A couple hours after I landed, I found myself in a meeting. At one point, there was a lively discussion and everyone started speaking in a quick, rhythmic language I’d never heard before. I started wondering whether there was a common language in Singapore that I wasn’t aware of. It sounded to me a bit like Khmer mixed with Russian.
Later on, I found out it had been English. To be fair, I had been really tired. Also, there are little dialectic ticks in the English spoken here that throw me off. The word “la,” for one, fills in for “um,” “oh,” “yes,” “well,” “really,” and awkward pauses. I’m getting better, but a good deal of the time still, I’m not sure what the other person is saying. La.