As weird as it may sound, the first culture shock I got to experience in Singapore concerned cutlery… Or the absence of one element, to be precise. For those who don’t know, people in Singapore use both chopsticks and western cutlery. The use of one or the other tableware depends on the restaurant, kind of food and cuisine you choose, but what I could notice during my three trips in the so-called ‘Lion City’ is the constant absence of a utensil I consider essential during my meals: the knife.
Excluding the restaurants where you can order and enjoy steaks and meat, it’s pretty much impossible to find the complete trio disposed on your table. Whether you go to hawker centres or pay a visit at someone’s place for a meal, you have no choice but to cut your food using the fork and the spoon. I must specify the food is usually already cut into pieces, but it still is not something comforting: the piece may not be enough small to comfortably chew it, or in the case in you are served with a chicken drumstick, the lack of a knife makes your meal incredibly troublesome. Last but not least, in the attempt of using the spoon to cut your food, there is a 120% chance it slips off your plate. It has happened to me a few times, and I can’t deny the huge feeling of embarrassment I have felt.
So, in conclusion, I might make a public appeal: Singaporean people who are reading this post, provide a knife to your guests. Adding it on your table might seem pointless to you, but you might save the life (or dignity, as you prefer) of your guest who is not used to use a spoon in place of the sharp and meant-to-be-used-to-cut-food knife.
A small change for a better life, right?