On Saturday my family had dinner at a restaurant in UE Square. While waiting for my food to arrive, I popped upstairs to Cold Storage to buy some groceries.
On my way back down the escalator, I realised a Singaporean Chinese man had made his way towards me, and was trying to ask me a question. He was slim and middle-aged.
I turned around and asked him to repeat his question.
“Excuse me, are you Korean?” He smiled, leaning over from above me.
The thing is, I did’t think he was just trying to be friendly to tourists. His smile was more like a leer and he was standing a bit too close for comfort.
I said stonily, “No (long pause). I am Singaporean!!!” I strode away, giving him a dagger stare and quickly walked back to the restaurant.
Back at the table, I told my family what just happened. I was then told that some foreign girls get picked up by these Singaporean men for sex. Because I was relatively fair-skinned, I was mistaken for a Korean girl.
Eww! I thought. My dad said, “You should’ve said you were Japanese. Karate chop!”
At which point I added, “Pork chop! Chicken chop! Haiyya!” and the conversation went downhill from there.