Sunday, March 25, 2012

Askers vs Guessers - And a preview of Andara!

I'm on a roll with the wordy posts!! To balance it out I posted a photo of a group of girls in bikinis below.

When you ask people what sort of people they don't like, usually the same crappy answers come out: Hypocrites and backstabbers. Sometimes people say cheaters or liars etc.

Sure, I don't like those too... But what frustrates me the most, are when people are buay paiseh. 

If you are not Chinese or Singaporean, you may not be familiar to that word. It is commonly used to insult someone here in Singapore, and another variation of that phrase is 不自動. Buay paiseh means "UNABASHED" in english.

Rarely ever is "unabashed" used as an insult or lament about someone's character in English speaking countries. We don't hear people in movies or storybooks saying "I don't like her because she is unabashed".

Why? That's because we are all split into Askers and Guessers. Asians are often complaining about angmohs visiting their countries being "rude". That's because they have an Ask culture vs our Guess culture.

What does that mean? I came across this article some time ago discussing Askers and Guessers.

Let's determine which one you are.

Someone you are not very close to sends you an email, asking if he can stay at your place (let's assume you do have room) for a week... nay, let's make it worse, month-long vacation. You don't even like him.

Do you think this person is being rude?

If you think so, you are likely a Guesser.

Being an Asker means that you are brought up to believe you can ask for just about anything, and you expect people to say no if they want to. Simple.

Being a Guesser is a bit more complicated. Guessers don't like to be put in a situation where they have to reject someone. They resent having explain why the hell not when he feels you should have anticipated the answer and just not asked. Guessers feel it's impolite to say no, and might even agree to a request they don't really want to agree to just out of shock.

It seems that life is a little harder for the Guessers because afterall people all view things differently... how can you possibly anticipate someone's answer to everything? We should all be Askers, things would be so much simpler!

But alas, things aren't as black and white as that.

Afterall, if you are a man and you want to have sex with a lady on the street, you don't just go up to get and ask to see her vagina. Or if she rejects you, ask "How much?". She can say no, but you just made her very pissed off.

You'd think someone with my straightforward character is definitely an Asker, but I am Chinese and despite using vulgarities all the time I was brought up by a traditionally Chinese mom who is always preaching to me about manners. Never take the drumstick off the roast chicken (Asians usually value dark meat on chicken) on the table, offer it to the elders first. Never borrow money. Always offer to pay for everything.

Don't be mistaken. I am not a Guesser through and through. You don't have to be one or the other. In fact, I'm probably more of an Asker than most Singaporeans. The delicate art is not about whether or not you ask, it is HOW you ask.

This culture of anticipating someone's reaction to whatever it is you are doing extends OUTSIDE of just requests.

Sometimes, it is your actions that cause discomfort to others and you don't even have to open your mouth. Us Guessers don't know why we get so frustrated with the more aggressive Askers and we label them as "rude". No, the more concise term is "unabashed". Or as we Singaporeans like to say... NOT SHY!!

I'm gonna expound on the topic by ranting about one of my greatest pet peeves:


I am not talking about poor people, but those who always choose to withdraw very little money out of the ATM, like $20 at a time, despite having money.

This is a very broad stroke because it's very normal for us to run out of money sometimes. I do too. The key word is ALWAYS, and also this is very important - how you handle the situation when you run out of cash on hand.

I'm sure all of you, like me, have friends who are always low on cash. So whenever there is a group dinner at a restaurant that doesn't take credit cards and they don't have enough cash to pay, you help them pay first. Or in shared cab rides, you have to fork out more. Or you invite them over for a game of poker/mahjong. They lose, no cash. Owe you first.

I find these people super irritating.

As a general rule, people who feel embarrassed about borrowing money will always try to get rid of that ashamed feeling by returning it fast. AND these people usually have cash, to prevent such a situation from happening in the first place, so it stands that that people who always don't have cash, usually will not bother to return money efficiently, or at all.

I am a very forgetful person. I don't remember it when people owe me money, and often I don't remember to remind them. But when I do actually remember, I RESENT having to open my mouth and ask for the money. It's embarrassing. And when I remind and the person STILL doesn't pay me back, I hate having to ask again. And worse of all, sometimes the amount is small, like $10 or $20. It would seem like I'm such an asshole to go ask for it back.

But it isn't about the money. It's about the person's incorrect thinking. It is not polite to borrow money from people, furthermore with such a cavalier attitude to it. I don't care that much about the $10, I care that you put me in this situation of discomfort and thus, I don't feel like giving that $10 to you.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a stingy, miserly person. If this occurs not infrequently, it's totally ok for me to fork out a bit more for my friend. But if out of 10 situations 8 times the person has no cash to pay for it, I'd start to be frustrated. 

If they don't have money to participate in whatever activity be it dinners or gambling, they shouldn't! How can they expect people to pay for them first, always?

If they have the money and they know they are going to be needing cash, isn't it just polite of them to go withdraw some before the activity starts? 

And after borrowing, sometimes I see them walk pass an ATM machine with me and I'm thinking "WTF? Why isn't he withdrawing to pay me back?? THE DINNER FREE AH?". I get it that sometimes people forget. But it's about not making it happen so often that slowly, people KNOW they always have to pay for you and would rather not meet you anymore.

There, that's the problem with Askers.

They think, "If you don't want to lend me money why don't you just say no? When I walk past that ATM and didn't notice it why didn't you just ask me to withdraw money for you? You needed the money back urgently meh?"

How do you say "no" to someone borrowing $10? It is extremely confrontational and making things awkward, and I get irritated that I am put in that situation where I have to reject you. I am doing you a favour by helping you pay, why do you have to make things difficult for me? Doesn't seem fair there.

And we come to the part where I am the most fucking pissed about. When asked about why they always don't have cash, these people always reply "Because when I have no cash I spend less."

Or some other variety of bullshit such as "I am trying to save money" or "I think using card I can have accounts of where my money went".

It makes me sooooooooooo fucking angry. You think the rest of us don't want to also spend less? Or that we don't wanna save money and have accounts of our spendings clearcut to us?

Yeah you successfully save money... Because people are fucking paying your shit for you! What bullshit about spending less when you don't have cash... You spent it didn't you? Just without your own money!! If you truly think that with less cash you'd spend less, then you shouldn't have participated in that activity that cost you money! Go dinner with the group but don't order anything or order within the money you DO have!


In general I think working adults should always withdraw at least $200. When it goes low to about $50, it's time to withdraw again.

(I'd like to give a special mention to Kaykay who always have a lot of cash with her. I've known KK for like 6 years or something now... She never ONCE borrowed cash from me. I find that super commendable!)

Someone on formspring asked me for a specific example of buay paiseh behaviour. Some are more obvious, some are not so obvious. Here's a subtle one, but buay paiseh nonetheless.

3 guests were in my house playing mahjong. Including me, that would be 4 people. I bought 10 chicken wings that day and offered some to them.

I asked everyone how many they wanted out of my 10 wings, and a girl, the first person who answered, said "3".

If you do a bit of math, divided equally among 4 people, each person can only take 2.5 chicken wings. And then I think that it is normal politeness to leave more food for the host or her family (in this case I mean Mike), especially since I haven't told her how many I want for myself. I found it rude of her to ask for 3 wings from me. If the other 2 people were as unabashed as her, I'd be left with 1 wing for myself and I'd be fucking pissed off. Luckily, they weren't.

Let me make it clear. Eating 3 out of 10 wings isn't that bad. But first she could have said 1, or 2. After everyone is done with their eating and there were still leftovers, she could ask if she could have one more. I'd have been fine with that. But asking for 3 before she even knew how many I wanted to eat was rude.

Maybe Askers are thinking that I'm way too calculative and sensitive. If I didn't wanna give her 3 I could have just said so. But I wasn't close to her and saying so would have made the rest of the night awkward. Or perhaps I was baiting her by asking her how many she wanted out of 10 when the only answers I accepted was 1 or 2. I should have just said "Would you like 1 or 2 wings?". I would next time, but I just honestly didn't anticipate she would be so thickskinned!

Anyway, just now I was saying, it's not about what you ask, it's about HOW you ask.

Sometimes I want something and I just ask for it. You can be an unabashed Asker and still not make people angry... The key is to acknowledge you are being rude, and give the person the option to say no within the request.

For example the month-long stayover I mentioned at the start. Here's how I would have phrased it:

"Hi XXX... How are you doing? I'm going to your country this Wednesday and I have a request. If you have room for me and it's convenient for you, could I stay at your place for a duration of a month? I understand this is a demanding request but hotels are really expensive. I will of course try my best to not get in your hair and I am willing to pay you back for any expenses I incurred and a fee for your trouble. If this isn't convenient for you in any way, please feel free to tell me no. I have an aunt's place I can go to alternatively but she's rather naggy. :X Either way, I'd love to meet up with you for drinks when I come! :)"

Although asking to stay at someone's house for a whole month is still pretty unabashed, but offering to pay and telling them to feel guilt-free about a rejection at least makes it known to the person that you KNOW you are being rude, which makes them not so angry about your stupid request. 

The last sentence was added so it doesn't seem like you don't care about the person outside of him doing you favours.

Another method for Asking is to just go the complete opposite direction. I like to do this with my very close friends by just saying "I want xxx!" like a petulant child. Most of the time they just give in to me (because my friends are easy-going people wtf) but when they don't want to, it's very easy for them to say "GO AND DIE LAH" or "You can fight me for it bitch", which removes the awkwardness of a rejection.

Ok this concludes my blog entry about Askers and Guessers. Just as a matter of interest, how much do you guys withdraw out of the ATM each time? I judge people who say $20. (Unless you are a broke student and $20 is all you have, duh.)


Here's a preview of my awesome holiday at Andara Resort in Phuket!!

I already went there once before, so lucky to go again. :D

Had such a super fun time there with Mike and 10 of my friends: Shuyin and her sister Binbin, Qiu, Sophie, Alaric, Huiwen, Cheesie, Eekean, Gillian and Bryan!

AWESOME MUCH? Private beach section belonging to Andara... Loads of double beds on the sand, with lounge chairs, cold drinks served to guests... and best of all... THE BEACH HAD WIFI!!

And see there? The couple in the middle of the picture. The angmoh lady was topless! LOL

Put full makeup to the beach because I knew the other girls were gonna camwhore and I wanted to as well!! Cheesie and I look looking real Vivi or what? :D

Pool villa... Can you believe this 2 storeyed place is actually a villa?? It's so freaking humongous with 4 bedrooms!! 

Some of us girls lounging in the shallow bits of the infinity pool with a glorious sunset behind us. People were barbecuing food for us while we chat and chill!! Life CANNOT get better than this.

JELLY RIGHT? Don't be!!

Andara is now running a STAY MORE, SAVE MORE promotion from March - October 2012. This means you can get 20%-30% discount!!

Andara is really the most luxurious, romantic and beautiful resort I've stayed in before!! I feel so pampered!! It's really perfect for a honeymoon or even for a wedding. The pool villa is huge enough for an actual wedding reception wtf!! Or if you want to go with a big group of friends or family, it's also great coz there are a few bedrooms in one villa.

If you are referred from our blogs you even get a $50usd spa credit. :D

Find out more about their promotion HERE.

I am gonna be posting like a zillion other pictures from the holiday once I finish editing them. :)