Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Oops I Did it Again! (Didn't I?)

Interframe part 1: The first pronoun "I" in the title above is referring to me (Maureen) and not her (Britney Spears).

I guess I have a mad habit of pretending that I do not understand Mandarin when consulting a stranger. I mean, Mandarin speaking stranger. There are reasons behind these actions.

1) I speak broken Mandarin.
2) I don't look like Chinese. (Before they speak Malay to me, I speak to Malay to them first so that both parties would not feel awkward.)
3) I am afraid people will speak to me in a jargon/deeper/fluent Mandarin. (Choose the correct adjective. Sorry my English sucks/is pathetic/needs emergency help)

Today, I went to Sungai Dua to print the pictures of my club's activities at the developing photos shop . Well, I had to rush to print out these photos because back in Sibu, the price to print one 4R size photo is 60 cents but at here, it is 50 cents and below. Yes, 10 cents count, my dear, especially when I want to print more than 10 photos (and also especially when I am a cheapskate).

When I arrived at the printing photo shop, I noticed the taukenio is a Chinese. So, spontaneously, I spoke Malay to her because I guess, if I speak Mandarin to her, she'll speak to me in a jargon/deeper/fluent Mandarin, and I may had a hard time pretending to understand though I just had a few clues about what she might say. So to be on the safe side, I did what I did --> I spoke Malay with her. It's easier to pretend that I do not understand something that I understand than pretend that I understand something that I do not understand, right?

She looked at me and smiled, and she said that she thought I am Chinese. I was speechless. In my 21 years on this earth, I could count with my one hand that only a few strangers who would thought that I looked Chinese when I do not walk with my Chinese friends. Yes, one hand. So, probably under five people.

Not that doesn't look like a Chinese is not a good thing, don't get me wrong. But when someone from a race thought that you are from the same race as them, you will feel honoured, right? You are indirectly being accepted into their clan, their clique, their family (okay, maybe I think too much) because you share something in common with them. I felt honoured too, last time when two Siamese girls thought that I am Siamese because they thought I looked like Siamese. I mean, when someone finds the similarities between him/her and you than finding the differences, you will feel that you belong to that similarities, right? You will feel welcomed right?

So, here, there was this mixed Chinese+Indian = Chindian girl working there and she is Mandarin speaking. I tried my best to cover my Hokkien slang when speaking in Malay with her. Yup, I had the typical lah, lo, etc, etc, at the end of my sentence when I speak Malay and this would make me terkantoi that I am actually Chinese. Thank God I can always say that I am a Bumiputra from Sarawak (which is half truth actually) if they asked me why I do not speak like Malay. After paying and promising her that I would come to get the printed photos around 6pm to 7 pm in the evening, I went out from the shop and went back to my sister's apartment.

Phew~! --> part 1.
Mission half accomplished.

* * * * *

Around 6.45 p.m.

I went to the developing/printing photos shop and met the Chindian girl to take my photos. Now, it was another woman (not the taukenio) who was seated at the counter arranging photos with the Chindian girl and the taukenio was nowhere in sight. I asked for my photos from the Chindian girl by giving her my receipt. Then she gave me my photos complete with a photo album (just the simple plastic album which we always took for granted back in Sibu, fyi).

So, I thought photos with photo album was a common thing at any printing photos shop. I asked for my receipt from the Chindian girl and the woman (not the taukenio) said in Mandarin that "Actually hor, if she only wanted to print 19 photos, she has to pay RM1 for the photo album. Only those who printed 30 photos and above is eligible to have the photo album for free." and added " don't just simply give people photo album, it costs RM1 you know!" The way she said it, it was as if RM1 is the most valuable possession in the world. And the way she said it, was not as polite as the way I paraphrase it in here. She was mean to the Chindian girl for the sake of RM 1. RM 1! I know, I am a cheapskate too, and RM1 is big yeah, but scolding your employee [not sure if both of them are employees or the woman (not the taukenio) has a greater authority or not] in front of a customer is not appropriate, whether the customer understand the language or not. [I am glad I understood it.. ;) ]

I was quite surprised at the policy there, but since I pretended that I do not understand Mandarin, I had to hide my surprise and give my blur look (which is easy for me, and I can give a blur look as natural and natuREAL as possible since I am good at being blur). Don't believe? Ask me a Math or Geography question. Hah, add in History question too. You will get a blurrest look (trademark look of yours truly) from me ever!

But appropriate or not, I am glad that the woman (not the taukenio) did not demand RM1 from me though I took the photos with the photo album. Maybe if I gave them an impression that I knew how to speak Mandarin earlier, then I would have to give up my photo album since that is the appropriate thing to do because I know what they are talking about right? Oh, now I believe that some things do happen for a reason. I am glad I did it! :P

Phew~! -->part 2. Mission fully accomplished.

Interframe part 2: Actually, I don't know how to call a kedai cuci gambar in English. So, I just translate like in the post above. So bear with me.

Interframe part 3: Suddenly, I thought of learning Tamil so that I can do well in the English tongue twister challenge.


Ping Ping said...

what's that interframe for ar???macam

Mad Maureen said...

Just to memeriahkan suasana and show my broken English.. Hehehe.. Cause everytime put the word interframe, will have red underline.. ;)

Petite Amanda said...

I actually do the opposite of wat u do.. lol. I want ppl to think I'm chinese so when I go out to buy sth or watever I will speak in Mandarin despite the fact that my Mandarin is even more broken than yours. T_T

Cos somehow, Chinese shop owners seem to discriminate those who are not chinese. I'm not kidding. haih. so sad one.

Arth Akal said...

happens to me all the time. a lot of people think i am chinese. even those who are the same race as i am think i am chinese.

bad dont you think? hehe

Mad Maureen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mad Maureen said...

Amanda: Yeah, I agree with you on your previous statement.. But the taukenio I mentioned in this post is different.. She kind of gave me special treatment when she thought that I am not Chinses (maybe she's curious to know what race am I.. lol)

No lah, where got your Mandarin more broken than mine.. We are at least tie, ho.. (;_;) --> so touched cause you look up to my broken Mandarin..

Arth Akal: *bloggerstruck part 2 but quickly recovers* Yeah, it's bad when they focus on the differences rather than the similarities.. (-_-)

Yeah, I do agree that you look like Chinese.. Even my Chinese friends who saw your blog also thought so.. But our case were different, right? Since we (me and my Chinese friend who saw your blog) are focusing on the similarities rather than the differences.. ;)