Medical Elective: Getting Used to Canada Part 1

Singaporeans visiting Canada for the first time might be slightly taken aback at a few of the differences between Singapore and Canada. For the most part, however, both of these countries are Commonwealth countries, considered developed nations and speak English as their native tongue (despite Singapore’s national language being Bahasa Melayu).

If friendly banter does not come naturally, please memorise the following exchange, for it will be used perpetually:

Two people are walking by each other.
“Hey, how’s it going?”
“Good. How’re you?”
“I’m good.”
They walk past and keep moving.

It is true, the Canadians are more polite and friendly. In restaurants, the service is usually better and a bit more homely. This is, J. suspects, in a small part due to the tipping practice here as compared to the fixed 10% service charge in Singapore.

Most Singaporeans are fairly reserved when it comes to language, but the Canadians tend to be more expressive. For instance, J. uses “fine” to mean good, but in most contexts here “fine” is suboptimal. J.’s “fairly good” would roughly translate to “awesome” here while his “good” would translate to “perfect”.


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