Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Language Disadvantage

Ever since I was young, I have been discriminated by vendors and school mates who would refuse to speak to me unless I spoke in Chinese. I readily admit I am a banana (yellow skin, white inside: local expression for non-Chinese English speaking Chinese) but sometimes the flak I receive is just downright rude.

I remember when my close friends and I went swimming in a public pool and we were speaking in English. Three separate groups of guys disturbed and laughed at us for this. “Waaah… speaking uh?” One of the groups went further and said, “I want to f*cking you”. (You can see their levels of English just from these two comments).

Anyway, I was recently in Ipoh over the CNY and usually would buy back the yummy egg tarts the morning before we leave for KL. I wanted to order 25 tarts and decided to show a sign language instead of speaking, so I showed a 2 and a 5. The old lady didn’t/couldn’t/not bothered to seem to understand as I said it in English. I ended up saying it in BM. She gave me a look and passed my order to her husband who was still finishing up with the customer before me. Instead, she started serving the customer after me.

As for her husband, he didn’t take the tarts from the fresh trays but instead took them from the display cabinet. Although I’m sure they were just as fresh, I was wondering why the difference when the customer before me also ordered over 20 tarts but had hers taken out of the warm moulds.

KS now curses the place that it will burn down by the next time we go there and he will NEVER send me back there again as he hopes they will go out of business.

But for me, for the sake of those egg tarts… I’m willing to memorize saying the numbers in Cantonese before I get down from the car. KS tells me to get someone else to drive me there coz he won’t. :(

So, I’m looking for a new egg tart shop in Ipoh (or better, in KL) to replace this one that is cursed to be burnt down. Suggestions?

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