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Permutations and Combinations

Seems like I'm having more problems than just colour combinations.
I speak English differently in different situations. It is not an act of pretense. When I was working in Chicago, I had an angry client on the other end of the line who wouldn't speak to me because he couldn't understand what I was saying. Two days later, I adopted an accent palatable to the American businessman.
So when in America, I speak as one of them. When I speak with Malay friends, I adopt a different form. Basketball Singlish is different from business English. It seemed all quite clear until recently.
It started out in when I met <a href="http://www.serialdeviant.org/">Andrea</a> and <a href="http://www.krisalis.org/">Kristen</a>. They spoke an interesting mix of proper English and Singlish. Andrea had a slight Aussie accent while I couldn't for the life of me place Kristen's. It didn't help that Kristen's blonde hair contradicted her grasp of the local slangs. I spent most of the time silent, my subconscious messing up my ability to speak.
Tonight I played basketball with <a href="http://callmefifianddielikeadog.blogspot.com/">Felix</a>, a friend made in teenage days who became a lawyer. Singapore basketball talk consists of various Chinese dialects peppered with mild expletives. It is very similar to basketball trash-talk in America. Somehow Felix's semi-complex English phrases didn't register at all. I had to have him repeat himself so many times he must have thought I was deaf.

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