Saturday, August 21, 2010

Living In Malaysia: When You Look LIke A Cat

If you are from Taiwan, you can maybe get away with pretending to be Malaysian Chinese.  If you're from India, you may be able to feign being Malaysian Indian.  But when you're orang puteh (Caucasian) there's no way to blend in.

I've gotten used to people staring at me, whether they do it rudely or surreptitiously.  I'm aware that for the people who don't have much contact with us, I am as interesting as a green Iguana - sort of horribly fascinating.

One of the funniest conversations I had recently was with the teenage son of the owner of one of my neighbourhood shops.  He sidled up to me, checked his dad wasn't around, and said, "Hey, can I ask you something personal?"

When I nodded, he asked, "Are your eyes really that colour?" I told him they were.  

"And your skin, is it really that colour or do you paint it white?"

"This is tan!" I said with mock outrage.  I showed him the underside of my wrist, and he was amazed it is even paler than my arms.

"And your hair?  Is it really that colour?  And why is it lighter on top than in your neck?"  Clearly he'd been inspecting me really closely.

I explained my sort of hair bleaches in the sun.

When he paused and gulped, I knew what he was dying to ask and daren't.  "The tits are real too," I told him kindly.

My mate grinned, and rushed off to talk to his pals who were hanging out at the back.  From they way they kept looking at me, I guess the questions had arisen from group brain storming.

I don't mind that sort of thing because it's pure natural human curiosity.  There's no rudeness or malice intended. 

At times those questions can be really funny.  Like the time I was standing in a supermarket when this little kid squealed, "Hey look, Mummy!  That lady looks just like our cat!"

"Shutupshutupshutup!" the mummy whispered fiercely.

I knew what the problem was, "You have a Siamese?" I asked the kid.

The kid nodded and the mummy went red with embarrassment.  I didn't mind that either.  I've got the pale hair and blue eyes, but I know that comparing me with a handsome Siamese is purest flattery.


The Chair Speaks said...

LOL! Children's curiosity. LOL! It isn't so bad as when adults ask you. I have been asked by adults, 'Which country you come from?'

Whisppy said...


Katnip Lounge said...

Wow. Someone thinks you look like a kitty...I think that's highest flattery!

The young man who had the guts to ask you questions...he sounds like he has a future in journalism.

btw--I think your blog is so interesting, I really enjoy the cultural posts.

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Ellen,
Siamese? har har har .... imagine what the reaction would be if you have red hair and green eyes. purrr....meow!

Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

Our mum would be flattered to be told she looked like a beautiful cat too.

Hannah and Lucy said...

Your young man must have memorised all those questions that his friends wanted him to ask!!

Mishkat said...

I agree that being compared to a Siamese is very flattering! And that was really nice of you to answer the teenage boy's questions honestly. I'm sure he really was curious - and it will help him to know that people really do come in different colors.

gitu-gitu aje said...

my cousin once looked at my sister in law picture, and so sudden she said, she (refer to my sis in law) look like Sebe (our late cat that time).

Brian said...

Yep, Siamese is a compliment fur sure!

Naddy said...


Cezar and Léia said...

hmmmm you know...I'm not a Siamese cat, I'm a Brazilian snowshoe! However many friends think I'm siamese! LOL
Have a beautiful week dear friends,
purrs and love
Luna - We love Luna

Angel Simba said...

Yes, that IS flattery!

Boo-Bah AKA Iris said...

That's the neat thing about kids. they have no trouble speaking their mind.

Admiral Hestorb said...

This is one of THE best blogs I have..I mean MOMMY has had the pleasure of reading.

I will ever think of you are the Siamese you are.

pointe.csl said...

Join the club M'sians like myself do get that kind of look/questions/comments. I am often mistaken for an ethnic Sarawakian/Sabahan by M'sian acquaintances. I was even mistaken for a Vietnamese when I was enrolled in a postgraduate studies at a local uni here too.