Monday, September 29

US Trip (Part 4) - Dr Hyde and Mr Jekyll

The limousine was supposed to pick me up from the hotel at 3.30pm to the Airport. And I was not at the hotel.

Running back to the hotel after I got off the public bus, I ran with whatever strength my legs could carry me, with numerous plastic bags in tow. Yes, shopping bags to delight my beloved Wifey.

As I ran towards the hotel, I saw the limousine driver by the porch.
Ok, I was late by about 10 minutes.

I got up the limousine, and requested the driver, a white gentlement in suit, if he could put the luggage in the back seats, where I was at. I was going to do some last minute packing so that all the new loots could fit into the suitcase.

He did just that, and subsequently asked what I will like to drink. I told him that "Bottled water will do fine", and promptly received an ice cool plain water bottled water.

Never one who likes to stay quiet in a taxi, I started a conversation with him. We talked about differences between Singapore and the US.

He told me about the growing rich-poor divide that exist in Colorado. In a separate conversation with my US colleagues, I learnt that the rich apparently live in areas like Longmont and Boulder, while the poor and homeless stay in Denver.

And we spoke on the US election. During my stay, I manage to catch some of the anti-Obama and anti-McCain advertisements on US. It makes me wonder what Singapore will be like if Chee Soon Juan ("troublemaker" of the Opposition party) put up an anti-Lee Kuan Yew (father of Singapore, and Mentor minister of ruling party) advertisement on national TV. The driver told me that Colorado was tending towards the Democrats.

After 2/3 of the journey, the driver started turning quiet. And I thought I'll do so too, to admire the beautiful Colorado scenery one last time.

I alighted the taxi, and we bade farewell to each other.

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After I reached Singapore, my colleague who was there with me at US (but left US later than me as she had to go to Mexico) asked if I would like to launch a complaint about the limousine driver.

I was bewildered - what was she talking about? She explained that the hotel staff was telling her how the limousine driver was making racist remarks about me (before he met me) because I was late. He even slammed his itinery onto the hotel counter table to emphasize how unhappy he was for making him wait.

I felt strange after that, because he never dropped a hint of racism or displeasure when talking to me. Did he feel "better" after talking to a happy man? Or should he be nominated a best actor award?

A case of Dr Hyde and Mr Jekyll?

6 comments:

The Horny Bitch said...

Woah.. What a twist. Did u complain?

khengsiong said...

U.S. is a very diverse nation. There are extreme racists. At the same time, there are liberals. Intermarriage is common. Angelina Jolie has adopted kids from Asia and Africa.

At least, Americans acknowledge the existence of racism in their country. Malaysian government keeps saying that there is no racism here.

khengsiong said...

One more thing: Singaporeans acknowledge that they are kiasu. Malaysians don't.

Shingo T said...

HB:
Nah, didn't complain. No harm done. Have to give him credits for being obliging enough to chat with me for the taxi trip.
Oh well, ignorance is bliss, isn't it?

KS:
Agree on the extreme sides. I have met my fair share of nasty people, but also have met some of the nicest people there.
I wonder what Wifey has to say now that she is at California.

numbernine said...

Yeh I went to Denver and my motel was only a few blocks away from this more run down Mexican part of the city. I got some interesting food there but it was like one of those parts of Singapore taken over by foreign workers (think Golden Mile / Peninsula Plaza / Little India).

Racism in US is covert, which means hidden. People know that there are a lot of things they aren’t supposed to say but when white people get together they’ll just let it out a bit, or disguise their intent with jokes. But I’m sure that some Chinese do that to other races as well.

The funny thing is that the same guy who thinks that chinks are dirty and filthy could end up as your friend and revise his assumption to “chinks other than shingot are dirty and filthy”. You might as well accept it.

It’s interesting to be on the receiving end of it as well. Feels a bit strange at first but no problem if you’re just a student or passing through.

Also it's Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde, not the other way around.

Shingo T said...

Numbernine:
Coverted racism, new word for me. =p

Anyway, despite these small racism hiccups, I am still generally quite impressed with US.

On a side note, I forgot which one was the doctor - Hyde or Jekyll. So I just tried my luck - and guessed wrongly.

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