore by way of Philadelphia

    A radiantly pregnant Thai woman who lives in a luxurious penthouse, but who wistfully expressed hope that her husband would someday travel less than 70 percent of the time

    A woman from Denmark and her Norwegian husband, who had both tired of the cold in their homelands

    An Indian woman who runs three hugely popular restaurants (only one of them Indian)

    An American from Iowa and the Australian she moved across the world to marry 40 years ago

    A Malaysian woman who prefers living in Singapore because the food is “so much less spicy”
And then of course there was the Irish-American, whose Chinese-American spouse was traveling at the time.

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