Wednesday, September 28, 2011


You know us Malaysians and our habit of saying the word 'lah' at the end of every sentences..yes, almost everybody, and yes, in almost every sentences lah...It just sputters out from the mouth unintentionally and seems quite difficult to control.   Everything, regardless or which part of speech would end with 'lah'..yes'lah', no'lah', eat'lah', sleep'lah'..go'lah', cooking'lah', out'lah', beautifu'lah', school'lah', in front of it 'lah'..and the list can go on and on and on.  Count me in! I am guilty as charged as I am one of those Malaysians who would use 'lah' as if my lifeline depended on it!

And so, the story goes.., just last week, I went to the market to get some fish. I saw this beautiful and fresh sea-bream and chose three for my weeks ration.  I handed it over to the fish monger and after weighing the fish, quoting me the price and my agreement to it, the fish monger asked if I wanted it to be cleaned.  "Yes, please."  After that, he asked again if I wanted it to be sliced.  Wahey!  Who would resist? After all, he was doing all the dirty job for me! 

So I said, "Please..slice'lah'. Can..can.."  
To which he answered, "You want me to slice, I slicing for you, if you not, I not."
I said," Slice'laaa'..into half for each fish."  Flashed him a smile.
He said. " You want slice or no slice madam? I do want you want!"
I replied, "Slice'lah'.  One fish into two, okay."
He then said with an irritated tone " SLICE or NO, Madam?"
I wanted to yell so hard but I kept my cool.." Slice, please! Two."
"Okay", he said, now more relaxed and there was smiling with it.

As I was waiting for my fish to be cleaned and sliced, I was replaying the whole thing back.  What was so hard to understand with my instruction?  It wasn't like I was giving him an explanation on something was all very straight forward..Slicelah..Slicelah..Slicelah please..The conversation kept repeating itself, over and over again.   Still, I just couldn't gather what might have been particularly difficult to fathom!

And then, it dawned on to me that my word itself was the reason for the confusion!  You see, when we say 'lah', it sounds nearly like 'laa' which in Arabic means..."NO".. So while I was saying Slice'lah', it registered in his mind that I did not want it to be sliced...No wonder why he got so confused.  No need to slice but I wanted it in two pieces each..Hahahah...Funny eh? Surely he must have thought that this Malayzian woman is a moron!! So, now..I have to try super hard to refrain from saying 'lah' to avoid another unnecessary confusion.  Wish me luck!

There you go, another tale of my life in the UAE.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hari Raya 2011

Nothing much happened this year with the few Malaysian families left who also had to work on the morning of Hari Raya, this supposedly festive day/holiday was nothing but a great excuse to either sleep or become a couch potato.

Our building was awfully quiet unlike back home in Sg Tua where the morning of Raya would leave you breathless.  There would be that constant rushing for the bathroom, waiting for your turn to get into it especially if we were home because I would be hogging it with my little terrors who would be taking their turns in their own sweet time.  Then, the preparation for the men to go for the prayers while we women are busy in the kitchen preparing the food to give to our neighbors, getting ready for the forgiveness session, visiting whoever etc etc etc...and not to forget, the blaring music from our neighbor's was all too festive compared to what we had here in Ruwais. 

Hmm..for us was cereal!  Plain old Cheerios with full fat milk..Then, it was time for Skype in our day clothes.  That was the only highlight of that day, being able to see my parents and siblings.  Good thing for technology! 

Things took to a different turn by noon as I had to enslave myself in the kitchen for the makan-makan session at our humble abode that night.   Luckily, I have the best husband in the world who volunteered to become my kitchen assistant..I mean he asked willingly without me asking for help..Gosh, I am so blessed to have him. ( Yeah, I know everyone else's husband is like that too but hey, can't a girl be happy for hers)  If it weren't for him, I would have been lost in the piles and piles and piles of unwashed pots and pans. 

By dinner time, the spirit of Raya finally percolated when we had donned our Raya clothes and had this massive amount of food all neatly laid out on the table.  And while waiting for the guests to arrive, that was when we had our minta maaf session.  If my parents knew, they would go ballistics for us to go against the tradition. it the modern style.  By midnight, as everyone had left, that was when the exhaustion came seeping through.  At last, Raya had made its way to our new home!