Saturday, November 26, 2011

LIM: Speaking In Tongues

So I'm in our local petrol station, saying hello to the lady who's been working there forever.

Whenever I say, "Good morning!" she says, "Selamat pagi!" and when I say, "Selamat pagi!" she says, "Good morning!"

I then continue in English, mainly because when I speak Malay people don't listen because they KNOW white people don't speak it. Also, I have a strong Indonesian accent which further confuses people.

Anyway, the focus on English must have annoyed her because one day this lady says to me, "We always speak English. You have been here a long time. Why don't we speak your mother tongue one day, and mine the next?"

"Cool," says me. "Shall we start in yours?"

"No, let's do yours first," she says.

"Goede morgen," I say. "Hoeveel is het vandaag?"

There's a long silence, and my friend says, "So English isn't your first language?"

Funnily enough she's not up for learning Dutch, but the English focus doesn't upset her anymore, so we're continuing our half-Malay-and-half-English chit-chat.

And she has a lot of fun telling other people that my mother tongue sounds like gargling.

Guido has a new book.  He's reading Fan Goes To Sea by Dawn Farnham.  The story follows the adventures of Fan, a little Chinese boat.  It's available in Malaysia and Singapore. Selling price RM24.50.  A great Christmas present for kids!

19 comments:

Mango said...

I got stuck on "petrol station." Hehehe. Sounds like Queen's English to me. How wonderful that you speak three languages.

Mango Momma

Jan's Funny Farm said...

How funny. And nice that you two have found a way to communicate.

sully86 said...

selamat pagi ellen dah para kucing nya...

Simba said...

Dutch: Mom was actually able to understand it! But not the Malay.

Brian said...

I can meow in four languages!

m.q said...

our Bean only know malay and a bit english. but i guess we cats are more cool because we can understand others without the language barriers...

BoBo Salem
Meow Meow Family

Whisppy said...

Hahaha. Couldn't help laughing at her observation that your mother tongue sounded like gargling.

Mary said...

He's gifted. No two ways about it :-). I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty E,
I get really annoyed when people tells me, "don't you understand English?" I'll look them in the eyes and say, "I don't. I speak Australian." And that really confused them. Har har har *evil laughs*

Old Kitty said...

Yay for speaking in many languages!!! It's a talent and skill I sadly lack!
Take care
x

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

WOW! We are impressed yoo speak 3 lanuages. Mom only speaks English and cat! xx

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

Oh ... and a tiny bit of French too.

The Cat From Hell said...

Is not the art of communication grand?
Kisses
Nellie

Admiral Hestorb said...

I LAUGHED! I loved this exchange you two had and this blog will keep me smiling till tomorrow and maybe beyond.

rach. said...

LOVE.

love, rach.
www.so--hi.blogspot.com

Purrfect Haven said...

ha aha .. that is a classic post.. just shows the importance of getting to know someone ... sounds like she was too quick to judge. Helen, Darcy and Bingley xxxx

Sharon Wagner said...

I only wish I could speak another language in a garboly way. Better than no way!

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Unfortunately, most Asians do have the impression that most Caucasians are monolingual, or bilingual, at best. But Malay is such an easy language to learn, even my Burmese refugees master it within months.

Live Out Loud said...

Love those translation woes - very funny when you're not in the middle of it but hearing it after the fact