World Cup Conversation, Telok Blangah

Kopi o gau, siew dai” I placed my order with the Kopi Aunty at Telok Blangah Hawker Centre. When I received my kopi, I replied, “Xie xie.”

The lady in the picture was ordering char siew mee at the stall right next to the kopi stall. She looked at me in (slightly impressed) bemusement and said, “Wah, not bad ah?” and attempted a conversation with me in Mandarin. I explained that my Mandarin and dialect skills (if you can call it that) was confined firmly to the realm of getting what I want in a hawker centre.

She switched to English. “You watch the world cup?”


She then proceeds at length (in English) on the games she watched and how disappointed she was that Holland did not get in. She proffered her views on Germany, Brazil and Argentina. I got the feeling she found out about the world cup after the group stages. Heh.

Anyway, she rattled off with such volume and velocity that I could not get a word in edgeways, although to be honest, I wasn’t the least bit offended.

Finally, she asked me, “How to place bets, ah?”

“You mean like official bets? Like in 4D shops?”


“I don’t know. Never done it. But I suppose you can go in and ask them.” I added that she can even bet by score and the payouts are higher depending on the odds. I regretted saying that. She asked me what odds were and I was stuck explaining it. I, of course, used the Brazil – Germany example.

Finally, I told her that if she really must bet, bet within the family. It’s much easier and the money remains in the household anyway.

She seemed dissatisfied with my suggestion.

I got my Kopi. She motioned for me to sit with her. I wanted a quiet kopi so I politely declined and I left.

(I managed to steal these few shots – not very good – while she was conversing with me.)

My life is interesting.

Telok Blangah, 11 July 2014


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