Singapore beng and Brazil bengs unite over football
When one ah beng meets another ah beng, there can be some tension.
But when one ah beng face off with one whole gang on their home ground, when it's close to dark, it can be bye bye.
No ah beng likes to be shouted at. Not in a foreign language.
But my brain and mouth just cannot react fast enough to work out a Portuguese translation.
So I ended up looking like I was staring back at him.
It is around 630pm. As if on cue, ambulances and police cars drove past us, breaking the awkward silence with their sirens. But they did not stop.
We are in Salvador, Bahia, on the Praia de Amaralina beach that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. I wondered if there are sharks in there.
Brazilian kids playing beach football next to Atlantic Ocean
Sounding more pek cek (exasperated), Vitor asked again: "Japones?"
Five more of his same pattern stopped playing beach football and walked towards me.
Ai zai (steadily), I replied: "No, Singapore."
Fighting a losing battle, I settled for the closest description - Chinese - which is not really bluffing him because my father was from China.
Then Vitor asked some more: "China jogar futebol (China play football)?"
I also don't know whether it was for China or Singapore, but I know bueh sai lao kui (cannot lose face).
So I took the football and showed him a one times left leg and one times right leg combo.
Just like that, Singaporean beng become member with Brazilian bengs.
And one by one, Maurice, Diego, and I cannot remember the other names, came and messed up my hair (the sea breeze was already very strong) like some crazy initiation.
Through limited Singlish and Portuguese, we talked about ah lians (Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima is from Salvador), the World Cup (Brazil will win) and who are the best players (Neymar and another Salvador product Dante).
During the build-up to this World Cup's kick-off, there have been so much news about how dangerous it could be for tourists.
Even my hotel receptionist warned me not to walk on the beach alone and not to wear any expensive necklaces or watches.
But the people here have been so friendly and nice. Smile and they will smile back. Say obrigado (thank you) and they will say de nada (you're welcome). Ask for directions and they will even take you all the way.
Maybe positive vibes go both way. Maybe I just heng heng (luckily) avoided crime.
Oh wait, I did get molested by this touchy-feely Brazilian aunty ...
Ah beng know ah beng very hot, until Brazilian aunty also want to molest me ...