Friday, October 28, 2005

getting back on track in the u.s. and other ramblings

Ugh. I'm out of practice wrt tips!
Had a breakfast-cum-lunch all by my lonesome, the bill came up to about USD6.50. For some reason I thought 20% = 65cents, so I gave a 1 dollar tip. Only while walking back did I realise that I shoulda given at least 1.30, probably would have rounded it up to 1.50. No, I didn't turn back. Too bad lah. After all it's just a few cents. But imagine if I'd made this mistake for a much larger total?! Ugh. I really don't like the whole tips thing, but well, it's part of the American thing I guess... will have to try to remember for the next time I pick up the tab at a service restaurant :p
On to other news... More Swiss-related thoughts:

1. I had images & memories of my late grandfather come to me unbidden at odd times during the 5 days I was at my g'mas's place last week. He passed away in 1998; I last saw him in 1995 when I dropped by after graduating. I was back in switzerland in the year 2000, but didn't actually stay at the house on the hill. Plus I was on holiday with someone who had never been to switzerland, and kinda lost language-wise, so it's not like I had time to myself for thoughts. :p And in 2003 stayed just one day there, with parents. Not conducive to flows of memories :p

2. Portrait of G'ma # 5 (missed out #1-4? Click HERE)
G'ma is reading an article about persecution of Christian Chinese in China.
She then says "China is such an immense country. Switzerland is so small compared to China. Do you know how many inhabitants it has?"
Mom has no idea, and guesses "800 million."
G'ma thinks about it for a while. Then asks "Do you think they all wear/have wristwatches?"
No idea where that came from!

3. I'm so used to having to mentally "switch" the direction I expect traffic to come from after a trip, cos usually it's a Malaysia <-> U.S. or Malaysia <-> Switzerland trip. Switzerland and the U.S. have traffic driving on the right (not necessarily correct! teehee!) side of the road; while Malaysia on the left, one of those remnants of british colonisation. Anyhoo. So for some weird reason, I was constantly confused over the last two weeks, not quite knowing in which direction to expect traffic to come from. So crossing the road involved much more left-right-left turns of the head than I already do. Weird :p

4. What's in a name?
Before boarding the plane at ZRH, all passengers were again subject to standard questions about who packed the carry-on luggage and whether it had been out of your sight/possession at any time. The person I had ask the questions was someone I'd noticed from earlier, because he looked like a typical Malaysian, perhaps a Sarawakian. But his name was a typical german/Swiss name of something like Hans Zimmerman! It was such an unlikely combination that I kept looking at his nametag instead of at him when answering his questions. It occurred to me later that he may have been among the many Vietnamese refugees adopted by Swiss families. Really not a big deal, but it was really weird to see such a typical german name attached to someone obviously Asian.

On a related topic: I think I was told that in Iceland, those tho emigrate there and/or get citizenship, are required change their names to typical Icelandic names. You know, like Gunnar Ericsson, or Gunnhild Ericsdottir. Imagine that attached to someone who obviously is not Scandinavian.

Similarly, in an attempt to enforce homogeneity in a multicultural, multiracial and multireligious society, Indonesians all have "typical Indonesian names." The most obvious effect of this ruling is seeing someone who is obviously Chinese with a name like, ugh, I can't dig those names out of my memory... nvm just take my word for it :p (I *did* find a page someone was trying to compile Indonesian names, if you're interested, see HERE)

I *am* on a rambling roll, aren't I? :p

... and here's more ramblage:

5. Did you hear about births to unmarried U.S. women have set a record? I won't shove the statistics down your throat, the article does enough of that :p What struck me is that births to older single women (ages 35 - 49) have continued to increase over the years.

Perhaps this reflects choices these women are making in terms of perhaps their career, and, more importantly, their independence. Choices they are now able to make. I think the stigma (and burden?) of being an unmarried mother is less potent (for lack of ideas for another word) when you're a successful business executive, let's say, than when you drop out of school / college and interrupt your education in order to have a child. And are then limited in your "career" options because you need to take care of the kid. As opposed to the people who are 35+, who probably have already carved a niche for themselves in their workplace, and can probably get more flexibility to handle raising a child. And can afford it too.

My mind jumps to these "late births" - in general, not specifically for the older single mothers... For my generation, I think our parents had us in their mid-20's (which was already "late" compared to the previous generation who got married & had kids in their late teens / early 20's). So when we finished college and joined the workforce, we were about 23 y.o. and they were 45-ish. But soon, those who have kids when they're 40-ish will see their kids enter the workforce when they (the parent[s]) are over 60y.o. And if the same trend continues, these same parents may be 80y.o. before starting to get any grandkids.

If they last that long.

I mean,,, life expectancy may have improved over the past few decades as we make advances in the treatment (and in certain cases, eradication) of things like polio, smallpox... then now we have to deal with more "modern" diseases like adult onset diabetes, cancer, cancer, cancer and did I mention cancer?

Where am I going with this? I dunno... I think i've rambled myself out of words :p

Be back later. Maybe.



  1. Yes, that is a lot of rambling. I didn't know those stats, especially on older women - I would have thought it'd be the younger/teens.

  2. yep.. kinda why it struck me enuf to ramble on about it :D

  3. Hi.. Welcome back! Great facts... Maybe the high birth, single women count, could be factoring in border immigration?
    (2000 per day)...
    Though, I doubt they are the pregnant ones! (O_O)
    (Nor the age group, for that matter.) lol.. ;-)

  4. i noe of an exchange student who's german .. but he doesnt look german at all.. he looks american indian.... he was adopted... quite cool actually...

  5. i read about the single women pregnancies in usa today, and thought similarly to your vein of thought regarding women simply wishing to have a child. i can imagine wishing to have a child later in life, without a partner, if i had not already raised a brood.


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