I met up with Nigel this evening after several months. He’d passed the qualifying exam for his PhD and so I drove over to Green Lake to have dinner with him at BaiPai – a Thai joint. Food was good, but the highlight of the evening was this part of the conversation. As the meal progressed, Nigel, who’s of Indian origin, but a second generation Singaporean, was bitching about how he hated being brown. The conversation went something like this:
Nigel: I hate being of Indian origin. I keep getting pulled over in customs and immigration lines to be searched – thoroughly.
Me: I don’t think it has anything to do with you being of Indian origin.
Nigel: Yes it does; and as they pull me out they tell me “It’s random.” You don’t need a PhD in statistics to know it’s not random.
Me: I don’t think it has anything to do with you being of Indian origin. It happens coz you look shifty.
Nigel: I do not. (Pitch getting higher) I absolutely do not.
Me: Look, I understand you don’t like hearing this, but it’s true. This sort of thing happens to another one of my friends. She too keeps getting pulled out of customs / immigration / security lines to get searched.
Nigel: And you think she’s shifty looking too?
Me: Oh no. That happens to her coz she looks like the type that would enjoy being groped by random strangers. 😀
Nigel: You didn’t say this to her! Did you?
Me: Of course I did.
Nigel: Is she still on speaking terms with you?
Me: Well, kind of.
And so that was the end of that.