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!