Wednesday, September 3, 2008

the malay vs evian

I like to speak in Malay when shopping or ordering food or even in hospitals, no matter how posh the place is. Entah, I like to test people, because I don't like it when you call yourself a Malaysian but you cannot speak Malay (and I don't even expect you to speak proper Malay, Manglish is also accepted). And when someone who is not a Malay but speaks fluent Malay, I get all excited. Or, if they struggle to speak the national language and end up talking funny instead, I get all excited and gigglish too. (Hah, should include this in my 10 Greatest Joys. Okay, I'll make this my number 6 of my 10 Greatest Joys tag by bangkai which I haven't completed yet. Haha.)

Unfortunately, many people who work there can't understand Malay. When this happens, my boyfriend has the habit of asking their country of origin. They are not to be blamed, though. Most of them are foreigners, from Myanmar, Philippines, etc, mencari rezeki di bumi Malaysia.

Why are there so many of them now serving food in restaurants?
Not that I mind, I am just curious, because it used to be Indonesians and Bangladeshis flooding the country!

At a kinda posh cafe:
I was hungry and I asked my boyfriend to accompany me to eat. I ordered fish and chips and "air".
"Mineral water?" the waitress asked.
I was busy studying the menu (still) so my boyfriend confirmed the order for me.
"Okay. One orange juice, one fish and chips and one Evian," she repeated our orders before she went.

Did she say Evian? I wanted water! Just water! Plain water! Free water!

Eyes widened, I glared at the suspected culprit, who else if not my boyfriend. "You ordered Evian? I want water! What did you say to her!" I whispered in anger, trying not to make a big scene. Thank God I still had the menu in hand, to cover my voice and facial expression from public.

"You said you want water," my boyfriend said in defence.
"I said I want "air"!"
"I don't know. Then, she said, "mineral water?""
"Then, you said "Yes" to that?" I wanted to scold my boyfriend for spending RM8 just for a 500ml of water.
"Dekat sini mana ada orang minum tap water," he said.
"Depan mata tu apa?" I pouted my lips to the direction of a counter situated in front of us, with jugs of water and lemons.
"Orang putih tak minum air paip dekat Malaysia..."
"I bukan orang putih!"

I eventually calmed down. We decided that the best way was to cancel the order, but none of us wanted to do it. Don't want to drop our water faces lah! "Excuse me, I want to cancel the Evian, I only want tap water please." or "Hoi! Saya nak air paip lah!" Yeah, right. And all other customers would look at us- Poor you, because you are poor.

I hate it when miscommunication like this happens. I especially hate it when I talk in Malay and the waitress is Malay but insisting to continue to speak in English, then get my order wrong!

It's like when a patient talks to a doctor in Malay, does the doctor continue to talk in English? If the doctor does, he/ she is definitely not a good doctor. Because a patient is the doctor's client/ customer, hence, he/ she must make the client/ customer happy by going with the flow (in terms of language, in this case)!

And it is not so much about being able or not to afford 16 sen for every 10ml of water.

Now, I present to you, why I don't like Evian.

1) I don't want to be seen as I-am-great-I-only-demand-Evian-as-my-plain-water.
2) I don't want other people to think the above and say, "Tapi muka tetap berkawah macam bulan, tak licin pun..."
3) And to avoid "And she doesn't look rich too. She even looks like she could not afford it. Look at the way she dresses!" (gasps)
4) I could have used that RM8 to pay for the parking fees!
5) Or donate it to a charity.

My boyfriend took a sip of my drink and said, "Sedapnya air ni! Patutlah 8 ringgit!" smiling sheepishly.
"Ye la tu! I rasa sama je!" and we laughed.

If I could, I would have licked the glass just because I paid RM8 for that freaking bottled water.

And you guessed it right, I minum sampai ke titisan terakhir just to make the most out of that RM8.

Then I felt like peeing and went to the toilet to empty my bladder and flushed the RM8 away.


green apple said...

aku tak kenal pun botol Evian mana satu. Lagi kampung okkkk. Kira ko tau gak la Evian tu pebenda. Kalau aku agaknya aku tanya balik Evian tu apa. Baru nampak extra bangang.

content said...

Saya paling rasa 'cemerlang' bila situasi sebegini terjadi, ya, pernah terjadi.

Saya : Saya nak 'takeaway' ya.

Jurujual : Okay, 'takeaway' ya bang?

Saya: Ya...Saya nak order....

Jurujual : abang nak makan sini ke bungkus bawak balik ni?

Saya : Ah, Malaysia truly Asia...

LOL! :)

the ectopy said...

green apple: lagi best kalau tengok kalau kau mencarut/ melatah bile dapat tau evian tu 500ml harganya 8 ringgit. kalau free flow takpe jugak! macam bagus sangat air dari alps tu...

content: betul kena cakap melayu baku...

qahina said...

being an english teacher I have that freedom to speak both so-called 'mother tongue' without being judged like melayu lupa daratan la, but yes, I use malay a lot when shopping or ordering, especially when melayu yang serve. I cant understand if Melayu nak berlagak sesama diorang, macam some Indians yang dah pandai dan kaya - they tend to look down on their own race and refuse to speak Tamil. So I understood it like that. The water part pun selalu kena - bukan diorg tak faham - buat buat tak dengar sebab nak charge lebih. Biasanya kalau Perrier or Evian yang turn up, I'll call back the waiter and explain I got sore throat and specifically order "AIR SUAM!". that way diaorg tak boleh buat muka! :) Susah jugak deal dgn salesperson/waiter yang gaji tak seberapa tapi berlagak macam tak pernah sekolah kebangsaan.