Aunties are quintessentially Singaporean, as much as the Merlion and the Esplanade. Every Singaporean woman will at some point in her life, stop and ask herself in horror: “Am I becoming an auntie?” Sometimes this happens after you give birth and your highlight of the day becomes shopping at NTUC. Other times, it happens when your friend says “eh you damn auntie leh!”. Then you realise you’re only 18.
The ‘Singaporean Auntie’ is not a physical state, but a state of mind. If you’ve experienced that moment of existential confusion, and found yourself wondering if you’ve evolved to the next stage of Singaporean womanhood, here are 10 signs that you’ve entered the hallowed ranks of auntie.
1. You’re an ATM (Automated Tissue Machine)
“Can I have tissue?” Nobody asks you if you have tissue – they automatically assume that you do. You’ve got tissues on your person at all times, whether in the park or at a party. You’re your friends’ saviour with the tiny squishy rectangle or ten. What will they do without you, hor?
2. Your favourite word in the world is “free”
You are the reason McDonald’s got rid of the napkin dispenser. Free tissue? Free food? Free samples? Free recyclable tote bag with an ugly mascot on it that you will never use, but queued two hours for it anyway because it was free? If you don’t have to pay a cent, you don’t care what it is – you want it now.
3. You believe in “upcycling”
You know how mooncakes come in really pretty boxes? Or how biscuits come in the most gorgeous metal tins? And some Christmas gift sets come with pretty ribbons and tassels? Well, those mooncake boxes can be used to store things, the ribbons can be reused for wrapping other people’s presents… everything can be reused. Everything.
4. An umbrella is your greatest weapon
Umbrellas are very useful. They shield you from the rain and the sun. They also create an impressive barrier around you to separate you from other people, and are effective for jabbing other folks in the eye if they get too close.
5. You stretch your dollar well. Too well.
After paying so much for a hotel room, of course you’re gonna make full use of the experience… and bring home all the toiletries. Why pay full price for stuff like bread and sushi when you can get them for less by waiting till after 9pm? You’re going to make sure you get every cent’s worth.
6. You can put a drill sergeant to shame
In a crowded hawker centre, finding you is easy because your voice rises above the rest. You’re loud and you’re proud – so what if the people five tables away can hear you? You’ve got a wealth of advice to dispense to your friends/family/colleagues, as well as anyone who happens to be within a ten-meter radius. They should all be grateful.
7. You are a master of stealth
Nobody moves faster than you when boarding a train or a bus. If there’s a freshly-vacated seat, you’ll slither in through the crowd and plonk your bottom down before anyone has even realised it’s there. If there’s a last item on sale, you’ll grab it and be gone in a flash.
You can weave through crowds to get to the front without batting an eyelash. These are skills even ninjas train decades to master.
8. Hand sanitisers are vital
Germs are everywhere. From the office chair to hawker centre cutlery, you never know just where any nasty microbes may be lurking, ready to infect you with a nasty disease. Who knows who touched that door handle before you did? With hand sanitiser on your person at all times, you can eliminate any chance of contracting something terrible, even if there isn’t any soap and water nearby.
9. “Aiyoh” is an appropriate response to everything
Somebody scored full marks for an exam? “Aiyoh, so smart lah!” Somebody’s pet dog died? “Aiyoh, so sad.” Somebody’s boyfriend gave them a giant bouquet of roses? “Aiyoh, so sweet!” Someone lost their wallet? “Aiyoh, so suay!”
One word, so many uses. It’s the most important word of all.
10. You believe that “good things, must share”
If you see something scary, funny, or educational online, you’ll share it with all your friends. You’re the one who Whatsapps people messages reminding them to beware of kidnappers and scammers, or sends funny and random inspirational photos to group chats. If you hear of any discounts or promotions, you’ll tell everyone. Sharing is caring, after all.
If you found yourself agreeing with some, or even all, of these points, then I’m glad to say that you indeed are a Singaporean auntie!
Don’t take it as a bad sign – aunties are wise creatures who have developed these traits in order to live life in kiasu Singapore to the fullest.
People may poke fun at you, but you know who’ll get the last laugh when they spill kopi on the table and need tissue to mop it up. Embrace your Singaporean auntie-ness, and be #auntieandproud!