Singapore is a food paradise. We love our food. As long as they're delicious and cheap. For the most part, if the food is not funky or dubious, we don't care where our food come from.

Imagine the shock when a female NUS exchange student from France got a scolding from a stall auntie for enquiring on the origins of the food. She was so baffled, it prompted her to share her experience online.

According to the student, she is health concious and thus, she pays attention to what she eats. To gauge the quality, she will normally find out where the ingredients are sourced from and if organic and environmentally-friendly methods were used. She explained that in France, this was a common practice even when dining in small, family-run restaurants.

She tried to do as per normal at a chicken rice stall in a canteen at NUS, requesting the auntie the source of her rice and chicken and the rearing method. 

Cue angry retorts in Singlish from the auntie, who appeared offended by the questions. The student understood the auntie to have said that she (the student) can choose to patronise other stalls if she was unhappy with the food.

The girl was perplexed because to her, it seemed paradoxical for a food-loving society like ours to not pay attention to the origin and quality of the primary ingredients of the food.

The student answered her own question.

This is Singapore. This is not France . Singapore is not France, as much as France is not Singapore. Our cultures are very different. What is normal in Singapore may not be normal in France. The converse rings true as well.

What she practices, may be normal, or even right, but not in other situations or cultures. The French does not get to ditate how we have to enjoy our food.

We care about our food but not questioning the sources and production methods does not make us strange.

That is the beauty of diversity.

To the exchange student, open up your mind and enjoy the experience.

And welcome to Singapore.



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