Here I am sitting snugly in a corner of a cyber-cafe looking for words to fill up the almost blank spaces of the screen in front of me. Not a word comes to my mind now. Well, not a word of what I had planned to jot, that is. Somehow, while driving to this CC here from my house - a mere kilometer or so - I received a call from a foreign student, one whom I met and befriended last week somewhere near KLCC. He called just to say hello and ask of my wellbeing. That's very nice of him. But now, I've lost what I wanted to put down here. Hmm...
Anyway, he goes by the name of Khaleed and is a Saudi but does not look like any Arab I've met; most Arabs I've met are big, burly and of fair complexion. This guy is thin, with slightly curly hair and trying to sport sideburns. Our meeting was rather strange, as I recall.
I was waiting for Azman outside the entrance of the KL Convention Center, and Khaleed was standing opposite from where I stood. Suddenly, a guy whom I initially cannot make out his origin, approached Khaleed and started talking to him in Arabic. Their exchange took several short seconds and then Khaleed took out his cell phone and dialed a number while at the same time he walked towards me.
Watching Khaleed's approach, my mind went like "Oh oh! I'm a stranger here." I mean, with KLCC filled to the brim with foreigners, I might as well be! And even as he steps nearer to me, he was already talking to the other end, with the other guy in tow behind me. When he stopped right in front of me, he put his hand out towards me - the one holding the cell phone. And you have to forgive me if, just for that single moment, I thought Khaleed was a Santa Claus in disguise! I mean, with Christmas around the corner, could this be my gift?
I took the phone from Khaleed's hand. Even as I did, he said "speak! speak!". Then I get the clue: he wanted me to speak to who ever is on the other end. Ok, and I so I said "hello!"
To cut the story short, Khaleed, the stranger behind him, and the stranger on the other end of the call, were all Arabs. Of the 3, only Bukhari, the guy on the phone, could speak English well enough. And the stanger...? Well, it appears he's an Arab too, but from Morocco, and was looking for the Moroccan Embassy. Heck! I don't where that is! But since they keep repeating something like 'arm-peng, arm-peng!', I gather they mean Jalan Ampang. Further initiatives by me to get the location or name of building avails to none...they could not understand. So, I just showed the general direction of Jalan Ampang, and off went the Moroccan with the confident look that he'll find what he wants by walking towards the direction where my hand was pointing. I know its sort of cruel to let him do so, but as the Negeri Sembilan people would say "tak dapak den nak tolong".
Anyway, I managed to get Khaleed into a conversation after that and found out his English was not as bad as he think it is. Perhaps, he was lacking the confidence to say it out. That's quite understandable. He is, after all, a student of that language in a college somewhere in KL. And as per normal, the incident had me thinking about the difference of life in foreign land compared to ours. Perhaps its also because Doc TA just came back from Egypt, or that I've long not set foot outside the country.
Then I found these picture/signs below that sum things pretty well. See if you can recognise or understand each meaning. I have provided clues on top of each and the answers are at the bottom of this entry. No peeking, please.
2. Place of Intake.
4. Civil Custom.
Now, before I start jotting the answers, as were given to me in the text that accompanied the pictures, I would like to reply to a wondering mind or two on why I'm spending long hours in this CC.
First, this CC is not bad. Like all CC, you cannot escape having kids around for company. But, compared to the one I had use when I first moved into this area, this CC is almost like heaven.
Ok, the other is that emak's away for the night and that leaves me free to roam the night. Hah! That will be the day. Oops, I mean night. I've stopped such activities a long time ago, but it is kind of nice to do it once in a while. And no, I'm not taking a poll on this matter, please :) Though it would be nice if you could (click on 'poll' back there. Read it, then vote).
Ok. The answers to the picture/signs are:
1. Food, or what we have for during our mealtime. The picture on the left is supposed to represent Western culture of different kind of food at each meal time, while the picture on the right is supposed to represent Eastern culture of almost the same kind of food at each meal time. Basically, I guess its rice, rice and rice.
2. Eastern's noisy culture in a restaurang on the right, compared to Western's on the left. Hmm...don't quite agree here. But generally its true with mamak's shouting of "teh tarik, milo ais, mee goreng basah".
3. This, however, is sadly true for 6-7 out of every 10 Malaysians...punctuality!
4. This one? Hmm...to get the correct answer, all one have to do is look at any busy bus stops or terimal. Yup, our infamous queuing public, which leads to so many incidences of pickpockets and the itchy male thing. For the latter, you'd have to experience the queue to know what I mean. And to do that, you'd have to be a woman too! I guess, you know what I mean. You do, don't you? :)